Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Mini Check Blazer

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

mini houndstooth blazerHoundstooth can go wrong in a lot of ways, but I don’t see any of those missteps here — the darts and other seams look perfect, the pockets lay beautifully, and I love the uber simple cut with the single black button.  PLUS, I love pieces with a hidden pop of color — here it’s a hot pink lining to the collar (which, of course, also looks good popped). It’s $220 at Nordstrom, from Helene BermanMini Check Blazer

This similar blazer comes in regular, petite, plus, and plus-size petites — and it’s on sale for $78-$86.

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  1. In-House in Texas :

    Does anyone know if Rothy’s has a black-Friday or holiday sale? I’m about to buy my first pair and wondered if I should wait a week to see if there are any sales? TIA!

    • Wildkitten :

      $20 Off (I also get a credit):

    • The FAQs used to note a Black Friday sale, although I see only the referral code now. Hoping they do so I can justify a back-up pair of black flats – I wear my current black pair and a plum pair often. Love them!

  2. Light Therapy Lamps? :

    Looking for some suggestions of light therapy lamps for the winter – any opinions on whether the verilux lamp or the phillips hue lamp is better? Or any other recs? Budget is up to $150.

    Ideally it would be programmable, but doesn’t need to have wifi or bluetooth.


    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ve had the Verilux for over 5 years without having to change the bulb. It also came w/ two lamps so I have one at home and one at work.

  3. Hi Ladies! Some of the conversation about Thanksgiving prep yesterday got me thinking- what’s your go-to recipe for stuffing? I’m making it for the first time this year, and I’m looking for a recipe somewhere between making it from a box and a recipe with 30 ingredients that takes 2 days. Links to favorites? Thanks!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have made this for the last two Christmas holidays and it is my very favourite leftover!


    • Cornellian :

      In my experience, if you take the time to caramelize the onions, the rest of the recipe isn’t so important because it’s such a dominant (in a good way, I think) flavor. I used that trick to make edible vegan, gluten-free stuffing this weekend.

      • anon a mouse :

        Yes – and you can make caramelized onions in advance and freeze them, to save time the day of.

    • This has a very traditional flavor and spends most of the day in the slow cooker. The comments are helpful, especially around starting with a small amount of broth. I probably only use 2 cups at most. I think I also use half the butter called for.


    • Make turkey broth / stock from the neck and giblets (excluding liver) or make ahead using wings and other tbrow away parts. Warm up broth.

      Morning of thanksgiving, sauté a chopped onion, several stalks chopped celery and minced fresh sage in 1/2 to 1 stick butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Dump into very large bowl when soft. Add a bag of cubed bread (I sometimes use sourdough, sometimes regular white bread cubes), stir, then start adding broth and tossing until wet but not soggy. If you’re stuffing the bird, now is the time to stick in the cavity. Then put the rest (or all of it) into a buffered large rectangular casserole dish, dot with butter, cover with foil and bake. If you’re not stuffing the bird you may need to baste it a bit while cooking it – just check it occasionally.

      Also, I’d add more salt to the stuffing not in the bird. I dry brine my turkey so the stuffing in the bird gets pretty salty, but the remainer in the baking dish will need some help.

      Yes, I stuff the bird. I test the temp of the stuffing in the center to be on the safe side, and I often nuke it for a bit after I spoon it out of the bird after roasting

      • I use this exact recipe and people like it the best of all my thanksgiving food.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        This is pretty much what I do, although I also add some thyme. It’s delicious and traditional and has the flavor profile of traditional stuffing. I sometimes add chestnuts, sausage, and/or apples, but those are all ingredients people get picky about if they didn’t grow up with any of those in it :-)

    • Diana Barry :

      I just use cubed (STALE) bread, butter, chicken stock, and dried onions and parsley, salt and pepper. It’s very plain but THAT’S HOW IT’S DONE IN OUR FAMILY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. ;) Basically you dry out the bread and then add the moisture back in with the butter and chicken stock. My mom used to use water but the chicken stock gives a nicer flavor. We cook it in and outside of the turkey – the inside stuffing is soft and the outside is crispy (which I prefer).

    • Anonymous :

      I like my stuffing to have lots of stuff (haha) in it so here is what I do: I make a pan of cornbread (I use the recipe on the cornmeal bag and add honey) and then I buy a bag of the Pepperidge farm dried bread cubes. I crumble the cornbread and mix in about 1/2 the bag of bread cubes. I mix that with some chicken broth, an egg or two, I sautee diced celery and onion in butter and spices like thyme and sage and mix that it, plus some cubed apple, pecans, and crasins. Then I mix it all up and put it in a casserole dish and bake for about 30 minutes.

    • My go to recipe is the Smitten Kitchen kale and caramelized onion recipe. It’s to die for – it’s not hard to make but is a bit time consuming since you have to caramelize the onions. I also like that much of it can be made in advance and then assembled and baked. It also happens to be vegan, but my fussy meat-and-potatoes dad still likes it.

    • My family does a very simple stuffing recipe but we love it—note, we love dry crunchy bread so the only moisture is the olive oil (dairy allergy means no butter).

      Cube bread at least the night before so it’s dry (we’ve used everything from sourdough to whole grain). Sauté celery, mushrooms (we use canned), and onion and garlic in lots of olive oil with a little sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss it with the bread and put in a 9×13 pan and bake until crunchy on top.

    • While I will admit that I frequently make simple stuffing from the bag, I do love a fancy stuffing now and again. I think a lot of the key components have been covered here (carmelize the onions, cook the raw ingredients first, use slate bread, etc.) But when I want to make a really, really good stuffing, I usually make something like this


      I feel like apples get the short stick when it comes to stuffing/dressing ingredients but they’re amazing in there.

    • Every year I try SO HARD to make stuffing but inevitably, nobody enjoys it. I’m not making it this year. And nobody will miss it. Grumble grumble.

      • Invite me over! I love stuffing. Mmm, bread.

      • Anonymous :

        My weird family prefers stovetop box stuffing. I like stuffing with ALL THE THINGS in it, so I sometimes do both. It means a big casserole dish of fancy stuffing for just me and my husband but I have found it is good for breakfast with a couple over-easy eggs on top!

      • Send the stuffing to me, I will eat it. All of it. Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving food! So in other words, Let’s Get Ready to Stuffffffing

  4. Cornellian :

    Wanted to thank everyone for their advice re: possible divorce with baby yesterday. Lots to think about. I sort of put the whole thing on ice because I was dealing with a baby and going back to work, but I really need to figure out steps forward now.

    • Anonymous :

      Good luck with everything

    • regular going anon :

      I don’t have any advice, but I want you to know I’m thinking of you (and praying if you’re religious and find that helpful). I remember reading some of your previous posts and feeling inspired by you and all that you’ve accomplished. I found this site at a mental health / professional low in my life and am really appreciated the professional and personal cheerleading this community provides. I know that you will make the right decision for you and your child and that you can get through this awful situation.

    • Good luck! I’ve been thinking about you.

    • I hope this isn’t overly personal, but I’ve been thinking about your post a lot, and I really want to encourage you to set aside all the thoughts about why it wouldn’t work to divorce now and focus on what you want your life and your child’s life to be like. When you have to make a scary decision, it is really easy to think about all the reasons you can’t make a change, but not about the reasons why you should. I know you don’t know us personally, but take us as surrogates for your real-life friends, who I’m sure would (or already have) told you that this doesn’t sound like a good situation, for you or your baby.

      I’ll also say this, both as someone who has been through a divorce and as someone who “knows” you a bit from your comments this site: you can do this. You can have a better, happier, safer life for yourself and your child. Getting there will involve some really hard things, but I found (and so have many other ladies here) that your happier future arrives more quickly than you think it possibly could.

      • +1 million to all of this.

        The next few months or couple of years of your life are probably going to be incredibly tough, but you will get through it (the only way out is through it) and on the other side is a better life for you and your child. If this helps, my husband’s parents divorced when he was an infant and he doesn’t have the emotional baggage of having witnessed fighting, anger and the slow disintegration of his parents’ marriage (at least not that he can consciously remember). Your future self is looking back at you, cheering you on along with all of us. You got this, girl. Big hugs.

        • Cornellian :

          Yeah, baby not remembering fights is a big motivator for me. Like someone said yesterday, counseling as co-parents made sense even when their marriage was over for this reason.

        • Prosecutor :

          Just another data point: if the child is male, witnessing episodes of domestic violence (which is exactly what the drunk pushing is) will make him more likely to be a perpetrator of similar violence. For female children, witnessing episodes of DV makes them more likely to be DV victims.

      • Cornellian :

        Thanks so much. I’ve been coming to this site since I was a 1L (!!) so it sometimes feels like the posters are surrogate friends.

        It is scary thinking about life as a single divorced mom over 30. but I’m not sure married unhappy mom over 30 is much better.

        • My mom was in your exact situation, pursued a divorce, and my life (and that of both my parents) is better for it. And she was a happy single divorced mom once it went through, so the future is bright!

        • Senior Attorney :

          Married unhappy mom over 30 is way worse.


          The magic can’t happen until you leave the bad situation.

      • One of my favorite sayings about relationships and break-ups especially is that “just because you are unhappy with your decision, it doesn’t mean it’s the wrong decision.”

        Leaving a relationship, any relationship can be super hard and you will initially be very sad about it. But as time goes by and your life stops revolving around this other person, you may find out that you like building a life that revolves around you (and your child) and not your marriage.

    • Anon for this :

      Didn’t catch this yesterday, but some general thoughts from someone in a related field in upstate NY. Obviously, none of this is legal advice, for you or anyone else, just some strategic thoughts:

      1 – Is there a different, LCOL area that you would both genuinely want to move to – yesterday you mentioned Austin, is that a place he’d be reasonably excited about? If so, I’d try to engineer that move and establish residency there before starting the divorce. If he is spiteful, he might refuse to let you leave with the kid after the divorce, even if it’s a move that he would otherwise be happy with. Don’t feel guilty about treating him poorly; he doesn’t get that kind of consideration at this point.

      2 – In making that decision, consider standard custody arrangements in the place you are moving to. My understanding is that in NYC, most courts lean very strongly towards 50/50 custody arrangements (although definitely defer to your own lawyer’s advice). While that’s good in most scenarios, it sucks if you are trying to protect a child from a violent or abusive parent. I’d strongly consider a move to a state that tends to grant primary custody to mothers – TX is generally on this side of things, although I don’t know about Austin specifically. You can always allow more visitation if you think it’s in the child’s best interest, but it can be very difficult to get less than 50/50 in some jurisdictions.

      3. Yesterday, you said maybe one weekend night, one weekend day, and half the holidays. I’ll be blunt – that may not be a realistic expectation. There are plenty of judges that will give him 50/50 if he asks (maybe even for an infant, and definitely once the kid is over one), and in order to get more than 50% of parenting time you would need to show that he is a direct threat to the child. I work upstate, not in NYC, so this isn’t direct experience, but from conversations with colleagues my perception is that it would be a major uphill fight to get that custody order in NYC if he asks for more visitation. Even in jurisdictions that privilege the mother, every-other-weekend is usually the standard, often with some form of midweek visitation as well.

      4. For the above reasons – give mediation a serious try. Particularly if you are staying in NYC, your best chance at getting the court order you want is probably through mediation. Run the numbers in a child support calculator to see who would be paying child support (and how much) under a range of scenarios. If he would owe you support at the level of parenting time that you want, offer to waive it. Maybe even offer to pay him some level of support (if remotely feasible). You want to avoid a scenario where he has an economic incentive to fight for more parenting time. If he actually wants the time with his kid, that’s one thing, but don’t give him an economic motive to do so.

      • Cornellian :

        Thanks so much for the input. I guess in my hypo I was assuming we would negotiate custody and present it to the court for blessing, because I can’t imagine litigating over it, but I suppose it’s possible that may be necessary.

        Do you have a calculator recommendation? The ones I’ve found all assume near 100% custody for one parent, but maybe I’m missing something.

        • Anon for this :

          New York is somewhat unusual in that its model is not adjusted for parenting time except in very broad strokes (it differentiates between custodial and non-custodial parents). For the purposes of support, you are the custodial parent, whether you get the kid six nights a week or four nights a week. Depending on the gap in your incomes, he might or might not owe you child support in that scenario. BUT if you have true 50/50, then the general principal is that the parent with lower income would be considered the custodial parent for the purposes of child support; you would probably owe him support. This is a guideline that is more flexibly applied. Calculations involving a custodial parent contain little flexibility in most cases, although the fact that your income is over $143k introduces significant flexibility, and you should check with your lawyer about how that would likely play out. My experience comes from working with clients in DV cases (as a case manager, not a lawyer) and our client base tends to have much lower incomes, so I am not sure how the income cap would play out in a contested case. In any case words, he might have a financial incentive to fight for 50/50 custody, but you could mitigate this incentive by offering limited spousal support even though it’s not required by the prenup, for example. But ask your lawyer directly how s/he thinks that custody issues would impact a child support order in your case, and think about whether it’s possible to make sure that there’s no incentive to go for more support. The good thing is that he doesn’t really have an incentive to fight for, say, 45% custody rather than 15% custody.

          Most other states adjust for parenting time in a much more finely-grained way. Texas is another outlier, though; it uses a percentage of income model, in which the non-custodial parent pays a straight percentage of income to the custodial parent. I have never worked anywhere near a Texas family court, so again, you’ll want specific legal advice on how your own income situation might play into things, but in general that model can give parents a VERY strong incentive to get a 50/50 share; although from a brief google it looks like Texas does not have an automatic rule about who is designated the custodial parent if there is a 50/50 time share.

          Hope that helps. Short answer is that both NY and Texas are somewhat unusual in that, for the purposes of child support, they do consider parenting time as a binary (one parent is custodial, the other is not). You are using the calculators correctly! But if you are thinking about other jurisdictions, smaller adjustments in parenting time can have a significant effect.

          • You’re right in saying that Texas almost never does true 50/50 though. I think the last general study I saw showed that the most common “equal” split was 58/42, with the mother as the parent the majority of the time.

        • Anon for this :

          One more thing – I obviously have a skewed perspective because I am dealing with people in the highest of high-conflict situations. I’m sure there are lots of people who go through the process with much less drama and I hope that you and your husband are among them. But this process can bring out the worst in people, so I think it’s a prepare-for-the-worst, hope-for-the-best situation. Know what the possibilities are if you do go to trial, but try as hard as you can to avoid having to do that.

        • Anonymous :

          I got divorced in NY. “100% custody” means primary physical custody. It means one night more than the other parent gets. So a typical schedule will be every wednesday overnight and every other weekend with the non-custodial parent. The parent with primary physical custody is entitled to 17% of the non-custodial parent’s income in child support. That percentage changes when more than one child is involved. There is also a cap on the income, but most parties agree to a much higher cap.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I missed your post yesterday but if you need anything, you can email me at jayneh876 at the mail of G. I got divorced while I was pregnant. I actually went into labor 3 days after the divorce is finalized; 3 weeks early.

