Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Sleeveless Pleated Top

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

This Calvin Klein top is a bestseller at Macy’s. I like the pleated neckline and I think the shirt is very flattering. (Know your office, of course — not all sleeveless looks are appropriate in every workplace.) If you’re looking for a layer to wear under cardigans or blazers, or if a sleeveless top is OK for your office, this is a great basic. The washing instructions are “dry clean” and not “dry clean only,” so you could take your chances. The top has tons of great reviews and comes in black and white in sizes 2–14 for $25. Sleeveless Pleated Top

This seems to be the same top in plus sizes.

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  1. Does anyone here have a bidet/can anyone recommend a decent hose-style one that I could install in my rental apartment? I used one on vacation recently and felt much cleaner and I’ve become convinced that I need one for daily use. I also think it could help cut down on showering (I sometimes shower twice a day), especially since it can be used after LGPs and during my cycle as well. Would appreciate any brand or style recommendations.


    • There are lots of parent blogs about how to attach these because they use them to spray off cloth diapers.

      • Clementine :

        We have one exactly because of this! We just got a highly rated one on Amazon and it is awesome.

        I’m a big fan of it for hot days.

        • What’s the brand? And I agree, it seems like it would be great after a really hot day.

          • Clementine :

            Just checked my order history on Amazon and the brand is Aquaus. We’ve used it regularly for almost 2 years with no issues.

            Link in a separate comment.

          • Clementine :


            This looks like ‘this year’s model’.

          • Thanks!!

    • Not picking on you, but genuinely curious. You sometimes need to shower after going to the bathroom? I didn’t realize this was something people did. And it happens often enough to be a factor in your decision-making?
      I feel like maybe I’m a slob or something, because I don’t think I’ve ever needed to shower afterwards. Maybe I’m not doing something correctly…

      • Anonymous :

        I am curious too. I keep baby wipes handy in case I need something more than TP, but I have never felt like I needed to shower after using the facilities.

      • I don’t “need” to (and I don’t when I’m staying at someone’s house or something), but it contributes to feeling fresh for the day after sometimes getting sweaty while sleeping as well. I also know that some other cultures consider it totally gross NOT to use a bidet, so I thought maybe they have a point.

      • Linda from HR :

        Not the OP, but sometimes a sign that I need a shower is feeling gross “down there.” It’s not something I need to do after the bathroom though.

      • I read some article that described using a bidet as “the difference between hosing off your muddy boots and wiping them off with a paper towel.” That stuck with me. Since we had one anyway for diaper duty, it was easy to shift to using it for other purposes too.

      • Anonymous :

        I typically just crouch under the bathtub tap, but I find it is a quicker, tidier solution to moments of “the blood! Oh god the blood!”.

        • Sounds like you need a diva cup…then you won’t have those moments.

          • Anonymous :

            More like I need medical treatment, which I’m getting. But thanks for the suggestion, it might work for others.

          • I have those moments even with a menstrual cup. Perimenopause is no joke, ladies.

      • Anon at 9:24 :

        Interesting! I have never felt so gross that a baby wipe doesn’t get the job done. I suppose I am lucky!

        • Baby wipes are not supposed to be flushed, so this is a more eco-friendly solution to the same problem.

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            Thank you! Please do not flush wipes. I always knew that it was bad but then I did a sewer tour recently and the problem that wipes are creating is insane. Even if they are labeled biodegradable that means it will take a while for them to break down- they will not break down by the time they go from your toilet to the treatment facility and they cause so many problems!

          • Anon at 9:24 :

            I don’t flush them. Slow your roll. I do buy biodegradable ones and they then go into the waste bags I buy which are suitable for compost. Slow down again, I don’t put the f e c a l matter into my compost barrel, it’s my solution to buying less plastic (let the judgment begin . . . ).

          • Yes, I sometimes use baby wipes, but they’re not eco-friendly, the cost adds up, and a bidet seems like a more economical way to accomplish the same thing.

      • Different diets can have drastically different effects on bowels. So depending upon what you are eating, things may require a bit more clean up, if you know what I mean. Also, depending upon what toilet paper you use things can be a little rough on the skin. Like my 100 year old building has a lot of plumbing issues and we can only use the thinnest (rough…) toilet paper. So sometimes a little bit of moisture is nice.

      • Think about it this way: if a bird sh*t on your head, would you wash it off with water, or would you wipe it off with a paper towel?

      • I feel the same. TP easily does the job for me.

    • South Asian :

      You can also use a giant plastic measuring cup or flower water pot – welcome to the world of lotas.

    • Clearly I’m really dense, but I don’t fully understand the bidet.

      I get the utility of hosing off after LGPs and during your cycle (so convenient), but what about after #2? I’d think a spray of water wouldn’t be sufficient for…less liquid waste, so you might want to soap up too. So do you bidet-users keep something handy for that too? And of you’re using toilet paper to clean off/dry your newly-bideted bum, how does the TP not turn into a soggy wad?

      So many questions for a Friday morning.

      • I don’t have the hose type, I have the toilet seat type, and for me the bidet is the way to go. The jet stream has a bit of pressure to it so it does get things loosened off your skin, and then TP does the rest of the job. And because the jet stream is just pointing to a pre-calibrated location, you’re not getting water all over your bum that the TP would get soggy.

        • Link?

          Is this less ?messy somehow, or why pick one type over the other.

          Is it tricky to “position” just right to not make a mess?

          Again, trying to decide if this could work for an elderly family member that doesn’t have great flexibility (eg. turning to look behind..).

          • This is the one I have but you can shop around:

            Luxe Bidet Neo 120 – Self Cleaning Nozzle – Fresh Water Non-Electric Mechanical Bidet Toilet Attachment (blue and white)

            There are fancy ones in the hundreds of dollars too. I had to adjust the water pressure (at the valve connecting to the toilet’s fill valve) so that it’s not too strong. Mine sprays at the bum only, so if you want to wash the lady’s bit you’ll have to wiggle to adjust your position relative to the stream. There are ones that have two separate jet streams for the different parts.

    • Thanks for this post OP!

      I have been looking into this for a family member, and it made me think…… I admit that I have made “wet toilet paper” a few times myself to assist. Definitely isn’t good to flush baby wipes (even the ones that say they are flushable). But I hadn’t even thought about getting one for myself and now I think….. What a practical idea. The reviews on Amazon can be stunning. They are apparently the norm in some other countries.

      For anyone that has one… can they be messy? Getting one for my relative, I want to make sure they are pretty easy to target and control the pressure of the water so things don’t get sprayed around the bathroom. But since I have never seen/used one before, I may be imagining incorrectly…

    • Never too many shoes... :

      This whole discussion has led me to ask if anyone has seen the movie Why Him with James Franco?

    • I think we should all have these. We had them in the hotel in Paris, and we were NOT even abel to find guy’s to have ladies garden parties with. But when I was young in Paris, we DID have very clean vuvla’s, even though there were NO men around to appreciate them and do stuff with us. That is the probelem with age. As you get older, you want clean vuvla’s, but b/c you are older, men do NOT want to see this or do stuff other then conventional p-in-v sex, and woosh! Before you know it, the schlub is done and is rolling over to sleep! DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • Anonymous :

      Everyone in Asia uses this hose spray or a bidet. I’m always surprised the US hasn’t switched!
      You feel cleaner plus better for environment as less tissue usage. Just get the plumber to install it. I’m sure you can get it most places…

  2. I have two Coobie bras that I like because they have removable pads (which I don’t need for size, but I appreciate the headlight protection). The problem is that they are not at all cute, but the only cute bralettes I can find don’t seem to have any padding or lining. Anyone know where I can find one that does?

    • Anonshmanon :

      following! I don’t need lots of support, but I want headlight protection. Is there any product for that?

    • Marshmallow :

      I have had good luck with Lively’s wireless bras, which are essentially padded bralettes. I’m a 34DD and I can comfortably wear their wireless all day. I have both the v neck style and the more typical bra-looking style and I think the V neck is cuter, but the regular one hides a little better under tee shirts.

    • lawsuited :

      Maybe get the cute bralettes you want and some reusable (washable) breast pads for headlight protection? They are tons of options on amazon, including some lacy ones.

  3. London suiting :

    Does anyone have recommendations for where to buy suiting in London? I’m mainly looking for mid-range pant suits, preferably from brands that carry petite/ smaller sizes. I’m average height but jackets from most brands tend to be big in the chest and shoulder areas while the trousers tend to be big in the thigh area. My budget is not huge but for the right fit I’m pretty flexible.

    Any other recommendations for UK brands carrying business formal staples are also much appreciated. TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      Reiss, but it might be out of your budget.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      The Fold
      LK Bennett
      maybe Jigsaw but it might be too informal

      Are you from the UK? If not I will just warn you that clothing is more expensive here than in the USA. Although I love a lot of the styles here in the UK – I still wait to go back to the USA to do a lot of shopping for the deals!

      • London suiting :

        Thanks! I would definitely prefer US prices but unfortunately I’m in Scandinavia, prices are pretty high here too and the options in terms of basic women’s suiting are pretty limited.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        I *love* all these shops but I think I aimed way lower on my interpretation of mid-range haha!

        • London suiting :

          Thanks for you suggestions, I will check them out! “Mid-range” was pretty vague I know. I’m pretty junior so I usually shop at high street stores since I can’t really justify to myself spending a ton on clothing. Looking at my colleagues though, I feel like I need to up my game a bit when it comes to fashion. It’s pretty hard to judge how big the quality difference is between different price points and how much is actually reasonable to spend on a suit so I’m keeping my options open and appreciate all suggestions!

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            I think tailoring is an easy way to “up your game”. It doesn’t need to be a super expensive item but if it fits you to a T you will look amazing.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Try Marks & Spencer or, for a bit more expensive, Austin Reed.

  4. I did it! :

    I posted here the other week about lacking motivation in my last two weeks of grad school. I just wanted to share that I just handed in my final assignment, and it’s looking very likely that I’ve kept my 4.0! It seems I’m constitutionally incapable of actually slacking off as a student.

    I took a personal day today, and will be getting a haircut and massage and then drinking ALL THE CHAMPAGNE at dinner tonight! It’s such a relief to be done and get my nights and weekends back.

  5. Clementine :

    I got this top on the recommendation of some readers here and it is opaque (WHAT??? WOO HOO!) and heavy enough to take your jacket off it gets hot in your office.

    I wore it with a navy suit and nude pumps, plus some colorful statement jewelry for a big meeting and felt good.

    • seconding! I have this top in both blue and white and love them both. I have yet to risk doing anything but dry clean though, so if someone else has handwashed it, do share!

      • I have this top in both blue and black and practically I live in them! Seriously thinking about buying more, sometimes Macy’s has them in prints.

        I handwash mine and they are just fine. TBH I’ve also put them in through the delicates cycle a few times with no problems. Definitely make sure to hang dry — I find using a plastic hanger works best so that the pleats dry right, and make sure to tuck the facings into place.

    • Flats Only :

      Plus it does not need to be dry cleaned. I have always washed mine with other dedicates and dried it on low in the dryer and it comes out fine.

      • Mine are several years old now but same material- I wash regular cycle and dry on low heat routinely, they have been fine.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      An opaque white top?! I’m off to buy multiples, then. I had basically given up on finding that. And for $25, I’ll wash it in the washing machine and report back.

    • This sounds like the dream! I just wish it had sleeves.

    • FYI – for my shape, it didn’t quite work. It was somehow a little to short for my preference.

      I am an extreme pear shape, with a short waist. So most of my pants/skirts are lower than my natural waist or things look out of wack. So this shirt risked more of a gap there, for me.

      It is so inexpensive, and decent enough quality though that really you should check it out. I’m glad I did.

    • Senior Attorney :

      How is it for a large bust?

      • Clementine :

        I am a 32 G, currently and 5’8… I got a medium and it’s fine. It is a little on the shorter side, but looks just fine either untucked with pants or tucked into a (admittedly higher waisted) skirt.

      • Anonymous :

        First time poster here- had to post on this thread because I have this in blue, black, white and red (yes I am obsessed). I have large “girls” and it is great. Bonus tip, I found this in petite at Nordstrom Rack for about $18 (or less, I can’t remember). And this is great for layering.

    • Foolish Fox :

      I love these tops. I buy one whenever I see them on sale. And they have great patterns. And I just wash normally and hang to dry and have had no issues.

