Coffee Break: Poetry Hair Tie

Ack, I’m so excited to see that the brand Colette Malouf is not only alive and well but still crazy overpriced and hanging with the cool kids at Club Monaco. I was lucky enough to go to a few Malouf sample sales back in my magazine journalism days and I still have some of her gorgeous hair ties in working order. This clear one is $78 at Club Monaco; obviously, more affordable options exist, like this $16 one at Nordstrom. Pictured: Colette Malouf Poetry Hair Tie

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  1. Any good reviews from BetaBrand for items other than their famous pants? Shoes? Outerwear? Shirts?

    • I have the All Day coat and adore it – it isn’t lined, so its super comfortable, though it likely wouldn’t be warm enough for somewhere with a true winter. I have a couple of different dresses I really like. I asked on here about their shoes yesterday; I didn’t get any responses, but since they have a good return policy I went ahead and ordered some.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have a skirt thing from them — it’s a skirt with built in shorts, in a dark red. I hate it. It wrinkles instantly, never lays flat, and is just generally worthless. So don’t buy that!

    • The yoga pant work pants do not work at all for those of us with larger derrieres or thighs. They look just like yoga pants on me and not at all work appropriate, no matter what size I try. They look great on some of my friends with thinner/straighter figures.

      • Interesting! I have a very prominent rear and generous thighs, and in one size up, they are very appropriate and flattering on me, more so that nearly any other dress pant.

        • Ah! I’m so glad they worked for you and that my experience was not universal. They look nearly obscene on me, even when I sized up so much the waist was falling down!

          • I have two pairs, same size, and the fabric is completely different between the two. I bought them a couple years apart so that might be why. The first pair is clingy and yoga-pants-like and I only wear it with longer sweaters or tops, because I do have a large rear. The other pair is more drapey and hangs more like regular slacks, and I feel fine tucking shirts in with that pair. They’re fine, but I really don’t love that the variation between them is so huge. It completely changes the style.

        • I never knew this! Thank you! I wear Yoga Pant’s on the weekend’s and when I take Yoga class, but Dad is NOT a fan of me doeing this b/c he says they make my tuchus look even bigger then it is, if that is possible. So your telling me about these pant’s could be the ray of hope I need to look suiteably presentable in public to attract a mate. Dad says that yoga pant’s are kind of an invitation to men to see what kind of a challenge they will have, and he says not much. He thinks that we will just pull our yoga pant’s down for anyone. FOOEY! I have not done so thus far, and do NOT anticipate that happenening any time soon, at least not with the loosers I meet here in NYC. Sorry to the HIVE for being so late to p’ost — I had to go help Grandma Leyeh again. Her bunion’s are acting up and Rosa is away this week with her family in the Grand Teeton’s Mountain. FOOEY!

      • I ordered a couple years ago and had the same experience as LAJen.

    • Anonymous :

      I have the yoga skirt and I love it. It pills, but it’s so comfortable.

  2. Recommendations for rubber soled ballet flats? I had a JCrew pair I wore into the ground and am having trouble finding a replacement. Leather/faux leather upper preferred (I find canvas/suede isn’t durable enough). Extra points for a cushioned inner!

  3. Budget question: feel free to skip.

    How much do your families spend on groceries/eating out generally?

    We’re re-vamping our budget to save a little more, and I’m not entirely sure what’s reasonable for two people (no kiddos) to spend in a MCOL area. We eat out once or twice a week, otherwise eat all meals at home/pack.

    • I think there was a thread about grocery budget a while ago in case you can find it in the archives.

      HCOL, family of 4, grocery shopping all done at Whole Foods, packed lunches, with minimal eating out (we go out for pizza twice a month): around $900-1000

      • Thanks! I’m not here every day — sorry to have cluttered up the thread on something discussed recently.

    • Anonymous :

      HCOL area (NYC), 2 adults, 1 toddler. I pack breakfast, lunch & a snack 4-5x a week, husband eats brunch at work (i.e., 1 meal), we try to cook ~5 nights a week and get takeout 1-2x. We spend, on average, $175/week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. We spend a lot on produce (mix of organic and not) and try to have a balance between vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. I also have some dietary restrictions (mild lactose intolerance) that are a little more expensive, because I buy almond milk, coconut yogurt, etc.

      • Anonymous :

        Sorry, just groceries are $175. Adding in takeout, we probably spend about $250 per week. So $1,000/mo. That doesn’t count incidentals on weekends though, like getting a fancy coffee or picking up sandwiches for lunch.

    • $1000/month for food, alcohol, and eating out is what we aim for, and generally hit — DINKS in Houston. We spend around $700 of that on groceries, the rest on restaurants. $30-40 for a meal for two of us is about average when we go out, but sometimes a good deal more on a splurge.

    • Anonymous :

      HCOL area and it’s just me and I’d say I spend probably around $400-500 per month on food. Which seems insane, but I live in the state with the highest grocery prices, so I think it’s something I need to learn to just accept and budget for.

      • Anonymous :

        Another singleton in a HCOL area and I’d agree with $400. I pack my lunch almost every day – I eat lunch out about once or twice a month. I do eat dinner out fairly often (nothing fancy though) because I hate cooking for one. I buy mostly organic produce.

        • Anonymous :

          Just to add another perspective. Single person, MCOL, around $250/week. Grocery shopping done at Whole Foods, I cook a ton, that number includes eating out. It definitely doesn’t seem insane to me that you spend $500/month on food. That seems like a really low number, given the fact that I am around $1000/month. It definitely isn’t cheaper to cook for one–sometimes I feel like I waste more food than I would like to. However, cooking is important to me, and I don’t want to wait around for a husband/family before I start to do that. It is a worthwhile expense to me.

    • DINKs. Groceries are around $375, usually another $250 in going out.

    • Anonymous :

      About $200/week – roughly $150 on groceries (included frozen lunches for work) and $50 on a couple meals out per week, usually one dinner and one brunch plus maybe takeout pizza one night. We buy a lot of organic produce and my husband exercises a lot and can eat an entire box of cereal or packet of lunch meat in one sitting. LCOL area and restaurants are cheap (dinner for two is $25ish at all but the fancy places and brunch is usually $10-15) but groceries aren’t that much cheaper than Boston or Chicago (def cheaper than NYC though).

    • Typically $200/week for groceries, adding in eating out/booze, we probably hit $1,000/month for two adults in Atlanta.

    • This is a hard question because there is no right answer that anyone can give you. Its best if you track what you are spending and what you are spending it on and then look at it and decide where you personally can trim.

      Its just too personal. Groceries stores depending on where you live cost more or less, the time that people are willing to spend in the kitchen is different, the need for top notch ingredients is different, when you say you are eating out…what does that mean? Are you spending 30 bucks or 100?, do you love to eat and love to cook? If so you might be willing to spend more on food and cut in other areas of your life. Do you get sick of left overs or can you eat the same thing every day?

