Coffee Break: Multistrand Imitation Pearl Necklace

Here’s a question we haven’t discussed in a while: What are your favorite brands for faux pearls? I’ve had good luck with Majorca, but readers have also raved about the Nadri brand in general — this triple strand pearl necklace is Nadri for $125. For my money (and energy and patience!) if ordering online I’d rather spend a little bit more to get a fake strand from a reputable brand that’s more likely to be good — but I also have a lot of friends who’ve rolled the die with a $25 Amazon purchase. Do you have faux pearls, readers? Which brands are your favorite — and what are deal breakers for you as far as faux pearls go (i.e., cheap clasp, lack of gold plating, uneven pearls, comically large pearls, etc.)? Pictured: Multistrand Imitation Pearl Necklace

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Comments

  1. Elegant Giraffe :

    Any hotel (or specific AirBnb/VRBO) recommendations for Montreal? We are going for a week in late May and will not have a car. Hotel would need to be less than 150 USD/night and wifi is a must.

    • We liked the Renaissance; it has surprisingly good rates and a nice rooftop bar. We also had coffee at Le Petit Hotel and it seems really cozy/cute- I’d definitely look into it if I were going back.

    • We stayed at LeQube (on the plateau) and really liked it. Available on Airbnb. At the corner of St Hurbert and Ave Duluth. Rooftop hot tub was amazing and the units were updated, clean and modern.

    • Haven’t been in awhile but I was surprised at how much we loved the Embassy Suites. It is a perfect location straddling St. Catherine’s and the Old City. The rooms were gorgeous with stunning bathrooms. There was a manager’s reception every night with at least one free drink and the breakfast is included and was high end made to order. I was on course outside Mtl and stayed there every weekend for four months. Absolutely loved it.

    • We stayed at L’Hotel a few years ago. Awesome location, adorable boutique hotel with a great art collection. Should be in your price range, especially with the exchange right now.

  2. Anonymous :

    I’m running in a contested Republican primary, and election day is tomorrow. I am flipping out. This is hard.

    • Senior Attorney :

      WOO HOO!!! YOU GO!!!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      You are doing something most of us wouldn’t be brave enough to even try!! (or at least I wouldn’t)

    • Marshmallow :

      Good luck!! I am definitely not as brave as you (yet!).

    • Anonymous :

      Good luck and report back!

    • Yay! I intend to do this one day and just the thought of it freaks me out. Good for you for going for it!

    • Good luck!

    • Anonymous :

      As someone who’s been there before – make a plan for the day after the election. Adrenaline will kick in and get you through today & tomorrow – eat, drink lots of water, go easy on the booze if you’re at a watch party and have your opponent’s number in case you don’t come out on top – that one call can help create an ally for life, especially since you’re on the same team.

      The day after is always the hardest for my candidates win or lose – have something to be busy with. I suggest a movie and taking the day off, especially if you win and need to hit the campaign trail soon. Maybe a massage or some self-care. Nothing is harder than literally putting your name out there for people to vote on, so take care of you and know you’re going to get through this regardless (hopefully elected, though!).

      Good Luck!!

      • Flats Only :

        This, and draft in advance any emails that you’ll need to send the next day, such as to thank volunteers and donors. Then you just have to hit “send” to win points for being in touch.

      • I have also done this and this is excellent advice! Good luck!!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Good luck! Please keep us posted!

    • SC Lawyer :

      Way to go!! I wish you all the best!!!

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Good luck!

    • Congrats to you! Running for office is a really, freaking hard hard thing to do. I’d add to not check out the next day if you can– with the prevalence of mail in ballots, it can take a few days (2 weeks in my case!) for the results to come in. Until then, results can go back and forth a bit before a clear trend appears.

      Get out of town for the weekend if you can and turn your phone off. Hang in there!

  3. I get huge freshwater ones from Ross-Simons. I have regular looking ones and HUGE Nancy Pelosi-ish freshwater baroque ones (b/c south sea pearls are not in my budget). You don’t have to spend a ton to get something real.

    • +1 absolutely true. The price of pearls has decreased so much since ladies used to buy their perfectly matched little white cultured pearl strands. In my opinion, the funkier the better, but even if nice white strands are your thing, Chinese freshwater pearls have made that option a lot more affordable

  4. Anonymous :

    Reposting:

    So our accountant made a pretty big omission on our taxes the last several years. We have to refile, yes? This was truly an honest mistake but I think it caused us to underpay taxes by a fair amount. We only found out because we are working with a new accountant who brought it to our attention.

    • Senior Attorney :

      You file an amended return and pay the tax due along with any late-payment penalty. You may want to talk to your former accountant about reimbursing you for the penalty if that seems appropriate. Although tax preparation is as much an art as it is a science and I’d want to be super, super certain a mistake was really made before I filed the amended return.

      But your new accountant should be telling you all this, yes?

      • Anonymous :

        Don’t just pay the penalty and ask for reimbursement. Your new accountant should submit for penalty relief due to reasonable reliance on a prior preparer. You’ll still owe interest on the back amount, but fortunately the IRS doesn’t leave it up to taxpayers to pay the penalty and then hunt down bad preparers (many of whom are fly by night and would be impossible to track down years later, and are not “professionals” who carry any sort of malpractice insurance–not to say this is the case in your situation, but just giving background for why it works this way).

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, the new accountant should be telling you this.

        Unless the new accountant is a little shady… and suggesting you should let it go…. or maybe the OP is hoping we can tell her she can also let it slide.

        Otherwise, the post makes little sense, as of course her accountant would have told her this.

    • I’ll be honest. I’d be tempted to wait and see if the gov’t caught it at this point. Especially if I was nearing the end of the SOL and I wouldn’t be facing that much more in penalties. I’d rationalize it that the mistake was honest at the time I made it and I had relied on the advice of a pro.

      • shame..... :

        And that’s the no-shame response the OP was hoping for….

        I learned some decent things from my father. Always be honest. Follow the law. Pay your taxes.

        Because someone has to pay, right? If the OP hides her “honest mistake”, then that means the rest of us are paying some of her share.

        Pay your own fair share.

        • Anonymous :

          Ok – but the OP is only obligated (by the regulations) to amend and pay for the last 3 years.

          Mostly I’d do it (amend) because you are doing it differently this year and may become evident if the IRS were to flag a difference between this year and previous years.

          I mean, it happens – different people (CPAs, taxpayers, etc) have different interpretations of the regulations. And it could be this CPA had some different experience/interactions with the IRS on this particular interpretation. If this was truly an area of abuse, the IRS would be watching it for audit and would have caught it sooner. If it’s just a gray area, then it’s as much on the gov’t to clarify the meaning of the regs as it is on the taxpayer to read the gov’t mind on what it means.

          So, OP – depending on when you filed your 2014 return, I would also say wait until after your 3 years are up there so you are only amending 2 years instead of 3. But I’d still amend 2015 and 2016 so they are inline with 2017.

        • Anonymous :

          Refile. I know someone who had the exact same issue (relied on advice of accountant and dramatically underpaid). Once the government found out, this person had their law license suspended and only narrowly avoided jail time. It isn’t worth it.

        • Also, if you have any future ambitions for things that will require a close look at your taxes, it’s best to fix it now.

