Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Coco Cardi

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

Coco Cardi by Pim + LarkinI’ve noticed this sweater before, but now that it’s marked to $24 (final sale, alas) it’s too good not to post. I like it as styled here — with a long white ruched tank beneath — and can’t help but think it would look cute with yesterday’s green pants, or perhaps a colorful pencil skirt. I also think an almost-all-black look would work well, too — black tank, black trousers, and perhaps a red or purple pair of pumps. The cardi (nylon/wool/viscose/acrylic/angora/cashmere blend) was $79, but is now marked to $23.97 at Piperlime. (It’s also available in a “caramel cafe” color.) Coco Cardi by Pim + Larkin

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Psst: Check out more great deals at the Corporette Bargains page!


  1. Really, really cute!

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Love it! The reviews are pretty good too.

    • Yay! Fruegel Friday’s!!!!! I love Fruegel Friday’s!

      This sweater is better for Rosa after she has her baby, tho, b/c it is so short! I have to figure out what the baby’s name should be. Rosa think’s it’s going to be a boy b/c she is burpeing a lot, and Grandma Leyeh says if you burp alot, it is goieng to be a boy. Grandma Leyeh is very smart — she married a Barshevsky (like my Mom). If onley there were more peeople as smart as from my Father’s lineage. All that stuff in Russia in the late 1800’s is where we got our smart’s from, my Dad says.

      Dad keeps calling me to get me to call Henry, so I finaly called him, and he sounded half-asleep when I called him yesterday at 8:00. I wanted to watch a movie with Myrna, but that had to WAIT until AFTER I called him, Dad decreed. So we spoke breifly, and Henry is now going to meet me AND Myrna at the Zaro’s in Penn Station this weekend. He will have to take the LIRR in so we said we ‘d meet him there. IF he turns out to be a DUD, Myrna says we can ship him back to LI without leaving Penn Station, then go to Macy’s! YAY!!!!!!! I warned her that this guy work’s in the City so we may not be abel to loose him that quickly. She said mabye we should go to Macy’s with him, then loose him in the Houseware’s department in the basement after haveing a drink with him — if he’s a dork. FOOEY! I will thinke about that and call him tonite to firm up what and where we are suposed to meet.

  2. Hello Hive!
    Following yesterday’s thread on what to wear to Nigeria. I have bought this dress.
    It’s cotton, multi-colored so won’t show stains, has sleeves to minimize mosquito bites and I can walk in it for market checks (I have a lot of field work).

    • That’s adorable! I’d totally buy it if I didn’t live in the land without summer!

    • Your youtube channel is awesome :)

    • So cute! Congrats on the Nigeria trip — it sounds awesome and I’ll look forward to hearing about your experiences on the trip when you get back. (That might be how long it takes for me to get off my rear and get a workaround to the IT block so I can read & post here on non-vacation days.)

      • Welcome back! I’ve missed your posts. Hope you can get around that IT block soon!

      • ^+1 ^

        • Thanks, my dears. :-) Come play on Tumblr with me in the meantime. The fashiony blog is linked (if you click my name). The more general interest stuff, random thoughts, beliefs, philosophical flotsam & jetsam are: And there’s an “ask” feature if anyone wants to ask me questions about anything.

          Finally, having blogs makes me truly admire how good this blog is and how awesome Kat is. Earlier this week, I was flailing about with Disqus’ commenting system and gritting my teeth. It’s not easy to have a good blog. Maybe one day I’ll get there!

      • Susedna — would you please send me a screen cap of the IT block? I always just assume that those go away after a few tries but if yours is persisting after you’ve cleared your cookies I’d love to know. Thank you! kat at corporette dot com

        • Hi Kat!

          Thanks so much for looking into this. In an effort to not make you waste too much of your time, I should probably tell you that I do not have admin access/rights to my work computer or Blackberry. As a result, I can’t install a new browser, nor can I clear cookies, history, or cache from my computer or Blackberry. This stuff DOES eventually get cleared out, because the browsing history doesn’t stretch back to Mesopotamian times. It’s a few months old.

          I think I’m using the term “IT Block” loosely. (I’m crap with computer-stuff, see my misadventures with trying to get Disqus to behave on my Tumblr. *sigh*) I am not outright blocked from the site. When I try to access the site at work, I get a message — that tells me effectively that this site is deemed a timewaster and that I will be given only N minutes to browse there. (I’m at a friend’s place, so I don’t have the actual message available for screengrab) Given how small N is, I just navigate away and close the browser. It’s not enough time to even really skim the posts, which I can do on my crappy cellphone anyways.

          It makes me realize that yes, I’ve spent a lot of time on this site and it’s creepy that It Has Been Noticed.

          I can access this site from my phone. But it’s quite cumbersome. I have been thinking of just getting a smartphone already. So don’t be surprised if I post to the site really late at night after I get home from work asking for smartphone recs. (Although I should probably google this site first to see if there are some good recs from past days/weeks/months that I can fallback on .)

    • So cute! Where’d you find it?

    • just Karen :

      I LOVE this dress – great find!

  3. Threadjack: I feel like I need to confess something and also ask if this is normal. I am married and have always worked with much, much older men in the office. While I formed great friendships with them, it was strictly professional. I am now at a new firm where I have instantly connected with a younger male colleague. (He has a girlfriend.) I am not physically attracted to him but we get along so great and I really look forward to every time we work together. I just enjoy his company and we sometimes go for lunch together. We have also emailed a few times outside of work but it is generally related to work. However, I almost feel like I am emotionally cheating on my husband. Have I just been deprived in the past of (male) work friends who I really click with? Is it possible to have an office crush who you are not physically attracted to? I just don’t know what to think of this. I have heard of “office husbands” and maybe he is mine? Any experience with this?

    • I would say you are walking a very fine, very thin line. What would you do if your husband went to lunch with another woman regularly? If he emailed her outside of work? I would be really uncomfortable with that. It seems like your gut is telling you this is a no-no, and I’d listen. It’s fine to have male friends, but you need to let it go before you get really attached to this guy.

      • If your husband felt about a woman at work the way you feel about this guy–would you mind? If yes, it’s a problem. If it’s a clear-cut “no,” then I think you’re okay. for now. continue to do this mental check-in.

    • If you’re not s*xually attracted then I’m not sure what the problem is. If he were a woman would you have this concern? Do you have other male friends and if so is there something different about this male friendship that’s bugging you?

    • Do you ever think about him in a non-work context? Would you be comfortable introducing your husband to him? Do you think your husband would like him? I can think of male friends like this at work and I don’t think of it as problematic — but that’s because my husband has met them and likes them and they like my husband. We like working together, we have fun, we enjoy each other’s company, and then we go home to our spouses.

    • Eh. I think this is normal. You’re not attracted to this guy, most of your contact revolves around work… If the shoe was on the other foot, it wouldn’t bother me that my SO is having lunch with someone of the opposite gender. Obviously, only you can know if this is getting too close for comfort. But I think sometimes as adults we forget what it is like to make new friends. I wouldn’t overthink it at this point. I’ve been in your position before (working with mostly men old enough to be my grandpa) and I think you’re probably just enjoying have a work friend you can connect with.

      • “I think sometimes as adults we forget what it is like to make new friends.” Absolutely agree.

        I’ve been thinking lately about the fact that I haven’t made any new male friends since being seriously coupled up. I have some close male friends, but they’re all pre-existing, from the period before. I notice that the kinds of things I still do with them–say, watch TV until 2 am drinking one on one in their living room–would probably be highly questionable if they were new acquaintances, but somehow since they are old friends they’re grandfathered in and it’s understood that nothing inappropriate will go on (which it never would). I’m not saying I have a particular goal of achieving this with a new male friend, but it occurs to me that something is lost if I assume this, or anything even close to it, would be unacceptable. I’d say the same for my SO, who likewise has old female friends but no recent ones.

        OP, what you’re talking about sounds pretty benign to me. I think, as AIMS points out, you have a new friend (which is great) and you’re just adjusting to what that means.

        • Yeah I just realized I haven’t made a new male friend since high school (besides gay males)!
          In general I don’t have time to make new female friends either so I am excited to have a new friend, period.

    • I respectfully disagree with j, above. I think it depends on your relationship with your husband. My husbands works with almost all females and often goes to lunch with them, emails, etc. I trust him completely because I know crossing “that line” would never occur to him. I know he feels the same for me – I have many very close male friends that I work or worked with. I’d feel totally comfortable grabbing lunch with them, emailing on off-hours, grabbing a drink after work with friends, etc.

      I think it sounds like you just have a good friend. As long as both of you are on the same page, it’s nice to have an office friendship like that. Right now, I spend more hours with my coworkers than my spouse, it’s nice to actually work with people you enjoy.

      • I agree. I’ve always considered the line between friendship & emotional affair along the lines of ‘If you are having conversations you would be uncomfortable if your dh overheard’ and ‘If you are talking about personal things to this guy instead of talking about them with your dh.’

        I think it’s fine, normal, and good to have friends of the opposite sex, especially at work. Just be aware, and enjoy the friendship.

        • Olivia Pope :

          This is a smart test! I’ll file this away mentally.

        • +1000

        • Very good rule of thumb. It allows the person using it to not only determine whether something is or isn’t inappropriate, but it’s done by that person’s own comfort level, rather than other people’s views.

    • Olivia Pope :

      This just sounds like you’re friends. Maybe you’re not used to having guy friends? You’re not even attracted to him.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think that men and women *can* be friends – but I also think if you feel like you are emotionally cheating on your husband, then on some level, you are seeing him as more than *just* a friend.

      I think the smell test is – if your husband was this close to a female work colleague, would you be comfortable with it? Are you comfortable mentioning this guy/hanging out with this guy to your husband, or do you feel the need to gloss over it? I guess my question is – do you feel like you have something to hide? If you do, more often than not, there’s a reason for that (either because you are doing something wrong, or occasionally because your/your husband’s boundaries are overblown and need revisiting).

      If not, however, I think you’re just over-worrying. New friends (male or female) can be just that – friends!

      • My DH does go to lunch with his female colleagues and occasionally texts them. I don’t love it but I feel I have to trust him and I feel I am now doing the same.

    • phillygirlruns :

      if you’re doing something you feel that you need to hide from your husband, stop doing it. if you don’t feel the need to hide it, i don’t see the issue. i wouldn’t have any discomfort about having a friendship/work relationship with a male coworker like you describe, nor would i have any issue with a SO doing the same thing – but that’s me.

    • I am dreading today. I’ve posted a couple of times here before about how my micromanaging boss thinks I am some kind of screw-up. In private meetings I have basically been told that I stink at my job, but with very few specific examples provided, even when asked. In my review, I was called uncooperative and the example provided of my “uncooperativeness’ was so random and out of the blue it was ridiculous (it was true, but so minute and certainly not an exemplar of my work as a whole). I was also told that I don’t communicate enough, so I was put on a plan in which I am required to send daily updates, plus a Monday preview of my week and a Friday summary (plus an update at our weekly staff meeting). I complied, but frankly I feel humiliated. I was put on this “plan” a month ago and yesterday my boss said he now wants to have monthly check-ins with me for the next review cycle. My stomach sank. The first monthly check-in is today. Based on precedent, nothing good will come of this meeting. I know I will walk out of his office feeling miserable. He will continue his pattern of criticism with no supporting evidence or suggestions for improvement. This job has destroyed my self-esteem and I feel so powerless. When we meet, I am not usually given an opportunity to speak (and was once explicitly told that I was just supposed to listen). I know deep down that this guy is a nut job and that I am better than this, but yet he still gets to me. I am looking for a new job but the fact that I have to take ridicule from this guy just to keep myself from getting fired in the meantime is demoralizing. I don’t know how to restore my self-esteem after this and I don’t know how to stop bringing these issues home with me. I know my husband is sick of hearing about it.

