Coffee Break: File Folders in Metallic Prints

Cute Office Accessories - file folders | CorporetteIf you’re on the hunt for cute office supplies, Poppin has a ton of bright, happy desk accessories in lots of bright colors. These rose gold folders aren’t in one of Poppin’s main colors, but they’re too lovely not to post. They’re $10 for a set of 6 at Poppin. Poppin File Folders, Assorted Metallic Prints



  1. Legally Brunette :

    How much do you spend on groceries per month? We are a family of four (one of whom is a toddler) and we spend close to $1000 a month. That feels insanely high to me, but DH thinks this is pretty normal esp. for the quality of food we get (from Whole Foods, all organic dairy/eggs, mostly organic produce). Whole Foods is literally next door to us so we go there for convenience, but I recently went to our local Giant and was kind of surprised that things weren’t significantly cheaper there.

    So….how much do you spend, for how many people, and where do you shop? Go.

    • Roughly $600 per month for two people (both very active). Mostly organic/grass-fed/pasture raised/what-have-you, tons of produce and dairy. I’d say it breaks down to 75% trader joes, 15% farmer’s market, 10% whole foods.

      We only eat out maybe 2-3 times per month, if that, and so the above includes all meals, snacks, coffee/tea, etc.

      If it is relevant, we’re in Atlanta.

    • About $400/month on average for groceries for a family of 2 + 1 baby. But we both regularly eat lunch out during the week at work. Sometimes we’ll also grab breakfast out. And we eat dinner out or order out about 1-2x per week. I figure that this eating out tacks on about an additional $400-$600/month. (Hello reminder to cut down on eating out to save money!)

    • It’s really a relief to read that. We also consistently spend ~$1K per month for a family of 4 in NYC. We mostly don’t buy organic stuff, but this figure does include good quality cheese/bread/etc, plus wine and beer. And we almost never eat out, so there is no corresponding restaurant budget. I wish it were a bit less, but haven’t yet figured out a way to reduce that figure without cutting out things that make us really happy (see, cheese & wine). We shop mostly at the local grocery store and supplement with Fresh Direct deliveries for things that our store doesn’t carry.

    • About $800 a month for 2 people. I realize this is high, but we also do mostly Whole Foods + some ethnic markets + local tiny stores, which tend to be more expensive. There might be some household stuff mixed in there too, like detergent. I cook a lot, and I like to have good ingredients. We also eat out once or twice a week.

    • Anonymous :

      Between $300 and $400 a month for two adults, one of whom is a fitness-obsessed man who probably eats between 2,500 and 3,000 calories a day. We are in a small Midwest city and we shop at Pay Less (a discount branch of Kroger, but despite the name I don’t find groceries much cheaper on average than Safeway in the Bay Area). We buy organic milk, most produce, and some meat and juice. We each typically eat lunch out 2-3 times a week but often its a sandwich or something that only costs $5 or $6 and we typically have dinner out once or twice a week (~$30-40 each time).

    • $350 a month for two adults and we shop almost exclusively at HyVee (Midwest grocery chain) with occasional trips to Trader Joe’s mostly for snacks and beverages. We don’t buy anything organic. We dine out 2-3 times a week, and that is not included in that figure.

      • $500/month in grocery store, another $100 (give or take) at either Costco and/or Trader Joe’s. Not included in figure: we eat out 2-3 nights/week, and try to buy lunch on weekdays twice each.

      • Anonymous :

        I LOVE HYVEE! I grew up in Iowa and that is one of the things I miss most about my home state.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes — Hyvee in SD!

          • Does anyone remember when Hyvee sold big bags of potato chips that had two smaller bags in them so that they would stay fresh longer? It was the most amazing thing ever. I don’t know if they still do that, but I miss it.

        • Hy-Vee in Nebraska is also awesomesauce. I happily pass over about $350 of my cash each month to my local Hy-Vee.

        • Anonymous :

          I miss Hy-Vee too! They have the best sheet cake (as far as grocery store cake goes).

      • I can’t express how much I love our Hy Vee!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I think we spend around $750 for the 2 of us in nyc. I realize this is high, but we get pretty much all our groceries delivered from Fresh Direct. The closest grocery store is a few blocks in the opposite direction from the subway so the convenience is really worth it. We were paying a little less when we lived in a neighborhood with the grocery store right next to our subway stop.

    • anon a mouse :

      Between 500-600 for 2 of us. We eat out maybe once per week, not accounted for in that, and both take leftovers for lunch.

      Organic produce but not organic meat. Costco meat all the way.

      Two years ago we were closer to 800 per month. I got vigilant about meal planning and realized we were wasting far too much food (buying produce that went bad before we could eat it, etc). Now I err on the side of under-buying. If we end up having beans and rice with a fried egg for dinner one night because we’re out of meat, so be it.

    • $400 a month, two people, mostly organic, includes bringing lunch a couple of days a week and both eating home 5ish nights a week, but we buy and cook mostly produce, grains and veggie proteins.

    • Two adults (one with a huge appetite) and a solids-eating baby. $50-100 per week at Giant or Shoppers, $100ish/month at Trader Joes, maybe $200 every few months at Costco, probably $100 of which is food. So if we average $80/week at Giant, then $450 or $500 month — way more than I realized!! We eat out once or twice a week total, with the occasional snack or fast food meal for one person as well.

    • We’re probably right in line with that: 4 people (two male toddlers), 1K per month roughly. All our groceries come from Trader Joes (produce/frozen/pantry products), Central Market (high-end Texas grocery store – think Whole Foods but with less pretension, for all our protein/meats/unique produce), and Costco (pantry and some produce). We probably pick up a takeout dinner once every two week (Chipotle, maybe?) and I cook lunches for myself for 3 days during the week. We splurge and have good steaks and fresh fish for dinner on weekends, and dinners during the week are chicken or pork.

      • Anonymous :

        Whole Foods but with less pretension. I love me some Central Market. Although the HEB that is three minutes from our house is high end and has everything from Central Market plus some HEB stuff. The only thing I REALLY wish it had was the delicious sandwich line.

    • Total food is $1,500 for three adults, two toddlers, and a dog. That includes CVS-type products (shampoo, soap, etc.) but not diapers. It also includes all meals out, including lunches, snacks, etc. and take-out (although not any meals the au pair eats out by herself or with her friends). We probably eat take-out one dinner per week and usually do one brunch out on the weekend. Otherwise I cook all our dinners. We shop almost exclusively at Harris Teeter and I religiously shop the sales especially for meat and produce. My husband loves meat and hates starches so we mostly eat meat, dairy, and vegetables, all of which are expensive. (The rest of us do eat potatoes, rice, and pasta a few times a week, but some of the dinners we do are just meat and veggies.) We don’t buy anything organic and I tend to buy generic whenever possible. I’ve tried and tried and tried to get the grocery bill lower but that seems to be as low as I can get it.

    • We’re 4, but one is an infant (though, formula! diapers!) and one is a toddler, and we spend between $600-$650. That’s counting any consumables (cleaning supplies, toiletries, diapers) and most alcohol (though I often call some of that “fun” spending). Low cost of living area, mostly shop at Kroger. We cook a lot, and could probably spend less by scrimping on ingredients more (fancy cheeses and meats), though I think we spend less than most on processed/prepared foods.

    • $250/month for two groceries for 2 adults. Regular supermarket food, not local, not sustainable, not organic certainly not Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc. I LOVE it when they start to fly in those grapes from Chile in January!

    • Chicago Bean Accounter :

      For reference, we are a couple, no kids, living in Chicago’s West Loop. I’d estimate that we spend about $400, spread between Jewel, Mariano’s, Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joe’s, and the farmers market. Every 2-3 months we also make a large Costco run that totals somewhere between $200 and $250. We occasionally splurge a little at the local wholesale seafood and meat places as well.

      Costco is for meats (which we freeze, and then use to make our lunches for the week), snack foods (pita crackers, granola bars), occasional fruit (when you can buy like one pineapple or one watermelon), and some things we’ve grown to like from there (brie cheese, the raviolis in the refrigerator section). The other store are for the supplemental ingredients for lunches, and dinners.

      We generally eat out about 2 times a week.

    • Anonymous :

      These grocery questions aren’t really meaningful unless you also account for eating out, which the average family does like 50% of the time.

      • Cosigning this. My food spend is ridiculously high (I struggle to keep it to £200/mo for one person) but it does include all food and drinks out.

    • Ha – so much. My SO and I can easily spend $300 a weekend on restaurants meals and drinks and groceries (split between Whole Foods, TJ and more “regular” grocery stores). We both like to have people over / host and go out to eat, and I love to cook. Because I travel so much for work, every weekend becomes more indulgent. We live together (no kids) in a downtown HCOL area.