  5. It’s weird, and perhaps a cool story bro moment, but I’ve just come to the conclusion that at this point in my life, a strand of pearls just isn’t my look. I have nice, inoffensive fake TJMaxx studs that I wear occasionally, and a big multi-size statement necklace thing from Stella and Dot many years ago that I wear occasionally, but every time I reach for the single strand…well, I don’t. I did in the very beginning of my career because that’s what all the professional women in my head were wearing, and it was more important to me to look like the picture of professionalism. I still think they look so nice and classic on other people.

    I think at some point I’ll like them and want to wear them, but when they are special. My mother has a beautiful long strand of mikimoto pearls that my dad bought for her in Hong Kong in the 1970s. Maybe those will be special enough because they were hers, but I’m not there right now.

    • You will get there, trust me! When I was in college, I couldn’t afford fancy jewelry. But I met many men and was able to meet a guy whose family had a lot of money (and jewelry). I did fall in love with him (not for his money, mind you), and married him and we now have 3 kids and a great house, cars, etc. The one thing I still always coveted was nice jewelry. And since he can clearly afford it, he buys me nice baubles including, last Christmas, a very high quality 18″ pearl necklace. His mom has a beautiful one too, and since Bill’s their only child, he may well inherit it and give it to me. In the meantime, I just love my own pearl necklace and wear it about 2x / week. I have got a lot of compliments on it b/c it is of such high quality. I recommend quality pearl (not fake pearl) to all of us who want the nice finishing touch it gives. I talso greatly improves my overall mood and outlook, which is more than medicinal on those days when I feel a little ennui.

    • I wear a single strand (also my mother’s) on occasions when I want to look innocuous. Family weddings, funerals and baby showers (a lot of family events, actually). They don’t make me look or feel fabulous, but they are an elegant choice that won’t ruffle any feathers. I think if I were a better stylist I could get more wear out of them (surely some clever woman has combined pearls and a motorcycle jacket) but that’s not my forte.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I have a freshwater necklace and a cultured petal necklace that I’d really like to get more wear out of, but like you, it just isn’t my style now. I do wear my pearl stud earrings at least once a week, but that seems just easier.

      Any ideas on fun pearl pairing outfits?

      • Try an enhancer on your pearls! An enhancer is a clip on pendant and there are some really funky versions. I posted one from Kojima below in white, for a bridal look, but for everyday I’d get a natural color gold or pink or lavender pearl with lots of texture for contrast, like a Japan Kasumi pearl, or a funky Tahitian pearl (there are some gorgeous carved Tahitians now)

        Restyle your pearls – get them restrung with spaces and maybe some interesting gemstones or silver or gold beads interspersed, in a “station” style necklace. These are sometimes called tin cups, after the movies

        Layer your pearls. Wear them together with a chain necklace or two, or other sorts of beads like jet/ebony beads or ruby jade or carnelian. So pretty. Even turquoise in the summer – looks great and fresh with white pearls.

        I wear pearls pretty much every day but never a basic white strand of pearls on its own.

        • Metallica :

          Aaaaand I just fell down an internet hole looking for necklace enhancers! Thank you for this (I didn’t know those things had a name…)

      • Out of the Box :

        I wear my single strand in the summer with cotton poplin tops or shirt dresses. In winter I think it looks great with a black velvet top. Depending on length you may also be able to twist yours into a fun bracelet.

    • Bizarrely, I am one to wear a simple strand of pearls with a simple black tshirt. I like to wear them more as an unexpected touch to an otherwise casual outfit.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        That sounds really nice!

      • I used to have a small double strand of (I hope) fake pearls, which I lost. I’m not a super traditional dresser, so I considered them my “ironic pearls,” and usually wore them with slightly edgy all-black outfits. I lost them on a trip, and truly miss them. Will follow this thread to look for a replacement.

    • Pearls don’t have to be matronly. Check out the Instagram accounts of Kojima pearl and Kamoka pearl for some pearlspiration.

    • Candidate :

      Now I’m self conscious about my pearls. I’ve worn them today partly b/c I’ve had compliments on them at city council, where I try to look more formal than my regular day to day. Mine were originally 4 strands with a single clasp, they were my great-grandmothers and my “something old” when I got married, so I do have the emotional attachment. I’ve since had them restrung into a strand (~64”) and wear them with various loops. Today it’s a single loop with a knot tied below my bust, like a flapper’s beads or lavalier.

      • That sounds gorgeous!

      • Don’t be worried about it! I’m in government affairs and often wear pearls and so do so many of the women I meet with. I wear pearl studs 360 days out of the year and my most frequently worn necklaces are my pearl ones. (Mine aren’t real, but I have a very long one like you describe that I frequently double and a mid-length one that I wear on its own.)

      • No, don’t feel self-conscious! I am sure you look lovely.

    • Anonymous :

      Agree. Not my style. I love jewelry but I’ve never been drawn to pearls. I’ve been gifted a few strands and sometimes wear them because that’s what you do when someone gives you something but I’d honestly like to sell them. Part of it for me is that they are an animal product.

      • Metallica :

        I rationalize it by telling myself they’re essentially oyster gallstones.

      • Pearls are good for the environment. The mussels that make the pearls won’t do it in polluted waters, so the pearl industry influences governments to keep it clean. This is a big deal in China.

        The mussels do eventually die, but they are often used more than once to make pearls, then the shells are used for various purposes, and the mussel meat is eaten.

        In Chinese freshwater pearl culturing, the giant mussels make several pearls at once, not one at a time.

    • biglawanon :

      A strand of pearls is simply not my personal style, and I know that, and that’s OK. I do have two other pearl necklaces I like – one with two teardrop shaped pearls with black onyx on top of the pearls, and another with a single black pearl. But I don’t see myself ever wearing a strand.

  6. Nervous Nellie :

    How do you know when your anxiety has become so unmanageable you need medication? I have been in therapy for 8 months and I felt like I was making great strides but the last month or so I have been having what I would say are just shy of panic attacks. It hits me out of the blue and I suddenly get very fixated on something unlikely to happen and start catastrophizing until I reach the conclusion that I’m going to lose all of my money and everyone will leave me and I can’t stop thinking about it. I almost feel like I was very good about compartmentalizing my anxieties but therapy has let it all out of the box and now I can’t get it back inside. I eat right, exercise, etc. so I’m doing all of the right things from a lifestyle perspective. Is it supposed to get worse before it gets better?

    • I have experienced that therapy can make things worse. If you report this to your therapist, s/he may be able to help you work through it as a part of the process. You could also consider asking about another form of therapy (I don’t do well at all with straight-up CBT, but I’ve had better experiences with DBT). Sometimes the same therapist can take another approach that s/he’s been trained in. The wrong therapist can just make things worse period, so don’t feel bad if you need to consider switching therapists altogether.

    • Now. Now is the time. For a few reasons: 1) when you start wondering if you need medication, it’s a strong sign to talk to someone about the options. 2) (and I wish I could go back in time and tell myself this) panic attacks, even mini ones, are not normal and not something you have to suffer through. 3) I remember so clearly feeling like I was doing everything I could – exercise! nutrition! sleep! social life! – and when I was trying 110% I could almost be not anxious. You should not have to be trying 110% to not feel anxious.

      Does your therapist know that therapy has opened the anxiety box? I would start there and tell the therapist you are having panic attacks, and make an appointment with your PCP to talk about anxiety medicine.

