Workwear Hall of Fame: ‘Varina’ Leather Flat

Stylish Work Flat: Salvatore Ferragamo 'Varina' Leather Flat We’ve mentioned this shoe a lot over the years, but I don’t think we’ve ever featured it by itself in a Coffee Break. Meet the Varina, a long-running (looooong-running) bestseller from Salvatore Ferragamo. At $525 the shoe makes AGLs look downright affordable, but sometimes a girl’s gotta splurge, right? Nordstrom reviewers seem to all note that the shoe runs narrow and if your foot is not narrow you should get the “wide width shoe.” Like other Ferragamo shoes, the comfort is strong with this one. It’s $525 at Nordstrom. Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Varina’ Leather Flat

Two more affordable options are here and here.

2017 Update: We’re adding this shoe to our Workwear Hall of Fame! It’s been around for ages and has been loved by readers forever.

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This comfortable flat from Ferragamo is loved by readers and has been around for years!


  1. A comment on the previous post made me wonder- how important is/was an engagement ring to you? For those of you already married- if you love your ring, was it a worthwhile purchase? If you hate your ring, does it bother you enough to upgrade it? Would lack of a ring really lead you to delay engagement or getting married? Do you judge your friends for small rings?

    I don’t care about rings at all, or weddings, honestly, I’ve told my bf that I think they’re a waste, and I’m happy with a plain band and a courthouse wedding. It just seems like another example of people being focused on the wedding, and not the marriage. Or does the ring really mean something today still?

    • I didn’t have an engagement ring, and while my wedding ring isn’t plain, it’s nothing exciting either, and I paid a few hundred for it. I care exactly not at all about this, and it would not delay me getting married or engaged or whatever.

    • I wasn’t as concerned about size as I was about source. I told my now Husband that I wanted a Canadian diamond because I was not comfortable with the Kimberley Process as truly avoiding conflict diamonds. I know there are also concerns about Canadian Aboriginal (Indian) communities receiving sufficient benefit from Canadian mines but those issues pale in comparison to the conflict diamond issue. Not even the same ballpark.

      That said, I do wish it was a tiny bit bigger. DH saved up to buy it and probably could have spend a bit more with relatively little pain. Did not delay wedding to get a bigger ring.

      From Wikipedia:
      “The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is the process established in 2003 to prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough diamond market by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/56 following recommendations in the Fowler Report. The process was set up “to ensure that diamond purchases were not financing violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine governments.” T]he effectiveness of the process has been brought into question by organizations such as Global Witness, which pulled out of the scheme on 5 December 2011, claiming it has failed in its purpose and does not provide markets with assurance that the diamonds are not conflict diamonds.”

    • Anonymous :

      As someone who works in a nonprofit field and struggled to get by before moving in with my spouse, I had no desire or expectation of a fancy ring or wedding. However, it was important to him and I ended up picking out a gorgeous elaborate setting. (We used his mother’s diamond; his parents divorced when he was a child.) We also had a fairly modest wedding. While I still think rings are overrated, mine is far and away my most cherished possession.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I cared enough about my engagement ring that I mostly picked it out myself ;-) (we are not what you would call traditional). I wanted something art-deco/vintage looking with an old european cut diamond. It’s a good size for me, but smaller than a lot of diamonds I see. SO and I looked together and he told me if he’d done it on his own, he wouldn’t have come close to what we ultimately ended up with. I didn’t need it, per se, but I do like jewelry and we could it afford it, so why not? (I’ve also only had it a few weeks–ask me again in a couple of years and maybe I’ll feel differently).

      • Anonymous :


      • Sydney Bristow :


      • I love my ring and, like Gail, designed it myself. I also did a ton of research so that I could make sure I got a “forever” ring within our budget. I wear it every day, have no plans to change it unless the setting is damaged. It still brings me joy 9 years later.
        That said, the important thing isn’t a ring. It’s making an effort to commemorate taking the next step toward a lifelong commitment. So if you don’t think a ring will bring you joy (and esp if you think it will create financial anxiety or resentment) find some other way to mark the occasion. It can be other jewelry (band, locket, bracelet) and it needn’t be expensive. Etsy has tons of custom jewelry items from collar stays to pendants to keyrings that can bear a date, initials, coordinates, nicknames, or favorite quotes. Take a trip, have an amazing meal, have your photo taken at a favorite location. It’s not about the thing itself, its really about having a way to capture the feelings of the moment in whatever way speaks to you. And that, to me, isn’t focusing too much on the wedding over the marriage — sometimes in marriage you will want or need to relive these early stages of commitment. Having some sort of symbolic item or memorialized event helps to bring you back to that moment.
        Anyway, figure out what will bring you joy and will be a meaningful symbol of this stage of your relationship. Enjoy!

      • Anonymous :

        You are describing my ideal ring. Where’d you get it? Did you design it yourself? Picture of the ring or something close?

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          I’d originally wanted an actual vintage ring and just looked at various jewelry/antique stores around town and couldn’t find anything I liked. We somewhat randomly found a modern setting that we liked. The setting is from Jolie Designs–most of their settings are designed to look vintage. I will caution that picture online looks nothing like the ring looks in person because the pictures are so magnified–it’s prettier and more delicate looking in person. (If you want a picture, email me at corporetteclothesswap at gmail and I’ll send you one) If you call the company, they’ll tell you local stores in your area that carry their settings. There’s also a couple of other companies I found that do antique-style settings, but I’m blanking on the names. For old cut diamonds, we just asked around–most jewelry stores had or could get a few. We ended up getting our diamond from a jewelry appraiser that got it from a broker she knew (vivid diamonds out of miami).

          (And thanks for the congrats, everyone!)

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Replied, but it’s in moderation. It’ll show up eventually…

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I think it depends. I would not have been upset if we’d decided to forgo the traditional e-ring thing (and my ring is slightly untraditional anyway – the stone is an aquamarine, not a diamond), but one of the ways my H shows love is through thoughtful gift giving (not just to me, for everyone), and choosing a ring and surprising me with it was meaningful to him. Personally, I love my ring and would never trade it in for an “upgrade,” because what makes it special isn’t what it looks like, it’s that it was part of a particular moment in my life and relationship (my engagement) that is deeply special to me.

      I would never have delayed our engagement or marriage over a ring, nor do I judge anyone based on the size of their ring. With that said, I also don’t think having or wanting a traditional ring automatically means you’re “focused on the wedding, and not the marriage” – at heart, an engagement ring is either a gift or a planned joint purchase (depending on how your finances are organized/who does the buying/etc.), and either way, I think it can be meaningful for the same reasons any other gift or joint purchase could or would be. I know it’s trendy right now to eschew any and every purchase as “just stuff” or “excessive consumerism” or whatever, and certainly it’s possible to put too much importance on material objects, but not everyone who happens to value a thing is a materialistic monster. There’s a middle ground, you know?

    • Senior Attorney :

      We got engaged pretty much on the spur of the moment and honestly a ring never occurred to me. But Lovely Fiance really wanted to get one for me, so I agreed. I was quite concerned about conflict diamonds and was very pleased to find out that he had a beautiful, sparkly, not-too-big-not-too-small 100-year-old diamond already in his possession. I gathered up a lot of gold jewelry I wasn’t wearing and contributed it to the endeavor, and we ended up with a really beautiful, unique diamond engagement ring for well under $1,000. I never expected it but I have to admit that I kind of love it.

      It was important to me that we have matching wedding bands, which we have picked out and which are being made. That is a much bigger deal to me than the engagement ring.

      That all said, I was flabbergasted to find that engagement rings are apparently super important to almost everybody but me. It seems like every single person I know is asking to see my ring, and many of them still seem to subscribe to the old “you’re only really engaged if you have a ring and a date” thing. Crazy.

      I don’t much care what anybody else does, other than that I think it’s crazy to go into debt for a ring when you’re just starting out. And I know somebody with a 5-carat diamond the size of a nickel, which seems pretty excessive to me.

    • I didn’t want a ring. We have wedding rings, both plain gold bands, and it’s good enough for me. I thought that more people would ask about it, but definitely more people asked about a proposal – which we also didn’t want and didn’t have. But even that was pretty minor and I was surprised (and pleased) that most people thought we were just doing us. Which we were.

    • DH gave me a very nice ring and I thought it was a big deal as an indication of his commitment because I thought it was a big gesture to show where I stood in his life (which I knew for other reasons, but was still nice). He has very expensive hobbies and commits a lot of time and money to those hobbies. It was important to me that he show me that I was just as (and more) important to him as those hobbies. I would not have demanded one (in fact the one I initially showed him was much smaller than the one he chose), but appreciated that he spent the money to get me a nice one. I also like that I never need to upgrade. That said, I don’t judge other people’s rings because everyone chooses how to spend their money and it’s not my business what they value. It is my business what DH values.

      • Edit: Obviously “need to upgrade” isn’t referring to a real need. More like, don’t foresee a future in which I would want to upgrade.

