Coffee Break: Michelle Pump

We did a whole roundup of nude-for-you heels last week, but I didn’t realize that Naturalizer has a whole Nude Collection with a million shades. This Michelle pump has been around for a while, and it’s great to see it in so many shades of brown and beige and tan — I applaud the effort on Naturalizer’s part. The shoe is $89 at Zappos in a wide range of sizes: 4–12 in narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide. Naturalizer Michelle

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  1. Kat, this is EXACTLY the pump that the judge LOVES for me to wear b/c that is the color of my leg’s and when I wear this, he think’s I am alot taller then I am. The manageing partner told me already that I can buy a pair, but I will buy 2 pair! YAY!!!!!

    This weekend, I was sneezeing alot and Dad says it is HAY fever. I told him I was NOT anywhere near the stables where Rosa lives, but he said I could get HAY fever in NYC. Is this for real? I am NOT sure he is right, but I will defer to the HIVE. My eyes are itchy and wonder if it is NOT hay fever, then what could it be? FOOEY!

  2. Anonymous :

    Headed to Costco later today for a quick stop on the way home from work. In general, I don’t love spending time in Costco, so I haven’t browsed in there in awhile. What are some favorite things you always get at Costco, if you shop there? I know selection varies by region but I’d love to pick up some new finds instead of the same old stuff I always grab. Especially if they’re conveniently packable for school and work lunches. Good finds in the cosmetic department would be nice to hear about also, as I usually bypass that section.

    • Cello Wisps are so good if you like cheese crackers.

    • They have these individually portioned guacamole things. They’re actually mixed with Greek yogurt so that may not be your thing if you’re vegan but it also makes them a little more filling. Anyway, pretty good and it’s nice for lunch, snack or breakfast with toast.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I am obsessed with cashew clusters with almonds and pumpkin seeds from the snack section. Great mid-morning snack with protein.

    • There is this seed/dried berry mix called “Salad Topper” that I am obsessed with for my salads. Delish!

    • Anonymous :

      Belgioioso “snacking cheese”–to-go packages of fresh mozzarella, 3 small balls for 70 calories.

    • Anonymous :


      Pharmacy area – dove soap, Oil of Olay serum, vitamins/melatonin, my meds at the pharmacy, eyewear

      Tuna fish

    • Anonymous :

      Awesome suggestions, keep them coming folks!! I loooove nuts and need to get my HDL up anyway, so those suggestions are very welcome, thanks!

      • Anonymous :

        Grab a roasted chicken for tonite’s dinner. $4.99 for a big roaster. Best bargain at Costco.

        • Anonymous :

          Haha, that’s exactly what prompted the trip – my husband and I desperately want to avoid cooking tonight after cooking Easter dinner yesterday.

    • They have these energy bites things I can’t remember the name of that I like. They’re balls of nuts and fruit, primarily dates, coconut, and pistachios I think. A couple of them is like 100 calories I want to say? Makes a good snack, and much easier for me to measure out for myself than trying to figure out how much 1/4 cup of almonds is at my desk.

      Also love their sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Premier Protein shakes -I only use them as coffee creamer. One shake is only 160 calories, less than five grams of carbs, and some fiber. One shake lasts me a week as coffee creamer.
      Kirkland Signature Brand Protein Bars – the texture is off-putting to some people (kind of like a tootsie roll) but they’re only 190 calories and around 3 grams of carbs. I keep one in my purse for an emergency snack. They’re supposedly knock-off Quest bars.
      La Croix Sparking Water by the case
      Individual packs of nuts – these are a little calorie high for a snack (~230) but a good occasional treat.
      Gum – keep a pack in every purse, in the car, at my desk, etc.
      Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion Packs (the cream bottle with the green top)
      Sheets- the Kirkland Signature brand sheets are wonderful. Super high thread count, extra deep pockets.
      Towels – the best price on bath sheets that I’ve seen. These towels get fluffier and more luxurious with each wash.
      $5 Rotisserie chicken
      Kirkland Signature brand individual cups of Greek Yogurt
      Organic Baby Spinach by the tub
      Fresh salmon with herb butter
      Marinated baby balls of mossarella
      Cleaning supplies – Trash bags, swiffer refills, dishwasher detergent, Clorox wipes

    • Senior Attorney :

      Trash bags
      Paper products — toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex
      Kirkland brand facial wipes
      Toothpaste if they carry your brand
      Printer paper

    • Camisoles!!!

      if you’ve got kids: baby wipes, diapers

      wine (the most status obsessed Boomer I know is obsessed w/ Kirkland wine)


      frozen fruits

      the dried fruit packages (in snack foods)



      the prepared stuffed peppers

      Kirkland disinfectant wipes, detergent.

    • If your Costco has good produce, berry season is starting and they have great prices for organic. I also like their organic salad mixes. Wine if that’s your thing and your Costco carries it.

      Individual hummus packets, fresh salsa, cheese, Aussie bites, Kirkland nut bars, Greek yogurt, frozen veggies and fruit (I especially like the organic frozen broccoli for a quick side of steamed broccoli, the edamame packets are good too), wild salmon (fresh or frozen)

      Kirkland shampoo and conditioner in the purple bottle, Kirkland toothpaste, Egyptian magic balm, lactic acid moisturizer (Am-lactin? I can’t remember the name right now but it’s the only thing that takes care of the little bumps I get on my upper arms and thighs)

      I also grab weekend clothes and shoes from Costco (and sometimes I can get work shirts that knock off popular Nordstrom styles). I love the pajamas I just got from Costco that are short-sleeved and have pockets in the pants.

    • fake coffee snob :

      I recently got a box of “fig bars” from nature’s bakery – they were new to me, and they’re really fantastic (they’re like a less-sweet, more-whole-wheaty fig newton). They’re in packs of two cookies, rather than the bar I’d expected, but they’re really convenient (and reasonably portioned) that way. Plus the box has three different flavors in it. My #1 new snack.

      I’m a huge costco fan, and I’ll pretty much buy anything there (especially kirkland signature branded stuff), but especially trash bags, dog stuff, linens, baking supplies, frozen fruit, canned goods, frozen meat, over-the-counter medication (generic claritin is shockingly cheap there), paper goods, and booze. The only misses for me were the single-pack hummus (too bland) and the frozen mac and cheese (but I think that’s gone now). Oh, and the refrigerated mini naan! And refrigerated mediterranean chicken skewers! I’m DC metro; I know some of those products vary by location. Also I recently bought a great-for-the-price ($20?) stretchy rain jacket – it’s not high-end but it’s both flattering and comfortable.

      Welp, I definitely have a costco problem.

      • fake coffee snob :

        To clarify – the naan and chicken skewers are a hit, not a miss. The naan in particular is a staple for my indian boyfriend, who won’t eat many other stores’ versions.

    • Anonymous :


    • Meat. At least where I live (Charlotte) Costco has the best meat for the price. Specifically, I like their organic ground beef and the antibiotic free individually wrapped frozen chicken breasts.

      • Yes. I buy almost all of our meat at Costco — ground beef, organic chicken, pork tenderloins, prime NY strip, salmon filets, and tuna steaks. I make a trip for meat about once every 2-3 months and vacuum-seal and freeze it at home. When I was unemployed, I spent a day traveling around our various grocery stores, Target, etc., comparing prices on just about everything. Costco had the best price on almost all the meat and fish. Some grocery store sales can match Costco’s prices, but they rarely beat it.

    • Frozen fish, especially mahi mahi and tuna steaks. They’re frozen individually and thaw quickly. We throw a few into a bowl of water and they’re thawed by the time we’re ready to cook.

  3. Meg March :

    Atlanta ‘rettes! I’m going to be moving to attend Emory this fall. My husband will probably be working in Dunwoody, and would love to be able to take MARTA. I will have a car (we are hoping to be able to just do one car). Any recs on where to rent? We’re in our late 20s, so aren’t trying to be in the “student section” and would like a unicorn neighborhood– fun, walkable for dinner/coffee type outings, doesn’t close up at night, not too expensive. Open to house or apartment living.

    • Anonymous :

      Midtown is great! I lived there until about a year ago (similar age to you), and it sounds like it would fit what you’re looking for. Tons of bars and restaurants, one of the only parts of Atlanta that’s truly walkable, really safe, MARTA-accessible (I used to use it to get to work) and right by Piedmont Park. There are several buildings in the area, a few apartment and several condo. The condo buildings are generally a better deal, you can find a lot of them advertised through Above Atlanta.

    • What does “not too expensive” mean? Decatur is probably your best bet given what you describe (close to Emory – in fact they run a shuttle to campus), MARTA station on the square, highly walkable – but it’s not cheap by Atlanta standards.

      Midtown might also work – your husband would have better MARTA options (since he wouldn’t have to change trains), but you’d have a longer drive to campus given traffic/the road layout. Midtown will be a bit cheaper (it’ll be apartment/condo; Decatur would give you house options). But again, “cheaper” is really relative. Probably like $1800-2000 for a one-bedroom if you want a fancy building with pool/gym/etc.; less if you’re willing to drop some amenities.

      That said, depending on what you’re coming to study, I think it would be worth being closer to campus. Emory doesn’t really have a “student section”; it’s in the middle of one of Atlanta’s most expensive residential neighborhoods (Druid Hills). Students tend to live either in school housing or some distance off-campus as a result, but midtown will be far.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Atlanta is wonderful! For a Dunwoody worker who wants to take MARTA, you would really need to be on the red line. With that narrowing your options, I would look at Midtown which meets all of your qualifications. There is even an Emory shuttle that connects with Georgia Tech, which is in Midtown. While Midtown is notoriously pricey, there can be deals on condos for rent, which you can find on craigslist. You can also find some good condo deals through property management services like Cooper Brown Real Estate I would avoid the apartment complexes since you don’t want to be in the “student section.”

      Other neighborhoods to look at might be Decatur, Brookhaven (both of these would be difficult for your husband to MARTA from, but convenient for you), or Garden Hills which is on the red line (Lindbergh area), but somewhat less “happening.”

      • Bless you for saying Atlanta is wonderful on a day like today, when it feels like the whole city is crumbling.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Yay! Atlanta is awesome!!

      I grew up in the area right around Emory, and I see tons of houses for rent around the immediate vicinity of campus. I make the Midtown-to-Emory commute a lot to pick up my kid after work, and it’s one of the WORST. Midtown is a great, very trendy hip awesome walkable neighborhood, but so is Decatur and the area right around Emory (to the north and west of campus). You will need a car to live in Atlanta no matter what, and the commute around the top of I-285 over to Dunwoody shouldn’t be terrible because it’s against the traffic.

      I’d be happy to talk more if you want to circle offline! (Obviously I have opinions about the city, but I’ve lived here my whole life except for about 10 years of out-in-the-world, and I have a good sense for traffic all over the place)

    • Welcome to Atlanta, and to Emory! I’m finishing up my grad degree this May, so I’ve been living here for two years. I live in Decatur and take the Emory shuttle from the North Dekalb Mall to campus every day. It’s technically walkable from my apartment, but I drive because the Park and Ride shuttle stop has free parking, I’m lazy, and walking a mile to the bus in August is a pretty sweaty way to start your day. I’d check out Emory’s housing site- a lot of non-traditional postings end up there. I got my apartment because even though I responded to a listing that had already been rented, my landlady had another unit coming open that she hadn’t posted yet. Some people post apartments/carriage house situations on those forums. Depending on what program you’re doing at Emory, see if that school specifically has any housing resources. My grad program has its own separate housing listings in addition to the standard Emory ones.
      MARTA to Dunwoody could be tricky. You might be better off letting him have the car and dropping you off at an Emory shuttle stop before driving to work. Decatur is super cute- it has its own little downtown area that’s a great place to walk around and grab dinner/drinks if you don’t want to go into Midtown.

  4. Overnight parking in downtown DC? :

    Coming to DC later this week to meet up with a friend who will be in town for a meeting at the St. Regis (16th & K NW). Parking at the hotel garage is $50/night (plus valet gratuity, I assume?), which is hard on my country-mouse budget. Is there a cheaper but still safe place to park for 48 hours or so, or should I just go ahead and pay for the hotel garage since I’m sharing my friend’s room for free?