      In the meantime, what I’ve found helpful when anxiety attacks strike is to redirect my thinking as soon as I notice it. The two things I find best are to work on a crossword puzzle (it seems to send a strong subconscious message that if things were really as bad as they felt, I wouldn’t be doing a crossword) or to do a quick, 5-10 minute exercise video (Fitness Blender and Blogilates are great for this). Something about getting blood moving also helps.

      Hugs. It won’t always be this hard!

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        “if things were really as bad as they felt, I wouldn’t be doing a crossword”

        This is really interesting and I’m going to try it. Thank you!

        • Thanks! Someone once told me panic attacks are like your brain getting confused and thinking that you’re about to be eaten by a lion (based on the idea that that’s the kind of thing our brains evolved to warn us about, whereas modern stress is much more recent). To calm it down, you have to convince your subconscious that you ran away from the lion (ie, by doing a Fitness Blender video or going for a run) and you’re safe, or by doing something that sends strong, contradictory, “there is no lion” signals (like doing a crossword).

          It sounds a little silly, but I’ve found my anxiety to respond along these lions.

          • Yes this works for me too. I have some sort of trauma PTSD from an extremely urgent and ultimately tragic medical situation many years ago, and my body still goes there even if my brain doesn’t. I have to remind myself that I’m not in that situation and it’s gong to be ok. Lots of therapy later.

    • Anonymous :

      Sit with your anxiety! If therapy is letting things out, maybe you have not yet resolved/accepted/etc. them in the way they could be. Definitely tell your therapist, but don’t be afraid of the anxiety – think of it as a warning light on your dashboard to dig deeper, not run away.

      • Anonymous :

        What?

        I think this is really poor advice.

        Once you are starting to have physical manifestations of your anxiety, to the point of near panic attacks, that is a scary cry for help. Medication, while continuing to work on behavioral approaches and getting through therapy is needed for the OP.

        It is very common for anxiety to get worse as you start treating depression. Perhaps that is why your underlying anxiety is manifesting now, as the depression is being addressed in therapy?

        • Anonymous :

          It comes from 20 years experience with anxiety including a lot of therapy, including a history of panic attacks that have gone away. Research shows running away from the thoughts that are triggering the anxiety makes it worse. So, there’s that.

          • Old friend :

            Maybe you can do that after 20 yards of treatment, but the OP does not sound like someone with your perspective. She needs treatment – therapy, coping techniques, medications – to get to where you are 20 years later.

            Implosion therapy is not recommended.

      • Anonattorney :

        Anxiety is awful. I don’t wish it on anyone. Don’t sit with your anxiety – talk to your therapist about medication and CBT that will help you with the physical manifestations of your anxiety.

    • used to get panic attacks :

      Ask! There exist fast-acting anxiety meds that don’t stay in your body for long. It is easy to give them a try; they are not a major commitment. More people than you might guess take beta blockers or benzos for things like public speaking and air flights. It is completely reasonable to have something like this on hand for even a mild anxiety attack. My psychiatrist explained that taking one of these fast-acting meds as-needed (i.e., every time the anxiety cropped up) could break the physiological habit of spiraling into anxiety and therefore make therapy more effective.

      If the take-as-needed meds don’t work or aren’t appropriate for you for any reason, there are also long-term meds you can ask about that help reduce anxiety in general (buspar, SSRIs, even bupropion if you can get past the stage during which it makes the anxiety worse).

      Your PCP will be probably familiar with betablockers and SSRIs at a minimum, but your therapist should be able to recommend a psychiatrist if you want more options and more expertise.

    • Anonymous :

      Honey. Lexapro now. This happened to me and it was making me miserable. Lexapro just lets me see clearly again without catastrophizing.

      Also, I did crosswords obsessively when I was the worst of anxious. I can barely look at them now because it reminds me of the Dark Days.

  7. Way overthinking the pearl thing. Honestly, any women’s clothing store is going to have some faux-pearls and chances are they will look just fine. I agree with the other poster — the one-strand-of-pearls look, which I grew up with as classic and elegant, now tends to look dated.

    • Anonymous :

      Disagree that it looks dated. It’s classic. Maybe you wouldn’t wear a single strand of pearls going out to dinner but you definitely wear them with a suit to court or a board meeting or to any other formal environment.

  8. Gail the Goldfish :

    Timely post! I was going to ask what those sites were people always recommend for pearls. I’m looking for a pearl pendant necklace for my wedding. I’m thinking just a large-ish baroque pearl.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Actually, I think I’d like something like this http://www.ross-simons.com/products/819054.html except with a far cheaper cultured pearl if anyone has any suggestions

    • People often recommend Kojima pearl and pearl paradise on here. You really can’t go wrong with either.

    • You might want to try Novica. I was trying to see if they had anything similar, but their site wasn’t working quite right.

      This is the only one I could find immediately, but they have a lot that might fit the style you want: https://www.novica.com/p/sterling-silver-and-white-cultured-pearl/219291/

      • You might want to try Novica. I was trying to see if they had anything similar, but the navigation was giving me an error message. In mod for using a no-no word.

        This is the only one I could find immediately, but they have a lot that might fit the style you want: https://www.novica.com/p/sterling-silver-and-white-cultured-pearl/219291/

    • Here’s something less fancy, but a lot cheaper. The enhancers are nice because you can hang them from a chain or clip them onto a pearl strand, which is a great way to update a basic white strand

      https://kojimapearl.com/products/iridescent-white-drop-pearl-enhancer-pendant

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Thanks, all! Kojima was the one I was trying to think of that always gets mentioned.

      • Sarah, the owner, is very nice. If you write to her she will work with you on what you want. I don’t work there! I just have bought quite a few pieces from her over the years and had her restyle a couple of older pieces I wasn’t wearing. She’s totally open to custom work and has a huge, huge inventory of pearls and findings that aren’t all shown on her website.

    • Pearl Paradise

    • Try Etsy. I’ve bought some pearls from there, especially a beautiful baroque pearl pendant on a gorgeous chain. There are lots of options there.

  9. No faux pearls here. I like the real thing :)

  10. Anonymous :

    I prefer delicately-sized, irregular, oblong pearls to perfect orbs, and I have not found that real ones of this description are all that expensive. If I were shopping for fakes, I would check a bead shop.

  11. Maternity Leave :

    Can we do a check-in on maternity leave? I’m specifically interested in BigLaw but other markets please chime in. I’ve realized it’s astoundingly hard to figure out what is “market,” especially with bonus in the year you take leave. I’ll start:

    NYC big firm. 12 weeks paid if you give birth, six weeks paid if you don’t (including fathers, but the men generally don’t take more than two weeks). The bonus expectation and payout are both pro-rated, so theoretically you’d have 3/4 of the hours requirement and 3/4 of the bonus. In practice because of the off-ramping and on-ramping periods on either side of leave, this has resulted in essentially zero women receiving their class bonus in the year they take maternity leave.

    • Diana Barry :

      BOS mid-size (for our city; small for NYC) firm. 8 weeks paid plus all of your vacation, so 12 weeks total. Pro-rated for bonus etc., but same thing happens with “in practice” bonuses given IME and the other women who have taken leave. Fathers get nothing, just have to use their vacation. We haven’t had any adoptive parents, so not sure how they would handle that.