      • Oops…was supposed to be its own post.

      • Olivia Pope :

        Keep giving yourself reality checks:
        – his critiques are not indicative of your work, because he is crazy bananas.
        – you are applying for jobs, and when you find one you are out of there
        – your job right now is not really [insert title here], it’s Smiler and Nodder

        If you’re are not supposed to speak during these “check ins,” just smile, nod, and say things like “Thank you for your input” and “Thanks for the suggestion; that’s very helpful.” It’ll be fake, but fake is you looking out for your own interest.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Anonymous, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Toxic work environments/bosses can be — well, just that, toxic. They seep over into all aspects of your life, make you worry about your self esteem and are incredibly stressful. I’m glad you are looking for another job and I hope you find one soon.

        My best advice is to try to separate your core identity from how you are feeling at work right now. Try to get involved in fulfilling activities outside of work so you have things to look forward to – my thought is generally, when work (or any other aspect of your life) isn’t fulfilling and you aren’t able to address that immediately, work really hard to make sure the other aspects of your life ARE fulfilling. Whether that’s exercise/fitness, getting back into a hobby you once loved, getting out on the dating market or spicing things up in your existing relationship — whatever. Just make sure *outside* of work you are striving to be happy, content and whole and hopefully, that gives you a more comfortable attitude to approach work with (work to live vs live to work mindset).

        Good luck!

      • This may not be what you want to hear but it may be a possibility that your boss has already made up his mind and all the mind games and mean stuff are about laying a trail for a subsequent dismissal. It’s hard to win at this – your boss holds better cards than you – but it is horribly demoralizing (my hubby went through this at one stage).

        Am sure you are already looking for other work but don’t forget to check out the possibilities of an internal transfer, if your work is known and liked by others at your company and/ or your boss is known to be difficult.

        Good luck and hope you can look back at this time at some future date and be proud of your own grace under fire.

      • I have nothing new to add but just wanted to give you all the internet hugs and second what Olivia Pope and momentsofabsurdity said – this is really difficult so do what you can to maintain a strong facade at work (while looking for something else) and make sure to be taking care of yourself!

      • This is a rough spot to be in, but it sounds like you are being given an opportunity to improve rather than just being fired outright… and there are plenty of jobs that wouldn’t afford you that courtesy. Is the main problem that your boss has not been specific about which behaviors you need to change? (ie. “You’re uncooperative” v. “In the future, when I ask you to do X, I want you to do Y and Z, and send me an e-mail letting me know you’ve completed X.” or “I want you to be more cooperative, which means doing A, B, C instead of J, K, L.”) I’m not sure how you get a manager who hasn’t articulated expected behaviors to do that; maybe some other people will have suggestions.

        • Yes, it’s criticism presented in a very negative tone and generally with no specific examples, or examples that seem to come from nowhere. At one point he said I engaged in “bad practices”, and when I asked if he could be more specific, he refused. I mean, outright refused. So I was left wondering what on earth I did or didn’t do. Not exactly a morale booster. As an example of my uncooperativeness, he went on and on for 5 minutes in my review about how I “changed the date in the file name on a draft report”. Um…yes, I did do that, but I didn’t know it was a big deal to you. I did things how we have done them in the past. Are we really talking about this? Can we talk about my actual work and not the name of a stupid file? Ugh. I could go on and on. I’m left having no idea what the expectations are because they don’t exist at all or seem to change from day to day, and the feedback I DO get is more about HOW I do my work than what I am actually producing.

          • Yeah, that really really sucks. Is there someone from HR or an ombudsman you can ask for help? Even if you need improvement, your boss needs coaching, too.

          • Yes, I have talked with HR. My contact wanted to have some kind of mediated session, but that never materialized. Negative feedback + no solutions/goals for improvement = not a good work environment.

      • Anonymous for This :

        Is HR involved in this plan? If not, they should be. If HR is involved, the plan is that your performance must improve materially, and you need HR involved to ensure this evaluation is fair OR that you will be terminated for cause. They are preparing for the latter, potentially hoping for the former.

    • Anon for this :

      One thing I would be careful of — just because you aren’t attracted to him, that doesn’t mean he’s not attracted to you. Having just spent the better part of a year trying to put my personal and professional lives back together after a close male work friend revealed to both me and his wife (who was also a close friend) that he had been nursing a longtime crush on me, I would just caution you to watch for any signs of a problem from that direction as well. In my case, I didn’t see that there was a problem until far, far too late, and the fallout has been horrible.

      • Anon for this :

        (that reply was meant for Anon C. probably that’s obvious.)

      • What an ass!! Way to make his issues your drama. Sending rageful thoughts his way.

        • Anon for this :

          You have no idea how much I needed to read this response. Thank you.

          • Seconding The Hive’s post. And sending my old *tea & sympathy* at you, plus hugs. Sometimes, sucky situations are foist upon us. Hang in there!

          • Anon for this :

            Thank you, Susedna. Definitely appreciating tea, sympathy, and hugs.

      • Wow, crazy. My sympathies. Some bridges just can’t be unburnt.

    • I have a male co-worker that I sometimes go to lunch with and email occasionally, usually about work stuff, sometimes about other random, funny stuff. He and my husband have met and have even gone for a beer without me before. I have met my co-worker’s wife. I let my husband know when I get lunch with my co-worker and read our emails (he was on my computer once when one popped up–he wasn’t snooping, but I also did not have anything to hide).

      However, if my husband was uncomfortable with any of this, I would respect him and stop getting lunch, etc. I am not attracted to my co-worker at all, and just consider him a good co-worker and friend, who happens to be male.

      So I wouldn’t hide this from your husband and I don’t see anything wrong with having a friend at work who is a guy. It is nice to have friends at work of either gender!

    • There is a few different issues here. One, its fine to have male friends. I think maybe you have never had one before and that could be why it feels weird. Things to look out for are, emotional intimacy, and you use the phrase “really look forward to working with him.” that sounds like “really look forward to seeing him” I have some great female work friends, but I wouldn’t say I really look forward to seeing them. Try to analyze that excitment you feel and see if you are feeling more excited than you would about a female. Also when it comes to women and men, I think women can go from finding a man not attractive to attractive VERY quickly when they like the personality.

      Also in general, if you work someplace small and two people of the opposite sex around the same age start going to lunch together, etc, people start talking. Although, in my company every pairing like that did actually end up sleeping together so I guess that says something too about these type of work relationships.

      • I don’t know if I agree with the ‘looking forward to seeing them’ part. I have two male co-workers/friends who I have worked with for 3 years who started out on my team and then switched (we are mid to late 20’s) and I look forward to seeing them/having lunch and I feel like they are basically the older brothers that I don’t have. I am not attracted to them but we are close friends and I always am excited to see them after awhile. They’ve met my boyfriend and are good friends as well, so I think the feeling of ‘excited to see them’ can be platonic as well.

        • Yeah I am talking about the REALLY excited to see them, the phrase the OP uses. And I tried to emphasize that you should just analyze whether its more than a friend feeling. Often the ‘really excited’ to see him, is the feeling of butterflies when you like/are attracted to them. I am excited to see my friends but its not a butterflies feeling. Also you mention that you don’t work with your team, that makes more sense that you would be excited to see them because you don’t as often.

          • I am having friends over for dinner and I am excited to the point of butterflies. I feel the same way about visiting my parents, watching back-to-back episodes of Damages, and going to Costco :P

            But I take your point that only the OP knows if she is generally excitable or if her feeling about seeing her co-worker is unusual.

          • Yeah I was talking about like, you see him every other day but you get the butterfly feeling. I really tried to emphasize that I was just telling the OP to examine her feelings and see if the excitement is more- is he elevated to a higher place than a friend of the same sex would be.

      • I agree with this. Attraction can bloom really fast once you realize there’s a certain compatibility or some need being met. For example, I had a colleague who really loved and shared my sense of humor. My husband, who I love, just doesn’t connect with me on that level— so having this colleague appreciate this part of me was so fulfilling. And it wasn’t long before he stopped looking as dumpy and not-my-type as I thought he was. I really cut back the time I spent with him, because there was a part of me that knew I enjoyed it a little too much.

        So, for everyone who is saying “no big deal, OP isn’t attracted to him,” it’s important to note that waiting for “attraction” to kick in can be a dicey strategy, because once it does, it pops up fast and burns hot. And it’s much harder to impose distance once you let that crush develop.

    • See, I really hate this way of thinking. I’m bi, married to a man. Am I not allowed to have any friends? I think people whose spouses can’t trust them around other people of the opposite sex have bigger issues to discuss. I don’t care if my husband has friendships with other women- because I trust him. And he trusts me, so I continue to have a life outside of my relationship with him. I can’t even imagine being insecure in that way.

      • I don’t really understand this response. OP is not saying she doesn’t trust her husband, she is talking about her own feelings. Of course you can have friends. But when you start to realize that there is one friend in particilar that you kind of hold above all others, its good to have some introspection about it. Ie am I attracted to them, am I building an emotional intimacy with them that is infering with my relationship with my husband.

      • That’s your boundary. It doesn’t have to be other people’s.

      • I understand this response! Many posters seem to be suggesting here that it *may* be crossing the line to have regular lunches with a male colleague. And if someone is bi, well, then this just seems absurd. Don’t worry, OP, I feel you.

  4. TJ: Do any of you know anything about temp agencies? I’m going to have about four months before law school starts, and I was thinking about temping to earn a little money, but I’m not really sure how to go about getting into it. What should I look for in an agency? How does the whole process work? Thanks.

    • anonforthis :

      I temped while I was looking for a FT job. I contacted the agency and submitted my resume. They called me right away and brought me in for an informational interview on my skills/interests. Mostly I think they want to make sure you are on time, responsible, presentable, and not crazy. You have to be really aggressive to get a position though. They usually have so many resumes on file that it can be difficult to be at the forefront of their mind for a position. I emailed my main contact like every other day, and I had a 2 month temp job in about 2 weeks. It was actually a really good experience. I thought it would be something mindless, but I actually learned a lot and the non-profit I was temping for gave me a lot of responsibility (the pay was about $18/hour, which isn’t horrible). At the end of it they offered me a permanent position in another department, but I had gotten a job offer in my chosen field by that point.

    • I temped before law school (granted that was a long time ago in a different job market). My most transferable skills were probably secretarial/office work. I just called a couple of places and went in for a skills assessment and typing test. There are usually a few big staffing agencies in a town so I would start with looking at those.

    • Olivia Pope :

      I used a temp agency pre-recession. I came in, took some tests (typing, etc). When I worked, my paychecks came from the temp agency.

      Honestly, you could have better luck just applying to normal summer jobs nowadays. Temp agencies have TONS of resumes on file. If I were you, I would work at a retail store that sells professional clothes and take advantage of that discount!

      • Second… do something fun/different before law school! (My friend worked at Anthro for discounts during her 3 month delayed start after taking the bar)

      • darjeeling :

        second this; I would probably try to get a retail job and/or a job as a bartender. You’ve got the rest of your life to work in an office!

      • I think I’ll try a temp agency first. I really want something that is during office hours–these four months will be the only time I get to live with my boyfriend for a while, and he has a regular office job, so I want to keep evenings and weekends free for us. And as for fun and different, I’ll be coming off volunteering for two years in a developing country, so I’m ready for plain and normal!

      • I agree. I worked at LOFT before starting law school — awesome employee discount and it applies to Ann Taylor too.

    • My company has hired temps in my department (finance) before. Normally the process from our end is we contact the temp agency with a description of the position we have open, list the skills that are must haves & like to haves. We have a meeting with our contact at the agency so they can really get a good feel for what exactly we’re looking for, how long the position is expected to last, etc. Then they go to their pool of resumes to see who fits our position. We interview 3 or 4, and then make a hiring decision (or ask to see more candidates). However, because we are usually looking for a specific skill set, our process may be different than a general office temp.