    • Look at Parking Panda or Spot Hero or the like – search based on the hotel address and you’ll find other garages in close proximity and you can see what they charge. That area is FULL of office buildings, most of which have garages that are open to the public. I wouldn’t necessarily pay $50 to park in a hotel if you can park for $30-40 a block away (that’s what my quick search shows – not knowing your dates). Though keep in mind that garages do close – so you need to be arriving and departing while the garage is open or else you can’t get in and out (though usually that’s like 10 pm — so don’t show up at the garage at 11 pm wanting your car bc you likely will have to wait until morning) – I’m guessing hotel garages don’t have this issue.

    • Park at DCA in a longer term lot (coupons for these abound!) and metro/uber in. You likely won’t need your car anyway!

      • You could also try Union Station if DCA doesn’t work for some reason. It was $25/day last time I parked there (almost 2 years ago).

    • There are four Metro stations (Greenbelt; Franconia Springfield; Huntington; Wiehle-Reston) that let you park overnight, so you could park there and then take the Metro into central DC. Google for Metro parking and scroll to the bottom of the page for more info.

      • I would not park at Wiehle or Franconia (don’t know where the other 2 are exactly) and endure a 40+ min ride into the city in order to save $50. Just park in a downtown office building garage – or if you must at DCA or Union Station.

      • Anonymous :

        Is it tough to get spots there? Would be arriving noonish Wednesday.

      • Is it tough to get spots there? Would be arriving noonish Wednesday.

    • There are at least a dozen parking garages in that area – look on Spot Hero, I’m sure you can find something in the immediate few blocks that is cheaper. It’s right by the White House – your car will be safe in any enclosed garage.

  5. Anonymous for this :

    This is going to come across as obnoxious but I can’t tell anyone in my real life about this and I am hoping for some advice. We are about to buy our first house. We are late 30s and have one toddler in daycare. Our total household income is about $215K a year, though my husband is going to look for a new (hopefully higher paying) job in about 6 months. I am also hoping to possibly scale back a bit if we have a second child (though not for at least two years). All of which is to say that I expect our HH income to stay more or less the same for the next five years or so.

    We have about $200K in the bank for a downpayment and have been looking at houses around $700-800K. We are also expecting to get a $50K gift from one of our parents toward the house and (this is the crazy part) may be getting as much as $100K in an inheritance in the next few months (assuming that some is lost to lawyers/fees, we could assume more like $60-70K). We recognize that we are extremely fortunate, and this is the first time either of us has ever come into any money at all, let alone this much.

    We are trying to figure out how best to invest this windfall of an inheritance (assuming it goes through as planned). It’s tempting to use it to either buy more house (but then monthly payments might be too much for us), pay down the principal, or buy down the interest rate, but I am wondering if we would be better off investing it for our son’s college funds and/or retirement. Given that our HH income is $215K, I don’t want to buy off more house than we can chew, but we are stretching a bit to get in a better school district, and a little extra toward the house might help us with that. We are not maxing out our retirement every year but we are hoping to start getting closer to that soon.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts — also, should we be going straight to a financial advisor or is this not enough money to really warrant that?

    • It’s your call whether you put the money into more house or paying down the mortgage faster. But if you want to invest 60k – no don’t got to a financial advisor. Throw it into an S&P fund.

      • I guess the question we have is how to maximize the additional money. Do we use it to buy a nicer home (that we plan to keep for the long haul), to invest more for college now (as opposed to retirement), or do we just invest it in an S&P fund and use for a bit of everything? Maybe I’ve answered my own question but thanks for the input.

        • Well, if you invest in an S&P fund, your strategy for that money should be to hold it there so it can grow. And then you could use the eventual growth for college or retirement, or whatever.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      With HHI of $215k annually, I’d be trying to find a house more in the $500-600k range, in all honesty. Vacations, school/daycare/summer camp/nanny, household upkeep/upgrades, are all shockingly expensive, and have a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it.

      • +1oo. We’ve got a similar HHI and $700-800k is too expensive of a house for us. Our house was $585k and the monthly payments with taxes/insurance and paying some extra are about $4k a month. Plus, $200k to put down on a house gets you in conforming loan standards with lower rates than jumbo.

        • Counterpoint, it depends so much on the local area and taxes. Our house was $850K and we put 15% down, and the monthly payments are just under $4K. It’s fine on an income similar to the OP’s.

          • I was just going to add this. Without identifying too much about myself, we are in a state with very low property tax. We are expecting to pay around $750K and with 20% down, we expect to pay about $3200/month (before any tax savings at the end of the year). But I appreciate the comment.

          • Our house was $800K, we put 20% down, and we bought it budgeting on my salary (then around 215 pre-tax), which considering that my husband is now going to stay home full-time with our impending arrival was judicious. We picked a house with a great school district all the way through high school so that we wouldn’t need to pay for private schools and/or move. We pay $2900 a month in mortgage and do not escrow taxes/insurance, which are an extra $7800 a year. Very doable given that we are not big travelers and both cars were paid for, no debt, etc. If I had other payments, I might consider scaling down in house, but in our area for a decent commute (in a decent but by no means luxury) townhouse, I was renting for $2350 a month alone, so the jump to the mortgage wasn’t that big a deal, and we bought a house we can grow into (2200 sq. ft., 4 bd/2.5 bath) so that we wouldn’t have to move again if we didn’t want to. And now our “rent” is fixed and won’t be going up every year. The tax refund is usually pretty high as well for us (in part because I haven’t adjusted my withholdings yet though) – definitely paid for the new master bath redo due to a leak and the attic insulation redo after we discovered mice had turned the attic into a playground this past winter – about 15K on top of the 15K in bonus money we used to replace the HVAC that was on its last legs. Very glad we had the savings to deal with those unforeseen/planned HVAC projects in what was a “move-in ready” home.

      • This. I get that you’re stretching to get into a better school district, but that usually comes with so much extra expense. Consider whether you can truly afford that neighborhood, and what kind of example you can realistically set for your kids.

        It’s a rare human that can avoid the “all the school friends are vacationing in the tropics, let’s at least go to Mexico” and “every car on our block is a luxury, we have to upgrade this Ford” thoughts. Let alone that you’ll pay more for childcare, lawn services, sports, and gyms.

        We purposefully bought in a little worse neighborhood than we could afford. The schools are decent but not nearly the best in the state. But if our kids struggle or have special needs, we’ll be able to afford any extra services or tutors. We can afford to take fun vacations, we can join the local zoo and museum without issue (which means super fun summer camps), and we can hire out lawn and house cleaning so we can spend our weekends as a family. These are the values we want to pass on to our kids – valuing experiences over things – so it was the right call for us.

        • I take your point, but our hope is to prioritize our home/education and plan to continue living pretty frugally otherwise. We don’t take big vacations, clean our own home, use an affordable daycare, share one pretty modest car, and have never really fallen into the “keeping up with the joneses” trap. We just want to prioritize the big things (home/education/being debt-free (student loans were my poison)/retirement, despite what it might look like to others here). But point taken — I am also being cautious about this.

          • I think you’re getting a lot of push back because buying an 800k house on a 215k income is the complete opposite of being frugal and prioritizing being debt free. Even with a 200k down payment you’re still talking about taking on over half a million in debt. And if you already have cut out all “unnecessary” extras, and DIY everything now, there is going to be nothing left to cut if something happens. You are also not leaving yourself any room to make your life easier once your second kid arrives. All the traditional advice to “outsource!” in order to be able to spend more time with family goes out the window when you’re spending every dime on your mortgage and daycare.

            I think of myself and my husband as being frugal and prioritizing being debt free. We also prioritize our daughter’s education. Our HHI is $150k and our house was under $150k. Is it modest? Yes. But it’s also cute and cozy and we love it. If all goes to plan, we should have it paid off in 5-6 years. We’ll be able to send our kid to any private school she wants to go to. Do all the upgrades we want in our house. Go on any vacation we want. Pay cash if one of our cars craps out. Save a ton for retirement (we’re already both saving 15%).

            There is a tremendous amount of freedom in buying a house that is much less expensive than what you can afford and a lot of risk in buying one that you could in no way afford on one income.

          • Anonymous :

            You clean your own home now. I can’t imagine having two kids, working part-time AND cleaning a mansion. That is a lot of space and you will want a housekeeper, gardener, etc. I promise.

          • The idea that $800K buys you a mansion where we live is laughable. More like a 40-50 year old, 2200 sq ft home that’s a 10 min drive from the last stop on the Metro (DC area). Not saying we can afford that, but can we at least recognize that houses cost different amounts in different markets? I feel like half of this board thinks we’ll start taking our helicopter to work after we move to our new compound!

        • FWIW I grew up in a very nice town in a crappy little section of it. Everyone did go skiing, and to Aruba, etc., and we did road trips. My parents drove crappy cars. Was it easy every day as a teenager to have my dad pick me up in a dented 20 year old car when my friends got picked up in BMWs? No… But being a teenager isn’t easy anyway. Plus, I went to one of the top public schools in the country, and I learned the value of a dollar. I think my parents made the right call on the neighborhood/school district. I think it would have been a disservice to me and my brother to feel ‘wealthier’ in a crappier school system.

      • + 1. When we had a similar HH income we bought our first home for $525 K. I would have really hesitated to buy something in the 800 k range.

      • Anonymous :

        +3. I guess it depends somewhat if this is pre or post-tax, but we have a similar HHI (pre-tax) and our house is just over $500k. I would not be comfortable with significantly more. Before kids we could have swung it, although I wanted to put gobs of money in the bank because I knew kids would be expensive and I also wanted money to travel, etc. while we were still DINKs. One child added approximately $4k per month to our budget (most of that is daycare) and now we simply could not afford a larger mortgage.

        • Again, we are lucky to live somewhere where daycare is more affordable, but we are currently paying about $1500/month for daycare. Definitely considering what our monthly budget would look like if we added a second child to daycare.

          • Anonymous :

            If you live somewhere where daycare is only $1500/month, I guarantee you that you can buy a an acceptable house for much less than $800k. I live in a very LCOL Midwestern state. The average home price around here is ~$200k and I don’t believe there has been a home in our county on sale for more than $700k in the last year. And I pay almost $2000/month for daycare. It really doesn’t sound like you can afford this much house.

    • Anonymous :

      If by “not maxing out retirement” every year you mean you aren’t each putting 18k in a 401k, get a financial advisor. You’re saving not nearly enough for retirement. You should be maxing out and then saving more on top. You’re already behind so no, don’t use the inheritance to buy more house, invest it.

      • If this statement is based on the idea that “everyone needs $2.5 million in the bank to retire,” then it’s misguided. That’s per my financial advisor, FYI.

        • Mine said the same thing. I think that Anonymous above is a bit too dramatic about it, but I also wouldn’t spend this extra money on a house when I wasn’t maxing out my tax-advantaged retirement plans.

      • +1. We have a similar HHI, student loan debt that requires us to pay about what OP does in student loans. We bought our house for $225K. We max out our 401Ks each year, and this year we should be able to (fingers crossed!) five years out of grad school be able to invest more at the end of the year on top of that.

        Our property taxes are also low, and we pay about $1350/mo. We could afford more house if we didn’t save as aggressively for retirement and were more comfortable with a “lean” budget. But in my mind, that means I can’t really afford more house.

        YMMV, of course. But all that to say, I think $800K is high for a house on your income, and wouldn’t put the extra money toward it. I would be looking in the $500K realm, max, and maxing out the 401Ks/saving for the kid’s college/giving myself room in the budget to outsource/make life easier with kid #2. You may be able to technically afford the house, but your overall financial and happiness picture will suffer, I think.

    • Anonymous :

      I wouldn’t buy more house. In my experience, downpayments are the easy part of home-buying, keeping up with a large mortgage payment, especially in changing circumstances (what if someone loses a job?) is the hard part. I’d calculate what you can afford without the inheritance and buy based on that. Then I’d invest the inheritance in an index fund and start saving for retirement more aggressively (because you have that inheritance as a cushion).

      • Anonymous :

        More house also means more monthly utilities (heat, electricity). You are basically locking in a higher fixed cost for yourself for the next 20-30 years. Buy as much house as you think you’ll need for the next 5-10 years. If you find you need more house at that point, you can move (yes, even if is a pain in the @ss).

        • anon at 2:05 :

          This too. If you are going to spend $750k on a house, I’d make sure you are getting all newish systems, a new roof, the yard/fence/deck/kitchen that you want, etc in the purchase price because those upgrades and maintenance items are not cheap. We’re about to replace 1 A/C unit and do some duct repair and it’s going to run us $9k.

    • I wouldn’t buy more house. I’d set aside some of it for the house emergency fund- you’ll inevitably have a big ticket repair at some point and stick the rest in a fund for retirement.