  6. Social science PhD? :

    Piggybacking off yesterday’s conversation about whether to go back to school for a PhD – I’d love to hear from social science PhDs now in corporate roles.

    My current corporate job involves a lot of reading through journal articles, mostly management and social science, writing syntheses of these, and identifying further questions. A little like putting together a review article, with less quant focus.

    There’s a particular PhD program, local to me and fully funded, that I’d love to apply for – it’s a moonshot for me, highly selective, and I have nothing to lose by applying. I plan go right back to corporate work afterwards. What puts me off, though is having to focus on one specific research theme for years because I’m such a magpie. (This is also what put me off applying to PhD programs out of undergrad. A decade later, that hasn’t changed…) Thoughts?

    • Social science PhD? :

      *plan to

    • “What puts me off, though is having to focus on one specific research theme for years”
      A PhD is not for you. Seriously, this is literally what the degree is. Consuming research and learning to create it are two very different things. It sounds like you have an interest in the former and not the latter.

      • Also, your understanding of what it’s like to put together a review article is off. Synthesizing information you read vs creating knowledge are two extremely different things. What you describe is nothing at all like writing a journal article.

        • Anonymous :

          +1 to all of this. A lit review is not research. A dissertation is about one specific topic. If you really enjoy doing lit reviews on a variety of topics, keep your current job.

        • Social science PhD? :

          Eh, that’s the thing. I don’t enjoy doing lit reviews that much – the more actual primary research I read, the more interested I am in the process of creating each piece of research: how do you develop a hypothesis and design ways of testing it? how do you make use of theoretical frameworks to make sense of the data? and so on.

          • Do you want to do qualitative or quantitative work? What field?

          • Social science PhD? :

            Organizational behavior, so primarily qualitative. Alas, no terminal Masters in this program.

        • Social science PhD? :

          Also should have clarified: I wouldn’t necessarily plan to return to the exact same corporate role, but would like a sense of how the skills and expertise you gain translate to various types of corporate work.

          • It’s important to understand that qualitative research and quantitative research take opposite approaches to the hypothesis. Qualitative research builds the hypothesis out of the data. Quantitative research starts with a hypothesis and then uses the data to test it. Organizational behavior employs both qualitative and quantitative research methods from psychology and sociology.

            I work with a Ph.D. in organizational behavior who used some pretty sophisticated quant methods in her dissertation. Our nonprofit organization does applied social science research and some management-consulting-like projects. The organizational behavior Ph.D. is in an entry-level position and spends most of her time cleaning quantitative data sets. She also does semi-structured qualitative interviews and analyzes the data from those interviews. It will likely be several years before she is the PI on very small research project.

        • Anonymous :

          Agree. I love love creating knowledge. But the synthetizing… meh not so much. And that is “capital O” obligatory in social science doctoral work. Hindsight…

        • I dunno. I’ve written several review articles in medicine, and review articles are not writing your own original research, they are about reviewing the up to date literature, summarizing it, and applying it. I think it sounds like you have a grasp of what review articles are, at least as they exist in my field.

          Obviously original research is totally different…

    • Anonymous :

      I think it’s really difficult to get a PhD unless you’re really excited about researching one specific thing for years. On the other hand, you don’t have anything to lose by applying and if you’re accepted you can spend time talking in depth to students and faculty and getting a better sense for whether or not you’d like the program.

    • Anonymous :


    • Anony Mouse :

      As the others have said, you have to be willing to dedicate years of your life to one hyper-specialized topic to be able to succeed as a PhD student. However, does the school you’re looking at offer a terminal master’s degree in the same field? That would give you a better sense of whether you’d like to do a PhD, without the 5+ year time commitment. Granted, from what I’ve seen most terminal master’s degree programs aren’t fully funded, unfortunately.

    • Something to keep in mind is that as you get sucked into your topic you may actually find it interesting and satisfying to become a true expert on it. One of my primary areas of research is a topic that I don’t actually find that interesting (this is what happens when you get a job), but it is rewarding to know pretty much everything there is to know about it and to be able to advance the field.

    • I’m actually interested in your current job–would you talk a little more about what type of role and organization it is, if you are comfortable doing so?

      • Social science PhD? :

        It’s in (small) strategy / communications consulting, and a research role that supports both business development and product. In addition to desk research, I help put together surveys and qualitative interviews, but I’m starting to feel like I need better grounding in research methods.

        • Anonymous :


        • Assistant Prof :

          Re: an early anon’s comment about the difference between qual and quant methods – In my field, we don’t do inductive analysis. We do qualitative methods, such as process tracing and comparative case study methods, that are very strong for hypothesis testing. In fact, we create ex-ante hypotheses and then test them. As far as research methods go, you would learn this in the first year of your program. Remember that many (if not most) people who get a PhD in many fields are coming in with only a BA or BS – their training in research methods will vary.

    • Anonymouse :

      The decision to pursue a PhD or not is entirely dependent on the field. So its definitely not one size fits all. First thing I would do is LinkedIn stalk students who have graduated the program you’re interested in and see what they’ve done with their degree since graduating. Look at the types of positions theyre getting, how much those positions pay (look to Glassdoor for this but be aware it wont be 100% accurate), then contact a few of them to set up an informational interview and ask about their experience in the program , what they’re doing at their current job, etc. You’ll probably get a lot of unanswered messages but all you need are a few yes’s!

      A PhD is not for everyone, as the people above noted. But if you come in with relevant work experience, a clear perspective why you want to do it and job prospects once you graduate (which can change while youre in school), then you should fair better than most. Just make sure you do your homework.

  7. Two Cents :

    I’m going on vacation and looking for a maxi or midi dress with a lower waistline. I have tried and returned several maxis that have more of an empire waist, which makes me look pregnant even though my stomach is decently flat. For example, something like this looks terrible on me:

    Any suggestions on a maxi dress with a much lower waist (preferably a fitted and defined waist, I look much better in those than shift style dresses). I’m a size 4/6.


    • I’ve had good luck at express!

    • Maybe get one with no waist and belt it for a chic style.

    • Check Kohls?! Not normally my jam but I needed a couple extra summer dresses for Napa, and I found this one I like, which I will belt:

    • Old Navy has a bunch of maxi dresses that might work.

    • I did google shopping searches for “fitted tank maxi dress” and “natural waist maxi dress ” and lots of the options look good. Price points from $15 up to $$$ (DVF, for example, has a nice one for $268: )

  8. Scandavanian Lit :

    Another genre-specific request for book recommedations. Can anyone recommend good scandanavian or scandanavian-american books in translation to English? I like darker themes, especially when I can find those without a mystery plot. TIA.

  9. Legally Brunette :

    So today’s choice is very timely because I went into a Nordstrom Rack the other day and tried on a few of these Calvin Klein shells, after folks on here suggested them. I admit that in the past I totally poo poohed it thinking that they were cheap. WOW! So so impressed with how flattering these shells are! If you’re someone who looks terrible in these oversized blousy tops that are the rage these days, given these shells a try. They really define the waist and are tailored but not body conscious. Perfect to wear under a suit, cardigan, etc. This is not exactly the one I got, but I imagine it would also fit well.

    • I’ve got several of these in different colors. I’m a short waisted, busty hourglass and blousy tops look terrible on me. These work well for me. I’ve also had no issues washing them on delicate and hanging to dry.

    • I’ve been impressed by Calvin Klein work tops in general. I don’t love all the patterns, but the solid ones are great. And high fives to someone else who hates the blousy trend and finds it super unflattering (narrow shoulders, smaller on top than bottom).

  10. Anonymous :

    How did you determine what your dream job is?

    • Appellate attorney :

      Some trial and error. Over the years I figured out that I really enjoy writing as well as arguing in court, but I hate discovery, depositions, and trial work in general. Then I had an appellate clerkship and realized that I love just sitting at my desk all day reading and writing. And now I’m an appellate lawyer — I have a few arguments every year but otherwise I’m writing briefs and I love it. Figure out what you enjoy and where your strengths are, and then go from there.

      • This sounds like my dream job!

      • I’m an appellate lawyer too and I love it! I work for my state’s public defender office and so I represent indigent criminal defendants after conviction (occasionally before conviction too) which helps me feel like I am making a difference and lines up ideologically with my beliefs and also means I have co-workers who think similarly and are people I genuinely enjoy. I could stand to get paid more, but overall am very satisfied with my job.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t. I don’t believe in dream jobs. I work to live, not live to work. My good enough job is 40 – 45 hours a week, good boss, reasonable pay, interesting-ish work, good co-workers, decent leave policy and being able to take vacation without being shamed. I’m almost there with my current job, except our group gets little support from upper management, so that sucks.

      • Anony Mouse :

        This. I spent the better part of a decade working toward what I thought was my “dream job,” only to find out the job no longer exists (if it ever really did to begin with). Anon @ 9.48’s outlined goals are my priorities as well.

      • +1

        Grateful I found my fulfilling but “good enough!” job early in my career. I make easily 50% to 60% less than most of my friends, if not more, who are in our more traditional line of work (legal), so the pay is meh, but I don’t need much and I’m happy knowing that now.

      • Agree. The idea that there is an “it” job out there that will fulfill your dreams can be a road to a lot of unnecessary restlessness. I’ve had good jobs, but none has been a “dream.” Sometimes the work and coworkers were great, but the economy was lousy and that put on incredible stress. Some jobs approach “dream” status when all the factors aligned for six months or a year, but then change inevitably comes and some factor starts to rub or feel boring or be distressing or unmotivating. Learn to deal with this stuff.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yep. I have my dream life and it includes a job that is reasonably well compensated, reasonably prestigious, not all that interesting, with super predictable hours. And it leaves the time and energy (physical and emotional) for me to concentrate on other things like house projects, community service, my lovely husband, my son, exercise, travel, and so on.

      • +1 – not something I believe in chasing. I look for co-workers I like and respect, decent hours & pay. I work to live, not the other way around.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – I find that the concept of “dream job” can make people feel dissatisfied because they feel like they should keep searching for the dream job and are never happy with what they have.

    • I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t think most people ever find their dream job (or that most of us have dream jobs that are unrealistic for different reasons).

      I think I’m one of the lucky few that actually has their dream job and is able to make a good living at it. For me, it was a lot of trial and error. I worked in industry A for almost a decade, truly hating my work at some points, and adjacent industry B really interested me after I worked closely with people in the role I was interested in. Making that choice was difficult, because it involved scaling back and going to grad school at 31, which I don’t know that a lot of people are willing or able to do. I was lucky to be able to, and have now been at my dream position for a couple of years.

      It’s still work, and I still have annoying coworkers and a commute and I’d be better compensated if I’d stuck with industry A the whole time, but my former coworkers at my old position always say they wish they’d done what I’d done.

    • Linda from HR :

      It’s shifted, but my current criteria is:

      – I get excited about the work I’m doing and feel motivated to work hard and do well

      – My boss and colleagues treat me like a reasonably intelligent adult and trust me to do my work well without a lot of handholding

      – schedules are flexible, things like occasionally leaving early or working from home when needed are not a big deal

    • Baconpancakes :

      Accident. I worked in a field related to my degree out of college, realized I hated it, and took the next well-paying job that came my way. This completely unrelated field tapped into a lot of my skills, and introduced me to the slightly related field I ended up getting my masters in. After graduation, I applied for everything in my field in the area I wanted to live, and wound up in a different specialty than I had expected (and different from what I had done my internships and thesis on), but it was perfect for my strengths, has an a supportive, personable, and fun team, and is both challenging and low-key enough that I leave at 5pm every day.

      The thing to remember is that a dream job for one period of your life might not be a dream job for every period of your life. I’m really happy where I am right now, but that might change in 5 or 10 years.

      • Marshmallow :

        “The thing to remember is that a dream job for one period of your life might not be a dream job for every period of your life.”

        For some reason this really strikes me, thank you! I hadn’t thought of it that way. I’m that rare bird Biglaw associate who really loves coming to work, loves the pressure, etc. and I’ve been having some angst over “I like this now, but can I do this FOREVER?” Well… I don’t have to.

  11. JuniorMinion :

    PSA I own about five of these shells – if you are busty they are extremely flattering and I have washed and put all of mine in the dryer (!!) and they’ve done fine.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Woo hoo! Thanks!

