Coffee Break: ‘Siren’ Semiprecious Stone Stud Earrings

I’m a big fan of Monica Vinader because her designs are delicate and organic and just really lovely. I like the green (Amazonite) we’re featuring here but this earring also comes in a more unobtrusive rose quartz/rose gold (fun fact: rose quartz is supposed to attract love, if you’re interested in that sort of thing). This seems like the perfect post earring, and it’s described on the product page as adding “coastal glamour to the hand-faceted stones of vermeil stud earrings inspired by the artfully imperfect shapes of sea-worn treasures.” This did not strike me as a sea-worn treasure until it was described as such, but I like the imperfect circle and all of the facets of the stone — I think it’s gorgeous. The earrings are $175 at Nordstrom. ‘Siren’ Semiprecious Stone Stud Earrings

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!


  1. Two Cents :

    I’m hosting my mentor and his wife for dinner on Saturday, and am looking for ideas on what to cook. Wife is evidently a picky eater and is not a fan of Indian (what I usually make). Must be vegetarian and something kids would eat, since I have two little ones. Under such circumstances I usually make veggie lasagna but looking for other ideas. I realize this is a broad request but any delicious dinner inspiration would be much appreciated!

    • Anonymous :

      Do veggie lasagna and burn your creative juices on an interesting dessert. If she’s a known picky eater and vegetarian, I wouldn’t be inclined to try out new recipes for the main. If she’s not appealed by dessert she can always say she’s full from the main. Way more awkward to have her decline or just pick at the main dish.

    • The Ina Garten Roasted Veggie Lasagna recipes is AMAZING. Same for her portabella mushroom lasagna. I agree that you should make this easy on yourself. Make a fun salad and serve some good bread, add something sweet for the end and call it a day.

    • Another idea could be a pasta bar – a couple sauces, a couple different types of pasta (maybe a ravioli?) and let people mix and match.

    • Senior Attorney :

      We did a make-your-own pizza party recently when hosting a picky-eating vegetarian and kids, and it was a huge success. I bought the pizza dough at the Italian deli and everybody rolled out their own and picked their own toppings. It was great because the dinner was also the entertainment!

    • Anonymous :

      Pasta is usually a safe bet for a picky eater. A roasted vegetable lasagna and a nice salad sounds lovely. Other things I’ve made for things like this are quiches, grilled veggies and quinoa, tacos (sometimes with grilled veggies) with beans and rice and all the good stuff, Ottolenghi’s never full tart, falafel with a side tomato salad, and lentil salads with poached eggs and roasted carrots. Sometimes even picky vegetarian eaters don’t like vegetables though.

    • Giada DeLorentis has a butternut squash lasagna that is really delicious, if you want something a little different from regular lasagna.

    • Fajita or taco bar with roasted veggies, black beans and rice.

    • Veg lasagna
      Eggplant parmesan

      Add salad and dessert and you’re done.

  2. Anonymous :

    So, at what point do you decide to spend a large chunk of change ($30k plus about $6k a year) on a totally frivolous club membership?

    My husband and I have a lot in savings. We spend well below our means and well below what our friends spend. We still live in the starter house we bought a long time ago, with no plans on moving. We don’t drive super fancy cars. Etc. etc. We have two kids, and I really want pool access, and I really really want a membership at a club. We could pay for it easily in cash and wouldn’t even miss it, but it seems like such an extravagant amount o f money.

    So I guess the question is when do you focus less on saving and actually spend money that would give you a lot of joy?

    • Senior Attorney :

      When? Now!

      Do it! That’s what the money is for! It’ll be great!

      • I couldn’t agree more. You can afford it and it sounds like you’ll enjoy the benefit of spending the money.

      • Totally agree! You can afford it, and its an “experience” spend, rather than a “stuff” spend, which is a great thing!

    • Coach Laura :

      Do it for the childhood memories. My parents had a membership just to a pool with a snack bar and children’s play area and it is one of my best childhood memories. When we moved and they couldn’t afford something similar I was heartbroken.

    • I wholeheartedly suggest you go for it. I was a pool brat, and it ended up with me getting a scholarship to play DI water polo. Not money wasted! OK, maybe some money wasted on ice cream bars and quesadillas from the snack bar. But it was the best free babysitting my parents could buy for YEARS. (Yes, we were pool safe, and yes, they had lifeguards, and yes we were old enough per club rules to bomb around there–PSA–do not leave your small children unattended at a club pool.) Bonus was that my brother and I both lifeguarded/taught swim lessons there as our HS summer job too. Loved it, and as other said, many happy memories.

    • Adopt me?

      Do it. We had a great public pool system where I grew up, so no membership required, but we had SO MUCH FUN at the pool. Lots of fond memories with my sister and friends from the neighborhood. Plus, it’s exercise, it wears the kids out, and gives them the opportunity to become strong swimmers and develop water safety skills! (I life-guarded for 5 years. I still yell at kids to stop running at the pool.)

    • Anonymous :

      I would look at it like you are buying a boat and paying dock fees….which seems totally reasonable if you can afford it.

    • Do it

    • When do you spend a large chunk of change on a club membership? When you can pay for it in cash and not even miss it.

    • Definitely do it. You can afford it, it will bring fun social opportunities, and it’s just a great thing to do.

    • Anonymous :

      NY Times was featuring a great little piece on this type of quandary today.

  3. Has anyone here gone down the Reddit/ABraThatFits rabbit hole?

    I have ordered and returned so many bras from Amazon I am sick of returning them.

    I apparently wear a GG or H (UK) cup size. You would look at me and not call me extraordinarily busty. But that is actually my size. The bras I have ordered basically fit and now I’m just trying to find the right style

    I went from wearing a C cup to getting fitted at Nordstrom into a smaller band/ larger cup (DD) and now these cup sizes from Reddit… it’s mind blowing.

    • I need a new name :

      I am not busty, at all, and I know that’s not what you are asking, but I really like the lingerie addict dot com. Maybe you can have a look at it.

      Not safe for work and covers lots of topics, but does have lots of information on “difficult” sizes, lingerie matching different skin tones, etc.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I tried this but was in the pregnancy/nursing vortex and didn’t stay the same size long enough to invest the time in figuring out my specific size. Would really like to revisit this when I’m done with babies, because it was very clear that I’ve been wearing the wrong size. It’s fascinating.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah my “correct” size from ABTF is not my size at all. It really depends on how your boobs hang and how they’re shaped. All the volume in my breast is underneath if that makes sense – so bras that are “my size” gape on the top.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. The bra size they recommended was like 4 inches from being able to clasp in the back. It was not only the wrong size, but laughably wrong.

      • Hm that’s odd. I was surprised by the calculator but I have to say it was pretty spot on for me.

      • Shape Matters :

        If you’re still reading: I had this issue as well, but recall not all [email protected] in the same size are cut for the same shape — just like tops that are flattering on one size 6 may not flatter another size 6. It really helped once I found [email protected] in that size that were intended for a ‘shallow’ shape. It may be that you are another profile/shape, but poke around a bit more on particular [email protected] shapes and [email protected] for that particular shape before you give up on “your size” completely!

    • Pale Girl Snorkeling :

      Yes! I have done all of this. I wear a 32G and it’s so amazing when you get a properly fitted bra. My favorite brand is Panache, although Freya also has some good ones (especially swim wear).

      It is completely worth the time and money to go to a speciality store that carries all the less usual sizes and try on all the different brands and styles. I do this every 3-4 years, buy a few at the store and then order more online later. Get used to spending $75+ on a single bra, but if you take care of them, nice bras like these do last at least 3 years.

      • Anonymous :

        Try Ebay! There are so many amazing british Ebay stores that sell those brands heavily discounted. As soon as you know the size and style you want, you can usually find it there, unless it’s a new seasonal color or something like that.

    • I did this (although you probably would look at me and say I’m busty) and it was one of the best things I ever did. According to the ABTF calculator I’m 36 GG (UK size), possibly a 38. I ordered about 10 different bras in this size from Bare Necessities, although you could also try Figleaves or some of the other lingerie specialty sites. At least where I live, there is no B&M store that would have a decent selection in such a size.

      I sent back most of them – some were too big or odd-shaped in the cups, some too small, some just weird – but I found a few that fit so well it has been amazing. I have always thought I looked absolutely terrible in a bra, not that anyone ever sees me like that, but I have a few now that fit perfectly – for the first time ever the center of the bra between the cups actually touches my chest – and they actually look kind of fabulous. The Panache brand (the Andorra style mostly) has worked the best for me, but there’s a lot of trial and error in this.