      • I felt the same. My fiance and I have been together basically forever, so when I was ready to get married he put his time/energy into researching rings because it’s what HE wanted to do. I wanted something sparkly and pretty but he’s the one who wanted diamond and wanted to get me the size he did. I do love my ring but I wouldn’t have let that delay or prevent an engagement. I too liked that he put thought and energy in picking out something special for me. He did not go into debt nor will it affect our financial goals so I was okay with it.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I love my ring. My husband asked me to send him examples of what I liked then he got something similar that he liked. I wanted something big and sparkly but didn’t care if it was a diamond. Once we saw the history of moissanite (totally sucked in by marketing, but it’s supposed to be made from a mineral discovered in a meteorite…so literally stardust) our love of space and the finances made it a perfect choice.

      I don’t judge anyone’s ring. My sister has a tiny diamond but her fiancé worked hard to get it and is proud that he was able to. I have several friends with non-diamond rings and they are great. I don’t know anyone who didn’t get an engagement ring but I totally agree it’s not necessary. Everyone should do what works for them as a couple.

      My stepmom loves my ring and keeps reminding my dad that she wants to upgrade to one like it. Technically it’s not an “upgrade” expense-wise because her current ring is a diamond. I can’t imagine changing mine aside from adding an eternity band down the line, but that’s totally cool too.

    • I’ve never been a jewelry person and told my now-husband that I didn’t want an engagement ring (which he initially didn’t believe, and when I found out he was looking I had to buckle down and say that I REALLY didn’t want an engagement ring). I’ve never regretted it and I’m sure I wouldn’t even wear it if I had received one, even though all of our friends tend to have large expensive rings. I do love my wedding ring – we picked them out together and mine was maybe $800? I was happy to spend more since SO MUCH money was saved by not buying an engagement ring.

    • Anonymous :

      You’re making this a really judgmental dichotomy for no reason. Wanting a ring in no way means you care more about the pretty than the marriage or implies you would delay marriage for want of a ring.

      I do want a ring. I like that it’s a tangible symbol of commitment, I like that it’s traditional, and I like shiny. But in some crazy alternate universe where I’m contemplating marriage but between the two of us we couldn’t come up with $200 for a simple ring, no, I wouldn’t insist.

      • Anonymous :

        All of this.

      • Anonymous :

        Totally agree. I wanted it. He could afford it. Was important to him as well. Didn’t come out of funds we needed for anything else. marriage is great. A lot of these no ring small wedding-ers on this board skew the comments. Ppl who do otherwise don’t tend to speak up for fear of being judged as no ring small wedding is viewed as moral high ground here

        • Preach

        • I learned 2 things from the comments here in the past couple days:

          1) Nobody is materialistic.

          2) Everybody budgets perfectly.


          • Anonymous :

            And also, based on the conversations regarding finances the last couple days, that actions and words /comments are not aligned.

        • From a recent Dear Prudence article: “. . .Also, anyone who wants to chime in about their own extremely frugal wedding is welcome to do so now. “We got married in a ditch! We found some tacos on a park bench and everyone brought their own justice of the peace! We made $80 by acting as our own valet! Anyone who spends more than $7.50 on their wedding is an idiot,” etc.”

          (Cut & paste and google the quote if you want to see the original article; I am not including a link to avoid moderation”)

          I think it’s important not to spend outside your means, and there are definitely people who ARE overly materialistic. But right now it seems to me that, not just on this s!te but on others I visit as well, there’s a social competition to be “the cool girl” re your wedding, just like putting a lot of effort into making your outfit look “casual and thrown together.”

          • Anonymous :

            I think it’s a natural backlash to the massive growth of the wedding industrial complex. And I still think the cultural pull is much stronger in favor of crazy wedding/ring than “laid back” wedding/ring.

      • As a non-purchases ring small weddinger, I think if you enjoy the big ring and it’s affordable, get it and enjoy it. I have a husband’s family antique cocktail ring that was the only item of good jewelry they had left after the Great Depression. That they, not just my husband, gave it to me for an engagement ring means the world to me. The diamonds in it are not large, but they are of a quality that makes modern day jewelers sit up and notice, and thus they really do “flash”, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy that aspect of it also.

      • Anonymous :

        I think there is a big difference between wanting a big ring when you or your intended can easily afford it vs delaying marriage or saying no to a proposal because the ring is not the right size or doesn’t exist. I don’t think OP’s question implies that the former implies the latter.

    • Married 6 months, so I’ve had my ring for about 18. I absolutely love it. The center stone is a family heirloom, and my fiance splurged on the setting since he didn’t have to pay for the main expense. That being said, I just wanted to marry him, and I was fortunate to get a beautiful ring, but I wouldn’t have delayed marrying him if he couldn’t afford a great ring. I think there is something to be said for the ring/engagement process, but if I was the OP from this morning, I absolutely would make it clear that I just wanted to marry the guy, not the ring. You can get perfectly beautiful non-traditional rings (whether that means moissanite, a different stone, no stone at all, or straight up cubic zirconia). I actually have a ‘fake’ engagement ring for when I travel. We got it at a gift shop on a vacation we took while we were engaged. I was too nervous to travel with my e-ring, and we found it for about $90, and you know what? No one has been able to tell the difference. If this is so important to the OP, that guy should go to Wal-Mart or Costco – they have perfectly lovely fake and real jewelry that doesn’t cost significant money. My BFF just got a 4 carat citrine ring – BEAUTIFUL – for under $200 at a Sam’s Club near her. There are ways around this and maybe that OP needs to have a different convo with boyfriend.

    • I wanted a big ring (>2 carats). For all the ridiculous reasons that should make me feel ashamed, but do not. I love it. Seriously, I’m like Gollum with this thing.

      I never judge other people’s rings, but I will say all the women lawyers in my department have giant rings, and I cannot say I didn’t feel some measure of wanting to belong to the ‘club’.

      • Anonymous :


        • But very honest. Thanks for sharing AKB. I appreciate that you were willing to share your viewpoint.

        • Pot Kettle :

          Do you feel better now for having said “Ugh,” anonymous at 2:52? You are judging AKB for enjoying her big diamond. And now we can all judge you for scowling at anyone who feels differently than you.

          There’s nothing wrong with having something special that is also beautiful and expensive. Can you, anonymous at 2:52, say that you’ve never spent more than necessary on an item that you love and enjoy having? I doubt it. So don’t get all sanctimonious– you’re no better than anyone else.

      • I don’t have any interest in having an actually “big” ring, but mine is pretty small (1/2 carat). It was perfectly fine, extraordinary in fact, when we got engaged when I was a lower-middle class college student who rarely wore accessories and more plain styles in general were popular.

        But now as a lawyer and lover of statement jewelry, I could admit that it does sometimes seem like it would be nice to have something more in line with my peers’. Definitely not a big deal, just something that crosses my mind every now and then.

        • Anonymous :

          Fellow lawyer with 1/2 carat. High five! I feel like many women with tiny rings have a great story about being young & in love or not wanting to wait until they finished their education to get married, and I think that’s kinda romantic. Not that owners of big rings can’t have romantic love stories of course, but I feel like all of us tiny-ring gals are kinda in a special sorority.

          • geriatric bride :

            And some of us with bigger rings have stories about being alone for years and finally meeting our match.

    • I love my engagement ring. It was a meaningful and lovely gift, especially in the context of our relationship where most of the gifts we exchange are more jokey. We both enjoyed shopping for it together and I know my fiancé loves that my most treasured possession is something he gave me. It’s not objectively extravagant but was a splurge on his student budget (that was totally his choice, I chose the setting and he chose the diamond).

      I also totally would have gotten married without it, which I told him a bunch of times before we got engaged. I don’t think those things are contradictory at all? Lots of things are unnecessary and also beautiful and fun.

    • DH and I were engage our senior year of college. My ring is on the small side, but I love it for more than the stone and setting. When I look at the ring, I remember how absolutely young we were (engaged 13 years ago) and how much we were crazy in love. I remember thinking how lucky we were to have found each other, and that I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him. I remember how he had planned an elaborate evening, but couldn’t wait to ask me so asked me in our living room after we played tennis. I have similar feelings about my wedding band, which is a simple platinum band with forget me nots engraved around it. We have recently had some really rough times, and my rings are a gentle reminder of the underlying love that we have for each other.

      • I love this. We were in college too. 12 years ago for us. My husband also jumped the gun on his elaborate plan and proposed to me in his hold hood bedroom. I rarely wear my e-ring though, just my band. This is making me think I might start wearing it regularly again.

      • We were in college too. His proposal was very spur of the moment and we went ring shopping the next day. We both saw THE ring at the same time, almost like we were reading each other’s minds. Now, almost 22 years later I still really like my ring. It is very special. The diamonds are pretty small (5 with the middle being biggest & the others progressively smaller – the smallest are basically just chips) but it suits me and reminds me of where we were in our lives at the time. I told him that he can get me an anniversary band any time he wants but I’m not sure I’d want to get a bigger stone.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      I am recently married, and an engagement ring was very important. For me, a proposal without a ring would not have been a true proposal.