    • I’ve been putting them in the washer and drier too. I never even looked at the tag so I didn’t know they were dry clean recommended. I wouldn’t dry clean a top this inexpensive. I just replace after two or three years.

  12. Retirement: how do you define it? :

    Anyone up for talking retirement plans? Not a numbers exchange of how much you currently have saved, but more about how much you think you’ll need and why. And what do you consider “retirement?” How important is it to be able to maintain your principal in retirement, or do you plan to draw down most of the money as you age? I’ve been asking myself these questions a lot lately.

    I used to think I’d need 2-3 million, but now I’m less sure. I was talking with a friend this week who said she thinks in 10 years she’ll have enough to leave corporate America and just take on projects that she wants as a consultant. Obviously, that isn’t retirement, but it’s enough to be financially comfortable. And it sounds like freedom to me. Maybe that’s a new way to define “retirement.” The truth is that I do not want to just stop working immediately at age 50 or something. I like work! I just want to do it on my own terms, when I want to.


    • I want to travel a lot (both now and in retirement) and want a large cushion for that. Not sure how much I will need since my living expenses have all been in very HCOL areas and I don’t intend to stay in one. I also want to be able to ski frequently, which is an expensive hobby. I definitely would like to have a comfortable retirement and don’t want to count on Social Security for anything.

    • For me, my big fear is needing round the clock nursing care which is horrendously expensive. A family member with Alzheimer’s needed $200K of care per year for more than five years.
      I want to travel a lot when I’m still young-ish and active, but I could do a ton of really nice travel on $25K a year. They’re orders of magnitude different.

    • Now that I’ve hit middle age I’ve been thinking a lot about preparing for retirement not just in financial terms, but also in terms of health and fitness. Most of the things I want to do in retirement are quite active, so a huge 401K balance won’t help if I am ill and out of shape when I finally hit retirement age. Retiring earlier would also be nice for the same reason.

    • Probably a “No duh” step, but husband and I need to have a positive net worth before retirement or stepping down to fun job. That means:

      – house paid off
      – student loan paid off
      – something that equals about $40,000 per year income in accounts we can actually touch

      We’re in a LCOL area, and right now we have a net worth of -$110,000. So… We have a long way to go.

      • Why does your house need to be paid off to have a positive net worth? The asset still has value, even if you have a mortgage.

      • Read this is realized your supposed to count your home equity into your next worth, not just add the mortgage balance into your debts.

        So our net worth is +$30k. Not impressive, but better than being negative.

    • Paid off house, 200k in kiddo’s college fund, 2 million in retirement and passive income =100k +taxes on the house. Our actual numbers change if we move up in house or have another kid but the theory holds. And it may be doable but one of us needs to have a job with decent health insurance so it’s not a total “working for fun”situation.

  13. Linda from HR :

    Bit of a long shot, but are any of you New Englanders going to the Roaring Twenties Lawn Party this weekend?

  14. Super anon for this :

    What would you advise a SAHM who’s thinking of leaving her husband who’s extremely secretive with money. She does not know how much money they have, in what accounts, etc. Kids are grown so custody and child support not an issue. Obviously get a great lawyer but any other things to consider/watch out for? Thanks in advance.

    • Super anon for this :

      And does any of your advice change if there was suspected infidelity on the husband’s part?

      • No. Infedility wont matter at all in their divorce.

      • No. my advice would be to be patient and build up a little bit of a safety net before making any plans ‘public.’ She should also make a plan for what she is going to do if he becomes difficult about money, figure out whether she’s staying in the home, etc. A lot of this, a lawyer can help with but some she’ll have to do on her own. And don’t make any assumptions like he’ll be reasonable b/c he’ll feel guilty or whatever; it’s always better to prepare for the worst case scenario. And lawyers will usually want a sizeable retainer upfront (I think $10K is pretty standard) so that’s another fact to prepare for.

        • Senior Attorney :

          AIMS is spot on. She is going to need a war chest. The courts can order spousal support, and attorney fees, but a court order is worth only as much as she can collect. Seriously she is in a bad way and if I were in her shoes I wouldn’t leave until I had gotten my hands on some cash.

          Can the kids help? Does she have parents who can finance her for a while? Maybe take huge cash advances on all her credit cards on her way out the door?

    • Is her name on the accounts? If so, she should go to the bank immediately and get account statements.

    • She should get a lawyer.

    • I would immediately start trying to get as much cash in hand as possible. Maybe go through her closet and take some items to a consignment shop? Does she do the grocery shopping? Ask for $20-$40 cashback every time if she buys with a credit/debit card. Run a credit check. Get account statement for all accounts that she knows she is on. Open an account just in her name. Interview a few lawyers – often there may be no charge for an initial consultation.

    • Baconpancakes :

      No advice but this is seriously worst-case scenario and scares the bejeezes out of me, and reinforces my belief that all adults should be able to support themselves financially, independently, in the long-term. Sorry for your friend. I really, really hope this ends up ok for her.

      • Yeah but that’s not reality for people who decide to stay at home. Unfortunately financial control is a not uncommon abuse tactic. I agree with you- I’ve seen it happen to too many women my mom’s age and I think women my age signing up for it are insane. You’re not special and divorce proof, he won’t just give you half, men do so much better financially in divorce than women.

        • No. this situation is crazy and not at all representative of the typical SAHM. I know a lot of them. The majority manage their family finances and all have bank accounts in their names and know at least roughly how much money the family has.
          I’m very sorry for OP’s friend but let’s please not paint this as a price of staying home. Plenty of women stay home with children but are smart about it.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Sure, it works fine for lots of people. But this is worst-case scenario, and I think the risk is too big. People take risks I disagree with all the time – some people put all their money into high-risk, high-reward stocks instead of diversifying their portfolio, some people get married 6 months after meeting someone, and sometimes it works out fine. But still I don’t think it’s a good decision. It’s not a judgement in that I think there’s anything morally wrong with it, I just think it’s not a good long-term choice.

            And, I’ll point out, I did say long-term. If you stay home with kids for a while with the intention of going back to work later, great! Or even if you stay home but are active as a volunteer or on committees and boards, building networking and events management skills, you’re a lot more likely to be able to get back into the workforce, should the worst happen. Or you could sell stuff on etsy, or run a blog with ads and sponsorship. But it’s the complete withdrawal from the workforce, both physically and emotionally, and dependence on their spouses for all financial decisions and power, that is dangerous.

          • Agreed. My SAHM (60+) has always insisted that she have a car titled solely in her name. I think she also has bank accounts in her name as well as joint, a credit card that she is primary on and probably a utility bill. She was always careful not to lose her own credit identity once she got married and told me to do the same, even if I was working.

          • Wow. I was a SAHM for 10 years. ifnanything, my husband would have been worse off. He made the vast majority of the money but I managed it. I could have siphoned off a LOT without him even noticing. Just off the top of my head I can tell you if I took 50k over 5 years he’d never know. He doesn’t know the password to any of our accounts if it isn’t our default (e.g. Ones that have to be updated every 90 days- no way he could keep track). I still pay all our bills and he literally doesn’t even check our bank acct balance before withdrawing cash (ask me how I found this out).

      • It is possible for one person to stay at home and be treated fairly. My husband is currently unemployed/SAHD, and I handle the day-to-day finances. The money we earn goes into accounts that are in both of our names. I use a “family” email address for all of our financial information, and we both have access to that email. We have joint credit cards, but we each have a couple on which we’re the primary account holder. We each have a paid-off car titled in one name. We each have separate accounts with cash or investments we either earned before marriage or inherited. DH doesn’t pay much attention to day-to-day finances, but he participates in big-picture decisions and wouldn’t accept a situation that OP describes. It’s not just that we might one day get divorced. There are also any number of situations (illness, injury, or death) where he would need to step in and take over the finances quickly.

      • Baconpancakes :

        To SC’s point and everyone else saying they were/are/know SAHM’s who are treated fairly – yes, absolutely, it’s a partnership, and if you’re in a good partnership, it can work out great. I am really, really happy you guys have had such great experiences with that.

        You should absolutely not be a partnership where one person isn’t trusted with passwords or balances. That’s just not a good partnership. But stuff happens, even in the best of partnerships! If a SAHM’s spouse suddenly dies, and for some reason they didn’t have life insurance, or if her spouse is suddenly disabled with crippling medical bills, what’s she supposed to do then? Even assuming she shares control over the finances, suddenly there’s no money coming in. I know there’s a lot of baggage and judgement around deciding to stay home with kids, and to that, I say Good for you, not for me! But it IS a risk. It’s a risk people don’t acknowledge, and the same way I’d be worried about my friends investing all their savings in one stock, I’d be worried about my friends entrusting their entire financial future to someone else’s hands, even if it’s the best partner in the world.

        • Life and long term disability insurance exist for this reason. Sure, it’s possible to make stupid choices as a SAH parent, but it’s possible to make stupid choices in any situation. It doesn’t have to be risky if you plan for it appropriately and both partners are decent human beings. Your insurance situation needs to look quite different if only one spouse is working but most couples recognize that.

          There are also plenty of SAHMs who have an independent source of money (either money earned prior to the marriage or family money) or who have a very marketable degree that they could return to using quite quickly in an emergency (such as nursing or teaching). I think because law is SUCH a tough profession to get back into once you’ve left, people on this s*te tend to have this view that once you stop working it’s impossible to start again. That’s really not true in most fields. I have a SAHM friend who was a nurse more than 10 years ago. When her husband was laid off, she was working full-time again within two months and earning a salary that easily met the family’s basic needs. Obviously most families (including families with two working parents) would suffer some short term instability and financial hits if one spouse died or was disabled or the spouses divorced, but it’s not necessarily this doom and gloom scenario of the woman being financially ruined if the man dies or leaves.

          • Baconpancakes :

            What your friend did is exactly what I’m advocating. I’m coming from a place where a friend was about to quit her job and move across the country when she found out her (universally beloved) fiance had a secret second life. Had she quit and married him, then found out later, she would’ve had a hard time getting back into her field. I’ve also watched my best friend’s mom struggle with bills, even WITH alimony, because she had never held a job, and the alimony wasn’t enough to cover the 4-bedroom house she had been living in with her 2 kids, and my childhood friend’s mother rush into a very, very bad second marriage after her husband died because his life insurance ruled his death a suicide.

            All of these women were completely surprised by the sudden changes in their fortunes, even though they believed they were in good partnerships and they had control over the family finances. So yes, it may not be common, but why take the risk? My position is to always have an exit plan, not to never be a SAHM. A lot of people take offense at that, but I come from a culture where a ketubah, basically a pre-nup, is standard, so we’re just very pragmatic about it. Life happens.

            I do think it’s easier to give up control of the finances as a SAHM. I do think it does change the balance of power – because money is inherently powerful. I think that can be negotiated in a good relationship, but it increases the likelihood of things going wrong.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            As usual, I am with Baconpancakes on this one. The dependency issue of being a SAHwhatever is terrifying and it is a risk glossed over by far too many people.

            Just protect yourself in case of catastrophe.

          • Anonymous :

            I have to take issue with your description of a ketubah as “basically a pre-nup.” A ketubah is a marriage contract that outlines the parties responsibilities to each other. Our has all the practical info about our marriage (date, time, who was present, who officiated) and then says some stuff about loving each other, being committed to each other, supporting each other’s dreams and growing old together. It is much more akin to the vows that are traditional in Christian weddings than to a pre-nup.

            Maybe in ancient times when there were dowries and stuff like that it was common to talk about division of assets in the event of a divorce, but the modern ketubahs I’ve seen (including mine) say nothing about divorce. I’m Jewish and having a Jewish wedding complete with ketubah was important to me, but I never would have signed a ketubah that was basically a pre-nup.

        • “If a SAHM’s spouse suddenly dies, and for some reason they didn’t have life insurance, or if her spouse is suddenly disabled with crippling medical bills, what’s she supposed to do then?”

          I agree with you–it is a risk, and it’s important to recognize the risks and make sure everyone would be OK if something bad happened. We have a small child, so I’m also worried about him too. We spend a lot of money on health, disability and life insurance. We own and live in one unit of a rental property that generates enough income to pay the expenses, so we can live there “free.” DH’s earning potential is lower than mine, but he would be able to re-enter his field at the same level (it’s not an upward-trajectory, corporate field where being out for a while prevents re-entry), and he’d be able to earn a decent living if he worked his a** off. And to be perfectly honest, in a worst-case scenario like illness/crippling medical bills, we have parents who would be able and willing to help. (Financially, my family would probably be better off with life insurance because I estimated off my previous job where I made more.)