    • Start maxing out your retirement right NOW, then figure out how much else you want to apportion to other savings (i.e. college fund, emergency fund, etc.) based on your current income. Then you can figure out how much you can spend on a house in down payment and monthly payments or if it would be wiser to rent in that school district for a few years until you have the full picture in front of you – you haven’t said how much you have saved in general or retirement other than an amount of a down payment. Don’t rely on money you don’t yet have. If you get it, great! Then you can do this exercise again with the inheritance and figure out if you want to put some in college savings, invest it, maintenance on the home, etc. Have either of you owned a home before – maintenance and unexpected repairs can be expensive and unfortunately necessary.

    • I would wait until you’re certain you’re going to be inheriting, and use the money towards a bigger downpayment on a house towards the low end of the range you’re thinking of without taking that money into account. That’ll result in a smaller mortgage payment and more cushion in your budget going forward, which, in all honesty, it sound like you might want given that you plan to have more children without an increase in your current incomes.

      • Spot on. Don’t count on the inheritance until it is in your bank. All sorts of things happen to slow and eat up inheritances.

    • Anonymous :

      One of the smartest things we ever did in our lives was buying much less house than we could afford. We were told we could afford a $2,200 per-month house payment. Ours is $1,300 a month ($1,000 payment with a $300 payment on a HELOC we took out to fill in an old in-ground pool; should be paid off in two years). That extra $900 a month has helped fund a lot of little and big things over the years. We can easily float the house payment on one income, which we’ve had to do. Some of the most miserable people we know are the ones who are “house poor,” they bought too much house and are stuck paying for it.

      Here’s the sad truth about houses. Buying the house is only the beginning of your journey into the expensive world of home ownership. You have to furnish the house. You have to heat and cool it. You have to clean it. You have to maintain it, and sometimes even with good maintenance, you have to repair it. The bigger the house, the bigger these expenses will be.

      If I was in your shoes, I would try to leave most of that money in the bank (or investments) and find a house where the payment is affordable on one income, with a standard 20% down payment. Neighborhood is more important than house. It’s far better to buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhood than the best house in a not-great neighborhood. School districts matter a lot.

      Most homes don’t appreciate in value in a huge way, unless you’re on a really long (like multi-decade) timeline. And sometimes not even then. If you’re in San Francisco, Seattle, NYC or Los Angeles, YMMV. Most other places, that money will do you more good working for you in the market than being sunk into your house.

      • +1000 We have a similar HHI and were approved for something ridiculous like $500K. We spent less than half of that, and I have breathed so much easier because of it. My house is small, but it’s well-maintained, and we’ve had cash on hand to do things like refinish the floors and get landscaping done and take vacations while still saving for retirement and not feeling like we’re house-poor.

      • Anonymous :

        Another person chiming in with a former DINK family, down to one salary involuntarily (while our expenses went up at the same time). If you can’t afford it on one salary, you’re in for a world of hurt at some point.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Yeah just seconding everyone above – don’t go higher on the house. I can’t speak to your location but I would also just add even if you are able to put more money down, if you are in a higher property tax location you will still be on the hook for those additional property taxes. In my city, you’d be looking at $25k of property taxes a year for an $800k home.

      True story: I used to be in a household with ~$250k in HHI. Thankfully I live in a ~$250k house in which we have ~50% equity (bought a fixer upper and remodeled for cash) because my husband lost his job (which was ~1/3 – 40% of our yearly income total) and the industry we are both in is struggling. It’s been a huge weight off my mind that we can easily live comfortably and continue to save aggressively despite the fact that for us the “worst case scenario” has come true

      • Anonymous :


        It is best to buy a house that you could manage to afford if one of your lost your job.

      • JuniorMinion :

        I should add that I am in general bearish on the future market for single family homes. I think the secular bull market seen in the 80s and 90s and early 00s in real estate driven by decreasing interest rates and economic growth has made many (my parents) look at homes as an ever rising commodity – but I don’t see those same drivers coming back to the American economy – we are looking at a rising interest rate environment and nonfarm payrolls that aren’t growing enough to match those leaving the workforce.

        Additionally, in 1990, the median home price in the United states was $122k (Source: US Census) and the median household income was $30k (Source: Stanford). Today, the median household income is $56k (p;er Google) and the median home price is $313k (Source: US Census). This implies that the average home is now out of reach of the average American household – which isn’t a predictor of good things for home prices.

        • Definitely agree here. I do know a few people who managed to buy low and sell high on housing, but it’s not easy and I don’t think it should be thought of as a given that everyone will be able to do that.

          • JuniorMinion :

            Yeah I definitely know some people who have done well, usually in urban areas where they bought on the frontier of “gentrification” (I hate that word but it is what it is) – but I don’t think its the guarantee that it once was that a house in random place x is going to automatically be worth significantly more in 5 years.

            My parents bought a house for ~$400k all in in 1985 (including renovations) which they now could maybe sell for $650k – thats about a 1.5% annual return.

          • Agreed. I don’t see my house as an investment, really. It’s an asset, and my shelter. I’m in an area where renting/buying is basically a lifestyle choice (it’s slightly cheaper to own if you don’t need to make major repairs every year).

            I’ve owned my home for 5 years, and owing to buying at the dip in the market, we have have about $15K more equity than our payments would otherwise have afforded us, based on comps in the area. It’s not some windfall, and it’s not enough to make me even consider moving.

      • Don't overextend on your house!!! :

        I work in real estate. Total HHI around $350k; house purchase last year was $600k and I really wish it had been lower. You will never regret having more flexibility/cash on hand. I make almost double what you do, no daycare expenses yet, and I’d never dream of splashing out $800k on anything except MAYBE if it had a nice basement rental apartment.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, why would you even consider buying an $800k house when you’re not close to maxing retirement savings? Start putting maxing retirement ASAP and then figure out what kind of house you can afford post-tax, post-retirement savings, without factoring in the inheritance, which is still a hypothetical at this point. If that’s only a townhouse or condo in your preferred school district or if you decide you need to postpone buying for another year or two so you have more time to save, so be it.

      • I didn’t say we weren’t close, I said we were trying to get closer. We are probably only a few thousand a year shy of that — in part because we were paying down my (significant) law school loans and trying to build up enough savings to buy our first home. But yes, we are planning to get there this year as well.

        • Anonymous :

          I think then you just can’t afford to buy more house. You’ve basically cannibalizes your retirement to amass a down payment to begin with. Making that kind of money is enough to pay off student loans, save for retirement, and save for a house. Do you have a retirement plan? Now is the time to make one.

        • If you have significant student loans, I’d think seriously about using the windfall to get rid of that debt…

          • Anonymous :


            Don’t buy more house if you have student loan debt. We were at a similar HHI and debt free with a six figure down payment and still only bought 525K worth of house. House poor is not a fun way to live.

        • I know you really want the bigger, better house but you should probably listen to what everybody here is telling you and not try to make excuses.

          • Anonymous :

            +1 OP is coming across as a little..resistant. And the fact that you have significant law student loans OP suggests you may not be great with knowing when to say know…just perhaps consider that and pull back.

          • I’m not trying to make excuses. Buying more house is actually not at the top of our list of options, but it is one of them since we’re, you know, buying a house right now. My inclination is to buy what we would have bought without this additional money and then invest the rest (leaving some as a cushion while we rebuild our savings), but I wondered if others had thoughts that were different since some people see buying a home for the long haul to be a good investment.

            I should have been clearer that “buying more house” would still fall within that initial price range. We are in a HCOL suburb and just happen to have safe, reliable, and affordable daycare (maybe that’s unusual but that’s how it is). The average home in our area is about $1MM, but we are looking in the $700-750 range. Buying more house would put us in the $750-800 range. I have paid off all of my student debt as of this year (all $150K of it) and can now start putting the money that was going to those payments toward my retirement. We have almost double our annual income in our 401ks and IRAs so yes, that’s a priority, but it’s not like we haven’t been saving.

          • JuniorMinion :

            I don’t think you are making excuses OP – but I would caution you to think this through because beautiful homes can sway even the most logical of us. You start to imagine your life in the pretty house and start to try to justify how you could swing it.

            For me personally I would live in the cheapest house I could that gets me the amenities that are important to me (schools, commute, space) as I don’t believe single family homes present an attractive return when taking into account transaction costs compared to other market alternatives. I don’t believe any of the burgeoning trends on housing (stagnating wages, Boomer downsizing, rising interest rates, Millenial disinterest in housing ownership, current high prices, excess housing inventory in the $500k – $1mm range (per WSJ)) are a good thing for property valuations (there are always exceptions – but on average).

            I would subsequently invest the rest of the money in index funds or single stocks if that’s your jam. I am a big fan of stocks / indices with exposure to Asian markets given the GDP growth over there.

            I would also take the money you are not spending on the more expensive house max out your 401k / fully fund your child’s 529 plan going forwards once you have fully funded your emergency savings including for home maintenance. I know that having liquid savings is important, but at your income level 401k / 529 contributions are likely the most meaningful tax shelter available to you.

    • Definitely fact check me on this, but if your parents are planning to give that money for a house, look into having them give it to you in advance rather than at the time of the purchase. I believe that if it looks like there is considerable outside money, mortgage terms can be changed somewhat unfavorably for you in this position. Don’t know if that’s always the case, or just a few scenarios I’ve heard of, and if it is applicable not sure what sort of amounts raise that red flag.

      • JuniorMinion :

        I have heard this too and knew someone who got dinged for this and the house ended up with her parents names on the deed – its more all money you plan to use towards your downpayment needs to be in an account belonging to you some timeframe before you approach a lender for preapproval I think. Also if I am remembering correctly the issue with the person I know is that she received the money within 2-3 months of buying the house and that was some kind of red flag.

      • We can cover the full downpayment with our own cash (including settlement costs and 12 months in liquid savings) but this gift (and any potential inheritance) would help to re-cushion our savings account afterward if we stretch. But yes, good flag — our mortgage lender mentioned that as well.

        • Oh, also, the $50,000 will likely be taxed as a gift, so it will end up being less than $50k, ultimately.

          • Anonymous :

            Probably not. Each of her parents can give her $14,000 without tax and they can each give her husband $14,000 without tax. So the gift tax limit for couple-to-couple gifting is really $56,000.

          • Thanks! You learn something new every day…

          • Also, gift tax is paid by the giver not the receiver.

    • I’d buy the cheapest house in a good school district and I’d prioritize retirement savings. You need to be maxing that first, then make decisions on where to put extra savings. You’re looking to make job changes in the near future, but I’m worried that you’re buying a house with a best-case scenario expectation of what will happen. If that doesn’t work out and your husband doesn’t get a higher-paying job and you can’t cut back your hours, can you still make the house payments without stress?

    • Anonymous :

      Sorry, this bugs me and I have to say something.

      Putting $18k annually in a 401k isn’t the right choice for every family. Retirement is one thing to save for. Emergencies, home repairs, college, and other long-term goals are also important to consider. If someone puts $18k a year into their 401k, but then does little to no other saving, there’s a problem. Potentially a big problem. 401ks are great but there’s not a lot of flexibility in how you can use that money without penalty. And an employer-sponsored 401k may or may not be a great overall investment vehicle. Quality and fees vary widely among plans.

      If the OP has not been maxing her 401k but has saved $200k for a down payment, she’s a disciplined saver. I don’t think she should buy an $800k house, but I don’t think maxing her 401k is more of a priority than other things she may want to save for. We only fund our 401ks up to the company match limit, and then put the rest of the money we save in an index fund, into treasury bills, and into our son’s 529. That way we have flexibility for future needs other than retirement. If 90 percent of someone’s savings is in a dedicated retirement vehicle, they are in trouble. Emergency fund first, then 401k up to the employer match, then figure out what to do with the rest of the money.

      Also, the idea that you need $2.5 million in the bank to retire is a myth, based on some extremely questionable survey data from high net-worth individuals and perpetrated by the financial services industry. Just saying.

      • JuniorMinion :

        You don’t need $2.5 million – but 76% of Americans (across the full spectrum of incomes) couldn’t come up with 6 months of living expenses if they lost their job and had to.

        Average life expectancy for women is 81 – lets say you retire at 65 and your living expenses are $40k a year (average single American has ~$30k of living costs a year) – that means that you need $640,000 in cash outlays to live from 65 to 81 without working. And that excludes any additional health / other expenses / you living to be 95.

        • Anonymous :

          That also fails to account for inflation. So double that $40K.