      The agency pays the worker, and then bills us for that amount, plus a premium for their services.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve worked through a temp agency before when I was waiting to be sworn in. I responded to a posting they out up on Craigslist, came in to interview, took a Microsoft Office test, and then checked in with them regularly about my availability. They liked it have someone “on call” for weekend projects, which I typically volunteered for. They would call whenever a job came available that i was qualified for and ask if i was available and give me the details on hours, salary, etc. I wound up getting a long term temp assignment as a legal assistant that worked out very well for me. I tracked my time of the agency’s time sheet, had my supervisor sign it each week, and then submitted it concerned a week for payment. The process was really straightforward.

    • I did it right after college – and I “worked” for 2 or 3 agencies. That way I pretty much always had an assignment.

      • So it’s okay to work for more than one at a time? That’s really good to know–I’m not sure I would have thought of that.

        • You pretty much HAVE to, if you want to keep working.

        • Sometimes they have assignments that are longer in duration – I did 6 months at a title company through a temp agency before starting law school.

    • Thanks, all, for your experiences. It sounds like it’s what I’m looking for, and it’s good to hear it’s worked for many of you.

  5. momentsofabsurdity :


    Has anyone ever done a guided tour in Italy? Does anyone have any recommendations?

    My mom and I would like to take a trip together and we are both busy enough and want to see enough while we are there that the idea of doing a guided tour might help us organize/fit things in, help with inter-country transportation, and give my mom a lot of peace of mind (she’s pretty worried since we don’t speak the the language, we’ll need some help — I think this is a little overblown, but hey, it’s my mom). Has anyone done a tour like this or have any company to recommend?

    We’re up for sightseeing and a lot of walking around and eating gelato, but probably not up for anything crazy adventurous/requiring feats of athleticism, considering my mom is in her late 50s.

    • Momentsofabsurdity, I happen to have a friend who is a tour guide in Italy! I don’t know if she’d want me posting all her info on [thissite], so shoot me an e-mail at [thissite]herbie @ gmail, and I’m happy to put you two in touch.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Thank you! Will shoot you an email in a few!

        • Momentsofabsurdity, I sent an e-mail (from my real account) to you and my friend. Let me know if you didn’t get it!

    • Have you considered using an old-fashioned travel agent? When we were considering a vacation in BeNeLux/Germany, we talked to a travel agent and she was amazing at coming up with ideas for how to use the trains wisely, when to rent a car, how to plan the trip to hit the right places at the right times, and how to get the best prices. It might be that talking it through with a travel agent would give your mom the peace of mind not to need a tour company, or the agent could suggest a way to use a tour for part of the trip with some un-guided side trips here and there so you could get exactly the trip you want (and, frankly, not have to do every meal/museum visit/etc. in the company of the 20 other Americans from your group).

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I forgot travel agents were actually a thing. I’m also more of a planner (like anonymous above) so I wouldn’t have though of one — thanks! How do you go about finding a legitimate one that actually knows about the country in question?

        • We didn’t wind up taking the trip, so it’s possible she was a scammer, but I didn’t get that feeling. I think it’s just sort of a gut thing. We went to one guy, and he seemed shady. He had a cluttered basement office and just seemed to be a broker for big tour companies (which we really didn’t want). Then we went to the other agent and she immediately seemed to “get” what we wanted. She whipped out a map and started pointing to rail lines that would get us where we wanted to go. Then she showed us how, in Germany, it would be easier and cheaper to actually rent a car (and when she said getting a BMW would be no problem, Mr. TBK was SOLD — BMW on the Autobahn? Done.) for most of the trip. She was able to give us a quick estimate and followed up with an email with a proposed itinerary, including cost and how the cost would change if we took one option vs another. She was also able to suggest things we’d never have thought of. For example, I didn’t realize how close Brussels is to everything and that a day-trip to Paris would be totally do-able. I’d just start looking up agents and see how you feel when you talk to them.

        • My parents really like the agents they’ve used through American Express Travel.

          All contact is phone/e-mail.

    • Check out Rick Steves. For me, half the fun of the trip is the planning so we haven’t used a tour provider, but we ran into one of his groups in France and they looked like they were having a ball.

      • My parents went to Europe for six weeks last year, for the first time ever, and ran their trip off of VRBO and Rick Steves. They had a wonderful time and totally recommend Rick Steves. I am a more experienced traveler, but also like Rick Steves because his guidebooks do an excellent job of sorting out the dross from the gems.

    • Tauck is fantastic, but can be pricey. Globus is a more budget-friendly option.

    • As someone in her 50’s who regularly runs marathons, I have to tell you that your last sentence made me literally laugh out loud.

      • Hi there, LeeB, just wanted to say that my in-laws would be laughing, too, as they’re both great runners and much older than the OP’s mom.

        Also, I want to be you one day. It’s nice to always have something to aspire to. :-)

      • Well, pin a rose on your nose. You are officially superior to MOA’s mother. Feel better?

    • Conde Nast Traveler lists recommended agents (based on region of travel) every year. The list should be available on their website somewhere. Also – many companies will do “independent” tours – so they plan the trip and you go on it, but by yourself – it’s not a big group. That type of trip may appeal to you (Abercrombie & Kent do these, for example).

    • My parents and I did a few days in Tuscany about two years ago, and we took a day-long personalized tour. It is, by far, still one of my most incredible travel memories to date.

      We used a gentleman named Gianni. He had a great sense of humor and the tour felt like it was designed just for us. We did wineries (obviously) and scenic walks/drives. I can’t recommend him highly enough!

      You can view his Trip Advisor reviews here, and the link to his website:

    • I think I’m in moderation for using a link, so reposting:

      My parents and I did a few days in Tuscany about two years ago, and we took a day-long personalized tour. It is, by far, still one of my most incredible travel memories to date.

      We used a gentleman named Gianni. He had a great sense of humor and the tour felt like it was designed just for us. We did wineries (obviously) and scenic walks/drives. I can’t recommend him highly enough!

      Search “Private Tours Around Tuscany” on Trip Advisor for the link to his website and reviews.

    • Senior Attorney :

      A friend of mine swears by Grand Circle Travel. They seem to have small groups. And Tauck, for sure, if you are willing to spend the money.

      If you want to have the best of both worlds — independence plus a local guide — you might want to check out toursbylocals dot com. We used them on our trip to Southeast Asia and Japan in December and were thrilled with the local guides we booked through that site. I’d think about booking travel and accommodations through a travel agent, and guides for each city through toursbylocals.

      And +1 on cracking up at the “late 50s” comment! I’m 54 and Mr. K is 62 and on our last trip we climbed more steep stone steps in more temples (in 90 degree weather with high humidity) than we could even count! We may seem ancient but most of us are tougher than you young ‘uns think!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      You guys are right — being in her late 50s is definitely not the reason my mom cannot achieve feats of athleticism and that was poorly phrased. The real reason she can’t is because she’s generally less fit than she once was (which is partially due to her age but mostly due to her nonprioritizing of physical fitness – I love her anyway).

      Either way, I was just trying to head off suggestions for long hikes or stuff like that – while I would be up for that, such a vacation would not be fun at all for my mom, and the real point is to have fun doing something we can both enjoy. Sorry for my ageism!

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      I used Through Eternity tours for a private tour of the Vatican. They were amazing. Our tour guide (Gabriel) was an American who had lived in Rome for years and was getting a graduate degree in the history of the Catholic Church (whatever that would be called). He helped us avoid the lines, had a great sense of humor, pointed out interesting things in the art that I would have missed, etc. I think Through Eternity does all kinds of tours in Italy, and I would totally use them again. If you Google “Through Eternity Tours,” they are the first link that comes up.

  6. Anyone with a chronic illness want to chime in with dealing with it in the context of a relationship? I told the guy I’m dating about a (managed but definitely scary-sounding) chronic condition I deal with after he asked about the very faint butterfly on my cheeks. I’m not worried about him freaking out about the implications (I am lucky to be well maintained w/o meds and can honestly say that I’m probably more active than ‘normal’ people). However, he’s concerned about me, particularly given the fact that I’ve been hit incredibly hard with a flu that took most people out for 24 hours, while in contrast I’m on day 6. Suggestions about possible limitations make me twitchy but I love that he clearly cares so much.

    • Cornellian :

      I think if he’s that empathetic or concerned it might not be a bad idea to continue to offer positive information, when relevant. It’s hard to think of an example without knowing what the condition is, but if you’re going hiking and you earlier mentioned that muscular weakness or susceptability to dehydration is a symptom of your condition, it might be worth mentioning to him that you go hiking all of the time, and always make sure to have enough water and food, just in case. That’s obviously sort of a vague example, but I’d aim at giving him information when he might be concerned but unsure whether he should ask about your limitations or issues. Does that make sense?

      • That makes total sense, thanks! I was diagnosed with lupus at quite a young age so it’s just normal for me so I’m not used to articulating what that means in practice (in reality, very little, I really should start looking after myself better, it wouldn’t kill me to take my meds and take it easy once in awhile).

        • Cb, my little sister was diagnosed with lupus when she was 20. Sounds like the severity of hers is similar to yours. (I figured that might be what you have with the flu example you gave).

          I think just being open about things that might affect you more than people realize: fatigue, joint pain, special diet, etc. would help but otherwise, emphasizing that you’re lucky to have a mostly-normal life.

          • I have horrible problems with this, because my main limitation is time. I cannot do anything about the amount I need to sleep, so there will never be a time when I can say “yes, let’s stay out all night” or “yes, we can have a big evening after a day at work”, because my narcolepsy will put me in a heap. (I also can’t drink much/at all with my medication.)

            I have to say, I’ve had potential partners run away when they realise what things entail. Being told “I’m boring” is a frequent occurrence when I suggest a night with a video on the sofa instead of the cinema (which on a bad day is like throwing money away since I am guaranteed to sleep), and if I fall asleep in public I’ve been told I’m an embarrassment as well. I’m also a trifle plump (I work more than full time and need every second of sleep) and could probably exercise more, but it’s just not on the cards – it’s hard to explain this sort of thing. Oh, and the fact that I can’t drive is not just to annoy people – do you really want someone who falls asleep without notice on the road?

            I wish I had better news. I’m both incredibly jealous and heartened to hear your guy is caring in response to this. I’d just about given up hope in this department. (At the moment, the only way I can see a relationship working is if I’m working part-time and have more energy. But that’s financially unlikely, so…)

  7. I’m BA-ACK!! Just for the day, though. Am on a vacation day, visiting a friend who’d like to get on-ramped back to corporate work. No pesky IT at her house to block this site!

    She’s been out of the corporate workforce for about 5yrs and I’ve just shown her this site in the hopes that she’ll pick a handle and join this 2013 answer to the 1890’s Parisian salon. :-)

    Anyways, our plan is to burn a few hours playing an old geeky computer game that we both love (we’ll conquer a continent together!) and catch up on chitchat, and then go to ZARA and shop. Cheers, everybody!

    • That sounds like an amazing day!

    • Good to see you back, honey!

    • Oh and vintage computer games? So Big Bang Theory!

      • Yup, I’ve been outed. I’m actually Dr. Sheldon Cooper. ;-)

        Although that’s not possible since I was too inept w/computers to figure out how to force my Tumblr to take comments. It turns out that for the theme I chose, you have to click on the date of the post, and then it shows the comment box at the bottom of the post. May be obvious to some, but certainly wasn’t to me. Commenting format there is definitely nowhere near as good as this site’s system.

  8. Just a quick rant: When sitting in the quiet car on Amtrak and talking on a cell phone, for a long, lingering conversation at 6:30 am, the appropriate response to someone politely reminding you that it’s the quiet car and cell phone conversations are verboten is NOT “Excuse me? Is this against the rules or something? I’ll be done in just a few minutes,” followed by a dirty look.