      And thanks, Anon at 4:02, I’m going to look at ebay for some more.

      Good luck shopping!

      • So funny you mention Panache Andorra. That’s the one I’m narrowing it down to. Great bra (if you know your size). I returned the two sizes I initially tried when I didn’t believe my cup size, for the size ABTF recommended in the first place.

    • Anonymous :

      Ooh, must try. Can you just go to a Nordstrom or Dillard’s in person and try them on in person, or a specialty store in your city like Linda’s? That’s going to be the fastest way to a happy result.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I wore DD for the longest time… I’m a G. I’m busty but in a proportionate way. But I’ll tell you, having had a few good bras that fit… I can’t imagine going back. Byebye money.

    • Get thee to bravissimo. I’m a 28gg and you’d never know, because cup size is relative to band size.

  4. We are looking for a family-friendly destination for a large group (3-4 families with kids, plus our siblings/SOs and parents) next summer. People would be coming from West Coast (Vancouver and California), NY and London. Any ideas for something centrally located and *easy*? We have proposed an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, but looking for other ideas. Oldest kid will be nine, youngest will be 1. TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, I vote Cancun. Easy, beautiful, good food, etc.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. there’s nothing not to love. just make sure you spring for a good all-inclusive where food is quality and not just quantity.

      • Minnie Beebe :

        Cancun is easy. I just did a vacation at Grand Residences, in Puerto Morelos. It’s south of Cancun (about 30 min drive from the airport, which is a similar length drive to all of the resorts *in* Cancun) – it’s a quiet town, and the resort was BEAUTIFUL. There was an all-inclusive option (we did not partake) and the food at the resort was high quality. All inclusive meant you could eat/drink at any restaurant on-site (including 24-hr room service and poolside cafe) for no additional charge (not including tips, I assume.)

    • anon a mouse :

      Another option would be a cruise, if everyone could get to Miami or another port relatively easily.

  5. Senior Attorney :

    There have been a lot of money posts here lately, so here’s one I’ve been thinking about since last week. One of the articles in the weekly news roundup was about the weekly or monthly budget of somebody making $260,000 or so a year (maybe it was $230,000 — in that ballpark). The article tracked her expenses for a period of time, and also noted her monthly fixed costs, including $14 to one charity and $16 to another charity.

    Maybe it’s me, but I was shocked that somebody making $20,000 a month or close to it is only donating $30 to charity. I would hope that this person is an outlier, but maybe I’m wrong. I remember being at lunch with a bunch of my well-compensated peers and having several of them loudly proclaim that the only charity to which they donate is themselves.

    Lovely Husband and I support a variety of causes. It’s really important to us and brings us a lot of joy, and we feel like it’s just part of being a good citizen. What about you? Do you donate to charitable causes? Is it a normal thing in your circles?

    • Anonymous :

      We “tithe” 10% pre-taxes, although not all of that goes to the church. A lot of it goes to Christian organizations, but more like Christian schools for inner cities or sort of a church-supported group that helps homeless women. Like you, I’ve been really surprised how little our friends give. I’ve been doing more fundraising for some of these organizations this year, and some friends just won’t give any amount, no matter how small. If a friend asked me for a donation (as long as it wasn’t a group I totally disagreed with on like ab*rtion or some other really limited number of issues), I would totally give it.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m not personally interested in being solicited by friends tbh. I give where I want to give to my own pet causes, not theirs. I also would particularly not want to be approached for religious things. I am religious and I’d rather not get into differences about that with friends.

        • +1. I do not care to be solicited by my friends, especially if it is a religious organization. I support and encourage my religious friends, but they all know, if they are close enough to ask me for fundraising, that my world view is not that. For the same reason I wouldn’t want them to ask me to donate, I would not ask them to donate to any pro-choice causes.

          • Anonymous :

            I get that, but these are religious people, and I was asking at one point for a $10 donation. I definitely wasn’t asking my atheist friends to donate to a religious cause. Although I did ask some atheist friends to donate to a non-religious shelter for women, and I was surprised at how little response I got on that too. Maybe nobody likes me – ha ha. (By the way, these asks were far apart in time; I definitely am not inundating my friends.)

          • I think your approach is totally fair, and honestly, I am grumpy about being solicited by friends mostly because I feel like my social media newsfeed has become solicitation for either friends doing MLM for a stream of go fund me requests that are worthy, but overwhelming. Or my religious friends who are wonderful people, but as mentioned above, a little tone deaf about asking me specifically to donate to their causes.

          • Anonymous :

            And what I really mean is that if my close friend were a chair of an event or had put a ton of time into something, I would definitely donate some money to it in her honor unless it was, like I said, one of a couple of hot button issues. I do actually try to give a bit to all of my friends who ask, but I realize I can’t expect that from everyone. But I did sort of expect my close friends to give something when I had been killing myself to raise money for an unobjectionable and noble cause.

      • Anonymous :

        I would probably not donate to those causes because I don’t like religious charities. I’m sure some are fine, but many I find personally offensive.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I read that article too but if you read the comments accompanying the article she clarifies that she gives 3k to charity a year (lots of big gifts at the end of the year).

      • That still seems pretty low.

        • The poster is a 27 year old single woman living in NYC. I wish I were that self-aware when I was 27 to give 3K a year to charity. I would cut her a break.

          • Anonymous :

            Yeah. I gave $0 to charity when I was 27 because I had a negative net worth. Give young people a break. They will have plenty of time/money to donate later in life.

          • Anonymous :

            I seem to remember SA saying recently that if she received an extra $10K it wouldn’t matter because she is super duper fortunate financially.

            It’s easy to be generous when it doesn’t hurt.

            Judge not, lest ye be judged.

          • Anonymous :

            You should cut Anon a break. For those of us raised to give, even when at a modest income, the possibility of not giving doesn’t really come to mind. So it’s not about gaining self awareness at 25.

          • + 1

            I think it’s pretty mean-spirited to pile on a 27 year old who was brave enough to bear her spending habits to the world — how many of us would do the same?

            Why not comment on the fact that she’s a boss for making 230K at her age and with no advanced degree? And honestly, she is so frugal — I spend way more than her in a week and I don’t make nearly as much as she does.

            She gives to charity, which I think is more than many her age can say. 3K is nothing to sneeze at.

          • I’ll bite. I’m 2 years older than her, but her income is more than twice mine. I live in a med/high COL city.

            I give like many of my peers- small monthly recurring donations to PP, animal rescues and the like. Yearly gifts, still fairly small, and contributing to fundraisers, donate to random things that pop up. Most of us volunteer our time as well.

            I’ve got 75K in student loans. I have an emergency fund and some savings NOW, but I can’t max out my 401K on my salary AND pay double my loan payment (so I can actually get OUT of debt rather than pay interest for years). The idea of ever owning property is farcical- it’s not even on my radar. Add to that the ever present fear in the minds of many, many people my age that the economy could tank and we could be jobless, the idea of giving up 5k (or however much you guys think is sufficient) is very uncomfortable. I graduated college in 2008. YAY. I’m single. My parents aren’t wealthy. I’m my only support system.

            This sanctimonious “raised to give” crap is not necessary. I donated my career to public service. You aren’t shunned from the society of Good Citizens for not donating every extra drop of cash you have.

          • Anonymous :

            +1 to anon at 3:45. I am a bit younger than you, have more student loan debt and an emergency fund but closer to the “none” side of “some” savings. If I had the extra money every month, I would put it towards fully funding my employer match on my retirement savings and/or my loans.

            You don’t have to give because you were “raised to give.” It’s a decision. I have friends who were “raised to believe the wife should submit to the husband,” and they don’t and haven’t been smited yet. I give when I can, even if it’s only small amounts, I give my time, and like the person above my, I have given my career to public service.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I confess I didn’t see the comments. I’m happy to see she is donating $3K and that seems much more reasonable for a young person with a high income.

            And anonymous at 3:27 p.m., yes I’m fortunate. Thanks for not judging me for it! ;)

      • I’m like this. I give to donors choose at random times and definitely give any kid who hits me up some dough for orchestra or sports or scouting, (and I begrdrudgingly support people’s fundraising marathons – oh how chariable, you’re getting a free trip to Hawaii to run a marathon and get in shape) but all of my big gifts are at year end.