      I LOVE my ring and, with no help from me, DH chose a ring that is exactly what I wanted and larger than I expected to receive. That being said, I had told myself before the proposal that I would be happy with whatever he selected. If I really hated it, I probably would have wanted to upgrade or get a new one after several anniversaries.

      No, I do not judge friends for small rings.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a pretty flashy ring and if I had it to do over again, I would have skipped it. I loved it when I was first engaged and married, but stopped wearing it after having kids (because I didn’t want to poke the babies), and now after almost a decade of marriage I just wear my infinity wedding band most of the time even though my kids are old enough that I don’t worry about stabbing them.

    • I absolutely love my wedding bands and engagement ring. My husband picked it out all on his own (after we discussed styles, metal, etc.), and it means a lot to me that he took the time and effort to truly love my ring as well.

    • Anonymous :

      I didn’t care one hoot about engagement rings when I got engaged. I was 24 and DH was 25. He spent $15k on the (beautiful!) engagement ring and when I found out, I almost threw up. I was in grad school and making $25k/year. He was making a decent but not crazy high wage (i think 50k, maybe 60). I spent the first few months of my engagement staring at my hand and thinking of all the other things I could do with that money. It was bigger and flashier than I had pictured for my ring, though I had never really spent much time thinking about it. I had just imagined a plain band + princess or round diamond; I got a custom designed eternity band with a very nice and elevated round diamond.

      He told me that he wanted to get me a ring that didn’t need to be upgraded as we got older, and that he had saved for it and didn’t put in on a credit card and it wasn’t my money to worry about, so just enjoy it. And I really learned to love the ring. I am now in my early 30s and in an executive role…when I look around the table at others’ rings (I have some boring meetings!) mine is right in the middle of the pack, if not on the nice side. And now that we are making well into the six figures and are more comfortable in finances/life, I’m really happy to have this nice piece of jewelry. It’s especially nice that he shopped for it himself, set a budget and got me exactly what he thought “i deserved” vs what I had in my head that I wanted (not that he asked, ha!).

      • Anonymous :

        oh! And I do not just others’ rings at all, though I do sometimes notice them. For example, my boss, who is a C-suite executive of a fortune 500 company, has a teeny tiny engagement ring (mayyybe a 1/4 carat). She got it when she was poor and young and her husband wanted to get her a ring even though they couldn’t afford it. She said she’d never replace it because it reminds her of where she’s been and what they’ve been through together.

        • That makes me happy. Upgrading engagement/wedding rings kind of grosses me out.

          • Anonymous :

            +1. When they were still in college, my BIL gave my SIL a vintage ring with a small diamond. She still wears it decades later, even though they have been very successful in life and could easily have “upgraded.” Whenever I see her wearing the ring, I think of their shared values and experiences as a couple and am inspired.

          • Spirograph :

            Me too. My husband wants to upgrade mine, which is 1ct but fake (or rather, “laboratory-made”) b/c I was adamant about a conflict free diamond and that’s how he interpreted it. It’s not really the setting I would have picked, and I’d just as soon have had a non-diamond, but it is what it is, and I like that it represents a point in time and that he tried. His taste in jewelry has gotten a lot better since then, but I’d feel weird about upgrading or replacing.

    • I really did not want an engagement ring – I have nothing against fancy jewelry, just don’t like the idea behind engagement rings. So when we decided to get married, I didn’t get one. I just wear a wedding band.

      • Same. No one’s ever said a word to me about my e-ringless state. I don’t notice or care about others’ rings either.

    • I’m a traditional girl and always wanted a classic-looking engagement ring. A silver band with a single diamond — so pretty.

      But I’m also a modern girl and when it came time to get engaged, I told my guy that (1) I wanted to pick out the ring so that it looked exactly the way I wanted, and (2) there was no way in heck we’d pay for a real diamond. I mean, we’re both lawyers with good salaries so we could “afford it” in the sense that we could actually pay for it. But I just could not conceive of spending that much money on something I’d wear around every day and could lose. So, I picked out a CZ ring at Macy’s in a white gold setting for under $300. That is definitely the most expensive piece of clothing or jewelry I own.

      I absolutely love love love my ring. To me, it looks like what I always imagined my ring would look like, and I have no worries.

      For the life of me, I don’t understand spending a lot of money on a ring. Maybe if I won the lottery and literally had more money than we’d ever need in a few lifetimes?? But still, I’m not sure it’d be the best use of the money.

    • Anonymous :

      My husband judges couples on their engagement rings. No ring or a small diamond means the man is not really serious or doesn’t have the resources to support a family [he is not bothered by the fact that this seems to conflict with another belief of his, which is that both spouses should work outside the home]. A huge ring means that the woman is selfish and materialistic and/or the man is wasteful. A ring exactly the size and quality of the one he gave me means that the couple is committed, stable, and practical.

      • Sounds like a great guy.

      • I’m sorry, but this is an utterly stupid and self-serving belief. I really don’t get why people think this way and don’t understand how little sense it makes.

      • Anonymous :

        Hahaha, I find this funny- my husband is the same way!

      • Your husband’s approach reminds me of this George Carlin quote – “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” (At least the vast majority of Google results attribute it to George Carlin.)

    • Not at all. We bought matching titanium wedding bands from Etsy and spent about $135 US.

      I don’t like diamonds, and we’re pretty unconventional so I had no qualms about getting married without a sparkly ring or a big wedding.

    • Anon for this :

      I really hated the idea of the engagement ring as a one-way thing, where the man is supposed to spend all this money getting the women a piece of jewelry that signals she’s off the market, when there is no corresponding gift/signal for the man. And I hate when people act as though the ring purchase is some sort of test of financial viability. On the other hand, I love the idea of getting each other presents to mark the occasion.

      So we ended up getting each other engagement watches and then declaring ourselves engaged at the point where we set the wedding date. Our wedding rings were cheap gold-plated rings off Amazon, and then I later bought myself a nicer ring. I now have a couple different rings that I wear as my “wedding ring” depending on how fancy I feel that day. I like that I can switch it up, and I’m never going to worry about “upgrading” because I could buy a huge blingy ring and wear it on my left hand at whatever point I want. I do love wearing my watch every day and I love love love when my husband gets compliments on his.

      To answer your other questions, I would never have delayed getting engaged if we didn’t have enough money for a ring or a watch or whatever. It’s not like I needed the jewelry to get married. I also don’t judge my friends for having whatever size/type of ring they like. Although I frankly would judge someone for being crazy if they have criteria for how much money their fiance should spend on the ring (e.g., at least $15k).

      • Red Velvet :

        I agree – I can’t get my head around the fact engagement ring = showing off man’s wealth, and marking woman as taken. So my fiancé and I followed his culture’s tradition of each wearing silver bands with the other person’s name inside on our right hands. When we get married, we’ll both switch to a gold band with name inscriptions on the left hand.

    • Can't Don't Attitude :

      The size of a person’s diamond or wedding has zero impact on you. Why is this even a question?

    • Totally Gonna Out Myself... :

      So this is my life right now. My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half. We’ve been talking about getting married for a while. I cannot tell you how many times I have said a big shiny ring doesn’t matter to me. Sure I love nice things, but I’m much more interested in starting a family (we’re both 34). Well, he is adamant that I need one. And he’s currently unemployed (has been looking for a job for the past 5 months…) And his two younger brothers bought their wives very nice rings, so he doesn’t want to be the only one who didn’t. It’s so very frustrating for me, but he’s got a very good job prospect right now, so I’m just praying constantly he gets it and we can start moving forward.

      • Could you suggest that he get you an engagement ring as a 1 year anniversary present?

      • Wildkitten :

        I hate the idea of a starter ring that would be upgraded, for me, because I know that life would get in the way and I would never upgrade it. But I actually think your situation is perfect for an upgrade-later ring. You can pick out the ring, setting, rock size, etc and set a CZ or Moissanite in it. He’d get to give you a ring, the ring you want, a ring as big as his brothers or whatever. When he starts the new job he can save up to have the ring set with a diamond.

    • I didn’t care about having a traditional ring & thought I wouldn’t care about my wedding ring all that much. That said, I am a “jewelry person” & I wear my rings every day. We didn’t do an engagement ring (or a diamond), but I ended up with a two-band set (an emerald band & a diamond band) that worn together is pretty dressy & worn separately tones it down. Because I wear them daily and it’s a favored accessory (rings have been my “thing” long before I met my husband), I’m really glad I got nice ones. I have found that I am very attached to them in a sentimental way that I didn’t expect.