      There isn’t anything you can’t survive. Trust me.

      Sending you hugs!

    • Anonymous :

      Cornellian, I went through a divorce when my daughter was 7. She is 15 now, and I have been happily remarried for 2 years. Divorce was hard – the hardest thing I have ever done in my life — but there would not have been room for a happy ending for me if I had not made a change. I would have remained “stuck” forever with my ex-husband, and that was just not an option for me. I also went through breast cancer about 5 years after my divorce, which was the second hardest thing I have ever done! That experience made me realize that you only have this one life, and it is way too short to be unhappy, so do whatever you need to do to find happiness for yourself and for your baby. I’ll be thinking of you and saying some prayers for you two.

  5. Where should I take my husband for a birthday dinner in DC on Friday? We like everything, and cost isn’t really a concern. We are staying at the Mayflower Hotel so somewhere near ish to that would be nice. Thanks in advance!

    • If you don’t mind the whole no-reservation game, Little Serow. You can put your name down and get drinks nearby at Hanks to fill the wait. That’s a go-to for me.

      Kinship is fancier and has great food/ambiance. If you can snag a reservation you’re guaranteed a great night.

      Both of those recs are about a 10-15 minute walk or a 5 minute uber. If you want closer, I’d try Tabard Inn or Iron Gate. I prefer Iron Gate for ambiance, but both have great food and are good picks for special occasions. You could always do dinner at one and drinks at the other (they’re across the street from one another) to change the vibe up!

      If you aren’t feeling any of those, let me know and I have more options. I oddly love vicariously planning romantic dinners for other couples!

      • BabyAssociate :

        +1 for Iron Gate, one of my favorites!

        I’d you like seafood, I’d recommend Siren.

      • +1 for Kinship! I’ve been there a number of times and it checks all the boxes — ambiance, AMAZING food and cocktails, great service.

        Iron Gate’s ambiance is lovely, but I find the food to be sometimes a little more meh than I’d like for the price.

    • Anonymous :

      Check out the food critic’s (Tom Sietsema) guide at the Washington Post – he’s also does a live chat (text-based) on Wednesdays if you wanted to ask in person :)


    • To those excellent suggestions, I’d add Tiger Fork (about a 20 minute walk) and Lupo Verde. Lupo Verde would be my pick-super romantic Italian in the cutest old house plus amazing service.

    • Within walking distance, Rasika West End– the second location of the best Indian restaurant in DC. Le Diplomate is awesome French, and Tabbard Inn has an excellent brunch.

    • I *really* love Ambar (at Eastern Market). If you get the fixed price menu (Balkan Experience) you get unlimited (almost) everything on the menu as well as unlimited alcoholic drinks from a small sub menu. Food is amazing and the servers are awesome. You can book through Open Table.


    • zaytina is my favorite! rasika is also good.

    • Central Michel Richard.

  6. Any ideas for a 3-4 day babymoon in January or February? Will be coming from a city in ohio with an airport. Would like to go somewhere warm and Zika-free. Due in mid-May. We’re reasonably active but looking for a more relaxing getaway. Thanks!!

    • Anonymous :

      Palm Springs.

      • +1 to PS. Stay at one of the resorts and get spa treatments and hang out by the pool.

        I’m partial to staying downtown and walking everywhere (lots to do) but there are also sprawling resorts you’d never have to leave just outside of town.

      • Anonattorney :

        Is PS hot enough? I was looking at this option for a trip with my sister, but I thought it would be too chilly. I think the average midday temp is only 65-70 degrees.

    • I vote Miami or somewhere else in Florida. Easy to get to and warmest you’ll get…. The CDC removed the Zika advisory. I’ve also been to South Padre Island (TX) in the winter but it’s not terribly easy to get to from out of state.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I went to Key West in late January last year and it was lovely.

      • I’m pregnant and my OB advised me last month against optional travel to south Florida. She said if I really needed to go there (for work or a sibling’s wedding or something like that) it would probably be fine. But her two cents was that there’s still some risk and if you’re going purely for vacation, choose a different destination.

    • I asked a similar question on the Moms site yesterday. I saw that the CDC removed Zika warnings for Cayman Islands and Martinique – and I’ve also been curious about southern California, New Mexico, Arizona, or maybe even Vegas. I’m not sure how warm those US destinations will be though.. Any recommendations?

  7. Paris, I don't love you :

    I wanted to thank everyone for your support when I posted yesterday about having broken up with my boyfriend while “trapped” in Paris on vacation. I’m doing a lot better today. I still wish I was home, but if I can’t be home, Paris is a nice second choice. By the time I get home this weekend, I’ll be ready to stop moping and dive in to new projects and move on. Merci hive!

    • Anonymous :

      Sending you good vibes for your presentation and, you know, your sanity. Enjoy yourself, even if its just with a cup of coffee and some me time people watching outside. You may never get the chance to be in Paris again!

      • Actually I’m really looking forward to the presentation. Break-ups always do a number on my self-confidence and I think it will be really soothing to have a room full of professional peers applaud me :D

    • I didn’t reply to your original post but i wanted to tell you how sorry I am, and what a d-bag I think your ex is for breaking up with you in Paris.

      I am going through the grief of losing a parent right now so it’s not the same but I will tell you what helps me – kind of a treat yo’ self mentality. I got my hair colored and cut, my nails done, and I went shopping for a new bag and a silk scarf hand painted by my favorite local artist. You’re in Paris! The bags and scarves there are better than anywhere else!

      I don’t know if this is universal, but I feel better when I look better and take the time for self-care. I would just be wallowing in grief if I sat around all day in messy hair and sweats. I get up, get dressed and get out the door. I hope you can do the same.

      Big hugs to you.

    • I didn’t post yesterday, but I’m sending you good wishes.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Glad you’re feeling better. I forgot to mention it yesterday, but check out the Dior exhibit at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. Right by the Louvre. I just looked online and it looks like there are tickets available for Nov 16. Definitely more than worth a look!!

    • Thursday is the beaujolais nouveau, it’s a fun time that tourists don’t normally participate in. Maybe your school has an alum group there or if you search FB you can find an expat group to link up with to meet people. No need to tell them about the mean guy. Paris is such a good city to be alone in and to be in a group of friends with.

    • applesauce :

      I’d highly recommend cooking or pastry class at a Le Foodist if you’re looking for a distraction – you can really kill a lot of time if you want, there’s an option to go to the market to shop for ingredients, come back and cook a meal and then enjoy what you made. I went in April, the chef Frederic is very fun and there was a mix of couples, families and single people in my class.

  8. How can I make it the next two to three weeks? I had my second ~3 months ago and work is crushing me. I miss my baby so much. I didn’t have these feelings with my first – I was ready and able to go back to school and focus. This time around it’s just not going well. I’ve seen my doctor and she tinkered with meds but that it takes a few weeks for the change to take effect.

    • Anonymous :

      One day at a time. You made the decisions you did for a reason, so don’t let temporary emotions sabotage your plans. What does your partner think about it?

    • It’s ok to feel the way you do. You can’t be sleeping much and you have a baby and the older child to care for. Try to nap when baby does on the weekend. The first year is really really difficult. You are not alone. Anyone who has been in your shoes knows that as wonderful as your kids are, it’s just a lot of sh*t to get done right now.

      Hope your meds get you stabilized. As difficult as it is when things aren’t unbalanced, I’m sure it’s that much worse when you’ve got other issues going on too.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Waiting for a change in meds to kick in was The Worst Part for me about two years ago, when I was in your shoes. Whatever that line is, the days are long but the months are short? It’ll feel shorter in retrospect, I promise. For the time being, can you keep a “must do” list for work and one for personal, and just let everything else slide until you get your stability back? Do you have a trusted friend you can text with about how terrible you feel, who will remind you that you’ll get through it? (You’re always welcome to email me. I can’t always be as responsive as I’d like, but I’m there.) <3

  9. For Golden Girls :

    This looks like something that Bea Arthur’s character would wear when she Means Business on the Golden Girls. [Maybe on a trip back to NY?; the shape for sure even if the pattern doesn’t read South Florida.]

    • Anonymous :

      Nah – Dorothy’s jackets wouldn’t have buttons on them. And would be longer/drapier.

      This just looks like a jacket.

    • S in Chicago :

      Or a detective on Barney Miller.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it works for someone tall and box-shaped. Like someone from Minecraft.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a similar blazer, and I’m tall and hourglass shaped. I wear it with black skinny ankle pants and a blue tunic that slightly pokes out from under the blazer. It looks great. I get compliments all the time, probably because its fitted and doesn’t make me look large as one might suspect.

    • anon a mouse :

      no, I think it’s from Melanie Griffith’s wardrobe on Working Girl?

    • This would be very at home on a Bama grad Of A Certain Age while attending the Auburn game.

      • Roll Tide! :

        OMG yes

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        LOL! I am not an Alabama fan, but a huge UF fan. I have a houndstooth coat. I wore it to a sports bar when UF played Alabama several years ago. I KEPT getting high-fives and “Roll Tides!” and could not figure out why, until much much later. It still tickles me.

      • Mrs. Jones :

        I feel like it just won’t do for a non-Bama SEC fan to wear houndstooth.

    • I hope this style returns! I used to have one like this that was a great interviewing separate- worked with black skirt or pants and for non interview it worked with a lot of different blouse/ sweater colors. The boxy style for me added some professional armor for my hourglass figure…

    • Small consulting firm ~40 employees. No formal policy beyond state disability coverage (which in my case would only covers ~20% of my salary for 6 weeks). Two prior employees took 6 and 12 weeks maternity leave, respectively. Can use vacation time (3.5 weeks annually) to cover some of the leave. PTO does not carry over, so no option to stockpile. Terrible!

    • Former Retail :

      No, this is what Julia Sugerbaker on Designing Women wears while ripping someone a new one via indignant monologue.

  10. Tell me what you would have done … I had an appointment for a basic manicure last night at a nice place near my office. I hadn’t been there before, but had heard good things. Well … my manicure went almost comically bad. What was supposed to take 30 minutes somehow ended up taking nearly an hour and a half. The woman kept cutting my cuticles too aggressively, making me bleed. She would then wipe up the blood and stand up to go wash her hands (which, of course I understand, but it kept happening (over and over and over) and was getting kind of ridiculous). Towards the end I just grabbed the tissue and said here, let me do that. Okay, so my cuticles are bleeding. I guess that was the main problem, but also the polish application was so bad that I just took it off as soon as I got home. And I know I already mentioned the time, but I really was not planning on spending more than the 30 minutes the appointment was supposed to take.

    She kept apologizing throughout and I’m sure she was doing her best and felt genuinely bad. After all of that, I figured she would just comp the whole thing, but all she did was give me a discount. I debated whether to leave a tip, but it’s just too ingrained in me that it’s a huge @$$ hole move not to tip, so I tipped her 20% the original cost of the service. But I’ve been wondering since I left about what I should’ve done differently. Should I have just stood up and left after she made me bleed a couple of times? Should I have demanded they comp the whole thing? Should I have not left a tip or left a less generous tip? And now … should I call and ask to have somebody else at least re-do the polish? Call and complain? Or should I just drop the whole thing? I’m kind of at a loss.

    • I️ would have left the second she made me bleed once and I’m stunned you didn’t. And then you tipped her?!? Move on and grow a back bone.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        That’s not nice. I can’t speak for the OP, but I have been taught my entire life to avoid making a scene, to avoid embarrassing someone else. So yelping and running out would’ve been hard.

        • Yeah okay so that’s exactly my point. If it’s hard for you to walk out on someone who cut you and made you bleed, you srsly srsly need to work on that.

          • +1 – you don’t just sit there and bleed while she nicks you. People have died from infections in bad nail salons.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          You don’t think there’s a more understanding, kinder way to say “grow a back bone”?

          I remember my dad shouting at me “stand up for yourself sometimes!” while he held my shoulders. Do you think that made me feel empowered to stand up for myself?

          • No, Rainbow Hair, I think there’s no need to coat every comment in treacle to make it go down easy. Sometimes it’s actually useful to know that other people think you’re being a doormat. Maybe not for you, but you’re not the only person in the world and we don’t have to make the internet just sunshine and rainbows for you. It’s was a reasonable and helpful comment and you’re ridiculous.

          • Rainbow Hair :


            it takes all kinds

          • Rainbow Hair – I don’t think you’re ridiculous, and I appreciate that you jump in to say to say, “Way harsh, Tai.”

            Keep it up.

          • Linda from HR :

            I’m with you too, Rainbow Hair. Tough love really isn’t the answer to people who had a “freeze and appease” (TIL a new term) reaction to a weird situation.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Thanks you two! I appreciate it!

          • Blueberries :

            +1 on saying thank you to Rainbow Hair for saying “way harsh”

          • First of all, that was rude and completely unnecessary. I mean, learning that you can say no to things and that no is a complete sentence isn’t always easy for people.

            Immediately scolding them for daring to finish the appointment and tip is sort of like when your computer dies and someone inevitably says to you “oh did you backup your data, you should really always back up your data.” Which is great advice, but when I’m freaking out about the 15 page paper I was working on for a law school class, I don’t need to hear about how I could have avoided this catastrophe by just doing XYZ in the past. The past over which we have no control.

            OP was just asking for advice on how to handle this if it happens again. But, just like telling someone to calm down has probably never calmed anyone down, telling them to grow a backbone rarely is actually going to help people be more assertive because it doesn’t even mean anything. What OP needs is advice on how to be more assertive, not just a blanket statement that she should have just been assertive in the first place and none of this would have happened doesn’t give her any useful action items in case this happens again or she’s in another similar situation.

    • For now, just drop the whole thing – not worth the hassle.

      In the moment, after the first cut, either ask her not to cut your cuticles or cut them yourself. Once it starts taking too long (are 45 mins?) just ask to switch to a no polish manicure and apply polish at home.

    • Forget the issue of tipping or a discount. She made you bleed in a nail salon!!!! You could get a nasty infection from their tools. Holy crap. I would raise hell with the manager and with whatever health and safety board oversees spas and salons.

      • +1

      • I would call the salon and complain. This is a health issue and they have a right to know. You should have addressed it at the time but you still can help remedy the situation by alerting the salon. Don’t just let this go.

    • I’ve been nicked before at a manicure but not more than once. If that happened to me I’d have gotten up and left at the second nick.

      • I don’t think any of these commenters are cognizant of our often-sadly-ingrained “Freeze and Appease” response to trauma. I’m sure many other readers of this site would have behaved exactly as you did.

        Sorry you had to go through this. Hopefully you can have an internal mental script/plan prepared for the next time it happens (hopefully never) at the next place you go to (because you’ll never be going back here, right?).

        I don’t know whether it is worth going back to report the incident to the salon owner and to ask for a refund, or not. Maybe best just to consider it a lesson learned and move on with your life.

        • I bet a lot of us are aware of it but we take steps to counteract it.