    Have people no shame?

    • I’m surprised this person wasn’t thrown out the window by the other passengers. No one messes with the Quiet Car.

    • Amtrak Quiet Car and me are BFFs. I love that the conductors (and the passengers!) take it really seriously.

    • I always wonder who has long conversations at that hour of the morning. I see people out and about before 8 am having very intense conversations on their cell phones, and I wonder: what could be so important at this hour?

      • They could have crazypants bosses who demand check-ins! Or, they work with a colleague whose office is in another time-zone. Or, they’re trying to nail down that pesky contractor to fix a date to do that roof repair estimate, or, they could just be really self-important and want everybody to know it. All of those scenarios (and others) are possible…

      • Business with other time zones ?

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Clients in other time zones….

      • When I talk to my mom it’s usually on my morning commute (by train). Hopefully I don’t look intense, but you never know!

      • SOs in other time zones. I’ve been there.

      • I often have crazypants calls at ungodly hours. I travel all the time. I have clients in HI (-5 hours), my boss is on the west coast (-3), my staff is in the midwest (-1), and an office on the east coast. When i’m on the east coast, my husband often rolls over to see me furiously emailing at midnight, to a client in HI. When I’m traveling, I’m often up at the crack of dawn to take an early AM east coast call.

    • Ugh it just seems like the more cell phone rules society makes, the more everyone is okay with ignoring them.

  9. Another piggyback on this week’s discussions on saving for retirement–Has anyone dealt with *parents* being irresponsible in their retirement planning? My younger sister informed me last night that my mom (who is in her 50’s, an LPN, never known her to save anything, and always living paycheck to paycheck) received about 10K from is a retirement fund that she had from a hospital she used to work for. I’m not sure of all the logistics, but the point is, my mom is planning on using this money to buy a car, and to give her car (I think it’s a 2007 Honda Accord, in fine shape) to my younger brother (16.) I really want to try to talk some sense into my mom, I don’t believe she has any other retirement funds set up, I don’t even think she has a savings account, and if anyone of her four kids are going to take care of her when she’s old, that’s going to be me (the only one to go to college, but I’m burdened with a ton of law school debt, taking care of a parent would be very, very difficult on my own.) I think it’s pretty obvious to most that this is a huge, huge mistake–anyone ever had parents making decisions like this?

    • Anne Shirley :

      Honestly, 10K just isn’t going to make a huge dent in retirement anyway. I’d steer clear of this one at the moment. And remind yourself that lots of people wind up with nothing but social security and no kids to rely on. It sucks, sure, but you don’t need to take on the burden of her planning.

      • I agree with this. But if you’re concerned about the long term, how about mentioning some financial book/literature you’ve read (relating to retirement) and spinning it as “I read this recently and it was super helpful, you should check it out.”

      • In response to Anne Shirley’s post:

        For some people (especially those who are otherwise living on SS alone), $10K makes a HUGE difference – an extra $200/month to spend for 5-6 years can really help an elderly person stay connected in their community, as well as have food to eat, cleaning/help services, etc.

        I come from a lower-income background where the idea of saving $50K for retirement was considered an incredible lifetime accomplishment. There is a world of difference between “I must have 1.4M saved for retirement” and “SS only”, and $10K makes a big difference for those in the middle.

    • I’m sorry your Mom’s decisions are causing you and your sister stress. While I think Anne Shirley is spot-on in not trying to talk your Mom out of buying the car, I wonder *why* your Mom makes these types of decisions.

      Is it due to some combination of being stubborn, set-in-bad-ways plus a refusal to learn about retirement planning?

      Or, could it be that she’s just never been shown a framework for how to manage her money? I know from the many “Tales from the Wallet” posts here how many of us struggle (me included and I work in one of the many finance professions!) with savings & investments.

      In my hopes that there are other options for your mother’s financial future other than government support or draining the resources of her chidlren, could you and your sister try to work with her about her approach to money?

      I bring this up because it pains me to see folks slide passively into various types of trouble (financial, romantic, etc.) Would it be possible to sit her down when she’s calm and relaxed, and ask her if she’d be willing to take a class with you (or your sister, if she’s willing) on budgeting and saving? She’s less likely to feel attacked if one of you join her in the activity. And you wouldn’t be trying to circumvent her from something she seems dead set on (cashing out the plan to buy the car) so there’s no immediate point of conflict.

      Or, if you’re in different states/geographically too far away, maybe you all agree to read something like a Suze Orman book together and discuss? Obviously, I don’t know your Mom, and maybe you and your sister have tried these things before to no avail, but when I think about my own parents, sometimes, there are traits about them that I just assume are immutable and part of their nature, that aren’t really– some are good habits, some are bad habits, and both can be changed with sufficient willingness from within and encouragement from loved ones. I don’t want to assume that your Mom is inherently crappy with money because of some personality trait — maybe it’s a lack of knowledge, cemented by years of poor money habits.

      Good luck, my dear. I think you’re a lovely daughter, btw.

      • Anne Shirley is totally right that 10K doesn’t go that far once you’re retired, but I think you guys are also right in questioning the overall concerns. This is how my mom operates–and her siblings too–they don’t make wise financial decisions, and in the meantime they have debt collectors calling, everyone has bad credit, the like. It’s just frustrating to watch her make yet another wasteful decision. She’s not old enough to have a penalty-free withdrawal (and this is what I’m assuming the funding is, because I haven’t spoken to her about it yet to get the details).
        Alot of my concern is that while 10K wouldn’t go that far in retirement, something to fall back on would be better than absolutely nothing. The benefit of my 16 yo brother (who is very much like me, he’s a homebody and perfectly happy to stay at home most of the week) having his own car is really, I think even viewed objectively, is far lower than having an emergency fund when her 60’s arrive.
        I do like the approach of taking a financial planning class together, I wasn’t raised to be financially savvy, and I’m learning alot of it as I go, and maybe it might be a good way for her to learn how to at least save something while she’s still working another 10 years.

    • I would love a post dedicated to having respectful and productive discussions with parents regarding retirements, wills, estate planning, medical care, living arrangements, etc, etc. Many of us superwoman types come from superhero parents and these discussions remind them of their not-so-superhero status and get defensive. I know this is a know-your-family discussion but directions please?

      • This month’s Real Simple magazine has an article about the 5 (I think it’s 5) questions that everyone should ask their aging parents. I haven’t read it yet, but will definitely be giving it a look! One thing that I find challenging is that I would like to have these types of conversations in person vs. on the phone – but my parents and I are basically only together on holidays and vacations. Not exactly the times you want to start talking about living wills!

      • My mom’s retirement came up when my (Great Depression-era) grandparents and I were talking about our Vanguard accounts (Grandma is really a savvy investor) after everyone else left the house on Christmas Day. My mom was scared silly at the numbers and percentages we were throwing around. I think our transparency nudged her to talk about it.

        My dad, on the other hand, keeps us up to date and is pretty organized. He invests too conservatively for his age but he’ll have a small guaranteed income. My brother and I have copies of his healthcare directives and financial statements. But Dad waited too long to talk about his stuff with his parents so I think he is trying to avoid putting us in that situation.

    • Yes, all the time. And to some extent you just have to realize that you can’t change it. My mom is the same way and is in so much debt it’s insane. I’ve tried to talk to her about it and make her realize that one day she isn’t going to be able to work like she does now; truthfully some people just want to bury their heads in the sand. End of the day, you need to start thinking about how you plan to deal with it because it is tough. Do I want to see my mom in a Medicaid run nursing home one day – not really. But I’m also not willing to sacrifice my entire future well-being and end up in the same spot. Hard line to draw, but it is necessary before having a conversation about the future.

    • lucy stone :

      My inlaws are similar and it is very frustrating to me. I’m 29 and have more saved for retirement than they do. I am an only child so I will be care-responsible for my parents in their old age, but the fact that I also am going to have to be financially responsible for my in-laws kills me. This is the #1 thing I fight with my husband about.

      • Kontraktor :

        I’m worried about this too. I’m trying to talk to my husband about it (we have had some recent issues with his parents that have brought this too the surface more than ever) but somehow it just ends up degenerating into unproductive fighting/him thinking I want him to disown his parents or something. Not really the case, but we simply won’t be able to finance their lives one day if they continue living the way they area. So, I’m just trying to get him to think about how he will tell his parents no, what sorts of things we have to be prepared for, if there are any plans we can try to make…. I just don’t know. I don’t know if there is a solution other than just keeping on trying to talk about it at different times with different approaches and trying your very best to stay calm about it.

    • Short answer: yes, my mom is f’d.

      Long answer: my parents divorced in 2008, in their early 50s. They split their retirement savings (guesstimate is that they split about $500k). My dad invested wisely, made a killing as the economy rebounded, and continues to work his job/save for retirement. He is a partner in a business he started, and if/when he ever retires (he claims he will progressively slow down, but doesn’t plan to stop), he will cash out his portion of the (lucrative) business. His mother also recently died and he inherited a few hundred thousand from her. If/when he retires, he’ll have a decent amount in the bank and some real estate.

      My mom, on the other hand, does nothing but complain about her job, and how life is unfair and she just wants to move somewhere tropical. She refuses to work somewhere that has benefits (no “office job” for her…), so she pays a boatload out of pocket for health insurance. She also has a ridiculously high standard of living, and her rent + health premiums are more than her income + my dad’s alimony. She is not contributing anything to her long-term retirment. I think she sees teh ~$250k in the bank, knows she’ll get a decent social security check (when you’re married as long as she was, she gets a check based on dad’s salary, not hers), sees her 90 y/o mother who lives in a $1M house, and figures “eh, worst case I move in with the kids.” IT DRIVES ME INSANE.

      When asked about her retirement planning, she actually says that her plan is “to live off social security and then move in with one of you guys [the kids]!” Over my dead body will this happen. Literally, you will have to bury my body in the foundation of the in-law suite.

      The best part is that she b*tches about having no money ALL THE TIME. I used to feel bad, now I just point out the crap in her house she shouldn’t have bought, the trips she shouldn’t have taken, or the cable she doesn’t need. DH and I absolutely do not need/want the money, but I do think it is telling that her retirement = my grandmother’s estate; my retirement = 40 years of diligent saving.

      Not that this is a hot-button issue or anything.

      • Yes, my mom has no idea about retirement (also divorced Dad in their 50s). She contributes $200/month(!) to her retirement and thinks that’s sufficient. She has about $15k in her retirement accounts and still wants to retire within 10 years. My brother, who makes way less than her, has 3x as much in his 401k.

        She does have a house but she and her new husband set up their finances in a weird way that, I think, might mean she can’t get a reverse mortgage–house in her name, she pays the entire mortgage, he has a life estate. So he’s living rent-free and he makes more than she does. I hope against hope that he’ll help support her but I worry that he’s just as bad with money as my mom.

        • In a way it does make me feel better that other readers’ parents are somewhat similar to my mom. I do hope that your mom’s husband does support her in the future though! My mom is divorced from my father, and separated from her second husband…so it’s just her, which could be good or bad.

          Also, I feel extremely nerdy that I got excited reading your post about hearing someone actually using a life estate in a real life situation, rather than just a law school fact pattern.

          • Yeah, the life estate might have been my idea. It was a compromise because all h#ll was breaking lose when they were getting married. Dad didn’t want “his money” to end up going to the other family if Mom died first and the new husband inherited the house instead of my brother and me. Mom didn’t want her new husband homeless if she died first.

            It’s a clusterf#ck and a quitclaim deed might be in the future…

        • I wonder if it’s partly generational. Most of us younger people never had pensions in any of our jobs and grew up knowing social security is dicey at best, so we knew to sock away money in the 401K and IRA as soon as possible. But our grandparents had those post-War era pensions and social security was fine, so our parents grew up never thinking that retirement was something you had to actually do anything about…until they got too close to retirement to be able to do anything about it. (Not all Boomers are like that, obviously, but I think Xers/Millenials are probably savvier about retirement savings at a younger age than our parents were.)