    • Husband and I got engaged somewhat spur-of-the-moment, and he bought a ring shortly afterwards. We went ring-shopping just to see what I liked, but he bought the ring from a jeweler that his coworker recommended. He could afford the ring, and I’d say it was important to both of us. It also did not delay our wedding at all since we were engaged and planning a large wedding for over a year.

      I’d say that the ring was pretty important to both of us at the time. I couldn’t wear mine while I was pregnant because my hands were swollen, and I haven’t gone back to wearing it except for special occasions (baby is one year old). I like the way my ring looks, but I always feel like it’s in the way when typing, exercising, etc., and I’m afraid to lose it. If I had it to do over, I’d probably just get a wedding band.

    • I have a vintage ring and I love it. But I like jewelry, and I like vintage things, and I really liked the neighborhood jeweler we bought it from.

      99% of my jewelry I bought for myself. But it was important to me to have this token from my now-husband. I don’t think I was being materialistic, because it is not an expensive ring and I didn’t have any minimum requirements. I just wanted the traditional gesture.

      I love my ring and wear it every day. I never look at it and wish I had a different ring.

      By the way, when my now-husband started throwing around “when we’re married, this” and “when you’re my wife, that” before we were engaged. He would have definitely been the type to kind of slip into a mutually agreed upon marriage without having to propose. So every time he said these things, I would say, no I’m not going to let you talk that way. You haven’t proposed to me.

      I guess it was from having dated a few slacker guys. I wanted him to make some effort – an actual proposal (this was before proposals had to be YouTu be-worthy productions, thank goodness) and an actual ring. I wanted him to be fully bought into the idea of getting married rather than just going along with whatever.

    • I mean yeah it means something to people who like it- it’s a gift. You’ve never gotten a gift you liked? I don’t think it’s more than a gift – it’s not a binding promise or a down payment on a wife or anything like that. But some people love their ring and for a variety of reasons- I love mine because my husband learned all about diamonds. One of my favorite things about him is his inquisitive mind and he was excited to tell me about the different things that are important for diamonds and what cuts have what properties. Some times i look down at it and I just have a strong visual of him looking at the jeweler- asking a million questions and probably coming down to his top two. He picked out the stone first and then I know he agonizing over what setting would look best. He thought about what I do and how I use my hands. He thought about my style and what kind of clothes and fashion I gravitate towards. He thought about how excited I get about little details especially secret ones and picked a setting that has two tiny “secret diamonds”

      Other people might look down at their ring and appreciate that he got one that is similar in style to her mothers – or look down and smile at the heirloom ring from his or her side of the family. Some might look down at the ring and smile because it’s the one they got together two weeks after he or she put a twist tie around her ring finger and asked if she’d stay with them forever.

      A ring is a token- you don’t have to want one or appreciate one or have that kind of a token- but it’s a gift from someone who loves you and it was given at the moment they asked for your hand in marriage. their are good marriages and bad marriages but the ring has nothing to do with that

    • I have a nice ring — it’s a big plain, round solitaire in a platinum setting. I don’t recall the exact cost, but I think around $15,000? Yes, it was important to me and we could afford it. I can justify it by saying we married late in life, had the money, and had a tiny wedding, but fundamentally, it just makes me happy to have a really nice ring.

    • I did not have an engagement ring and opted for a thin platinum band as my wedding band. We could have afforded to buy a big ring, but I never wanted one. It’s absolutely perfect for me and I have not wished that I had anything bigger, fancier, etc. But I’m also not bothered that other women do want a stone, sometimes a large stone or multiple stones. I think it’s a style and taste issue.

      We also did an informal wedding with immediate family in front of a judge and then went out to brunch. We didn’t have a photographer, flowers, or a white dress. Again, that fit our personalities and how we prefer to spend money. We have not once regretted not having a wedding.

      For me it’s a question of knowing yourself. What do you like? If you like small rings and ceremonies, do that. If you like huge rings and big weddings, do that.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      As another counterpoint to the idea that people who don’t want engagement rings have small weddings and/or are not materialistic. I don’t have an engagement ring and never wanted one (rings are not big in my culture/family), but I had a super expensive wedding (that I loved) and I love things like jewelry and clothes. The only thing that really bothered me about the e-ring is that husbands do not traditionally have them.

      • Wildkitten :

        What could men wear as an alternative? The idea that they have nothing bothers me a lot too. I’ve seen some (gay) couples do a watch. I like that idea if it is a permanent watch they will wear for the rest of their lives. But also – a watch doesn’t signal to others that he is taken. I’m in a long term no-marriage relationship and I wish I had a signal to communicate that I am off the market, and my BF feels the same.

      • Why can’t a man re-use a ring and just move it from one hand to the other after he’s married?

        (I’m not from a Western culture so the idea of engagement rings alone has baffled me. Neither of my still-married-to-each-other parents have worn their rings in over two decades…)

  2. Anonymous :

    I love my ring and it wasn’t expensive as far as engagement rings go (about $1K for a very small diamond). I obviously don’t judge people for small rings since I have one. I would have had absolutely no hesitation getting engaged with no ring or with a non-diamond stone. The marriage is what matters, not the ring. But if you can’t afford a few hundred dollars for a simple ring, you probably aren’t in a position to spend money on a wedding, and I think wanting to delay marriage until you can afford a wedding (or at least a photographer and dress for a courthouse wedding) is a little more understandable than wanting to delay marriage until you can afford a diamond.

  3. Anonymous :

    I’m having All The Life Anxieties.

    – My job is deeply unsatisfying and doesn’t pay particularly well.


    – My boyfriend of 7 months is having Issues that are keeping us from moving to the next level of relationship intimacy.

    – I’m 34 and divorced. I never thought I wanted children, but that’s started to change for me in the last 6 months and I’m panicking because time is running out if that’s what I do want.

    – My father died a month ago and my family is torn apart at the seams over nasty estate problems.

    I’m in therapy, and it’s wonderful, but it’s only 50 minutes per week, and as you can see above, I have All The Issues.

    Do I move to a lower COL area? I can transfer within my company (and keep my HCOLA salary)…but I don’t love my job. Is transferring to a smaller market wise? Atlanta seems affordable but still big enough. I need to take care of myself financially, especially because I’m single and might always be.

    Do I break up with my boyfriend? I love him and want a future with him, but neither of us know when these Issues are going to be resolved. If these Issues don’t get resolved, I’m literally wasting time I could be using to find a potential mate. How long do I wait?

    Do I want children? How the heck do you figure that out after years of thinking motherhood isn’t for you? People always told me motherhood can be like a light switch: you wake up one day and you’re like, “yes, I’m ready.” Well, swell, except I’m not in a relationship where that works and I don’t know when I will be.

    I have no idea how to solve any of this. These issues have been rolling around in my head for months now and the pressure is really getting to me. I’ve tried mindfulness, etc, and it works in the moment, but ultimately that’s not addressing the issues themselves. And you can see that the issues are all intertwined and an answer to one may answer the others.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be most welcome.

    • Senior Attorney :

      You have a whole lot on your plate, especially with the very-recent loss of your dad, for which I am so sorry! I’d suggest upping your therapy appointments to twice a week for a while to help you get over this hump. It’s really a completely different dynamic than once a week and can be really helpful when you are in the thick of things like you are. I know it’s expensive but I did twice a week for longer than I care to admit and it was super super helpful.

      • Anon for this :

        I don’t have advice but I want to offer my sympathy. I understand where you’re coming from(I’m in a similar place on a lot of those points) and I wish you the best in finding some peace.

      • SA, thanks for this suggestion. My therapist is part-time, and I asked her months ago about doing twice a week when I was in the thick of an issue we’ve since resolved, and she said she reserved it for people who were really serious cases (maybe not because she doesn’t want to, but because she has limited availability overall). But I’ll ask again this week. I’d pay the money to have some peace and resolution in my life.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yeah, tell her you are a Really Serious Case at the moment! Good luck!

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I cannot address every part of your question, but I can address one – take the opportunity to move to a LCOL area if there’s a market there for what you do. Your job is basically meh-to-yuck no matter where you are, so if you have the opportunity to, basically, give yourself a net effective raise, why not? A friend did this recently – moved to a LCOL market within her same meh job. She interviewed like crazy pretty much the moment she arrived in the new market, and had a sweet in-house job lined up within about 8 months. She had been interviewing for in-house stuff in her old HCOL location (and also applying remotely to other areas) for years with no success – it made a big difference to her search when she became a “local” candidate, and her previous history in HCOL area was a plus in her new smaller market.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        Also, on the b/f thing, I have said this before here but I will say it again:

        A boyfriend is not a house. You do not build extra equity by taking on a fixer-upper. Move-in-ready boyfriend or bust should be your motto, *especially* given your stage in life (i.e. you’re not a 20 year old out for a good time, you’re an adult looking for a life-partner).

        • Senior Attorney :

          Sing it, KKH!!

        • Mrs. Jones :

          Ditto. Either you can live with him or you cannot. There is no try.