      Personally good quality, mostly organic ingredients is important to me. I also love to cook and meal plan and experiment with recipes. I would cut eating out twice a week over having to trim down my grocery expenses. I also would cut out seeing movies in movie theaters to keep my expensive cheese haha!

      Easy places to cut money out of your grocery budget:
      – pre packaged foods snack food, (buy bulk popcorn kernels and pop your own popcorn)
      -drinks like soda, alcohol and juice – just drink water
      – out of season foods – consider joining a CSA to get lots of cheap fruits and veggies
      – Cut meat – eat veggies and beans and lentils

      • +1

        #1 tip to budget food is meal planning. When I do this (which isn’t often, and I need to step up) I’m amazed at the savings and no food waste. Lettuce gets eaten in Tuesday’s taco salads instead of rotting in the bag!! It’s a miracle!

        Meal planning can also go oh-so-wrong, like Rachael Ray’s One Week of Meals cookbook. She makes unique dinners that require something weird (adobe peppers, fish sauce, etc.) for one recipe and then are never used again. Weird (to me) ingredients are just going to drive my grocery bill up and result in eventual food waste. So rather than making Super Smokey Lamb Mac-N-Cheese or Sausage in a Decorative Gourd, I just stick to the basics. I used to meal plan with interesting new recipes and a super long shopping list–and saved $0. Now I check my cupboards, think of a meal that will work with what’s already at home, and go shopping with a short gap list.

        Meanwhile, I swear every week just features me rolling around the grocery store after work and before daycare pickup, slapping random food in my cart and making meals up on the fly. “Chicken breast! I can do something with that later. Kale salad! Throw that in a bowl. Tater tots. Goes with chicken? GAH! I’m so freaking late for pickup!!!”

        • Anonymous :

          I tend to agree. I love food and I enjoy cooking, but it really helps save money to have a steady rotation of basic (but good) food. Experimentation every once in a while is a good thing, but anything too complicated on a weeknight = wasted food for me.

        • +1. I still like experimenting with recipes and ingredients, so I try to cluster types of cuisine in the same week. So we might eat Mexican 3 times one week, eat Thai and Vietnamese the next week, etc., to maximize ingredient overlap.

        • Anonymous :

          Agreed, I stopped trying to be creative. Fish sauce, man. I used it once. Stupid Gwyneth and her cookbook.

      • Anony Mouse :

        +1 Anon at 3:10’s response is spot on. A lot of it will be trial and error, figuring out what works for you based on your priorities.

    • Anonymous :

      The USDA website has grocery budgets by family size and how frugal you want to be. They are pretty realistic.

      • Just looked this up — very helpful. Thank you!

      • Wow, this is really illustrative. Here I was thinking that we were spending a lot on groceries but it looks like the budget for a family of 4 is about a $1000 for a moderate/liberal eating plan.

      • Anony Mouse :

        +1 My spouse and I were delighted to discover that, according to the USDA guidelines, we fall into the “Thrifty” category. (~$80/wk: LCOL, at least half vegetarian meals, cook most things from scratch.) But if time is money, we’re not saving a whole lot, because we spend several (4-5) solid hours each weekend doing food prep.

    • 2 adults, 2 young kids, HCOL — $600/mo on groceries, $200-$300 eating out. We could easily reduce the eating out but I think it would be hard to reduce the groceries; we already meal plan, don’t eat much meat, etc.

    • 2 adults, one kid, HCOL. I try to keep it to a weekly max of $200 on both groceries and eating out. Generally that’s about $125 on groceries and $75 on 2-3 restaurant meals.

    • Anonymous :

      MCOL area. 2 working adults, one child. Who has recently turned into a remorseless eating machine in advance of a 12-year-old growth spurt. He can eat a full meal and be hungry (like stomach-rumbling) again an hour later. I’ve never seen anything like it.

      Groceries: $250 every two weeks. I hate grocery shopping and refuse to go more frequently than that. We all pack lunches (and in my case, breakfast) every day. I buy organic meat and dairy always; fruit/veggies and grains when possible.

      We eat dinner out once a week (usually Panera or Chipotle; going to a sit-down place is rare). About once a month, we’ll eat lunch out on a busy Saturday, which is usually a slice of pizza or a sandwich. We budget another $250 for eating out. So $750 a month total. We don’t always spend our budget, but we usually come close.

      • This is also really helpful. I’m hoping to spend around $500 on the actual groceries, which seems doable if I’m the one shopping/planning. Husband gets eyes bigger than his stomach at the grocery store/comes home with a cart full of Oreos, bless him.

        • Anonymous :

          If you live near a Costco you might be able to do a lot of grocery shopping there (google Daily Garnish and Costco for some ideas).

          • I just did this for the first time over this past weekend. We had already been purchasing most of our cleaning and paper products at Costco, as well as gas, but it had a weirdly never occurred to me to try to get our groceries there, as well.

            Our Costco also sells booze, and I have started purchasing all of our alcohol there, too. We are in the infancy of our great experiment, but I am hopeful that this will help us get it a meal planning routine, especially because we are OK eating the same things regularly.

    • I feel like an outlier, but… 2 adults (one pregnant and hungry) and 1 toddler, very HCOL (NY metro), $450/month on all food (grocery & restaurant).

      We virtually never get take-out, brown-bag lunches during the week and buy the cheap coffee to make at home. That said, we still eat very well — lots of produce, grass fed meat, organic dairy. I split the shopping between a local farm stand, Trader Joe’s, and a big supermarket (I don’t go to them all every week, but plan ahead). My biggest tip is to make your own pizza one night/week (for us, it’s Fridays). You can make really yummy pizza for like $2.50 total, it’s a fun “tradition” and it goes so well with beer :)

      • Teach me your ways, Anon!

        Honestly, I think I could go the next month or so without buying meat. I just need to spend the time in making some staples, I think (pizza dough, etc) to get us over the hump.

        New habits are hard.

      • Does this include alcohol? I’m impressed.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I am really impressed at some of these numbers. If I buy organic produce, meat, and dairy, I can’t get out of the grocery store for less than $150 for two weeks worth of food for two people.

      We buy a lot of food from our farmer’s market, which gets pretty expensive, but we really want to buy local and support independent farmers. Last week we bought peaches, three pints of berries, a few squash, a melon, a few peppers, a pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes, three heirloom tomatoes, and a loaf of bread, and it came to $35 for just that, and I go to the farmers’ market at least once a week, sometimes twice.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m in NYC and that number doesn’t seem bad to me!

        • Baconpancakes :

          This doesn’t include the grocery store bill, which generally runs $150 every two weeks, or my flower CSA, which is $20/week. I wasn’t strict enough with budgeting the last time I went to Costco for the bi-annual garbage bags/almond butter/paper towels run so I’m not sure how much that runs.