          • It is generational. I think Gen X and Millenials are a lot more like our grandparents and the Great Depression Era generation. Even though they had pensions, they also saved a lot of money. Honestly, the Boomers had a few recessions here and there but nothing like the generations before and after them have gone through.

      • Ugh, so sorry to hear that your mom causes you all that stress, Way Anon!

        I was interested to read what you wrote about your mom’s social security being based on your dad’s income. My parents are both 60 years old and have been married for about 35 years. My father works full-time, while my mom left the workforce in 1979. A few years ago, she received a letter from social security that she says told her that she had not worked enough hours over the course of her life to qualify for anything. I will have to check and see if (1) that was the case but isn’t anymore or (2) perhaps she misunderstood what she was told.

        • Anonymous :

          Fyi, she gets 50% of his benefit. If he dies first, she then gets 100% of his benefit. This applies to all couples married10+ years.

    • Tell her to listen to Clark Howard on podcast, radio or read his blog. This has helped my parents understand they have not saved enough. I am in a similar situation, four kids, I am the only one who could take care of them.

      I treat the info like my student loans on I see the information, I hate the information, I rinse my brain out with vodka of the information since I know I am handling it the best I can.

  10. TJ – planning a weekend getaway to LA. Any suggestions? I don’t care about clubs or fancy restaurants – but would love any recommendations of good places to eat, fun things to do, etc. Thanks so much!

    • We loved Craft (–delish!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Venice Beach is always super fun, just for the people watching!

      Both Getty museums — the Villa in Malibu and the big one on the hill overlooking the 405 — are great if you like that sort of thing.

      Old Town Pasadena for shopping and eating. The Huntington Library and Gardens and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena for some class and culture.

      Universal Citywalk for those who like that sort of thing.

      Hard to beat the Griffith Observatory on a clear day.

    • Doughboy’s is delicious for breakfast/brunch. I daydream about their giant chocolate chip pancakes from time to time.

  11. A friend is dealing with a dilemma I don’t know how I’d respond to.

    She was laid off from her corporate job a couple of months ago. She filed for and has been collecting the maximum unemployment in her state (she was making a high salary at her old job). She has been able to live reasonably comfortably on unemployment (partially due to her well-below market rent and lowered spending habits post-layoff). Yesterday, she was offered a lower-paid position tangentially related to what she wants to do, at a small company in her city. After running the numbers, she realized she would be collecting more on unemployment than she would be making at the new position.

    She is now debating whether to take the position. Her rationale on one side is – she is young, smart and capable and should not need to “drain” state resources when in fact, there is a job option available to her. She is able and willing to work, and can live at the lower salary though it is (obviously) not ideal for her. She wants to be ethical and not overburden the state where it is not necessary (the state is currently in a budget crisis).

    On the other hand, she would be making more money on unemployment and it would give her more time to search for a better fit job, more aligned with her interests and at higher pay. A job like that would be one she’d be more likely to stay at longer and would be better longterm for her career. She and her previous employers have paid taxes and paid into the unemployment system so she could have a safety net in times like these. She has many weeks left of unemployment, so she isn’t concerned with not finding anything at all and being stuck — thought maybe she should be, who knows.


    • Sydney Bristow :

      I think it is easier to get a job when you are already and employed and the longer you are out of work, the harder it can be, so I’d take that into consideration. Does the job offer benefits? That’s something else to consider instead of just looking at salary.

      There is also an emotional component to this, I think. There is something to be said about the satisfaction of getting up and going to work every day, unless its a job you hate. I’d fame it more as whether this job is something I might enjoy doing and whether it could lead to something in line with my career path and leave the unemployment comparison out of it altogether.

      • Sydney makes great points. I was unemployed for 6 months in 2011 and struggled to get any responses to the resumes I sent out. In addition, I was not solicited by recruiters or headhunters. No sooner was I hired, than my phone started ringing off the hook with folks interested in trying to place me in various jobs. It was like I suddenly stopped being invisible!

        Benefits are another important thing to take into consideration. COBRA coverage, for example, is quite expensive. And after all the talk on [this site] recently about retirement, I think you can’t underestimate the value of a 401(k) or similar.

    • A nonny moose :

      You pay into unemployment every paycheck. If she was a high earner, she contributed quite a bi to the unemployment fund. I would not have applied to the job to start with. However, it is likely that legally she HAS to take the job, or relinquish her unemployment benefits; most states say that you can’t turn down a job and continue to collect.

      • A nonny moose :

        Sorry, I moved some sentences around and this comment doesn’t make as much sense as I’d like it to. Basically– she did contribute to the fund, so she shouldn’t feel guilty about taking the money. However, there are likely legal ramifications of turning down a position and continuing to collect. She should check into those. This is why I would have avoided applying to something I was not 100% sure I’d take.

        • Not to totally out her but she didn’t actually apply for this position – a longtime contact/family friend heard she was unemployed, had the opening, and offered it to her out of the blue (in the “I’ve actually been looking for someone to do X, why don’t you come on board?” way — very small company). I’m not familiar with the laws in her state, but I’ll pass on that she should look into if she’s legally required to take the job.

        • downstream :

          actually, I think employers pay into the unemployment fund (at least in NY). Not that that really matters. I looked at unemployment as the one social welfare thing that I would probably ever qualify for, and I cashed my weekly cheeks with no shame.

          When you apply for weekly benefits the unemployment board asks if you’ve turned down any work (again, I only have NY experience, so could be different in other states), and checking “yes” will probably make your friend ineligible for future benefits. So checking “no” is a lie and is probably some ridiculous federal offense like lying to a federal computer or something. The chances of being caught doing that are as close to zero as possible, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

          I wouldn’t take the job just because being on unemployment is “bad” or because she’s technically required to take the job, but I would take the job for SB comment above – it’s easier to get a job once you have a job.

    • Miss Behaved :

      Quick question. Is she having taxes taken out of her unemployment? If not, she’s in for a treat when she has to do her taxes. And this would significantly decrease the amount she’s actually getting on unemployment, which might make the other opportunity more enticing.

      • Hmm, I have no idea. Do they not take taxes out of unemployment? That seems weird (why wouldn’t they?) but I’ll ask her, thanks!

        • IME, you have to dictate whether you want the taxes taken out or not.

          • Miss Behaved :

            Yup, same here. The first time I was laid off, I didn’t do it and had to pay through the nose on taxes. The second time I was much smarter.

            My brother is dealing with that now because his wife didn’t opt to take taxes out.

    • I thought that if you have a gap between your new salary and your old salary, you can still claim unemployment to cover that gap. I’m in NY and have never used unemployment, so this may not even apply, but that might be possible for your friend. Maybe she could take the new job and still have unemployment kick in some extra funds while she’s looking for a better paying job. It would also extend the time she can claim unemployment out too, I think.

      • do you really think that?

      • No… it does not apply

      • I’m not sure if it applies when you take full-time employment, but I certainly worked a few hours a week while on unemployment and continued receiving weekly benefits, less my earned income, until I went back to full-time employment. Some weeks, I didn’t get anything, but the next week I would. I don’t know that the issue was full-time vs. part-time, I think it was just the amount of earned income that kicked me off the system. This comment should not have been dismissed so quickly.

      • Wow, I usually eyeroll when people complain about the bitchy responses, but it really is getting out of control. Since like whoa’s answer was in no way constructive, here’s what I was thinking of, straight from the NYDOL’s website:

        “If you work less than four days in a week and earn $405 or less, you may receive partial benefits. Each day or part of a day of work causes your weekly benefit rate to drop by one-quarter. For example, if your weekly benefit rate is $100 and you work three days and earn less than $405, you may receive $25 in benefits. If you work two days, you may receive $50 in benefits. If you work one day, you may receive $75 in benefits.

        If you receive partial benefits, it extends the length of time you may collect benefits. If you earn over $405 in any week, no matter how many days you worked, you cannot receive benefits for that week.”

        So yeah, the OP’s friend was probably offered a full-time job, but I didn’t think that was clear. Since unemployment works out to like $10/hour in NY, that doesn’t automatically say “full-time, salaried position” to me. Apparently NY’s unemployment laws only address part-time workers and I thought it might apply to full-time too, but it wasn’t completely off the wall.

    • anonforthis :

      It is ILLEGAL to stay on unemployment when you are offered a job (a salary job nonetheless). What your friend is considering doing is immoral and illegal. She should not feel bad about taking unemployment as she paid into it, but taking it longer than necessary is immoral.

      • Totally disagree. The illegal part depends on the state. It’s not immoral to receive benefits for which you qualify. No one would tell a company that it was immoral to take full advantage of tax breaks, grants, or other government programs to the fullest (legal) extent possible. Why is it immoral for a person to do the same?

        • This is so great to see. It seems sometimes in the US, we forgive transgressions on the part of corporations much more readily than those made by people.

        • Because if you read the fine print when you apply for UA (and generally for each payment you receive), you have to report things like jobs you apply for, jobs you get (even if you turn them down), etc., etc. It is often self-reported and laxly policed. If the state comes knocking, the person may wind up getting themselves on the hook for up to criminal fraud for knowingly taking the $ when they aren’t entitled to it.

          I know someone who voluntarily left a job and then applied for UA. Didn’t end well.

      • I think each state can set a limit on how low-paying of a job you can be forced to take. I would ask the state caseworker for the details of that.

        • downstream :

          Yes, there is a salary floor below which you are not required to take a job. In NY there are all sorts of job categories that have “average” wages, and if the offered wage is some percentage below the average wage, you don’t have to take it. You can probably find most of the info online.

        • A nonny moose :

          True point. I would be pretty shocked if all states didn’t have some version of the law (in DC, it is that you can be disqualified by “Refusing to apply for or accept suitable work without good cause.” That said, it would be equally ridiculous if she had to accept a job at a fast food restaurant or something. But definitely something to look into– what is “suitable work?”

      • I was offered a job (totally unsolicited) at Hooters once when I was on unemployment. Pretty sure the manager never made eye contact with me, if you catch my meaning. Does that mean it was immoral or illegal for me to refuse that position? I’m not up on my employment law, but I’m pretty sure you’re not required to take ANY job that’s offered to you just because you’re claiming unemployment.

      • THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. I’m only clarifying some of the misconceptions posted on this topic.

        It’s not illegal, and it’s not necessarily fraudulent. Just because someone is receiving UI doesn’t mean that they have to accept employment that is not suitable (however, UI statutes are state specific. This is true in my state). Also, the issue isn’t whether an individual resigns, (in my state, at least), it’s whether the individual is at fault for the separation. You can resign and not be at fault for the separation.

        Also, INDIVIDUALS do not contribute to UI. The fund is employer, state and fed funded.

        OP: UI eventually runs out. If she thinks that she’ll be employed elsewhere before her benefits run out, then maybe declining the offer would be in her best interests if these people expect that she’ll accept and then plan on staying. However, she’ll also have to take into consideration the “damage” she will do to her relationship with the people who offered her the job if she declines it. As you can see here, there are a lot of strong feelings about this topic.

    • Cornellian :

      I think she should probably take it, just on a practical level. Jobs don’t come along very often for the young crowd, and I think she probably should be concerned about nothing coming along and being stuck, to be honest. I’m a bit risk-averse, though, so that’s just me. I suppose it also matters what her relationship is with the new employer. You mentioned below she knew him already…. it might be bad to take it then leave in 6 mos when something better aligned comes along.

      And I agree that she should look in to legal ramifications of not taking a job offered to you. I can’t imagine how that would come to light, but my understanding of (un)employment law is woefully inadequate.