        • And ohhh, I so feel like I’m “building equity.” With therapy, I know I’m not, but my pre-therapy brain (that I still have to outsmart) says that if I stick around, I’ll be “rewarded” with love and affection for my patience. I know, I know.

          • Killer Kitten Heels :

            Honestly, OP? In my experience, any time I have “built equity” in a dysfunctional b/f, the only person who has reaped the benefits of that equity is the woman he dated after me. Your time is precious, and valuable, and not meant to be spent on someone else’s capital-I issues.

          • Yup. I know you’re right. I said that same thing to myself this morning as I was getting ready. But see my reply below.

          • Killer Kitten Heels :

            Also, last piece – a person can have capital-I issues and STILL move forward meaningfully with a relationship if the relationship is important to them and they want it to last – my H and I both went to copious amounts of individual therapy when our relationship got serious, because we both wanted a future together and knew we’d screw it up if we didn’t address our respective issues (independently, without making it the other person’s problem and without interfering with the natural progress of the relationship!). If your b/f is using Issues to excuse his inability to progress your relationship, what he’s really saying is that he does not want to progress the relationship. You deserve more than that.

      • KKH, this LCOLA example is very helpful. The way you articulated the issue really clarifies things for me. Thank you. Sometimes having someone else summarize things is the best :)

        One of my law school friends who practices in my area lives there – I could ask her how the market is.

        • Depending on the circumstances, the money saved from moving to a LCOL could be used for egg harvesting.

        • I was basically you and made this same move two years ago.

          In all, I am super happy that I made the move to my new COLA city, but I would make sure that you do your research about what city you move to.

          Coming out of NYC, I was more surprised than I should have been about how everyone my age was married with 5 year olds. It made it difficult to make friends at first and the dating pool was originally discouraging.

          That said, I kept plugging away at it and now am very happy with the life that I’ve built here (although, that said, I would love a couple more friends.)

          Good luck! Just keep moving towards situations that increase your happiness and you will look up one day and realize that your life is so much better than before.

    • I can’t tell you whether or not to break up with your boyfriend, but I will ask you to consider this: do you think your age/place in life is influencing your decision so far not to break up? I stayed too long in a relationship in my late 20s to early 30s in part because the idea of starting over was exhausting, and I figured that at this point in my life, I should work on something rather than chucking it out the window. Well hey, it turns out people don’t change, and some good times don’t outweigh more bad ones. It doesn’t work out this way for everyone, but we broke up, I got a dog, I dated another guy or two casually, then met my husband and on our first date thought, “Oh, THIS is how it is supposed to be.” I do think my age caused me to feel more comfortable in a less than ideal relationship and less willing to get back into being single (definitely all the weddings and babies around me didn’t help). So you do you, but in my experience, life is too short to wait for Issues to be resolved.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes times a million to this.

        I would even say even if most of the time is good, relationships stand or fall on the bad times. If the bad times are bad, and there isn’t real, clear reason to believe they will change (which there seldom is), I vote “get out now.”

      • Our first two months together were amazing. For both of us, it was “Oh wow, this is how it’s supposed to be! We didn’t know it could be like this!” We were open with each other, we wanted the same things out of life, and had very frank, wonderful conversations about what a future would look like. We’re well-matched in every way you can think of.

        Aaand then ex-wife issues crept in. And then he was unexpectedly promoted to VP of a struggling division in a management shake-up. He should be over the hump at work by June with more time to seek therapy to resolve his issues. But if he’s only starting therapy in June? It’d be the end of summer, and we’ll have been together a year, before it’s reasonable to see appreciable progress.

        We have talked and he DOES want to get over these issues, go to therapy, and be in a fulfilling relationship with ME. He understands that he’s asking me to wait on him to get over his issues. There are days I think I can wait a couple more months, and days I can’t…

        • Anonymous :

          nooooooooo. Stop it. You only had 2 good months. Break up now. He sucks. You’re not well matched because he isn’t even available to be in a relationship.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          OP, again, if he wanted to make time for what he needs to do, he would. I billed 300 hours for two months straight and still made it to my weekly therapy appointment when I was at my lowest, because I knew that me going to therapy was necessary for my then-brand-new marriage to survive. People make the things they want to have happen, happen. Do you want to be with someone who puts his work and his ex-wife issues ahead of your relationship? Because that’s pretty much where you are right now – whatever he’s saying about what he supposedly wants, his actions are telling you that his work and his ex-wife stuff is more important to him than addressing whatever issues are preventing him from being the partner you need and deserve.

          My advice? Don’t settle for this. Live your life. Make whatever decisions you would make if this guy wasn’t around. Keep seeing him, if spending time with him makes you happy in the moment, but stop expecting him to be your new life partner. He’s not acting like a person who actually wants that job.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          Also, with this math, you had two good months, followed by five bad months, and he’s asking you to spend almost 3 more bad months with him before he even takes step one towards making things less bad. Nope. Alllllllllllllllllll the nope.

          • Agree with KKH on this. Again, my experience – he also had ex issues, he also promised always, always that he was moving towards addressing them….fast forward and I had wasted six months waiting for change. I was very glad to hear he did intensive therapy for this and other issues he had after we broke up (we remain cordial acquaintances/semi-friends) and wish him the best but I have absolutely never regretted moving on.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Nope times a million.

            Also, re: building equity, my pattern was to get involved with (uh, marry) men who didn’t treat me right because of their Issues, and to think that if I were just good enough or nice enough or thin enough or whatever enough, I could get them to be a good partner. Again, nope. Nopety nope nope.

            Live your life. If your guy resolves his issues before you get snapped up by somebody else, that’s fine. And if not, you won’t have wasted any more time on a lost cause.

    • DO NOT BREAK UP WITH YOUR BOYFREIND. At this point he is a stabilizeing link that you will LOOSE if you do. What advantage would this get you? NONE. Your boyfreind is NOT the probelem. You have other issue’s, but he is part of the solution, not the probelem.

      You are at the age where you will need to make some decision’s, like me, about kid’s. I am at the end of the line, egg-wize, and I may freeze my egg’s, b/c there realy is NOT a man on the horizon that is marrage material. YOU have a guy there, so go for it. Once you are MARRIED, you can figure out your other probelems together.

      If you are religous, go see a man of the clothe. He/she could point you in the right direction. Forget counseling, b/c most of those peeople are fakes. FOOEY! But good luck to you, and I think I can speak, I believe, on behalf of the ENTIRE HIVE! YAY!

    • I know I’m late to the party, but I had to reply! I was dating a guy who at first I thought was perfect for me. Then, within 9 months of each other I lost both my parents. Guy ends up being the exact opposite of supportive. I was too emotionally drained from dealing with my parents death that I let the relationship go on, thinking it would get better, he’d fix things (he was in counseling), and finally after months of emotional drama, I ended it. All I can say is I regret not doing it sooner. He added so much stress to my life at a time I really needed support, he never fixed his issues, and it made my life miserable.

    • Thank you all so much for the thoughtful comments. Lots to think about here!

  4. What’s the best way to share pictures with friends/family? I’d like to upload the pics and then just send them a link. I was thinking of using Flickr or Photobucket. When I did some research I also saw recommendations for DropShots and PhotoRocket. Not sure how those compare. Thanks!

    • el capitan :

      I used flickr and was satisfied with it for a free source. Google photos is my current go-to (easier to share/use and I like it’s all synced with my drive and my gmail etc). If you are willing to pay and have high quality photos, I would use smugmug.

    • Personally, I like dropbox – you can get a slideshow but you also can download the images w/o a lot of hassle & they’re pretty cheap for a lot of storage.

  5. engagement OP :

    Follow-up on my girly anxious is-he-about-to-propose post from earlier. All signs were pointing toward yes, but now he casually suggested that we go out to a crazy fancy and expensive restaurant tonight. How am I supposed to get through the next five hours! My hands are shaking.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Woo hoo!!

      I vote taking off work and going shopping for a new dress…

    • New Tampanian :

      Go get a blow out so that your pictures look AMAZING later ;-)

    • Online shopping for wedding dresses?

    • *fingers crossed for you* Enjoy your excitement and anticipation! It’s a great feeling!

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, different perspective, but I vote talk a walk, get a coffee, and calm the F down. Don’t go in expecting anything or you will be shattered if it doesn’t happen tonight. It could just be a nice dinner out. I’ve had more than 1 girlfriend experience this before. The stories are funny 10 years later at least…

      • I agree – just, calm down. Definitely enjoy the excitement but drop the expectations. I’m worried you’re going to be posting here tomorrow heartbroken.

      • I agree too. My online wedding dress shopping was intended to be tongue in cheek. I also wanted to suggest online shopping for monogrammed cocktail napkins…

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        I had a false alarm like this – it was so, so awful, and turned a really lovely gesture into a fight that nearly ended the relationship. OP, I hope you will not experience that, but honestly? Calm down. Have some decaf tea, take a walk, and maybe download a meditation podcast to listen to, to calm yourself down.