        • Linda from HR :

          Yup, I can’t say whether I would’ve acted differently. I’d probably be thinking “oh my gosh, this can’t be right . . . can it? is this really bad or just annoying? should I get up and leave?” It’s one of those shocking situations most people aren’t prepared to handle because it doesn’t even occur to them a manicure can go that badly! But with hindsight, and some sanity checking with her peers, I’ll bet OP wouldn’t let it play out that way again.

          • OP here, and this is exactly right. I can’t believe I didn’t stand up and leave, but I was honestly so stunned I couldn’t believe it was happening. But I totally agree with everyone that it was dumb to stay and if something like this were to ever happen again, I’d deal with it differently. Thanks for the comments everyone.

      • I’ve definitely gotten nicked during a manicure before. I have thin cuticles that tear easily… if they are apologetic, wipe it immediately with alcohol, and I feel sure that the instruments are sanitary (I only go to the places where they open the sterile instruments in front of me) I would let one (even maybe 2) nicks/tears go.

        Beyond that I would say “I don’t think this is working for me, it’s causing more damage than I’m comfortable with, I think we should just stop here.”
        I would give her a chance to reply, but if she tried to convince me to stay I would just quietly say that I am happy to speak to her manager but I don’t want to proceed with the manicure.
        If she just apologized and said ok, I would just leave.

        I agree, in the moment its easy to freeze. The nice thing is that now you can develop a mental script so you know what to do if it ever happens again!

    • S in Chicago :

      I had basically the same thing happen to me once. I did exactly as you did–including wondering the next day if I should have given a standard tip. But I, too, could recognize the person wasn’t nicking me from a place of anger or laziness but lack of skill and was doing the best she could. I feel like the cost/reward wasn’t enough to make a big deal and risk her job. Hopefully someone is patient with me the same way when the time comes.

    • What I actually would have done is probably pretty similar to what you did, with a 15% tip. Freeze and appease is real and I would have felt bad that she was trying to help me.

      What I should do is stop her from trimming my cuticles after the first nick and leave when it was clear she had no clue what she was doing.

      I had a painful cuticle trimming many years ago (when I was a teenager and definitely didn’t feel I could say anything) and I still refuse trimming. It isn’t worth the risk and it took my cuticles months to recover.

    • I’m not sure what I would have done in the moment. It’s hard, because you know these people don’t get paid much, but at the same time, if they’re doing a bad job… I don’t know.

      Today, though, I think you should absolutely call and speak to the manager about what happened.

    • Anonymous :

      I was once injured from an eyebrow wax- totally ripped my skin straight off, leaving an open, seeping wound under each brow that I was worried would scar (it didn’t). I reacted the same way you did, and had the same doubts. Ultimately I decided:
      -I wouldn’t get any less injured by complaining, and any refund would be seriously negligible
      -I could potentially be getting a person in a much more vulnerable situation than myself in a lot of trouble by making a stink, to no gain, for an honest mistake
      -I probably shouldn’t bargain hunt like that in the future because chances are the staff will be less qualified and there is less recourse

    • I get staying after the first cut and bleed but after the second, no way. I am out of there. Why would you stay and then why would you tip? I don’t get that at all. She did not do her job properly – the service should not have been paid for, let alone the person tipped. Make a scene. The customer is always right!

      • hahaha. “The customer is always right” is something only people who have never worked in the service industry say.

  11. Working on pushing for a revision to our maternity leave policy and wondering what’s reasonable. Would you all be willing to share:

    -size of company
    -parental leave policy
    -any reentry concessions?

    Particularly interested in non-profits but would love to hear from others. And apologies as I’m sure this has been asked but I couldn’t find it!

    • Diana Barry :

      Law. 60 people including staff. 8 weeks for attorneys plus all your vacation (so 12 weeks total). Reentry – generally expected to be back at 100% but work from home is case by case, you also get a locking door on your office for pumping. None of the staff have had any kids while I’ve been here (10 years) so not sure what the policy is for them.

      • Diana Barry :

        Oh, and I don’t think we have any paternity leave that’s a ‘policy’ – but IIRC the guys whose wives had babies took about a month off – don’t know if they had to use all their vacation, but probably.

    • Anonymous :

      Higher ed (public), 10,000+ employees. Mothers and fathers (birth and adoptive) can take 6 weeks of paid parental leave any time in the first year after the birth of a child. In addition, birth mothers can take 6 weeks of paid sick leave immediately following the birth (8 for a c-section) and can extend the leave with accrued vacation, which is very generous here (you earn 25 days/year, you can accrue up to 50 days). With the vacation, it would theoretically be pretty easy for a birth mother to put together a 16 week (or more) leave. Most birth mothers take at least 12 weeks but not much more than that. Most fathers don’t seem to use the whole 6 weeks but they do tend to take at least a couple of weeks off. These policies are all for non-academic staff, for faculty it depends a lot on your department.

      • Oh, and no re-entry concessions, but we have a really good work-life balance in general (normally 9-5 hours, generous vacation time and people use it, etc.) so re-entry is easier than it would be in big law or something like that. When I returned from mat leave, I took a three day weekend every other weekend. My boss was fine with it and it helped a lot in easing the transition.

    • Cornellian :

      I work in BigLaw and we have the (I think) standard 16 week paid leave, no re-entry concessions. There are other law firms with longer leaves and with automatic 80% hours for 100% pay.

      But my good friend works for a very small not-for-profit (three employees, but tightly integrated to the pastors) as their only lawyer, and she had 6 weeks’ paid and 6 weeks’ unpaid, I think they would have held her job for longer if she wanted.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I work for the feds–I’m an analyst at a research-focused agency. We don’t have any special parental leave policies, just FMLA. You can take it unpaid or paid by hoarding sick and annual leave, or with help from the leave bank (pay in one pay period’s worth of leave, and then apply to get leave out–this is only good for the recovery time you’d be eligible to use sick leave for if you had it) or the leave transfer program (where people with extra leave can give it to you out of the goodness and kindness of their hearts, or because it’s use-or-lose). Supervisors have a fair amount of discretion in approving extra leave after FMLA, though. My supervisor lets you take up to six months if you want to/can.
      For re-entry, my colleague worked part-time from home for a while (I’m not sure whether this was bookkept as actual part-time work, or intermittent FMLA, or regular leave, or what).

    • Consulting/Professional Services, 10,000+ employees. 12 weeks paid but you have to pay it back if you leave before a year after returning

    • Nonprofit (association) with <5 employees. No FMLA protections. Can use accumulated sick/PTO only, after which time can be taken on the "personal leave" policy which means suspension of all benefits. Needless to say, it's awful and I'm making a big push/demand for some basic human decency to be considered and at least let me keep my healthcare once personal leave begins. Good luck to you. I noticed during my research that nonprofits have a huge polarization of policies on this – either really great maternity leave to compensate for the lower salaries or almost nothing offered at all to match the lower salaries.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Law, 150-200 attorneys. 16 weeks for primary caregiver, 6 weeks for secondary caregiver. You can’t tack on vacation at the end of the parental leave.

    • BigLaw
      2000 + employees worldwide
      4.5 months PAID parental leave for both moms and dads, can tack on vacation or unpaid leave up till 1 year. Most mothers took 6 months off, some took off 9 months or even a year.

      I wasn’t crazy about the firm but the maternity leave was amazing!!!

      • Similar — Biglaw. Probably same size, 2k+ employees worldwide
        22 weeks PAID parental leave (for primary caregiver – which everyone takes unless both parents work at my firm, in which case, only mom takes).
        Another 2 weeks vacation PAID typically added to that.
        Up to 9 months total out of work; anything beyond 24 weeks is unpaid.
        Last month before going out and first month upon returning: 50% hours requirement.

    • Government defense contractor. 10,000+ employees at this site, multiple sites around the world. Moms get the standard FMLA policy – 6 weeks full pay, 8 weeks if C-section, remainder up to 12 weeks unpaid. Dads get one week full pay. We have far more men here than women, and every new dad I know has taken the week. For moms it varies. Some come back after 6-8 weeks, others use vacation to extend the 12 weeks. There are no re-entry concessions. The complex has multiple mother’s rooms available for pumping. Work from home options are available depending on what your job entails.

      • Correction :

        That is not “standard FMLA policy”– FMLA is 12 weeks unpaid. FMLA does not address pay at all.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Yeah, FMLA just says they have to let you take 12 weeks off and then come back to basically the same job. 6/8 weeks is probably the time you’re allowed to use sick leave for.

    • Law. Approximately 35 attorneys, 60 employees total. No maternity policy that I’ve seen, so I assume it’s the FMLA-required “up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.”

      It was disheartening to hear some of the male attorneys criticizing another male attorney for his plan to take time off after the birth of his child. He’s an equity partner (and it’s an “eat what you kill” firm), so I’m not sure there’s any specific vacation/sick/leave policy that applies to him–he just makes less money if he’s out for a few weeks.

      On the other hand, I get to leave at 5:30 most days and have only worked one weekend in the last year. It’s a great set-up if you already have kids, but not great if you want to have them.

    • Small law. Not FMLA eligible. Official policy is the state required minimum which is job protection for the period of medical disability. That sounds like very little but in reality it is usually at least 6 weeks and can mean more if you need bedrest or something before the baby due to pregnancy related disability. It is unpaid unless you use your sick/vacation leave. We now have a STD policy which will likely provide pay but I haven’t read all the details of it yet. In reality, everyone here has their own pre-negotiated contracts so the policy might only apply to staff. For my contract I have X weeks vacation and unlimited sick. I’m sick when I’m sick. So, does that mean my maternity leave would be paid in full under my sick leave? I have no idea. I wasn’t planning on kids when I took the job so I didn’t negotiate it and there was NO official policy then to even negotiate. Since I have been here we have only had one person need maternity leave and she was a staff member.

    • Large, nationally-known non-profit (women’s health), 16 weeks paid leave (you have to use a month of accrued vacation/sick but the rest is covered by the organization) but you aren’t allowed to extend with additional accrued leave or unpaid leave. The leave is for any parent, whether through birth or adoption. No formal reentry concessions but very good work/life balance overall and strong culture of working from home.

    • My post disappeared so apologies if this is a repost:

      Large, nationally-known non-profit organization focused on women’s health (so clearly we should have a good policy, but you’d be surprised!). 16 weeks paid leave (one month of that coming from accrued vacation/sick leave, but we get a lot of vacation/sick days so that’s not that hard) for either parent, whether through birth or adoption. You aren’t allowed to extend the leave past 16 weeks, even if you want to take unpaid leave or use other vacation.

      No formal concessions when you come back but it’s an understanding place with lots of flexibility.

    • State Gov’t (Minn.) ~ 50,000 employees. 6 weeks paid for all parents (moms, dads, adoption, through surrogacy). All employees have option for up to one year- unpaid after burning through STD, sick, vacation, paid parenting leave.

      Agency discretion to allow ramp-up or p/t schedules for parents retuning from leave.

    • Fortune 500 – construction. Company carries a STD policy covering six weeks with a one week elimination (so five weeks paid at 100%). Use your PTO for the remainder for a max of 12 weeks out of office from the start of FMLA period. No re-entry concessions. No paternity leave policy – partners are welcome to use their PTO for time out of office.

    • anonymous :

      Teacher at a public school with about 100 employees–about 60 teachers in the whole district (small, rural school). We have unpaid FMLA, but can use our vacation/sick days–as far as I know, this covers maternity and paternity (but sick days might not be able to be used for paternity–no man has ever tried to take any kind of leave, so I’m assuming all this on paternity). We can purchase our own short-term disability through the school (but I find it confusing–it is 6 weeks for vaginal birth, 8 weeks for c-section, but does not pay for the first 4 weeks–so basically you get 2 weeks pay or 4 weeks pay). We are also able to take a year off unpaid, without benefits, but with guarantee of having our job when we return. And we have to write our own lesson plans for the sub while we are away. I was literally at the hospital the day following the birth posting things for my students online…

  12. Baconpancakes :

    Man, I am dragging today. Not sure if it’s the weather or my hair or allergies, but today seems like a good day for a nap. Other than taking a walk and getting a coffee, what’s your go-to perk up strategy?

    • I love Yoga with Adriene’s 10-minute yoga or yoga for your lunch break for a quick perk-up, if you have an office or access to a private space.

      • Cornellian :

        10 minutes always seems a lot to me, but even three minutes of stretches at your desk or a set of pushups is really helpful for me. Obviously only works if you have your own office… or very understanding coworkers.

        • I agree. Fitness Blender has a nice stretching video you can easily do in the office. Now that I look at it, it’s 6 minutes, but it doesn’t require a change of clothes or getting on the floor or anything like yoga might. It goes really fast and I always feel noticeably better after. Link to follow.

          • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9WC_eLmP30

          • Baconpancakes :

            Wow that is fantastic! Thank you for posting this – this will definitely become one of my go-to pomodoro breaks.

          • You’re welcome – I’m glad you like it. You just inspired me to do it right now.

  13. Anonymous :

    Talking to about saving for college in an account other than a 529. DH is looking into alternatives like a mutual fund etc.. so we don’t have the limitations on the account. So if DD decides to go to a less expensive school or vocational school we could still give her the money. Does anyone do this?

    • In our state, we get a tax credit for contributing up to $5k a year to a 529, so we plan to put at least that much into it every year to max the tax credit. That’s roughly $100k of contributions and even with growth we’ll need a lot more for private college by the time our toddler is going to college. We’ll save the rest not in a 529. In the unlikely event our daughter gets a full tuition scholarship to college, we shouldn’t have a problem using the better part of $100k on room and board or post-college education, and if she ends up going to both college AND graduate school at literally no cost to us, I think we’ll be feeling so rich we won’t care about paying the penalties on the money, or we might just donate the 529 funds to another relative. But we both think it’s very likely we will be able to use $100k on her education.

      You can generally use 529 funds without penalty at trade or vocational schools, fwiw.

    • Kind of. I save the amount we would need for in-state tuition in a 529 plan (my own state’s, just in case it became tax advantaged in terms of state income tax). All other savings are outside of that in various investments. My kids have been raised knowing we will find state tuition and room and board, anything else would be loans. But if our finances continue to do well, we can fund additional tuition from our non-529 savings. Hope that helps.

    • I think that’s what my parents did for my siblings and I – about 15 years ago. That was before 529 plans were big (though they did exist…), so I don’t know what their decision making process was like.

    • My parents did this. It worked out much better for our family, but in large part this was because my parents viewed that as “setting up for a successful adulthood” money, not explicitly college money. My sibling and I had separate accounts that became ours to use as we pleased at age 18. One of us chose to go for the full ride college and later used the money for a downpayment and the other one chose to go for the pricey dream school. We also had grandparents unexpectedly contribute to college in a significant way, so we both had quite a lot left over at graduation that otherwise would have been subjected to fees. If they used a 529, my parents felt they would have constantly been doing probability calculations (and potentially underfunding) to try to determine the best penalty vs. tax payoff in an environment where college could have cost $50k a year or $0 depending on where we went.