    • I was curious, so I checked my state (MA)’s benefits. If I were unemployed, the max I could get would be a weekly equivalent of $33k/annually (pre-tax). I am 29, and quite marketable (IMHO). It would be tough for me to take a job that paid less than $33k/year and think it was a good move, unless it were part-time and allowed me ample opportunity to continue to job search. Honestly, I’ve thought of what’d I’d do if I got laid off, and I’d do some consulting–which quickly add up to over $33k/year.

      If, for example, your friend was making $125k/year and is in sector/role that she is quite confident she could find work, I’d say hold out….unless she thinks the job could offer her opportunities for a higher paying job elsewhere.

      I just wanted to throw some actual numbers into the debate as we debate what’s “right” to do.

      • Sorry–the max ANYONE could get is $33k/year. 50% of your salary, up to a $630/week. My current job pays $100k.

      • FWIW the numbers my friend is looking at are close to these ($100K+ -> ~30ishK on UE > a 20K/yr job). I will definitely advise her to check into the legalities of refusing this job though I am not sure how it’s supposed to work in practice – if someone out of the blue offers you a job you don’t want or wouldn’t have applied for, you basically *have* to take it or you are breaking the law?

    • To those saying that you pay into unemployment so you have a right to take it, I disagree to some extent. Your benefits are not limited to the amount you paid in so after a while you are leaching off the system and I think the benefits are offered for way too long a duration. A lot of people are turning down work because it’s easier to collect unemployment. My parents who run a small business say they get a lot of applications where clearly people are just fulfilling the minimum requirements to look like they’re trying to find work to maintain their eligibility. I wish there was more incentive to actually work. Sorry, but I hope the stigma of being unemployed for too long does bite your friend in the rear if she turns down this job and is not pursuing actual work.

      • Right, because everyone who collects unemployment is “leeching” off the system and a “lot of people are turning down jobs to collect unemployment”…. yeesh. You just seem angry. I hope that one day you have the opportunity to meet someone who changes your perspective on life.

        • Yes as someone who gets up everyday to go to work it does anger me if someone who is able to work instead sits around at home collecting govt checks. I didn’t say everyone, just that there are a lot of people out there who do in fact take advantage of the system.

          • Well, maybe there’s something wrong with the system if so many people are able to take advantage of it.

            And to clarify (generally and not to anyone specifically), but an employee generally doesn’t pay anything into the state unemployment insurance fund – employERs do. This may vary from state to state, but unemployment insurance isn’t part of FICA or income tax withholdings, so unless your state has additional taxes on your paycheck, an employee doesn’t contribute. The employer is required to report wages paid every month, and pay an unemployment insurance tax as a percentage of those wages.

      • I can think of some examples of leeching off the system, but the OP’s friend does not sound like she fits that description – she was offered a job that isn’t totally right for her and I think she’s completely entitled to decide whether she wants to take it or not, and continue to receive the benefits she’s legally entitled to.

        It’s a different question if, after having been offered the job, she’s not legally entitled to them anymore and she continues to receive them, but we don’t know the answer to that question.

  12. The speed with which this sweater (in caramel) made it into my online cart and was purchased impressed and terrified even me.

  13. Has anyone dealt with being in a workplace that’s so disfunctional that you 1) spend most of your time trying to dismantle the roadblocks co-workers have put in place that prevent your work from getting done (e.g., refusing to give you information you’re supposed to have and need to have to do your work, being completely unavailable for necessary meetings, giving you conflicting or wrong information due to an unwillingness to look up the right information, etc.); 2) have co-workers talk behind your back when you do get work done, complaining that you’re getting all the credit (um, because you’re the one doing work) or that you’re asking them to do things like, oh, say look up information they’re supposed to be able to provide you (see above re: being the one who’s actually doing work); and 3) get pressure from management to get work done and call your projects “very high priority” but get no back-up (such as telling your co-workers, i.e., management’s other subordinates, to give you information or attend necessary meetings so you can complete your “very high priority” work). I’ve been dealing with 1 and 3 for awhile and had developed some work-arounds, but I got a new direct supervisor lately who’s helped me really push through some of these blocks (hooray!) but now that that’s happened, I’m facing #2 (from people who report to the same senior management I do, but to other direct supervisors, if that makes sense). My supervisor is working on getting cooperation from the other people’s supervisors, but geez, how hard do I have to work and how much snark/back-biting do I have to endure just to do my job?

    • Nothing to see here..move along... :

      Oh yes…Politics – ain’t it fun!!
      so much of this, that it now seems normal.

      My favorite is the move where overseas colleagues book a meeting at 3am my time to push through a decision that they know I will oppose (but can claim I was invited). I’ve done more than a few of those 3am meetings to stand my ground.

    • Do you work in government? That sadly does not sound unusual.

      • Yes. :(

      • lucy stone :

        Was just about to ask the same thing! For some reason in government we play hide the ball even though we’re all supposed to have the same end goals!

    • I think the only way to succeed in this situation is to be supremely likeable. Get people to want to help you get your work done.

      Or, you could just not give a fcuk about the snark and get your work done.

      I apply a liberal dose of both techniques above.

    • One quote I saved from a previous post on this site was “Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.” Maybe it would be healthier and more productive to stop assuming people are intentionally trying to undermine you. Perhaps they are simply overloaded with other priorities that seem more pressing to them. At least you won’t feel so oppressed and frustrated if you take this point of view. It won’t seem quite so personal, and so when you have to follow up with them, you don’t have to put so much emotional weight on the interactions. That’s what I try to keep in mind when my boss ignores half my emails when I’m also just trying to get information to do my job.

      • I don’t think the hiding the ball is intentional. But I’ve been told that people are snarking behind my back and complaining that I’m getting recognition and they’re not (but they’re not pointing to any reason WHY they might deserve recognition; it’s like I have a cookie and they feel bad they don’t have cookies, but it never occurred to them to get some [email protected] flour and make cookies themselves if they want them so bad.) So I’m not just imagining that.

  14. Cornellian :

    How many of you have purchased or considered purchasing an apartment in New York (or similar rental market)? I feel like the market is coming back up and I should not be renting, but I am totally lost on how to figure out if that’s a good idea. I’m meeting with my bank next week to just talk generally about it, see what sort of mortgage I might be able to get, etc, so that should be helpful.

    I assume that generally you shouldn’t have more than a third of your income going to mortgage + upkeep + taxes + insurance, as is the general rule with renting. Did you buy a place for your current self or with an eye towards expansion of your family, subletting, future salary etc? Assuming you have no inheritance/other lumps of money wandering around, how much does the place cost relative to your annual salary? So many questions!!!

    • I live across the river in Jersey City. We rent, but considered buying in 2012. In our area, there was very little supply. Plus, anything that was available offered less than our rental situation. For example, many “two bedroom’ listings were really a 1+den at best. Plus, no gym, parking, or other “luxury’ amenities. Eventually we decided to keep renting because we felt it was a better situation for us at the present time. We had people try and sell us on the perks of buying – equity! Tax break! – but for us it wasn’t enough to sway us into buying. We feel better all the time about our decision because we meet a lot of people who were in our same situation and opted for renting. Our buying budget was around 3x our annual income. I know we could afford more, but we are relatively conservative with our budgeting.

      • “Or similar rental market” =/= Jersey City.

        • higher than average number of commenters on the rag today, apparently. delightful.

          • That expression is disgusting, wow, and degrading to women. Not exactly the way to encourage a positive tone in the comments.

          • I agree that this expression is insulting and the implication that all menstruating women have strong opinions (whether or not you like it!) is sexist and not something that, especially on this site, people should let go without at least saying something.

          • I have 0 f–ks to give, laydeez.

        • The parts of Jersey City right along the river by the Path are definitely a similar rental market to NY (and I would really just consider part of the NYC rental market). So much so that I literally laughed at the person in the leasing office of one building when they told me what they were charging for 1 bedrooms. Based on the rents, I think they must primarily rent to bankers who work in the financial district.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My boyfriend and I have been discussing it, but we will need to save up for a down payment first and I’d like to be able to put 20% down, so that will take awhile. I’d love to hear how your decision making goes though!

    • goldribbons :

      DH and I have decided to buy an apartment. Here’s how we came to this decision. You’re going to spend, say, $3k per month on rent every month for the next 5 years. You should have a pretty good idea of how your life will look for the next 3-5 years, and due to closing costs, broker fees, etc., you’ll want to stay wherever you move (rental or purchase) for 3-5 years minimum. If you *know* you’re going to spend approximately $108k on housing over the next 3 years ($3k x 12 months x 3 years), you know that cost is sunk in a rental. However, on a purchase, if you have money for a downpayment (probably $100k) and money for closing costs etc. ($10k for a VERY rough estimate — which, btw, you would pay to a broker for a rental anyway), then here’s the outcome: In 3 years, you can sell your apartment and recover that $108k. EVEN if you sell your purchased apt for less than you bought it, you’ll be better off until you’re looking at losing $108k — which is quite a lot of money. Let me know if this is unclear and I”ll try to explain it better.

      TL;DR – if you have money for a downpayment and you know how your life looks for the next 3-5 years, it’s pretty silly not to purchase a home. (IMHO)

      • goldribbons :

        Oh more specifically: we decided that we only want to spend 25% of our total take-home salary on housing (mortgage + maintenance + taxes), and we’re only considering very large 1BRs or small-regular 2BRs because we are hoping to have a child in the next 3-5 years. Things that did not factor in at all: future salary increases or potential to sublet (because when we’re ready to move out, we’ll need the equity from selling the apt). We do have money for a downpayment saved up which is helpful and I would talk with your bank about what sort of mortgage you can get pre-approved for.

      • I don’t totally disagree with your thought process- but you are totally forgetting about the mortgage and property taxes you pay every month in that calculation. So 100k +10k closing + 2.5k every month for mortgage and property taxes. That’s 90k +10k+100kdownpayment= 190,000 for three years. So if you sell it for less than you bought it, especially if you owe the bank more because you have only been paying the minimum, you easily end up worse off.

        • goldribbons :

          Yes I agree: worse off than you were when you started. However, you’d be no worse off than if you had been renting the whole time instead of purchasing.

          • AnonForThis :

            Sorry, but I don’t think this is correct (in the process of purchasing a condo in Brooklyn, so very familiar with all of these issues). You are not counting the opportunity cost of renting, nor the transaction costs on the way out of selling an apt (which are huge, especially if you use a broker). I would roughly estimate 8-10% of purchase price in total transactions costs of buying / selling in NYC (this includes transfer taxes on sale, mtge recording tax on way in, etc). Therefore, you need to net at least that when you sell your home to just break even, assuming that your mortgage payment (after deduction)+common charges+property tax+lost opportunity cost on investing down payment are equal to your rent over the period you own. Not sure if that was clear, but I do think you are oversimplifying the math.

          • AnonForThis :

            ^^^ Ooops, sorry, meant to say ‘opportunity cost of down payment’ above… if equity markets make 10% annually and you could have taken advantage of that if you were renting (rather than having your down payment tied up in an apt appreciating at a slower rate), that needs to be take into account. Not saying that 10% per year is likely at this point, but I think it should be part of the calculation…

        • darjeeling :

          on the other hand, property taxes are tax-deductible, which no part of rent is, and if you go with a coop the r/e taxes are generally low

          • goldribbons :

            If you go with a coop, the taxes are included in your maintenance charges and you will be told that a percentage of your maintenance is tax-deductible (usually close to 50%). If you go with a condo, taxes are additional but maintenance is lower.

          • AnonForThis :

            Note, though, that property tax deductions are phased out by AMT if it is applicable. You do get to keep the mortgage interest deduction.