      • Yeah, reluctantly agree with this. Remember in Legally Blonde when Elle got all dolled up for the anticipated proposal? It did not go well…. Try to get it off your mind for now.

        • Anonymous :

          Haha I was thinking the same thing but didn’t want to say it! Don’t worry OP, I’m sure he’s not breaking up with you, but don’t expect anything.

        • Ugh yes, Warner was the worst!

      • Anonymous :

        I agree. All signs point to proposal but adjust your expectations in case it doesn’t happen. My DH and I went to Hawaii together right around the time we started looking at rings/talking engagement. All my friends and family – including his parents! – totally got in my head and tried to convince me he was going to propose. I wasn’t even that disappointed that he didn’t, but I was unnecessarily on edge/nervous the entire time. It was still a wonderful vacation and I definitely wasn’t crying about the lack of proposal or anything, but I wish I had lived in the moment and soaked it up more. He ended up proposing a few weeks after we got back, on a random weekday at a decidedly non-fancy restaurant, so you never know. ;)

    • Don’t even try!! Take the afternoon and do something to make yourself feel magical, special and wonderful. Daydream and enjoy!

    • Get a manicure!! But also deep breaths in case he doesn’t do it – and remember if he doesn’t do it tonight, it doesn’t mean he won’t ever…

    • Get whatever you were planning on working on tomorrow DONE. You will have a wonderful evening and will most likely not want to work or even come in to work tomorrow morning. Use all the extra energy to concentrate and get one-two things done today so you can call/text/dance and sing about your news tmrw morning.

    • Anonymous :

      Update us tomorrow! :)

  6. Looking for advice and sympathy. My MIL, who lives by herself 2,000 miles away, seems to be losing the ability to live independently. She has fallen 5 times in the last year or so, the last time on the stairs to her basement. Her mother died falling down those stairs, so I was relieved that MIL only twisted her ankle. Still, it’s time to intervene.

    She has medical problems, mental health problems (mostly anxiety), and financial problems. Her trust relationship with her 3 sons is strained. This is going to just suck for a good long while.

    We need to get her to move. The house is more than she can maintain and more than she can afford (she took out a variable rate mortgage on it pre-crash, and is either underwater or has no equity at this point). I’d like to get a geriatric consult to look at all her health issues and reconcile the meds she takes, since maybe her lack of balance and frequent confusion are related to drug interactions. I think we need to see a lawyer to work out power of attorney and healthcare proxy. What else do we need to do? I’m just at a loss.

    • Senior Attorney :

      This is going to sound mean, but I think he sons should be the ones taking care of this. It makes me super ragey that somehow women end up doing all the caretaking for both their own parents and their husbands’ parents, even when they are working.

      That said, I know it may be easier said than done.

      I went through this transition with my parents about a year ago and it was unspeakably awful. Be prepared for the fact that you may end up having to find new arrangements for her on an emergency basis when she ends up in the hospital with no prospects of going back to living by herself. That’s what happened with my parents and it turns out that’s surprisingly common. It may be that the best you can do is get something lined up so that when (not “if”) that happens, you will have a place for her to go.

      There are agencies that can help with that kind of thing. Google “senior living” or similar and they should pop up. I used one that turned out to be pretty helpful and helped me find the assisted living place where my parents are living now.

      I’m so sorry this is happening. It was awful with a 50-mile distance and I can only imagine how much harder it must be cross-country!

      • Thanks, Senior Attorney. You don’t sound mean at all. One BIL lives in the same city as MIL, so he has been dealing with her problems for years. It’s time for the rest of the family to step up, especially because local BIL is struggling financially and has two young children to care for. He will always be the go-to. Also, DH is having a hard time processing, so I’m trying to create a plan. The sons will deal with the bulk of it.

        I appreciate that we may just have to plan for the emergency that’s bound to happen. That’s hard to hear, but really helpful.

        • Senior Attorney gives good advice. I would elaborate by advising you to make a list in your phone of potential assisted living/Alzheimer’s care units – whatever it is that you’re likely to need. When there’s been a crisis, it’s three in the afternoon and she is going to be discharged tomorrow, but not to home, and you need a placement tomorrow, you are likely going to be just trying to find an available bed because your first choice, and maybe second choice, have no openings. Have a list handy with names and phone #’s.

          • One good thing is that I work in healthcare and understand some of the workings of the system. If she’s admitted to a hospital and needs to be discharged, I can insist that the hospital’s care management work on placement, and if it screws up their length of stay stats, that’s on them. But you’re right that we need to do the research on potential facilities. Thanks.

    • I’m there with you right now. My situation sounds identical to yours. I’m literally stumbling through this one step at a time. I could really use the advice to. I offer my sympathy – it’s hard.

    • Bewitched :

      Geriatric Social Worker! We found one in the Philly area who was amazing. He was able to recommend various medical exams to confirm my mom’s diagnosis, discuss care options with 4 siblings, do some leg work on vetting options and most importantly, gained my mom’s trust and negotiated 4 different sibling opinions. It’s so different when an outside professional gives you their opinion and advice. Geriatric consults are great for medical issues but SW’s are trained to deal with family, finances, housing, treatment and many other aspects of aging. There is a national accrediting organization-forgot the name now but Google should help.

      • I did find an academic medical center in the area with a Geriatrics program, which includes social work. I’m calling them to find out what insurance they take and how long it takes to get a new patient appointment. Thanks for the advice!

      • Anonymous :

        I second the social worker recommendation.
        One of the options is in-home care until the sons, lawyers and the bank figure out what to do with her house.

  7. Closet Help :

    Hi! We’ve talked a lot about cleaning out our closets and I’d love some advice for the following questions:
    1. I’ve recently gained a not insignificant amount of weight. I’ve always fluctuated but I have a good portion of my clothes right now that don’t fit. At what point do you give up the old stuff? They’re still good pieces that I enjoy but don’t fit me well (or at all) right now but it’s hard to let go. FWIW I am trying to lose weight right now with some success, but still a long way to go for some of these.
    2. I’ve also recently switched jobs from business casual to casual. I have some great dresses that just seem out of place in my new job, but again, are good pieces and I don’t necessarily want to get rid of them just because (what if I switch back to a biz cas job in a few years?). FWIW these mostly do fit. When do I pull the trigger on these?
    3. I have some ‘aspirational’ pieces that truly never fit. Like, still have tags on never fit. Return time is waaay gone. I’d theoretically like to get some $$ back on these pieces (good brands but nothing crazy fancy, classic styles) – what’s the best way to do that?


    • I’m cleaning out my closet too, and have held on to some stuff through 4 moves and nearly a decade of significant weight loss/gain:

      1) Choose your favorite pieces from your previous weight to keep. Not the pants that are showing wear or the sweater that’s pilling. Just the good stuff. Put it away until you think you’re back to that size (I usually keep 1 pair of pants in the “just a couple more pounds to go” as motivation, but YMMV.)

      2) Anything that’s very “now” will be dated in a few years. Can you incorporate any of these pieces in your day to day, like make a blazer more casual by rolling up the sleeves or pairing with a t-shirt? (Or something more stylish…)

      3) Get.rid.of.them. Let someone else enjoy those pieces. You don’t need to hang on to them for years. Don’t think of the money you spent/wasted or beat yourself up for not fitting in them. That’s the past. You could try ThreadUp to get some cash or a local consignment shop. But if it were me, I’d just donate.

    • I don’t have advice on deciding which pieces – but in general on letting it go, i found a thrift store that donates to a cause that I’m really into (for me, an animal shelter) and that really helped me get rid of things, especially sentimental value or things I’d never wear again but were expensive. It just felt constructive and positive, instead of feeling like I was trashing things (sorry Goodwill- never got a feeling of satisfaction from donating there).

      • ThredUp also gives you the option to donate the proceeds of your bag to a charity (unfortunately I think it’s whatever one they have selected at the moment – right now it is Feeding America, I don’t know how often it changes). And I have gotten into sending to ThredUp because a) dropping off at the post office is easier for me than making it to Goodwill and b) they recycle everything they can’t sell. I know getting lots of stuff they can’t use is a burden for Goodwill so I feel better sending it to a company that has the waste part built into their system (not that Goodwill doesn’t, but I don’t feel like I’m burdening ThredUp). I also don’t look at what they keep and don’t keep so I don’t get sentimental/regretful. (I have too many emotional attachments to my things.)