    • Will the money be yours, or your child’s? If it’s an UTMA account it is considered as part of their assets for loan purposes. Vanguard does offer UTMA investment accounts though.

    • My parents put enough money in a 529 plan for tuition and room and board at a state school. I believe they put into mutual funds, etc., so there was more flexibility.

      My mother was a doctor in a state with no malpractice caps, but the state protects 529 plans from creditors. My parents wanted to have enough for state-school tuition and room & board protected from potential malpractice suits.

  14. Wore brand-new Spanx tights today and they had a run within an hour. At least I bought them at Marshall’s for $10. But still. RAGE

  15. what would you do? :

    would you go from in house to big law? i got hired in house right out of law school (2014 grad) and have an opportunity to go to a big law firm. The salary is really pushing me to say yes (double my current salary), but so much talk here about the hard hours/working vacations/etc is making me hesitate (for example i can’t remember the last time i worked on a weekend). what would you do?

    • It depends on what you do with your free time now. Do you have small children or other family obligations that occupy a lot of time? Are you heavily involved in hobbies or activities that you wouldn’t be able to participate in as much or at all. Are you okay with giving those things up for the money? Partners and senior associates have more ability to push back on personal boundaries as their reputations are established. You will be going in as fairly junior and will need to prove yourself which comes with long and unpredictable hours. The money is so good because they are buying your time. It’s not more money for the same hours, biglaw purchases more of your time.

    • Assume the opposite of what you’re doing now: you will work most nights, you will work most weekends. You will get a paid a lot, but your time is not your own. If that works for this stage in your life, it can be great experience and a good spring board to other opportunities.

      • +1. This.

      • +1. I worked in Big Law (at a “lifestyle firm” for what it’s worth) in my late 20s and loved it – I worked 60 hour weeks regularly, and 80-90 hour weeks were not unheard of, but I was compensated insanely well for it, the work was challenging and interesting and (with a few exceptions) the people were generally smart and nice. I was childless for all my time in Big Law and in a long-distance marriage for more than half of it, so I was happy to have very little life outside of work. I also knew that this situation was fairly temporary and some day soon I was going to leave the firm, live in the same place as my husband and have kids. I know people do it, but for me it would not work at all to combine Big Law and a young family, but it was a great way to spend the second half of my 20s.

    • What is your industry/practice area now? Is this new position as an associate? Aside from salary, why do you want to go to a firm? I think you can get some really good training in a firm and have the chance to work on a wide variety of matters/clients. That could give you a broader experience base for future work and having that time on your resume is often a positive.

      • what would you do? :

        I’m in healthcare. I’m in house for a hospital system now (which, if you had asked me as a 3L what job I *hoped* to have in 10-15 years, this is it). I’m getting good training here, and working on things that I wouldn’t touch as a 3rd yr associate at a firm. But all of the really exciting, highly technical, cutting edge projects are sent to outside counsel. Working for a firm will (presumably) give me the opportunity to work on those types of projects, which is why I applied at all.

        FWIW – newly married, childless (likely not going to be thinking about kids for another 3-5 years), so I can work the hours, and I think the firm name on my resume will really help me/open up more doors than my current job (where there isn;t a clear path to promotion/leadership/responsibility). But, honestly I eventually want to be in house for a hospital system, so it seems crazy to leave … (but the money! whoa)

        • Oh hey – I’m in a similar position: in-house, in healthcare, and finding myself oddly jealous of our outside counsel sometimes. I worked at a firm for several years before this though, so I know what it’s like, but I can’t deny I still feel envious of some of the work they get to do.

        • So I was in a similar situation, so I’ll tell you what I did :) Short answer: go to the law firm.

          Coming out of law school, I had a one-year fellowship with a hospital system. But, our hospital system made it clear that it was one year, and then you moved on. So, after my year was up I moved to BigLaw. You learn SO MUCH in a law firm that you just can’t learn in the in-house environment.

          I think that at a certain point, you need the training and the exposure to other areas of the law that you gain in a law firm in order to progress in-house. Basically, you’ll hit a ceiling in-house if you’ve never worked in a law firm. At the end of the day, I chose to go to a law firm because I thought it offered me the best training. (Also, student loans).

          Also keep in mind that maternity leave in BigLaw is better than in-house…

      • anon from 10:09 :

        Ha, and here I am doing healthcare in a firm and wishing I could go in-house. It’s not that exciting here on the outside either! But, I’m pretty senior (10+ years) so those entry level positions aren’t really an option and I’m reluctant to relocate from my small market.
        If your case, OP, I think that a firm position makes sense. You will get to touch a lot of matters and having been in house will be really helpful for understanding the operational side.

        • what would you do? :

          this is exactly why i’m waffling. what if the opportunity to go in house doesn’t come around again?

          • Triangle Pose :

            I think, given all that you’ve said here, you should go for it! I think with your in-house background, moving back in-house will be pretty likely if that’s what you want in the future. I think the BigLaw training, in your case, is worth it. Be sure to keep all your in-house connections live when you go to the firm though – keep tabs, get lunch and coffee make sure people in the in-house community in your industry and market still know who you are, think well of you and don’t think that you dropped off the face of the earth when you went over to BigLaw. It will be important when you’re looking to go back in-house at a senior level.

      • Honestly? I was at a law firm for 6 years and I’ve been in-house for 4. I sometimes miss law firm life. YMMV, but these days, I feel like I’m working law firm hours for less than half the pay.

    • Before I left Biglaw for my in house role, I thought “oh I could always go back” and nooooooooooo. It was about a 30% pay cut (after Biglaw bonus was taken into account) BUT my life is so so so much better.

      – Couldn’t remember the last time I DIDN’T work on a weekend; felt relieved if I only had my “normal” few hours to work
      – Couldn’t reliably make weeknight plans
      – Had to run all errands on weekends
      – Had tons of vacation time, but used only 6-7 days of it a year (I guess I could have taken more, but it’s not like your billable requirements go down when you’re on vacation…..)
      – Routinely slept 6 hours/night

      In house:
      – Check email a few times over the weekend and occasionally respond; in 3 years, have been on one “hot” deal requiring extensive weekend work
      – Can rely on having evenings available for whatever, whether boring errands or fun plans or Netflix
      – Have been routinely using 2-3 weeks of vacation time with NO “oh no I’m using up my surplus hours” guilt
      – Typically get 8 hours a night
      – Have better personal relationships — more energy to spend on family and friends that was previously all channeled into work

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I think a lot of it depends on your mental wiring. I feel like you, Cat. It got to a point where no amount of money felt worth literally never being able to make dinner plans/crying on the floor in the back of a taxi because I had worked with a migraine too many days in a row/being asked to cancel any trip I had planned/etc. I think that if I didn’t have another (lower paying) option, I would’ve stayed until I did, but given the choice… it wasn’t worth it. I make the same $ now that I made when I graduated law school approx a decade ago. I would sure love some more money, but I also really love that I get to spend a solid two hours with my kid before her bedtime at 7:30.

        That being said! I notice a difference between people who have always been in house and people who’ve done the firm thing… I’m glad that when I interact with our outside counsel, I have some idea of what goes on, logistically, at their firm. I’m glad I have litigation experience, so I know what they’re doing over there. The other side of that coin, though, is that, as other posters mention, sometimes I’m jealous (???) of outside litigation counsel — not that I want to be doing their job, exactly, but just that I know a case far better than they could, because the case involves the company where I live my life, and that makes it hard to let it go.

        • “I notice a difference between people who have always been in house and people who’ve done the firm thing”

          You know, you’re right. I am grateful for the training and perspective and truthfully I don’t think my Biglaw experience was even as bad as many people have it. I like that I can speak with confidence about complicated issues WITH outside counsel vs. throwing up my hands. It’s just that Biglaw was my first “real” job and so I didn’t know, while I was in the thick of it, exactly how bad the lifestyle was compared to corporate life.

    • what would you do? :

      thank you everyone for your really thoughtful responses! You’ve given me a lot to consider – really appreciate this community to bounce ideas off of.

      • The only thing I’ll mention that I didn’t see covered above is billable hours. I think it is a huge shift to working in house to then have to worry about billable hours. It kind of consumes you, no matter your level (12+ years out, a partner now, and it still runs everything). Plus the idea of a vacation never really being yours, having to kill yourself to “frontload” hours so you don’t have to scurry at the end of the year. I’m a top biller at my firm and it still s*cks. Just another thing to think about is all!

    • It depends on the market. Are you in NYC? If it’s a secondary market, then I would say yes. You still keep some balance and get paid well.

      If it’s NYC, then I’d take all of the consideration about not having your life be your own and consider if you’re okay with that.

    • Anon for this :

      I did something very similar, but for the training, not the money (the extra cash wasn’t that much when factoring in the crappy firm benefits versus the amazing in-house benefits). Also, I was at a point where it was going to be very hard to progress in my career without firm experience. The move was worth it for the training and resume boost.

      In house, I learned a ton about good judgment by watching senior lawyers analyze situations and make decisions. At the firm, I learned a ton about client service, including writing in a way that is most useful for businesses in my area. Both are very valuable to me. However, I would have been miserable and learned much less if I worked for mediocre partners—I imagine most every firm has partners who are primarily valued as rainmakers rather than for their legal skill.

      The lifestyle issue is real. What bothered me most about the firm lifestyle hit was that I was disappointing my young family for what felt like insufficiently good reasons. In house, I was always happy to do what it took to handle emergencies/urgent situations, including working after hours/on vacation because triaging was largely my call. At the firm, I didn’t like that I didn’t have much discretion to decide that something could wait. Clients got what they wanted when they wanted it if it was humanly possible. Even if they were just going to sit on the work.

    • I would never make the move to BigLaw. I started at a big firm in a second tier city and worked 60-80 hours per week for 5 years. No time belonged to me; I was always on call. I couldn’t make plans because I never knew when I would be working. The money was great, but I didn’t care because I was depressed, constantly crying, and my life belonged to the firm. It wasn’t a life worth living for me. I left for a government job paying less than 1/3 of what I was making. I’ve been in my current job over 5 years and love the life it affords me (I also like the work a lot better). I will probably never make as much in my career as I did as a first year associate, but I leave the office every day at 4:00, I don’t work weekends, and my life is my own again. I bought my life back and it was worth every single cent I gave up.
      There are definitely people who do well and even thrive in big firms. I was not one of them. I suggest you think seriously about what the life would look like. If you’re doing it just for the money, it’s probably not worth it. If you truly want to live to work, then it may be a life you can deal with.

  16. Lo & Sons? :

    Any advice on the Pearl – specifically which leather? The Nappa looks so pretty and soft, but is the durable Saffiano better?

    • I have the Nappa, which has worn surprisingly well, but I’m not completely satisfied with how soft it is for the structure of the bag. I wish I’d gotten Saffiano because I think that would be enough stiffer to feel less floppy. (Hope that makes sense!)

      • +1. I got the camel leather and wish I’d gotten the Saffiano. It just look kind of meh in the soft leather.
        Actually, tbh, I’m a little meh on the whole bag. In theory all the compartments are great. In practice it’s a pain in the a** to use any of them. I guess know yourself.

    • I’d look for something else – I got the tan Nappa leather and the whole thing just looks cheap to me. It’s okay for travel in that it meets a need, but I kind of hate it.

    • Go for the saffiano. I have it in navy and I get tons of compliments, it wears like iron (and I’m not kind to them either), holds a lot of stuff (I do think the 2 zippers and middle snaps are annoying and I almost never close the bag except for safety stuff…)

    • Light Therapy Lamps? :

      +1 for the saffiano. I’ve also gotten quite a few compliments on it and i’m not gentle with it either

  17. I am thinking about bangs – relatively thick, like zooey deschanel etc. However, I feel like all people want to do once they get bangs is grow them out! I asked a few friends and several people said “don’t do it – you’ll want to start growing them out immediately.” But I have to dye my roots every 2 weeks and bangs would help hide that thinning and greying at the temples and underneath. Anyone actually love their bangs?

    • I recently got some for the first time and I’m still deciding whether or not I like them. I’m glad I did it and am not sure why I waited so long. I wanted to see what it was like and it is temporary. Plus, I can always put them back in a bobby pin if they drive me nuts. I”m not sure yet, whether I’ll maintain them or grow them out.

    • anon for this :

      I’m generally pro-bangs, but wouldn’t your gray roots just show up in your bangs?

      I like mine. They frame my face, and they help hide my worry lines on my forehead. :)

    • I love my bangs! I don’t know if they help hide my roots, but at this point my roots are more darker than greying.
      I think the bangs frame my face so much more nicely. Partly probably because I had long hair without bangs in high school, so the “no bangs” look always reminds me of younger high school me. With bangs I look more stylish and sophisticated, and my face is better-balanced in my view.

      Is there an easy way to use photo shop or a photo program to try out bangs styles on your face?

      • I should also mention that my bangs really look best when they are a very specific length. Otherwise they get into my eyes, I push them around, and they end up flat on my forehead. You should consider whether you’re prepared to go for frequent trims, of if you are comfortable trimming them yourself.

      • Anonymama :

        InStyle used to have a thing on their website where you could upload a photo of yourself and try out different hairstyles. I don’t know if it still exists but I’m sure there is one out there somewhere.

    • I am a bang hater & a routine cutter of them. Every time I cut them, I regret it. Here’s why. 1. I am not Zooey Deschenel. 2. They are high maintenance. They make it really hard to have second or third day hair – they get greasy fast, wonky when slept on, and I end up washing/drying my hair way more then I want to. 3. They look cute for the nanosecond after I style them. After 2 minutes outside in the wind/rain/weather most of the year, they are all over the place & messy. 4. You have to get them trimmed professionally all.the.time. Or, you can do as I do & think you can do that at home, which works once or twice & then looks like a mess. It’s way more time in a salon than I have time for.

      I get sucked in & cut them every time I grown them out because they look cute in photos & I think “oh, I’ll just skip botox for now & get some bangs.” Don’t be me. Get the botox, color your hair, skip the bangs. (Unless, of course, you are Zooey D & your hair and face is perfectly suited to them.)

    • It’s definitely going to make you look younger and more hipster than you currently do, no question. If that’s what you’re going for, go for it. I will second that when I had them, I did have to wash my hair more (I actually usually washed just my bangs every day, and then my whole head every 3 days like normal). I trimmed them myself and I think I was good enough at it to pass for them being professional.

    • Anonymous :

      Bangs are super cool and if you’re use to doing regular hair maintenance with the dying anyway, trims are quick and easy so shouldn’t be an issue. Do it! If you don’t like how it looks, then grow it out but try and see for yourself.

      • Definitely a young hipster look. If that’s not the look you want, I’d avoid getting them.

    • I LOVE my bangs! I have side swept bangs that are extremely flattering for my round face. Also agree that they very effectively hide my roots. I will probably have bangs for the rest of my life.