    • Sassyfras :

      We donate around $1k to charity throughout the year and do two service projects as a family each year in an effort to teach our 2 year old the joy of giving back. An example is bringing a present to a nursing home resident at Christmas. Our HHI is $180k. I guess looking at it like that, maybe we could do more? But between saving for retirement, student loans, and daycare, there isn’t a whole lot left over. We are definitely the most charitable people in our social circle.

    • You can support a variety of causes in a variety of ways. Those budget articles don’t capture all of that. Relative to income, we don’t make a sizable amount of straight cash donations. But we do volunteer our time and talents, attend fundraisers where we spend money on the tickets and auction items, and give in other ways. For the annual financial gifts we do give, we also recognize that regular participation is important and it’s not necessary to donate at the highest amount in order to have an impact.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – I donate far more of my time than my money, mostly because I feel like I have more time than money to give.

      • This is us too. Sorry, but between student loans, saving for college, saving for retirement, and helping out my MIL, extra cash is not easy to come by. But we donate to every “goods” drive at my son’s school (and I’ve helped organize a few of them) and do yearly projects with our local food bank and a women’s shelter.

        • Want to add – I don’t count the donations to my son’s school itself as “charity” – it’s just what we do to support his school community – and I also don’t count the “my friend invited me to a fundraiser so I bought a ticket and a silent auction item” as part of our charitable giving. And that happens 5-6 times a year and costs us about $200 each time. So maybe we’re giving more than we think.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you also have to consider age. It makes sense that people nearing retirement would give a lot if they can afford to, but I think in your 20s and 30s it makes some sense to prioritize saving for yourself, with the idea that you will give back if/when you can later in life. We are 31 and have a HHI of about $150k and we give about $100/month to charity. If it were up to my husband we would give nothing until we have paid our mortgage completely and have $1M in retirement savings. I would like to give more, so this is a compromise. This may seem very small, but we plan to leave the bulk of our estate to charity. We both share the view that we owe our kids an excellent education but not a massive inheritance. We hope to amass considerable savings in our lifetime and we don’t intend to make our child(ren) millionaires when we die.

    • I tithe and donate based on my after-tax income, which is about $210K. I give $12K annually to my church and $10K to other causes (a few larger gifts plus a budgeted amount for one-off giving to friends’ charities, work fund drives, etc.). I also volunteer weekly with an organization that I support financially. My sense is that none of my friends give at this level, or really any significant level relative to income, but I was raised with it as an expectation.

    • Anonymous :

      HHI of about 210K pre-tax. We aim for 10% of our post-tax and post-retirements savings income. About 2% to each of our local church (historical building, high maintenance costs but great anti-poverty programming), one international charity (Doctors without Borders) and two national charities (one environmental and one pro-choice). We set the rest for smaller contributions to various charities at request of friends/family/neighbors.

      We have recently switched to automatic monthly deductions for our giving because that’s much better for charities to be able to budget vs. getting a variable lump sum at year end.

    • We make 250k and don’t donate to charitable causes.

      • Wildkitten :


      • You sound lovely.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m not sure that being so judgmental is a lovely personality trait either, Anon.

          • Wildkitten :

            I literally don’t understand how you donate ZERO dollars to charity. Do your friends ask you to donate to things and you turn them down? Do you have no friends? What about social services or church or schools? Do you never leave your house? I totally get people donating less than they aspire to do but I literally do not understand how you can function in the world and donate $0 to charity. I’m currently unemployed and I give more than that.

          • What do you not understand though? You just … don’t.

            I only give a few hundred a year (including donations to the ACLU in this even though it’s not a charity). I also use smile dot amazon dot com to support a local women’s shelter. Good for you for giving when unemployed but people who don’t aren’t either friendless ogres or inexplicable.

          • What do friends have to do with this? Do all friends ask their friends to donate things? Because no one has ever asked me to donate for anything.

          • Anonymous :

            I give money to charity, but I have to actively make a choice to do so. I do not recall in the last five years being asked by any friend or co-worker to give money to a cause, except I suppose people asking me to buy their daughter’s Girl Scout cookies but I don’t really consider that charity because I get cookies in exchange for my money. I’m not religious and I fund our local schools with property tax. Giving is nice but not giving doesn’t make you a terrible person and it would be very easy for me not to give money if I didn’t actively seek out the charities I care about. I’m not sure what is so mind-boggling about that.

          • Wildkitten :

            Wow. I have a specific line item in my budget that I use for “Friends asking for donations” when like, they run a marathon to fundraise for the type of cancer they lost their mom to. I get asked for donations like that several times a year, in addition to supporting my undergrad, my church, planned parenthood. I think it would take me significantly more time and energy to NOT donate than to just donate to what is important to me/my community.

            My mind is totally boggled. I had no idea. Now I know. I will have to sit on this new information for a minute.

          • Wildkitten :

            How is the ACLU not a charity?

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t know anyone who would ask me to donate to random things because I think we would all consider it to be rude because we’re not wealthy and asking for money seems presumptuous. Some people were raised in financially strapped households and are financially strapped themselves – for many people, it doesn’t make sense to give away money when you don’t have enough to support yourself. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been hit up for a donation to a church, social service, or school and I have an active social life. My friends’ kids go to public schools (I guess school donations are a private school thing?) and don’t try to convert me to their religions. I would not find it weird that many people aren’t asked to donate regularly – thing only thing that asks me regularly are the pledge drives on NPR. :)

          • Wildkitten :

            Donations are not just a private school thing –

          • Anonymous :

            I have definitely seen Facebook friends asking for donations to marathons or 5Ks they’re running for a cause and I have donated to a couple of them, but usually peanuts ($25 or so). It would exceptionally hard to give away any significant percentage of my income this way. I don’t recall a friend ever asking me personally for a donation (as opposed to a generic social media post).

          • Wildkitten :

            Sorry for being so judgmental! I had no idea that there were people who went through life without being asked to donate to charities. My mind is seriously blown and I need a minute to think about this concept. I grew up free-school-lunch poor and now I’m a fancy private law school grad and I don’t think I’ve ever gone a month of my life without being asked for a donation to a charity. Mind officially boggled!

          • Wildkitten :

            I give $25 for marathons too. I get asked via email. $25 is infinity more than $0.

          • Anonymous :

            @Wildkitten – our public schools do have a foundation, but I don’t have school-age kids and nobody has ever hit me up for donations. I think the push for giving to the foundation is pretty limited to parents who have children actually in the schools. In our area, we have a property tax referendum that funds the schools and it’s up for renewal this year – there’s been a huge push for a “yes” vote on that, and I’ve been contacted about that many times (and plan to vote yes). I definitely consider my “yes” vote to be a form of charity, although it wouldn’t look like a charitable contribution to someone who just looks at my 1040 form.

          • Wildkitten the ACLU has a charitable foundation you can give to yes, but I don’t give to it because that limits what they can do with the money. I give straight to the ACLU when I give to them, not to their charitable foundation. That’s not charity, it’s a political cause I believe in.

      • We make the same and donate $250-$500/year.

      • Can those of you who don’t give to charity and can afford it explain why? I find this amazing.

        • Anonymous :

          My HHI is >$400k per year but my family has very very very high recurring medical costs we’ll be paying for years so we don’t donate much. I do pay household employees on the books and our medical costs (being a little vague here) support a fair number of lower-income people, so I hope we are giving in another way.

          • Wildkitten :

            I think job creation is great (this is what I tell myself when I get my nails done) but paying someone as legally required the market rate for services they provide you is not charity.

          • Wildkitten :

            (Very very very high recurring medical costs makes sense to me as a reason to have minimal charitable contributions. That part resonates with me.)

          • Anonymous :

            Some of this is the vagueness – these are people usually paid under the table. We don’t. They benefit.

          • Anonattorney :

            Er, I don’t know you’re personal situation, and I completely agree that medical costs can be insane. But . . . paying people for services that they are providing to you and paying taxes are not the same as donating some of your income to others.

          • Anonymous :

            anon at 6:40. thats the equivalent of saying “some people beat their nannies. we don’t. they benefit” like you can not claim that just doing the legal thing you have to do is somehow charity.

        • I’m the poster who makes 250k and doesn’t donate. So I actually do donate a little- I wasn’t including things that people here apparently were. But the reason is that my high income isn’t quite representative of my financial situation. I live in a HCOL city and most of my income is obligated for housing, DH’s student loans, and other necessary and fixed expenses, but when DH finishes grad school in a couple of years and we go back to two incomes, I’m very much looking forward to donating. I also want to take some time to do research about where my money will be best utilized.