    • National Lab – and an appropriately bureaucratic system. The most common configuration is 12 weeks for mothers and 1 week for fathers. The breakdown is tricky. For the biological mother: 6-8 weeks paid medical leave (v-birth vs. c-section). For the primary parent, who is usually the breast-feeding mother, 6 weeks paid parental leave. For the secondary parent, 1 week paid leave.

    • DC office of a large international firm. 18 weeks pro-rated hours paid for “primary care-giver” (no documentation required as far as I can tell and as a nursing mom I would take the position I am the primary care-giver even with a stay-at-home husband who will presumably be primarily caring for our other kid), and you can choose to tack on an extra 2 weeks paid (but no pro-rated hours – essentially tacking on our “unlimited” vacation) for a total of 20 weeks paid. You can take an additional 4 or 6 (I think) weeks unpaid under DCFMLA (also no pro-rated hours). Theoretically bonuses are prorated to match your prorated hours, but given the on and off ramping mentioned above, rare that anyone gets it. “Non-primary-caregivers” i.e. dads get 6 weeks I think, also pro-rated.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Federal government, NAL but as far as I’m aware I have what fed lawyers have: we get FMLA, how nice! You can use annual leave and/or sick leave. You can use SL only for time you’re recovering or taking care of a *sick* child (or for medical appointments, including well checkups), but not for general new baby care. SL accrues at a rate of 4h/pay period; AL starts at 4h and then jumps to 6 after 3 years of service and 8 after 15.

      Your boss can let you take more than 12 weeks off, and they can advance some of your leave. They can also let you work part-time and/or from home for a while, depending on operational needs.

      Bottom line, maternity leave is not Uncle Sam’s highest priority, sorry.

      • Federal government attorney. No maternity leave at all. You can use your annual leave and sick leave. It takes about two years to accumulate 12 weeks worth of leave. And that’s if you never, ever take a vacation or a sick day of your own in those two years. And also never take leave for any prenatal appointments (which is obviously impossible). The only protection you have as a fed is FMLA, in that they can’t fire you for being gone for 12 weeks or less. If you haven’t accrued enough leave (and you can take up to 6 weeks advance sick leave, but as Lana pointed out, someone– you or baby– has to be medically in need of sick leave, not just baby care), you can take leave without pay… but if you’re gone more than 12 weeks, FMLA can’t help you either. The federal government is not a good place to have a baby.

        • I’m the DC federal government person who posted below. After my first child, I came back to work with no sick leave and proceeded to drag myself into the office while sick with every manner of illness because my immune system was shot from having a baby that woke up 5 times a night until she was like 10 months old. It was so miserable I honestly think I have some PTSD from it. I cried all the time and once fell asleep behind the wheel of my car. This system serves no one.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Yeah, I’ve been keeping a “how long until I have 12 weeks of leave” spreadsheet, and it’s pretty depressing.

          • Tired in DC :

            Fed attorney here. I’ve had two kids in two years and with the youngest nearly two years old, I still have very little leave for a vacation. My kids have had some unexpected illnesses and procedures that required hospitalization, plus the need to use leave to cover days that school/daycare is not in session. My husband and I don’t have enough leave between us to take off at the same time, which means that we haven’t been on a vacation (not even a mini one) in years. It’s frustrating, and the federal system of no maternity/paternity leave serves no one. I think a lot of people assume that feds have great benefit — not so when it comes to maternity leave.

    • Delta Dawn :

      ATL did a study on this in 2015, so some of this may have changed, but here are their findings:
      https://abovethelaw.com/careers/family-leave-and-related-policies-by-firm/

    • DC federal government – nothing paid. Thanks, “greatest country in the world!”

    • Anonymous :

      exactly the same as you at my mid-sized NYC firm, down to the “pro rated” bonus non-bonus.

    • Wow, I knew I was lucky before but this thread confirms it. Big Law, 18 weeks paid for BOTH genders and can take unpaid leave up to one year. Can tack on as much vacation as you would like too. I took 6 months off fully paid with both kids.

      • Are you in the US?

      • Wow, that is great. How does your firm handle bonus, especially if you tack on vacation?

        • Yes, in the US. As for bonus, I believe it’s prorated but I’m not entirely sure (I didn’t get a bonus nor did I strive to get one since I took so much time off and also came back 80%).

          This policy is awesome but I don’t think it is all that unusual as far as Big Law goes.

      • biglawanon :

        Same here – 18 weeks regardless of whether of you are a birth mother, primary caregiver, or what. I used the full 18, and I could have taken more, but we really couldn’t do without my paycheck. My husband got ONE WEEK, so we were grateful mine was generous.

    • Mid-size national law firm: Primary caregiver gets 10 weeks (for childbirth or foster placement or adoption), in addition to short term disability (if childbirth); secondary caregiver gets 4 weeks that must be taken in kid’s first year/first year with the family. We also get an 8 week ramp up and 8 week ramp down during which you get bonus credit as if you were billing at bonus pace.
      Firm also reimburses up to $10k of adoption expenses for adoptive parents.

    • Anon for this :

      MCOL smaller city, boutique law firm that competes with biglaw outposts. 3 months paid leave for men and women. (but the men don’t take the leave)

      Bonuses aren’t prorated, but bonuses are typically significantly smaller than larger firms in more expensive cities anyway, and are tied more to the overall profitability of the firm rather than hours billed.

    • DC office of NY biglaw firm. 18 weeks fully paid for me, plus tack on any accrued vacation (which I had five weeks of), plus — and this part is particularly good — the short term disability policy allows you to go out at 38 weeks instead of working until delivery. We were 4 weeks for fathers but I think it was recently increased to eight or twelve. I got my full bonus — not pro-rated — in the year(s) I was out (my leave started in November) but I believe this is discretionary by department and not set in stone in the policy. I.e. I got lucky on that one. And one weird thing that no one warned me about is that they do not pay the bonus on schedule if you are out in December. You get it when you come back. Another good thing about our policy is that adoptive parents also get the 18 week leave, though not sure how they handle that from a gender perspective.

    • State government. We don’t get any paid leave, but can cobble together sick and annual leave to reach the 12 weeks we are allowed off. We also have a short-term disability policy that will pay a short amount of the time off. I took 12 weeks and saved every last hour of my leave up until I gave birth (worked a full day that day, then conveniently gave birth at 10:30 that night haha!)

  12. Anonymous :

    This whole page CW ad is ridiculous. Most of it is clear, so you don’t realize the ad is there until you click to collapse the comments or any other link. The x to exit it is so tiny that you inevitably click outside it and are forced to go to CW’s page. Please fix this Kat!

    • Cornellian :

      Sort of comically, I am now getting a Spanish-language add from Toyota advertising a sale that ends April 2nd. I am not a Spanish speaker and I haven’t even googled anything related to a car in years, let alone owned one.

      • Anonymous :

        Yup – for about a week I was getting Spanish only ads there that also had a video playing in the middle of it in Spanish.

        Now they really want me to go to a Lionel Richie concert. And I just.can’t. hit.that.tiny.x.

        This website has now become a form of torture.

      • Ay dios mio, the spanish ads just started for me, just now! jajaja

    • Anonymous :

      Does Kat read her blog?