      • Baconpancakes :

        And I don’t want to tell y’all how much we spend eating out/getting take out.

      • Anony Mouse :

        +1 Our food habits sound a lot like yours. We’re in a LCOL city and spend about $80 every 2 weeks. We can’t cut costs without buying less fresh produce, and that’s a big priority of ours.

      • All that would be $70 at my farmers market! I used to try to support the smaller farmers, but it’s just too expensive for me to shop at our farmer’s market. I try to buy local at our grocery store when it’s available.

    • I am guestimating here because my weekly grocery bill includes household and pet items and I do not look to see what the split is. I am single, no kids, LCOL. I pack my lunch every day and batch cook for both lunch and dinner on Sundays. I do not eat out much.

      Weekly groceries, including the cost of my weekly CSA share: $75
      Weekly eating out: $0 – 25

      Monthly total: ~$350

      • Oops, forgot to mention I am a vegetarian, so no meat.

      • I do a CSA too, its 33/week, then I supplement grains, pulses, legumes etc mainly from Costco. Do one big costco run a month at about 100. Then max one meal out a month. Makes my monthly total 275? For two basically vegan adults who are both weight lifters. I do lots and lots of cooking.

    • We’re about $800 on groceries and another $300-400 on takeout or restaurants for a family of 3. Our grocery budget includes paper and cleaning products. DH and I usually bring our lunch, but Kiddo gets his at daycare.

      We’re in a MCOL area, but I think grocery costs here are relatively high compared to other expenses. (I used to live in NYC, and I don’t see much difference in most grocery costs.)

    • Oh lord you guys. I just ran my numbers for July to see exactly how much we spent. DINKS in a MCOL city, and we spent $1400 combined on groceries and going out. Split about equally between the two categories. That includes a $300 Costco run for God knows what, so the actual figure is a little less. But omg are we spending too much on bars and restaurants!

      *hides head in shame*

      • If it makes you feel better :

        DINKs living in DC and we’re on track to spending about $1500 this month on groceries and eating out. I budget $500/month for groceries but some months I totally blow it. This month it’s going to be more like $800 because we’ve been having people over a ton. I don’t eat breakfast and generally bring my lunch, but I love to cook and like buying specialty ingredients and expensive meats and seafood which drives up my grocery cost. I shop at the farmer’s market, local specialty butcher/market, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway depending on what I’m buying and what’s most convenient.

        What’s funny is I was totally patting myself on the back for only spending $700 this month on eating out.

    • Legal Cancuck :

      I am in East Canada. 2 Adults 2 kids – we spend about $600 a month in groceries and $100 a month in eating out. We buy using our flyers (FLIPP App) and we eat a lot of produce ( which takes up most of that budget). The eating and entertainment is mostly done through gift cards we purchase through our loyalty cards.
      We both brown bag lunch and I make good coffee at home. We also have a Keurig at work, so I purchase my kcups and bring into the office.

  4. I’m at a serious crossroads – I have to start by saying I know these salary numbers are eye popping… First, I’m not making them yet … nowhere even close. But, I’m grateful, so grateful, for what I have. I’m just hoping for some guidance from other high-achieving women because I have no one to talk to about this, largely because no one in my day-to-day outside of work is in a remotely similar position.

    Job A is my current job. I’ve been at the firm 5 years, and took Job A four months ago. Job A is commission only, high stress, long hours, client-focused (aka at their beck and call), very high reward, relationship driven industry with a sales angle, a shmoozy-type job function that I happen to do very well in. Management is quick to remind us that an ‘average’ person in my role makes $600k/year, and it takes 4 years to get there according to averages. There is limitless upside – I work daily with people who average $750+/year. It’s a high profile job that gets impressive reactions from folks, which I will admit here in anonymity that I love. I’m also one of very few women in the role, and regularly get commended for ‘making it so far as a woman.’ The theme is (and will likely never stop being) more, more, more – more deals, more clients, more commissions. I’m just….. tired? Is it possible to be burnt out of Job A after only 4 months?

    Job B is always waiting in the wings. It’s in a related field and would be a pretty easy switch, especially coming from Job A. It’s 100% a lifestyle move with probably $200-250k take home immediately, with growth to $300k, maybe a nudge more, later in my career. In this job would hit cruise, but will likely be very bored at times. It’s an ‘average’ type role, nothing noteworthy or impressive about it. It’s way, way less transaction oriented, but …. I could hit cruise.

    I’m not ready to make a change immediately, but I need to start doing some real thinking. Money and time are the two biggest differences between the two jobs – or at least all I’ve been able to think about/focus on to date. What am I missing? What else should I be considering while deciding what path to take long term? FWIW, I’m married, and have been TTC for way too long – I think that whole process has been weighing on my thinking/dissatisfaction with Job A recently, too.

    • Anonymous :

      I wouldn’t even consider Job B until/unless you have a kid. That money will come in handy. And no use mommy tracking until/unless you have to.

      • Anonymous :

        Except that the stress of Job A might be causing her conception issues. I have a good friend who had a job similar to Job A (partner at a big law firm) who couldn’t conceive for years, even with assistance. She took an in-house job (significant pay cut, significant stress cut) and got pregnant within a month. She had her second with no problem while in-house. Of course YMMV but something to consider.

        • Anonymous :

          The general medical consensus is that stress doesn’t harm an unborn baby or affect your ability to conceive unless it’s something like the stress of living in a war zone or the stress of malnutrition. Long hours in a high-pressure job are not stressful enough to interfere with TTC.
          Your friend’s experience was probably just coincidence.

          • Anonymous :

            Long hours can interfere with garden parties, which are necessary preconditions to TTC.

        • Anonymous :

          No that’s just wrong. Your friends anecdote isn’t science.

    • Anonymous :

      Equity BigLaw partner here (SEUS). I’d take Job B in a heartbeat. I live in a MCOL area with high state income taxes and with marriage penalty + alternative minimum tax + regular childcare expenses + on-the-books PT nanny + moving at 90 mph at all times, 500K is just p*ssed away so easily.

      Time is a luxury that pays 100 cents on the dollar.

      I was never so happy as when I was counsel and just worked 40 hours a week and made a fraction of what I make now.

      • Anonymous :

        I was single and childless when I was counsel and that job was Job B for me (wasn’t my intention to be where I am now, just kind of happened over time). I loved it — if I was bored at work, I taught a CLE or audited a class or took a long weekend to go to wineries, visit friends, volunteered. I was never truly bored or drifting. I was really, finally, fully engaged with my life. I really miss that. I hire every associate I have now hoping it will get me back to that.