    • I know this is late, so you might not see, but I’ve had straight across thick bangs for over a year now, and I love them. They aren’t really much maintenance. I just shower at night (not even every night), comb them and then straighten in the morning. I have coarse, wavy blond hair, and I have no problems with keeping them looking professional and not hipster. Go for it!

  18. Best Upright Vacuum for Dog Hair? :

    My mom is getting me a new vacuum for Christmas – yay, adulthood (I’m actually VERY excited).

    She’s never owned a pet so I’m basically picking out what I think will do the job. I have a lab/boxer mix that sheds like nobody’s business. I have rugs, hardwood and tile. I’m in a split-level, so the lighter the better because stairs, but my primary request is that it will get the hair out of the rugs as much as possible. I have looked at consumer reports, but hoping for some personal recommendations…. any suggestions?

    • I have the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright as my first “real vaccuum” on mixed laminate and carpet, and it is fantastic for cat hair and all the mess he tracks around.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Not sure if this is something you’d be interested in, but we have a Deebot N79 (robot vacuum), and it spaces out the times we need the big vacuum and generally makes my life easier. It wouldn’t be good for multiple floors, but if you have a level the pup spends most of their time in, the repeated, every day vacuuming process is the best thing I’ve found for constantly getting up cat hair. I run it every day, and every day, it comes back full of cat hair. No idea how this is possible according to the laws of physics, but *shrug.* We have wood and area rugs.

      We also have an upright that I mostly use for the upholstery attachment (see above physics-defying cat shedding), but I can’t remember what it is. It works great overall though – if you don’t get other suggestions, I can report back this afternoon when I get home.

      • I have a Roomba and it’s fantastic for shedding dogs. I have a lab and weekly vacuuming is not enough and I don’t have the time or inclination to do it myself daily. I have a handheld vacuum (whatever Wireless recommended) that does pretty well on upholstery and a standup vacuum (can’t remember the brand) that I now rarely use.

        • This won’t work for us because no one room is particularly large or contiguous to another similar floor type – think: hardwood to carpet to tile, as opposed to hardwood to tile, a transition I’ve been told is a lot easier for it to handle. We also have a single step between certain rooms on the same floor. Admittedly, it’s an odd (but charming!) house.

          • Baconpancakes :

            The carpet to tile to wood and back doesn’t phase our robot, but the single step thing would flummox it.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      So, my mother is like a super clean freak. Like borderline OCD but in denial. Her house is and has always been really clean.

      I bought her a Dyson upright last year. She was *horrified* by how much stuff/dirt came out of her immaculate house with that thing.

      Anecdata, but I was pretty convinced. She already owned a very expensive Electrolux canister which she now proclaims “garbage”.

      • This exact thing happened to us, down to the clean freak mom and the horror of how much the new Dyson picked up out of her carpets already vacuumed by her Miele. She donated the Miele to Good Will after that.

      • We got a Dyson Animal vacuum several years ago and had the same experience. We *thought* our rugs were clean. Then we had to empty the canister midway through our first vacuuming. Yech.

        Our experience has been that the vacuum really does not lose suction, but we also do the recommended maintenance every six months (clean the canister and cyclone head; wash out the lower filter; clean out and repair the hose; clean and check the gaskets, etc.). Ours is over 10 years old at this point and still kicking. We’ve replaced the hose on it once, but that’s it. I recommend Dysons wholeheartedly.

    • I got a Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional with Dust-Away & 2 Microfiber Pads (NV356E) last year to handle all of the hair coming off my dog. It did amazing at getting hair out of my completely carpeted former apartment, and is doing equally well in my all hardwood current apartment. I like that you can detach the hose and canister from the main body to easilyvacum stairs and other hard-to-reach areas. The power cord is also nice and long- I’ve never felt like I hit the end of it. I haven’t used the dust or microfiber pads yet, but I’m sure they would be helpful with my hardwood floors. I got it for $150 off of Amazon.

      • I love my vacuum :


        Shark all the way! I don’t buy into the dyson hype

      • +1 I bought this based on either your recommendation or someone else’s here. I have old hardwood where the planks don’t meet without gaps, tile, and some area rugs. I also have a dog, two cats (one long and one short-haired), and a rotating cast of foster cats. The foster org gives me regular cat litter that gets into the gaps in the floor, but I have been happy with this vacuum and like you, like that I can lift and carry the canister around. It’s super duper easy to clean, has good suction, and I love the two modes – brush and non-brush!

    • Puddlejumper :

      LOVING my miele.

      This helped me with my research when I bought it this fall:

      • Which Miele do you have? There’s a big price jump in models.

        • Puddlejumper :

          Miele Compact C2 Electro+ Canister Vacuum,Marine Blue

          I had some handymen doing work and they were like “this is better than our shop vacs! ” and when they came back they told me they found a refurbished one and bought it they loved it so much

          It basically walks you across the room its so powerful. I hate hate hate replacing bags but its worth it for this machine. When we moved back to the USA I wanted a good vacuum that was going to last us so I spent hours pouring over reviews this fall and asking people. I think I even had a thread on here. And I am really happy.

      • Anonymous :

        I have this one and it’s incredible. Literally the best appliance I own.

    • Miele and Sebo bagged canister vac’s are unbeatable for getting rid of pet dander. I might consider the Dyson Ball as well – it’s a different form factor – easier for covering the area but less good at cleaning the air.

    • I’ve had a Dyson and just got a Shark vacuum to replace it. The Shark is 1/4 of the price and so much better! My Dyson barely picked up anything after ~ 3 years. I figure the same might happen to the Shark one but it will be much cheaper to replace at least. FWIW, I had the first gen Dyson (left it with my ex bf) and it was phenomenal. The replacement model was super unimpressive though. My mom bought one in between my first and second and hers is still going strong. Long story short, I think the Dyson quality has really declined. I vacuumed with it before throwing it away and vacuumed with the Shark immediately after and it was absurd how much dirt the Shark picked up.

      • PS: should have said I have a dog and allergies so pet hair is definitely a concern.

      • by 1-gen dyson do you mean the ball? just got the cordless so i’m worried :/

        • The Cordless has very good reviews on all the consumer reports type s!tes. I think you’ll be okay!

          But yep, I had the bright yellow ball one (amazing), then had a “refurbished” purple pet hair one from overstock (less amazing but I thought it was due to the refurbishing) and then a regular new dyson and not as good as the first one I had.

      • +1 my Dyson worked really well for 2-3 years and then just stopped working as well. It didn’t die. There was nothing wrong with it and it was still fully operational. It just wasn’t doing a good job. I replaced with with a Bissell Pet Hair Eraser which is considerably less expensive and a year later is still working quite well.

        For reference, we have two dogs, one of which is actually a moving ball of fluff, and a cat.

        • I have a regular Dyson, and it was awesome for 3 years. Now, it frequently misses pet hair and just doesn’t suck as well. Not sure what to do. I took it to the vacuum store for a tune up, and they professionally cleaned it. I’ve been thinking of buying a new vacuum during Black Friday. Good anecdata.

          I have 2 cats and a dog, so I’ll check out this Bissell.

          • TorontoNewbie :

            Have you contacted Dyson? I had the exact same problem and I called them. They sent me a purolater box and paid for shipping it to their factory. Then when they couldn’t fix it they just sent me a new one. It had 4 years of wear on it, their warranty is for 5 years i believe.

    • TorontoNewbie :

      The Dyson Ball Animal 2! It’s amazing. And Dyson has a great warranty.

  19. I’d like to buy a pair of navy pumps with a strap of some sort to wear with tights. I can’t keep my foot in a shoe without a strap when I’m wearing tights. Have you come across any? I’d prefer a lower heel but not flat.

    • Check out the Marc Fisher Snake Embossed Mary Jane Pump at Nordstrom. I got them in berry, but I’m pretty sure they came in navy too. Heel might not be low enough for you, but I’ve found them pretty comfortable.

    • On Zappos: Franco Sarto Davey

      • Thanks. Those are beautiful. I might give them a try. I’m not great at walking in skinny heels.

    • anon a mouse :

      If you can do a wedge, check out the Cole Haan Lacey Wedge pump. They are super comfortable (and on sale at Nordstrom right now).

      • I was totally looking at those. Do we think wedges are still happening?

        • I wear wedges all the time regardless of whether they’re happening or not. They’re just so much more comfortable than a small heel…

    • Cat Lady In Training :

      Are these to twee? I think I love them. https://www.barneyswarehouse.com/product/barneys-new-york-nubuck–26-patent-leather-mary-jane-pumps-504968245.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&product_partition_id=308198457260&product_id=00505049682502&utm_campaign=BWH-PLA-US-GGL-NB-product_type&utm_content=product_type-wom-heels&adtype=pla_with_promotion&gclid=CjwKCAiAxarQBRAmEiwA6YcGKLxx6vYq20aJ9bceXc9qHs5MV_sQ_A6vSySMNcasK5WFkQZXrHLNQxoCiIQQAvD_BwE

    • Hi OP, if you shared your shoe size and approximate budget, I could probably find you some options.

      • Size 41 euro, 10 or 10.5 US. Up to $300. Thanks!

        • Anon, I posted a few options for you in the Coffee Break thread but almost all of the links are still in moderation. So just give it a little time and there are some cute ideas over there.

      • I’m so glad our resident vicarious shopper is back!

  20. Inexpensive products you didn’t know existed that just make life so much easier?

    – wet hair brush
    -listerine flosser

    • Shopaholic :

      A comb for my hair brush – it sounds ridiculous, I know but I got it from Sephora and it’s just so satisfying to pull all that hair out of my brush.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Tell me more about the wet hair brush.

      I freakin’ love my waterpik flosser.

      • The wetbrush is somehow able to gently detangle wet hair. I don’t know how. My hairdresser recommended it and it has made life so much easier. I use it pretty much right out of the shower and it has never pulled my hair. There are several varieties and I don’t really know what the difference is besides shape/color. I just got the basic one and now I can’t live without it and pack it on trips.

    • Omg yes to both the wetbrush and the listerine flosser. Also Cosrx acne patches, KitchenIQ knife sharpener, LifeFactory glass water bottle (Costco has a 2-pack for $15), and probably dozens of other things I’m forgetting.

    • $39 oral b electric toothbrush. I get about 2 years out of it and high compliments at the dentists office. No bells and whistles, just a basic model.

      $15 compression socks from the drugstore. Keep my ankles from swelling on flights.

      $5 ponds cold cream. Replaced all my expensive cleansers. No more breakouts and no more flaky winter skin.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      $20 cold brew maker off Amazon.

      • Anonymous :

        Link to the cold-brew maker? Looking for a holiday present for my husband.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          Link in mod, but search amazon for Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker. It only makes a quart so I might buy another one …

          • I bought two for this very reason! It runs out fast. I have the same one and I love it…

    • Metallica :


    • I forget what it was called, but it was sort of a brush and a straightener all at once. A quick google search reveals to me that they are called either electric hairbrush, heated hairbrush, or hairbrush straightener, though they all do basically the same thing. And I especially like the hairbrushes because it doesn’t require the level of hand-eye coordinator that a pure straightener does, especially in the back of my head.

      The reason I don’t really remember what it is called is that I stole (with permission) my mother’s one, back in the days when I had long hair, and I’m fairly certain it had been sitting in the back of my mom’s cabinet since the 80s. But it gave me the smoothest, frizz-free hair that I’ve gotten from anywhere other than a professional stylist.

  21. Q for Big Football Conference U Alumnae :

    I went to a smaller college (6K undergrads, a few small graduate/professional departments). Football was free; tailgating was great; life was easy; my time was my time.

    I moved to a city where a lot of people REALLY CARE about college football and seem to schedule their weekends around travelling to it / watching it somewhere. It’s like a thing.

    I like tailgating, but it’s like a serious hobby in terms of time commitment.

    I have middle-schoolers, so it’s not time for college thinking yet, but this seems like Big State U would not only save me $, but sort of be like a lifestyle to adopt (forever going forward). It’s a level of commitment, no? Or I guess you could ignore (although I’m not sure how much of an outlier that makes you).

    SEUS in case that matters (so lots of SEC/ACC/Conf USA / etc. schools to choose from).

    • This is what my city is like. I moved here for school (a huge football school in the Midwest) from an area that did not care one bit about college football and it definitely is a lifestyle here. It’s also at that same “hobby” type of level with my boyfriend and his friends watching college football all day Saturday, and hosting tailgates or going bar hopping before/after the game. YMMV but if you’re not interested in football it’s really not a big deal. No one cared when I never went to my school’s games, and no one cares now when I’m just at tailgates to socilaize with poeple. Honestly the environment is more about socialization than anything. As a parent, people would care even less if you participated in that lifestyle. I can’t think of anyone, even out of my rabid football fan friends, who cared one bit if a parent is involved or interested. Granted it does seem like even more of a crazy cutlural thing in the SEUS, but I don’t think anyone is like ostracized for not caring about football.

    • I live in a suburb of a city that has a Big Ten college football team and I went to college at this school. You can choose to be as involved as you want to me. Not everyone that lives here is into football. If your kids go to Big State U that doesn’t mean you have to be involved in tailgating and going to the games every weekend.

      • OK — I think of football as an excuse to tailgate (which is social).

        For people who insist on yelling when their team does badly and silence when something is about to happen, can we just put them in something like their own retaining area? That kind of football I can do without (and seems to be how smaller conference football goes; I hope that there is that in bigger conference football (yes???)).

      • Agree. I grew up in a city with a large, football centric state school and while a lot of people are super involved, my family was not into at all and my parents even went to the school. I live in the suburbs of that city now and yes, you can be as involved as you want or not. I definitely see a lot of people wearing the colors on game days, but not everyone tailgates. My city is larger and more than just a college town so maybe that makes a difference.

    • I have been a Redskins widow throughout my marriage and developed Sunday hobbies so that I did not have to deal with the yelling and gnashing of teeth.

      Stepson is now at a nearby SEC school and I’ve got my weekends free to go to the spa now in the fall.


    • I don’t even get the question. There is so much more important to consider than football. No. Not every grad or student is ridiculous about it.

      • I think they are wildly different college experiences. I have two neighbor kids who have played football in the Ivy league and a D3 private college. They are regular smart guys who study and have friends and a life and play football (more like how my women athlete friends were in college).

        D1 and SEC football are another planet. Same thing for the Yay Rah football people (which seem to be 100% of people but these schools are super huge and not everyone is like that). There are no Yay Rah football people at, say, Dartmouth who are 100% about Dartmouth football the way someone from Ole Miss schedules their wedding and knows that if it’s in the fall, everyone will sneak out to watch the game.

      • In my football-obsessive town, I schedule my large grocery-shopping trips for 10 minutes before a home game starts. I have the whole place to myself.

    • Like you, I did not go to a football school (also free football, free tailgates without an actual car in sight) and now live in SEC country, married to a big (huge) SEC school fan. I enjoy it and have learned to live with it, but I think if you’re concern is whether your kids will adopt it as a lifestyle, you need to consider that even in 10 years, football may be different.