    • I feel you (but seriously, get an ad blocker) but I don’t know that the comments are the right place for this? They don’t seem to be monitored that closely.

      • Seriously, some of us are using computers that we can’t install an a d blocker on. Believe me, if we could we would.

  13. Anonymous :

    So here’s an interesting hypothetical – if it were possible for you to pave the road for your kids financially, would you? As in paying for college and grad school in full, handing them an apartment/home fully paid off upon graduation or a few years later, and maybe a few hundred thousand in investments for them to keep as theirs, use to start a business etc? Basically make it easy for them – so if they want to go to med school they don’t worry about loans; if they want to go into teaching or be a cop or something like that, they don’t worry about how they’ll ever buy a home; or if they want to kind of do nothing – that’s fine too. Was having this discussion with friends over brunch – some of us have kids, some don’t yet. I was like – definitely, I don’t want my kids to have to work hard and struggle as I have, as I don’t see it as character building and if someone had handed me houses and cars and funds, i’d be hanging out now. In contrast, some wealthier friends who’d actually be able to provide this stuff in 20 years were absolutely against it; they all agree with paying for college/grad and maybe helping with some part of a down payment (and that’s a big maybe) and then the kid sinks or swims. They were shocked that I’d be ok with my kid being a full time ski bum or part time flight instructor because he has no real financial needs. Interested what people here think?

    • Marshmallow :

      I think I fall where your friends are: I’d want to pay for college and potentially part of grad school but not much more than that. Basically I’d like to give my kids the ability to start out in life at “zero” without student loan debt, but I wouldn’t want to pay my kid’s living expenses so they can be a ski bum. I even feel that way if the kid wanted to be a teacher or a cop– at some point you need to balance your budget in your chosen career without an allowance from your parents.

      I WOULD make sure to teach my kids a lot about managing money, though. Even more than lack of direct support, I think I was harmed by a total lack of understanding of how to handle money and even fear of all things involving money.

      • +1

        Also, I’d worry about the family dynamics (from both perspectives) of Kid being financially dependent on you forever. I don’t have to worry that every time I make a decision that my mom wouldn’t have made (and oh boy do I know it when that happens) that she’s going to punish me financially.

      • Anonymous :

        This. People who have some financial skin in the game make better/more responsible life choices. I would pay for my kids college only so far that they maintain grades and have a goal in mind. That goal can change every other month, but they need to be working towards something if I’m going to bankroll them. Trust fund babies that get their trust funds in their twenties are the /worst/. If I had that kind of money I would have their trust funds contingent based on finishing college and being 30 years old, with provisions to access money sooner to buy a house. It’s healthy for people to struggle a bit in their 20’s. A teacher or cop in 90% of the country can live on their salary by themselves more than comfortably if they live a normal life (obviously a teacher salary supporting a whole family or them and children is a different story).

      • Anon in NYC :

        I’d love for my kid(s) to start at “zero” at age 22 (assuming they go to college). I’d love to be able to provide them with a meaningful cash gift for their wedding. I don’t think I’ll be able to fully do the first one.

        But I’d rather save for my retirement and die with just enough money for funeral expenses than be a huge financial burden on my kids, so I think I’ll keep a lot of my money for myself. Of course, if I have extra leftover, even better for them.

      • Agree with the above. To the extent that I could make things easier, I’d probably plan it as a surprise, not an entitlement – for example, maybe I’d pay the student loans as a graduation present, but only after I’d seen the kid put the effort and planning into it for him/herself. And I’d consider offering some extra (for the house or whatever) if it made it easier for my kid to have kids when the time came for that (obviously, only if they wanted that), for my own selfish reasons. But I was really unimpressed with the kids that I saw in college and law school who were there wholly on their parents’ dimes.

        But I don’t see anything shameful about the kid becoming a flight instructor. I’m not sure what they make, but I would assume that it’s a legitimate profession. (My husband, who’s always loved planes, would absolutely love it.)

        • Anonattorney :

          Agree with this 100%. That’s our plan. Probably pay up front for a chunk of college but otherwise require my kids to take out some loans (assuming that there are still subsidized loans that aren’t accruing interest while the kids are in school). If college goes well, and if we can afford it, we’ll endeavor to pay off as much of the loans as possible.

          On the house stuff, if I have the money I will help with down payments. I got some help from my grandmother for a down payment and it has made a huge difference in my financial planning and ability to pay down debt and save for retirement. I think it’s also different to make a one-time contribution to help your kid get on a path to financial security, as opposed to paying certain monthly expenses.

          • JuniorMinion :

            Only thing I want to highlight as someone who went through college relatively recently and dealt with this system – subsidized loan access (fed subsidized / fed unsubsidized) is based on parental income – so if parents make too much to qualify your kids will need private loans

            My private loans (circa 2009 / 2010) were at Libor +9% and accrued interest while I was in school.

          • Anonattorney :

            Ugh, good to know. That’s a bummer.

    • I suspect your friends are thinking that they want their children to learn resilience and to take care of themselves, not that they’re simply horrified that their kid would be a ski bum or a flight instructor instead of an investment banker. You can be a self-sufficient flight instructor or a total infant still dependent on her parents who also happens to be a flight instructor but can’t handle her way through a tough spot. There are lots of ways to teach kids resilience and self-sufficiency. It doesn’t necessarily have to be through taking care of one’s own finances, but that’s certainly how a lot of people get there.

    • Anonymous :

      Getting them started is one thing. I don’t think continuing to pay their way so they can loaf makes for responsible adults. My spouse and I both were lucky enough to graduate debt free. I’ve got a small nest egg thanks to some family gifts which I was able to use part of it for a house down payment and my parents gave me money for a car. While I know my parents and in-laws would absolutely help us out in a jam, that’s about the last place we’d turn for financial help. I’m much more interested in making sure they have adequate retirement savings themselves. Compare this to my sibling, who also had the same debt-free education opportunity along with nest egg and car. They’ve always been banking at the bank of mom and dad, bounced between jobs, and generally seem to have not grown up. Eventually, my parents have grown of propping sibling up financially and it’s been very hard for them to step back. The relationship is pretty strained at times and I think that they would all like a do-over.

      • anonymous :

        I am an only child, so I was also fortunate enough to graduate debt-free, to receive a nest egg for a down payment from an inheritance, and I had some help with my first car. That said, my parents have emphasized to me that I’m an adult now, and my house (and expenses related to it) are all mine. I also think they would have been disappointed if I’d used their generosity as a reason to avoid starting a career or other means to support myself.

    • I was thinking about this the other day, actually. My husband’s and my views on money were largely shaped by growing up in households where money was tight, working a high school job was a requirement, and your clothes came from K-Mart. Without a little bit of struggle, without times where money is a little bit tight, I don’t know how you learn the value of a dollar, learn what others are going through. You can tell your kid things, but until your kid has to DO them, like put down their first month’s rent on their own modest first apartment and think “well, can I afford to go to the movies tonight?”, I really don’t think it sinks in. I had a wonderful financial education in school growing up, but I still didn’t *really* get it until I was out of the dorms.

      My husband and I have agreed we’ll pay for in-state undergrad only. They’re on their own for anything (everything) beyond that.

    • In my family, we actually have this dynamic at both ends. My brother and I had our educations paid for (undergraduate and graduate) and were given our cars when we graduated, but otherwise once we left school we were on our own.