    • Anonymous :

      Some of this depends on what makes you tick. For me, I’m totally happy to have Job B because I value my free time (even before I was married and had a child) and I was fine with the corresponding lower pay and lower prestige of my job. My husband is the opposite – he thrives on the pressure, the prestige, and the $$. I convinced him for a period of time to try a version of Job B and he was miserable – yes, he had more time with the family but he wasn’t happy in his work life. He’s now back in a Job A-type job and is happier than ever. So don’t discount that – but of course, you also need to have a supportive spouse if you want to have a family – it’s very difficult for both of you to have Job A (unless you want your kids to be raised by nannies).

    • Anonymous :

      Is it possible, over the course of your whole career, to switch back and forth more than once? That would probably be the most fulfilling to me, although I’m sure it would be difficult to do.

    • Anonymous :

      Just b/c I’m liberal arts major with an impractical BA, can you share job / educational type (like BA from Warton, math quant, private equity with good connections, etc., not enough to out you)?

      • Private equity. BA/liberal arts from a regularly well-ranked, though not Ivy, small private school. I took a very non-traditional route to this field, but made it here because I was lucky enough to stumble into some fortuitous roles before joining Firm A that set me up for it. That also plays into why leaving it would be so disappointing on some level. I’ve made it this far, impressed myself and many others along the way. But…I’m tired.

    • There’s money and time, but also personal satisfaction.

      I had job B and was bored out of my mind. I thought I could roll with it and just take advantage of having such easy hours and low stress, but it was awful for me. I’m happier when I’m busy and I need intellectual stimulation, challenges, and to feel useful, so even though Job B was infinitely easier on paper, it was harder for me.

      • Anonymous :

        Right, and I think so much is personal preference. I know I’d be bored out of my mind and unhappy with Job B-type job, too.

    • PrettyPrimadonna :

      I’d jump at Job B. But, I make a fraction of the associated salary, so that number looks amazing to me.

      If you are already tired and (nearly?) burned out after only four months, are there steps you can take to minimize the pressure? If not, staying in Job A doesn’t seem sustainable at all.

    • If I were in your shoes, I would choose Job B, no question. A very healthy income and less stress? Sign me up. But I’ve been working as an associate in a big law firm, reached burnout probably about a year ago, and have been informed that I won’t be making partner at my current firm, so… job B sounds really, really good to me right now. My biggest hangups with taking Job B would be the fear of boredom in the job, and (although I hate to admit it) the loss of professional prestige. Only you can decide how important those are to you – and as Anonymous at 3:09 says, is it really one or the other, forever?

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t see any reason to be thinking about this now. St least do job a for a year. You like it and you’re making buckets of money.

    • Anonymous :

      So you can still make bucketloads of money at an enjoyable job with less stress and less time? That sounds like an obvious choice to me.

    • Thanks for the feedback. You’ve given me much to think about.

      If I leave Job A, I can’t go back. There are lots of Job Bs out there – a bit of a commodity position, so I could firm-hop at that point to change it up, as many people tend to do every 5-10 years.

      Also, to be clear, I’m not making Job A ‘average’ money at all. My first year income is likely to be about $150k. Maybe that’s part of my issue with Job A – the path to those averages just seem so, so, so far away.

      • Anonymous :

        Definitely Job B then. Job A sounds like you are getting a sales job. Do you know for real whether people are really making $600-750k? I work with a lot of salespeople and they puff their numbers all the time. And even so often, if they start making “too much money”, the company drops their comp plan lower.

        • No puffing up numbers. Those incomes are fact. We work on very large transactions which net large commissions, and those add up when you have multiple transactions of scale per year.

          It’s sales to some extent, but I think it’s most likened to a transaction-based attorney without a retainer, honestly. We have an expertise. I need clients to hire me to impart said expertise, and I need to make sure they hire me (and hopefully stay loyal to me) for future transactions.

      • anon a mouse :

        So what you’re saying is Job A is paying 150, with upward trajectory, but you are already on the verge of burnout. Even though you are good at Job A, it certainly doesn’t sound like you want to be doing Job A for another 4 years, let alone the rest of your life.

        But Job B would pay equal or more to your current job, and give you quality of life?

        Job B. In a heartbeat. With no second thoughts.

        • I like this summary better. Factually, you are making 150k so you need to compare the current situation with job B not a potential future state in job A

    • My husband is in a similar role, and we’re expecting our first child later this year. For our circumstances, he has Job A and I have Job B, with similar stress/prestige/income levels. We’ve learned that we can’t both have Job A jobs and have the family time/quality of life that we want, so this split works for us. What’s your partner’s employment status like? Would they be willing to step up and do more around the house/with future offspring to take some life stress off of your plate?

      I think it comes down to knowing yourself, too. I would absolutely burn out, especially with a kid, and take Job B, but that’s my personality and priorities. My husband is a total Job A-type person, and he needs the stress and the pressure and the prestige and the pay to be happy and fulfilled professionally. However, he realizes that may not be sustainable forever for a number of reasons, so he plans on staying in the role for another 10-15 years, saving a lot, then “retiring” to a consulting or lower-stress position.

      Also, be aware of what the equity partner said above. $500k gets eaten up pretty quickly, especially if that number is made up largely of an annual bonus, which is taxed differently than ordinary income, and if you live in a HCOL area in a high tax state and don’t own a home to benefit from the mortgage interest deduction. $500k doesn’t really go that far when you’re in the top federal, state, and local tax brackets, especially when you earn too much to benefit from any tax deductions (literally, we can deduct nothing). We still feel very fortunate to earn what we do, but what we earn and what we actually get to keep are two VERY different numbers.

    • In law, but I chose B over A – no kids, wasn’t married at the time, but I did it because I’m just not at all motivated by what other people think of me or by external signs of “success.” I made more than enough money at B to support my lifestyle & I don’t care at all whether someone else views me as successful or not. I love having the time to live the life I want to. This is a personal decision though, but I would spend the time figuring out what really makes you happy and focusing on that. For some, it is the external success stuff & there’s nothing wrong with that either.

  5. So my husband and I and our toddler son live in a small row house in a very desirable part of the city. These houses are small, like basically 2 bedroom, 1200 square feet. We decided to renovate by doing a bump-out into the back yard. We are still dealing with permits and city filings, but it’s like we’ve started a civil war on our row! 2 other houses have done already done this. Another couple is doing this at the same time and facing similar opposition (at least we have each other, ha). And meanwhile, we are getting info (from our double agents) that there is a coordinated opposition, mass letter writing campaign, and this one guy (who is older, basically doesn’t have a full time job) is contacting all the neighbors around to oppose our project. He plans to show up at the next neighborhood meeting with his allies and all kinds of supporting material, whatever that will be. At this point, we have already put in all the money (related to the permitting part of this) and submitted the filings, so we might as well see what is the end result. The hardest part has been seeing neighbors who we were previously very friendly with (like they brought over a meal when I just gave birth) treat us like war criminals. So, I guess I am just venting and want to get some perspective from people who have gone through this. Does this all blow over at some point? Do these relationships ever heal? I mean, our project is pretty modest compared to other development in our neighborhood (or so our architects tell us) and in the next ten years also, I predict almost every house on our row will have a similar bump back. This renovation is not cheap, and basically we could take the same money and put it towards a downpayment for a larger house. It’s discouraging that we made the choice to invest in this neighborhood, but maybe our neighbors will hate us when it’s all over. Or it would actually be a lot less of a hassle just to move to a bigger house.