    • Wildkitten :

      I agree with everyone that you can spend a much or as little time on this as you want. I love football. I love tailgating. I love going to games. I love watching games on TV when they are away games. Love. Love. Love. One thing that makes it do-able is the fact that it is just for three months in the fall (plus championship and bowl games). The rest of the year you get your Saturdays back to do what you want.

    • I went to Big State U in SEUS State. I did not attend a single football game while I was in college. My brother also went to different Big State U in same SEUS State. He went to games and tailgated as much as possible. My dad was occasionally invited to join (and he loved it). My mom never went. My brother continued to go to games and tailgate occasionally through his 30s, but once he had kids the season tickets and tailgating went out the window. I asked if he would like season tickets now that his kids are older, but he said they would rather focus on going to the kids’ current athletic events. The only person I currently know who is a tailgate widow, is a coworker in her 50s, no kids. Her husband has season tickets + tailgated every home game for Big State U since he graduated 30 years ago. Unless your husband gets the tailgate bug, I think you are clear. I’m admittedly not part of the culture, but around here you have to have tickets and parking passes to set up a tailgate. Considering the huge expense of all that, it’s really not something you are going to fall into unless you want to.

    • We live in SEUS Big State U town. Some people get SUPER INTO the whole sports/tailgating/etc thing but I think most people get their degrees and go on with their lives. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I went to a big football school, and there were plenty of students who weren’t into it. It wasn’t a big deal.

  22. Any recommendations for a humidifier? Our apartment is super dry now that the heat is on. I’d love something that is super easy to maintain and somewhat discreet. The wirecutter has a recommendation for a good low maintenance (Honeywell germ free cool mist) but it’s sort of bulky and looks like a big medical toaster device. I was hoping for something smaller that I could stick in a corner or on a shelf without it sticking out too much. Anyone have something like?

    • Baconpancakes :

      I have the Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist drop one in white and I like it pretty well. I think it’s not particularly ugly, but it is a decent size. The thing to about putting it on a shelf is that you will inevitably get condensation on the shelf, which can ruin the wood/finish/other items on the shelf. I only use it for when I’m sick, though, so if you want something that continuously gives you humidity you might want something else.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Crane drop humidifier is pretty small, and there is also a smaller version of it (droplet). I used to keep one in my office when I lived in dry winter climates.

    • Following this. I have heard you need to be religious about cleaning humidifers daily, but the old model I had was such a PIA for that. Are there any that are really easy to clean without a lot of different parts?

      • Supposedly this one is pretty easy and parts can be put through a dishwasher: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-humidifier/

        I just don’t love the look.

    • I have the germ free humidifier and have been happy with it, but I definitely didn’t get it for its looks! I switched to it after reading a disturbing article on germs in humidifiers that recommended cleaning them daily and bleaching them weekly. No thanks. I rest easy with the germ free humidifier and clean and bleach at the end of winter.

      • Here is the article that made me change my humidifier:


      • oh what is this germ free humidifier called? sounds amazing!

        • https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002QAYJPO/ref=oh_aui_i_sh_in_o0_img?ie=UTF8&psc=1

          It’s the same one the OP talks about. The Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist humidifier.

        • It’s the Honeywell HCM-350 Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier. About $54 on amazon as of yesterday.

    • I have a basic Philips humidifier. Bought from Amazon 2 years ago to stop my skin and nose from excessive drying during night. It works and looks good. I pour 2 litres of filtred water in it every night and change the filter every 3 months. No regrets.

    • I have a Vicks one that is supposed to be very easy to clean. It literally just arrived yesterday, so no opinion on that just yet, but it’s quiet and not too bad to look at.

  23. Bay Area housing :

    Are any other Bay Area people considering relocating due to housing costs? The salaries here are high, but I can’t get my head around paying exorbitant rent for tiny apartments forever (I certainly can’t afford to buy and wouldn’t want to when $800,000 might get me a one-bedroom condo). I’m not sure if I would be trading one set of problems for another if I moved to a lower-cost city, especially since the cities I would need to move to for work are considered hot real estate markets now (Seattle, Denver, Boston). At the same time, the incredibly crowding and rising crime in the Bay Area are starting to tip the scales for me. Has anyone made a move like this before (with housing costs as the main motivation) and was it worth it?

    • I made that move a few years ago – there were several reasons, including wanting to be closer to family but housing costs was a big one. I was in Big Law at the time, and with my salary there we could have afforded to buy at least a townhome in a decent school district in the Bay Area. But I knew that I didn’t want to stay in Big Law throughout my 30s – I wanted to get a job with more reasonable hours which would entail a big pay cut, and I wanted to buy a house (ideally a single family home) that wouldn’t lock me into a giant mortgage well into my 60s. We moved to a small city in the Midwest (not Chicago) and bought a really nice home here in cash. Even with our lower salaries, we have much more financial freedom here and are saving much more for retirement, since we have basically no housing costs. I’ll probably retire in my mid-late 50s so I have flexibility to go with my husband when he travels for work, which he does a lot. I have no regrets about the move, but I was also kind of over the traffic and congestion of the Bay Area and wanted to be closer to family and for our kids to have an upbringing similar to the one I had (I grew up in the Midwest). And the city we moved to is much cheaper than Denver or Seattle or Boston.

    • I have lived here since 2002 and bought and sold 2 places: a house and a condo. It has been incredibly lucrative for me. So, from my perspective, the key to living in the Bay Area long term is to buy your housing. Most people who stick around buy a place after being here for 8-12 years and are not renting forever. They don’t buy their dream house in Palo Alto, they buy a fixer in Evergreen (South San Jose) or an outdated townhouse in a not-great part of Sunnyvale.

      You can buy a really nice 2 bed condo in San Jose for $800k right now. It’s a hot neighborhood and will appreciate quickly with the new developments and BART coming in another 10 years. Get a roommate to pay for at least half your mortgage and you will be coming out ahead of renting.

      Regarding the crowding: it’s crowded because there are jobs here. Anywhere with jobs is going to be crowded. Regarding crime, it is mostly property crime, not violent crime. Its because of a bunch of factors like increased poverty, lack of police forces, and people not using banks to store their cash and expensive jewelry. Property crime doesn’t worry me so much. Even Seattle, Denver, and Boston will have property crime.

      Sorry if this sounds crabby but I am tired of people saying the Bay Area is just too hard and don’t really try to make this their long term home (while complaining that they want to). If you only want to be here for a few years to make big bucks and leave, great! But don’t complain about high rents and the lack of infrastructure if you aren’t here long enough to try to fix it.

      Just remember that, infrastructure-wise, things happen slowly here. I remember voting for the Bart extension to San Jose in 2002ish. It will be 25 years(!) before that even might become a reality.

      • Bay Area housing :

        I have lived here my whole life (with a break for college out of state) and I would be happy to stay forever if the quality of life were better. What you describe is not possible for me; I couldn’t afford an 800K condo even if I wanted to. There are no properties within my budget anywhere I would even sort of want to live in the Bay Area, and it doesn’t align with my values and life plan to buy a falling-down shack in a terrible neighborhood for the cost of a mansion in the Midwest. It’s great that you were able to make it work real estate wise, but it sounds like you were able to do that post-two different recessions. I graduated from college during the Great Recession and the market is completely different now.

        That being said, the Bay Area has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty, recreational opportunities, schools, etc. It just feels completely out of reach for me when the neighborhoods and towns I like the most are so beyond unaffordable that I will never be able to live in them.

        Also, the slow infrastructure thing is another strike against the bay area. Better public transit would alleviate a lot of the traffic problems, but if it is not going to happen for another lifetime, then what is the point?

        • I feel you, OP. Friends just bought a fixer-upper townhouse in Sunnyvale for over $1M. The majority of people in America cannot afford to buy a $1 million home (and certainly the vast majority *shouldn’t* be spending that much on a home, even if they can afford to find bank will approve the loan). And even those who can actually afford to spend $1 million on housing may find that doing so derails other important savings goals. I used to live in the Bay Area and left, and it’s definitely not as simple as “well, duh, you can’t buy a gorgeous estate in Palo Alto.” Even fixer-upper condos and townhomes in less-desirable areas are cost-prohibitive for MANY people. It’s insane.

    • Just to say that we are in the same boat. We are also in the Bay Area and the housing situation is so ridiculous that we will leave.

    • Why is everyone saying that Bay Area housing is so crazy? It doesn’t strike me as all that different from other HCOL cities. Clearly I’m missing something here.

      So I was the one who posted yesterday about moving to the Peninsula and looking for suggestions on where to live (thanks so much again to those who responded). I started looking around on Redfin at Burlingame, San Mateo, and Millbrae and saw that you could find a home for less than $1.5M. Now, I am NOT saying that is cheap. No way. BUT, I have also lived in large east coast cities where if you want to leave near the city and in a desirable location, you are paying about that much or a bit less but definitely about $1 – 1.2M. Think Boston and DC.

      Now of course you could look at Atherton or Hillsborough and be looking at a $3.5M mansion but that’s out of reach for most all of us anyways. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about buying a home in the $1 – 1.5M range, which seems doable and is similar to what you would be paying in another HCOL areas.

      • No way, many have my friends have bought nice places in DC in the 500-600k range.

        • Also, if you’re willing to commute a little bit, you can get a big house in VA or Maryland for 800-900 — that’s half as much as SF

        • I should have added that I’m talking about neighborhoods with excellent public schools, since the Peninsula has comparably good public schools. There is no way you’re getting a single family home in DC with a good public school for $500K. I’m talking about upper NW DC, some parts of Cap Hill, etc. When I lived in upper NW a few years ago the homes were going for about $1 – $1.3 M.

        • Legally Brunette :

          I suspect those homes are condos in not great school districts. You’re not finding a single family home in DC with a good public school for $500K. Expect to pay twice that amount. (note that I’m talking about the city proper, not the burbs).

          • A college friend has a $1M house in Arlington that I can’t wrap my head around. She has to drive every day (which I realize the world does). But 1M to me is still Rich (which I realize my friend is and yet isn’t).

          • Flats Only :

            I think the difference is that it sounds like the entire “Bay Area” has the crazy prices, whereas in DC once you get out into the suburbs, and especially outside the Beltway, you can find a nice house for a price you can probably afford (on your fat DC salary). The entire “DC Area” is not unaffordable, just the city itself and some of the extra fashionable suburbs.

      • The difference is that most large American cities have suburbs and the further you go from the city the cheaper the housing is – so you can get a very small house in the city for millions, or a large house in the inner suburbs for millions, or a yet larger house in the outer suburbs for under $1 million. The entire Bay Area is developed – the “peninsula” from SF to San Jose is all built up such that condos are over a million and single family homes are mostly close to $2 (and many are much more). There are no outer suburbs where you can buy a single family house for under $1 million. I mean, I guess if you consider Gilroy an outer suburb, but that’s a two hour commute to mid-Peninsula regions like Palo Alto with no public transit option. NYC/DC/Boston have suburbs where you get a single family house for under $1 million and have a public transit commute into the city. It’s not that the city of SF is that crazy compared to other cities (certainly not NYC) — it’s the absence of suburbs within reasonable commuting distance.

      • Have you looked at what you can buy in the 700K-1.1 million range all across the Bay Area (not just in SF or the nice suburbs)? I find it totally absurd that a 1-bedroom cottage in a not-great neighborhood in Oakland can fetch that kind of price (and routinely go hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking). Even the houses you mention probably aren’t great – you’ll be paying 1.5 million for something that is just okay. Millbrae isn’t a bad place, but for $1.5 million, I would expect a great town, great schools, a view, totally modern appliances, move-in ready, etc., but you definitely won’t find that for that price.

      • If you don’t live there, it’s hard to have a sense of just how competitive it is. It’s easy to go on Zillow and say “Oh, this house looks nice and is in my price range.” But list prices are just a starting point in the Bay Area housing search. Friends just spent $1.6M on a (honestly not that nice) townhome that was listed for $1.4M. Many of the people you’re competing with will offer all cash – how many people who aren’t tech millionaires have $1.5M in cash just lying around?? I hope it goes smoothly for you, I really do, but I suspect you’ll be singing a different tune in a few months after you try to buy something there.

        • +1 – this. You really can’t get a sense of it on the internet. Most places have bidding wars & go well over the listed asking price, for all cash, with 10 day closes, etc.

      • it's absurd :

        The difference is that literally EVERY house costs $1M+, unless you go to the East Bay (you might be able to get into something for $800k-$900k) or way far down into South San Jose/Milpitas/Fremont. It’s also about the condition and square footage and commute. A $1M house in many other large cities is still probably going to be in a better school district, short commute, newer house, bigger lot and more square footage. I’m actually really interested in doing a fixer upper, but the economics don’t make sense here. I’ve walked into several houses in shady parts of San Jose and East Palo Alto that are selling for $700k+ and they literally have holes in the walls, trash in the yard, kitchen that’s not up to code/missing appliances, etc. I’ve been into several $1M homes in Mountain View and Sunnyvale that are in the same condition. These houses need at least $100-$150k of work. One listing on the Peninsula for $600k said “bring your sledge hammer”… seriously, just pay $600k for the dirt.

        We’ve considered going up to Marin, or to the East Bay, or down to Gilroy/Hollister, but the commute would be absurd. We could work remotely a few times a week, but again, not ideal. It’s hard because we’d love to own a house, and we could get a bank to make a loan for a $1M house, but that’s not a wise choice. For now, we’ve got a steal of an apartment (to us), and we love our life here, but we are not fooled into thinking that it’s just any ‘ole HCOL and that literally anywhere else in the world, we could probably go FI or work at Sbux and be fine financially (ok maybe not London or Beijing, but basically, anywhere that’s not the SF Bay Area of that country).

        • You do need to have brass balls to buy out here. I’ll give you that. I’ve done a lot of work on my abodes and lived in neighborhoods that have good elementary schools but crime infested high schools. I have been vandalized by neighbors and seen my house value below what I paid for the place.

          Every time I bought, people were predicting a drop in housing prices in the next 1-2 years. I bought in neighborhoods where my co-workers thought I was crazy to even consider living in. Somehow, values kept going up. And I believe that as long as people keep coming here in search of jobs and housing policy remains f*cked, values will go up.

          I bought at 5x annual income and felt house poor. That’s just how it is out here. I look at my hometown and I can get a really nice place with acreage for the down-payment on my last place. But my hometown doesn’t have jobs. It actually has higher per capita crime. At least in the Bay Area, there is the opportunity to earn the kind of money it takes to buy a $1M home.

      • So I live less than 15 minutes from downtown Boston where we bought our house and while a few houses in the neighborhoods may go for the million+ mark (and certainly plenty in Newton or Wellesley do) but we are in a nice, single-family suburban home for half that price. For what we paid for our four bedroom house here we *might* have gotten a small condo in SF or more likely would have had to look in other parts of the Bay Area.