      My younger sister had her school paid for, graduated and went into a rewarding but very low paying career. Our Dad paid for her condo, is still paying her auto insurance, cell phone bill and probably other expenses. He also pays her share for our periodic family vacations.

      My sister is a wonderful, hard working, kind person and my brother and I love her and do not resent her in the slightest. It helps that she is the only one who is still living in our home town and will inevitably be the one who takes car of Dad as he ages. She is already the one who drives him to doctor’s appointments, etc. It also helps that our father is not a controlling person and has offered to help both my brother and I on multiple occasions. We have always turned him down because we have well-paying jobs, but I will admit that knowing I have a safety net does give me peace of mind.

    • I don’t think it will be possible for us to do that anyway but we are already pretty restrictive with our kids. We have saved for state tuition and room and board for a 4 year degree. Anything beyond that our kids have to figure out how to finance.

      If they need to live at home for a while to get on their feet that will be fine. But I won’t be buying them a home. I might be willing to help with a down payment if finances permit.

      I am also willing to buy them cars if they need them in college, but I wouldn’t buy them a car as an adult.

    • I don’t think you’ll find many voices here in favor of allowing their child to become a ski bum. That is openly admitting that you are okay raising a child that 1) cannot set themselves up or maintain for themselves a successful life (ie achieving something and can reasonably support themselves and their family without struggle to make ends meet) and 2) does not contribute in any positive way to society. I’m pretty sure those are the basic goals of parenting. Honestly, if you’re okay with that, do you, but don’t expect anyone you know to admire or even respect your parenting or your resulting child succubus.

      • Anonymous :

        This board leans pretty wealthy. I find it hard to believe people wouldn’t want their child to have the lifetime perks of being a trust fund kid – if they could provide that. Not the OP but to me ski bum is just an example, a kid can be an “investor” or “small business owner” who does practically nothing and lives off the truest fund. As for me IDK because I don’t have kids yet, but I see what OP is saying, there’s an appeal to saving your kids from the 70 hour/week grind many of us here did at least initially to make our money.

        • This is so foreign to me.

          I would be ashamed to have a child like this. I would never be attracted to an individual like this as a partner. What a selfish, meaningless life, of no value.

          Just a waste…..

          • Anonymous :

            Lol and toiling away 70 hours a week in biglaw or at MBB or in residency is the marker of a meaningful life.

        • Most of us may be wealthy but that’s because most of us are also highly motivated and disciplined. I expect that most of us want a bit of both- for our kids to grow up hard working and resilient, contributing members of society, and also to be financially secure and with a leg up if possible It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The reality is that being a “trust fund kid” isn’t all perks- there are downsides, which people here have been explaining. Saving him from “the grind” also means “saving him” from learning how to build a career, learning how to interact with the real world, building a career he cares about, making a contribution, building a meaningful skill set, becoming self-sufficient, learning how to make wise choices and plan for the future, and probably will turn him into an insufferable person no one wants to be around.

          Anonymous at 6:18— lol I know *a lot* of doctors who chose their field because they love grinding it out and those sweet, sweet $$$$s and not actually, you know, because they find it meaningful. Come on.

          • Alanna of Trebond :

            Tons of doctors go into the profession make money. See, e.g., dermatologists, anesthesiologists. Some of it is also really easy. (I also think that law and consulting are really easy. You just need to get your foot in the door).

    • Anonymous :

      I think 2018’s “ski bum” is “social media influencer.”

    • I know this is harsh, but… your friends are going to have grandkids who will do fine, but the offspring of your hypothetical ski bum will suffer. That’s the difference in your attitudes.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m the anon from 3:31. The concern for the grandkids is partially what traps my parents in the cycle with my sibling.

        • I meant the opposite. Plenty of people have enough money to support a kid for life, but not enough to support grandkids for life who never learned good values at home and whose parents aren’t able to give them an education.

    • Anonymous :

      This depends a lot on the kids. You can have a responsible kid who can justify living a ski bum life in a way that makes you want to support it. You can also have a kid in college, doing well, but you would not trust with an extra dime. My kids are in college and high school and I am still not sure where they are on this spectrum. Right now, if something happens to us we have trust funds set up that allow for them to get gradual control of their money over the course of their adult lives (up to age 35). I think that it will work that way if I am around too.

    • You guys know that ski bums actually work, right? They work on the hill or in local businesses to get a season pass and to cover living expenses and not much else. It’s a bad example here since most of the former ski bums I know are incredibly independent, free-thinking people who don’t rely on parents for money.

      • I actually wasn’t sure what that phrase meant.

        If that’s the lifestyle my kid wanted to lead, I’d be fine with that, but expect him/her to understand that it would involve some limitations, too – we’re not funding what kid can’t afford with it.

        If I had that much extra cash, I’d much rather see it go to a charity or something.

      • Yeah, I’m a little insulted that the term “ski bum” is being thrown around in this way. I’ve known lots of “ski bums” and a majority of them work two jobs to make ends meet and follow their passion. Some of them may mooch off their parents, but so do plenty of young professionals. Just because you are working a “fun” low-paying job does not mean you are a waste of space or irresponsible.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      If I were super rich, I think I would have a cut-off time for my kid, after which I would stop financing day-to-day stuff. Like after a graduate degree, so she could, as other posters say, start at zero.

      I think that helping with discrete things — down payment, helping after something catastrophic — is different from helping with day-to-day expenses. I want her to be independent, and how would she learn that if she could always come to me for anything?

      Anyway, in this fantasy where I’m super rich, I can get her set up so she starts without debt, help her with major things as appropriate, and then eventually I’ll die, so she can get my money then.

    • Hard nope. I’d help, but not pave the way. Help to me is something like paying for undergrad, *maybe* helping with grad school or downpayment, depending on the circumstances.

    • Anonymous :

      My parents are wealthy and gave me no help beyond undergrad tuition at the school of my choice. I grew up a LOT in law school when I had to take out loans. I took school much more seriously and did a lot better academically because I had a financial stake in it. DH and I will be in a position to give our kids significant help but we don’t anticipate doing much more than paying for undergrad and possibly helping with grad school if we think our kids are doing well (working really hard, etc.) and they’ve chosen a profession that requires expensive post-graduate education like law or medicine.

      • I’m very lucky in that my parents had the financial ability to pay for undergrad, grad school, car, wedding, and a down payment on a house. However, I think in the vein of some posters above they chose not to do that so I learned how to do things for myself. They paid for undergrad of my choice and gave me the car I drove in high school and paid the car insurance on it through college. They would not pay for law school so I took out loans. When they found out what the interest rate was they paid the loans off a couple years after I graduated and asked me to repay the balance at a lower interest rate, 3.5% versus 8.6% I think, which I have done. They gave me a contribution to my wedding and a contribution to the down payment for my home.

        I think it was a good balance. Paying off $400K in grad school debt before interest between me and my husband was not fun, but we did it. The extra help with the down payment meant we could get out of the crazy rental market sooner. I think we would be a lot farther along towards retirement saving if we hadn’t had to pay back grad debt, but I don’t disagree that I’m much better at saving because of the experience of paying it back.