    • Anonymous :

      What’s a bump out into the backyard? How does it affect them – will your house be extended so it’s right up against the edge of your property line?

      • Extends the house into the backyard. It probably runs afoul of either deed or HOA restrictions and part of the permitting process requires getting a variance, which people can oppose.

        OP I’d move. This is why I bought a house without deed or HOA restrictions: to avoid this kind of thing.

        • Anonymous :

          BUT in my city, we still have setback rules (which get encroached on all the time as houses grow to cover the entire lot). And you can ask for various zoning / setback variances.

          The crazies, in my city, are for the “historic” districts. They are cute, but I’d never live there. I live in a just-as-old area where my only rules are basic zoning ones.

          You can move to Houston. As I understand it, they (the city, not HOAs) have no real zoning rules.

          • Pen and Pencil :

            Eh, there are no zoning laws in Houston because Houston just calls them other things. A factory can technically build next to your house without the property being zoned for a business, but there are definitely still rules regarding setbacks and building height. So that factory would end up being probably the same size as a house, and they could only build a business there if it wasn’t a deed restricted community or if the neighborhood decided not to enforce its deed restrictions.

            A high rise being built in River Oaks (ritzy neighborhood) is going through all sorts of fights to be able to get a setback waiver, but they do have the upper hand in that they said they would just go up another story or two if they don’t get their way. The neighbors would mostly rather have a shorter building with a setback allowance.

            Another quirk is that the city will actually represent residents when they try to enforce deed restrictions set by developers. In that way deed restrictions are essentially zoning for large portions of the city. Almost all neighborhoods here are deed restricted, and most have an HOA on top of the deed restrictions. The city also regulated the percentage of the lot that can be built on, community density, etc. etc. So yes, Houston doesn’t have “zoning laws”, technically.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d move, honestly. I wouldn’t want to live around a bunch of NIMBYs forever.

      • Anonymous :

        This. F those people, seriously. I would just move. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. But seriously evaluate the emotional and time costs of going through WWIII with your neighbors, vs. just moving. There are nice houses lots of places.

        • Anonymous :

          IDK, I prize my walkable neighborhood and my commute. I’d fight and then I’d paint a mural giving the finger to them on the side of my house just out of spite. And then get a leg lamp from A Christmas Story.

    • former urban planner :

      Did you consult with your neighbors ahead of time? If you didn’t then you might be asked to revise your plans to address some of their concerns.

      • Anonymous :

        That’s never what those people want — they just want the whole thing to stop and go away or they feel entitled to micromanage.

        Just had to go over brick colors in various shades of white with some NIMBYs

    • Have you gone and talked to the neighbors that you were previously friendly with? Pop over with some cookies or whatever, ask them how they’ve been, apologize for not having filled them in on your plans earlier (even if you don’t feel like you should have had to), and say that you’d heard some people were upset, and wanted to go round and make yourself available, let them hear it from you personally. Maybe bring a little sketch to show, and listen to their concerns. You’d be amazed at how many people you can win over if you have the uncomfortable conversation and listen to people’s concerns without getting defensive.

      • (to be clear – I wouldn’t do this with the guy who is leading the campaign against you, or with people who you don’t know. Only with people you’ve had warm relations with in the past)

      • ^ agree with this idea. If you act like a sane and reasonable person, most people will respond well to that.

        I have a neighbor that gets on my last nerve, but after he came over to tell me about someone that had parked in front of my house and taken a bunch of pictures (ended up being my insurance company) and he just wanted to let me know, I’m willing to be more accepting of him and the incessant noises coming from his house.

        Make one good faith effort. If people are still jerks after that, then scre w ’em.

    • Anonymous :

      I wouldn’t move, I’d try even harder to ensure that your renovation happens to rub it in all their faces. But I’m vengeful like that. What a bunch of effing NIMBY losers.

    • anon a mouse :

      It’s unclear whether what you are asking is something you can do by right but needs city permitting, or if it’s something that is unusual and requires a variance. Talk to the people in the zoning/planning office and see what they can tell you about other recent requests (or pull dockets).

      As someone who tried really hard to influence the outcome the other way (redevelopment of an adjacent parcel), my city at least will always let the homeowners do what’s allowed by right, though they might require the homeowner to do something like plant more trees to offset ones that are cut down.

    • Its going to be a fugly siding addition, don’t call it something else. Thats why they hate it, I hate them too. Just get a bigger house don’t ruin the beauty of your neighbourhood.

  6. $78 for a plastic thingy on a ponytail holder? Oh dear.

  7. I’ll talk to my therapist and psychiatrist about this too but thought the ladies here might have relevant experience. When do you know it’s time to try switching meds? I’ve been on medication that had been effectively controlling my anxiety since about last November (before that there were about five months of trial and error). In the last five weeks, though, things have been varying degrees of not that good. Worst when I’m at work, better but still present when I was on vacation. I don’t feel terrible like I did before I was on any medication but there’s definitely been a down swing. I’ve been lucky with side effects so far so I have a little trepidation about switching drugs. And also partly wonder if my standards are too high. Is it realistic to expect a generally low level of anxiety over time? Am I better off trying to learn to live with it? Or is this worth going on the medication roller coaster for?

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I was in this spot a month ago or so and asked here and the resounding answer was when you feel like they’re not working as well for an extended period. Personal experience: I started to feel like that and then over a week, went from “Huh, maybe I’m off” to “Oh, hello misery and depression. Not happy to see you again at full force.” I would say go sooner rather than later because you may have to wean off and new meds take a few weeks to kick in. Apparently people live with no or only rational anxiety. I had no idea. So yeah. Low level anxiety is still something to get handled.

  8. I need a new dining table. Not too big, not too small. Ideally oval and would seat 6 and maybe expand. Limited time to look but nothing available online is inspiring me. I’ve checked Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, CB2, Ethan Allen, Ikea, Room & Board, craig’s list, ABC carpet, aptdeco… Wayfair & all that is overwhelming and I can’t tell how the quality would be. What resources am I missing? I haven’t had luck with places like Ashley’s or Raymour & Flannigan because I feel like the scale of those places is not suited to city apartments (and frankly not my style either). In NYC, if that matters.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Not sure what your budget or style is, but we just ordered a Gat Creek table from a local dealer, and it is 42″ across and expands to a 78″ long oval. American made, extremely high quality. (Room & Board carries our table but with a $400 markup and no extra leaf options.) Stickley is also great. If you wanted to go down that route, I’d suggest finding a local retailer and asking for a catalog. It would detail exactly what you can get, which would be similar to what’s in the showroom but customizable.