    • I started working in biglaw in 2008, so I was earning a very nice salary (and didn’t have loans) and was pretty confident that I had job security (for various reasons — not saying that biglaw didn’t have massive layoffs, but my firm and my position seemed pretty well-positioned). I saved aggressively for about a year, and then, with a loan from a family member that I repaid in about a year, I put down about 25% on a co-op. I decided to do this because the housing market seemed to have bottomed (so if I was going to buy, now was a good time), and co-ops are cheaper than condos (I got a 1-bdrm / 900 sf for $550K). I was also planning to stay in NYC for at least five years, so I would have time to appreciate and inhabit the apartment, and when I resold it, I expected that I would at the very least recover what I had put in, and hopefully make a bit of a profit. Previously, I had been living in a nice UWS apartment with two roommates, and I was paying $1800 a month for the smallest bedroom. I think I made the right decision, especially given how high rents are getting. However, I wouldn’t have been able to afford a condo (or I don’t think it would have been prudent for me to buy one), and there are hassles to home ownership. I did a lot of research into pricing and neighborhoods (best deals seemed to be Brooklyn, Harlem, and FiDi), and narrowed down my search based on that kind of information. I didn’t consider buildings that weren’t at least 75% inhabited because I didn’t want to live in a ghost building with a lot of foreclosed units. I am pretty happy with my decision so far (especially when I hear what others are paying in rents), but it is a lot of responsibility. FWIW, I think co-ops are an especially good deal right now because the market for condos has gone way up (as has pricing) because people are buying them to rent them out, since rental prices are going up. But since co-ops are much harder to rent out, the demand for them hasn’t increased in the same way. Also, I am getting married soon, and we are planning to try for kids soon (DF and I are both in our 30s), and I can see how it would be easier if we lived in a rental because we could just upgrade to someplace bigger as needed. Instead, I think we will try to make a go of it in our 1-bdrm, but we’ll see how that goes. Could be great, or could be awful….

    • Cornellian – I am in the process of leaving the Manhattan rental market (been here for almost 7 years) and am buying a condo in Brooklyn. I think the rent vs. buy decision is really tough. One suggestion I have is to check out the rent vs. buy calculator on NY Times(dot)com real estate page. It is the most comprehensive I’ve seen and you can enter in your own assumptions for a lot of details (e.g., common charges, inflation rate, investment return, rental price increases, home price increases, etc.). Whether you rent or buy will be very sensitive to assumptions on rental price inflation vs. the price appreciation on the home you buy. I responded above (anon by accident) to goldribbons noting that I have found transactions costs in NYC to be very high (for a condo at least, they are definitely lower upfront for a coop, but still high on the way out). So, you need decent appreciation on the apartment to just cover transactions costs (especially if you use a broker to sell, where commission is usually 6%). However, it can still make sense, especially if rental prices keep increasing quickly (though reports I’ve seen say that price increases have recently been decelerating). I would start looking at Streeteasy(dot)com… it’s super helpful and you can start playing around with different down payments, interest rates, etc. to see what you can afford. We didn’t engage a buyer’s broker, but did a lot of our own research before taking the plunge. Rates have gone up ~25 bp recently, but are still super low (we were able to get 3.75% on a jumbo mortgage with a 90 day rate lock with high FICOs), so I do think it’s a good time and likely to stay that way for at least several more months. However, I’ve definitely noted prices going up fast in certain neighborhoods (only looked at close-in Brooklyn though, so take with a grain of salt) and inventories are really low, though this can vary by property type.

      Ultimately,if you think you’ll want to stay in one place for 5+ years (and have good visibility on your income) it could make sense to buy. My fiance and I went for it because we are getting married soon and will probably start a family in a couple of years, so we wanted more than one bedroom (which we couldn’t afford either renting or buying in neighborhoods we like in Manhattan). In Brooklyn, when we looked at rent vs. buy in the neighborhoods we liked, the calculators showed that it would make sense to buy if we stayed in our apt 3+ years (though this is very sensitive to home price and rental price appreciation assumptions). We had a 25% down payment with significant liquidity left over (bank required 6 months of mortgage+common charges+taxes, though many coops will require way more than that, and honestly I wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t have above and beyond that). I prefer to have the down payment invested in a real asset rather than financial markets right now due to my economic outlook. Ultimately, though, it’s also an emotional decision. I am at a more settled place in my life, so I felt comfortable buying, but definitely would not have a couple of years ago… it’s totally personal. Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I hope this is helpful!

      Good luck!

  15. Equity's Darling :

    Can we play “What are you wearing?”

    I need a little support for my outfit- red cafe capris from J.Crew, a black boatneck sweater, and black patent leather heels, with a white/red patterned scarf. No other accessories because…well, the red pants felt like a lot. I’m sort of stressed about the red pants- they’re 100% fine in my workplace, I just don’t know if I’m the red pants type.

    • I think it sounds adorable!

      But I’m wearing cowboy boots today, so maybe I’m not the best judge at present (being on “leave” has downgraded my satorial standards).

      • Today is “Go Texan” Day so I’m in cowgirl boots too! Boots and jeans, I love working in Texas.

      • Equity's Darling :

        I don’t think you know what city I’m in, but cowboy boots are borderline high fashion here for part of the year, so I, in fact, think cowboy boots are awesome.

      • Got my Justins on :

        And I’m not even in Texas (perhaps in spirit). One of the good things about Denim Friday.

        Boots = best $ / wear ratio of anything in my closet. These are > a decade old.

      • I am a bad Texan. I’ve never owned a pair of cowboy boots. Ever. But knee-high stiletto boots? Those I can get down with.

    • This morning was a bit of a wardrobe struggle for me but I’m happy with what I ended up with – trouser jeans, forest green crew neck sweater with my knock off yellow bubble necklace, flats and gold bangle. I wore a scarf yesterday but love the sound of your outfit! May do something similar with my cobalt capris next week…

    • posting too quickly :

      Your outfit sounds super cute! Seriously!

      Today I’m wearing a JCrew tippi in heather tuquoise, charcoal gray JCrew #2 skirt, tights, La Canadienne boots, and a scarf from Saachi. The scarf is a couple of shades darker than my sweater so it’s a bit of a monochrome look on top.

      • just Karen :

        Ooooh, I wish I was wearing your outfit – it sounds great! I am taking full advantage of casual Friday and wearing dark jeans, black boots, and a black v-neck sweater. As boring as possible, but in my defense I have a hair appointment later, and while I LOVE my hairdresser, she has gotten dye on two of my shirts before and I now refuse to wear anything but jeans or black pants and a black top when I go see her.

    • Your outfit sounds great; don’t ruin it with self-consciousness!
      I’m wearing a tan sweater with brown pants. Only accessories are my everyday watch/bracelet/studs. I’m usually a dress-to-blend-in type, but today, I am dressed to blend into the furniture. Boring.

      • But I think this gives you a perfect excuse to treat yourself to a piece of lemon cake at lunch, gotta keep the furniture polished ;)

      • I’ve got the same outfit backwards – beige corduroys and a brown top. (Inspired by yesterdays cords as alternative to nice jeans on casual Friday.) Gold cross necklace and wedding band is it for jewelry.
        Equity’s Darling – I love the sound of your outfit and know exactly how you feel about not being sure about being the red pants type but you should totally just rock it!

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Usually I love this game, but not today when I’m wearing a hoodie and 3/4 Pink trousers for the 7th day in a row on account of bar prep ‘holiday’. Tomorrow I have to dress like a real person to travel, which I am excited about and already have the outfit picked out!

      • Equity's Darling :

        That outfit is totally what Elle Woods in the movie WOULD wear to study for the bar. 3/4 pink trousers, love it!

        • Woods-comma-Elle :

          Ha ha yeah um, thanks, but if you saw me right now, you would realise that I look more like ‘lives in the woods’ than Elle Woods!

    • Your outfit sounds adorable! I feel like a slob because I’m at work but in dark purple skinny pants (jeans-like) and a striped grey and black sweater. I made literally no effort this morning. At least I threw a scarf on (not sure if it matches though)

    • Charcoal gray ribbed tank under a purple ponte blazer with the sleeves rolled up, darkwash skinny jeans, leopard print flats, and gold/light pink beaded earrings.

      • Equity's Darling :

        That sounds like an awesome outfit- I actually don’t have any leopard anything, but this morning I thought to myself “man, leopard flats would be perfect with this outfit”.

        • Awww, thanks! I wear my leopard flats ALL THE TIME. To me they’re kind of a pseudo-neutral and go with just about everything.

      • I’ve been looking for a purple blazer – mind if I ask where you got yours from?

        • The Limited – but it was last year. But I think I remember seeing a purple ponte blazer on Target’s website.

        • A nonny moose :

          I have this one, in purple, and looove it.
          It’s pretty casual, as is my office.

      • anonypotamus :

        I love my leopard print flats and unabashedly wear them whenever I can. +100 with leopard being a neutral!

    • Your outfit sounds really cute!

      I’m enjoying casual Friday — grey skinny pants, a navy and white striped shirt, black blazer, black ankle boots, and a waist-length black jet necklace with a large black pendant (very costume jewelry-ish, but I figured since it was Friday…)

    • Miss Behaved :

      Dark rinse Gap trouser jeans, blue printed cap sleeve Halogen top and red boatneck angora sweater, along with red teardrop earrings, silver bangles and black tank watch. And black wedge heels.

    • Your red pants sound amazing! I wish I had some winter-appropriate colored pants–I miss my turquoise and bright pink ones, but I really don’t feel like I can bust either pair out in February.

      I’m wearing a crew-necked black sweater and dark-wash skinny jeggings. When I was running errands, I had on black boots, emerald earrings, blue watch, and a teal paisley pashmina, but I’m currently just bumming around the house, so I got rid of the extras.

    • I like your outfit too. I had to wear a suit today for an in-office interview. I need to vent and say how frustrted I am with office politics. The persons in charge of the section with the opening want me to get the spot but they don’t get to make the decision and somebody with lesser qualifications will likely get it because they’re closer to the decision maker.

    • Red pants are awesome. I have the J. Crew Cafe Trouser in red and I wear them often.

      I’m quite casual today. Dark, straight jeans, grey booties, bright pink sweater over thin blue collared shirt (I don’t know how to describe it — its chambray colored, but not chambray, much lighter weight) and navy J. Crew schoolboy blazer with the sleeves rolled up to see the pink shirt and blue shirt sleeves peeking out. Leopard print heart studs in my ears. I went all out with the casual today!

      • phillygirlruns :

        this actually sounds like something you’d see in a j.crew catalog and i love it.

    • phillygirlruns :

      red pants! love red pants. i have kelly green and coral pants i wear to the office in the spring/summer…i need to expand into other colors this year.

      today though: black cowlneck sweater dress, grey tights with a diamond pattern, tall black boots, yurman petite albion ring/earrings, silver monogram necklace, rose gold MK watch. welcome to f#%@ effort friday.

    • lucy stone :

      Teal/aquarmarine fairisle cashmere sweater, dark denim trouser jeans, and Doc Martens. It’s cold and snowy and it took everything I had to not put on a law school hoodie instead.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I love red pants! Unfortunately I don’t have any at the moment and I’m on a shopping ban so I will have to live vicariously through the OP!

      No casual Friday at my workplace so I am wearing a black/gray/camel/white tweedy pencil skirt, white button-front shirt, camel blazer, yellow belt, yellow and tan shoes, and chunky gold necklace and bracelets. I actually copied my outfit from Pinterest and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

    • Your outfit sounds great.

      I’m wearing jeans, an argyle sweater that is oatmeal (background) hot pink & orange, with red, dark red & hot pink spectator style ballet flats. I feel like it’s a lot of color, but really, the color is in pretty small amounts.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Black Lole tunic dress w/asymmetrical neckline, black ponte leggings, black CH Tennley boots, coral wool stole & large gold leaf earrings. It’s Friday, a big storm is moving in, and I’ve already taken Imitrex.