        • Anonymous :

          Hence my advice about prioritizing emergency savings first. Job loss does not count as a “hardship” warranting emergency 401k withdrawals. So if someone loses their job, they can’t tap their 401k for emergency living expenses without incurring the tax penalty. This push, push, push on 401k maxing is great for the finance industry because they get millions of dollars of assets they can collect fees on,that can’t be withdrawn without tax penalty, and then when people have emergencies they can sell them credit cards and HELOCs at double-digit interest rates to use in lieu of savings. It’s bad for average families with average incomes who have “life happens”-style emergencies and expenses. I’m not saying people don’t need money for retirement – just that 401ks aren’t​ the only place to put retirement money. They’re the most restrictive place, which is good for enforced saving. And also good for generating plan management fees. But people can put money other places, which gives them more flexibility and allows fungibility of their money, and still ultimately use that money for retirement. 401ks aren’t the be-all, end-all.

          • JuniorMinion :

            Don’t disagree with you on the emergency fund – it is important to fund that first. I would also tell average income friends that once they’ve got an emergency fund / have paid down any consumer debt that they should take full advantage of whatever the company match is if possible. There are very low fee 401k options – I think my expense ratio is 0.05%? I’m in a Vanguard market index fund but I did need to move this vs. what my employer’s plan defaulted to. I had to do a little sleuthing though.

            My personal preference is to invest in a combination of 401k / Roth 401k. Basically I don’t think taxes are going down in my lifetime, and I value the tax free gains nature of the Roth 401k. I don’t think 401k investment is the be all end all, if you have >$100k of liquid savings outside of dedicated retirement accounts and >$150k of annual income it’s a pretty good tool.

      • +5000

        Thank you for pointing this out. I thought I was alone in thinking this..

    • At your income, yes, you should be maximizing retirement savings. However, I think it is a fallacy to always argue that *everyone* should max their retirement savings before doing anything else. “Maxing” retirement for a two income household is almost $40k out of their salaries. That’s more than many families in the US have to live on for a year. If you have a household income of even $80k or $100k you likely won’t be able to “max” your retirement. I think it is incredibly tone deaf to just yell “max your retirement” as financial advice all of the time. It’s not possible for a lot of families. OP is not one of those families though.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah no. This is great advice for this poster. Your complaint has nothing to do with anything.

      • Anonymous :

        People are saying “max your retirement” to a couple with over $200k of income who are thinking about buying a $750k house. I don’t think anyone on this thread has said that every adult in the US should be maxing retirement, because obviously that’s not possible at certain income levels.

      • Yeah, it’s true that $40k is a hell of a lot more than a lot of people make in a year, but if that is your concern maybe you should be trying to figure out ways to lessen inequality, rather than telling this person to go buy a house that costs nearly $1m.

      • Anonymous :

        My post got stuck in moderation but I posted this same thing. Maxing out a 401k is not always the best idea for every family. That kneejerk advice gets thrown around here a lot, but saving for the future is not one-size-fits all. I still think the OP should find a cheaper house, though.

    • Anonymous :

      Our HHI is 240K. Two paid off cars, zero student debt, defined benefit pension plans with full indexing. We paid 525K for our house. We bought our first house at 150K and sold it at 270K so we had a 170K downpayment on our 525K house. We were approved for up to 800K.

      We had twins unplanned (no fertility treatments at all, no twins in the family). We wanted two kids but ended up with three. When your daycare bill triples overnight, your finances look a lot different. Add in extended maternity leave because I had to go on bedrest and a higher than usual health care insurance co-pays because the twins were in NICU briefly and I am VERY glad that we were not house poor.

    • FWIW, I really don’t think is an embarrassing question. It is what it is.

      For a data point, we have HHI of about 275k and house is 460k. That’s fine at our current salary but we are considering some job changes and I wish we had a cheaper house. Keep in mind that even if you use the inheritance for a bigger down payment, you will still have to pay property taxes and homeowner’s insurance each year. In an area with great schools, the property taxes will probably be on the high side and will increase with the value of your property.

    • Chiming in- we ended up buying. $700k house* when our HHI was 310-330k (variable bonus). We knew it needed work. We were shopping up to 800k but ended up deciding we didn’t want to be house poor. We have 2 kids and childcare is $3k/month. Our monthly payment inc taxes is $3600.

      As it happens I lost my job and now work part time, but DH got a
      Big promotion. Our HHI is now $300k and while we are NOT poor, we are definitely not dumping money into savings like we used to. After maxing out all retirement etc. we save something like $1000/1500//mo.

      *i saw some comments about mansions. This house is 2750 sq ft and a generic colonial in a 1960s neighborhood. Original bathrooms. Kitchen and dining room last updated 1989. Needs paint and no AC. Some areas are just really expensive.

      • +1 on the “not a mansion” comment. We bought a $750K house (on a $375K HHI). It’s a cape cod with less than 2200 square feet, only 2 bedrooms and 1 bath upstairs (so no master bath), a basement that needs serious work, etc. In HCOL areas, sometimes that’s just the way it is.

        • Thank you — I’m also in Northern VA. Everyone jumped on the high end of the range I cited (fine, fine) but we are really hoping to stay between $675-750K. I don’t want to out myself entirely but we would be a 10-15 min drive to the metro and would likely end up in the 2200-2400 sq ft range at $750K. If we went to $800K, we might be near the metro in a similarly sized house that was far from perfect (and not a mansion).

          I also took a look at my 401K contributions and am only $1000/year shy of maxing out the $18,500 (we also deposit another $5500 into our IRAs each year) so I feel okay on that end as well. We held off on bumping it up the final bit while we were figuring out what our daycare expenses would look like and are now waiting until we’ve bought our house to make the final adjustments.

          I appreciate all the advice, but I do feel like everyone jumped on the idea that we aren’t anywhere close to maxing out our retirement and want to spend $800k on a “mansion.” If you read my original post, you’ll see that’s not exactly what I said. Really, we are trying to find a way to buy a house we will stay in for 30+ years (to avoid repeat moving and closing costs) in a great school district somewhere that makes it possible for me to keep my job in DC and still see our children. We’re going to try to go as modest as we can while still finding a place that makes us happy to stay put for the long haul — and not breaking our finances. Whatever gifts/inheritance we get will go into 529s and investment accounts for long-term savings/needs.

          I will add that I get that this s1te errs on the conservative side (financially, not politically) but I think it’s short-sighted to buy a home based on the assumption that you’ll get divorced or lose your job (and not be able to find one for long enough that it would impact your ability to stay in your home). If either of those things happens, we will lean on our emergency fund to finance a move. I think basing all financial decisions on that assumption, though, is too conservative to make good financial sense. (Again, it may be good for you, just not for me.)

          • Just FYI, 401(k) limit for 2017 is still $18,000 — same as 2016. So you’re even closer than you thought.


  6. Would you wear this dress to a formal evening wedding, or is it too bridal? Link to follow. Yes, I do know that if you have to ask, blah blah blah … but on the other hand, there seems to be an ever-expanding scope of what is considered “bridal” these days.


    • Too bridal. I get that the definition is expanding, but I could see this being someone’s reception dress (i.e. they take off their gown and change into this later in the night) so I’d steer clear.

    • Anonymous :

      Nope. That dress looks white. Would not wear.

    • I don’t think it looks bridal at all as far as the cut and style, but it is a bridal _color_ which I think should be avoided.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s beautiful but too much like something a bride would wear, for a wedding. It would work great for a fancy evening dinner event that wasn’t a wedding, though.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would totally wear this to a formal evening wedding.

      If I were the bride. ;)

    • I don’t think it’s too bridal but I don’t like the dress at all. That blouson waist reminds me of a lot of maternity clothing, to be honest. Also, unless you are very dark skinned, I don’t see this color dress being all that flattering. Sorry.

    • Marshmallow :

      Yup, too white. Sorry.

    • Tend to agree it’s too bridal.. But there is a very similar dress in navy!

      • You could wear a little cape with it so you get the cool draping effect from the arms! (Though I may be letting my imagination run away with itself here.)

    • Ok, I hear you. Thanks everyone!

  7. I freaking love Naturalizer. I feel goofy admitting it, but they are so comfortable right out of the box.

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      Nearly every shoe in my closet is Naturalizer. I know what size I am, their shoes are comfortable, and they wear like iron.

      • This is me. They fit me. They’re relatively fashionable (or, not embarrassingly dowdy), and they’re really comfy for what they are.

    • I'm too excited :

      Hmm I need heels and 90% of what I own are from Aerosoles because I’m a klutz with weird feet. Maybe I should look at Naturalizer.

    • Last week, I decided that I would only buy Naturalizer shoes from now on. Love them right out of the box too! Comfy and not overly matronly.

    • Anonymous :

      They are too narrow in the toe box for me, although I agree that they are comfortable.

      I’m a Clarks loyalist for the same reasons.

    • I was outlet shopping when my plantar fasciitis flared up. I popped into the naturalizer store and walked out with 4 pairs (including a pair on my feet).

    • I love them too, I’ve been wearing them since my SIL recommended them to me. I like these nude pumps and will look for them.

  8. In house attorneys – what are your hours like? Do you like your jobs?
    Context – I’m a 2nd year big law associate who had a particularly awful few months and am seriously considering looking elsewhere. My initial plan was to tough it out for about 4-5 years but I am hating my life right now… And I am getting married this summer and want to TTC soonish, but can’t imagine having kids at this firm.
    Anyway, I am trying to figure out what else is out there but am having trouble deciding where to look and can’t tell if my level of experience will allow me to move easily. I’m in transactional law with a focus on IT/IP transactions. Love the law, hate my current work environment.
    Any advice? Would my career opportunities greatly increase if I stay for another year or two?

    • Stick it out for another few years. A 4th or 5th year is WAY more marketable in house. As a 2nd year, you have about 1.5 years of experience right now, and most of it is not substantive. You need to learn enough to be able to handle a typical transaction on your own (e.g., negotiate a license agreement).

      I think Triangle Pose went in house very young, but that’s definitely the exception.

    • 9-5. Job is fine. Don’t love it, but they deposit my paycheck on time and there’s minimal workplace drama. Mostly I don’t love it because I don’t find it that interesting. But it’s easy and so are the hours, so I accept the boredom. Opportunities for advancement are minimal, if you care about that.

    • I moved to in house litigation as an almost 6th year. I work roughly 9-5, but have occasional off-hours international calls. My boss doesn’t micromanage, so it’s really flexible. I can flex to attend kid events or head out early for a holiday weekend. I also put in the hours if there’s a fire. I love it. Intense, but still flexible. A unicorn job.

    • Anonymous :

      It doesn’t hurt to start looking and networking now, but from my observations (not an attorney, but I’ve helped a couple of attorney friends job search when they were looking to make a similar transition), it’s rarely easy to move from a firm to in-house unless you’ve built relationships with clients and they poach you. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but it’s a real process, and bailing after only a year isn’t going to make it easier, though staying for one more year also won’t make it much easier. Why don’t you start networking and putting feelers out now? I mean try to cultivate a professional network outside of the law, and speak to a couple of recruiters. Look at it as a long term project, but one you can start right away.

      • Thanks all. I guess you are right, and I should stick to the original plan and stay at least another year, preferably two. I just saw a job opportunity that looked so perfect (expect 3-5 years experience, but maybe flexible?) and started dreaming of the life I could have if I worked 9 to 5 (or 9 to 6, or 9 to 7) in a job that I enjoyed and didn’t leave me in a state of permanent anxiety… In the meantime, I am saving aggressively in anticipation of a future pay cut, so I guess there’s that.
        I guess I need to start networking more. Basically everyone I know is in big law (or not in law at all) so I have trouble telling what else is out there. I appreciate hearing everyone’s perspective on this – I had a really rough week, but deep down I know I should though it out.

        • As someone who has been on the hunt for awhile…. my experience is that the years of experience are usually flexible upward (and often for a 3-5 year posting, someone in the 6-10 years range is hired). It would be an unusual job that wants 3-5 years and is willing to hire someone with fewer than 2 years experience.

          Sorry to be a buzzkill, but maybe this means you can start focusing on networking into a similar role in a year or two?

          Sorry you had such a crummy week! Try to be kind to yourself and find a way to replenish your internal resources.

    • In-House in Houston :

      My hours are pretty easy. I get in early (by about 7:15) and leave by 4:30 most days. I like the work but the benefits are great: good 401k match, good benefits, on-site medical, on-site gym, on-site cafeteria, my company even still has a fully-funded pension. It’s true that there’s not much room for advancement, but the hours are very flexible and I really can’t complain and feel very lucky to have landed in-house.