          Honestly, I can afford to give less than zero right now. And I’ve thought about it, but I work like 16 hour days, and I’ve let a lot of things I should be thinking about slip in the last couple of years, including things I really should have been more on top of.

          • Oops, I meant I can afford to give more than zero.

          • Wildkitten :

            Okay that makes more sense to me. I can understand donating very little, and spiring to donate more later. The $0 continues to amaze me.

          • Wildkitten :


          • Anonattorney :

            I’m not going to beat up on anon — this is intended for anyone who said they don’t donate. In my opinion, donating $0 on almost any full-time salary is incredibly out-of-touch. I get that not everyone can give 10% of their income, but if you can’t find even $10/month in a budget based on a $250k salary then . . . oof.

            To me this just shows that people are living in a bubble if they aren’t even exposed to an ‘ask’ from worthy organizations.

            And, I’m sorry, but the ask is entirely appropriate. If you are making six figures, you deserve to be on a list of people that charities can ask for money. That’s what they are supposed to do – reach out to you and ask you for your donations. They need to make their case and explain to you why they will make good use of your money, but they get to ask.

            Seriously ladies, how are there people on thissite who don’t give money to charity? How is that possible? The item featured on this post is $175 earrings!

            I’m with Wildkitten – some of these responses are just insane to me.

          • “The item featured on this post is $175 earrings!”

            Are you under the impression that most of the people who post here can or will pay $175 for earrings? I absolutely would not.

            I give way less than most people on here who are being vocal about this, though it’s not $0. But come on, looking at pictures of pretty things is not the same thing as being able to afford those things and I don’t think you need me to explain that to you.

          • Anonymous :

            +1000 to Torin. I’ve been reading here for years and I probably spent $200 on clothes and accessories in total last year. I’m not buying $175 earrings for sure.

          • Anonattorney :

            @Torin – okay, you don’t buy the pretty things. But you do come to a website that’s talking about buying pretty things. It’s a website driven by consumerism. This isn’t a community whose focus is on getting off the grid and being entirely self-sufficient. It isn’t Mr. Money Mustache, whose focus is on stretching every dollar to its absolute limit (and even MMM donates about 10% of his annual spending to charity).

            But, hey, if you truly cannot find any dollars in your budget or any hours in your year to donate to charity . . . okay.

            For me, it’s not about the amount of money you give. It’s about acknowledging that charitable giving of both time and money is absolutely necessary in our society. It should be expected. Everyone should spend a little bit of time out of their year thinking about what they can do to help people who are less fortunate, what they can do to promote the arts, what they can do to offset the ravages of climate change, etc. Just pick a cause. Think about doing SOMETHING that’s not focused on you.

          • I come here for the comments. Where people discuss substantive issues. I would not say that the focus of this community is on consumerism, because most of the comments aren’t. Just yesterday dozens of people were saying they come here for the comments because they don’t like the fashion choices lately.

            You say it’s not about the amount of money you give, but the comment you made about the earrings was exactly that: judgment about money and how people spend it. Now you’ve shifted to saying it’s about some nebulous money+time+thinking about other people formula but that’s not what you said before. I, and I think others, object to the amount of money judgment in this discussion.

          • Anonattorney :

            @Torin: I said donating $0 is not acceptable. And then I said if you can’t find $10/month on a $250k salary, then that’s pretty shabby. From those data points, my threshold for appropriate annual charitable giving would be .48% of pre-tax income. If you feel that my expectation that people find a way to donate .48% of their pre-tax income is unfair money judgment, then — you do you.

          • Anonattorney :

            Whoops – it was only .048%, not .48%. Revise my above post.

          • newbinlaw :

            Your income does not = your financial situation. Try six-figure loans, outrageous rent, increasing medical expenses and PPO costs, inability to buy a house or even think about it, plus half of that income going to taxes.
            I do donate to charity, but sparingly. Definitely not at a level you would approve of.
            I also live very frugally. I hope someday to be in a financial position that I can not only donate a lot more money, but do more than just contribute financially. My dream would be to do retire early / go part time and do free legal work for domestic violence victims, or open an animal shelter, or you get the picture.

            So so so easy to be on your high horse with all your extra money and judge, isn’t it SA?

      • Same. We’re in that income bracket, and while we do donate some, it’s not a huge amount. What we DO donate is a crazy amount of time. I sit on non-profit boards, and husband donates a ton of time as well. For the orgs we work with, our time is more valuable than our money (to them).

      • Anonymous :

        The problem is “worthy charities.” After the election, for example, I gave to the SPLC — how much worthier does it get than that? They’ve called numerous times harassing me for monthly donations, and they just mailed me a paperback book or something that went directly into my recycling bin. This is what they’re doing with the money – trying to get more money and sending me sh!t I didn’t want or ask for in the mail. I don’t have time to research what is truly a well-run charity, and the answer changes all the time. (And no thank you to giving to my church, which I still blame for that 1000 years of darkness.)

        • Anonattorney :

          There are tons of services you can use to research whether a charity is “worthy” or not. Just google it. Pretty straightforward.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah, I stopped giving to World Wildlife Fund for this reason. They were mailing me so much physical junk – mailing address labels, calendars, tote bags, etc, plus tons and tons of paper letters. I mean, some of the stuff was cute, but I don’t want it and I certainly don’t want them destroying the environment when they could just email me a request for money. And this is an *environmental* charity! I feel like at least 50% of the donations must go to soliciting more donations. It’s crazy that charities haven’t found a better way to do this.

    • Wildkitten :

      $16/month means she is making a yearly donation of $200 to that charity. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to have individual charities you only give $200/year to, as long as that isn’t your total charitable giving.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Right. I have charities I give as little as $5/ month to. But I was under the (erroneous, as it turns out) impression that the two $16-ish dollar per month donations was her total charitable giving. And that just seemed odd to me based on her total income.

    • I have to say, we donated somewhat casually in the past ($X to college, $Y to our kids’ elementary school, a few hundred to the food bank etc.), and then a couple of years ago when I totaled the amount as a % of income, I was surprised at how low it was. We are trying to be more focused/organized on our charitable giving, and aiming to increase our percentage annually (we are at 3% now). I’m not sure where we will cap out – 10% would be tough for us in the near future (HCOL/high taxes).

      • Anonymous :

        True. When you get to a higher income level, you really have to stay on top of your donations to keep it at 10%. It adds up to a lot of money, and you really need a plan.

    • anon for this :

      This is something I struggle with from the other end. I am making a very good salary now, but I was laid off twice during the recession and struggle with feeling like I need to hoard my money for a rainy day, which gives me pause at making larger donations. I have certain charities on auto-pay for monthly donations, but I could certainly do more, and am trying to combat my risk-averse miser tendencies.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in mod for some reason, but we sort of follow a “pay ourselves first” philosophy. We’re in our early 30s so right now we only give about 1% of our income to charity. We plan to increase it gradually over our lifetimes. We are very frugal, so assuming nothing catastrophic happens, we should have a sizable estate at the end of our lives and we plan to leave essentially all of it to charitable or educational causes. If we don’t have a big estate than something went wrong and we’ll be glad we had the money for whatever crisis happened.

    • I give 10% of my post-tax income for the year – usually one-time gifts to causes that catch my eye or reach out during the beginning of the year followed by dividing the remainder between 2-3 charities that I hold near and dear in November/December.

    • Follow on questions – do you consider donations to political causes in this?
      (i.e. donating to HRC’s campaign last year or donating to a group like NARAL, ACLU, etc?)

      • In my mind, I separate out campaigns from causes I believe in. I don’t think of the ACLU as being a “political” donation. But in the end, I do personally think of all of them as charitable giving, even though I know tax definitions are different.

        • Fair point – I guess it comes down to putting your money towards a cause you care about even if the tax definition isn’t exactly aligned. ACLU/PP can be seen as political (more Dems support them both compared to the GOP for sure), but both further a cause that I support.

      • Anonymous :

        I would say the ACLU is charitable but HRC’s campaign is not. But I think it’s a perfectly valid choice to cut down on charitable giving so you can give to campaigns you care about, either in one specific election or in general.

    • I have to say, this question is going to get you a very biased response set, because with attitudes like those displayed above, it’s certainly a chilling effect on anyone admitting they don’t donate much money. That attitude also creates a chilling effect on donating, frankly – knowing that people involved with a charity are thinking “oh you’re only giving $200? Wow, that’s so low” makes me stabby and want to give nothing at all.