        When I think of pricing tiers for cities, I think NYC and SF/Palo Alto are pretty much in a league of their own. Then come DC, Boston, Seattle, and LA (though LA could be bumped up to the first tier if you’re only looking in certain neighborhoods.) Then comes a tier of more affordable big cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland (OR), Austin, and maybe even a place like Denver (?).

        Then there are of course much, much cheaper places to live in some cities, like Atlanta and Pittsburgh (sort of) or Detroit (definitely) or smaller cities like Richmond, VA or Providence, RI but the key to living in those cities is finding a job since for many of these towns, jobs are harder to come by and they aren’t going to pay nearly as much (as a general rule.)

        TL;DR – San Francisco’s housing market is cray-cray and I feel for anyone trying to navigate a desire to stay in the Bay Area while also thinking about having kids or changing jobs and/or specialties that would make them happier but entail a pay cut that would make SF living impossible.

      • WriterKate :

        My feeling from talking to friends in the Bay Area is that it is harder for someone with an average income to buy a house within a reasonable commuting distance in an area with good schools. It is doable in DC and parts of New York (for NY, based on discussions with people who have lived in DC and NYC). I live in the DC area — we bought a $400K townhouse in Alexandria (Kingstowne) on a $140K joint income after saving for a DP for a couple years, but without too much stretching on our budget. We have a 40-60 minute commute to downtown depending on whether we metro or drive. We don’t have kids yet, but we are satisfied with what we have researched and heard about the local schools at least for early elementary if we do have a child (still undecided). From what I know of NYC, this would have been a stretch but maybe possible with a $600K budget. From what I know of Boston and the Bay Area, this wouldn’t have been possible on a similar income to keep the commute at an hour or less. I’ll add a caveat that the DC area is the only HCOL area where I have lived. I grew up in the midwest where mansions cost what we paid for our townhouse. I’ll also add we bought almost 4 years ago — townhouses in our neighborhood have gone up $20-$40K since then.

    • a millenial :

      there are pockets of relatively affordable housing for mediumly high earners. ive lived in sf for 4 years, and we just bought a 1br condo in adams point in oakland for 380k. whether or not we stay forever, i just want to present a few data points against the idea that all the condos here are 800k. there is also more reasonable housing up in el cerrito and albany, especially with that ferry route opening.

      • My husband and I bought a house about 3 years ago in Union City (city squeezed between Fremont and Hayward) and within that period, our house has gone up by about 40%. It is a drastic rise. We choose to live in this City because its one of the few places where a you can commute to most of the Bay Area though it’s not a short or easy commute to any one place. There are some affordable places in the easy bay such as San Leandro, Union City and Hayward. All three have Bart. You can get a single family home for less than $1 M thought it might take a few bids.

        Both of my husband and I have been in the bay area for a good chunk of our lives. Most of our friends have been able to buy home in the bay area and none of us make huge salaries. We were all able to do this because none of us burned through our earning on rent in the more expensive parts of the bay area, we all stayed in the east bay. I think high rents are the main reason by its hard to buy a home, they prevent people from saving enough to make the large down payment without support from family.

    • Anonymous :

      I left. I’m a doctor – trying to help folks doing basic medicine – not a surgeon/rich radiologist. I can’t afford it. I have lived in Boston, NYC, SF, Palo Alto and abroad. SF and the Bay Area is the worst outside of Manhattan.

      My brother lives in a crappy, older, leaky, 3 small bedroom ranch house in Sunnyvale he bought for 1.5 million 15 years ago. It is worth much more. It makes me depressed to even be in their poorly built house, and they say they can never leave and it was such a good deal.

      I miss the amazing food, the weather, the coast, the outdoor options. I don’t miss Bay Area suburbia. I don’t miss looking at the lovely And quirky SF houses painted pink, purple, green and blue that I could never afford. Or my old and quirky studio that I couldn’t afford, that was in a reasonable commute to my very demanding job.

    • Why not consider the east bay? It’s not cheap over here, but sure beats the Peninsula. And more green.

      Draw a 1 mile circle around each BART station, and look within that. Albany, El Cerrito can be great, and still commutable to SF. It takes me an hour door-to-door, Albany to Civic Center, but I get the best of both working in SF and having a bit more space & good school district in Albany.

  24. Can someone explain to me how a flexible spending account for healthcare expenses works? I feel really dumb for not understanding this, but if this is an “account” where I am putting tax free money, yet I am still paying costs upfront with my non-tax dollars, how am I actually saving anything?

    Also, for anyone who has used one, did you like it? Worth it? I don’t have a lot of medical expenses, but I go to the doctor a few times a year, I have a monthly prescription, and was thinking of also using it for massages and PT.

    • You pay upfront with your nontax dollars and get reimbursed with pretax dollars. Or, you get a debit card and pay directly with it. I use it for PT, massage, therapy, and definitely prescription. If you’re a standard corporette tax bracket it’s 30% off the cost of massage?

    • It works because you reimburse your non-tax dollars that you had to spend, with your tax-free dollars in your FSA. If you know you’re going to have, say, 10 therapy appointments at $200/each over the course of the year, and you have a high-deductible plan so you have to pay all $2k out of pocket, then you can get $2k withheld pre-tax, and then submit receipts to get that money paid to you, without paying taxes on it.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      With the ones I’ve had, you get a debit card for the account, so you can pay directly from the account with pre-tax dollars instead of having to reimburse yourself. Just save the receipts. I didn’t love the FSA because it’s use it or lose it and I wasn’t great at estimating what I used it for. I’ve got an HSA now because work moved to a high deductible plan and it’s better in the sense it’s not use it or lose it.

      Also, check on massages–I think they probably have to be deemed “medically necessary” to be covered.

      • if she’s getting PT massage is definitely medically necessary ;) but yes, get a letter from your PCP just in case?

      • so with mine, massages don’t need any medical justification – sort of crazy, right? Though I could easily get one if needed.

        BTW – thank you all for the explanations – this is really helpful and now I feel confident signing up!

        • Anonymous :

          Same for me – depends on your FSA administrator. As long as it’s from a provider that does therapeutic massage, they’ll approve my expense. We do not have a debit card option, but that’s okay, because, credit card points for me!

          • While FSA administrators exercise discretion on requiring it then, medical documentation will be necessary if you are audited.

    • You’re paying with your non-tax dollars. If your out of $100 in your salary you receive $73 while $27 goes to taxes (making tax rate assumptions). If you put it in an FSA the full $100 goes to the FSA account. The full $100 can apply to medical expenses. The downside is that only $500 (I think) can be carried over to the next calendar year. If there is $700 is your FSA on Dec 31 you will have $500 on Jan 1, loosing the money over $500.

      I really like it but you have to plan with it. I delayed $1k of dental work from Nov to Jan in order to use FSA money.

      Money can only be used for medical expenses. PT and prescriptions are almost certainly fine; I’m not sure about massages though.

    • Because you get reimbursed from the account and your taxable income is less overall. So, e.g., if you put away $2000 into your account and your salary is $100K, you are only taxed as if it were $98K. Obviously, the more you put away the greater the financial benefit, but this also depends on your health care expenses (although, cond*ms are covered!).

      For me, a side benefit is the default savings. The money gets taken out of my weekly paycheck and I usually don’t submit my reimbursements until end of the year so it becomes a nice check of “savings” to offset my holiday shopping.

      As for whether I like it – it’s been both good and annoying. I think some of it depends on how it’s structured by your workplace. Some have a debit card you can use for all qualifying expenses, which seems easier; mine requires you to submit receipts. It’s been great in years when I planned to have major expenses like dental work or giving birth. One year though I was scrambling to use it up at the end of the year and ended up having to buy expensive Rx glasses just to not let it go to waste. I would do it if I thought I would use at least $300-500, anything less than that seems like it’s not worth it.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I see an out-of-network specialist once a month-ish, to the tune of $110/appointment. I’m wondering if I can pay her through the FSA.

      I was doing the dependent care FSA thing this year but it’s such a pain to set up and obviously (even at my super cheap daycare!) $5k doesn’t cover a year’s worth of childcare. It’s probably the kind of thing that’s worth doing to save the taxes, but do I want to?

  25. I got a Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional with Dust-Away & 2 Microfiber Pads (NV356E) last year to handle all of the hair coming off my dog. It did amazing at getting hair out of my completely carpeted former apartment, and is doing equally well in my all hardwood current apartment. I like that you can detach the hose and canister from the main body to easilyvacum stairs and other hard-to-reach areas. The power cord is also nice and long- I’ve never felt like I hit the end of it. I haven’t used the dust or microfiber pads yet, but I’m sure they would be helpful with my hardwood floors. I got it for $150 off of Amazon.

  26. I just got an email about The Limited’s new velvet collection (https://www.thelimited.com/search/?q=velvet). All I can say is…WTF. Most of these items look like figure skating costumes I wore in elementary school.

  27. Eggs, They Are Frozen :

    I’m writing to: (1) share the good news that my retrieval on Friday was very successful, and my risk for hyper-stim appears to have been very well-managed; (2) thank everyone for their stories and best wishes when I was feeling *really* crappy last week; and (3) wish continued good luck to the ladies here who are in the middle of the process.

    • Mine retrieved 22 eggs but only 14 were mature and frozen and idk how to feel about it.

      • Really good? I did an egg freezing round and got 1.

      • I think 14 eggs is amazing. When we did ours, I only got 6 eggs and after fertilization, only one embryo to freeze. (But I’m pregnant with that one embryo right now, so I’m not complaining!)

      • Thank you both- my ongoing issue with my doctor is not getting enough info to know if things are good or bad.

        • Anonymous :

          This is clearly not expert advice, but I think the rule of thumb is that it takes about 4-6 eggs to produce 1-2 embryos. And that they want 3 embryos to “guarantee” (you obviously can’t really guarantee anything here) a successful pregnancy. So I would think 14 eggs should yield about 3-4 embryos, which would be great. But it varies depending on age, etc.

    • Anon for this :

      I was borderline hyperstim and my retrieval in 2009 (so some years ago) was 26 eggs and that was considered an excellent outcome. 13 went to ICSI and 13 were handled “conventionally”; I ended up with 6 fertilized and suitable for use from ICSI and 7 fertilized and suitable for use from conventional and that also was considered excellent.

  28. Group gifts for the boss in my office have gotten a bit out-of-hand. We got her a wedding present this year (which was completely warranted for the occasion, and in fact I helped collect the money for it.) Then our overzealous new secretary had us contribute to a gift and lunch for Boss’ Day. And we had to host a lunch for the boss’ husband and two of his friends (yes it was a weird request, and I called in sick that day because I was morally opposed to the whole thing).

    I know that soon our secretary will ask us to pitch in for the boss’ Christmas present. Is there any way I can gracefully opt out?

    • Ugh! I hate made up holidays and I hate gifting up. Check out Ask A Manager for lots of stuff on this issue and ideas on how to address it.

    • “No, I’m not interested in contributing. I️ think we are giving too much to the boss.”

    • Flats Only :

      One of the hardest parts of being a new admin is figuring out the culture, and understanding that what was well received at your old office may not be well received at your new office. Assuming she comes from a place of good intentions, is there someone senior who can let her know that while it was great of her to organize the wedding gift, the group generally does not do routine gifts for the boss, and that people are becoming uncomfortable with her approaches?

      • You would think that the boss would have this discussion with our secretary, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened. I think I can talk to our secretary or the group about this. Thanks for the advice!

  29. Shop for me please! I recently joined a choir as a purely self-care move, and I’m loving it. I used to sing years ago in school and church.

    For our concert, we need to wear a long sleeved, floor length black formal gown (men wear tuxes). I found a nice dress on Amazon of all places, form fitting with a V neck and lace overlay that doesn’t make me feel like a grandma.

    But SHOES! I need to stand up comfortably for 3 hours, on bleachers in close quarters with my fellow choir members, so heels are out. I tried on some flats and felt they looked way too casual with a formal gown.

    Suggestions? They need to be black, too.

    • I got these low-rise Aldo pumps for a wedding (in the country with loads of walking around) in black and LOVE them. Super comfortable, and they go with everything: https://www.aldoshoes.com/us/en_US/Zusien/p/47644559-98

      Also, second Aldo purchase in a month after seeing them in store: https://www.aldoshoes.com/us/en_US/Marieta-Midnight%20Black/p/52509861-98 Got them in Bordeaux after much deliberation, but there’s a black option as well! The block heels are gold, so not sure if that would work for you.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have these in pewter and they are comfyAF and not super casual.


      They come in black.

    • My high school and college choirs also had a similar level of formality. I opted for character (dance) shoes or similar block low heels that I could add an insole to. You may be able to find embellished flats and add an insole to them. 3 hours with no arch support/padding on hard bleachers will hurt.

    • http://www.colehaan.com/tali-luxe-wedge-40mm-black-patent/W01606.html?dwvar_W01606_color=Black%20Patent&dwvar_W01606_width=#cgid=womens_shoes_wedges&start=15

      Cole Haan luxe almond toe wedges — comfortable, but the patent and slightly pointed toe make them look pretty formal.

    • I wear Aerosoles black flats with my floor-length black choir dress. With black stockings/knee highs and a long dress, no one will notice/care. Comfort is best for standing for long periods!

    • Clark’s Chryssa pumps with the ankle strap. Hands down, the most comfortable heels I own- even more comfortable than 70% of my flats.

    • Diana Barry :

      Rockport Total Motion Novalie Anklestrap. They have CUSHION!

      Can I ask you what dress you got on Amazon? I am in the market for a new concert dress (the one I have is 10 years old) and I have been looking on Asos with no luck.

      • Anonymous :

        I ordered 1 size up, and it fits perfectly.

        I also ordered this 1 size up, and its way too long. I’m 5’8″ and even with 2 inch heels, it drags on the ground. Otherwise, lovely dress.

        • Diana Barry :

          Very nice! I think your group is dressier than mine but I will poke around on Amazon now. :)

    • Try the Rockport Total Motion Adelyn flats? They come black patent leather (as well as plain) and have a pointed toe, which tends to read as more formal. Good padding/support.


    • Anonymous :

      These are lovely and pretty comfortable: https://www.macys.com/shop/product/blue-by-betsey-johnson-lucy-embellished-flats?ID=2674874&CategoryID=13614&swatchColor=Black&swatchColor=Black#fn=HEEL%3DFlat%200-1%22%26SIZE%3D%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D265%26ruleId%3D78%7CBOOST%20SAVED%20SET%7CBOOST%20ATTRIBUTE%26searchPass%3DmatchNone%26slotId%3D3

      Also, https://www.macys.com/shop/product/blue-by-betsey-johnson-joy-evening-flats?ID=5168360&CategoryID=13614#fn=HEEL%3DFlat%200-1%22%26SIZE%3D%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D19%26ruleId%3D78%7CBOOST%20SAVED%20SET%7CBOOST%20ATTRIBUTE%26searchPass%3DmatchNone%26slotId%3D15

  30. Poshmark newbie :

    I am new to Poshmark and I know some of you use it. Is there a way to set an alert (similar to ebay) when a particular item you’re looking for is listed?