    • I work in-house at a large financial institution, providing a mix of regulatory advice and transactional work. I really enjoy it – the work is dynamic and interesting and my coworkers are great. I also have a lot more autonomy than I did at a firm. I do think the regulatory aspect of my work is what makes it interesting – people who do purely transactional/flow work are more likely to feel stagnant or like they’re doing the same thing every day, at least at my place of work.

      Agree with Cat that you likely need to stick it out for at least a year or two more — the danger of being too junior when you go in house is that all you’ll be ready for is the mindnumbing “flow” work I mentioned above where it’s all a bit Groundhog Day. Also, more and more of that work is getting outsourced.

      In addition, I think you run the risk of losing some key lawyering skills if you go in-house too soon. Law firms are great for teaching you that neurotic attention to detail that you’ll need when there’s no longer a partner obsessively checking all your work. I remember someone around here once called it “the fear” – sick, but I think it’s what makes you a good lawyer, and it’s more easily taught in a firm. Also, from my personal experience, something “clicked” around my third year at a law firm and I suddenly felt like I had an understanding and control over my own destiny in a way that I didn’t before. Trust me when I say I was utterly miserable my 1st and 2nd years and then — suddenly was having fun? So then I was able to wait until I found an in-house opportunity that I really wanted instead of just jumping to whoever would have me.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Big picture: I love my job and find it very child/family friendly. I’m in house at a not for profit with a small legal department (two people, I’m junior). I earn significantly less than you do now, but my benefits are good. I left big law after 2 years, did some nonsense stuff that will out me if I get into detail here, then litigated at small boutique firms for a few years before landing here. I work 8-5, M-F, with occasional other hours for genuinely time-sensitive things, and a bit of travel. Drama is low, people are nice, generally people know what is a real emergency and what isn’t.

      Specifically, can you specialize in some way? Like IP in what context? I work in a decently large industry, but people outside of it seem to have no idea it exists — or only the vaguest idea, and certainly no idea of how big it can be.

    • I am ‘in house’ counsel at a state government agency. I was in private sector for ~ 4 years prior to this position. I work 40 hours a week with a stray evening or weekend here or there. Great benefits, and the amount of stress it has reduced from my life is enormous. I took a salary cut initially but I’ve been promoted 2 times in 3 years. I have more time to live my life so less need to outsource all childcare / food / cleaning / etc.

    • In-house is a transition from big law. I was in big law for 4 years and have been in-house for 10 years, took some time off for kids in a couple of spots.

      There are good things about my in-house job: hours (9/9:30 – 4 ish with time for lunches with friends/gym, super flexible, work from home 1-2 xs week, others get in later/earlier and leave later/earlier; pay $200,000 base, 25-30% bonus, 30-40% additional long term comp; benefits incl 401k match, cash pension contribution, good but expensive insurance; love my co-workers; like my boss mainly because I am not micromanaged.

      The are bad things: my friends’ boss at the same place is awful – mean, petty, incompetent – and makes her life miserable along with everyone else’s that this boss supervises; there’s a lot of politics so jazz hands prevail over actual ability a lot (like A LOT); some of the work is great but some is ridiculous (I have stories of stupidity that would curl your toes); no upward mobility so this will be my job fooooorever unless I move somewhere else; lawyers are treated like a liability while the (often not very bright or talented) business folks are worshiped with perks.

      That said I work from home every spring and winter break, take 4 weeks of vacation, work from home several times a month and generally manage my own schedule plus get paid well so those of us who work where I do complain but realize it could be much worse.

  9. Anonymous :

    I’m trying to eat more fish. I love it and I know how to cook it but the routine of it gets me tripped up. When do I buy it? How long do I keep it? Thawing always takes forever and except for shrimp thawing it faster tastes gross. Any go to easy ways to eat more fish (that aren’t sardines on toast, because I already love that).

    • a millenial :

      when i buy it fresh i always try to cook it within 24 hours. i like having frozen filets bc 5/7 days of the week, i can’t buy fresh fish since the counter closes before im off work. i get bags of frozen cod or salmon fillets from costco and really like them. i bake them sort of tented in foil for ~5 mins and then season them/flip them, and bake for another 10-20 mins depending on thickness and doneness.

      • Anonymous :

        @a millenial, great idea.

        Another thing to keep in mind with fish is mercury contamination and buying sustainablly i.e. trying to avoid those that are being overfished. Here is a good guide for that:

      • I also love Costco’s frozen fish fillets. They’re individually wrapped and I do the quick thaw with cold water. You mentioned that you don’t like the taste after quick thaw methods, so maybe my palate isn’t as discerning because I can’t tell the difference. I usually roast or pan fry and finish in the oven.

        I’ll second whoever recommended the NY Times salmon with anchovy/caper sauce. It’s delicious and easy. They have other easy salmon and white fish recipes too.

        If I buy fresh fish, I cook it that day or the next. I like grilled whole trout, which I buy fresh, and just use olive oil, salt, and pepper on it.

        I’m also not above using canned wild salmon and tuna, especially in salads.

    • My favorite fish is salmon and the New York Times has an amazing salmon dish with capers and anchovy butter (its just garlic, salt, pepper, and sliced anchovies mixed together with butter). You put that in the oven. I recommend the New York Times Cooking site for cooking in general – they have some great ideas.

      I usually dont keep fish in the fridge for more than 1-3 days. After its been 3 days I put it in the freezer. I really dont like pre frozen fish. Frozen fruit and veggies are typically fine in quality since its picked when its the freshest but I’ve had a hard time finding quality frozen fish. So typically when fresh fish is on sale or at a decent price I buy it in bulk (or a whole salmon fish) then cut it in slices, put some seasoning on it then freeze it myself.

      I put fish in pasta, salads, and curry dishes (with veggies like as a stew).

      • Anonymous :

        Most “fresh” fish sold in the grocery store is previously frozen. I prefer to buy it frozen from Trader Joe’s. I remove the packaging and thaw it for 48 hours in the fridge.

    • If I’m going to have fish, I buy it on my way home from work and cook it right away. That said, the grocery store closest to my apartment has good fresh fish and is super convenient for me, so YMMV.

      I get either salmon or whatever white fish is most fresh. The salmon I usually roast with some olive oil and herbs (on foil, so that the cleanup is super easy). The white fish I steam on top of greens (this recipe, only I’ve never used flounder, and I just use whatever greens I have around – usually spinach:

      • Anonymous :

        That’s where I’m struggling. There is no easy way to swing by the grocery store on the way home with my commute. But maybe I just half to do it!

      • Lazy option: I buy the 3 kilo bag of individually frozen tilapia fillets at Costco, then bake or steam them from frozen wrapped in foil or parchment with lemons and dill, or garlic and soy sauce, or curry powder and cilantro. Wrapping them seems to keep them from drying out too much, and the fillets are small enough that thawing time only adds a minute or two to the cook time.

        • marketingchic :

          I put tilapia (which I buy frozen) in foil packs with olive oil, lemon, herbs, plus vegetables like spinach or thinly sliced zucchini and tomato. Then I put them on a hot grill for 10 minutes. (425 oven would work too.)

    • TBH, I mix a can of tuna into mac and cheese (+spinach = an awesome, very easy dinner).

    • In-House in Houston :

      There’s a product you can buy in the dairy (butter section) of the grocery store, I think maybe made by Land o Lakes, and it’s seasoning and and butter together, so you just pan-fry any fish in this butter sauce and it’s really good.

    • Anonymous :

      Trader Joe’s Salmon burgers. Can go right from frozen to pan – 5 min on each side. Throw on a bun with avocado and sriracha.

    • Anonymous :

      I care how I look, but luckily, I have great jeans. I heart my rockstar skinnies. ;) <3 :) YAAAAYYYY!!!

      • Anonymous :

        WOOopsy daisy! I meant that for the post below. Tee hee! But fish is soooo yummy too. Yay!

  10. Do any of you feel that you put effort in your looks/is it a priority for you? Lately, I’ve come to realize groomed (threaded in my case) eyebrows, a light touch of makeup, and properly fitting, ironed, etc clothes go a long way in how I feel about myself, and further, how I come across (look good, feel good, etc). I’m in the hard sciences and havent really needed to dress up for work unless theres a meeting or conference so this is kind of new to me. Plus I know this isnt a super groundbreaking concept but in this intense political climate plus the stresses of everyday life I’ve found putting effort into my looks almost part of my self care routine lately. What about you guys?

    • Looking good is really important to me. I want all the benefits it can confer. Although for me it’s less about makeup and stuff than it is about working out, making sure my clothes are perfect, (but also easy so minimal effort is required, and doing whatever grooming I need on a regular basis- hair cuts every 3 mos, threading every month. Drinking a lot of water makes a huge difference in how I feel.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Of course. Hence hanging out on a fashion blog…

      • Marshmallow :

        Same. I know we were ragging on the fashion suggestions lately but I think most of us wouldn’t be here if we didn’t care about our looks.

      • +1 I do care about my looks because it makes me feel good to look good. I don’t wear a ton of make-up, but I do get Botox, dye my hair, and run partially to stay in shape. I also eat healthy because it affects how I feel in addition to how I look. I have good genetics, to be sure, but I absolutely put effort into how I look.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, and more so recently because I’ve started realizing the effect it has on my self esteem and mental health to put effort into my appearance. The healthier I get, the more I care, the better I look, the better I feel, the healthier I get, like a virtuous-if-somewhat-superficial cycle. I started helping my SO dress better and groom more, and he’s also remarked that he feels much more ‘himself’ as well.

      I will admit it’s costing me quite a bit of money- Keratin, dye jobs, better clothes, even juvederm. But I think it will be worth it in terms of my mood and the way people react to me professionally.

    • Of course! I always want to look well-groomed and polished. I don’t feel confident and poised if I don’t make an effort.

    • Yes and no. I do like looking put together, but I allocate my effort strategically. I work out a lot partly because I like being thin (also because I like being strong; I get an enormous kick out of someone saying something is too heavy for me and being startled when I have absolutely zero trouble handling that thing). I spend a lot on my hair cuts and hair products because I’m vain about my hair. I am embarrassed to even type anonymously on the internet how much money I spend on shoes.

      But when I get up in the morning, I don’t like putting in much effort at all. The style of haircut I get is always extremely minimal effort in the morning. My only makeup is eyebrow pencil. I buy clothes that can be easily mixed and matched (most of my tops will go with any of my skirts or pants or shoes) so I can grab something with about 10 seconds of thought. As a result, it takes me no more than 10 minutes to get ready for work in the morning after I’m done eating breakfast.

  11. Sloan Sabbith :

    Going to my first PureBarre class after work tonight. Any tips? Also, how coordinated do I have to be/do I need to have a sense of rhythm? Because I’m not particularly and don’t at all.

    • OG Monday :

      The instructor will cue every movement and sort of chant along to the beat, so no–basically just focus on getting the movement correct, and don’t worry too much about coordination or keeping your own rhythm. Some moves will be unfamiliar to you, but just look around the room and you’ll get the idea. Have fun sweating like crazy!

    • Anon in NYC :

      You do not need to be coordinated. Be sure to tell your instructor that it’s your first time – s/he will probably spend a little more time with you to make sure you’re doing the moves correctly. Your legs will be shaking – it’s a sign that you’re doing it right!

      • +1. Also, you will probably miss/be doing the moves incorrectly for approximately 60% of the class. Even with really good cueing (which, BTW, may involve physical corrections, e.g., taking your leg and lifting it up, tilting your hips, etc.) it takes several classes to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing. Take advantage of the “unlimited month for $__” special — then go sevearl times in the month — to get a full evaluation of whether you like it or not.

    • Anonymous :

      Try to get a place near the front of the room! If you’ve never done a barre class before the movements can feel a little odd, and it helps to be able to see the instructor easily so you’re actually doing what you’re supposed to.

    • Marshmallow :

      Barre junkie here. You totally do not need to be coordinated. The instructor will clearly explain what to do and your form matters far more than whether you are on the beat (many people will just go at their own pace/ can’t keep the beat and that is fine).

      I’d say position in the room is not as important as being on a mirror wall. The mirror makes it easier to see the instructor without turning your head.

      Wear grippy socks if you have them. Enjoy!

    • As a tangent – I’ve only been to one barre class (independent studio), and I had expected it to be more like the barre section of a ballet class. Instead it was basically Pilates, but standing up at the barre. Is that typical, or am I likely to get a different experience at a different studio? I miss actual ballet classes, but can’t work them into my schedule right now.