      • Phew! Good to hear someone is as profligate with the food spending as we are :) Also no kids, downtown HCOL.

    • I guess I’m a unicorn, 150-200/month for two very fit adults. We don’t really eat anything processed. Most of that budget is at our local grocery store that sells primarily local produce. Then we go to a regular store and pick up things like rice

      • Anonymous :

        do you eat out at restaurants as well?

      • Wildkitten :

        Wow. I could do $200/month when it was just me eating pbj for every meal. I don’t know how two people can eat for less than that. This blows my mind.

    • Interested in hearing from other people who live alone! I spend $160-200 for myself (+ boyfriend on an every other weekend basis). I’m trying to keep it consistently under $200, but I looooove good food, fancy cheese, and cooking, so sometimes it’s a struggle. I shop probably 50% at Martin’s/Giant, 25% farmers market (eggs + produce), 12.5% Trader Joe’s, and 12.5% at Whole Foods for specialty ingredients I can’t find anywhere else. I’d be at Trader Joe’s a lot more but it’s a schlep from my house.

      • And I eat out 2-3 times a week. Never for breakfast or lunch.

      • CherryScary :

        Eat out 2-3 times a week, $120-150 a month in a LCOL area. SO is over 1-2x a week to eat. Shop mostly at Kroger and occasionally at a local specialty grocery.

      • bostonite :

        about $600 a month. I’m single and splurge on fancy/organic food – I live closest to whole foods and savenors and go frequently. I usually eat lunch out 3x a week, dinner out 2x a week and a brunch. I don’t really drink a lot though (just really lightweight so it doesn’t take a whole lot) so that helps the food/alcohol budget.

      • Single, living alone, recent vegan. I spend about $350 per month eating out. My groceries, including cat food, litter, general hygiene, and cleaning supplies, run about $200 per month, mostly at Trader Joe’s and Target.

        It is a lot of money but I really hate leftovers and wasted food–which I can’t seem to avoid if I shop at Safeway or try to cook any moderately nice dish. I cooked this weekend, made some baked potatoes and a pot of lentil soup. That meal alone was a $50 trip to Safeway. But I have gotten 5 meals out of it so far and have about 3 meals to go. Still, I have lots of odds and ends from those recipes that will probably go bad before I can use them up.

      • Live alone and shop for me and the two cats (plus wet food for the fosters). I eat out maybe once a month, vegetarian (but no pasta or bread products), don’t shop organic, don’t buy paper products other than TP – I spend $400 a month. I am in central PA so LCOL.

    • Vegan (obv), single, mostly organic produce but not 100%. High energy runner who eats and bakes a lot. Split betweeen Trader Joe’s, Shoprite, Whole Foods and local fancy-ish co-op. I try to do the big shopping trips at TJs or Shoprite but it doesn’t always happen. Average $300 per month.

      • Do you think you save alot of money by being vegan? Restaurants are not much cheaper for vegan dishes, in my experience. Most of the discount (maybe 20% overall) I have observed is in buying groceries: $1 bag of lentils for protein vs $8 in animal protein and $7 cheese. But I now spend more on fresh produce.

        Have you seen some of the $25/week meal plans for vegans? I have been meaning to try one out.

    • Philly Anon :

      About $350 for 2 adults, a pre-schooler and 1 year old, we get takeout maybe once a week (usually a $10 pizza) and cook all other meals and pack lunches. That includes toiletries, lots of baby food pouches and about half of our diapers – the other half comes from my mom’s couponing and Costco obsessions. We mainly shop at ShopRite, I use coupons a lot and generally plan each shopping trip like a military expedition, only buy meat and produce on sale, etc. It’s really not a fun way to shop, but we eat well and it leaves us money to do other things. We also drive out to a bulk food store in Lancaster roughly once per quarter and stock up on various staples, bulk snacks and some fun stuff like honey and baking supplies. That’s averaged into the monthly total as well and saves us quite a bit on some things.

    • Seattle food market :

      We easily spent 1K plus on food monthly for a family of 2 adults and 1 child. Plus we eat out. Based on other responses, I guess we have to get this under control!

      • Wildkitten :

        Nah – you do you. If it works for you, keep it up.

      • If you can afford it and enjoy it, there’s no reason to change. I like to cook, my husband likes to eat, and we like good food. It’s a lot (LOT) cheaper to have good food when you make it at home, so we’re fine with spending a lot on groceries because we very rarely eat at restaurants/take out.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      We spend about $500 a month for two adults. I used to be a chef, and I buy things from mostly from the normal grocery store and get some items from butchers and specialty shops. I tend to avoid Whole Foods and Bristol Farms because they are actually over-priced compared to privately run butchers etc. if you know where to go. Both the fiance and I are very active and eat a lot for our size. We also eat almost every meal at home-perhaps going out once a week or so. We also both work from home, so it really is about 40 meals a week at home!

    • $600 a month for two adults. We also eat out a lot and have people over for dinner 1-3 times a week. The cost breaks down 60% Trader Joe’s, 30% Whole Foods, 10% farmers’ market. The Whole Foods is a closer walk, but much more expensive, so I’ve been trying to plan better to get everything at Trader Joe’s once a week.

      • DisenchantedinDC :

        Have you heard of Instacart? Great option for the weekly grocery run and fees are really reasonable!

        • Thanks, I had never heard of Instacart. It looks awesome — I’m going to do a test run this week.

    • 2 adults, metropolitan area – around $500 a month on groceries. But we eat out for lunch on weekdays and dinner every night – so our dining out expense is about $450/week (so $1800/month). And I just realized how stupid this sounds written down. Perhaps this is an area to reevaluate…

    • Approx $1200 for a family of 5. My teenagers don’t eat as much as some do. We eat out approx once per week, usually fast food. We don’t buy organic and try to limit processed foods. Most of our shopping is done at Costco, supplemented by Safeway. We live in Canada. Dh & I usually take our lunches to work.

    • We spend about $850 per month for 2 adults + baby (sortof). That includes Blue Apron and includes having friends over for dinner or brunch 1-2 times per week, which is our primary entertainment spending. It does not include lunches, which we usually buy out, take-out (probably $50-80 per week) or going out to eat, which we do about once per month. It includes solids we make for baby ourselves but not diapers, formula, or solids I buy for him.

    • Too much. Probably about $600 a month for 2 of us, mostly at the Hy Vee (love, love, love Hy Vee) and a small, local grocery that mostly has local produce and Amish-produced produce and meat. Oh, and milk delivery. (Yes, we have a milkman from a localist dairy chain). Some of that is non-grocery stuff like laundry detergent and paper goods. And because Mr. gov anon can’t go into the Hy Vee for a tomato without coming out with a cart load of food because something looked good or was on sale. And I have 2 groaning freezers to attest to his food hoarding habits. But despite this, we have take out at least once a week. I need to get better about menu-planning, but inevitably I’ll cook what was planned Mr. gov anon will turn his nose up at it because he’s not in the mood. Sigh.

      On the upside, I could throw a really nice shower in my home without spending on dime on food.

      • My husband is a food hoarder, too! He’s retired and reads the sale flyers and will go to one store to get one item on sale. I buy the meats and fresh fruits and vegs, he buys canned goods, bread, eggs, milk, snacks, much of which I wouldn’t buy if I were shopping. We could throw a nice party, too, without going out and buying any food! Maybe just some wine. :-)

  2. Recommendations on an excellent place to get your eyebrows waxed in DC, preferably in upper NW DC or Chinatown? After years of overly zealous threading, I let my eyebrows grow out for the last 10 months. They’re still pretty thin, so I am looking for someone who knows what looks good and will just clean up/shape. Willing to spend extra for someone great, since I probably won’t be going more than a few times a year. TIA.

  3. Recommendations on an excellent place to get your eyebrows waxed in DC, preferably in upper NW DC or Chinatown? After years of overly zealous threading, I let my eyebrows grow out for the last 10 months. They’re still pretty thin, so I am looking for someone who knows what looks good and will just clean up/shape. Willing to spend extra for someone excellent, since I probably won’t be going more than a few times a year. TIA.

  4. Anonattorney :

    Thoughts on this morning’s bridal shower thread:

    I know weddings are a weird hot button issue on this site, so I apologize if this is just fueling the fire. But, so it goes. I can’t imagine asking my friends to spend significant amounts of money (over $100) on my wedding. To me, it’s rude to expect friends to spend more than they can afford on celebrating me. For my wedding, I only asked my 2 bridesmaids to buy dresses in a specific color–they could spend what they wanted. I paid for certain friends to share a hotel room so they could come to the wedding, when I knew they could barely afford the plane tickets. I didn’t ask for an engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelore**e party. A friend of my mom’s threw the engagement party anyway because my mom hosted her daughter’s engagement party the year before. My oldest sister hosted a bridal shower in her city–in her house–only because my mom’s extended family live there also and couldn’t afford to come to the wedding. The shower likely cost my sister < $100, FWIW. My bachelore**e party was a bar crawl, so each participant could spend whatever she wanted. I only invited people who were in town.