    • White on White has lovely dining tables, mostly in a midcentury modern style. They’re a little pricy – $12-15K range, and I’m not sure if they’re expandable, but they’re really nice. Also, Blu Dot has cool furniture.

    • Craigslist – I’ve gotten great deals on tables on there (if Lugg is available in NYC, it’s easy to get things delivered from them, too) & they tend to be sized for your city.

    • Do you have an Amish furniture dealer in the area? Have you looked at Shaker Workshops’ online options?

  9. Marshmallow :

    Can anyone point me in a good direction for a quality, but reasonably priced couch? Our last couch was $500 from Ashley and after five years, it’s pretty destroyed. I’m not even sure what our budget should be– $1000 seems like so much money to me, but I’m figuring out that’s small beans in furniture-land. Comparing Wayfair vs. West Elm vs. CB2 and so on up the budget chain is a little overwhelming.

    Basically, I’ve never had to buy adult furniture before and I don’t know where to start. Help.

    • Anonymous :

      We have a $1000ish one from Macy’s that has held up well for more than five years.

      • Anonymous :

        We love Macy’s furniture too

      • +1 to $800 from Macy’s, about 6 years ago. It’s just been me and no kids or pets, though. It’s showing age in the fabric and cushion shape, but nothing I’d consider unusual. Still totally functional.

      • hello marshmellow :) thirding the macys- we got one for about 799 but was probably 1000 once you add up delivery, etc and have had it for 8 years. Starting to just show its age now but not badly at all.

    • Check out Costco – we got a great couch set there years ago for a great price that has held up really well.

    • I can’t recall if the consensus here is pro or anti-Ikea, but my Ikea couch has been great. I’ve only had it for two years, but I have two cats and two dogs (although one at a time). The covers are washable, which has been useful to rid the couch of cat and person throw up (thank you drunk friends). When there aren’t stains that need to be removed, I use one of the vacuum attachments to rid it of animal hair. I also found it very easy to put together by myself.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        +1 I’ve had my Ikea couch for….starting its sixth year here soon, and it’s still great. I got the Karlstad couch and it’s survived:
        1. My college friend sleeping on it for about 60 nights because she hated her roommate
        2. Many nights sleeping on it myself.
        3. My parents sleeping on it when they’re over here if I’m sick.
        4. Puking on it. Myself. I wasn’t drunk, just sick.
        5. Dumping an entire Coke on it. I wasn’t drunk, just klutzy.

        Washable, replaceable covers, legs can be replaced to make it fancier.

      • +1. I think the Karlstad is being discontinued, but I saw some new couch designs in the 2018 Ikea catalog.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          It got discontinued for a few years and now it’s back, I’ll be very sad if it gets discontinued again.

          • Interesting! I checked the website and only saw it available in a single color, which is why I thought they were discontinuing it. I *love* my Karlstad – the ability to remove and wash the covers has been a lifesaver (especially with an older pet and two kids).

            OP – There are also websites that sell custom covers and legs for Ikea couches, if that interests you.

      • Eager Beaver :

        I love love love our Ikea sectional.

    • Marshmallow :

      Thanks! Macy’s and Costco had not even occurred to me. The couch we had before the Ashley one was Ikea and I recall the quality wasn’t great, but Ikea seems to run the spectrum in both quality and price so it’s worth the push to check them out. We probably bought the cheapest possible thing at the time.

      • I considered the higher end IKEA couches, I just didn’t like how low they sat (I’m tall and it always felt like a lot of work to get out of them).

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        My parents have had Macy’s couches for years and they’re great.

        • OfCounsel :

          Macy’s furniture may have been great back in the day, but I bought a very expensive arm chair there and it was terrible and starting falling apart after two years so I suggest checking the specific manufacturer’s reviews and not just relying on the fact that Macy’s is selling it!

    • Anonymous :

      Room & Board makes some of the nicest quality sofas for the money they cost. You’d have to spend more than $1000, but you will get something that will hold up.

      • Marshmallow :

        Oh man. I had not heard of them and now I want EVERYTHING on that website. So my style. It makes me nervous to buy without being able to see/ sit on the item, though.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Weird offer, but if you need someone to go to their physical store and test stuff out/send you photos, there’s one in Seattle about 15 min from my apartment. SloanSabithette at the mail of google.

          And, from personal experience, their stuff is amazing and comfortable and so prettttyyyy. The store is my happy place.

          • Marshmallow :

            Ah, thank you! I really appreciate it. I didn’t even realize that they actually have brick and mortar stores. I emailed my husband a link to a couch I was drooling over and he’s like, “Let’s go after work next week.” I had no idea this place existed, but there’s one close-ish to us!

            I’m slightly afraid I’ll get myself in trouble by going in there, because I love modern furniture. Gulp.

        • +1 to R&B! All their furniture is top quality and will last you a long, long time!

    • More than 1K, but not by much – I have a couch from Article I love (it’s velvet green, but comes in a bunch of colors and nice leather for a little more). They’re only online, so you have to trust it’s comfortable. It’s all midcentury modern in style & I can vouch for mine being really really comfortable.

      • Marshmallow :

        I really liked the look of their stuff online and appreciate the review re comfort, thanks!

      • Mischief Managed :

        I have an Article couch too, and I’ve been happy with it. The quality is pretty good for the price, and certainly on par with Pottery Barn/West Elm/etc.

        But, I have a new armchair from Interior Define and it is GREAT. Really great quality, lots of customization options, free shipping, and (I think) very affordable for the quality.

      • We have a 9 month old Article fabric couch and it’s pilling!! I am pretty grumpy because for us it was a huge splurge.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I was super happy with both the customer service and the finished product with I think my smallish sofa was about $1,000.

      And if you want to splurge, check out the gorgeous sofas at The Horchow Collection, like my beloved Parker:

    • I had a custom couch made by La-Z-Boy (not a reclining couch, just a regular sofa), and I adore it. I think it was about $1200, but I don’t recall. All my own handpicked fabrics, colors, legs, arm shape, etc.

  10. Macy’s. I’ve been really impressed with the quality for the price. And if something goes wrong, for the price, I will buy a new one. My couch looks just as nice as ones from Room & Board, PB, Joybird but cost a fraction. And if styles or fabrics change, amortizing a few hundred dollars a year for a couch–I’m OK with it. I spend a lot of time there (and so does my dog, because we believe houses should be lived in, and dogs should be on (covered) sofas!).