      • +1

      • Anonymous :

        I’ve been very involved in a lot of charities, and I have NEVER heard that attitude. Everyone is grateful to have anything, and $200 would definitely be appreciated (and this is with old, well-established charities with corporate donors).

        • I haven’t heard this from anyone involved in a charity, but I have heard it from people involved in office charity drives. “Did you hear so-and-so didn’t donate/only donated $X to [partner’s pet charity]? Doesn’t he care about the children??”

          • Senior Attorney :

            That’s just gross. I am not at all a fan of office charity drives.

        • If any of the *multiple* posters above who are incredulous at a 27-year-old “only” donating $3,000 to charity in a year (or “well, $200/year for that charity is OK if that’s not your only donation”) are involved with one… (which they really should be considering how strongly they feel about it!)… clearly it’s a valid concern.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Just so we’re clear, I think it’s great to give $200 to a charity. As I posted above, I have a couple of charities that get just $5/month from me. And I have never heard anybody, from any charity, express any disdain for any level of giving.

        But yes I do think it’s a little odd for somebody with an income around a quarter of a million dollars a year to only give a total of $200 to charity in a year. (And yes, I stand corrected and the person in the article gives $3,000 total per year and that seems much more reasonable to me.) If you would like to be stabby about that, go right ahead.

    • So what percentage of our HH income should we be donating to charity? Seems like a huge range based on this thread (from nothing to 10%).

      • As much as possible? Which definitely means more than 0%.

        • Depends on how you define as much as possible. Technically, I could give $4K/mo to charity. But I wouldn’t be investing for retirement. I wouldn’t be helping to support my family. And I would be a basket case because I wouldn’t have cushion in my budget.

          All this to say, I think that’s a pretty snarky answer. Money is not the only way people are charitable.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah, sorry, but no. Anyone who is raiding their retirement or not paying off their loans as fast as they could so they can give to charity is just plain stupid. You have to pay yourself first.

          • Wildkitten :

            If you want to call other smart women stupid I’m sure they’d love to have you at Mr. Money Mustache.

      • Wildkitten :

        Also I think HH is Happy Hour not Household and so probably at least 10% of what you spend on Happy Hour…

        • SpiderLadyCEO :

          This comment cracks me up. I think donating 10% of what you spend at happy hour is a great system! Especially for the people who live happy hour to happy hour ;)

      • Anonymous :

        10% after tax. If that means you buy less house or pay off your student loans slower, then that’s it. Unless you are getting your food from a food bank, you can donate 10%. We are all living in a place of incredible privilege. I’m disgusted by the many people here who are whining that they can’t donate. No wonder Trump won if people think living to a certain standard is necessary before they donate or help others.

    • Anonymous :

      I was just talking with BF about this over the weekend. My budget is in a place that feels really tight for giving financially, but I have the time, so I volunteer my time. I figure as my time gets more sparse but my budget opens up, then I’ll switch over to donate money.

    • layered bob :

      we have a household income of about $200k before tax, and donate about $2.5k/year. This is point of stress because we were both raised to tithe 10%, but after taxes, law school loans, rent and childcare I’m not sure where we’d come up with the additional 8.75%. As our finances stabilize/incomes increase, we have been increasing our giving before increasing our standard of living in other areas.

      As other commenters have noted, we also try to participate in community events, service projects, helping resettle a refugee family, etc., mostly because it’s the right thing to do and also because we want our children to learn that it is the right thing to do.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I donate money to charity, and I also volunteer time to help charitable groups. I can’t imagine not doing one or the other or both.

    • I think a lot of this has to do with how you were raised. I lost my dad at a young age and my mom worked her bu++ off to keep us in private (Catholic) schools. For her, her time (she would volunteer on weekends/nights with the church) and tuition were her donations. Everything else was scrimping and saving so that she could raise us on one parent’s income- diametrically opposed to the other parents who regularly attended $10k/plate gala fundraisers and had memberships to country clubs. Because of this, I always had a ‘feed yourself first’ and ‘save everything’ mentality and never realized how stingy I was until I met my husband, who is on several charitable boards where he donates time and money and still makes donations to other causes and organizations. His parents did that when he was growing up and continue to do so now, so it was behavior he saw growing up.

    • Anonymous :

      I am sure I donate less than many people do, simply because I’m not religious and don’t title 10% to a church – though I don’t necessarily believe that doing so is necessarily charitable. I donate to causes I believe in when I feel it makes sense for me financially, but I don’t stress about it. I’ll most likely donate a large amount when I die and I don’t think that carefully stretching it out over the years is more important that donating larger amounts at the end of my life, should I be so fortunate to be able to afford to do so.

    • Anonymous :

      Together, my husband and I make $500k (gross) a year. We live in a HCOL area and are in our early and mid thirties with 2 kids and one more on the way. We give around $3k a year to charity, which I am sort of ashamed of. My attitude is that I’m likely going to move to a job that involves a significant pay cut within the next year or so, so all spending including charity is calibrated to that expectation, and that we will ramp up our donations once we feel better about our kids’ college savings funds. Our donations are mostly in $500+ increments to organizations that we care about personally, made at the end of the year usually, plus a few hundred bucks here and there for friends and family raising money for other causes. I don’t really have time to volunteer, but when my kids are old enough to join, I’d like to start doing that on weekends with them. As it is, I work all the time so prefer to give money rather than more time away from my family.

    • Anonymous :

      I feel like giving to charity is important but the 10% rule is so arbitrary. Even for people who could afford that much, which is definitely not everyone (including people with high incomes who may have massive student debt or a relative they’re financially supporting), it also overlooks the fact that there are other ways to give. Lots of people give their time to charity, which can be a lot more valuable than a few thousand dollars a year. Someone above mentioned giving a large lump sum donation after their passing. I think it’s one thing to say that charitable giving is important and they judge people who don’t care about charities at all, but I don’t think anyone is really in a position judging how or what people give.

    • Did they say anything about her giving her time? I give my time, because that’s what I have to give right now. I make $130k in a HCOLA and half of my take-home goes to housing + SLs. I give $100 per month to church and serve on the board, and I’m a very active school alumna where I frequently speak on panels or meet students for coffee.

      I’m thinking of my close friends right now, and as much as I love them, I know they do little to no volunteering and I doubt they give much. TBH, though, if you’re in a HCOLA with SLs, there isn’t much to give!

    • I give about that per month (larger gifts at the end of the year). But we also have large student loans and are helping to temporarily support a family member at the moment, so we may in a different place.

    • Could someone link to the article please?

    • I am surprised by the discussion and different points of views. I live outside of the US and it is definitely not a norm or standard thing to donate – regularly or substantial amounts – to charity. Maybe it is because a lot of charities and NGOs are partially financed from our taxes or EU funds, maybe we are used to rather donate our time than money, I don’t know. I certainly do not feel any obligation to donate money to feel like a respectable human being (just to better paint our mindset). Despite this, I give money to causes or projects I feel close to and I get asked from time to time to donate for specific projects by friends or coworkers (and I happily donate).
      Few years ago, I had a discussion with a coworkers from Russia and Ukraine and found out that young people also give substantial part of their salary to their parents to help them balance very poor state retirement pensions. That was a real eye opener for me and since then I always make sure that my first “donation” is to the people who raised me and made sacrifices to make my life better than theirs.
      We have diferrent backgrounds, live in different worlds and somehow I do not feel it is right to humiliate people who have different priorities in life or simply choose different ways to give back than with big donations.
      If you donate substantially – good for you and you have my respect. If you don’t, I am sure you have other qualities that make you a respectable human being. There are wars out there, let’s not be petty.

      • Thanks. I think you’re on point.

      • Statistically charitable giving is lower in countries with strong social welfare states. Which makes sense, because you fund through your taxes a large number of programs that in the US depend very heavily on charitable giving. In the US, many things that Europeans take for granted as the responsibility of the state would not exist if private citizens didn’t write checks.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          So, I am not sure that is precisely correct, certainly not according to the below linked article from the Independent in 2016 which reported on a Charities Aid Foundation ranking of charitable nations based on percentage of GDP donated. The top 4 nations were the USA, New Zealand, Canada and the UK – three of which are known to have pretty solid social safety nets (although the UK’s is declining at a rapid rate at the moment) –

          • I can’t find it now, but the article I was thinking of talked about the percentage of individuals who make charitable donations rather than giving as % of GDP…it was part of an article about private giving and universities. Of course, when you want to find something again, you can’t, sigh.