      • Anonymous :

        I was also very disappointed to discover that barre classes are in no way related to actual ballet barre work. Sadly, that’s how they all are.

        • Anonymous :

          Also, everyone looked at me funny when I warmed up before my first barre class the way one warms up for ballet class. Good thing I didn’t have my foam roller with me.

        • Anonymous :

          So what ARE they like then? I take ballet classes now and wanted to try Barre classes – sounds like I may hate them?

          • Anonymous :

            You basically hold one position until your muscles are burning and shaking and then do the same thing in another position. I hated it, and I have taken and enjoyed pilates, yoga and ballet.

      • Anonymous :

        Yep that’s how they are. I’m a former ice skater and dancer and I was so excited to take Pure Barre because I thought it would be athletic barre work. It was nothing like actual ballet, to my great disappointment. My town sadly does not have actual ballet classes for adults :(

      • OG Monday :

        Yes, barre classes really focus on working the muscles, at the expense of dance form. Until you can take an actual ballet class, you might want to look online for video classes if that’s what you want.

      • Anonymous :

        I have been to one that was a little more dancery (an independent studio that had a lot of ballerinas teach as a side gig), but it’s not ballet at all, sadly.

        • For any Bostonians I take the introductory adult classes at the Boston Ballet Company and they are wonderful- a great workout, so much fun, and with a live pianist!

      • Good to know, I won’t waste my time trying out other studios. And I’ll look forward to getting back to ballet classes when my kids are a bit older.

    • Meg March :

      You need no coordination and no rhythm. I have neither and I love barre.

      Watch the people around you if you aren’t sure about a movement. Sometimes the instructor’s instructions come out garbled/the speaker isn’t clear, but it’s usually pretty easy to copy other people. But don’t worry about copying how deep into the movements they go– there’s always some people who can lower their squats practically to the floor and do full splits, etc. Just push yourself as deep as you can, and if you shake, then you’re doing it right :)

      The grippy socks they sell do help, personally, but I only bought them after I had gone to several classes and found myself really enjoying barre.

    • Anonymous :

      Is Pure Barre one that uses carpet? I think they may make you wear socks or you can’t do the class. Don’t forget to bring a pair, unless you want to buy theirs.

      • cake batter :

        Yes, no bare feet allowed. Pure Barre rooms are carpeted, and you wear socks with the little grippies on the bottom.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I just started Pure Barre and I’m already hooked.

      I like the Pure Barre socks because I found I slipped too much otherwise, but I would see how your first class goes.

      I found the first class to go really quickly and was really overwhelming but the second class was much better for me so don’t worry if you’re having a hard time keeping up.

      Also, go early for your first class and ask the instructor to show you a couple moves, most specifically the “tuck”. They don’t explain it during class and it took me a couple tries.

      Have fun!

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      I love Purebarre! I used to go 2-4 times a week. I can’t wait until I have a new job and a livable salary so I can go back. Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and socks. I would suggest arriving 15 minutes early and let the instructor know it is your first class. Stand in the back so you have others to watch and don’t feel self conscious.

    • newbinlaw :

      ugh I love barre. I consider myself an “athlete” so I resisted it for so long (2 lb weights dont do anything, full range lunges are better, blah blah) but dang it is SO EFFECTIVE. I recommend not judging it until you have gone at least 3 times, and then really committing. I try to go 2x a week supplemented with cardio, and some cross-training or weight training. Nothing has ever given me better abs. Also I am terrible at stretching and that is part of it and I have seen major mobility and pain improvement from that aspect of it.

  12. I'm too excited :

    Officially going to UChicago for grad school!

    Any advice or suggestions, both grad school and Chicago-wise? Looking to live in Hyde Park so I’m close to class, will probably look for 1-2 roommates from my program, the rent will be amazing in any case coming from NYC.

    • I'm too excited :

      Also what do you wear to grad school? Aka whats the balance between college casual and NYC consulting business casual?

      • I would like thoughts on this too – I’m also starting grad school in the fall and my college looks seem out of place for a professional program.

      • Anonymous :

        Can only speak to law school, but it was pretty much the same as college, but a little more emphasis on labels and fewer sweatpants. (Designer) jeans were definitely the norm for a regular class day. Anyone who was wearing something dressier than jeans was assumed to have an interview or networking event.

      • LOL this is so cute. Wear whatever you want. I went to class after work so I wore work clothing (which was anything from steel toed boots with jeans or a suit) but seriously, anything goes.

      • There’s going to be a huge range of styles. I side-eyed the people who still wore sweat pants on a regular basis, but other than that anything goes. You’ll see people in jeans and t-shirts and people in business formal who either work or have internships, and just pretty much everything in between.

    • So excited for you! I went to UChicago for undergrad and loved it. Hyde Park is a beautiful neighborhood, and I hear it’s gotten a lot more amenities since I was there.

      • Me too! Graduated in ’99. I moved back to Chicago in 2008 and Hyde Park has gotten really nice. Be sure to check out 57th street books, Powells, doc films and the local landmarks, which include home of a former president at 5046 S. Greenwood Ave. What program will you be entering?

        • I'm too excited :

          Masters in public policy at the Harris school!

          • I completed both a JD and an MPP several years ago at a different school. Law school attire was mostly designer jeans and sweaters or cute tops, with some but not all of the kids wearing designer heels with their designer jeans. MPP was more casual and less brand-oriented. Students with real-world work experience tended to wear fewer designer labels. If I were going back to grad school today, I’d start with some nice jeans, fashionably loose tees, cute but comfortable shoes, and a fatigue jacket. For winter, I’d wear slouchy sweaters and boots.

    • southsider :

      Recent UofC PhD grad. Congrats on Harris! Hyde Park is getting more expensive than it used to be and rents are going up fast year over year. If you have the cash, consider buying a cheap condo (there are plenty of nice, small places in the <150K range) to stabilize your housing costs; mortgage + HOA/tax will still likely be cheaper than a lot of comparable rentals and you can always rent it out when you leave. If that's not an option for you, HP is cheaper than other neighborhoods that are public transit-accessible. If you are open to commuting by car or bike you can look at other south side neighborhoods, or north side (though that is getting lengthy).

      Fashion: This is UChicago, don't worry about it. Most people will look shlubby day to day. Wear whatever makes you happy. Mostly it will be jeans + some kind of decent top.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      The handful of Booth students I’ve come across actually all lived downtown (i.e. loop or surrounding neighborhoods), just FYI. HP is nice though, and the number of restaurants, etc has expanded in recent years.

  13. Selena Myers :

    I just read a book (The Obesity Code) that extolled intermittent fasting as a good solution for weight loss. I’ve heard, anecdotally, that female physicians are into this technique. Have any of you used this successfully? Any tips/tricks/thoughts?

    • Yes, I have been doing it for about a month per a recommendation here and I’ve lost almost 10 pounds, which I had a really hard time losing after having my second child. There’s a ton of information available online about it, but the basic idea is that you eat from 1 – 8 pm, fast the remainder of the time (water and other non calorie drinks ok). I always thought I was the type to get hangry by not eating, but it’s been surprisingly easy. I also don’t overeat when I do break the fast – I actually tend to eat the same or maybe even a smaller meal than I otherwise would. It has worked really well for me and it’s been a huge confidence booster to be able to fit into some of my old clothes again.

      You can’t just eat anything you want within your eating window, otherwise it will defeat the purpose. I eat my usual portion of lunch and dinner. I probably am eating at a deficit of 500 calories a day, but I haven’t been counting calories.

      The other positive side effect is that I have been able to wean myself off caffeine. I used to need a tea in the morning and now I don’t anymore (nor do I crave the hefty spoon of sugar I would always add to my mug).

      • Anonymous :

        Wait so no breakfast? What happened to breakfast is the most important meal of the day?

        • Wildkitten :

          I love science and I don’t know who is right but we have no idea what the science is for weight loss.

      • I’m a female MD. I LOVED intermittent fasting when I did it. I did a slightly different regimen that I decided on based after a review of the literature on pubmed (this was about 18 months ago, so there are probably more studies now). I didn’t eat for 8 hours after I woke up, so if I got up at 6 AM I wouldn’t eat until after 2. Usually I ate at 3:30 because that’s when I usually had a break from the OR. I was allowed water and black coffee in the morning.

        I lost body fat (got down to my goal 20% body fat), looked more toned, had a ton of energy, and felt great. I stopped doing it solely because my schedule changed (I was frequently scrubbed in the OR until 8 or 10 pm and so the schedule no longer worked for me) but I am just thinking now that I should definitely go back to it.

    • Also interested in this. Did the book address any of the specific concerns for hormonal disruption in females which is what I have read is a big concern for why IF doesn’t work for some women? I’m done with having kids, but realize that jacking up my endocrine system can hurt more than fertility.

    • Anonymous :

      My husband has definitely had success with it. He initially like the idea of the 5-2 version (eat moderately but normally 5 days a week and completely fast 2 days), but after various trial and errors it eventually morphed into a small but high protein breakfast (~3/4 c cottage cheese or one egg), and a normal dinner with the family. It works really well for him. He was hungry for a month, but then he adjusted.

      When he’s relaxing his diet, he only allows himself to eat low-fat proteins and raw vegetables until dinner, which also causes him to self-limit and in his opinion maintain his hunger control.

      • I’ve also heard of people doing less extreme versions of the 5/2 concept and liking it. An acquaintance I was talking to at an event this weekend told me she eats 1500/day 5 days a week and 1200/day 2 days a week. Completely fasting for an entire day is not something I’m interested in, but were I seriously trying to lose weight I might try what she’s doing. 1200 is well below my BMR so I would definitely be hungry on those days if I did that.

        • Anonymama :

          This actually sounds like a pretty extreme diet to me. Only 1500 calories on a “normal” not fasting day?

          • That depends on your size. I’m 5’2 and petite so I gain weight on anything over 1600

    • I just read it this weekend and am doing the 24-hour fasting. Today is my first fast day. I’m not a breakfast person so having only coffee in the morning isn’t a change for me. I brought green tea with mint (TJ Moroccan Mint) to drink during the day and have my dinner planned so I won’t want to snack when I get home while I decide what to have for dinner. So far so good. I’m a little hungry but my stomach is quiet.

      Basically I’ll be changing my routine by cutting out all snacks, skipping lunch every other day, and quitting sugary drinks (mostly juice and lemonade since I’m not a soda drinker). I already prepare most of my own meals, but I’ll stop buying low fat and will cut out sweet treats and add more veggie sides. My coworker is doing it with me and plans to read my copy of the book this week.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Random question for people who do this – how do you incorporate this with weightlifting / HIIT / other intense workouts? I definitely eat less on the 1-2 days a week that I am doing more active rest (walk / jog / yoga) but I can’t imagine working out in the morning and then not eating for 5 more hours or alternately not eating after 6 pm and then getting up and working out without eating. Anyone had success with this?

      • Check out leangains dot com, he talks about this extensively. But according to IF, you actually make significant gains if you work out while fasting. I think he recommends taking some branched amino acids to help. No experience with this personally because I barely work out. but when I do, I do it during my eating period (between 1 and 8 pm), so I haven’t worked out while fasting.

      • BeenThatGuy :

        No way. No way. No way. There is no way to keep your gains and fast. The only exception might be fasted cardio. For example, doing cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. If you lift, you must eat. It’s as simple as that.

        • But IF isn’t about not eating, it’s about eating at certain times. You could still eat all the calories you need to maintain or gain, you just do it in a smaller window.

        • JuniorMinion :

          That’s what I figured…. was curious though thanks!

      • I didn’t find this to be an issue at all. I lift weights and I didn’t experience any change in my performance when I started intermittent fasting or any improvements when I stopped IF.

        Now, to be fair, I lift to stay toned and because I like how it makes my body look, so hitting huge weight targets isn’t a goal for me. My boyfriend weighs in at 360 and benches 400 lbs and he has to eat a TON of food to maintain his weight and muscle bulk (he is literally always eating protein) and he wouldn’t ever consider a diet like IF.

        But for me, I felt great, didn’t notice a change in my lifting performance, had more energy, and continued to make gains as expected. In fact, I even felt like I got over a bit of a plateau once I started IF. So I think it would come down to what your lifting motivations are!