    Granted, I got married while I was in law school, so I didn't have much money and neither did my friends. All of the events were so wonderful, because everyone was happy to be participating and no one was overextending themselves. Even now that I make well over six figures, I still have a number of friends who are in the non-profit world or are still in grad school. I couldn't imagine planning something that would alienate them because it was more than they could afford. That wouldn't be fun for me. It would also, in my mind, be poor manners.

    Sometimes I think a lot of this stuff is regional. I live in the PNW (Portland) and there's generally a different approach to money here – it's almost a bit gauche to spend a lot on certain things. People also just generally have less money here than they do on the east coast. Anyway, just my thoughts. I suppose it's a "know your social circle" thing.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree completely. I’m in the Midwest where there is a similar attitude about not being gauche and it’s not typical to have lavish engagement parties or bachelore**e parties here. The shower is often hosted by the brides mom, MIL or one of their friends, so the bridesmaids typically only have to pay for a small shower gift, a dress, and the cost of attending the wedding. I got married at an older age for the Midwest, but still before most of my college and grad school friends (I was 27). I did not have an engagement party, bachelore**e, or lavish shower. My MOH threw a $100 or so tea and cookies type shower for me at her parents’ house and to my knowledge the other bridesmaids (who all lived far away) did not contribute financially. But she had some decorations, planned fun games, and gave out small favors and I think everyone really enjoyed themselves. I certainly did and did not think it was cheap or embarrassing at all. It was a totally normal shower for my part of the country.

    • Agreed. I also wonder if average age of marriage has more to do with these different expectations in the respective regions. Many of my friends were married by 25. We couldn’t throw extravagant parties because no one had any money. The nicest events were hosted by parents and their friends and the parties hosted by the girls themselves (like the bachelorette) were much simpler. As I get older, the events seem to increase in price as more of the bridesmaids have steady incomes and can prioritize these things as they want to (more destination bachelorette trips, etc.).
      I feel like for every bride and her bridesmaids, it’s a “know your situation” kind of thing. Maybe some of the conflicts like those discussed this morning arise because even if the bride knows that X friend has less money to burn, the bridesmaids aren’t aware of this or considering it in their planning.

    • I agree. I’ve been to weddings – weddings, the ceremony and reception – where the mother-of-the-bride bragged about getting the food at Costco.

      It was a beautiful wedding. That wouldn’t fly in my circle, where parents pay for stuff. I had a dinner & dance, black tie optional, with a 7+ piece band. It was also a great wedding.

      Different strokes for different folks. I like that you’re not resentful or authoritative about weddings and showers the way the commenters this morning were. Yikes. Glad I didn’t invite them, or see them at the Costco shindig.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I just got married over the summer in the PNW and was also MOH for my best friend in California last spring. This was my experience too.

      We didn’t have a bridal party so there wasn’t any expense there. We didn’t have an engagement party and I wasn’t planning on having a bridal shower but my stepmom insisted. It was low key and took place at her house. She cooked dinner for a group of about 12, bought a cake, and provided wine. I don’t know how much it cost but I don’t think it was much.

      My bachelore**e party was also at the house. All I wanted to do was hang out, order pizza, and watch movies like we did at sleepovers as kids. My best friend took over it and made a ton of decorations and brought makeup/hair things to recreate the sleepover experience. I’m sure it cost her more than the shower but she absolutely went above and beyond my expectations. There were about 15 of us and it was a ton of fun.

      Likewise, for my best friend’s wedding, we planned the bachelore**e party for a few days before the wedding so that a fellow bridesmaid and I could just fly in early. We did a brewery tour thing that was more expensive than other options, but there was a ton of communication among the 4 of us in the wedding party to make sure everyone was comfortable with the cost. We did veto another idea that would have been more expensive because of that. She also had a bridal shower hosted by her now-MIL in MIL’s backyard. It was lovely.

      I think communication and laying out hopes and expectations are key. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with expensive events as long as everyone involved is on the same page and feel comfortable pushing back if things get too expensive for their comfort level.

    • This morning’s thread was just kind of insane in so many ways. Who knew people had such strong, judgey views on other people’s bridal showers!

    • I agree. I got married in college, so of course mine was a little different, but that’s been the general idea of any weddings I’ve been a part of since as well.

      FWIW, I tend to think that there’s one person who hangs around here and just deliberately tries to pick fights where ever s/he can, more so than there are actually a ton of people who are silently outraged by inexpensive bridal showers.

      • “One person who hangs around here” — I don’t believe that’s true. I was one of the many people who commented this morning, and I am a regular poster. I have no opinion about the OP’s situation, but in general, a basic rule of hospitality is that you go a little extra for your guests and feed them well. I responded to the comment about how someone only served juice at their shower, which I found really tacky and cheap.

        • Anonymous :

          I agree that serving just juice is a bit odd, especially if the guests don’t have prior notice that there won’t be any food, but there were multiple (or seemingly multiple) people commenting that spending only $100-$200 is crazy and showers with tea and finger foods were horrible.

          • I think that that is why the Anon I’m thinking of is so good at picking these fights. S/he says something that could be taken as reasonable in some context (there’s certainly some point where a shower would be inappropriately cheap), so some reasonable people agree, but then amps it up to suggest that anything less than the Ritz is horrible. This person is actually quite brilliant in a way.

      • (Former) Clueless Summer :

        Yes! I agree that there’s one person and that’s what s/he is doing – trying to amp up the fights. I was the one who posted about a troll this morning and that’s all I meant by it – someone who’s replying to slightly contentious comments and who gets the whole thread going on a rather mean note.

    • Chicago Bean Accounter :

      I think it also depends on what the brides/bridesmaids have gotten used to seeing/attending. I’m 33 now (not married), and in our mid-twenties our bachelorette parties consisted of rented limos with bar crawls in the expensive areas of Chicago, weekend trips, and even a Vegas trip in one instance. Luckily in the area I gew

      A friend that got married about 1.5 years ago complained to me about people’s hesitancy regarding the cost of plans for her bachelorette, and was continually comparing hers to those that we went to in our mid-twenties. I had to talk to her about how we have all changed and our priorities are shifting, and now many of us are homeowners, parents, both, are living with a lot of student loans, and some live paycheck to paycheck.

      • Yeah, not having a blow-out wedding seems to be the price 35+ year old brides pay. I flew all over the country for weddings in my 20s but now all those brides have kids and other obligations. I just can’t see myself asking them to travel for my hypothetical wedding.

        Oh well, beats having married any of the guys I dated in my twenties.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m the OP from earlier. The ironic thing is that there is no indication that the bride wants this type of shower. It’s being planned without her knowledge and I really believe she’d be just as happy with a low-key party at someone’s home or townhouse community center. I actually think she’d be happier with that, knowing she’s not putting financial stress on her friends, like AnonAttorney said. She’s my best friend, I love her like a sister, and if I thought she really wanted this shower and it would actually make her happier than a cheaper, less fancy shower, I’d pony up. But I’m not super interested in contributing to what two very well-off bridesmaids have arbitrarily decided is important. I would much rather make a smaller contribution to the shower and be able to get the bride – who is the only person involved who is actually my friend – a nicer gift.

      • Meg Murry :

        I agree that $1000 for a shower seems crazy, especially for 15 people. I am also in a LCOL area where people tend to have in home, not fancy showers. However, my family is very large and all about the food, and my aunts and cousins are craft-sy and Pinterest-y, so while my individual contributions to in home showers probably have been more in the $30-$50 range (maybe $100 max for one, but that included a gift as well) , each one has a been a ton of time and work. One of my cousins recently hosted a shower for another cousin, and she just paid to do it at a (LCOL area so not all that expensive) country club and while it wasn’t cheap, it meant that she had to spend 1-2 hours picking from a menu of food and decorations, and all the rest of us “hostesses” had to do was write her a check and show up. Compared to the previous shower where I stayed up until midnight the night before making fancy chicken salad and chopping citrus for sangria, and spent weekends shopping at the damn craft store for centerpiece parts and then being told I wasn’t wrapping ribbon around a mason jar properly, it was nice to not spend a lot of time at things I am bad at and don’t enjoy. And when the country club shower was over, we loaded up presents in the car and left – no spending another 2 hours vacuuming, rearranging tables and washing dishes.