    • My parents paid for living expenses in both college and law school which was the best gift they could give me. Because I had financial skin in the game, I had to hustle and apply for scholarships and grants to fund my education. Supplemented with work-study and a full time job on holidays/summers, I graduated from college with zero debt. I graduated law school with less than $50,000 in loans and pride that I helped fund my education. Aside from a security deposit at my first apartment – which I have paid back – my parents’ support ended the day I received my license.

      Because my education was a joint venture – I paid greater attention to my coursework and the value I would receive per hour. All of my undergrad electives were tailored to help my law school education – ie logic, technical writing and political science. I wouldn’t even think about late dropping a class and was more motivated to study because I was footing some of the bill.

      I would never want to deprive my children of that same opportunity.

    • My parents paid for college, law school and gave me a trust fund that I was able to access for my down payment on a house, and paid for my wedding, as well as loaned me the money to replace my car post law school when it died (which has since been paid off). I have never had to worry about money, and it has not impacted my discipline, control, etc. I was always a top star student and am now a 6th year on partnership track toiling away 70+ hours a week in big law and very motivated, responsible with money, etc. and do not rely on my parents for financial assistance at all. So, YMMV depending on the kid. I am incredibly grateful that they were able to help me the way they did.

      • Same here – you could have a ski bum or you could end up with a motivated kid, too. If anything I was more motivated to do well on my own so I could prove I was capable of doing it. I’m also quite grateful that I have a really nice, financially stress free life and I’m not trapped in any job because I need it. I do it because I love it.

    • I wouldn’t do it. Like others, I would pay for college and possibly part of grad school, help with a down payment, that kind of thing, but I would not provide full-time financial support to an adult child. Not because I wouldn’t want my children to be happy, but because I *would* want them to be. I don’t necessarily think that toiling away at a 70/hour a week job is the recipe for happiness, as someone said above, but I think that all humans strive for some sort of purpose/meaning/sense of accomplishment, and without the slight kick in the behind that is provided by needing to put food on the table, it’s easy to give up. No matter how much you love your work — and hopefully someone with that kind of financial support could find something to do that they love — there will be moments of pure drudgery. It’s needing to have a job that gets you through those moments. Maybe if I ended up with a child who had an immense drive/passion/talent in something that was not financially rewarding, I would consider helping to subsidize it a bit, but I’m not sure I’d ever want to go so far as allowing an adult to be able to completely stop working.

    • I will do what my parents did, which is to pay for college in full, and help out with grad school or other things necessary to my child’s chosen career. Would not pay for med/law school in full, but maybe half? In my case, I got a Ph.D., and my parents helped pay my rent during that time so that I could go to a program in a high COL city. It was the best program for my interests, and they didn’t want me to have to go to a lesser program because I couldn’t afford the $4k/year rent differential. That decision helped me tremendously, and I am so grateful, and would do the same for my kids. But even with their subsidy, I was still living in a high COL city on less than $25k/year – not saying that anyone should pity me, I was fine, but my parents were definitely not setting me up in luxury or anything. And the tap turned off as soon as I finished my Ph.D. and got a real job. I think they would have contributed to a down payment, but I moved to a very low COL area right after grad school and was able to save that up on my own.

  14. I’ve come to realize that yes, I’m very neurotic (on the inside- people always tell me how calm and composed I am, ha!) I’ve come to terms with this, and decided that every day I’ll make a personal commitment to use my neuroses for productivity and other good things and not for pointless anxiety. It’s going well so far and I feel so much better about things now. That is all. I felt the need to share somewhere.

    • Interesting. In what ways are you using it for productivity/good things?

      • Anonymous :

        Not the OP, but for me, I use it to be the health care advocate for people in my family when crises happen. I am very good with list making, worrying about every possibility, and planning/preventing. I’ve realized I thrive under pressure.

      • For example, I have a tendency to obsess over things. Before when I would start to obsess about some irrational concern, the rule that I tried to apply was that I could think about anything I wanted to, except that thing. That worked ok I guess. Now when I start to feel anxious, pour all that obsessive energy into a work project. Or my workout. Or something else that will yield results for my efforts. I give up on trying to control my irrational thoughts or my obsessive tendencies. I just redirect those things and channel them into doing something that could be consequential. I used to try really hard to be well adjusted and all that, and it didn’t work and I just felt bad for being so….. abnormal? Anyway, things are going really well for me now. job is going super well, my relationships are great etc.

  15. Anonymous :

    I have some tax complications due to my job. I’m based in one area, but often travel for work. I’m going to do my taxes using a software, but I want to connect with a professional just to make sure I fill out returns for only the states needed. Can I schedule a quick meeting with a cpa for this? Would turbo tax live help with this?

  16. Anonymous :

    I have some tax complications due to my job. I’m based in one area, but often travel for work. I’m going to do my taxes using a software, but I want to connect with a professional just to make sure I fill out returns for only the states needed. Can I schedule a quick meeting with a cpa for this? Would turbo tax live help with this?

    • Anonymous :

      It depends on your state. I qualified one year because I worked more than 30 days in another state, but that state had reciprocity my with state so I only needed to file my regular state return.

  17. Divorce atty? :

    Divorce attorney recommendations in Richmond Va? Wife is a SAHM and husband just asked for a divorce. Thanks.

    • RVA Attorney :

      John Click at Blackburn, Conte. I have personally retained him and so have a number of girlfriends. He is an excellent attorney and a good human to boot.

  18. Anonymous :

    Best facial in DC?

    • Anonymous :

      I like going to the Aveda Institute in Chinatown because it’s insanely cheap. Like, $45 for 90 minutes. Obviously, because they’re being done by students it’s a little hit or miss, since some students are better than others, but since I don’t have serious skin concerns and it’s mostly just a fun/relaxing thing, I like that it’s cheap. And they use all the nice Aveda products. They’re only open Tuesday/Thursday, though, I think, so check the hours.

    • I’ve gotten a lot of facials in DC. I still like Bliss the best. I have skin issues though, so it’s not just relaxation for me.

    • For a productive facial (it is not a relaxing facial–it is a working facial) try Valentina at Luigi Parasomo Salon & Spa. I haven’t been since she moved locations (she used to be downtown and now she’s somewhere on Wisconsin), but she did incredible things for my skin.

  19. Question for those of you that have a base salary plus bonus/commission/incentive comp structure. Does your base adjust for raises/cost of living? I get a base of $90k plus 35% of receivables once I pass a certain threshold. If I get a raise to my base, it will take me longer to pass my threshold to qualify for the bonus. I’ve qualified the last 3 years but not the 3 before that. Part of it is the nature of the job. It took awhile to be in a spot where I could get money in the door.

    I’ve definitely made more money each subsequent year than the prior year. It just seems weird to not get a “raise” for so many years. There is always a risk that I don’t make the goal and get no bonus in which case I would wish that my base was higher.

    Anyone else in this boat?

  20. Vegan Dimer Ideas? :

    I’m feeling totally uninspired about dinner. What can I make for dinner for my vegan (visiting) brother and my non-vegan kids that doesn’t take forever or highly specialized ingredients?

    He prefers vegan but will eat vegetarian to be accommodating, so that’s an option too, although I will try to make as many vegan dinners as reasonably possible.