        I also will note that I didn’t really lose *weight* with IF- maybe 3 or 4 lbs. I did lose body fat (significantly cut my percent body fat to my goal %) and must have gained muscle mass because I looked visibly more toned. I did still eat- I usually ate a salad when my fasting interval ended around 3 or 3:30 pm, and then ate a dinner with lean protein and veggies. I even ate desert if I wanted. But I didn’t feel hungry for carbs and sugar the way I expected and overall I ate healthier on the IF regimen than I do when I’m not IFing.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t fast, but I don’t eat anything after 7:30 as a rule (8pm occasionally), I sleep 8 hours a night, and I don’t eat again until 7:30 the next morning. I realize that is not doable or appealing for many people, but when I do it, I have no problem keeping my weight in check. Just a thought for people who don’t want to do full on fasting.

    • I combine IF with a ketogenic diet, and this is the only thing has ever worked to budge the extra 25 lbs I’ve been carrying since puberty obliterated my body/metabolism in high school.

      I have also done IF before without the other diet, and it did wonders for regulating my body’s response to food. One recommendation: go lighter on carbs towards the end of your window, at least at first, until you can suss out whether it makes you wake up with cravings.

    • Wildkitten :

      I’ve been eating one or two meals a day this year and I’m never hungry and I just keep losing weight. There’s a lot of other stuff going on in my life though.

  14. I posted this morning, but only got one reply, so I’m trying again!

    I’m just starting to plan a trip to Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire for this August. We’re taking a full week off work, so it’ll be 10 days when you include travel from our home in DC. What should we be sure to see and do? I’ve been all over the U.S., but never to these states, and I’m excited to visit!

    • Anonymous :

      I’d definitely try and make it to Acadia. I’d maybe do a day or two in VT and NH and the rest in Maine.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to Acadia. Portland ME is great if you love food. The Katahdin/Moosehead Lake area has fantastic hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities. I don’t know much about VT or NH, but it would be very easy to spend 10 days just in Maine.

    • I’d plan to do the seacoast in Maine and lakes region in NH (Newfound, Winnipesaukee). Acadia is great. Go to the LLBean store in Freeport, ME. If you are driving from the lakes region in NH to VT, you could do a stop in Hanover (where Dartmouth is) – it’s a cute town but probably not a ton happening in the summer.

    • In NH, taking the Cog Railway to the top of Mount Washington would be fun!

    • Maine: Portland Head Light, Camden is gorgeous, Acadia, depending on time of your trip may align with Annual Lobster Festival in Rockland – definitely go if yes
      Vermont: Ben & Jerry Factory, lots of breweries, Burlington is a fun city. Lots of old covered bridges. Woodstock is really quaint. Some of the ski towns may have stuff going on in the summer, think Stratton, Stowe etc.
      New Hampshire: Mt. Washington cog railway like mentioned, hiking – Lincoln/Lafayette is a day hike classic!

    • Maine – 2 Lights in Cape Elizabeth (near Portland) for lobster. Old school small restaurant on a cliff overlooking the ocean between two lighthouses. Eat out at little picnic tables.

    • We’ve done specific family vacations (so a week each) in Maine and in Vermont. I agree with the posters who say prioritize time in Maine. Vermont is beautiful, and fun for a few days, with a great food culture and a lot of farm to table, but there’s not a ton to do. There are a lot of factories to tour. So yes, Ben & Jerry’s definitely. We also did the Cabot factory, the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, a children’s museum in Burlington, a hike somewhere (I don’t even know if it was in a park). There’s a surprising amount of driving in between things in Vermont too, with not much on the way. We stayed in Stowe, which was beautiful, but there is not a ton going on in the summer.

      Maine is one of my favorite vacations ever. We spent just over a week there, split between Bar Harbor/Acadia and Kennebunkport, with a little time in Portland. If I were going again, I’d spend all my time in Bar Harbor/Acadia with a couple days in Portland. Kennebunkport was fine, but a total let down after Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is an adorable little town. We stayed in a B&B on Mount Desert Island, but not in Bar Harbor. But it’s just full of cute little restaurants and shops. We did some hiking, the driving tour around the park, spent some time on a beach in the park, ate all the lobsters, etc.

      Portland is an adorable little city. We went to a children’s museum there that was fantastic–small but great. We also did a day at a water park/amusement park nearish to Kennebunkport that was a lot of fun. We also took the obligatory trip to L.L. Bean in Freeport.

  15. Anyone want to help find me an inexpensive wedding clutch purse thing? I got to formal events like once every 3 years, so I don’t want to spend too much and also have no idea where people buy these things or what is ‘in’. TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      RTR! You can rent all sorts of cute ones for like $25.

    • TJ Maxx, if you haven’t already. There’s always a display of them between the purses and the jewelry counter, toward the back.

      I don’t think there’s a style, really. I’ve carried my grandmother’s from the ’50s, my mother’s from the ’70s…whatever’s small and dressy will do.

      • Anonymous :


        I wear my grandmother’s from ~1980. It’s simple style, off white leather, with a simple clasp and chain. There’s really nothing about it that can go out of style. If I were going to buy one, I’d probably get black because now that’s common for weddings AND the other very rare formal event.

    • Anonymous :

      Charming Charlie usually has them

    • I get mine on thred up – usually around $10-20 for really nice evening bags.

  16. Totally insignificant question –

    I used a CPA to prepare my 2015 taxes because Holy Complicated Divorce Disaster, Batman. But I’ve always otherwise done my taxes myself and feel comfortable with it and actually even kind of enjoy it. I explained to CPA that this was just a one-time thing because of the HCDDB.

    Earlier this year, the CPA sent me all the forms to bring in to do my taxes. I just ignored it and threw it in the recycling. Today, the CPA sent a kindly personalized email asking if I needed him to file an extension for me since he hadn’t heard from me. Um, uh, yeah…I filed my taxes months ago and hope to goodness I’ll never need your services again, but thanks? Ignoring his email feels rude; telling him I don’t need his services feels rude… I had a rough weekend and just can’t be rude to anyone right now. I hate to tell a small business owner I outsourced him for a couple hours, a glass of wine, and less than $100 on TurboTax. I know there are CPAs on this board – should I respond to this email, and if so, what should I say?

    • Yes, respond. I’d say “CPA, thanks for your email. As we discussed last year, my taxes aren’t typically complicated, and so I handled them myself this year. I’ll keep you in mind if I need assistance in the future. Regards, Anon.”

    • Anonymous :

      Thank him. Tell him you appreciated his assistance last year but did not need it this year and have already filed. This one is not hard.

    • Anonymous :

      I would respond and just say something like “Because my tax situation was much less complicated this year, I did them myself. I’ll be in touch if I ever find myself needing the services of a CPA again.” That’s not rude, and I’m sure he understands that many people do their own taxes when their situation is straightforward.

      • Yeah, this ^ is good wording.

        It’s not a personal relationship, it’s a business one. If someone needs me to do something one year and not the next, my feelings are in no way involved. Honestly on April 17th if someone is telling me I have one less thing to do, my only feeling is relief.

    • Anonymous :

      Not a CPA, but I’d respond, just so he knows you aren’t expecting more work out of him and he doesn’t need to follow up.

      Reiterate that your business was a one time, complicated thing and you were able to handle this year’s on your own, but you’ll be sure to recommend him to anyone look for a CPA (assuming its true).

    • KateMiddletown :

      Just keep it simple. Email him back to say “I already submitted my return for this year. Thanks!”

    • Write a response saying you appreciate him reaching out and say that you already filed your taxes this year on your own and have it taken care of. Have a nice day! Anon.

      Ignoring would be rude, but nothing rude about ‘thanks but no thanks.’ Although if he did a good job in 2015 and you come across a more complex year or want to outsource it in the future (or want to recommend him to someone), I would go back to him, given that he seems to be coordinated and professional. Think of it this way – he wanted to make sure clients weren’t missing a deadline (and sure, wants the work and to be able to coordinate his schedule to do it all), but to me that signals that he is organized, which is a good quality for a CPA among other things.

    • Please respond ASAP. Your CPA has been spending time and money to take care of you and make sure you don’t file late. Any of the responses above are fine.

      As a PSA, if anyone is in a similar boat, please let your CPA as soon as possible (like when you receive the year’s tax packet in the mail).

    • Anonymous :

      I think the only thing you owe him is a reply that you won’t be needing his services this year. It would be a nice courtesy to explain why (because you did them yourself since it was simple), and it would be nicer still to tell him you’ll refer him to friends in need of an accountant. But definitely reply in some form to tell him you don’t need him this year so he’s not left hanging.

    • Thanks, all! I feel relieved to have sent him something!

  17. I might be moving to DC area and would love to hear from folks who live in the Maryland suburbs or anyone who can recommend a specific one. We’re looking for a lawn or great parks, solid school system and a relatively (I know) short commute, preferably with public transportation as an option. Money is not unlimited but we own a house in pretty HCOL area now, so we should be able to pay market.
    I lived in the DC metro area in a previous life, and am very familiar with NOVA, but I really don’t know where to start with Maryland… how far out is too far? Is there any diversity in the close-in burbs?

    • Anon for this :

      It’s pricey, but Bethesda checks off all of your boxes in terms of close in (and on the red line), great schools, and great parks. I’d say Bethesda is reasonably diverse, although other suburbs probably much more so. Also, Rockville is another good option but would be farther and would require a much longer commute.

      A closer in and more pricey option is Chevy Chase, Maryland (near Friendship Heights metro). you’re just over the DC border in that case and still have great schools, parks, etc. But again, very expensive.

      If you’re not set on the suburbs, I’d also recommend upper northwest DC.

      • As pricey as the burbs appear to be, we’re more likely to get the space we need (3-4 BR) for less than in DC proper… holy moly is upper northwest expensive!!
        Thanks for the rec!

    • DMV Native :

      Probably way to late to respond to this but oh well, hopefully this helps. Silver Spring is a pretty good bet in terms of reasonably priced housing (less expensive the further from DC you get but not as pricey as NW DC). Its great for diversity and Montgomery County has a strong school system (Blair HS, Springbrook HS, and Blake HS are pretty great and have IB programs). In terms of commute, it could be anywhere from 10-40ish mins each way depending on traffic. Growing up my parents worked for government agencies in DC and didnt really have any issues with commute.

      What I liked about growing up in the DMV suburbs was definitely the diversity (racially and socioeconomically) along with the reliable public transportation to DC. You could also look into Rockville and Takoma Park (both are on the red line).

  18. “Thank you for reaching out to me. I have already filed my taxes for this year and will not need an extension.”

  19. TummyTroubles :

    Not trying to be TMI. But I have to have a colonoscopy this week (at 30, not 50) for a lot of issues that I think at the end of the day they are going to say is IBS. I’m getting pretty nervous (especially because I will have to do the clear liquid/prep day on a work day) any advice?

    • Anon for this! :

      Take a day off, if there’s any way you can. Really. I mean it. I was 29 and, well, let’s just say that throwing up & explosive diarrhea at the same time is not a good scene for anyone.

      • Been there :

        Look at the timing of the various stages of the prep – if I recall correctly I had no problems during the day the day before, but it was late evening and definitely in the morning when things got explosive. My procedure was first thing in the morning. I could absolutely have been at work the day before.

    • Been there :

      I did one last year for the first time. The prep is the worst part. I had to go to a baby shower that day and was ravenously hungry, and it was torture to see all the delicious food. So prepping at work may be a better option. The liquid is disgusting. I had some lime jello (be careful with the colors – no red or purple is allowed) which filled me up a little bit more than the clear broths and stuff. Make sure you’re home for the last stage of the prepping – you’ll need your bathroom pretty urgently when stuff gets flushed out. The actual colonoscopy part was no big deal at all – I was completely out for the entire thing, and felt fine (but hungry!) when I woke up. I would basically put it down as a mildly unpleasant experience (the prep) but no big deal.

    • sweetknee :

      I have had one of these in my mid 30s. Its not as bad as most would lead you to believe. The actual procedure itself is apiece of cake. You are pretty much in “twilight” and don’t feel anything. . . at least I was.

      The worst part of it is the prep. My doc gave me this stuff to drink. . It was clear, and tasted like really thick lemon lime Gatorade. I was allowed to mix it with sprite or ginger ale if I wanted to. The first bottle was no big deal. About 30 minutes to an hour after drinking it though, I was on the toilet, and stayed there, pretty much constantly, for several hours. I even had to drink the second bottle while in the bathroom. I would suggest taking off from work early ( like 2 pm or so) the day before just to keep yourself from being in a bad situation at work. I think I started my prep in the afternoon before my procedure the next morning.