          • Just to clarify, all of these decisions were made because DH had a low-paying job with no benefits. He has been unemployed for just a few months, and all we’ve done differently is tighten our belts. But DH doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to find a job, and I’m pretty happy with him as a SAHD vs working like crazy for very little after-tax income. (When he was working, I was unhappy with the pressure of the high-earning job and doing all the housework and childcare. It turns out he was pretty burnt out too. If/when he wants to go back to work, I’ll support that too, but I’m by no means hurrying him.)

          • Anonymous :

            Generally, i agree with Baconpancakes. There is a risk to being a stay at home mom. That risk doesn’t turn into disaster for all SAHMs, but it still exists. For me personally, that risk is too great to ever consider it. This is why I have a hard time with pure sympathy for someone in this position–the risk was known when you signed up to be a stay-at-home parent.

        • PrettyPrimadonna :

          This right here. This situation sounds INSANE to me. All the trust in my partner in the world would not be enough to live like this. No able-minded adult should go through live having no clue about their home’s finances. This goes for the breadwinner who entrusts all the financial control and decisionmaking to his/her spouse as well as the SAHM/SAHD bringing in no income.

        • anon for this :

          I was a SAHM for 5 years before the anxiety and paranoia ate away at me. My husband was super supportive of me being home, but I grew bitter by the fact I was so dependent on him.

          I wouldn’t even call this a worst case scenario. There were couples in my SAHM network with huge amounts of debt, husband disappearing for days on drug binges, young children and no reliable childcare. I’ve been asked to participate in so many GoFundMe collections, meal trains, babysitting, clothing drives etc.

    • Don’t move out of the house. Unless and until her lawyer tells her to do so she stays put.

    • No firsthand experience here, but could she do a credit check on her husband for background? Presumably she knows his SS#. Or if he has a financial adviser, perhaps she can call him up in a casual way–looking still happily married– and ask for some info. At that point, she might get caught, but for most couples, that would be completely normal behavior. A lawyer will probably end up hiring an investigator to do background check info, so I mean this as unofficial background research to figure out whether the guy is broke or not.

      • No, don’t talk to a financial adviser. He may be being secretive about his money with people besides his wife. He may have been making his own exit plans. He may have advisers who are in on his plans. There is a lot of advice out there on how to look broke just in time for your divorce. Some of it even works. She needs an experienced lawyer.

    • Get an experience lawyer with a good reputation in the area for complex and high net worth divorces. Call the attorney for a consult. The lawyer may substantially lower or waive a retainer if it’s clear there is lots of money somewhere, even if the wife doesn’t have access. The lawyer can then advise her as to the best course of action for her circumstances, state, etc. I’m a new lawyer at a very well respected firm with a big family practice and we get clients like this occasionally that have no idea what the finances are. But getting a very experienced lawyer is step #1. Even if she doesn’t want to file anything yet. Having someone guiding her will be so important.

    • Hmmm… Can she REALLY not find out about the money? I mean, sure people can successfully hide money, but are we sure the husband is good at it? If she’s really and truly lived this way for decades, then maybe she’s just dumb.

      Maybe if she weren’t the type of person to get into this mess, she’d also be the type of person who could figure out where the money was and what the account numbers are. Go through mail, break into email accounts. I mean, if it was me, and I thought my husband was trying to cheat me….

      I guess what I’m saying is KNOW THYSELF. And if she’s really this pathetic, yes, pay pay pay for a good lawyer b/c you can’t handle basis stuff. Truth hurts.

      • It’s called financial abuse. Not all women grew up with the education and resources that we did, and some who did don’t have the psychological wherewithal to take charge of their lives when they’ve been conditioned not to. He has made his sole control over their finances a deal breaker in their marriage. Remember that this is someone she fell in love with, married, and trusted. How many excuses do you make for him over the years? “He’s insecure about my independence, but…” “He’s a bit of a patriarch, but…” Imagine all the ways he could make it not worth for her it to demand access to their finances. After all, it’s his money–he earned it–and she’s just a “dumb” housekeeper. His stranglehold on the household finances over the years was not a deal breaker for her. It sounds like infidelity is. Patriarchy is still the default way of life for most people. What are we saying if we draw the conclusion that most women are pathetic?

  15. KateMiddletown :

    Paging whoever started the thread about paying the last of your student loans…

    I did this morning and it feels good! #fyoustudentloans (Today feels like a good news day in the comments!)

    • That was me!!! Congrats!! I decided to just ride out the last few months and not completely deplete my savings but look forward to celebrating soon!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Congratulations! That last payment is such an amazing feeling.

    • Congratulations!

      PSA for loan payoff-ers: Do keep an eye on the account for the next couple months, as sometimes a day of interest will accumulate or something else will happen to prevent full closure… annoyingly.

      • KateMiddletown :

        Thanks. I was super surprised that the account was already closed when I just checked. (Props to Firstmark Services, who managed the loan when I refinanced thru Citizens Bank… highly recommend.) Now to close that affiliated credit card I opened to get an addl 25bps off the loan…

    • WOO HOO!!!!

    • Marshmallow :


    • Senior Attorney :

      So great!! Congratulations!!

    • Shenandoah :


  16. New Years' Travel :

    I’m sure this has been discussed before, but it’s a fun topic so let’s revisit. Are you traveling (for fun) during the week between Christmas and New Years’? If you’ve done it in the past, what were your favorite trips? I’d like to take that week off but I don’t know where to go; maybe the Christmas markets in Germany? I’m traveling solo from the east coast, fwiw. TIA!

    • Yes! I’m going to London. So very very excited. Flying out on Christmas Day and back NY Day.

      • I was in London for Christmas through New Years one year. It was so much fun! It was about 15 years ago, so I don’t remember many details, and they’d all be irrelevant anyways. The after-Christmas sales were really fun, so hold back on before-Christmas spending and wait for the sales!

      • Senior Attorney :

        We did New Year’s in London this year and had such a great time we’re doing it again next year! I tell you what, those Brits really know how to decorate!

        • Ohhh any tips? I’ve been 10 times but never for this particular week. I feel like we have similar travel tastes.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Turns out there’s a parade on New Year’s Day — who knew? So hilarious because we left Pasadena to get away from the Rose Parade mishegas and then we ran into the exact same thing in London! So… make sure you make reservations for lunch on New Year’s Day if you are staying in Mayfair or Picadilly because there were a ton of hungry people around! Next year we will plan to watch the parade, I guess.

            We went to a hilarious show on New Year’s Eve called La Soiree in Leicester Square — it was like Cirque Du Soleil with dirty jokes and nudity and we loved it.

            Brunch at Sketch was a highlight and be sure you visit the loo.

            Also if there is any way you can get tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, do it. Best theatre experience ever!

    • We used to do Hawaii regularly that week but the weather was never good (rough seas, excursions were cancelled) and our last trip there about five years ago was awful, with heavy rain and wind six out of the seven days we were there. This year I’m pregnant and next year we’ll have an infant but we’re hoping to go somewhere in the Caribbean in 2019 – would love recs if anyone has an island or specific resort that’s toddler friendly and nice at that time of year.
      I know lots of people love it but I’m not a fan of Europe that time of year. I just really hate the cold and would much rather go in late spring or early fall.

      • Anonymous :

        Hotel Paraiso on Big Corn Island in Nicaragua. Probably under $100/night to rent a little bungalow, it’s right on a gorgeous beach, and the island is very safe.

      • But I was excited about Hawaii :

        Oh s***z! SO and I just booked expensive tickets and hotels for 3 weeks in Hawaii around that time :(

        • Anonymous :

          We had that one really awful trip where we really couldn’t do anything but that was definitely the exception (and locals told us six days of terrible weather in a row is very unusual). Most of the time we had a perfectly lovely time and were able to go to the beach every day, even if the seas were rough. Boat trips do get cancelled (especially Na Pali coast sight-seeing) but with three weeks you’ll have plenty of chances to reschedule and you should have plenty of decent weather. If there’s anything you really care about doing I’d recommend booking it near the beginning of your trip so you have time to reschedule. But I’m sure you’ll have a good time. For us the cost vs. benefits just started to become not worth it, because as you noted it’s such an expensive time of year to go there and we had been many times so there was an element of frustration when each trip was slightly worse than the previous one. If it’s your first trip, I guarantee you’ll love it.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      One year we did Prague and Budapest – hot springs on New Year’s Day in Budapest was great!

      Last year we did Austria – Vienna on Christmas, went into the mountains for skiing for a few days, and ended up in Salzburg for New Year’s Day. One of my corniest/proudest traveling moments was doing the Sound of Music tour on New Years eve and seeing the gazebo where “16 Going on 17” was sung on the day that was ’16 going on ’17.

      We have also stayed in London for Christmas and really loved it.

      PS as always I have google docs for all these trips so if you want the recs let me know and I can email you them.

    • My husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary in December and due to down time at work/school, it’s always been an A+ time to travel. We honeymooned in Vienna and Munich with the Christmas markets, spent another trip in New Orleans (though the difference between pre-Christmas deals and post-Christmas Sugar Bowl price hikes is huge), and a 10 day tour of Japan the most recent December. With the exception of post-Christmas New Orleans, the pricing was so much better than other times of the year for those named trips and other smaller ones. Weather can be a bit unpredictable, but for the most part has treated us well.

    • Anonymous in Charlotte :

      How do you do this and not suffer insane guilt from your families? I feel like anytime I want to take a vacation with just my husband, it’s completely “But you never come to see US!” from both my parents and my inlaws.

      • Well, I see my family lots, so not being there this particular week isn’t a big deal. Do you visit them?

        • Anonymous in Charlotte :

          yes! and my parents will “come for the weekend” and then arrive on Wednesday night and leave the following Tuesday. One year while I was still dating my now husband (probably 6+ years ago now) I went to my future inlaws’ for Thanksgiving and I still don’t think my mom has gotten over that one.

          • Then you just do it and ignore them. It’s totally normal to go on vacation with your husband.

          • Anonymous in Charlotte :

            and the other thing is that my parents travel internationally for 2+ weeks about 2 or three times a year (and have every year since my siblings and I were born). So it’s not like they don’t get around much themselves.

          • Buck up then!!

      • You just do and they learn to cope. The first time it happens and the world doesn’t fall apart they see its all okay.

        Set boundaries.

        Or invite them to travel with you.

        Or be Jewish (like me!) and don’t have families who care about Christmas so you can travel guilt free.

        But seriously, look ahead at your calendar, make sure you are seeing them a few times a year and then announce way far in advance that you are taking a holiday off. Such as a Friendsgiving and meet with close friends somewhere in the USA.

        • Ha, I’m Jewish and so are my in-laws but they want us to come on Christmas because my FIL works in finance and the markets shut then so it’s one of the easiest times for him to take a vacation. My in-laws insist on Christmas or Thanksgiving with them every year so we usually just alternate those holidays between families and the years we spend Christmas with my parents are so weird since it’s just another day for all of us….
          We frequently go away just us two the week before Christmas or over New Years though.

      • New Years' Travel :

        Oh I’m sure I’ll hear about it, I just try not to let it bother me. I started my career on the west coast in a position with no PTO. I’d visit family on the east coast for Christmas week but that was the only time I saw them each year. Apparently they think this entitles them to that week in perpetuity. But now I’m on the east coast so I see them more frequently for short visits. I refuse to be guilted about not spending “our” week together when, on balance, I spend much more time with them now than I used to.

      • Are they objecting to you taking a vacation at all or taking a vacation that particular week? The former is crazy and should be ignored, the latter is much more reasonable although I don’t think parents can expect their adult children to be with them on a particular holiday every single year, if nothing else because most adults get married and need to alternate holidays between families.

        • Anonymous in Charlotte :

          It’s taking vacation without them (although, as pointed out above, they go on vacation a lot) that’s not a wedding (which I don’t really consider a true vacation). There’s not really drama in my family that would cause me to want to avoid them, they’re good people, and I generally enjoy their company. It’s more that my parents and in laws would (and do) take it extremely personally that we wouldn’t want to spend our free time with them. Especially on a holiday. And my in laws are Jewish, but the same thing applies. I know that most of it is just going and dealing with it, but I just don’t really want to have to deal with it.