        Both showers were nice. And at least at the homemade one we all ended up with enough leftovers to feed our families for the rest of the weekend. But I can see the appeal of just paying to let a restaurant do most of the work for you, if you can afford it – but $1000 for 15 people seems way over the top.

    • This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I’m pretty anti-bridal showers generally. If you’re getting married at 22 and you’re just setting up a home for the first time, then OK I get it, you need lots of sh!t and I’m happy to help you out. But when you’re both 32 y/o professionals, own your very nicely decorated house(s), and you’ve been living together for years, you get 1 gift for getting married. One. Maybe if I really like you I’ll get you something suitably embarrassing for your bachelore**e party too. And this is why I don’t attend bridal showers – I keep my peace and wish people well and don’t spend my money on something I don’t want to spend my money on.

      • Anonymous :

        I get that for people getting married at 22, but doesn’t everyone need stuff for starting out at 22? It shouldn’t just be the married people who have matching towels (nevermind silver and china and the other stuff people usually register for).

        • I guess they’re free to have an “I’m not getting married” shower a la Samantha.

        • I agree. And I have started giving college graduation gifts, usually cash or gift cards, to family members and my friends’ children. I typically spend the same as I would on a wedding gift (about $100 unless it’s a very close friend or family member). They’re probably not going to buy towels and matching china, but they might need a microwave or an iron.

          I also like buying housewarming gifts when single friends buy their first condo, house, etc. I usually spend about $50, which is about what I spend on shower (bridal or baby) gifts.

          In smaller ways, I make an effort to celebrate friends’ professional or personal accomplishments like promotions, marathons, etc. Generally, I just like getting away from the idea that the only things worth celebrating are marriages and babies. FWIW, I’m married and have a baby, and am super grateful for all the fuss people made and gifts people bought for those events. I just think they shouldn’t be the only, or even primary, events celebrated in our culture.

      • Agree. I am 100% responsible for setting up my own house, and while I’m happy to help out a young couple as a gift to them, but get a little irked at the idea that it’s my job to help out grown people who can use two incomes to buy kitchen stuff.

        But baby showers? Sign me up. Most parents need all the help they can get.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in and my family is from the SE US. Where we are from, people are often married poor and young and possibly while still in school / military. Weddings often have receptions held in the church’s fellowship hall (in the country, it is that or the barn reception, but not in a Pinterest barn). At any rate, even though I’m a city girl now, when I got married, at least 1/2 of the guests were from my side were like that (including college friends). Husband’s family is a bit more big $ (not really, but relative to my family), big city, but at a southern wedding, the bride and her family plan and schedule things as the hosts (so on the host’s budget). My MIL was very happy with offering to host a rehearsal dinner for less than the cost of another relative’s (second) destination wedding she was pressuerd into attending earlier that year.

      In my city, a decade ago, someone who was very junior just stated that you couldn’t get married for less than 50K. Like it was a fact. Bless her heart.

      • “not a Pinterest barn” [snort] Favorite comment on the whole topic.

      • I would like to extend a general “bless your heart” to all of the people saying you can’t host a nice get-together for under $100, or in a small apartment; that only serving finger food is tacky; and that agreeing to be a bridesmaid is a commitment to spend extravagantly on events you had no say in planning.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      This is clearly a cultural thing, but the idea of bachelorette and bridal shower just seems excessive to me. Why do you need two? And why do you need gifts? Isn’t that what the wedding is for?

      In the UK we have one ‘hen’ party (although don’t get me started about how were beginning to get out of control) and people don’t buy individual gifts. The bridesmaids or sometimes everyone together buys a joint gift, but not always. I’ve been embroiled in some hens where people have asked for tons of money for a weekend away and some people have had to say they can’t afford it, and it’s definitely controversial, but two parties just seems too much.

      • Anonymous :

        Bachelorette- girls night out. Traditionally does not involve gifts. Everyone pays her own way.

        Bridal shower- includes parental generation people. Has gifts. Hosted.

        They’re very different. And I love going to them for my friends. And having done them for every single bride I know, I would like similar some day.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      With the exception of one wedding, wherein the bride’s mom arranged the bridal shower and there was no bachelorette bash, for each of the weddings I have been in as a bridesmaid or maid of honor, the entire bridal party has chipped in to throw a bridal shower and bachelorette party. I think this is a know your friends thing. Only once have I been expected to contribute a large amount (hundreds of dollars) just for the bridal shower, and this was on top of traveling to an expensive city for a destination wedding. In that case, as soon as we received the ask, I, along with a couple other bridesmaids, indicated to the maid of honor that we were not expecting to have to contribute such a large amount, and we came up with figures that were more apporpriate for us to make at that time. I guess she picked up the slack to give the bride the shower they envisioned. I have even attended (and paid my own way for) a bach party weekend of a friend where I was not in the bridal party because it was a fun girls’ trip that I wanted to take.

      I have yet to be in a position where the money is a drop in the bucket, but I just don’t WANT to contribute as much as is being requested, which I think is a more interesting dilemma.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s nice. But they did spend more than $100. On plane tickets. I have no problem spending $250 on a bridesmaids dress. That’s how much I usually pay for dresses. Zero issues spending $250-500 hosting a shower and/or bachelorette- that’s how much I spend when I entertain, and if I’m a bridesmaid I want to celebrate the bride. No problem spending $1000 to fly in for a bachelorette- my friends are spread out, that’s a normal weekend visit.

      I appreciate that’s not everyone’s life, but you’re not somehow superior because you set your budget lower.

  5. UpInTheAir :

    I don’t normally travel for business and there is an opportunity for a one-day trip across country which I think would be really fun. (I mean, also partly boring and inconvenient but overall I like a little change of scenery once in a while.) My manager suggested me to the higher-ups, please everyone send good travel vibes!

  6. Where is a great place to get your eyebrows waxed in DC? My eyebrows are very thin and I have been growing them out for nearly 1 year, so they need some clean up/shaping. Preference for a place in NW DC or Chinatown. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      Are you committed to waxing? I prefer threading, especially when you’re trying to grow them out. There was a place in Chinatown I went to once that was perfectly fine – within 2 or 3 blocks of Matchbox. I was standing on the street and needed my brows done so googled it and walked to the closest place.

      There is a threading place in Falls Church that is supposed to be AMAZING, but I haven’t made it there.

      • I think threading is what got me in trouble in the first place. Because threading plucks from the root, I think your hair just doesn’t grow back (or this is what happened to me, at least). I prefer waxing.

        • Threading plucks from the root, too.

        • Anonymous :

          Waxing and threading both pull the entire hair out. Waxing just takes some skin, too.

          The place is called “Hi Brow”. Google it, the Yelp page tells all.

    • My brows are thick but low-maintence, I just go to Mimosa for brows when I’m there for a pedicure. I’ve heard great things about Blue Mercury in Georgetown since several of my friends go there.

    • I’ve been seeing Adrian at Karma in Foggy Bottom for years. Sadly, his rates have been going up, but he works magic on my brows.

  7. Anonymous :

    So, I have shoulder length brown hair. It’s boring and I want to make a change. I want to do something with the cut, plus add some color (highlights I think? I don’t want to dye it full on but just spruce it up a bit). I have had the same haircut for pretty much my entire life. Where do I even start? I started looking at salon websites and beyond “cut and dry” I don’t even know what these terms mean—process, full foil, partial foil, highlights…. I googled but feel 1000% overwhelmed.

    Can someone point me to “hair style terms for dummies” or the like? For anyone that made a somewhat dramatic change—what do I do? I don’t really trust myself to go pick out photos (nor do I really have time, honestly) of what would look good..and I don’t know how to ask for it anyway!

    To make it all worse—I’m brand new to my area and this will have to be a new stylist.

    For a senior level exec at a top firm, I feel totally and completely out of my league!

    • Anonattorney :

      Balayage is the new color thing, instead of highlights (as my wonderful hairstylist told me in August of this year when I asked for highlights). Check out pictures online – it’s very pretty and natural-looking, and great with shoulder-length hair.

    • I absolutely recommend Balayage, and it’s a good google term to use to help you find a stylist who can do it. It will only result in a few, well placed highlights (as if they were painted on randomly where the sun would hit you). The change is minimal, but impactful, and growing it out is a cinch.

    • Hairs Grow :

      What do you want in your hair? For example do you want it to give shape around your face? To you hate bangs? Do you want to be able to put it up in a pony tail? Do you want to keep it long? Do you want it short?

      What are your hair maintenance preferences? How often are you willing to get it cut/re-dyed? How much effort are you willing to put into it on a daily basis?

      I typically take a few haircuts to find someone I like and trust, and then will go in with the type of details I mentioned above and an inspiration picture that I like, and tell them to make me look good. So far this has worked well, but a good stylist is key!