      After the procedure, I was groggy for a couple of hours. You definitely will not want to go back to work the day of the procedure. Go home (have someone drive you) and take a good nap ! Also, you will have LOTS of gas. They inflate your colon with O2, so that they can see in there, and it’s gotta come out ! You will be quite flatulent for a day or so.

      Good luck. It’s not nearly as bad as your are imagining.

      • This was exactly my experience when I had my early baseline some years ago. I recommend white grape jello made with club soda (prepared in advance) and chicken broth.

        Also, try not to run into the managing partner of your firm in the waiting room while you are waiting for your procedure. It’s nice to have things in common with your seniors, but the same internist for your colooscopy really is not one of them. Ask me how I know . . .

    • Anonymous :

      You will be able to do some work while prepping, if you can work from home for the afternoon. You will be on or by the toilet.

    • Anonymous :

      Google “Ali on the run” and “colonoscopy” – in early March she wrote a blog post about colonoscopies, so there might be some useful info in there.

    • I had to have my first colonoscopy at 29, so I’m right there with you! Honestly, your ability to do anything that day depends on which prep your doc prescribes. There are a couple of different commonly prescribed colonoscopy preps.

      If it’s the Miralax/dulcolax combo where you take your first dose at dulcoloax at 3pm the day before, you’ll be fine working most of the day, as long as you don’t have a long commute. My commute is about 15 minutes, so I took the dose at 3pm at the office and then went home, and I was fine. Everyone reacts to prep differently though. I took all those heavy duty laxatives that afternoon and experienced nothing until the next morning around 6 am. I was terrified it wasn’t a “clean” prep (note: don’t ready any blogs or forums about this or you’ll be even more nervous), but my appointment wasn’t until 1 pm and I was fine.

    • KS IT Chick :

      Soft washclothes or wet wipes. Dry toilet tissue will irritate skin that will already be extremely sensitive. I was having little bloody streaks before I sent my DH out for wipes. I also stocked up on broth-based soups for afterwards. The surgeon friend who did my scope said that he’s had people have good luck with beef & chicken broth helping with the intestinal gas issues.

      The prep was worse than the procedure, mostly because I don’t like spending that much time in the bathroom. The cat was utterly confused about why I was camping out with my laptop.

    • Wildkitten :

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve gotten two (I’m 29) and will definitely echo that the prep is the worst. Can they give you the pills instead of the liquid? That was much easier. And not to be TMI but have some vaseline on hand for when things get a bit raw and use wipes, not toilet paper throughout. Good luck! The cookie they give you when you wake up with be the best thing you ever tasted.

  20. Oh Canada! :

    I’m excited to be traveling to Montreal next month for a conference, but will have down time to be a tourist. Anything that can’t be missed? Also, what is typical May dress (especially when it comes to shoes). Thanks in advance! #askingforaTexan

    • TorontoNewbie :

      I laughed at “typical May day”… there really isn’t one, especially in Montreal! Pack layers. Lots of layers. Ideally it will be low 20s, sunny, and you can do lots of walking but it might also be -3 and snowing.

      Depends on what you like to do, really. I love the Plateau and Mile End for fun restaurants and smaller trendy shops. St-Catherines/Bishop St downtown have the strip clubs and the bigger chain stores and the touristy restaurants.

      From a food perspective, I would suggest Schwartz’s for a deli sandwich, St-Viateur or St-Urbain for a bagel, and Le Pied Du Cochon for a fun Quebec-inspired meal. Joe Beef/Liverpool House are both great but make a reservation now. If you like beer, there are some really good microbreweries (Cheval Blanc and Dieu du Ciel). I would highly recommend getting some poutine from La Banquise, particularly if you go after the microbrewery tour ;)

      Taking a walk up the mountain is a lot of fun, but bring fairly comfy shoes. It’s got a great view. The Museum of Fine Art is quite good, and has some decent Canadian art.

      Old Montreal is pretty touristy but the buildings are nice to look at and the Basilica is beautiful.

      • Oh Canada! :

        Lol, I thought the same thing…even here a day in May could be 60 degrees and raining or 95, sunny and humid (Fahrenheit). Thanks!

        • TorontoNewbie :

          I lived there for 4 years… if you wanted more info send me a note at k a t e m i m at the mail of g.

    • TorontoNewbie :

      Oh- before anyone panics, temperature above was in Celsius! I think it would be between 30-60 F most likely? But if someone understands Fahrenheit better please correct me. It also gets chilly at night.

      • Double it and add 30 is a quick and dirty way to convert C to F. So 20C x2=40 +30 = 70F (actual math has it at 68F).

        30-60 is a huge range for F :) It’s the difference between snowboots and no socks.

        • TorontoNewbie :

          Then that pretty accurately describes Montreal in May!

        • TorontoNewbie :

          Also, thank you for the shortcut! My only exposure to Fahrenheit has been through Ray Bradbury :)

          • Fun Fact -40 degrees is the same amount of @ss-freezing cold in both F and C (aka, it’s the same temp in both scales).

  21. Anonymous :

    I posted here a while ago about finally starting to look for an escape route from my stressful hellhole consulting job and I’m so grateful for the survival tips, commiseration, and support that I received. I was originally going to try to stick it out to the 2 year mark, but after having anxiety episodes multiple Sundays in a row, I decided to take the plunge and start looking. I’ve applied to multiple places and hope to start hearing about interviews soon…… but how do I actually make those interviews happen when I’m traveling Mon-Thurs? There is literally no week between now and July where I am not getting on a plane on Monday morning. The simple answer seems to be to do interviews on Fridays, but I am too junior to be “unavailable for calls.” I have not once taken a sick day so far so I am wary of having multiple Friday Dr’s appointments on short notices (you would think it’d be fine, but my boss is the epitome of a micro-manager). For ladies that have left similarly all-consuming jobs, how did you juggle the interviews?

    • Anonymous :

      It’s unlikely that you’ll have an interview every Friday. If you regularly travel M-TH then it wouldn’t unreasonable that you have doctor/dentist/eye doctor check up on Fridays because you’re away the rest of the week.

    • Are you not allowed to have vacation days or personal family needs? I get it – I started in biglaw where the hours demands are tremendous (though not the same travel by any means). Schedule things for Friday. Block it off on your calendar. Then when you’re inevitably told that there’s a call on Friday at noon or at 4 pm or whatever and it conflicts with an interview then say — I’m sorry, I was planning to take a half day on Friday and will not be available by phone then — make it sound like it’s a doctors appointment; testing at a dr appt; or you’ll be on a plane for a weekend family obligation. Aren’t you the age where everyone goes to weddings all the time? Don’t be apologetic about it, don’t offer to change anything – just say – I can be logged on again after x pm if there’s any follow up.

      • Anonymous :

        So I did exactly that for a religious holiday a few weeks ago. Even though I told my bosses well in advance, it was still very clear that they were displeased. They sat the team down for a chat about expectations about availability and basically said that I was on thin ice, even though I was still logged onto team calls and responding to emails. The fact that I wasn’t in the office with the team (we’re all based out of DC so the partner wants us to work together on Fridays as well).

        This kind of ridiculous attitude is a major reason why I’m trying to leave. The nuclear option would be to go to interviews regardless and let them be displeased, but interviews aren’t the same as offers in writing, so I don’t want to jeopardize my position at my current firm lest none of the applications I’m submitting now prove fruitful.

        • I’m not sure that you’ll have any other option TBH. If they want the team together M-R on the road and Friday in the office and are annoyed if you are not there — well if you ever want to leave, you need to let them be annoyed. Other option (maybe this works in consulting – it would never work in law) – if you can apply and get enough interviews, can you take a week of vacation time? Sometimes at my law firm people are more annoyed with juniors not being there – even if they are available remotely – yet if you’re on vacation, no one is expecting your availability and wondering why you haven’t dialed in. Out of sight/out of mind kicks in and you don’t look “bad” as compared to a junior who is in and out of the office. (Though the taking week off thing to interview never works in law bc interviews are so few and far between that you’d get 1 interview and sit home for a whole week; go back; and 4 wks later they may or may not call you for a 2nd round.)

        • JuniorMinion :

          Say you have a doctor’s appt / procedure anytime you have an interview. If people press you on it say that you are dealing with a recurring medical issue you would rather not discuss.

          Assuming you are female – this should be your hail mary as most men will automatically think “lady doctor problem” and not probe further. I know you don’t want to let anyone down, but if you are really unhappy you need to shift to self preservation.

          I have also found (come from investment banking / related) that interviewers are often willing to interview at 7:30 / 8 AM. This could mean that you could squeeze it in and still get into the office at a reasonable time.


          Person who now has to use every one of my Fridays off (I work 980s) to go to the doctor because in my last job I used all of my dentist / doctor chits to interview.

          • Anonagain :

            Anxiety attacks induced by a hellhole workplace? That’s a legit medical issue you’re dealing with there…interviews sound like the perfect treatment. Good luck!

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t think there’s an easy answer then – you’ll probably just have to get comfortable that they are going to be displeased with any time off but do it anyway.

    • Anonymous :

      Thanks, everyone. I alternate between wanting to quit on the spot and being terrified of the partner so here’s to (hopefully) several “Dr appointments” in the near future!

      If anyone is still reading – would it be very unprofessional to give my 2 weeks’ notice with more than 2 weeks left on the project?

      • Idk if you’ll see this, but I’m in a similar position. Your partner sounds awful so he/she might be pissed, but normal workplaces have ongoing projects too, this is fine.

        Also I legitimately went to the allergist once, told my team that I had a series of strange allergic reactions, and then after that whenever I needed off they might have thought I was dying, but didn’t really say anything. So anything vaguely serious – dental work, lady problems – and no one will want to probe

      • Anonymous :

        If you are waiting for a perfect time to give in your notice, it won’t happen. They will probably be miffed you’re “leaving a project” but realistically, would there be any time that this wouldn’t be the case?

        Also, I find no need to lie with regards to interviews, just say you have an appointment, which is true, and people assume it’s the doctor. If probed further you can always say, thruthfully “well, it’s a bit personal and I’d rather not talk about it”. People can assume whatever they want and anyone would have to be really rude to keep prodding after that

  22. Does anyone know if this jacket ( has black or navy trim? The website doesn’t say. Thanks!

    • TorontoNewbie :

      It looks like navy in contrast to the black texture on the white jacket, and they’ve paired it with navy tops/shoes so my money is on navy.

  23. Late in the day but hopefully someone can help — attending a huge conference (1000 attendees) in 1 week. I’m not going with anyone from my org and am hoping that it won’t be a fruitless attempt to network with people. I know people who work in the same space who (I don’t think) are going.

    Wanted to posted something on LinkedIn letting people know I’ll be there — so as to job the memory of some people who may be attending or having some connections say – oh make sure you meet Joe Smith when you’re there (long shot I know). How would you word it — I was thinking “looking forward to attending x next week. Please connect with me if you’ll be in attendance.” Is that too simplistic?

  24. Ladies Weekend :

    Three of us are going to be meeting up for a weekend soon — like June. One is in Austin, one is in NYC, one is in LA. The idea is to sit somewhere pretty (pool or hot tub would be great) and drink drinks (with umbrellas in them would be great) and unwind and reconnect.

    We were going to do San Diego (great for me because I’m the LA person) but the NYer loses so much time traveling it starts to not be worth it. Any more central ideas (ideally close to an airport so we don’t spend hours driving to wherever) for a girly weekend?

    • Las Vegas? Not really that close to New York, I guess, but I’m sure there are tons of flights.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Nashville, Las Vegas, and Chicago all spring to mind.

    • How about one of those hill country resorts near Austin/San Antonio?

    • Ladies Weekend :

      Oooh these are good ideas. I *hate* Vegas, but I can acknowledge that a lot of the reasons are kind of coincidental, and hanging with friends by a pool there might work.

      Def. checking out Austin-adjacent resorty places!

    • anon in sv :

      I think the answer is New Orleans. Vegas would also work well.

      • Ladies Weekend :

        Part of it is… the answers are clearly New Orleans or Nashville, BUT I have sort of promised those places to other people in the near future, and it would feel like ‘cheating’ to go now? Same with Chicago, actually. That’s kind of dumb, but there it is.

        • Wildkitten :

          Nope. You can spend a lot of time in those places before you’ll see it all.

        • Anonymous :

          I would not want to do New Orleans in June. Hot sticky mess. Some mountain resort in Colorado? What about St. Louis? Or Minneapolis?

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