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve not dealt with 1 specifically (I’ve been more of a weight gradually creep up over the years), but as to 2 and 3, I think this is were you consign or sell on eBay or something, take your money and invest in new pieces you’re excited about for where you are now. Business suits in good condition are all over eBay and consignment stores take them. Same with pieces with tags on, particularly designer items, though also items from Banana Republic, J.Crew, Gap, etc. You’d be surprised.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      1. For anything that’s just boring or meh, I’d probably just donate it now. For anything you absolutely love, keep it for six months, then get rid of everything that doesn’t fit at the six month mark (unless you’re within, like, 2 lbs. of it fitting and you’ve consistently been losing weight for the last six months). Honestly, every time I’ve been able to lose weight, with the exception of two or three unique pieces that I was genuinely excited to wear again, I always ended up buying lots of new clothes because I was so excited about being X size again, and I wanted new pieces to accentuate my success. Pulling, say, a DVF wrap dress out of storage is exciting, but a pair of basic black work pants or some boring grey suit? I did not want to wear those pieces again. Also, just because you were a certain shape before doesn’t mean it won’t change somewhat as you lose weight this time around, depending on where you build muscle and whatnot, so your old “skinny clothes” may not fit you correctly anyway

      2. Same rule as above, basically – get rid of stuff that’s meh or basic, and only keep the few pieces you are super-excited about, and would be happy for the opportunity to wear again.

      3. Consignment or e-Bay to get some cash back on unworn clothes.

    • Anonymous :

      Re: #2 – I left a very casual in-house position after 5 years for a much more formal in-house position just recently. I had saved some of my suits from my previous life (at a firm), but I discovered when I tried to rotate them back into service that with a few exceptions, they were dated (cut of pants, jackets, etc.). So unless you have any pieces that are very expensive and/or very classic looking, pass them on to someone else who can use them (through donation or consignment). Keep a few pieces, though – I was surprised at the number of times I had to pull the suits back out even when I was at the casual company (for networking events, depos, etc.).

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      For #1, I would look at how long you expect it to take before you fit into these clothes again based on your current weight loss (and maybe past experience – i.e. have you been successful losing weight for a few months and then plateau, etc.). If you think they will fit again within the next year I’d probably hold onto them.

      #2 – Keep these, they fit and you can probably work them into your day to day life. Nice but not fancy dinner, work conference, etc.

      #3 – Consign. Try ebay, Thredup, local stores etc. but realize you probably will only get a small fraction of what you paid.

    • #2) I made this transition a few years ago and you never know if those dresses will come in handy for meetings or conferences. If they still fit, I’d keep a few just in case.

      #3) Ebay!

  8. Montreal? :

    Has anyone here visited Montreal in the spring? Or maybe there are some Montreal natives on here? My husband and I are planning a trip to Montreal right before Memorial Day weekend, en route to a wedding in upstate New York (flying in from the west coast, and the drive from Montreal to the wedding is surprisingly the same distance as driving in from Boston or NYC). We’ll also be staying over a night or two after the wedding, so we have the opportunity to stay in two different areas.

    Looking for recommendations on where to stay (thinking Airbnb but would like to know the good areas), restaurants, things to do, weather tips. Please fire away, hive!

    • Senior Attorney :

      We did a bicycle tour with Fitz & Follwell and loved it. Great way to see the city!

      We stayed at the Hotel St. Martin Particulieur and it was just great, including the restaurant in the lobby. I’m rushing off to lunch now but will post some restaurant recs when I get back…

    • SuziStockbroker :

      Last time I was there (July 2015) we stayed at the Hilton, near Old Montreal. Lots within walking distance.

      The hotel is nothing spectacular, just a nice hotel (with late checkout on Sundays, so that was nice).

      I love love love walking around old Montreal and Sacre Coeur.

      Had kids with us so can’t speak to any nice new restaurants!

    • Is the wedding in Saratoga or Lake George? If so, I have lots of local reccomendations.

      In Montreal, the open air market was really nice and a fun place to get breakfast.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oh, definitely visit the Notre Dame Basilica and be sure to go behind the main altar to the hidden chapel back there, which is gorgeous!

      We had a nice dinner at Chez Victoire, and also enjoyed the upstairs bar at Corso 1471.

    • We stayed at LHotel last summer. We’re pretty easy to please, but found it a very charming outside hotel it’s known for its art collection and we spent an hour exploring all the floors to see all the art. It’s also only a couple of blocks from Notre Dame, and within walking distance of almost everything you’ll want to see/do. We found the food fantastic everywhere we ate. We just loved Montreal!

    • Montreal? :

      Thanks for the recs! Amazing how much better the hive is than a stuffy old guide book or internet list of “must see” sites.

  9. Silly Tax Question :

    My CPA is MIA and I have what I think is a simple tax question for someone in the know:

    Trying to estimate my taxes due for 2016 so we can refine our with holdings. In using the IRS online calculator (link to follow), when it asks for the Federal income tax withheld YTD and also from your last paycheck, is the number I’m providing the total non-state tax (federal+SS+medicare) or just the federal withholding line?

    It’s on the third page, if that matters or helps:

    • Not a tax lawyer but a partner in a small firm who has to pay quarterly. I would consider this reference to mean just the federal withholding. When you’re estimating your taxes, it will not include the FICA and medicare.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – the federal withholding (not Medicare and FICA) are the only thing that gets applied to what you owe on your tax return.

        • Anonymous :

          +1 I do independent consulting on top of a W2 gig; I use the calculator and I use federal taxes only for it.

  10. Three weeks notice :

    I have just happily accepted a great promotion at another organization in my same town and am set to start in three weeks. My current boss has been very supportive through the interview process, and is truly happy for me making this next step. I know we’ve talked about this on this $ite before, but my google skills have alluded me. Besides wrapping up/handing off any projects and contacts, what do I need to do in the next three weeks?

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Save any work/documents you might need in the future.

    • Make sure benefits that you will have to deal with later (401k, HSA, etc) are going to your personal email and not your work email. Really just check everything, that address are current, beneficiaries, etc while you are at it.

      • Three weeks notice :

        Ooh, great idea. It’s scary-crazy how many things I have “filed” in my work email that I will need. Thanks!

    • lost academic :

      Back up contact information for your current colleagues.

    • Anonymous :

      Take a couple days off before you start the new job. Use PTO at Old Job.

      • Three weeks notice :

        I’m hoping this is possible, especially considering I have essentially 4 weeks of vacation that have gone unused this year, but unfortunately I have a couple of commitments during my last week that are immovable. I’m going to try to take a couple of random days here and there to catch up on things like haircut, shopping, and meeting with financial planner/kids summer camp, etc.

  11. On topic, I can say I love the Varina flats and am currently wearing a pair. After having a baby at 40, heels were no longer an option, and this shoe fits 90% of my work shoe needs (the other 10% being met by boots and tights in the cooler months.) The first pair I had lasted about 9 months, which was disappointing given their cost; however, I lobby for a living, so I’m on my feet A TON at the Capitol, and being able to walk back to my office at the end of a long day (as opposed to limping back), means that I can say unequivocally they’re worth every penny.

    • anon prof :

      Have you been caught in the rain while wearing them, and how did the ribbon hold up? I’ve been coveting them but am worried about running them in a sudden downpour.

      • As someone who just today messed up her shoes in an unexpected rainstorm (sigh), I’m eagerly following this thread.

      • The ribbon is really stiff — it doesn’t move at all. I guess if you push on it purposefully, it squishes a little, but bounces back. I wouldn’t purposefully wear nice shoes (with or without bow) on a shower-y day, but don’t think these will be any more at-risk than other nice leather shoes.

      • We’ve had epic rains in TX this week, and I have intentionally worn different shoes to commute, so I can’t say. What I will say, though, is that the ribbon was tricky when I had a previous pair of Varina’s resoled — it did not get properly attached under the new sole, so I’m contemplating gluing the ribbon to the leather. Low budget fix, I know, but if I’m not wearing them because of a ribbon that is literally hanging on by a thread, then I may as well give it a try. I’m currently stockpiling Nordstrom notes to purchase yet another pair. They are that good/so, so worth the investment!

  12. Anonymouse :

    Meeting up with a friend tonight and admitting that I’ve started crushing a bit — it’s driving me batty waiting for work to be over! I don’t expect this to make our friendship too awkward (thank goodness) and we’ll both be away and/or busy for the next few weeks anyway so we’ll naturally have some space just in case. I’ve never done this since I usually know where things stand (and let feelings pass) but we have some very minor history and it just feels like things are unclear so I kind of need to hear the “I just want to be friends” (or the much hoped for “I feel the same!”) to make sure I don’t read into a dynamic that hasn’t actually changed

    I don’t know if I’m asking for courage, commiseration, wisdom or just getting out nervous thoughts but there we are… GAH!

    • Anonymous :

      Awesome! Enjoy that you are doing a gutsy thing and taking charge of your life.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Good luck! That’s how my husband and I got together.

    • Good for you! I can promise you, even hearing “I don’t feel that way about you” is better than wondering.

      • Yup – been there, heard that, it was painfully awkward in the moment – but it helped me move on and I don’t regret it!

      • Baconpancakes :

        YES. Hearing “Wait, I thought we were seriously just friends” opened up my life to actual relationships.