        • Nudibranch :

          We also (mostly) have to pay for our own higher education here in the United States–an additional financial stress/expectation for families. That is not the case in many other countries.

      • Anonattorney :

        Yeah, when you’re in a country that has high taxes and provides a number of services for the poor through tax dollars, you don’t need to worry as much about charity.

        When you are in a country (like the US) where you can make $250k+ and have an effective tax rate under 20% due to capital gains tax rates, mortgage interest deductions, and other tax loopholes, then you need to start thinking about how to pull your weight and give back to your community.

        It is not petty to demand that people think beyond themselves and consider ways to reduce the effects of gross income inequality.

        • Are you sure someone who makes $250k+ is really paying an effective tax rate of under 20%?

          Taxes include:
          Property taxes
          sales taxes
          payroll taxes
          federal income taxes (note that your paycheck has separate line items for payroll and income tax and the former is not included in your tax return)
          state and city income taxes

          Adding all of that my effective tax rate is approximately 30%, after taking advantage of itemized tax deductions (for mortgage interest and property taxes) and the tax savings associated with maxing out my 401K. If you _only_ look at FIT you might come up with the impression that it was under 20%. But that’s just wrong.

          • I’m assuming btw that we’re discussing someone making that 250k out of ordinary income and not capital gains. Math differs considerably there obviously.

          • Anonymous :

            She said capital gains so I think that’s where she’s getting the 20%. But I don’t think most $250k earners are getting their earnings from capital gains. I’d guess 80% of people at least at that income level just earn pretty much straight income.

          • Anonattorney :

            My effective tax rate was 19% on a $250k pre-tax income. That includes payroll and income tax, capital gains tax, property tax, sales tax, and state and city tax (including a high state income tax). Not saying that everyone can get that effective tax rate, but it’s very possible, and many people making much more than me have an even lower effective tax rate.

          • Anonattorney :

            @Torin: The point is that the US has much lower tax rates than European countries. We can bicker over typical effective tax rates for wealthy Americans, but I’m assuming you accept the fact that we pay much lower taxes here than similarly-situated Europeans? And that there is a greater expectation that charitable giving fills the gaps left by the lower tax bill?

          • European income tax rates are low because they pay VAT taxes. We don’t have VAT here. I don’t know if our effective tax rates are lower or not after VAT is taken into consideration.

        • Anonymous :

          This is a little ironic, because charitable deductions are themselves a tax loophole that get you out of paying the money you really owe the government.

      • Amberwitch :

        As a fellow European and welfare state citizen, I find the whole charity discussion equally baffling.
        Honestly, to me, charitable giving as the norm is kind of icky. It demonstrates that the society isn’t willing to take on the responsibility for its citizens, and that the self satisfaction of being a good person who donates is more important that creating a society where everybody is included and treated equally. By making welfare a private matter, you end up with ‘worthy’ causes and recipients, and ‘unworthy’ causes and recipients, ofte based on religious convictions (don’t get me started on religion, it is sheer insanity and has no place in a civilized society).

        • Anonymous :


        • I don’t currently give more than nominal amounts to any charity.

          Some thoughts about why:

          It’s awkward. I struggle with charity when it seems to assume a class of “haves” and “have nots.” At various times, immediate family members would have qualified as beneficiaries for some of these causes, and it can feel like I’m being asked to see myself as categorically different from them. In the past, I’ve made mistakes like, “Thank you so much for supporting this cause! It was so hard for my mom/sister/whoever when they were going through this.” I’ve learned it’s okay to say that if it’s something like cancer, but it is really not okay to say that if it’s something more socioeconomic; it makes people really uncomfortable. This feels different from the small town, we’re all in this together charitable giving I grew up with. There is pressure to pretend poor people problems are very far from you even when they’re not.

          And then there’s the anxiety over receiving charity to deal with. I feel like there was even a certain amount of pride in NOT taking money (or advice) from the country club set in Irish working-class immigrant culture, and while I hated any mentalities that felt like an obstacle to my ambitions (and resented people who seemed to be sabotaging their own potential), I’ve started to sympathize with the feeling that charity always comes with strings and expectations. Obviously, it’s still good to support charities, because people will take the help anyway when they need it most, or they’ll take it secretly. But it can feel like accepting charity puts you in the “have nots” class–or even a less thans” class–in a kind of fundamental way, or that you are now “beholden.”

          Finally, I can’t tell what I can afford? As the only child in a large family with a 4-year degree and high health care expenses who is still working on student loans, I am prioritizing financial stability and working on being able to be there for people I know. I sometimes feel like I’m stealing from people I know just when I contribute to a savings account–let alone if I’m pressured into giving money to causes or charitable organizations. (I’m not saying I don’t spend unnecessary money on conveniences or entertainment, but one of the reasons I’m a reader here is because I just wasn’t achieving a professional wardrobe through my thrift shop shopping; now I know what to look for eBay. The middle class can be a bit of a foreign country sometimes.) But I know that not saving is one of the things that keeps people poor, and I want as much money saved up as possible in case something happens.

          I do think it’s great when there’s a way to support people indirectly, because helping out family and friends can mess with relationships, and I’ve seen this go really poorly sometimes.

          And I guess I think as a cultural institution charity can can act like a crutch that keeps inequality from being addressed on a more fundamental level (and again, sometimes it even seems like this is why people like it so much).

          • anon for this :

            So much this. Like you, I did not grow up wealthy or even middle class. My parents and grandparents are undocumented immigrants and are/were agricultural workers. My husband and his parents are asylees. Neither of our parents speak English. My husband and I obviously had student loans coming from this background. We obviously still need to help our family members. We obviously need to save for our kids’ college and retirement, as we will have no family help with this or any inheritance.

            Just because we have a good education and high paying jobs does not mean that the effects of growing up poor or “economically disadvantaged” are somehow over. So many of the comments here to the effect of “you should give X% to charity!” seem incredibly tone deaf and reflective of living in an upper middle class bubble with no connection or understanding to those of different socioeconomic classes and the different set of situations they face.

          • (Obviously people really involved in charity can also be some of the best people out there, and also the most interested in really changing the world for the better. It’s probably hard to generalize without a specific cause in mind!)

            I would sum by saying I think I avoid charity because I feel conflicted about it, and because I don’t really feel like I understand my personal finances or how to calculate risk, and I am realizing as I listen to myself that I should work on this.

        • Nudibranch :


    • Yes, it is normal in our circles to give.

      Our household income is about 250K. We are big savers, live well within our means.

      Last year we gave about $15k at the end of year mostly in $1000-2000 increments. We choose several national and international organizations that do really great work. We gave more as monthly donations/subscriptions and several “one-offs” for local stuff (ex. high school causes) for another $3-5,000 I think.

      Planned Parenthood
      Doctors without borders
      Amnesty International
      Our local food depository
      International Rescue Committee
      Partner’s in Health
      Southern Poverty Law Center
      Save the Children

      We also gave to several local theater groups to support the Arts (so important now) and to medical research foundations (supporting pancreatic cancer basic research). Those range in the $500-$1000. Those areas are also important to us personally for how they affected our lives.

      In addition, we subscribe with monthly donations to our local NPR and public television/classical music stations.

      We really, really enjoy sitting down and doing our donations. It feels really good.

      I also donate my time. Recently, I volunteer with outreach groups to help people find health insurance who need it and to advocate for the affordable care act (while admitting its limitations), and volunteering for our local hospice organization.

      It is really important to educate children at a young age about giving, and volunteering. Many on this website don’t realize how relatively wealthy they are, and how their children are observing their goals/priorities.

    • Our HHI is around 400k pre-tax, and thanks to our recently completed taxes, I know that we donated nearly 20k. Some of that was in material goods but most was in the form of cash donations. We heavily support causes related to abolishing homelessness and hunger in our city.

      We are very fortunate to be debt-free outside of our modest mortgage. However, I imagine if we came upon any sort of financial hardship or had significant student loans/medical bills, the donations would be one of the first things cut back.

    • anon for this :

      We have been judged HARD for not donating much to charity, with (former) friends being very aggressive about it. I have learned to not give AF. I’d say we average 500-1k a year. Our HHI is about 400k. We cannot validate giving much money to charity when we have so many expenses of our own – supporting ourselves, our kids, and four aging parents in a HCOL environment. We have four mortgages and multiple car payments (none of which are for cars my husband or I drive because we drive old POSs to save money). And of course we are trying to save for retirement so our kids don’t have the same fate we do.