      • I’m not married but when my parents divorced (they first separated only a few months after I had graduated and moved out for my first job) I realized, and later accepted, I will NEVER make everybody happy on the holidays for the rest of my life so I do my own thing. Usually that means Thanksgiving with my friends in my city then trying to see each side for a small trip around the holidays but not on them. The last two years I have taken dogsitting gigs over Christmas, but in the past I have traveled over the holidays with girlfriends as well. I’m not looking forward to the added complication of eventually having kids and marriages. I just started kind-of seeing somebody from my hometown (we both ended up in the same big east-coast city about 4 hours from there) and also shudder at the thought of trying to go see his family and having to deal with my mother.

        My mom still cries the sob story. At this point it rolls off my back. It’s a two-way street, too: my mother has, in the last couple years, cancelled on Christmas with me three days in advance; and come to see me TWICE in the 5+ years I have been living here (well within driving distance), etc.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This year we’re taking my son with us. My parents are awful and I have zero guilt about them.

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      Sounds we we should have all met up in Austria last winter.
      We skied in Austria for a few days over New Year’s last year, and then spent a bit of time in Innsbruck before heading to London for a wedding. It was a great trip and a great time to travel.
      Also, on a slightly different note, I highly recommend the Austrian Tyrol for skiing. The snow was all blown because there had been so little precipitation, but there was still plenty of well groomed trails to ski at lots of levels, it was shockingly affordable in comparison to western US resorts, and the apres ski was great.

    • We were in Paris for the week after Christmas just this past year. It was a fantastic trip. There were beautifully decorated storefronts and lights everywhere. We had a cozy dinner in front of a roaring fire on NYE, then walked back across the Seine to our apartment. We arrived at Notre Dame just at midnight, while the bells were tolling and snowflakes were twirling down. It was awesome.

    • We normally go to Napa Valley, simply because it’s low season and so the Valley is quiet and beautiful and less crazy than during the hectic summer months. We’ve been able to do amazing private tours at boutique wineries during this time, simply because things are slow and they’re happy to have the visitors.

      • Anonymous :

        This is my dream, but my husband doesn’t like wine and doesn’t see the point in going. I’m not even that big a wine freak myself, I just love the food and the relaxing landscape and the cozy hotels and the relative warmth (we’re in Minnesota). My daughter is three and I’ve already decided I’m taking her there for her 21st, assuming she wants to go of course.

        • Even if you don’t like wine, it’s still so worth the trip (we went recently when I was pregnant and I still had a great time). You can’t beat the food or the scenery, and the spas are incredible too. Hopefully you can convince your husband to go at some point – you won’t regret it!

    • NB the Christmas markets in Europe generally only last until the 23rd or 24th.

      • Was going to say the same. Some of the bigger ones (Salzburg, Prague, etc) and a few smaller ones are open after Christmas but the feel isn’t quite the same. We also did Germany/Austria/CR last Christmas/NY and had a great time. You can google to find out more about which Christmas markets are open and until when.

  17. Veronica Mars :

    Just a happy announcement– my current BF and I have been talking more about getting engaged! He’s ready now, but I want to wait until we’ve been dating closer to a full year. I can’t tell anyone in really life but I wanted to share somewhere. It’s finally happening!!

  18. Anon Engineer :

    There was a thread a couple weeks ago about whether your home is clean enough to be guest-ready at all times, and in that thread a few people mentioned a particular cleaning blog. It was referred to by an acronym because the title had an expletive, and the blog preached 20-minute cleaning spurts. Can anyone help me out with remembering the title? Thanks!


    Could you please send me your Kauai recommendations? I looked for it in the earlier thread but I didn’t see it. We’re staying in Poipu and have two young kids, but we’re open to traveling around the island. Thank you!

    • Not Sloan but make sure you get the ultimate Kauai guidebook on Amazon- it was such a life saver. I loved Kauai but a lot of stuff we did I wouldn’t do with young kids. Tege tege was the best shaved ice tho – make sure you get some :)

    • there’s a baby beach somewhere around Poipu. Koloa fish market has amazing (to go) poke. Dinner at Red Salt at Koa Kea is a treat (but I don’t think it’s very kid friendly). The Beach House (?) has nice sunset views, probably more kid friendly.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      It wasn’t there because I totally forgot, sorry!

      1. Waimea Canyon. Can’t miss. Seriously, gorgeous. Go up to one of the view points and then just watch. It’s probably going to be cloudy. But seriously. Just stand there. I promise it’ll be worth it for even just a moment as the clouds break.
      2. Watch Lilo and Stitch and then go to Hanapepe, which is where the movie is roughly based off of. It has a swinging bridge, an amazing bakery, AND the Westernmost bookstore in the United States.
      3. You can’t miss Lapperts ice cream. Get the Tutu’s Anniversary in a waffle cone.
      4. I loved the North Shore. Hanalei is magical and the views are….out of this world.
      5. Old Koloa town is ten min from poipu and great.
      6. Just spend some time driving around. The views on Kauai are phenomenal. You can see Nihau from the Na’Pali coast on a clear day.

      I was there a year ago today, and wish I was there today. Gave a wonderful time!

    • Anonymous :

      The island is small so traveling around is really easy. Go visit the Canyon for sure. There’s a double waterfall (name escapes me but google will help) that is super easy to get to, so kid friendly. You literally drive up and park to see the falls, without a big hike needed.

      Not exactly kid friendly, but not unfriendly either depending on your kids, but we did a tasting at the Kauai coffee plantation on the south shore. Similar to a wine tasting, but for coffee.

      We went to a luau. I don’t remember which one, but there were other kids there. I think it would depend on the age of your kids because the one we went to was long. I’d bet your hotel can help you with an age appropriate one.

      Your kids and the adults will probably have fun eating at Puka Dog, which isn’t far from where you’re staying.

      The whole family will also enjoy spouting horn.

      the water is rough there, but I believe there are kid friendly beach on the south side.

      On the north shore, the views are stunning. There’s also a dry cave on the north shore that you and the kids can go in to.

      • Anonymous :

        I forgot – there’s also a light house you can stop by when driving to the north shore. I think the kids would particularly enjoy it and the birds around it. The views are stunning, too.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Oh, also, there’s a KILLER taco place in the Poipu shopping complex. I think it’s Island Taco and the tacos were A+++. Plus the complex is a nice little place to walk around and there’s often Tahitian dancers in the little common area.

  20. How do you handle working with people who all have very different personal life experiences than you but constantly assume otherwise? I’m fine being the only single/childless/house-less person in my office, I like my life. But every time we have a dinner or something I hear things like “well when you have kids” or “when your parents retire to be near you and your family” or they all seem to love to discuss how great their childhoods were and ask me very pointed questions. I don’t want to bring the mood down, but I’ve got divorced and estranged parents, I’m not having kids, unhappy childhood/siblings, etc. I’m fine smiling and nodding while other people discuss these things, but when the questions are directed directly at me like, “Don’t you wish your parents lived closer? They’re like the best friends.” how do you respond when the real answer is “I moved here to get away from them all.”

    • I say just that in a lighthearted tone with a breezy smile: “Actually, I moved here to get away from them! Ha ha!”

      • Yeah I actually do this. “Oh man, it’d be nice to be close to family but not TOO close!”

    • Ask for an experience – concert tickets, fancy night out, staycation at a nice hotel with a rooftop pool, etc

    • Tell them you’re an orphan

    • Agree with other posters. Pick a simple, lighthearted reply. Then change subject or say “gotta get back to my work…”. Work is certainly not a place to go into any person details.

      I’m sorry to hear about your upbringing. Mine is very similar, and I am single, no kids, approaching 50. It’s right for me. As you get older, the pointed questions stop, which is nice. But also realize that much of the conversation that is giving you trouble is pretty normal, friendly, bonding conversation that unfortunately you need to learn how to manage so that you maintain a collegial relationship with your colleagues.

      And therapy is a really, really good place to address things, and develop strategies. Because it sounds like you need them. And that’s understandable. Give yourself a break.

    • I see two separate issues:

      1) assuming you have a good relationship with your parents. I think the a generic response that you’re not super close your family if asked is fine, and smiling and nodding is also fine. When people ask you pointed questions you don’t owe them detailed answers, I don’t think. If you’re vague and also introduce an immediate subject change, hopefully they’ll drop it.

      2) assuming you plan to have kids. I am not coy about this, ever. When people make this assumption, I just tell them, “I don’t plan to have children.” It bugs the sh*t out of me that casual work colleagues sometimes think it’s OK to pester me about this, and I have no compunction about shutting their rude intrusiveness down. “Oh, why not?” “Because I don’t want them.” “Why not?” “Because I don’t want them.”

    • I don’t know the right answer, but “actually I moved here to get away from them all, haha” hasn’t always worked well for me. I think people aren’t always making assumptions; they’re conveying expectations (thus the pointed questions). People who are already smoothing over or idealizing aspects of their family life (or sacrificing other things they may have wanted so they can achieve traditional milestones) don’t always appreciate it when others don’t do the same.

      Where I’m from, self-deprecating or “isn’t that the way” humor is appreciated, but it can really strike a sour note in communities where skeletons belong in closets, and dirty laundry should not be aired. (And I’m continually astonished how minor the things that count as skeletons/dirty laundry can seem to me!)

      At least until I have a better handle on expectations, I’ve come to think of my strained family relationships and memories of a crazy family life as something to share only with friends or with acquaintances who I know “get it.” I know being vague means I’m not fully participating, but I think people do appreciate the effort and lay off a bit.

      On the other hand, I don’t enjoy shoving skeletons in closets, so if you will be around these coworkers for a long time, it may be worth it to just double down on a cheerful “my family is a mess” persona. I knew one woman who I thought succeeded because her dysfunctional anecdotes were succinct, work-appropriate, and funny (though maybe I’m seeing her through the lens of our shared Irish background). I know another woman who played up the contrast successfully (“Your families all sound so happy and supportive; I would need a new anxiety prescription if my mom moved to town”). But for me it’s just awkward.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Can you just smile and nod?

        I had a difficult undergraduate college experience, and I am often super uncomfortable when people are talking about their wonderful college days. For the most part I just smile and nod and say “Oh, that sounds great!” and if people assume I share their experiences I mostly just go with the flow. Is that an option for you?

        • Anonymous :

          Original Anon: I tried changing the subject, I tried deflecting the questions back to them and once I even announced that I couldn’t imagine having a kid. I have no desire to share any actual details with them but subtlety was clearly not working.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Wow. How about just lying? “Yeah, I totally wish they lived closer! You’re so lucky!”

          • Senior Attorney :

            My point is to find the path of least resistance, whatever that is. Figure out what they want from you and give it to them and get on with your life, you know? And maybe that path of least resistance is to just take a leap of faith and answer honestly: “Hey, I don’t want to be a downer but trust me when I say my parents are NOT my best friends and they are just fine where they are!”

    • If you really see them as “best friends”, why don’t you share your story? Maybe this is one of cultural differences, but I would not mind giving my “best friends” an honest answer. Some will understand, some won’t, but at least they will know and will be able to understand you and your choices better.

      • Anonymous :

        No, this is the colleague announcing that their own parents are their best friends and insinuating it would be the same for everyone.

    • “They’re like the best friends.” Who ARE these weirdos?!?!

  21. Birthday Shop for me! :

    So my birthday is coming up at the end of the month, and my husband keeps bugging me about what I want, but I have no good ideas. I just bought a nice new purse. Though I enjoy kitchen gadgets, I really don’t want any household stuff as a gift from him at this point. It’s not a milestone birthday, but it’s been a rough year and I feel like I deserve a treat, but I cannot decide what it is. Weird situation, I know, but help? Budget is probably $200-300. Could stretch a bit for something memorable.

    • antsmarching :

      A Bose bluetooth speaker for your office
      Dinner at a very nice restaurant

      • +1 to the speaker. I love my Bose soundlink bluetooth speaker. Got it a few years ago and it’s excellent; I get a ton of use out of it.

    • Spa day – massage, mani/pedi, facial etc
      New Dress and Blow out before
      If you have kids – a hotel staycation for yourself. Go sleep in!
      Fly a close friend who lives far away to you and hang out for the weekend!
      Take a day class to learn something new – cooking, photography, circus skills

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Circus class!!! I just finished a four week bootcamp thing ($99, so you’d have $$ leftover for something less sweaty if you went that route) and I can’t wait until money and time coincide so I can do more.