  13. Reposting since I was late on the morning thread –
    Old Navy has $25 pixie pants today! Trying to curb my urge to buy just because – so cheap!
    Do these pants work with pear figures i.e. accommodate a large hip but not gape in the waist? Any feedback on these? Feel free to dissuade me.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I have a couple pairs and do like them. $25 is not actually all that cheap for them, so don’t lose your mind buying too many. Particularly in the patterns. I’ve regularly gotten those on sale under $20. Like a lot of ON things, the fit is a little dependent on the garment itself. I think they do work for pears (I’m a pair) and they don’t gape on me to the point of needing a belt or feeling like they aren’t right for work.

    • Anonymous :

      Everyone loves the Pixie pants but they do NOT work on my shape. I’m a long-waisted pear and they are soooo baggy in the crotch.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I am wearing these at this moment! They work generally with a pear figure, but I would probably consider having the waist taken in. I like two darts in the back, and it’s usually an inexpensive alteration. I’m not much of a pear and don’t have the pixies altered, but if I were a little more pear shaped, that’s what I would do (especially for $25)!

    • I want so hard to love the Pixie pants but my experience has been terrible. The first pair split the crotch seam when I sat down to breakfast! (yes, I was wearing the right size.) The second pair arrived with an unfinished hem on one leg. I thought the third time would be the charm but the zipper busted on the second wearing.

      I know, you get what you pay for… I just wanted a pair that would last a single season. Other people have better luck though so I guess it’s just me.

  14. For the poster this morning who wants to break up with her house cleaner.

    Give her two weeks notice and don’t have her come back. Since she cleans for you every two weeks, this means you give her the price of one cleaning as a severance. Ask for your key to be returned. Be nice but direct, and text is ok if that is how you typically communicate.

    I’ve had to do this more than once, and what I describe is standard practice.

    You don’t want someone potentially pis sed off at you having access to your house, which is why you cut if off cleanly. Sort of the same logic as to why laid off employees are generally asked to leave same day.

  15. KateMiddletown :

    You guys – my SO and I have been living in different cities for the last five years and we got engaged in December and I wasn’t really able to get excited because of all the unknowns but he just got a job offer in my town (5 blocks away from my office) and it pays more than he was expecting and now I’m reallllly excited!

    We’re still waiting on an out of state job offer but I’m doing a happy dance because YAY!

    • Anonymous :

      CONGRATS! That’s so wonderful! I’ve done lots of long distance with my DH since we’re both in academia and it’s such a great feeling to get that offer that brings you back together.

    • SuziStockbroker :

      That’s great!!!

    • Great news! Congrats to both of you.

  16. anon for this :

    Re: wanting kids, is it weird that I only seem to want them when I’m in a relationship?

    When I’m single, I don’t really feel the ache to have children. I enjoy my freedom and spoil my friends’ kids, and that’s enough. But when I’m dating someone I really like, I can’t see things ending up any other way than with marriage/kids.

    What’s wrong with me? Please tell me someone else feels this way.

  17. Nothing Compares :

    Ugh. I’m SO sad about Prince. :(

    What the h*ll, 2016?

    • I know. This was so shocking to me. Argh!

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t get why people are acting like 2016 is so terrible. Tons of celebs die every year.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        True, but I think we’ve lost more icon-level people this year than usual. Prince, David Bowie, Patty Duke, Harper Lee, Alan Rickman, and that’s just who I can think of off the top of my head. It’s a lot in a row.

      • Many of the msucians that rae passing are icons of music. I just don’t see myself mourning the loss of David Guetta or deadmaus the same way if they were to die.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Right? Prince and Michael Jackson and I were all the same age. Ugh…

  18. Makeup question: does anyone take the time to contour on a normal day? I can’t even do it for special events, let alone for work. Is there a way to do it so I don’t look like a Kardashian?

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t. But then, I don’t wear much makeup at all on a normal day.

      I think the pertinent question is, do you *want* to do it? I don’t think there is any reason to consider doing it unless you like doing it, like the way it looks, and have a high probability of getting photographed on a regular basis throughout your day.

    • No, don’t do it. It never looks natural in person. It’s just for photographs.

      My niece is a slave to her daily makeup. She’s an avid follower of YouTube tutorials and had a job at Ulta for a while. She can’t leave the house without a 30 minute full face job (false eyelashes, elaborate eyeshadow- the whole works) because she doesn’t feel like “herself” now without all of that.

      Don’t become that girl.

  19. Shopping challenged :

    These would be really funny on me, because size 10 would look like Boaty McBoatface.

    • Hey now, I have size 10 feet.

      I never think my feet look to big in shoes. One of my smaller-footed girlfriends once said my feet looked better in shoes than hers do because I have model-sized feet. And I looked at her feet and then at mine and concluded that she was right.

      Since then I always notice that shoes are modeled on larger feet.

      My friend used the term “long and elegant.”

    • You’ll get there, but…when you have big feet, you have big feet. I am an 11.5 or 12, and you know what, my feet are proportional to my long legs and my height. My feet will almost never look small, and my feet generally look better in rounded toe flats than pointy ones.

      • Shopping challenged :

        I’m with you; pointy toes just make them that much longer (especially since one of my feet is wide). I usually wear flats, but there is a huge difference to me on how the flat is designed. Something like this where most of the top of the foot is open, and there is basically a cap over the toes, make my feet look much longer than, say, oxfords.

    • hard to find my size in stock.... :

      Yeah, flats are risky on me. My long feet look much better in heels, and then my big feet simply lengthen my leg.

      I prefer a pointy toe, but in flats…. just a no-no to my eye.

  20. Not-Engaged :

    So since this is the topic of the day… my bf bought a ring over a year ago and showed it to me, then he made it clear that he isn’t ready to get married/will not be proposing soon. It basically taints all my interactions with him, I have no interest in going out to a nice dinner or going on vacation and I get downright mad when he buys me stupid gifts at holidays that I don’t want. I know my options are to either get over it or leave, but it still bothers me.

    • Honestly, the buying a ring, showing it to you, and then deciding that he’s not ready to propose is a red flag.

    • Red Velvet :

      I don’t think your options are get over it or leave. I think you just leave.

      I read somewhere that if you feel like you want to get married, but you also feel you should wait, ask yourself what it is that’s holding you back and if it will be fixed in X time. E.g. you’re both waiting to save enough money to afford a place to live together in a year’s time = good reason to wait. You’re waiting because you’re not sure and you’re hoping you’ll suddenly feel more certain in a year’s time = bad reason to wait. End it.

      Here, the thing that’s holding you back is your boyfriend actually doesn’t want to marry you. In a year’s time, he still might not want to marry you. Or in a year after that. Etc. You’re hoping for an uncertain event to occur. If you want to marry him but he’s not reciprocating, liberate yourself and break free!

    • hard to find my size in stock.... :

      Yeah, flats are risky on me. My long feet look much better in heels, and then my big feet simply lengthen my leg.

      I prefer a pointy toe, but in flats…. just a no-no to my eye.

    • what the h3ll? :

      Wow…… what a …. sick… cruel… power trip? Blackmail? Screwed up immature a-hole?

      Get away from this guy.

    • This is super weird and manipulative. Why is he waiting? If you can’t sit down with him and communicate about this then I don’t think marriage is a great idea.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Late to the party, but what? Why have you stuck around for over a year like this? This is ridiculous. Who buys a ring before they’re ready to propose, shows it to the person they’re not ready to propose to, and then, what, makes you dance like a trained monkey for his approval for over a year so you can “earn” the ring? This dude is sick, and the fact that you’ve stuck around for over a year like this tells me you need piles of therapy yourself.

  21. Anon for This :

    I figure I’m way too late posting today, but wanted to see if anyone out there (I’m looking at you biglaw lawyers) might chime in. The short version here is that several months ago my supervising partner approached me about the possibility of leaving and starting our own law firm. We have, over the course of several months had several conversations about the potential logistics / vision / etc. However, I guess I am at a point where I am frustrated that it is not moving faster. Part of that is because I am an 8th year and am getting some pressure to make the push for partnership. Mentally it is really difficult to have two totally different potential paths in my head, but my supervising partner is somewhat introverted and I get the sense that he wants me to drive the ship. Which is awkward…. because if this never happens, we will remain where we are, and he is my boss (and will be assessing me for partnership at our current place).

    Any tips on navigating this? Anyone ever left a current firm with a partner when you yourself were not yet a partner? Tips on approach / negotiation points considering I am not currently a partner where we are but the intent is we would be partners going forward. Thoughts?

    • Shopping challenged :

      Maybe he intends to wait until you are a partner. Next time you’re having a serious conversation about this, why not say you need to lay out a timeline, and ask him what he thinks mileposts are? And if I misread you and you’re having quick exchanges rather than serious meetings, partner needs to stop flirting around with the idea and (to completely switch metaphors) fish or cut bait.
      Of course; I am not a lawyer, let alone a senior partner.