      • Holy crap, there is no way you*need* to spend that money and it is seriously, seriously selfish to not give any of it to charity. Also that kind of spending sounds way irresponsible, so I guess you’ll probably get yours sooner or later.

        • anon for this :

          Wait wait wait, did you really call providing for my family “way irresponsible”? And sure, I don’t *need* to provide for my family. If I didn’t, yeah I guess they are really poor, so they could probably get cheap subsidized housing in a bad neighborhood (instead of a small apartment in a middle class neighborhood), and I could make them take the city bus to doctor’s appointments (instead of helping them buy a used honda), and give my money to charity instead! That would make me a better person! *eye roll* If you are seriously implying I should be giving money to charity instead of helping elderly parents and grandparents with living expenses so they have a place to live in a safe place and convenient transportation, you obviously have different priorities than me.

          (This is obviously incredibly offensive.)

          • Anonymous :

            I think that might have been a troll. FWIW, I think you are a great person for helping out family to this extent. Not many people would.

          • Cosign, absolutely. I believe in charitable giving but I also believe in making sure the people close to you are taken care of. I’ve never done a $1,000 donation to charity but I paid $12,000 to put my brother through rehab. (Fortunately, it took and he’s clean now.) We send my MIL a few hundred dollars a month so she can have some nice extras – like living in a clean, safe retirement apartment complex – and not just have to live off her (pathetic) Social Security and (almost as pathetic) public retirement income. I would give more if we had it to give, but I need to make sure my MIL has a safe roof over her head. What you’re doing is charitable giving, in its own way.

      • +1 – totally agree with you & in a similar situation.

    • I support mainly UNICEF. I also support the education of my nanny’s daughters, and that of a few under privileged kids. About $10k annually, which is 5% of my take home pay.

      I hate being solicited by friends though.

    • Even when I made around $30,000 a year, I still gave $500 each year through monthly donations to a nonprofit. Small monthly donations can add up over months and years. The quote “Live simply so others may simply live” comes to mind. Sure, we have expenses, but it’s all relative, isn’t it? Other people don’t have enough to eat. I think everyone should give to nonprofits that resonate with them. We aren’t just on this planet to consume. We also need to look out for others.

  6. I really like these earrings. This color of stone is really eye catching on someone with dark hair.

  7. High School Reunion Wear? :

    My husband’s thirty year class reunion is this spring. There are two events we’ll be attending: a baseball game and an evening dinner. The invitation requests business casual dress for both. He’s an alum of a private boys school in the South. I have literally no idea what to wear. FWIW, I’m 34 and a bit pear-shaped. I’d like to look attractive, like myself (which is to say, no Lily Pulitzer pastels), and not too second-wifey. Suggestions?

    • What about something like this:

      In the blue maybe?

    • How would you describe your style? What are the school’s colors?

      • High School Reunion Wear? :

        Sort of basic? I wear a lot of black and white with clean lines and fab shoes.

        Navy and light blue.

        • This may be a very specific recommendation but I think a white shirt dress (for me with Converse) for the baseball game and a basic shift/wrap dress for dinner.

          My inspiration is courtesy of Cuyana
          Dinner: or

          • PrettyPrimadonna :

            I love the idea of a shirt dress to the baseball game. Another idea is a ponte dress and accessories in the school’s colors.

    • I would say a jersey dress from Boden. They have cuts that are flattering for all shapes, cute prints and good solids, and travel well.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      For the baseball game, I’d wear a sundress or maxi dress. For the dinner, a wrap dress would work.
      On another note, requesting “business casual” dress for a baseball game is ridic. I assume they just don’t want people showing up in cutoff shorts and t-shirts.

      • Anonymous :

        You realize a sundress and a maxi dress are the opposite of business casual, yes?

        • Wildkitten :

          Hence her second paragraph explaining just that.

        • High School Reunion Wear? :

          This is actually why I’m confused. Totally normal clothes for that activity–a sundress–aren’t at all business appropriate. But actual business casual seems weird for a baseball game and uncomfortably warm.

      • Ah, a classic dress code written by men. This makes sense to them because khakis + button-down or polo is both business casual *and* appropriate for a baseball game. OP, go with Mrs. Jones’s advice: sundress or maxi with a wrap or cardigan. (The exact kind of clothes we discuss here as being more for dressing up for a BBQ rather than for work that somehow get in the “wear to work” section of most retailers nowadays.)

      • see also last week’s thread on dressing for SEC games. My firm sometimes hosts firm events at baseball games. We have had some issues in the past with staff showing up in revealing tank tops, underwear showing, short cut-off jean shorts. Basically, not what you’d want representing the firm. I expect that when they mean business casual in this invite, they don’t necessarily mean pencil skirt or slacks/cardi combo “dressed down” with flats. They mean please look nice and don’t slum it to the ball game.

      • Anonymous :

        J Crew seersucker gathered-sleeve sheath dress? Or some other seersucker sheath? This is where my mind went immediately.

    • You are so lucky to be MARRIED to an older man. I am just a little older then you and would NOT mind marrying a man about 50 year’s old or so, but all of the men that ooogle me are over 70, and that is to old for me b/c I want them to be around to raise the children WITH me. I do NOT mind if I HAD to be a single parent, but think that 70 is twice my age. The manageing partner’s brother is about that age, but he claims that he is a s-xueal dynamo. I just can NOT imagine haveing him huffeing and puffeing on top of me all day. FOOEY!

      But you should wear a sun dress if you are down south. Stay away from pencil skirts with your figure, or else men will be stareing at your tuchus. I wish you the best of luck with these men b/c they are from a prep school, where they are notorius for gropeing at women. FOOEY!

    • Do you work in a business casual office? What’s your usual go-to outfit for that dress code?

    • Wildkitten :

      I bet you can find photos from last year’s reunion on Facebook!

    • Maddie Ross :

      I am thinking I may have done the 20th reunion for a similar (if not the same) school last year. Honestly, even with the “business casual” dress code, you’ll see a whole spectrum of women’s wear there. IMO you take the general idea of business casual (so no spaghetti straps or strapless, nothing skin tight or cocktail-ish) and make a bit ladies-who-lunch. A crisp white blouse with the sleeves rolled up and a bright colored skirt in a shape that flatters you with flats. A ponte sheath dress with a fun necklace and flats or wedges. Dinner is the same general idea, but darker colors and maybe dressier jewelry, but with heels.

      • Yes, I’d agree in general- dressy preppy casual- though the ponte I’ve seen will be too hot! I’d go with a cute skirt with a cotton top (or ankle pants personally).

  8. Anyone voting in the Georgia 6th today?

  9. Anonymous :

    Visiting Chicago this weekend. Uber vs Lyft? What do you recommend? Thanks!

    • I’ve had better experiences with Lyft in Chicago overall.

    • I use both frequently, and either is fine. If you use the Pool or Line features, I find that Uber is quicker than Lyft, probably because there are more Uber drivers around?

  10. Okay, I swear I’m not a troll. Can someone please explain why people get SO bent out of shape when they feel like people are judging them on the internet or even real life I guess? I’ve never been rude or judgey on here, so I’m not trying to make excuses. I’m just genuinely curious. Like, obviously I don’t like it and I usually find the offender obnoxious. But I don’t need to defend my choices to anyone. I just shake it off and move on. What am I missing?

    • I’ll play.

      I don’t need to defend my choices. I can not comment and go about my day and never think about it again. But this blog in particular fosters discussion because we’re interested in discussing things. Just because we’re discussing it doesn’t mean if PosterX doesn’t stop judging us all we’re all going to go home and cry later.

    • I think, because of the semi-anonymity of the community here, people are more open about sensitive matters than they might be in real life, and people (especially commenters using the handle “Anonymous”) feel free to be harsher or blunter in delivering their opinions than they might be if they had to say them to a real person sitting in front of them. So, even though there’s logically no “need” to get defensive if people pile on against you because you don’t know who they are and they don’t know who you are (technically), if you posted about a sensitive subject (e.g., money, relationships) and you get a ton of responses along the lines of “OMG that is totally the wrong way to [relationship/manage your finances/feed your dog/live],” then it’s natural that someone might feel defensive.

      Basically, there’s not a lot of empathy on the Internet.