    • A massage and a fancy pedicure? That’s exactly what I’d want for a rough year.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Maybe ask him to take you away for the weekend? An experience rather than a thing.

    • Roomba or smart watch? I know roomba is house stuff but a robot that cleans for you is special.

      • Do you need to upgrade your phone? When I don’t “need” anything in particular, I try to pay ahead on eventual expenses. (Which is, of course, the least romantic idea ever.)

        I’d ask for an overnight in a hotel and a nice dinner out, or maybe you could go see a show if there’s something fun playing in your town.

    • I’d vote for an experience gift – a spa day, a nice dinner out, or tickets to a show/concert.

  22. I bought a seersucker suit from J Crew on steep discount. I love the pants and I’m wearing them right now, but the jacket is lined in polyester which I feel sort of destroys the point of a seersucker suit – breathable, light cotton. I like the look of the jacket, but will I regret keeping it because it’s covering my armpits in saran wrap? Can I remove a polyester lining?

  23. Style Help :

    Style this dress for me? Formal event.

    Long-ish hair (past shoulders) – what do I do with it? Was thinking a sleek little knot at the nape of my neck? Accessories?

    • South Asian :

      That’s a big dress so it needs big hair. Do a big knot at your nape.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      That is super pretty. I think hair pulled back and big earrings would look *great*!

    • Baconpancakes :

      What’s your budget? What’s the event? Do you want to reuse accessories you have or get something new?

      • Style Help :

        Black tie wedding. Indoor/outdoor venue. Budget is to spend as little as possible. Reusing accessories would be great. I’m not generally a big earrings person (pearl studs are my go-to), but could buy something fun/costume-y for the event. I have a Tory B basic black leather cross body that I’d love to convert to a clutch to use, but am open to suggestions.

        I also have a regular size and a petite size. I’m 5’7″. Petite is JUST the right length. Regular size is essentially mopping my floors. 3″ heels aren’t even sufficient, and I refuse to go higher than that. I’d love to make the petite work, but I have no idea what to do for flat footwear.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Ok, I’d go with a low bun – I actually think a big dress with sleek elements like this feels off with big hair – but I’d go with a softer, less severe look.

          If you prefer stud earrings, I think they go very well with hair pulled back into a low bun, just make them something sparkly.

          For some reason, this dress says flat d’orsay shoes to me. If the purse is black and unadorned, I’d say go for it and reuse the one you’ve got.

          Links to follow.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Hair: great look, but definitely works better with lots of texturizing product and some time with a curling iron before you start. (Second day curled hair works great.)

          • Baconpancakes :




          • Baconpancakes :

            Pricey but good arch support! I have these in silver and wear them all the time:



            Lucky sizes, but T-strap for security:

          • Style Help :

            Thank you!!! Love the Charming Charlie earrings. What about a strappy flat rather than a closed toe? Does that exist? Because I’m having no luck finding it.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Flat sandals tend to read less casual than flat shoes, but it’s doable. You might consider black sandals to make it more formal.

            In black or in silver:

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I love the idea of big earrings! Also I love the dress!

      • I’d do chandelier earrings with a lot of sparkle with your hair pulled back, no necklace, and a glam bangle/bracelet. I’ve admired this dress for a while! Wish I had somewhere to wear it!

    • KateMiddletown :

      No suggestions but I want that dress so bad. It is ADORABLE.

      • Style Help :

        Thanks for the validation!!! I was afraid someone might say it wasn’t formal enough (not really sure why) but you’ve all validated my purchase AND made me realize that it’s now on sale. THANKS NORDSTROM PRICE ADJUSTMENT!

        • Senior Attorney :

          Woo hoo! Score!

          I had a dress similar to that way back in the very late 70s and I loved it so so much! Nothing like a swishy skirt, amirite?

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      I love this dress. Wish I had an event to take it to.

  24. For those of you with law degrees (or any advanced degree in a specific field) do you intend to always be a lawyer? Do you feel you owe it to yourself to be a lawyer even if you do not feel passionate about it? I am a few years out of law school and struggling with these thoughts. With 6 figures of debt, I feel like I need to stick it out for a few more years and really put in the effort to be a lawyer. But the other side of me thinks, get out now while you’re still junior and can start over easier. Any thoughts? Anybody made the jump to a different field or industry?

    • I have a JD and yes, I intend to be a lawyer, at least for the foreseeable future. Before jumping completely, how many years out are you? You say “a few” but there’s a big difference between 2-3 years and 5-7 years in my experience. If you’re say 2 years out, I’d say stick it out a couple more and see what you think. If you’re at 5-6 and unhappy, I’d think about considering other careers. The learning curve can be really steep in law and I feel like it’s so easy to struggle with both enjoyment and confidence in the beginning. I thought it got better though around year 5/6, when I finally started to feel like I wasn’t drowning all the time.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Agree that 2-3 and 5-7 are markedly different both in “working as a lawyer” experience and hopefully also in the six figures of debt.

    • Probably not. I’m good at my job, but I don’t love it. Kind of just hanging around until the loans are paid back and then I want to try to do something related to politics/policy work. Haven’t figured out what that may be yet, though.

    • When you went to law school, what was your end game? I went to law school because I wanted to practice law. I may move to an adjacent JD preferred type position, like compliance, in my industry if I get tired of practice down the road, but it’s not a whole different field.
      Those first few years of practice are hard. Do you at least like you practice area?

    • I have a JD and LLM and I’m in policy and LOVE it. I am cut out to be a traditional lawyer, but crafting legislation and working with the populations in my field is something I love doing.

      But yeah, my six figures of debt make working in policy difficult. My honest-to-goodness plan is to spend a couple more years getting experience in DC and then move somewhere cheaper (like a state capital).

      I struggled a couple years ago when I couldn’t find something in my LLM field. I realized I was ok with not being a typical lawyer, but I was not ok with not using my LLM field. That would have felt like a waste to me. But so many of my friends are doing non-traditional legal things like working for the state child welfare agency or working for a think tank.

      Sit down and identify what would bring you joy. For me, I have to be 1) helping people / making a difference / serving the greater good and 2) interacting face-to-face with people on a daily/hourly basis (sitting quietly at my desk preparing reports makes me super unhappy). Once you identify what you need to be happy, you can pivot towards that.

    • anon associate :

      Unsure. I do feel like I’m operating under the sunk cost fallacy, a little bit. Plus, I still have lots of loans. I can see myself plugging away as a lawyer for the next 10-15 years or so, but can’t see myself doing what I’m doing for the rest of my life. My work right now makes lots of sense for me and meets lots of my needs, I’m in a firm I like and will likely make partner if I want to (small firms FTW), but I don’t know if I care enough about this to do it forever. Plus, private practice is just tough. I was someone who went to law school because I wanted to work in a non-profit do-gooder area I’m passionate about, but it didn’t pan out that way. I can see myself making a switch to something I care about, but no real idea how at this point.

      Also YES if you’re very junior, stick it out a bit longer. The first years are very tough and there’s not much enjoyment or sense of reward.

      • Anonymous :

        Your reasons for law school are very similar to mine.

        I wanted to do family law/custody cases for a non-profit, and now I work in commercial real estate in biglaw. I really like my job, the people I work for, and the NY scale paycheck in a MCOL area is a huge plus. But, I look at the people I work for and I just don’t want their job.

        Now, I go speak at my alma mater and specifically tell people, “you only need to go to law school if you want to be a lawyer.” I think if I had heard these words in college, I may not be a lawyer now. It’s a relatively long and very expensive road to take if you are only partially sure you want to be a lawyer. I don’t regret my decision, but I also wonder what I’d be doing if it weren’t for law school.

    • I left legal practice after six years, but four of those years were in BigLaw, so I paid off my law school debt and saved a bunch on top of that. Because of that, I didn’t feel any guilt about leaving – I had fun (for the most part), I made a lot of money, time to move on to something else I’ll enjoy more and that’s more compatible with raising a family, which I was ready to do at the time I left (I was 31). I don’t think I would have been comfortable leaving legal practice before my debt was paid off. I also knew I had a pretty solid reason for leaving (I went to law school to do one niche practice area which I really enjoyed, and then my husband’s career took us to a part of the country where that niche is not available), which helped make me more confident I wouldn’t have regrets about changing careers. If it were just a matter of “I hate my job” I would have kept trying new jobs, at least for a few more years.

    • this blows my mind and really makes me sad about the legal profession – there are so many people with thoughts like this and I feel that it tends to downgrade the image of the profession….

      a bunch of law school educated people who don’t want to be lawyers? it’s like a bad joke.

      I went to law school because I wanted to be a lawyer and work in the law.

      • +10000

      • Triangle Pose :

        +1. But I think it’s not the fault of the people who feels this way. There was WAY too much advice about how law school teaches you a great set of skills to take with you for ANY professional career. NOT TRUE. Go to law school if you want to practice law. There are a TINY number of exceptions. Also the ABA needs to STOP certifying new law schools that have low standards and let people who are clearly NOT at a level to do well in the profession. Take a page from the AMA, people!

      • IDK, I think that law school is often marketed as a sort of all-purpose grad degree for social science and humanities undergrads. I don’t agree with that – in fact, in my view, much about law school education would be improved if we thought about it more as a trade school – but it’s pretty common. I think that leads to a lack of critical thinking by law students about why they’re actually pursuing the degree (i.e., they go because it seems like a natural next step, not because they want to be lawyers or they want to do something that requires a law degree), which then leads to a lot of law grads who don’t actually want to practice.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Me too. It is the only job I have ever wanted since I was a very little girl.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Absolutely. I love being the lawyer in the room. I’m in-house now and I think being on the business side is an option and I’d be good at it. But I love having the law on my side. Plus I think that counseling and using my sound judgment is my best skill and is in the best light as the lawyer.

      • Eyeroll. I’m a relatively happy lawyer and have been fortunate to have a series of jobs that I enjoy, but I can’t stand people who say things like “I love being the lawyer in the room.”

        • Triangle Pose :

          Don’t know what to tell you there, Anonymous! I’m not the first or last person who will say they enjoying being the lawyer in the room and I have no idea why anyone would be so prickly about the phrase. All the folks in the department here will say that. If we didn’t enjoying being “the lawyer in the room,” we would find other roles instead!

        • Cool you feel that way. I also love being the lawyer in the room. So that makes me happy at what I do. Good for you, not for me.

        • This isn’t a very nice comment. I also love being a lawyer, and being the lawyer in the room. Good for you, triangle pose!

    • Anon Lawyer :

      This may sound cynical but I figure work is work, so it’ll never be amazing. I want something that’s good enough and I like that law pays enough so I can live a good, comfortable life outside of work. Not that many careers pay similarly.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Yeah, if it was something I would LOVE to do every day, they wouldn’t have to pay me to do it. Until crafting + cat snuggling + rereading novels + drinking coffee is a viable career, I’ll stay in law.

        • Triangle Pose :

          Yeah, it’s funny because I think one of the reasons we love doing those things is BECAUSE they are not “work” in the sense that you are not beholden to crafting+cat snuggling+drinking coffee to pay the bills and fund your retirement. Even if the job was “watch netflix and drink champagne” I’d start to not like it as much if I HAD to do it for $$$.

    • anon above :

      I left law after 10 years. I’d advise you to use your legal career to stash away money and pay off debt. In a few years, if you still don’t have a plan, go to a firm where 120 hours/month still gives you a good income and start exploring your options. It is a lot easier to change careers with a nest egg. There is no need to change careers overnight. This can be a slow process. Take time to volunteer or start classes on a part-time basis at a community college.

      I think back to my reasons for choosing law in the first place and realized that the decision was based on life plans I had since discarded and information about my practice area that was no longer true. I decided that my 22 year old self made a great decision at the time to go to law school but 35 year old me shouldn’t feel bound to that decision once I knew I was ready to move on and had the means to do so.

  25. We want to plan a vacation to France for October, and I’m looking for itinerary suggestions! We have about 10 days, we would probably fly into Paris and spend a few days there, and then we would like to go to 1-2 smaller cities/towns. We both love wine and food—so those things, as well as just relaxing and exploring, would be the main focus of our trip. My husband is leaning toward the south of France, while I’m open to whatever area is the most beautiful and has the best food/wine. We really don’t want be traveling too much within France (i.e. no more than 2, mayyyybe 3 additional towns other than Paris).