  11. Gift Question? :

    I’m invited, along with a plus one, to a wedding shower for someone from my job. It’s being held off site, on the weekend, and at the home of someone who is affiliated with our workplace but doesn’t actually work here. My husband works for the same org but in a different department. The honoree doesn’t know him. Do I sign the card on the gift all by myself? Or does he sign too? We’re not going to the shower because, well, it seems reeeeeally boring.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re married and invited as a couple (even if as a +1), I would definitely sign both your names.

  12. How, if ever, do I get over MIL afterburn?

    My husband and I are childfree, and my MIL has at times, despised us for this, been verbally hostile, and although she has come to terms with this, still manages to occasionally say, and send subtle and not so subtle messages to us (so it’s not as bad as it was in the past). On the flip side, just to paint a fair picture of her, she has treated us to a trip abroad in the past ( we purchased tickets), and is an educated and intelligent person, who is engaging to talk to at times, and can be pleasant.
    Fast forward, and now BIL who has an eleven month old, and she makes it a point whenever we get together to mention how much she enjoyed seeing the picture of SIL doing such and such with her family. how she would like to see them soon. If I tell her I went and did such and such with my family, she gets angry and resentful. Over the years my family and I have invited her numerous times to functions. Out of twenty or more invites, she has only attended very few.

    I really like SIL and baby, but my BIL and MIL seem to cut me off from conversation, never ask about my family, or listens to me that much. Btw, my family is kind, open, and generous, and has always been welcoming of my husband, and he does like and get along with them. My family, also helped me and my husband more than his own side of the family, when he was hospitalized for over a month– his family rarely visited, and seemed to resent my family being there, and helping me. Despite going through this for over twenty years, I still have ‘afterburn’ when I see her. I feel no matter what I say, she always makes sure to emphasize how wonderful SIL’s family is, in front of me and my husband ( which I don’t mind), but I know before SIL married into the family, she always told me how concerned she was about their education, and their ‘genetic’ background. My husband is supportive, and when her comments get overt he speaks out, and reacts. We never know what kind of visit it will be before hand. Overall, we see her once a month give or take. Despite this, I feel anxious and uncertain before every interaction, not sure whether it will be harmonious, or drama filled. She makes me feel guilty that her grandchild was born in her mid 70s, and like I am somehow responsible( which in a way, I am) How do I mange my emotions in these situations? Is there anything I can do to make this better for myself?

    • Anonymous :

      I have a grandmother like this – she is basically nasty to everyone and complains about Person A to Person B and vice versa. It is sadly pretty common and while I don’t blame you for not wanting to interact with her, I also think this kind of garden variety rude MIL and not anything that justifies a dramatic confrontation. All you can do is limit your own contact with her. How does your husband feel about you cutting back on the monthly visits and letting him go alone sometimes?

      • Thank you! I like the expression ‘garden variety rude’. That is an apt description. She is my husband’s only family, so I don’t limit visits to appease him, and to be honest, there are times he goes alone, or she is vacationing, so I can’t complain. It is just that after a visit, it occupies lots of mental space!

    • Detatch and disengage.

      You are in no way responsible for the age of her grandchild-who-is-not-your-child. You do not “owe” anyone a child.

      You see her way too much, and listen to her thoughts way too much. You decide if you want to give her (actually, have DH give her) one warning talk ahead of time, but from this second on, if she is rude, no more speaking out and reacting. The visit is over, and you will both leave. This means you will see her less, which is the exact point and a bonus for you.

      Mean people can still sometimes be nice. This does not make them nice people. You do not need to have mean people in your life, even if they are sometimes nice.

      • Thank for for this. We left once, when things were getting a bit hectic, and I think she did feel bad, and semi apologized. I feel silly for getting dragged in to the same cycle. She has evolved, and been kind at times, so this does not feel,as cut and dry as it could.

    • Anonymous :

      You have a husband problem, not a MIL problem. Time for husband to step up and put her in her place. If she won’t be pleasant to you, you don’t socialize with her. The end.

      • My husband and her have argued over things in the past and not spoken for months on end. There have been times I have not visited for a while, it then opened the communication door again. You have a good point though.

        • Anonymous :

          I would totally detach yourself from your relationship with your MIL and let husband deal with her from now on.

    • Thank you for your comments. It is good to feel validated, and your advice has given me more food for thought.

    • Anonymous :

      I will say that it just might not be in that family’s dynamic to care about your family. Have they ever met or interacted? She sounds super awful and rude, and it would be courteous of her to listen to you talk about your vacations, etc. But hoping that she’ll start to engage and care about your family might be just a step too far.

      • Yes, she has met my family, and they have been kind to her, and invited her to many gatherings. My mother bought her several gifts for her granddaughter, and has gotten together with her in the past. I think since we have no kids, she doesn’t doesn’t see the point of bothering much with my side of the family, whereas in the past, when she was hoping for grand kids she made more of an effort.

    • Silence is golden. She throws a snide comment your way, stare back at her blankly. Or just pretend you didn’t hear her. Or, as I have said here before, use my svengali SIL’s tactic and ask a totally unrelated question in response.

      MIL: And you know, I really wish I had another grandchild and you’re rotten for not giving me one blah blah blah

      You: Have you tried that new pizza place? I heard it’s delicious?

      MIL: Blergh, blah, blah, blah, grandchild blah blah blah.

      You: Is that a new shirt? I really like it.

      Rinse, repeat. Watching my SIL do this is more entertaining than watching Bravo.

      • Will try and engage this tactic. Lately it’s been exclusion, so I may need to keep adding to my tactic tool belt for this. Thanks!

  13. I’m a student with one year left at the university. The university offers free legal services. I am unmarried and live with my SO. Are there any legal services you can think of that I may be able to take advantage of before I graduate? I was thinking perhaps I could have them draft up a will, but I would rather wait until I’m married to do so – just because that’s what my parents did, but maybe I’m wrong here. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      Right now, your “will” is the intestacy rules of your state. So if something happens to you, your parents (most likely) inherit whatever is in your “estate” and get to decide what to do with all your things. If you get married, the default will be your husband. So on. A will is good to have if you are not okay with the default or have specific bequests you would like to make (i.e., best friend gets all your clothes and jewelry).

      I actually made a will before I got married specifically because I wasn’t married. I’m an only child and my mom is a single mom and we were traveling together. If something happened to both of us on our trip, I’m not sure any relative would have stepped forward and I wanted my boyfriend to be able to have my things. So I had a simple will drafted that basically said mom gets everything, but if mom’s gone, then boyfriend. Fast forward to now and boyfriend is husband and we are going to have our wills drafted together.

    • Anonymous :

      Do you want your parents to get all of your property, assets (to the extent you have any), etc., if you get hit by a bus? No? Then you need a will. Do you want your parents making medical decisions for you in the event you’re unable to do so yourself (e.g., unconscious due to an accident)? No? Then you need a health care proxy. Will your parents pay your non-medical bills (e.g., rent, credit cards, student loans, etc.) if you are in the hospital for an extended period of time and unable to pay your bills yourself? No? Then you need a power of attorney.