    • Indian food! Tofu butter masala for brother, same gravy and toss in pre-cooked chicken for Chicken butter masala for kids.
      Mexican – burrito bowl with guac and grilled veggies, rice and beans for brother and same ingredients for tacos or burritos or quesadillas for kids.
      Fried rice or Asian style stirfry (rice, peppers, spring onions, soy sauce) for brother and similar but add chicken for kids.

    • If you omit the parmesan, this is vegan. Delicious, easy, and kid-friendly

      https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-pasta-with-butternut-sq-64966

    • Anonymous :

      I really like the NY Times’ Roasted Carrot and Red Lentil Ragout (which I think I originally read about here). We usually pair it with some crusty bread and a salad.

      If he’s ok with being around people eating meat, you could do something like the Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma (also NYT) – serve with pita and hummus and olives and roasted eggplant (cube, toss with oil, and cook at the same time as the chicken, on a different pan), plus sliced tomatoes and cukes (either plain or tossed in red wine vinegar and olive oil).

      Or perhaps personal pizzas – keep toppings simple for the kids (mozzarella and pepperoni?), and something like pesto and thinly-sliced yukon gold potatoes as the toppings for his (lightly steam them in the microwave before baking the pizzas). Roasted red peppers and mushrooms are good as pizza toppings without cheese, too, imo, maybe with some onion slivers.

      Spaghetti with red sauce is always a solid vegan choice.

      (I could keep going and going…. apparently I’m ready for dinner!)

    • Imam bayildi :

      It’s relatively easy and sooooo good. I usually add feta cheese to make it more of a meal than a side dish; you could keep the feta on the side for your vegan brother.

      https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/10/aubergine-recipes-turkish-imam-bayildi-hungkar-begendi-roast-with-tarator-yotam-ottolenghi

  21. removing IUD? :

    I’m planning to have my Mirena IUD removed soon to TTC for the first time. Before getting the IUD, I knew a lot about what to expect physically, both from the insertion itself and the recovery. What should I know about having it removed?

    • Anonymous :

      I passed out when mine was inserted. The removal wasn’t a big deal, just felt like a little pinch.

      • removing IUD? :

        Did you have any cramping or anything in the days following? I’ve got some big events going on around the time that I’m thinking of getting it removed, so wondering if I need to intentionally schedule the removal for a date when I can have more down time.

        • BeenThatGuy :

          I describe to my friends that IUD insertion felt like a bow and arrow was shot into my lady parts. Removal was zero pain. Maybe some slight spotting for a few hours, if anything.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        +1. Had mine removed and replaced in the same appointment, removal wasn’t painful- just a weird sensation. Getting the replacement was WAY less painful than the first one, in case anyone reading is about to hit that 5-year mark and is looking for anecdata.

        • Anonymous :

          Same. I asked the doc to tell me when she removed the IUD, and she was quiet for a beat. Then she held it up and said “I actually already removed it.” In other words, I didn’t feel the removal at all, and the second insertion was not comfortable, but wasn’t anything like the initial insertion.

    • It is no big deal at all. You should plan on wearing a pad or panty liner for spotting. It is so much easier than insertion.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I didn’t feel the removal at all.

    • Anonymous :

      It is very common (per my doc and it was also my experience) to have heavier bleeding for 7-10 days after removal. I was not prepared for that and it freaked me out a bit. No pain, but the bleeding was an unexpected annoyance.

    • It was seriously NBD. I made the mistake of going back to work after getting it inserted and I couldn’t sit and was seeing stars. I didn’t pass out but I don’t faint easily. The removal was a bit painful but over quickly and I had no spotting or cramping. It was less pain than my normal period, tbh.

    • Anonymous :

      If you google “Mirena crash”, that’s what my life was like for almost 6 months after having it removed. My hormones were out of control, I had wild mood swings and I all but lost my s*x drive. I know this doesn’t happen to everyone, but if you feel out of control after, know that you’re not alone and go see your doctor. I wish I had gone sooner.

      And trust me, I know some of the websites sound really hokey. I wouldn’t have believed them if I hadn’t been there myself.

    • The day of, I was totally fine. I barely even felt the procedure. I had to pee a TON that day and the following couple days. Agree on prepping for spotting.

      I don’t think I had a Mirena crash, but definitely noticed some hormonal symptoms as my body readjusted in the couple months following. Mostly, I noticed much less of a foggy/tired feeling and I lost some weight–so my experience was generally positive.

    • Anon for this :

      Currently going through crazy complications from Mirena removal right now. I had such heavy and prolonged bleeding that I was on the verge of passing out and my hemoglobin levels plummeted. I missed work because I’d bleed through my clothes every 45 minutes. My doctor put me on iron supplements and tried a drug they give to trauma patients to stop bleeding; when that didn’t work, she put me back on HBC just to get the bleeding under control in the near term. I’m fine now that I’m back on HBC but I don’t know what this means long term for TTC.

      Not to freak you out but that’s my experience. My doctor did say, however, that she has never seen this in many years of working with Mirena and my situation seems totally unique to me. I did not have the crazy mood swings and loss of drive typical of “Mirena crash,” FWIW.

  22. vicarious shoe shopping? :

    I’m going to a pretty casual wedding in a midwestern barn and am in the market for some wedge sandals in either red, navy, or tan. But I have so many caveats! I’m not willing to go above 3.5 inches on the heel. I don’t find bold ankle straps a flattering look on me–although I love them on other people. . I’d rather not spend more than $100 or so, as there’s a not insignificant chance they’ll end up wrecked by the end of the evening. Has anyone seen anything fabulous out there?

    • Anonymous :

      I have the Seychelles Coffee Wedge in taupe and it’s a comfortable shoe. It has a thin ankle strap which helps keep the shoe on. I don’t have small calves and it is more flattering than expected. Plus, certain sizes are under $30 on A-zon

  23. Anonymous :

    I have a strange issue. I feel homesick even when I am home. It’s very uncomfortable. I get it when I am away also but why would it happen at home. It started when I was about 19( decades ago). I’d appreciate any suggestions. Would therapy help? Everything else seems fine. No medical issues. Thanks.

    • Home is where the heart is, they say. Where is your heart longing to be?

    • Yes, this sounds worthy of exploring in therapy. I agree that it’s odd to experience homesickness at home, so it’s possible that there’s something underlying this feeling that would come out in talk therapy? But absolutely you can get therapy for homesickness in general.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Could this be nostalgia rather than homesickness? I can understand being at home but still longing for how things used to be, perhaps when you were younger and without many responsibilities. Maybe reframe it as nostalgia and then try to be grateful for having had those experiences and the opportunity to have new ones.

    • I feel the exact same way! I try to explain this to people and they just don’t get it. Your post made me feel a lot better (even if I don’t have any answers).

  24. Of Counsel :

    Seconding what Junior Minion said and as the parent of a child just getting ready to start college, parental income is a huge determiner of what financial aid/loans are available. If you have assets and refuse to use them to pay for college tuition, be aware that you are placing your child at a huge competitive disadvantage.

    I have seen way too many of my younger colleagues struggling with loans that are more than a house payment who are miserable in jobs they hate but cannot afford to quit. I may not want my child to be a metaphorical ski bum, but I also want her to be able to chose to be a social worker or a zoo keeper or a paramedic.

  25. Carolee has wonderful faux pearls …in the department store…website seems to be under construction…but they tell you which stores…pearls give your skin a glow that helps you look not so tired

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