    So, here else, besides Paris, should we go?

    • I would do 7 nights in Paris and 3 in Bordeaux. And then from Paris I’d take day trips to Normandy (Mont St Michel and D-Day beaches) and the Loire Valley, plus a day at Versailles, which gives you 4 days actually in Paris, a great view of some really different parts of the country, but not packing and moving all the time. This is assuming it’s your first time?

      I’d also consider Provence instead of Bordeaux, or Burgundy, but I think Bordeaux is good if you don’t want to rent a car.

      • I was only in Paris for 7 days last year, but I did a day trip to both Versailles and Normandy in my stay, both easy trips. I used Context tours for my trip to Normandy – they picked me up at the train station in Caan and then dropped me back off at the station at the end of the day.

    • I’d look into spending some time in the Loire Valley – it’s so beautiful and relaxing there, and the food and wine is incredible. DH and I rented a car and drove from Paris all around the Valley, which is a 1.5-3 hour drive (depending on where you want to go). There’s so many beautiful chateaus and quaint little towns to explore, and driving there is so easy and beautiful. It was one of the best vacations we’d ever had.

      We spent a few nights at Domaine de la Tortiniere near Tours, and I’d highly recommend it. Chateau de Marcay near Chinon is also great too.

    • Thank you so much! Going to repost in the weekend thread to see if there are more responses but this is a great start!

    • Anonymous :

      If your budget permits, I would suggest spending some time on the Relais and Chateaux site, looking at your options for the days you are in the countryside. Most of the restaurants are in Guide Michelin, and the food at the hotels has almost always been a treat. It’s common for French travelers to go from R and C site to R and C site, rather than staying in one place the entire trip.

  26. anon a mouse :

    Signal boost: This WP story on pumping conditions at work is eye-opening. Everyone should be aware of the legal obligations of employers. I’m fortunate that my employer is very forward-thinking, and I don’t take it for granted.

    • anonymous :

      It can be bad. I’ve also read that rushed and inadequate pumping schedules are one of the few scenarios where so-called “foremilk” and “hindmilk” concerns are actually relevant.

  27. Any good places in MA for furniture besides the obvious jordans/IKEA etc type places. I need a dining room table. I love the reclaimed modern look (metal and wood or all wood) but also don’t have a huge budget. Would prefer real wood instead of the mdf stuff

    • Maybe you consider this one of the obvious places, but I got a bedroom set from Bob’s for my first post-school apartment. It was affordable and I believe it was all wood, not MDF.

    • My mom lives in MA and I think she’s had good luck with Bassett Furniture in Natick.

    • Circle Furniture – they have a couple of locations.

  28. Anyone have the correct link to the plus sized version? Kat’s link doesn’t get there.

  29. Piggybacking on the JD and dream job questions above, for those of you who are lawyers in traditional practice, have any of you ever made a switch to a completely new practice area? I’m in my 10th year in small law and think I want to get out of litigation. I have an opportunity to train under a very seasoned attorney and eventually take over attorney’s practice in estate planning and administration and other small business transactional type work. In terms of knowledge and skill, I will be essentially be starting over. For those of you who switched, why did you do it and how did it go?

  30. Job/Interview Advice :

    Repost from late in the day yesterday –

    I sent in a resume for a high level finance position with a Canadian company that is opening a local office in my SW US city. An initial phone screen with HR went really well, so I expect to have an in person interview in a couple of weeks, when the CFO and some board members travel here.

    What do I want to make sure and ask in the interview? This will be a brand new position in a brand new office, that I’d be partially responsible for setting up. Also, the job is mining related, which indicates that the job/office may have an expiration date. For those in the industry, how much can I ask about worse case scenarios, or what happens when the project closes successfully to my job?

    And another important issue – what do I wear?! Where I live is incredibly casual (finance people seriously do not wear suits to interviews beyond new college grads) and warm. But the people I’ll be interviewing with are from Toronto, and I want to be dressed as they would expect a executive finance to look.

    • Wear a suit in black, gray, or navy.

      • Job/Interview Advice :

        Pants? Skirt? If I wear a skirt, do I need to wear hose? I’m assuming by the color selection that is should be a basic suit with no individuality, even though its a high-level position? I definitely know how to dress for an interview in my area, but out-of-country interviewers are throwing me for a loop.

        • I don’t think pants vs skirt matters much, and if skirt I would not wear hose personally.

        • I don’t think you need no personality- a great blouse would be good. But you’re southern so I wanted to make sure you weren’t going to wear some god awful tan monstrosity.

        • Pants vs skirt does not matter in Toronto. I would dress in a suit for Toronto finance.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            +1. I also think you can skip the hose. That being said, I am in law not finance.

      • Coach Laura :

        Many US banks still require pantyhose in their dress codes. Don’t know about Toronto dress codes. If there’s any chance the Toronto institution does then I would wear them if you wear a skirt. Do you have any LinkedIn connections who work for that company or someone who could ask?

        • Anonymous :

          I work for a big Canadian Bank. No need for hose. I wear black tights in the winter and otherwise go without. Either pants or skirt is fine.

    • I’m from toronto although in another (conservative) industry. I would wear a traditionally-coloured suit. Pants or skirt are fine. I personally would go bare legs with my skirt suit. I would add a bit of personality with my blouse (don’t go crazy, but a colour or pattern). Classic jewelry, classic shoe.

  31. Did you all see Michelle Carter’s sentencing?

    Apparently she was on psychiatric drugs. It is so scary how mind altering psychiatric drugs can be, and that doesn’t even touch on the unknown long term effects of taking them or on their effects on a developing teenage brain. I am alarmed that psychiatric drugs have become so normalized in our culture.

    • Nonsense. That’s an argument the quack her parents hired made not actual truth. If anything she needed more and better drugs. Antidepressants do not turn you into a sociopath urging other people to kill themselves. I’m alarmed you’re so ignorant.

    • Anonab*tch :

      I saw the sentencing on the news this morning. My question is what is going on with her eyebrows.

      • Anonymous :

        In the hospital, we had a saying…. odd hairline/brows…. check the brain. Something is going on there….

        The nervous system and skin/hair develop from a similar embryonic tissue. So sometimes, when there is an alteration in one area, you may find an alteration in the other.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Sorry, I am a bit unclear on your point. Do you think that taking the drugs made her send those texts to her mentally fragile boyfriend?

      • Right? That did not happen. At all. Her parents paid some doctor to make that argument. That doesn’t make it true.

      • I don’t know why she did what she did. My point is that the effects of psychiatric drugs, both known and unknown effects, are serious and that the way our society has normalized the drugs is scary and with unknown consequences. Michelle Carter’s sentencing got me thinking about this. Hopefully that clarifies my point for you.

        • Nah you sound cray. Psychiatric drugs have well documented effects- in that they treat mental illness. Which is serious and scary.

          • Anonymous :

            I am not cray. And I am not cray for having a perspective apparently different than yours. Name calling because you disagree with my premise is not constructive.

            Yes, psychiatric drugs treat mental illness. That is obviously a good thing. But at what cost and risk? At what risk to the long term health and treatability of the mental health patient, and at what risk to society.

            These are important and difficult questions worth asking.

          • Anonymous :

            At no risk!!

            These questions have been asked. And answered.

          • mmm. no drugs have no risk.

            It always worries me when people argue that any medical treatment or intervention has “no” risk. This is a fallacy. Every drug has risk. We use them when the benefits outweigh the risks. Birth control is a good example- my pill increases my risk of a blood clot in the my legs or lungs, but I take it anyway, because that risk is very low and the risk of pregnancy if I don’t take it is high.

            Many psychiatric meds have been around for a long time and have well documented risks. You can find these on the product monograph or on the websites.

        • I don’t know what kind of drugs she was on, but many psychiatric drugs have actually been very well studied, and their affects are well understood. Do you have a particular drug in mind that you’re referring to? For many people (including me), the benefits of psychiatric meds far outweigh the risks, and the science backs this up.

          • Anonymous :

            No, I am not referring to a particular drug. A single drug can affect two people so very differently, and it takes time to find the right drug and dosage.

            I am glad you got (presumably) an accurate diagnosis and were able to get psychiatric drugs with benefits outweighing the risks for you.

        • Bewitched :

          I’m glad you have never had a partner/spouse/child/friend with mental illness. I have. I would never say that psychiatric drugs impact the long term health of a patient or society. What facts do you have to back up those statements (journal articles please). I would say that the absence of psychiatric drugs would place the immediate health of a patient (and in some cases, society) in danger. Are you Tom Cruise by chance?

          • Anonymous :

            There are journal articals with conflicting conclusions. Some say take the drugs. Some say suicide risk is increased. Some say the risk depends on age of the mental health patient.

            Go ahead, advocate for SSRIs and their easy access. Good for you, not for me.

          • Anonymous :

            Your conclusion that I have not had a loved one with a mental illness is wrong, by the way. In fact, because of the pain I have seen result from psychiatric drug use, I acknowledge the risks and caution our society to think before normalizing psychiatric drug use.

          • I also think it would be the rare journal article that would say “take the drug.” That’s not really how they work. It is true that some medications appear to increase suicide risk, based on multiple studies. Others cause weight gain, decreased sex drive, etc, etc. On an individual level, people have to determine if that risk is worth it or not. Clearly, for many people, it is, because their symptoms are otherwise significant.

            I don’t actually think most of these journal articles are in conflict- I think that this is more nuanced than “drugs for all!” vs “danger!” and that people have to be free to make the decisions and balance the risks and benefits for themselves

      • I had such a mentaly fragile boyfreind, and I did NOT even know why he was so mean to me. Now I know thre was some kind of troubel in his family tree, as the granfather Sheketovits was what they referred to as “touched”, meaning that he used to walk around in the old country toucheing himself. FOOEY!

    • I don’t think psychiatric drugs can leave you devoid of all morality and empathy.

      • Anonymous :

        But what role did they play? Their presence begs the question with admittedly no answer.

        • Anonymous :

          No there is an answer. They played no role. Whatsoever. Psychiatric drugs have been studied extensively. This is not a side effect.

          Please return to your 47 FB groups selling essential oils and don’t make up lies about drugs lots of people on here take.

          • Anonymous :

            So you are telling me that the drugs “lots of people on here take” aren’t dangerous? That in all or even most cases the benefits outweigh the harms? I would believe you if you thought the benefits outweighed the harms for most people.

            Are you suggesting that most people taking them don’t have undesired side effects ( I.e. Suicidal ideation, depression)? If so, great!

            But I think we need to have a real conversation about the side effects, known and unknown, and if those risks, societally, are worth it.

            By the way, I don’t care for the pseudoscience purported by the essential oil shilling groups.

          • Anonymous :

            No, we don’t. We already did. Decades ago. Sorry you are ignorant of that.

          • Anonymous :

            It is not ignorant to want to reduce risks of suicidal ideation on a person and the people in that person’s community.

    • I’m no fan of SSRIs (the psychiatric drugs in question), but they don’t control what you say to people. More people should be aware that SSRIs can induce mania if the patient is bipolar, but from what I saw, no one actually diagnosed Carter as bipolar (the testimony seemed more insinuating?), and (more relevantly) mania also doesn’t control what you say to people (though it does explain a lot of odd behaviors).

      • Anonymous :

        Right. Brain chemistry and accurate diagnoses are so complicated.

        I like how you simplified this ( “mania doesn’t control what you say to people”).

    • Your points don’t follow.

      You may not realize but mental illness that is left untreated also has serious, long term affects on the brain. It is well established clinically and scientifically for example, that leaving depression untreated long term makes it more difficult to treat with time and increases neuronal loss in the brain and increases risk of dementia long term. It is also associated with difficulties with sleep, concentration, memory, and other higher cognitive processing tasks.

      So the long term effects of NOT treating mental illness (with medications, therapy, or both) is well known and severe… for the individual and society. We are only starting to talk about this now.

      Do you think there were no mentally ill people before anti-depressants came on the market? You probably don’t know how bad it was for people with mental illness….. and if so, you are fortunate. Thank goodness psychiatric drugs are becoming more accepted in our culture.

      Wasn’t this ill woman on anti-depressants and had a long history of eating disorders? Clearly her anti-depressants were not enough, and she had more stuff going on.