    • Anonymous :

      If you post what area you’re in, there might be some commenters with recommendations for stylists in that city.

  8. Bachelorette party :

    I’m a little afraid to post a wedding-related question after this morning’s thread, but I figure I’m pretty much guaranteed to get honest responses, right? FH and I are having a super small wedding party – just the MOH and Best Man. My MOH is far away and I have zero expectation that she will do anything but show up to the wedding and stand where she’s supposed to.

    I think it’d be nice to get together with some local ladies for a laid back bachelorette party afternoon. Is it tacky to plan my own bachelorette party, since the MOH isn’t in a position to plan or attend it?

    If it’s OK to plan it myself, do I have to pay for everything associated for the party or can I expect people to pay for themselves for some things? I was thinking of maybe hosting lunch at my house, then hiring a party bus to take us to some wineries for a tasting, then back to my house for coffee and snacks. I would pay for everything except maybe the tastings; it seems easier logistically speaking for folks to pay for their own so they get what they want, don’t have to drink what they don’t want, and it’s fair to everyone. But idk the etiquette there. Thanks for any insights!

    • Whoops this is also below – thanks, mods, for releasing it!

    • I think this sounds fun – and not tacky (though I’d give the MOH a heads up – I know my MOH would have wanted to help plan it anyway even though she was out of the area, maybe that’s just her). As long as everyone’s expectations line up. I.e., when you are inviting people let them know what you are covering (lunch, the bus, snacks). You don’t have to explicitly tell them what you are not covering (the tastings), but maybe say “I’ll get the bus, lunch, etc. Tastings are about $10/person per winery” – and just make it clear you really just want to spend a fun day with your friends! I’d also make it clear for no gifts – it would cross into tacky if you threw it yourself and expected gifts (though if friends wanted to give you something anyway, that would be their decision).

    • You can absolutely do this. The key thing is to set expectations with the invitation. Indicate what you will cover and what guests are expected to cover. Then allow people to decline without repercussions. What really gets people is when a surprise bill shows up.

    • I think you can absolutely do this and people will be excited to celebrate with you. FWIW, I think it’d be nice to pay for the tastings too–I feel relatively strongly, for myself, that the host pays–but I don’t think people would be unhappy if you didn’t, and really, I wouldn’t be either, if I were attending; I’d be excited to celebrate as well and appreciative of your other generosity. Agreed with above commenters on declining without repercussions and being clear that it’s a no-gifts kind of thing (though, again, FWIW, I’d do that in response to questions and not on the invitation). To that end, you might frame it as a celebration of female friendship or something rather than specifying bachelorette party, which can give people Expectations or generally get hackles up.

      • Anonymous :

        Good comment re: characterizing it. I’ve been to a few alt-b*ette parties and calling it a “Girls Night Out” or “Wine Tasting Trip” or something generic will also have the benefit of cutting down on b*ette paraphernalia and people feeling like they have to bring a gift. Everyone understood that the events were to celebrate something special but didn’t go overboard.

        • I’ll have to think about this. I get where you’re coming from and I definitely don’t want gifts. I think I might feel a little… idk, left out?… if I didn’t call it a bachelore**e party. FH will likely have a 4+ day bachelor party extravaganza. Which, whatever, that’s up to him and his friends. I don’t feel comfortable asking that of people and I have no interest in binge drinking for 4 days. But I think I’d have Feelings if he had this over the top shindig and my modest afternoon celebration can’t even be called a bachelorette party.

    • lawsuited :

      I don’t think it’s tacky to organize your own bachelorette, particularly if you’re not asking people to pay for it (obviously the optics of “I’m planning a party for myself, send me money for your share of the party bus!” are not awesome). If I were you, I’d arrange to do a wine tasting at your house, and pay for the wine rather than the party bus, so that is can be a completely free event. (I also wouldn’t be offended if I were invited to the exact party you propose, but I know many girlfriends who might opt out because of the unknown expense of multiple wine tastings).

  9. Interested to hear people’s thoughts on this article (link to follow). It’s a heavy read – I literally wanted to reach through the screen to the parents at several points – but it highlights issues I’ve been thinking about. I considered posting this on the moms s!te but figured even non-moms probably have some experience with/thoughts on the issue. I know I had nights in high school where I became just totally overwhelmed with the amount of work I had to do. When I really was struggling, my mother would insist I stop working, go watch some TV, and take the next day off from school. (This happened maybe twice a year.) I think it was really healthy for me because it taught me to recognize my limits and find ways to decompress. Several of the teens from the school weighed in on the comments, saying the problem isn’t too much pressure but other mental health issues and they’re right, to a certain extent, but I also wonder if they just can’t see they’re in a forest for having grown up around so many trees. It’s something we’re already thinking about even though our boys are years from starting school, just because the environment in Northern Virginia is also a mecca for super high achievers and the academic pressure and competition can be severe.


      • This is why I refuse to live in Palo Alto. The pressure cooker environment there is ridiculous and I refuse to subject my kids to it. And I truly don’t think it’s healthy. I went to top notch schools, got a job as a lawyer, and am pretty happy. My siblings went to less great schools, have jobs in fields they love, and are pretty happy. There are about a million paths to happiness and most of them do not go through Stanford.

    • I lived in Palo Alto for several years, and these suicides from Gunn High School were heartbreaking. It didn’t help that the CalTrain railroad tracks were very close to school, and a train suicide was dramatically tragic and received a lot of attention each time it happened.

      There is some evidence that suicide can be “contagious” among highly impressionalbe teens. Gunn is a very high pressure high school–everyone is expected to get into a good college, lots of APs, great sports teams, yadda yadda. At least in this area, the schools are trying to educate parents and students about signs of depression and too much stress. But in the age of ultra-competitive college admissions, I don’t necessarily think that you can actually tell your kids to truly just buck up and handle things. OTOH, resilience and multi-tasking and dealing with stress are skills. I am sort of conflicted about all of it–you don’t want to coddle your kids and say, “Don’t ever stress yourself out, lil darling” but of course, kids that are choosing suicide to escape pressures are not getting the support and coping skills they need. There’s got to be some balance. I’m not a parent, and I would be very interested to hear what parents have to say on how they try to imbue grit into their kids without driving them too hard. Not every kid needs to end up at a top college and run that race in high school!

      • anonymama :

        You let them fail, and let them see what the consequences are for failure, and let them realize that they can trust themselves to figure things out, and come out okay in the end. I actually think the pressure and the coddling go hand in hand – parents wanting so much control over their kids’ lives that they can’t let them be, and then the kids don’t get the chance to figure out on their own how to gain coping skills. I mean, so what if your kid gets a B instead of an A, and goes to Cal Poly instead of Cal or Stanford. Or goes to a community college and then Cal (UCs actually are really good about taking transfer students). Really, in the long run it doesn’t matter, and the kid may be better off having the room to develop independently rather than just being pushed to be the best just because that is what everyone else is doing.

        Also, praising your kid’s effort rather than the results is supposed to be really good for “imbuing grit.” I want to say that someone did a study but I can’t remember the details. (“I’m proud of you for working so hard, you improved your time so much!” rather than “you’re so fast, I’m proud that you won!”)

    • Anonymous :

      Asians. Sorry it’s not PC but it’s true. Paly and Gunn have huge Asian-American populations and they put tremendous pressure on their kids to succeed in all aspects, but especially academically. I came from a white family that really emphasized academics and anything less than a real A was definitely unacceptable, but it’s nothing compared to what my Asian friends went through growing up. I have an Asian friend whose parents literally told her they would not love her anymore if she failed to achieve a certain GPA. My parents were demanding and had very high expectations but they never in a million years would have said something like that. If you don’t say things like that to your kids, they probably won’t have a high likelihood of killing themselves (of course some percentage of the population has mental illness and will anyway).

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        but the written piece kind of debunks that theory — especially as the majority of kids who committed suicide in 2009 and 2010 were not asian.

        I agree this is very scary, TBK. I live in DC now, but my husband and I have discussed moving to the “near” suburbs when our children reach school age. I don’t want them to attend Sidwell, but are public schools any less stressful? I want them to have “normal” childhoods, but am not sure that is possible given the public schools we have in the area. I mean (and I am not saying this very eloquently), I would like them to attend a great school where they have lots of opportunities (because, otherwise, why are my husband and I working so hard), but I don’t want the insane pressure that seems to exist in these venues.

        what are the realistic options? My husband and I are both professionals, and would love our children to choose medicine or business, but must we have this? no. And how do we temper the surrounding pressure if we send our children to a “good” school?