    • Anononony :

      Jcrew Jules Dress in Jade (3/4 sleeve shift dress)
      Silk Abstract Mulicolor Scarf
      Nude Micro Fishnets
      Frye Campus Boots
      Swiss Army Watch
      Jade Drop Earings

    • Anonymous :

      Love the outfit! I can completely relate to not being a red pants person, though.

      Skinny jeans, brown boots, slate zip-up cowl-neck sweater, darker slate tank, bronze necklace. Happy casual Friday to me.

    • KS IT Chick :

      Today was khaki slacks, forest green button-down long sleeve shirt with employer’s logo, a heavy navy zip cardigan & hiking boots. We had nearly a foot of snow between 4am and noon yesterday, and we’re all trying to dig out. I got a couple compliments on still looking on the smart side of business casual when it would have been very easy to go jeans, t-shirt & hoodie.

  16. Exfoliators… what do you guys use, and how often?

    I’m 40. Drier/combination skin. +sensitive
    Exfoliator – ?facecloth in mornings/night. Need more. Recently bought Murad wash.

    I use Retin-A at night.

    And for those who love the Clarisonic – anyone have trouble tolerating it if you use Retin-A and have sensitive skin?

    • Just started using Ziana last week (retin A + antiobiotic), I’m using it every other day and it has caused some flaking (not too bad though) and tingly-ness. I’m using the clarisonic on the nights I don’t use Ziana to get rid of the flakes (and to make sure I’m getting all my makeup off; it does a really good job of that). So I’d say it’s okay to use clarisonic (get the sensitive skin or acne one) with retin A but not on the same night preferably. Maybe just stick to clarisonic 2-3 times a week? It does a great job of exfoliating IMO.

    • Cornellian :

      I have sensitive, dry-ish 26 year old skin, and I have a big bottle of Purity’s microexfoliation scrub that I use a couple times a week. I love it. I’ve had the large bottle 18 mos and it’s half empty (probably i should throw it out anyway after 18 mos…) It’s expensive but I think totally worth it. Plus you can buy it from Sephora and return if it’s not for you.

    • I love love love the Salux nylon towel. (Get the real Japanese one, not a Chinese-made knockoff, which will ear out fast.) It’s a scrubby testured nylong and long like a scarf — you can do your back as well as your face. Link to follow.


    • Veronique :

      Late 20’s with combo, acne-prone skin that also has winter dryness. I use Avibon (retinol ointment) every night and wake up with smooth, moisturized skin. I use my clarisonic (acne head) with dove twice a day and 1-2 times a week I sprinkle baking soda on the clarisonic before washing my face. That’s pretty much all the exfoliation I need.

      I used to use retin-a and never really adjusted. I hated having dry, flaky skin every 2-3 days. I also couldn’t use my Clarisonic every day. I would use it a few times a week with a sensitive head.

    • I use an exfoliating scrub 2-3 times per week in the evening plus a retinol (non-prescription) every night. I also don’t “wash” my face in the morning, but use Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant every morning. I highly recommend the Aveda product.

    • I use Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser about once a week. It’s quite gentle for an exfoliator, but effective and non-irritating. I like it a lot.

  17. I have a weird question for the hive. How many poops in one day do you have to take before it hurts to wipe?

    • Is this a new weird ellen?

    • We poop sunshine and rainbows. Wiping not required.

    • Well, it shouldn’t hurt to wipe. If it does, you are going WAY too often or you have an “issue”. If it hurts when you only go once or twice (even twice a day is not really typical/normal) in a day, then you probably have hemorrhoids or an infection. If you are going many times a day, you could be rubbing yourself raw…. and might have irritable bowel disease or an infection or a food intolerance/allergy. Maybe time to check in with your doc.

      Also, get some nice baby wipes. These are much more gentle on your skin.

      If you have hemorrhoids…. drink lots of water, increase your fiber in your diet. I’ve also found Indian food/spices are your friend! Look at the topical creams at Walgreens for some immediate relief.

      • Definitely go for baby wipes instead of the flushable wipes that are being sold near the toilet paper. Those flushable wipes tend to have alcohol or other drying agents which can exacerbate issues. Just don’t flush the baby wipes, I don’t know that they’re really intended up end up in sewer/septic systems.

        • Do not use the flushable wipes – they do not break down and get stuck in the pipes, causing serious, expensive plumbing problems.

    • SouthAsian :

      For serious, I don’t understand how people *only* wipe. At work, I use wet tissues to supplement my wiping. At home, my beloved lota. How can you feel truly clean just using try toilet paper?

      • Cosign. Traveling in Asia, most public restrooms (in nicer places like malls and restaurants) had water bidets. I wish they’d have those here in the US because once you use them you can’t make do with just tp

    • it’s a trick question. The answer is get better TP.

  18. My father will be traveling on business for most of October. My mother, who does not work outside the home, has suggested that she and I take a short trip (perhaps 4 days) together during that time to help her combat loneliness. She and I are close, so I think this is a good idea. However, I’m not 100% convinced that her target destination – Montreal – is the best one. From the little research I’ve done online, it doesn’t sound like there is a ton to do there. While we don’t need to cram our days with activities, I would like to make sure that we have enough to do. Does anyone have any thoughts about Montreal and/or suggestions for another destination? She is located in NE Ohio and I’m in the NYC metro area, so east of the Mississippi is probably preferable.

    • I spent 3 days in Montreal last March and was kind of disappointed. If you are going to do Montreal, I would suggest doing 2 nights there and maybe 2 nights in Quebec City, which I’ve heard is lovely and much more European than Montreal. To be honest, Montreal was just not that pretty of a city, and I didn’t find there to be a ton to do. However, if you like eating, and hiking around parks, and sitting in cafes, it would be a nice time. I just don’t see the reason to spend 4 days there.

    • Equity's Darling :

      There is so much to do in that city it’s bananas – museums, shopping (so much of it!), farmer’s markets, botanical gardens, skating at the top of the mountain, and of course, a ton of food options. You can definitely keep yourself entertained for 4 days, no problem (or at least I could…). If you search my name and Montreal and this site, I’ve given tons of recommendations in the past, and so have many other commenters.

      Plus, the city is quite nice weather-wise in October, AND you caoulde a day trip to the townships and enjoy the autumn leaves, which will be in full swing in October.

      • Equity's Darling :

        *could do a day trip*

      • +1. I grew up in Montreal and miss it terribly. The idea that there isn’t enough to do there is crazy. Montreal is beautiful and incredibly packed with culture, entertainment, shopping, parks, etc, for its size. Early October will be lovely weather, too.

        (Personally, I think Quebec City is lovely but maybe a day trip — better spend your time in Montreal. Check out the old city area if you want that kind of atmosphere.)

        Of course you could always just have your mom visit you in NYC — then you can tour guide her around since you’ll know more things to do without research.

    • I know there have been lots of threads on this but there will be lots to do in Montreal! Or Quebec City is beautiful in October.

    • Montreal is fantastic and you could easily fill your days there! Lots of museums, art galleries, great restaurants, touring the old part of town. Quebec City is also beautiful if your mom is set on French Canada.

  19. Francie Nolan :

    Happy Friday Everyone!

    I have a question I am buying this dress ( link to follow) to wear to my birthday dinner, what shoes would you wear, my birthday is April?

    • Francie Nolan :

      Here is the dress, Collection%26DRESS_LENGTH%3DLong%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D5%26ruleId%3D65%26slotId%3D4

    • Metallic sandals in this vein:

    • To me, long dresses look funny with high heels sticking out the bottom. So if the dress is long enough to cover the heel, then high heels are fine. But the way Macy’s has it styled feels highwatery to me. If it hits you at the same place, I would wear pretty metallic or sequence flats or (depending on your climate – April weather is tricky) flat metallic sandals.

      If it’s long enough and you’re in a cold climate, I love these:

      • Hmm, I think cute shoes & pedicure are worth showing off so I’m okay with the ankle length. :)
        Interesting that we both recommended Nina brand – I’ve never heard of these. Has anyone actually tried them?

        • Nina does shoes for evening wear. The heels are very high. All synthetic stuff but a decent price for sparkly shoes you want to wear once or twice a year. I’ve seen Nina in many shoe stores in NYC.

        • I have a pair from DSW that I wear to evening events from time to time. They’re fairly decent for the price.

        • lucy stone :

          I wore Nina shoes for my wedding and had them on for about 9 hours. They weren’t the most comfortable shoes ever but are comfortable for an evening heel.

  20. SoCal urgent help! I need an ENT for anywhere between the Westside and Orange County that might be able to fit me in today or has weekend hours!

    • Try Dr. Lesley Luk in Torrance. He is amazing…has done a ton of surgeries on my mom and is the go-to guy in our area for sure.

  21. CravingMusic :

    What sites/services do you use to keep a fashion wish list? I need a better way than just adding to my bookmarks.

    • Miss Behaved :

      Amazon allows you to add things from other online sites.

    • Pinterest. After a year, I finally learned how to use it.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Care to elaborate? What did you learn?

      • I use pinterest too. It’s the best for bookmarking/brainstorming/etc. I have a Pin It button on my browser bar. When I see something I like, I pin it with the price. I have both a Style Inspiration board that is public and a secret 2013 Wardrobe board that contains more serious things I’m contemplating.

  22. I’m so tired and stressed that I’m catching myself starting to stress-shop again. Current vices seem to be jewelry and bras. I know I could just shut it down but it seems pretty harmless. What are your stress-shopping vices? Just curious and looking for commiseration.

    • Lipstick and button-front shirts. I have gone through other phases though. Come to think of it, both of those items make me feel put-together and in control, so it’s pretty obvious why I’d think buying another would somehow help. :/

    • eBay feed. OMG, if you guys haven’t looked at your feed on eBay, you are totally missing out. Based on your history, it provides pretty pictures of everything you might want that is listed on eBay. Mine has jewelry, cell phones (I crack screens monthly), and scuba gear.

      And scuba gear (also on eBay). I need to replace my gauges this year. They tell you how much air you have left and how deep you are–my depth gauge is shot (not a biggie) but I worry that my air gauge is almost shot (big deal). Gauges are super expensive ($100+ each new) so I’m scouring eBay for a barely used console. I’m also thinking of getting a “real” gear bag or at least a mesh bag for the boat.

    • Statutesq :

      [email protected] dresses. It seems it’s always possible to find a great deal, and I convince myself I need to get it because I can never find one when I’m actually looking for one. And they’re pretty.

    • LackingLuster :

      Handbags. Even though during the week I carry a black tote bag and on the weekends I carry a diaper bag. All my handbags are lined up in shoe organizers in the basement, in dust bags, stuffed with paper. I pull one out occasionally for date night. But they make me happy. Although I am thinking of paring down my collection to 5-10. Instead of 25+.

    • nail polish and boots

  23. Does anyone else own… I’m ashamed to say it (which shows I need to address the problem)… Sentimental t-shirts you never wear? I am in the process of moving, and have unearthed upwards of 20 t-shirts that haven’t been worn for years, even as sleepwear. When I put them in the “donate” pile, though, I get sentimental. High school freshman initiation week! College clubs and honor societies! A Snoopy shirt my mom gave me when I was 12, and a Mickey Mouse tee my (now deceased) sis gave me when I was 10! I am 30, married, and feel this collection is unusual, but my DH has an even greater weakness for sentimental t-shirts, so he is no help. Is this as abnormal as I think it is, and if so, how do you ladies recommend paring down the collection?

    • Have you ever considered making them into a quilt? There are lots of tutorials online for how to do this, or I believe there is even a service (or used to be) where you could send in your t-shirts, and they would make the quilt for you. I am saving up some of my son’s t-shirts to make into a quilt at some point. The t-shirt quilt transforms a bunch of separate items into one, useful item that you can choose to display (or not), and you get to keep your memories.

  24. Your Denver Roofers declarers do it. Roofing of Fort Worth, 8100 Wallace
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