    • I’m not aware of a feature of that type but generally just enter the style name/brand into the search box at the top occasionally. I tend to find that works better than the “sort” functions within shopping. There are some really great deals to be had there if you’re willing to look for them.

  31. Academic Anon :

    I have a weirdly specific question. I am a full-time staff member at a private higher education institution. In addition to being full-time staff, I also teach as an adjunct at the same institution. The role I occupy is a staff role at some institutions, a tenure-track faculty role at some, and a non-tenure track role at others. In an ideal world, I would stay at my institution but push for the role to become a non-tenure track faculty role (tenure-track is totally out of the question at my current institution). I would say this is unlikely due to the institutional culture. I like my job for many reasons including good (but not great) compensation, I’m valued, for the most part, geography, and insane flexibility. I would like to be faculty though (part of it is ego, but most of it is because it would increase my opportunities for advancement). I occasionally see openings at other institutions for tenure and non-tenure track faculty positions that would be a really good fit. Because of geography (spouse’s job and extended family), it’s highly unlikely I would actually leave my job for these positions. Is there any value in applying? Would it help in my argument that my position should be re-classified? Am I a jerk for stringing the institution along?

    • Anon for this :

      1 – Not a jerk for applying, although using an outside offer for leverage is totally standard practice at enough universities that the hiring school may have its suspicions about your motives, which may work against your candidacy.

      2 – It could work as leverage, but I think that’s highly dependent on the culture and politics of your institution. Do you have a sense of why there is resistance to the change? And are they a place that regularly makes counter-offers that go beyond salary?

      3 – I’m curious about your reasons for thinking that a NTT position would be better than a staff position for advancement. Not saying you’re wrong, but at my own institution (private, major research university), I don’t think that a NTT role would open up many possibilities. TT, yes, but you say that’s out of the question (and it would be at my institution as well).

      • Academic Anon :

        Thanks! I’ll try to answer your questions without outing myself. I’m at a professional school within a larger institution. I think this makes a difference. The resistance is not to be personally, but to any moves to expand who is considered faculty and which disciplines are considered academic. I don’t want to be uncharitable, but I think snobbery is at the heart of that resistance. If I were NTT, rather than staff, I would be eligible to sit on faculty committees at the professional school and in the larger university. Additionally, if I did decide to move to a different institution it would better position me to move into a TT position. Most of the roles I’m looking at now are TT. Finally, there is a very clear hierarchy at my institution and other professional schools like it and NTT faculty members are above the staff.

    • What about presenting these other positions to support your argument that your job should be reclassified?

  32. Any tips on how to keep calm/not imagine the worst while waiting on biopsy results?

    • Senior Attorney :

      Aw, hugs to you! No tips but lots of good vibes coming your way!

    • I’m going through what will hopefully just turn out to be just a minor health scare with my husband right now, but it has me constantly on edge and worrying about the worst case scenario. I’m just trying to distract myself with work, books, and tv, but it’s tough. My sympathies and best wishes to you!

    • thinking of you! whenever i’m waiting for results like that i try to tell myself that there is no use in getting upset now bc if i have to get upset when i get the results i will, and it is better to get upset once than twice. again, easier said than done! just try to distract yourself with netflix, reading, etc.

    • Anonymous :

      Know that even if the worst happens, you can get through it (whatever it is).

    • Brain Surgery :

      I remember when I found out I needed brain surgery to save my life. I’m sure the staff was quite weirded out by my response. They were running through the complications if I woke up. They said I could lose my memories. I said take the ones from high school. They said I could lose the ability to talk. I said people think I talk too much anyway. Etc. My tip is, if it’s helpful at all, play with your mind’s frame set. For example, you don’t know until you know. So before you get the results its a nothing burger. Don’t react before the results are reality. If the reality is negative, then you can’t deny what is happening to you. It’s scary and it’s real. But the negatives aren’t the entire picture. We ran into a friend once who we hadn’t seen in a long time and he had a dramatic weight loss. He joked that it was a great benefit from a recent, major health problem.

    • Hugs to you. Try to take deep breaths. I do find that sometimes helps when I get panicky.

    • I’ve waited for biopsy results three times now . . . For me, it’s accepting that nothing I can do will change the results and reminding myself not to borrow trouble. I can’t change what happens, I can only manage it/deal with it. As I told my bff last night, as of right now you have NO news, so don’t invent BAD news to fill in the gap. Acknowledge that there is a gap and that is all you know right now.

      Sending good thoughts your way.

    • It’s so hard! But I agree that if you can at all do it, it’s better to frame it as “you’ll deal with it when/if you have to but right now you may as well enjoy whatever time you have of not having to deal with it.”

      The other thing that helps – depending on what it is – is to know that even if it’s bad news, you will deal with it. This is sometimes easier to do than others, but sometimes can be oddly comforting.

      Good luck!

  33. Anonymous :

    So given the Bay Area real estate discussion above – what do people think of buying investment property there if you’re on the east coast? It would be managed of course and I could fly back and forth if needed – though from what I gather from friends landlords there don’t do much given how competitive even rentals are. And specific commute/location wouldn’t matter to me since I wouldn’t live there – though obv it’s got to be an easily rentable location. Seems like there’s money to be made but Ca scares me bc I never know if it’s just a tech bubble waiting to burst.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’m in California and I, for one, am quite concerned about the proposed elimination/reduction of the federal tax deduction for property taxes, and whether it will drive down real estate values. And I can’t imagine being an absentee landlord 3,000 miles away in a place where I am not familiar with the landlord/tenant laws.

    • Nope, don’t do it. I considered keeping my places as rentals when I moved out and decided against it even though I would be a local landlord and have a management company.

      For the house: construction “quality” out here is terrible. Terrible. And many homeowners out here don’t do maintenance. Roofs and eaves over flow, foundations crack, plumbing just breaks. I grew up in the Midwest and never had the kind of issues in a house that are common here. Owning a house means constant projects just to keep the thing standing and having water and electricity go where it should. Covering up major issues with some drywall and paint is common here.

      For a condo: in the last year, rental restrictions have become super popular. So many condos are being bought by investors as rentals that HOA boards are concerned that too many units are becoming rentals, impacting financing and quality of life for owner-occupants. I’ve heard of proposed restrictions saying that the owner must occupy the apartment for 2-5 years before renting it out, plus there are additional requirements when it is turned into a rental. I wouldn’t invest in this environment.

      California renters laws heavily favor the renter. It can be impossible to evict a bad tenant if your children decide to move out here and want to live in your property after college. Many towns are considering implementing or expanding rent control to cover even more rentals with tighter restrictions on rent increases. I didn’t want to be a landlord in this environment.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 Rent control is becoming ever increasingly popular because of the Housing crisis and City Councils are more inclined to favor renters over landlords when voting on rent control.

    • You really have to understand rent control & know where you’re buying before considering this. It’s not something I would personally recommend trying to do from afar. There’s also a huge start up cost to it – buying a rental property isn’t any cheaper than buying a home to live in, there’s no rental stock just sitting out there.

    • Anonymous :

      Op here — it was just an idea and I was wondering whether it was even worth the research. Based on the responses here – it’s a no; not worth it to jump into a market only to realize that the rent you need to charge for the desired ROI isn’t allowable due to new rent control.

      • I’m in SF, own a condo and want to invest on the East Coast. Curious as to your thoughts on the respective landscapes! My email is [email protected] if you want to swap notes

        • Anonymous :

          OP here — Depends on where on the east coast. I only know DC and NYC — haven’t lived in Boston. If it’s NYC you’re looking at — go for it. It is a rental market through and through so it’s not like you’re going to have a property that’ll sit vacant for long — though obviously think about pricing. The properties that I saw that used to sit vacant for 6 months at a time would be obviously mispriced to where they couldn’t find renters — i.e. the owner needed SO much rent to cover the mortgage + maintenance + taxes that no renter would pay that much when there were competing buildings renting out for less. For NYC I’d honestly look in Queens and the Bronx as well — you’d be renting to families that are often life long renters, very stable tenants etc.

          For DC — I moved here recently after 10 yrs in NYC and was looking bc the prices are SOOO good relative to NYC. However beware — there is a TON of new construction in this area and there’s no end in sight. So if you buy to rent out, you are competing with a TON of buildings and while those buildings may advertise rent at $x on their website, reality is most buildings here (from my own search) are NOT full and most buildings here are owned by big developers. So if building occupancy falls to 60% that developer suddenly puts in a huge rent concession or x months free to drive some leases. The owner of 1 apartment can’t do that usually bc they have a mortgage to make so they can’t compete. If you’re thinking DC, I’d honestly wait. The prices have run up too far too fast in a market that can’t support them bc there isn’t investment banking money here, nor is there foreign money to the same degree as SF or NYC. After 8 yrs of a bull market, a recession is imminent — and while DC doesn’t tank the way that other markets do (due to steady gov’t employment), it does take a hit. I’d wait for that hit in the next few yrs before jumping in.

  34. Linda from HR :

    Oh boo, seems my Tide pen lightened the fabric of the dress I was wearing today! Not a huge loss, this thing’s been a disappointment lately as it keeps fading in the wash even on the cold cycle, and it’s given me an excuse to order a new dress as the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales roll around next week, but I’m kicking myself for not being more careful. And I wanted to look nice for my guy after work.

    • Eek! I’ve never had that issue with a Tide pen. Now I know to be more careful.
      Enjoy time with your man

  35. Condiments :

    Does anyone know the magic words to use when you don’t want your sandwich drowning in mustard or your burrito swimming in dressing? They put enough mustard on there for me to scrape it off and fill a jar (slight exaggeration). Anyway, apparently “just a little bit of…” doesn’t work. I don’t want to have to be so controlling as o say “only 2 lines,” but I don’t understand why “just a little bit” doesn’t work?

    • ranchdressingisevil :

      I’ve given up and just ask for my sandwich dry.

    • Anonymous :

      At Jimmie Johns I always use “EZ mayo”. It mostly seems to work.

    • half the mayo? Dressing on the side? Dressing on the side works best because you can control how much you want, dunk in your burrito if you like or grab a plastic knife and smear a bit. You could be a lady and do it before every bite or be like me and have either an entirely deconstructed sandwich, half on the floor and half on your clothes or slather the entire burrito resulting in a condiment mustache. All pretty great options!

    • “On the side”.

    • I say “a tiny amount of”

  36. Horse Crazy :

    I posted this on Coffee Break yesterday, but wanted to try here again. Thanks to both of you who answered yesterday :)

    I tore a ligament in my foot earlier this year while skiing. I wore a walking boot for 8 weeks and a lace-up brace for 4, and I have just started physical therapy because the pain is still there. I’m looking for comfortable, supportive shoes I can wear to work that are still cute. My office is business casual to business professional. I was bad and wore pumps/heeled boots for the last month or so, because I just hate most of the “comfort” shoes that I see. Any suggestions for cute, stylish comfort shoes? I also have wide feet, so no pointed toes please (yesterday Torin suggested Rockport Total Motion, which are super cute, but pretty much all have pointed toes). Preferably under $150. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      Check out Vionic. I love their support for my low arches, and they have some cute options.

    • I like Clark’s for comfortable shoes that are attractive. You might want to look into adding an insole into shoes.

      Here is a link to shoes recommended by a podiatrist: https://suffernpodiatry.com/shoe-brand-recomendations/

    • Josef Seibel fits my wide forefoot. They’re all about $150 full price (but check 6pm).

    • Anonymous :

      I had major ankle surgery a year ago and am still recovering strength so I understand your pain. I wear the Keds Ortholite Boat Shoes to work , and, when I need nicer shoes, I wear Cole Haan flats which have some similar comfort technology. If you want boots, you should check out Naturalizer — their leather boots are available in wide sizes!

  37. Emotional Wreck at Work :


    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in the “pay cut” thread. I honestly don’t know how some of you do it/did it. These stories got me thinking about my current situation and whether I am crazy to want to look for a new job. Please tell me your thoughts and if you’ve been in a similar situation before.

    I work for a large global private company that is planning to IPO. I am a service line manager. In my HCOL area, I get paid 125K with potential for bonus depending on company performance (likely 5K range). I work from home full time. I have been promoted or moved laterally with more pay within my service line every couple of years until this position I have now that I’ve held for about a year. I am valued at the company for my institutional knowledge and ability to solve complex interdisciplinary problems. I have a young child and husband works for lower pay. That’s for the good stuff.

    Now the bad stuff. The company overall creates a dysfunctional environment. Between mergers and acquisitions that took place over the last two years, there has been a huge exodus of people with historical institutional knowledge. These people were never great to start but there is now a knowledge vacuum. There are severe infrastructural issues (databases with wrong data or that don’t talk to each other, no process documentation, no process owners) that have persisted for years that I have screamed about and are just now being noticed at upper management. The financials are not only in disarray but the controls around loading new financial data continue to be missing despite attention from top controllers. In the last two years, I’ve had to have my benefits corrected at least three times because the deductions were wrong. On a regular basis, people from my service line do not get paid on time due to some issue within the payroll system and then rushed a manual check via Fedex. My boss, who is new to the company, is just now starting to understand how messed up everything is.

    The work ethic environment is also not great. It is pretty normal for people who are directly in charge of a project or a department to fail to answer emails directed only at them regarding items that they should directly be working on and know about. On calls, there are frequently people who interrupt, are aggressive, and state that nothing can be done without even taking a minute to think about the problem. This is multiple people across all departments, and I sometimes find myself raising my voice in response which makes me feel like a failure. Everything – from ordering a laptop to getting project support – is very difficult and accompanied by a myriad of offline forms that are usually submitted without a response and must be followed up on and tracked over weeks and sometimes months. And in the end about 50% of all projects fail after being dragged out months past their due dates. Between seeing hard work go down the toilet and performing many, many seemingly remedial and unnecessary tasks each day, all of this is emotionally exhausting.

    In the past when I started to feel like this, I’d try to emotionally disconnect and only do my job, nothing more – no daily follow-ups, no pointing out of huge looming issues to my managers, just the job. But now I have direct reports bringing up these issues to my attention and I must deal with others’ lack of response and engagement, missed deadlines, and unreasonable requests. So disconnecting is not a solution.

    But – no commute, decent pay, job security, good people within my department. Am I crazy to be thinking of leaving? Am I stupid for staying? Is there anything I can do to fix current situation and stop feeling so emotionally invested and exhausted? What would you do / did you do??

    • Anonymous :

      Start looking. WFH is great but you are clearly unhappy. You can’t know your options and make an informed decision until you have other offers in hand. Given the level of dysfunction and the fact that it has been ongoing for two years, don’t expect improvement anytime soon.

      When your subordinates bring up issues that need to be escalated up the chain, do the minimum to document you have done so as needed and nothing more.

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