        • It’s interesting. We’ve been idly thinking about where we’d like to move for our next house — the one where we’ll live until the kids are grown and we’re ready to down size — and we initially thought it would be great to get into the Langley district (Langley HS is known for being, after the STEM magnet TJ, one of the very best high schools in the area, and that’s in an area filled with great high shools). But I started reading the Great Schools reviews online and what I found was that a lot of the lower ranked schools had terrific reviews where kids and parents said that the diversity of the student body was incredible and important, and that the school still had AP and IB programs so the academic rigor was there (for the kids who were in those programs — another issue re selection and whether it’s mostly white and Asian kids who get tapped, but that’s a separate discussion). Meanwhile, Langley had some scathing reviews about its focus on excellence to the exclusion of everything else. I’m not saying those reviews are Gospel by any means, but it made us want to think a little more deeply about what we really want for our kids.

          • Okay, seriously, what was in this post that triggered moderation?

          • I grew up and went through the (not particularly well-ranked) public school system in a small college town in Pennsylvania, and my experience was consistent with your read of those reviews. I interacted with lots of different kinds of people, got a genuinely good academic education (attended a “highly competitive” liberal arts school, where I never felt academically outgunned, even by peers who went to really fancy high schools), and think the whole thing was really valuable to me.

            I do think it’s relevant that my parents were involved in my life (though not helicoper-y) and academically focused. I also had a core group of friends with similar family orientations and goals, and the school system had enough high-achievers to have a good selection of well-taught AP and honors classes. There were also a lot of (nice! interesting! non-loser!) kids who weren’t planning to go to college, who planned to enlist in the military, or were going into some kind of trade (my high school had an in-house VoTech program). My college classmates who went to high-end public or private schools (TJ and Sidwell are specific examples) didn’t really know anyone who wasn’t on a competitive-college track; some of them had never spent close social time with an actual Republican. I don’t know what I’d choose for my as-yet hypothetical kids; I think there’s real value in growing up in a city–some of my high school classmates didn’t really have any experience outside of small-town life, and I think that’s a shame–but I’m very very wary of the competitive high school experience, whether it’s private or public, and the impression I get from parents is that they don’t feel there are many other viable options (though obviously you’re considering some–glad to see that).

          • FWIW, and it was a long time ago, I have to give a plug for Chantilly HS (although Centreville, Westfield, et al., will be similar.). I thought we were well-rounded, had okay diversity, but also good academics. Fairfax County has hits and misses, but there or Loudoun would fit your bill without being completely insane.

        • Ugh, I wrote a response to this and it must be in moderation (can’t we at least get back the notice that it’s in moderation instead of it just disappearing?). No clue at all what sent it there.

        • Anonymous :

          It’s funny you mention Sidwell. I can’t think of a more nurturing environment. Stone Ridge is another amazing program if you don’t want crazy pressure.

    • I think the problem is parents see kids as an extension of themselves and not separate individuals different from them. Most of the time, whenever parents say whatever they are doing is in the best interest of their kids, they are just deluding themselves. What they are actually trying to do is making decisions to live vicariously through their kids. If parents can love their kids without attaching themselves to their kids, they can make decisions in their children’s best interest.

      Also, academic performance is not everything. I was a straight A student and my husband is not. But I think he is very smart and he is successful in his job. The difference is that the modern school system suited me more than him. Some times I think there has to be very individualized approach to schooling, finding the way which is best suited to individual child. So parents should leave their ego to a side and find a system which works best for the child irrespective of what their friends and family thinks or at least supplement the child’s education in a way that complements a child’s natural inclinations.

      I don’t have kids, but want to in next couple years. The pre-requisite for me to have children is to be able to unconditionally love them without attaching myself to them. Only then you can do whatever is right and needed for your kids.

      • I’m sure that there are plenty of parents who see their kids and their kids’ successes (or failures) as extensions of themselves. But I think that might be too easy a solution. I think there’s also a feeling among parents that (1) you not only can but therefore must directly influence how well your kid does in school (life) and so if you aren’t providing the most enriching environment (whatever that is) you are giving your child less than you should; and (2) the child must have as many options as possible and therefore if you aren’t doing what needs to be done (see #1) to make sure ALL the options remain open — including going to Harvard or MIT — you’re failing. Because of these things, I think sometimes when the child isn’t successful at something, the parents feel they failed to give the child the things the child needs to be successful. It’s like a failure to thrive diagnosis when your kid is a baby — it might be you’re doing all the right thing but how awful to feel that your baby is somehow not being fed enough or not [what? something clearly something you’re missing!] well enough. What they don’t see is that the child might not really need the success, and might even be better without it. What the child sees is my failure => parents unhappy. What she doesn’t see is that they’re unhappy with THEIR performance, not with hers. And so she thinks their happiness (love) is conditioned on her success. But it’s that they aren’t loving themselves enough that she’s seeing, not their lack of love for her. They think they let her down; she thinks she let them down.

        • I see what you are saying. I have seen that kind of reasoning with my colleagues.

          I am not saying one should not give the best for your child. I am saying that parents should give the best possible environment/options for your child. But one should be realistic and see what the child’s inclinations are, what kind of schooling will work for him. It is not going to help if your child is attending a highly ranked school but feeling miserable all the time. That situation will not lead to the full utilization of his potential.

          One of the issues is precisely what you said, “Because of these things, I think sometimes when the child isn’t successful at something, the parents feel they failed to give the child the things the child needs to be successful.” Why cannot parents accept that their child just didn’t get into MIT, because objectively, we know that every child cannot get into MIT? Why is that they think that their child was capable of getting into MIT but it is somehow their failing that she didn’t? If it is true love towards your kid, then it is easy to accept that your child didn’t get into MIT, she did the best she could and now she will go to state university. Their love or attitude towards your child will not change because she failed to get into MIT. It is not a failing on any one’s part.

          Of course children feel that it is their failure. If only they could get into MIT, they could see their parents’ happy, live up to their expectations. Also the feelings of guilt because her/his parents sacrificed their happiness/luxuries to give them the best possible things in their life and still they let their parents’ down. If their parents have a social circle where every one is talking about how good their kids perform, the pressure to keep up with that expectation is tremendous. Though their parents may not explicitly say that, the subtle actions can come through and children are very good in sensing their parents mood/feelings.

          • slacker mom :

            But I don’t even think that parents necessarily “should give the best possible environment/options for their child.” I mean, we should strive to give them a GOOD environment, but it is that same pressure that parents put on themselves to give the “best possible” that later filters on down to the kids. No, you really don’t need to feed your kid the “best possible” baby food or send them to the “best possible” preschool.

          • I agree with you. That is something I have to change in my attitude from parenting perspective, that GOOD is good enough.

          • Or the child can be me, who went to MIT despite the fact that my public high school was only considered average at best (we had 2 AP classes while I was there, and many of the classes didn’t even have separate “regular” vs “advanced” tracks). And then when they arrive at MIT, go from always being #1 or #2 to below average, and not able to keep up at all with classmates that went to TJ, Stuyvesant, TAMS, Exeter or Palo Alto High. It was really a crushing blow, and while I loved being surrounded by brilliant people, and had an overall ok experience, it gave me a major case of imposter/not good enough syndrome and I often wonder if I would have been more “successful” by the traditional definitions if I had just gone to a good state school.

            At some point in every persons life they hit a point when they are not the smartest person in the room, or even in the top half, and its hard to figure out when you can push yourself up and when you’ve hit a wall.

            For background, my parents pushed me pretty hard. My grandparents didn’t go to college (I don’t know that my grandfather’s even finished high school) and they worked factory jobs during the day while running family farms to feed themselves. My parents were pushed to “do better” and went to college, although my mother dropped out after a year and my father graduated but was never able to find a job using a degree that paid more than the union factory jobs. So they worked really hard and pushed me really hard not just to “go to college” but to go to “a really good school” and made tons of sacrifices for that – saved up a lot of money, my mother worked crazy hours, my father worked a lot of overtime and took jobs that physically wore him down (and he’s paying for that not with hip replacements and back surgery and a body that was worn out by age 50).

            And I got into that “really good school” and did my best not to fail at it. But while I am forever grateful to my parents for all the sacrifices they made for me, I learned that there is so much more to life than reaching to be traditionally “successful”, and hoping that happiness will follow success.

            For my kids, I am hoping they will live fruitful lives and be able to find career paths that make them feel happy, fulfilled and able to pay their bills, and if they decide reaching for a place like MIT is what they want, I will help them with that, as much as I reasonably can, without hitting either of us with life crippling debt. But I hope that I can teach them to fail young and get up and try again, instead of spending years terrified that they will fail and let their parents and family down, like I did. But my kids will never be able to have “the best” as kids, especially compared to many of the other kids of posters here – but I hope to teach them to work hard for what they want, don’t fear taking risks, and to be content with what they have, not believe in a false hope of “and if I could just get to the next level, then I would be happy”.