  11. pins and needles :

    I was supposed to hear back from the recruiter at Company A yesterday, after my second round of onsite interviews last week. I got a job offer from Company B on Friday. I sent a note to the recruiter at Company A around 4pm yesterday (the day I was supposed to hear back from her), saying that I wanted to check in on their timeline because I had another offer, and also that I want to continue the conversation with them. I still haven’t heard back, so I’m really tempted to send a note to the hiring manager with the same note about the other offer and hoping to continue the conversation with them. I don’t want to be pushy, but the uncertainty is kind of killing me. I feel like I should really wait until tomorrow to send a note to the hiring manager, but I’m so distracted at my desk and my stomach is in knots. Even if the answer is “no”, just tell me already!

    • Anonymous :


    • Wildkitten :

      Employers never move as fast as you want them to and it’s the worst. When do you have to get back to Company A?

      • pins and needles :

        There’s no hard deadline, but we agreed we’d check in early this week. I expect that I’ll have a note in my inbox tomorrow morning from Company A’s hiring manager if I don’t reply to them with something this afternoon. I’d like to give them an answer by Friday… even if that answer is to ask for more time to consider the offer.

  12. Anonymous :

    I got married a couple months ago. We’re both late 20s/early 30s, planning to have kids in the next 2 years. Everything between us is great, except I have zero s*x drive. I’ve felt this way for probably the past year or so? Maybe a little longer, but it’s hard to remember at this point. I can’t really pinpoint the cause. I know that I had been on the pill for years (since I was 17) without this problem (or, at least, I had *some* drive, if not a high one), and then about a year ago I switched to the nuvaring. I know it’s common to lose that kind of interest in a long-term partner, especially for women, but the fact is, I have no drive AT ALL. I have no desire to self-garden, I don’t have thoughts about any other guys. So I don’t think it’s specific to my husband. But the fact remains, and it’s really causing us some stress. We garden about once a week, and once we get going, I really do enjoy it. But I have no desire to initiate, and often I just feel lazy and don’t want to put the effort in.

    I tried switching back to the pill, but it causes nonstop spotting, which hardly makes me want to garden more (and I didn’t notice my drive returning, anyway). Is there something wrong with me? I really miss this part of me.

    • Anonymous :

      Talk to your OBGYN about it. The timing certainly makes it seem birth control related. If I were you, I might try to go off hormonal BC completely to see if you could get things to return to normal and then you could try out other hormonal methods.

    • Anonymous :

      Talk to your doctor. I think your drive has a lot to do with your testosterone levels (which, yes, women have), and the hormones from BC can mess with that. There are several different pill formulations – maybe there are even different nuvaring formulations (?) – so there are options.

      Alternatively – stop BC all together and see what happens. Have your H wear condoms for the time being, and see if your drive returns.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Have you had your hormones / thyroid checked? That could affect it. I had some weird symptoms (night sweats / GI distress / pain / low drive) I asked my OBGYN about and she set me up with the RE NP in the practice group I go to and I had a whole panel of tests done and got put on some sort of a prolactin inhibitor and my symptoms went away (Not saying this is your particular problem – just my experience).

      I would definitely ask my OBGYN about this.

      • Anonymous :

        thanks, ladies. I did talk to my OBGYN about it – twice. The first time she told me I should “date” my husband more (this was before we got married), implying that this was a normal part of a long-term relationship. The second time, when I told her I really wanted to try something different, she put me back on the pill (but then I had the spotting issue, so I switched back to nuvaring).

        Maybe I need a new OBGYN. I have low thyroid, but that is supposed to be under control (I take a low dose of synthroid). I will ask my primary care doc (who also does some routine gyn stuff) to test my levels again.

        • +1

          I think you need a new OBGYN, or to go back and tell her “it’s not working”.

          Definitely re-check thyroid. Your needs can change over time.

          Agree that testosterone levels are key.

          Did you ever see an endocrinologist for your thyroid? They are the perfect doc to address all of these issues in one place.

        • Wildkitten :

          Get a new OBGYN.

        • Pretty sure your synthroid dose needs adjusting. A friend of mine went through this a couple of years ago. She told me she basically felt as * x ual, like that part of her brain had been scooped out and not replaced with anything. She saw an endocrinologist who worked with her to get her dose accurately calibrated and it alllll came back, with somewhat of a vengeance. :-) It’s not normal to have no drive whatsoever, at any time – go see your doc.

        • Do you have any other low thyroid symptoms? You may want to see if they can run extra tests to make sure your T4 to T3 conversion is good. It’s my understanding that Synthroid can improve TSH results without clearing up symptoms if T4 conversion is an issue, and it sometimes takes a long time to realize when this is happening.

    • I went through a period when I had ZERO interest when I was 26 or so. For me, it was a combination of mental things: I was long-term unemployed and felt depressed, I had put on some weight, and I wasn’t physically attracted to my then-husband. That last one took many years for me to acknowledge, but it was really true. My gardening interest with subsequent partners has been sky high.

    • I also use Nuvaring and have zero drive. It is also causing problems in my relationship. We had a long talk about it, and I explained that it’s not that I don’t love him or want him, but I just have no interest in doing it at all. We talked through the options, and we want to have kids in the future, so no permanent options. I can’t do the pill because I turn into a sobbing mess. I am also terrified of IUDs. He doesn’t want to do condoms forever. So we’ve just agreed, until we’re ready to TTC, I’ll make an effort to be into and not act like it’s a chore, and he’ll be more understanding that this isn’t how I feel about *him*.

      You’re not alone.

    • Anonymous :

      I think that different types of birth control affect people differently and I’ve had one too many Obgyns discount my symptoms that I no longer trust anything they have to say on this front. I would consider finding an oral contraceptive that doesn’t lower progestin and androgen. This chart has what I think is a thorough explanation of how the different pills potentiate different hormones and resulting side effects, like spotting:

    • anonforthis :

      This describes me exactly. Every single detail including the timing, and that I’m into it once it begins.

      I am going to go off the pill but I’m getting married and want to wait in case i have any weird side effects. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to try a new one, use condoms, or try the FAM method.
      I also have a thyroid issue, but I’m not (yet) medicated and don’t have other associated problems like low energy, etc.

    • The Nuvaring was the culprit for me, as well as several friends of mine. Experiment with different methods. Condoms are better than no drive at all

  13. First time ever a Pap smear was attempted today. Did not expect it to be pleasant, but definitely did not expect to get triggered when the doctor put her hand on my hipbone and kick/flail/fight. I (wrongly) assumed my body would recognize the difference between a doctor appointment and the experience 18+ months ago where I was held down while groped that got really close to being so much worse. The doctor was very understanding once I kind of got out what had happened but it was terrible. And the Pap smear didn’t happen. I wasn’t even thinking to warn her there might be an issue since I didn’t expect it to be a problem.

    • TorontoNewbie :

      I have nothing except virtual hugs from an Internet stranger and a gentle suggestion that some short-term therapy might be useful for this.

      • My therapist is the best. Been seeing her for 3ish years now and I’ll of course talk to her about it on Thursday when we meet. :)

    • Anonymous :

      Not sure if you’re still reading, but just wanted to say I’m thinking about you. That feeling must be so scary, and I’m sure the surprise of the feeling was also extra scary. I hope you’re able to be kind to yourself and find whatever you need to keep processing the trauma you experienced 18 months ago. Take care!

      • Thanks Anon. I did some retail therapy and just tried to distract myself.

        Although it was obviously not the same situation and that’s irritating, I am glad to know “fight” kicked in when my body felt the same way it did, instead of freeze/appease, which is what happened at the time. Makes me think my work to be a bit more assertive and say “No” more has been helping. I was also shrieking “STOP STOP” when the doctor touched me.

    • Wildkitten :

      I am so sorry and +100 everything Anonymous at 7:50 said.

      For a short term, fix, your doc should be able to give you some meds to relax. A lot of people panic pretty severely at the dentist (which is obviously different) and they have a whole assortment of cocktails that can help you relax.

      • Ativan might be an idea. Unfortunately this was part of a larger appointment about a medical issue that will involve a LOT more of that kind of touch and so I’m going to have to work through that.

        • Ask your doctor, or write her a note if you can’t get the words out, to schedule extra time for your appointments and to narrate with your what is going to happen next. Some doctors are better trained than others when it comes to examining survivors. I had one doctor that was really exceptional about saying “ok, now I am going to put my hand here, and then move it here and do x” I’d been to a variety of doctors over the years and she was the first one that did that as part of her exam.

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