    • Anonymous :

      This question is making me think. I’m an only child with relatively old parents and I recently broke up with somebody who I thought I was going to marry . . . so now I’m wondering who I want want to have assets if I died and my parents were already dead. Best friends? Nieces and nephews? Hmm . . .

    • You could have them draft a living will that sets forth your wishes for end-of-life medical care (aka advance directive).

  14. Linda from HR :

    I feel like an idiot today.

    As I was getting ready, it was cloudy outside and looked like it might rain and so, without bothering to check the weather report (stupid, I know, it only takes a few seconds) I decided to put on my rain boots and rain coat. It did not rain on my way to work and it’s not going to rain after work, it’s probably not going to rain until the weekend, so now I will be walking around this evening with rain boots on, and carrying my raincoat, until I get home.

    At least my raincoat is cute. Boots are a little shabby though.

    So I guess I’m wondering, do you ever judge people for wearing rain gear when it’s not raining, and as far as you know it’s not going to?

    • Anon in NYC :

      Honestly, it makes me anxious that they know something that I don’t.

    • Anonymous :

      No but I do find that people who wear buttoned up winter coats in warm weather tend to be crazy.

      • Linda from HR :

        It wasn’t warm this morning, and my raincoat is lightweight, but it doesn’t breathe so I did, unfortunately, get a bit sweaty.

        • Anonymous :

          We can all wear something too warm for the weather. Buttoning up every last button when it’s not actually cold is what sets off my crazy meter!

    • Shopaholic :

      Every time I remember to wear rainboots, it does not rain so I would figure you just have the same luck as I do…

      • Anonymous :


      • Yes, I’ve joked that I’m saving everyone else from experiencing rain through the exploitation of Murphy’s law (when I am the only one carrying an umbrella and wearing galoshes, and someone at the bus stop comments).

    • Anonymous :

      No I never judge because I’ve done that too. I always feel like a little kid stomping around in my rainboots when I wear them and it’s not raining! BUT I believe in being super prepared for everything, and think how miserable you would have been if it had rained and you hadn’t dressed appropriately!

      Do you at least have a spare pair of shoes at work you could wear home?

      • Linda from HR :

        I have a couple pairs but they’re not very comfortable for that much walking (I take the subway), plus I need to get my rainboots home and wearing them makes the most sense.

    • I think you are being very hard on yourself. I never check the weather and just suffer when I’ve dressed inappropriately. I’ve never judged anyone for not predicting the weather (excluding people who get paid for it—I’m looking at you, TV weather guy, whose accuracy is in the 50% range) and hope no one judges me.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I live in Seattle. I do not judge people for wearing rain gear if it’s not raining because (save for the last two months, and oh please sweet god let it rain, the smoke hurts….) it probably will in a few minutes…

    • anon associate :

      Let me tell you about a site inspection I had to attend earlier this year. I live in a region of this great country where rain is frequent at this particular time of year–so frequent, in fact, that you can basically assume that there’s a 40% chance of rain at all times. But it won’t last long, usually, at this time of year. So I show up to work in my nice wool pants and nice silk blouse and nice flats. It starts to pour. Old Man Partner and I have to leave for this site inspection; we stare morosely out the window. Believing that he is being funny and endearing, he threatens to send me alone. Neither of us have raincoats or umbrellas. We debate stopping at a gas station to try to buy one? It’s raining so hard it may flood, should we take his SUV? Oh no, he has to drive separately. Eureka, he finds two umbrellas in his car and calls me to inform me of this. We travel to the inspection, separately. I consider pulling over on the side of the road because the rain is SO bad. The site inspection was indoor/outdoor, so I don’t even know why we thought umbrellas would help at all.

      I arrive at the site, he’s already there. He’s inside already, along with all of the other (male, natch) attorneys. I’m the last one. I park, and dash to the house. What else am I going to do? My shoes fall off and fill with water, I immediately begin to look like a wet dog, and stand there soaking wet like a moron while my boss–who I should mention is not great at communicating– informs me that he *left the umbrella on the front seat of his car for me.*

      Turns out it was a major storm event that caused massive flooding on our interstates (that I got caught in).

      So yeah no, you have my full permission to be prepared for rain at all times.

    • Anonymous :

      You know what? This post make me think and I realize that, to the best of my memory, I’ve never seen anyone, anywhere, wearing rain boots. Outside of catalogs or fashion magazines. I guess I’ve never lived anywhere where rain is that much of a “thing.” Huh.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Come to Seattle. I’ve got:
        1. Fancy rainboots that look like riding boots.
        2. “If I have to go outside, I suppose I’ll wear these” Hunters
        3. Wool rainboots for when it’s cold AND rainy (that have the added benefit of making me look like I’m about to go to basic training….)
        4. Cute short rainboots
        5. Winter boots

        Plus two raincoats and a winter coat.

      • Aquae Sulis :

        We’ve had nothing but rain the last few weeks, and it never occurs to me to get my rainboots out! I just get to work with wet feet, and we all complain about the weather!

  15. "festive" online shopping :

    So my job is awful, my wonderful friends are all married with kids, I have no significant other, and many nights I come home and have a few beers and go online shopping. Probably not a great way to deal with stress and/or unhappiness, but I have to say my “festive” online purchases tend to be much better than my sober ones. Am I the only one? And is it time to get less festive and acquisitive? I max out my retirement accounts (401k and Roth) but I save nothing else.

  16. I recently spent a couple years in the mode you’re describing and it was good for neither my wallet nor my waistline! It took a little while to change up my routine effectively but I found the following strategies helped me save more money, drink less alcohol (which led to magically losing weight), and actually ended up making me happier with my routine overall:

    — No alcohol by myself. This helped keep alcohol as something I enjoyed socially but kept me from just drinking every night by myself as a habit. I find flavored seltzer and ginger tea both work as nice alternatives to an evening glass of wine. Maybe not at first, but try it for a couple weeks and your brain will reset.
    — Make plans every night, whether working out or meeting up with friends or doing a hobby. Toastmasters is awesome, as is joining a local social sports team or taking a series of cooking classes. Or do the free intro week at a series of different yoga studios or gyms to try them out. I’m way less likely to crave a drink late in the evening if I came home all sweaty from a workout.
    — Budget an amount you can spend each month on clothes. I like occasionally saving up a couple months of budgeted clothing spending money and then splurging on something ridiculous.
    — Only order online from places with free shipping and free returns and be ruthless about returning things you don’t love. This works really well for me because I love the thrill of ordering online, but then I get the chance to try on the clothing several days after the initial buzz of ordering it and I can be more rational about how much I really need it.

    I still occasionally online shop with a buzz, but I find it’s more fun now that it feels decadent and unusual rather than when it was more of a habit.

  17. I love the name of this clip!

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