            If my kids are doctors, lawyers or CEOs and good and happy people, I’ll be happy. If they are artists or bricklayers or teachers or bank tellers or construction workers and content with their lives or whatever I’ll be happy as well (as lon as they can afford food and a roof over their heads that isn’t my couch, at least). I just hope they dont resent me for not killing myself to give them “the best” and pushing them super hard and setting themselves up for those CEO paths. I guess we’ll see. Parenting is a series of “will my child hate me more for what I did or what I didn’t do” choices sometimes.

    • My kids are at a high-pressure public school in the Midwest that had a string of suicides a few years ago. It was awful. The problem is so complex — I don’t think you can just blame parents, or just blame the school. It’s also really hard to tell if your kid is going through typical teenage issues or something more serious. The community and the school are concerned and trying to make changes, but it’s not like they can change the college admissions process or the overwhelming amount of tests required by the state. Our school is trying to find a way to loosen up the school schedule so kids get to sleep in later, or can fit in a fun class in addition to the hard ones.

  10. Paging BellaBeat Leaf Users :

    Have you received yours yet? Do you like it? Still on the fence and would love to see some unbiased feedback.

    • Pat Gardiner :

      I’ve had one for about 6 weeks. I like it a lot, mostly because it has an inactivity alarm, and the activity tracker is motivating for me (I find myself climbing the stairs and taking extra walks, or getting up off the couch for that weekend run because I can see how few steps I’ve done that day). Wearing it as a bracelet is the most accurate for tracking steps. It also looks nice, and I’ve gotten many compliments on it from people who are then surprised it’s more than a piece of jewelry.
      Sleep tracking is not very accurate. The breathing exercises are okay, but I keep forgetting to do them.
      All in all it’s not perfect, but I’ve enjoyed it so far!

  11. Brithday Question :

    So now that we’re adults, if your good friends don’t celebrate or acknowledge your birthday, does that make them bad friends, or just busy?

    For reference, my b-day falls on Thanksgiving this year, which, of course, is much more a time for family than friends. I feel like this is a struggle every year. Should I plan my own party?

    For reference, I am not the kind of narcissistic type that wants a huge expensive do–just a small, “let’s grab drinks” or something aimilar from my _good friends_ that goes beyond a FaceBook Wall acknowledgement. I don’t expect it on the actual day. Is that too much to ask?

    I think this might be compounded by the fact that I’m single and my family lives really far away, so it’s literally a “whoopeee! no one cares” feeling inside that’s sort of lonely. Please tell me if I am crazy or not. Thanks.

    • In my circle of friends, it means nothing. Someone might email out “Hey, let’s grab drinks for my birthday!” but none of us plan special outings for someone else’s birthday. We text each other on the day, buy a small gift (maybe), and just give it to the person the next time we see them.

    • I understand where you’re coming from, but what you describe is really common. Don’t take it personally. Invite people for a birthday happy hour or dinner or something at your house if you want people to tune in.

    • I think that once you hit adulthood, you really start to see a division on birthdays. There are people to whom celebrating birthdays as adults matters A LOT, and those to whom it is seriously not a big deal at all. My best friend is A Birthday Person, so I always make sure that I call her and send a little gift. I, on the other hand, am really NOT into birthdays, so celebrating my own isn’t a big deal to me, and my natural inclination isn’t really to do much for my adult friends unless I know that they are Birthday People. But most of mine aren’t. I haven’t been to a birthday party for an adult, other than a party for a landmark birthday (30, 50, etc.) since law school.

      I’m not sure how old you are, but I do kind of think that birthdays become much less of a thing once you’re an adult. If your friends know it is important to you, they should take that into account, but I don’t think you should assume that they do know it’s important to you, because, for many adults, it’s not.

    • Anonymous :

      When you’re an adult, especially out of college, you need to issue the invitation. “Hey, what are you guys doing Friday? Want to hang out and have a drink to celebrate my birthday?” etc.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I’ve felt what you’re currently feeling so I’ve started planning a dinner for myself. I find a cool restaurant I’ve been wanting to try, make reservations and invite all my friends out. It’s usually a fun night and we get some awesome food and it helps my anxiety about my birthday.

    • birthdays :

      Part of growing up is usually letting things like this go. If you are a big birthday person, then it is likely up to you to mark those milestones. And that doesn’t mean planning a party/dinner outing where everyone pays for you and brings you presents. Honestly, most people have too much going on in their lives to worry about things like this, and if you expect these things as you get older, some people will start rolling their eyes. Plan your own, small, grown up outing if you must (ex. drinks/brunch/dinner)….. and honestly, now that you are an adult you should actually be paying for it if you invite others!

      But honestly…. think for a second what a birthday really is… you’re not 7 years old anymore.

      What I do for me, is plan my OWN treat to myself on my birthday. That’s my day to take myself out to lunch or “call in sick” or buy a special treat for myself. If I make myself responsible for my own happiness, I am less likely to be disappointed.

      It is not appropriate to be upset about this anymore if friends (and even family!) forget about this and gifts twindle away. A facebook Happy B-day is fine. MAYBE your spouse/significant other and immediate family can be nudged/reminded to do more …. but you should learn to be ok about this.

      May I ask, how many friends and family are you careful about celebrating on their birthdays?

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, I generally take the day off work on my birthday and do something fun.

        And yes, I think if you plan a party you should host and not expect other people to pay for drinks/dinner at a place not of their choosing.

        • Anonymous :

          “I generally take the day off work on my birthday and do something fun.” Beware, though, of this making you feel more lonely. I once spent the day at an outlet mall for my birthday (in law school) and I went to a restaurant for lunch and used one of those birthday coupons to get a free appetizer or dessert or something and the waitress kept repeating “You’re alone? On your birthday? You’re alone on your birthday!?!” like I was some kind of leper. I actually had a dinner planned the next day with a big group of friends but it made me feel awful and ever since then I’ve made a conscious effort to never go anywhere alone on my birthday where I might have to show my ID or otherwise make it clear that it’s my birthday.

          • Reminds me of when a waxer asked if medication was making me hairy. Nope, just me…

        • Even taking the day off work makes it feel like a celebration. I haven’t worked my birthday in 25 years — ever since the birthday at my first big job where I made a bad mistake and got chewed out and cried in front of everyone. Sometimes I spend the day thrifting or at a museum or the movies, but I usually try to see people in the evening. (I, too, have a holiday birthday and have to make specific plans or it just won’t happen.)

      • I agree with this. My birthday falls just after 1/1 so everyone is usually tired of parties and celebrations by the time my birthday rolls around. i get some birthday wishes on Facebook but that’s as much reaching out as my friends do.

        Which is actually fine with me. I’m a grown up. If I want to celebrate I’m going to celebrate.

        For my 40th I threw a party. Two friends offered to make me a cake so we had two cakes. Lots of people brought bottles of bubbly, which we served. We provided all manner of food and booze and non alcoholic beverages. Everyone had a great time. I wore a tiara. Three of my guests sang to me or played for me (I have a very musically talented group of friends) which was a total highlight. I loved every second of it.

        But I don’t want to do that every year. I usually just email my core group of girlfriends and suggest lunch or dinner. It helps that I have a friend in the group with a similar birthday, so we make it a two-fer, which makes me feel slightly less awkward about inviting people to fete me.

        I recently celebrated the 10th Anniversary of my 40th birthday party (ahem) and this time I didn’t want a party. I asked my two closest girlfriends if they would be willing to take Friday off and go with me to the wine country. I rented a country house for the weekend. We hung out, relaxed , cooked dinner (My friends are also talented cooks, as it turns out!) and drank a lot of wine. It was my favorite birthday so far! Even better than 40!

        But that is becaus I planned it. It turns out that is how you get exactly what you want.

        Happy birthday!

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think you’re crazy for feeling this way, but I also think that once you’re over a certain age (in my social circle it was pretty much post-college), you’re on your own to organize your birthday get together and gifts are uncommon, unless it’s your SO/BFF. Plan your own party and I’m sure you’ll have a great time and feel a lot less lonely!

    • Anonymous :

      Aside from the party, I totally agree about the wanting more than a FB post. I know our generation doesn’t call people much anymore, but I think good friends’ birthdays warrant a phone call, long text-message thread (like actually asking about their plans and day, etc.), or a visit when the friend lives nearby. But I think you shouldn’t expect that from anyone unless you are doing it for them on their birthdays (and even then it’s easier to just be pleasantly surprised by friends that do nice things).

    • DisenchantedinDC :

      Myself and my friend circle are mid-20s to early-30’s – mostly – either issue it yourself or get a close friend to do it. I’ve had friends do it the last few years and have done it for friends. For a milestone birthday, a friend mailed out paper invites to her own little happy hour thing just for fun. I would not sweat it if I was the one to wrangle people.

      That said, I always always always cover/chip in for the birthday boy/girl in a group meal, or buy them a drink at a HH.

    • I get a little like that – my birthday is three days after Christmas, so I wonder if sometimes there’s a holiday-timed birthday thing. But usually, if I plan something like a “hey, it’s my birthday, let’s go somewhere fun and a bit more special than local dive” my friends will oblige and maybe treat me to a drink (though it’s certainly not expected at all).

    • Anonymous :

      When there’s something I want to do for my birthday- have a BBQ, go to the beach, day drinking (obvi July here), I suggest it to a couple close friends, find a date that works for people if they are interested, then float it to a larger circle as “hey a few of us are doing xyz on date for my birthday- let me know if you want to come!”

      I think as an adult, you handle that yourself. For you, since you know your date is hard and you know you want to do something, set it up for earlier in November!

    • Oh I get like that! I love my birthday and get sad if nothing is planned or people seem to forget. About 10 years ago though I realized this so I started planning a birthday party for myself every year. I’ve hosted brunches, dinners, teas, anything I’m in the mood for that year and invited a few close friends. I try to keep it as close to the day as possible. Holiday birthdays are harder, but maybe you could do a day-after-thanksgiving bday as a new tradition.

  12. Bachelore**e party :

    Sorry if this posts twice, first post is stuck in moderation.

    Is it tacky to host your own bachelore**e? I’m not having bridesmaids, just my MOH, and she’s not in a position to attend or plan a pre-wedding party (which is totally fine! I’m just so happy to have her stand with me!).

    If it’s not tacky, do I pay for everything myself? I was thinking lunch at my house, party bus to local wineries, wine tastings, then back to my house for coffee and snacks. I’d cover everything except maybe the tastings. I want people to be able to drink what they want, not drink what they don’t want, I want to be fair to everyone, and I want to keep my budget pretty reasonable. It seems like the easiest way to accomplish that is to have people buy most of their own booze and maybe I’ll buy a bottle to share at each winery. Thanks for any insights!

    • 1) it’s not tacky and 2) this plan sounds lovely

    • I don’t think it’s tacky. I also think that whenever an invite lays out what is expected to be contributed to cost-wise, it is much appreciated and less likely to be thought of badly. I would have no problem buying my own booze at a party like that and would be super appreciative of you covering the party bus. I bet that one friend pitches in at each winery to buy a bottle to share (that’s why I would do with my friends when the host is already covering everything else).

    • I think you are GREAT!

    • Anonymous :

      This sounds awesome!

    • Senior Attorney :

      That sounds fantastic! And yes, make it clear on the invitation that you are covering everything except the wine tastings. I would love to receive an invitation to an event like that!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Sounds great to me too! I completely agree with stating what costs you are covering.

    • DisenchantedinDC :

      This sounds fun. I’m in. ;)

    • Anonymous :

      FWIW, I’m getting married next summer and thinking about doing something similar. I may ask my MOH to send invites/keep track of who’s coming, just because I’m likely to be completely frazzled by that point and don’t want to miss someone, but otherwise, I’ll handle most of the costs.

    • Thanks so much for all of the kind comments here and above (and sorry again for the double post)!

  13. Anon2ndmom :

    I am pregnant with my second child, and due in about 9 weeks. I’m an attorney and, my first pregnancy, I worked like a dog until the day I gave birth. I made partner this year and also became pregnant with my second child. But now, I have literally nothing to do. I have a very small book of business, and it isn’t enough to keep me fed (and, frankly, now is not a great time to chase new clients, as I am visibly far advanced in my pregnancy). I rely on other partners for the bulk of my work. But now, I average about 20-30 hours a week in billables the past month. And I see no sign of this changing. A couple other partners have noted that it isn’t a good time now to stock me on new projects. I don’t blame them, but I am scared. What am I going to do with 2.5 more months of virtually no billables . . . and then six months off!

    Please tell me you have experienced something similar and it gets better when you return to work?

    • Anon for this :

      I’ve not experienced it, but I’ve sure seen it, and honestly, I don’t think there is a lot concrete you can do to get work for the next 9 weeks. Your partners are right – other than discrete tasks, it’s not a great time to get you involved in their projects. And you’re right – specially chasing clients at this moment is hard. Can you use this time to do more long term client development? Write articles, maybe even enough to have some come out while you’re on leave?

    • People might be afraid to give you work that is below your pay grade. You know, the things like a doc review assignment usually given to a 1-3 year attorney. That’s the kind of work that can be picked up by someone else midway though and gives you easy billable hours. I bet you know someone with a discovery deadline or trial coming up where you could propose yourself as available for a specific task. You are going to have more luck with “can I do x for you” instead of “give me any projects you want.” Maybe even ask some of your colleagues assistants if there is something they think they could use help with so you can approach them with it as an idea.

      Then you can say, hey Joe, I’ve got 6 weeks to my leave. I hear you have a trial on x coming up. I’m guessing you need someone to ______. Could I do that for you?

      • Stormtrooper :


        Also, I was about four years in with my first. I had been really busy and I worked until the day before my due date, but for the last six weeks, I didn’t get much work. People didn’t seem to want to get me too involved because they knew I would be taking eight weeks maternity leave. I don’t think there is much to do, other than to do exactly what is mentioned above. I always think these slow times (just like this) are good times to connect with people, write articles, catch up on continuing education, etc.

  14. I just wanted to thank all those who responded to my questions this morning. Corpor*tte is a great resource.

  15. Hopefully not too late to get an answer:

    I just had a first-round interview and was told they want someone to start first of the year. I am supposed to be going on my honeymoon (it’s already been delayed once, and I won’t go into why we haven’t rebooked yet, but are supposed to do so imminently) for 9-10 days near the end of the month. When do I tell them? Do I book and cross my fingers everything works out? Do I delay (which realistically may mean not getting to go for years)?

    This may be moot because I was not sparkling in that interview.

    • Anonymous :

      You wait until you get an offer, then tell them the date you are away or that you can start.

      • +1. If you are the right candidate they will wait for you. We recently hired an admin that we had to wait much longer than we expected for her to be available but we believe she will be worth the wait.

    • lawsuited :

      I’m not sure if you’re planning your honeymoon for 10 days at the end of this month or at the end of January. If this month, then go, and just make sure you’re reachable in case they contact you about the position. If January, then book it, and if you get offered the position you can tell them at that point that you’re fine with the Jan 1 start date but you have a non-refundable vacation booked for the last 2 weeks on January. Once they’ve offered you the position, they’ve already decided they want you, and are unlikely to revoke the offer because of a 2 week vacation.

      • Sorry, in my haste I was unclear! It was originally supposed to be this month, but now has been delayed until mid-January.

    • What would you be most willing to give up: (1) this job; (2) the honeymoon; (3) the money spent on booking things you’ll have to cancel? If your answer is (1), book the honeymoon now and when/if you get an offer, tell them about it and offer to take the time unpaid, but be willing to decline the offer if they won’t give you the time. If your answer is (2), don’t book yet and wait to hear back. If your answer is (3), book what you have to book now and be willing to cancel if you get the job.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d do something similar to what TBK suggests. Book now, get travel insurance and make everything you can non-refundable (including hotels) even if you have to pay a slight premium to do so. Really the only thing that’s not refundable then is the air tickets so that’s the amount you should insure. If you get an offer, explain the situation and ask if it’s possible to take the time unpaid. If they say yes, great, go. If they say no, cancel.

      • I think Anon above obviously means make everything refundable. Also will add I went on my honeymoon shortly after starting my new job. I was clear I was willing to take it unpaid (they didn’t make me – they’re letting me apply against future vacation days), but, and this is your own comfort level, i might disclose that it is a honeymoon. I found people were much nicer and accommodating for my “honeymoon” than for a random long vacation.

        • Anonymous :

          I agree with the advice in general to say “honeymoon,” as that’s usually seen as special, but if you got married a while ago (OP said it had been delayed several times) many people will see it as not really a honeymoon. I realized delayed honeymoons are a big trend now, and I’m not trying to start drama – you do you and take your honeymoon whenever you like – but I think the older generation might think you’re trying to pull a fast one on them if/when they find out you got married, say, a year ago and then asked for time off for a “honeymoon.” So maybe “delayed honeymoon” is a better phrase that is completely forthright while conveying that this is not a run-of-the-mill trip.

  16. late to the board today, but maybe we can continue the game tomorrow.

    Attorneys – What’s the weirdest thing you’ve subpoenaed? I’m currently researching how to subpoena records from World of Warcraft, and I want to know what other weird things you’ve looked into!

  17. Cute prints :)
    Maria V.