  32. Anon for this :

    Hi everyone,

    I’m posting anonymously for this one. I love how supportive you all are. Hoping from some advice or just some positive thoughts. My mom was diagnosed with stage II ovarian cancer 4 years ago, and went through chemo for about 5 months. She went into remission and was living well until June, when she caught a small blip on one of her blood tests and had it investigated. It was a recurrence, albeit a small mass about 3 cm wide around her bowel area. She started chemo in July and was originally only scheduled for 3 treatments (she had 12 the first time around 4 years ago, as well as surgery to remove all of her reproductive organs).

    I’ve been crying nonstop since June, as we’re very close and I am terrified of anything happening to her. She responded very well the last time and because this time it was caught early and it is the same type of tumor, the doctors think she will respond well. Also, because there were 4 years between chemo sessions, that increases the tumor’s sensitivity to chemo as well.

    On top of everything, my husband and I would like to TTC and wanted to do so this summer, but I am terrified of doing this. I really would like to have a child, but I know how difficult it is at the beginning when you give birth and have a newborn, and how stressful pregnancy can be on the body. I’m also not sure how healthy it is for me to be walking around pregnant if I am this stressed and what kind of effect it would have on me and if it could possibly induce miscarriages or something like that. And, God forbid, I’m terrified of having to go through all of this without my mom, although the chance of that is small. My husband is very supportive and my dad is also very supportive of my mom and goes to her chemo sessions with her. I just feel like I can’t escape this nightmare and just want my mom to get better so she can enjoy a grandchild. I don’t feel right TTCing until I see that her scans are clean.

    I’m not even sure what I’m asking, really- maybe someone has a good story about ovarian cancer survivors or something uplifting? I’m so glad to get this off my chest. I feel like I am living one day at a time and it is truly difficult to live like this when I am someone who likes to plan and who needs to have something to look forward to. I feel like everything is just a mess. Thanks so much in advance.

    • My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer my senior year of college. I didn’t know it was terminal at the time but he passed away following summer. Watching your parent going through cancer treatment is incredibly difficult and emotional.

      It sounds like you are mourning your Mom when she is very much alive and thriving! Please don’t mourn her now, I pray/hope/wish this is decades off for you. I think it would be best for you to carry-on and continue to live your life. Don’t put it on hold. I think trying for a baby will be a great distraction and something you could bond over.

      I do recommend setting up an appointment with a therapist sooner rather than later. You a bearing an incredible emotional load right now and it may be helpful to speak to someone. I wish I would have done this.

      I hope your Mom continues to thrive through this difficult time. Sending you good vibes.

      • Anon for this :

        Thanks so much for this. She’s only 58 and it’s something I’ve been dealing with for such a long time. I thought she was out of the woods and we were so close to the 5-year date, but the nature of ovarian cancer is that it tends to recur and you just have to watch it incredibly closely to catch it early, which my mom is very strict about.

        She is really my best friend and I would really like for her to continue to live for a very long time and I guess I will have to try to change my mindset. I’m going to make an appointment with a therapist for sure. Thanks again.

        • You have a huge heart and are a great support to your mother. She is lucky to have you. Now go make a baby (if you’re ready), I don’t think anything could bring her greater joy.

          Hugs and love to you.

    • Therapy. I know, I know, but you are going through so very very much, and you deserve support.

      No, the stress of this won’t make you miscarry.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oh, bless your heart! Sending your gigantic hugs!!

      I say if you’d like to TTC, go ahead and do it. Even if the worst happens I feel like it’s better for your mom to meet her grandchild than not, right? If I were in her shoes that’s how I’d feel.

      As for the stress, I was reading an interesting article the other day that stress is harmful to the extent you expect it to be harmful. People who are able to say “Wow I’m stressed but I’m getting through it” don’t seem to have ill effects from stress. Therapy would definitely help with all of this, too.

      Again, big hugs!

    • I have zero personal experience with this or constructive advice to give you, but hugs, thoughts and prayers to you and your family. My one thought would be: please let your friends know what you need that is helpful to you and your mental state. My friend just lost her mom to cancer this spring, and while she was going through the process, she most wanted an escape from talking to people about cancer. So she’d give us updates sometimes somewhat remotely (via email or text) and when we were together she didn’t want to talk about it or get the pitying looks. So we had fun, didn’t talk about it unless she brought it up, and kept her busy. You may need something completely opposite – your friends want to help, but they probably also need direction because they can’t intuit what you most need.

    • I’m very, very sorry about your mom. I have to admit I’m really confused by your comment though – why does the stress of pregnancy matter as long as you’re physically healthy – which you are, right? Being sad and worried about your mom’s cancer will not cause any harm to the baby and will not increase your risk of miscarriage. And not to be morbid, but if you’re worried your mom doesn’t have much time, wouldn’t you want to give her as much time as possible with a future grandchild? I know several people who began TTC immediately after their parent received a cancer diagnosis or even a cancer scare. I just don’t understand at all why you’d want to postpone TTC until your mom is healthy again.

      • Anon for this :

        Thanks for the comment. I guess it’s hard for me to explain it properly. I am physically healthy but if anything were to happen to my mom, I’m just terrified of me being in such a grieving/horrible state that it would be extremely hard for me to care for a child. I don’t have a relationship with my MIL and my husband isn’t close to her either. I’m not trying to stay that I am relying on my mom to help me raise the child or anything like that, but I always pictured my child(ren) having a close relationship with their grandparents as I did with mine and I can’t even fathom wanting to even have a child or be in a condition to give birth if my mom isn’t healthy or around. It’s hard for me to even type this. I guess it’s all tangled in my head. Basically, giving birth and having a newborn really scares me and I would really love to have my mom around for that. But all this goes back to me not mourning her while she’s alive and doing well.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I agree with everyone above about thinking positively and seeking support.

      I will also say this – my dad died shortly after I got engaged and did not see me get married. A year later, I lost my grandmother who I was extremely close to (we lived together growing up). I *wish* that either of them could have held my son, even if they were sick, even if it was for just a moment. Just typing this is causing me to tear up.

      If you are ready to try, OP, do it. Do not postpone joy.

    • My mom was diagnosed with a blood cancer a few years ago and needed chemo and a bone marrow transplant. When we found out she had cancer, my sister was about 6 months pregnant. My mother had to move to a different state for treatment for about 5 months. My parents are divorced and so me and my siblings had to rotate going to take care of her for a week or so at a time. By this time, my sister’s baby was a few months old and went with my sister each time. It was such a joy for my mom to be able to have the baby there too. I think especially if you are not going to be a full-time caregiver for your mother, then there is no reason to put off plans to conceive. Also, it was once explained to me that the type of stress that is harmful to a growing baby is stuff like when the mother is in a warzone. Although this experience is stressful for you, it is not the type of stress that will likely be harmful to a baby I don’t think. So all this to say, if you want to have a baby, then have one!

    • anon a mouse :

      First, therapy.

      Second, a close friend went through something similar. My friend was 8 weeks pregnant when her mother’s cancer was discovered and was given 6 months to live. She was a total wreck. The doctors were very aggressive, her mother responded well, and she now enjoys her 3-year-old grandchild and a 1-year-old sibling. So remember that there’s always a chance that things will turn out better than you expect.

      I hear you about not wanting to plan anything. But here’s the thing — everyone dies eventually. If this is the right time for you and your husband to TTC, do it. If you wait a year, your mother may or may not be around, her cancer may or may not be under control. You may just be kicking the can down the road and a year from now be asking yourself the same questions.

      I urge you to think instead about what you want to get out of the time with your mom — are there stories that you’ve always wondered about? Get professional family photos taken — every few months, if you can afford it. Make memories. If she’s healthy and enjoying her grandchildren many years from now, you won’t regret the time you spent.

      Hugs to you. It’s so hard.

    • My friend’s mom was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and had 6months to live. The friend told me that despite the pain was immense, carrying a baby at the same time was the only thing that kept her sane.
      Sending good vibes to you and your mom!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      My dad had/has leukemia — it’s a chronic, rather than acute, thing, but it’s there. He encouraged me to live my life, and I think he would’ve been horribly sad if I had put things off because of his health. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on a particular dream (chasing it took me halfway around the world, and I never did get what I was chasing, but the fun, of course, was in the journey) because of “what ifs.” I’m so glad I spent a few years living far from home, being an adult on my own — yes, it meant fewer days with my dad in total, but more than he wants to spend any particular day with me, he wants me to have a fulfilling life. I’m sure your mom feels this way too.

      Don’t be too sad before there is reason: She’s alive! You’re alive! You have a loving partner and will try to have a child! That’s what life is *for* — for being alive and with the people you love! Don’t put it on hold. (Hugs to you. This is so hard.)

    • I’m so sorry that you and your mom and family are going through this. My advice is to go ahead and TTC. Yes, stress is bad for pregnancy and moms and babies – stress is bad for everyone. But there will never be a time without hardship and stress and the joy you and your mom will get from a pregnancy and baby far outweighs the stress. I had my baby a year before my mom passed away from cancer (not ovarian – she had an unusual cancer), and my maternity leave (a year in Canada) was split between caring for my mom and caring for my newborn. It was so hard and I cried a lot – but I also got so much love and joy from my baby and it enriched my mom’s last year of life in a way I can’t put into words. I still have so much sadness and pain and I miss her so much, and I regret all the moments she won’t get to see or share, all the times I want her advice and can’t get it, all the moments in my daughter’s life when I know my mom would have been an incredible guide to her. But I try to focus on cherishing the year the three of us had together, and nothing fills my heart and comforts me now better than being with my daughter.

      It sounds like your mom has a lot of reasons to be hopeful so I don’t want to compare your mom’s situation to my mom – but I do want to say that a baby (if you’re otherwise ready and want a child) can be an unbelievable blessing in difficult times. And during the times that my mom was in hospital (she mostly received palliative care at home), my daughter being around so much made her the most popular patient on the floor. (Obviously YMMV on risk tolerance and bringing the baby to a hospital – depending on age, vaccinations, your pediatrician’s advice.)

      I’ll be thinking of you and your mom and wishing you both health and happiness.

    • My mother was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer last fall. One partial hysterectomy, 6 months of chemo, and a final complete hysterectomy. She is in remission as of May. Her hospital provides support groups for family members – I would suggest you try one of those. Your feelings are normal and not surprising. Mom herself has been struggling with the fear of a recurrence.

      Also, particularly for recurring ovarian cancer, there are a lot of drugs now that they can use (which my mom couldn’t get on because it was her “first” occurrence) and a lot of them are biologics, meaning the side effects are less. My understanding is that recurrence with ovarian cancer is pretty common, but also that we are light years ahead in treating it than we were even 10-20 years ago. I presume they are taking her CA125 pretty regularly, so they will catch things early. They can also genetically test the tumors to see if they respond better to certain chemo drugs.

      On TTC, before mom’s diagnosis and very quick first surgery, my husband and I had been talking about TTC in the next 6 months or so. I came back from mom’s hospital stay and said we are doing this now, life is too short. I didn’t want to wait, I wanted mom to have a chance to meet her grandchildren, and it just brought home for me how very short life can be. We conceived very quickly, and focusing on the baby and my pregnancy was very helpful for mom during her chemo. Mom went into remission in May, and we are expecting to deliver a healthy baby girl next week.

      My OB said that stress is only an issue (and I was helping out mom and working BigLaw at the same time, so I went through a high degree of stress) to the extent it leads to destructive habits – not sleeping, not eating, drinking, etc. So, if you’ve been thinking about it, I say do it. It leads to a whole set of new worries, but also brings a lot of joy. And then there may be the times where you and your mother have terrible laughing fits about how you have to fight about who gets the puke bucket, because pregnancy nausea and chemo nausea are shocking similar.

    • Style and Reason :

      Oh, Sweetie! Been there, done that. You will get through whatever happens, bc you have to. So, more specifically:
      1. Therapy. I wish I had done this more proactively than I did. I did the whole “anticipatory grieving” thing during my mother’s second cancer re-occurrence. (It was a particularly nasty uterine cancer, not ovarian.) I should have seen a shrink then.
      2. TTC. If , without cancer, this was the right time for you and your husband to TTC, do it for all the reasons the other posters above me said. I got pregnant right after my mom’s initial diagnosis and was pregnant during her first course of chemo. Baby is fine and is currently hanging out with me before starting 4th grade next week.

      Be kind to yourself. My mother was my best friend, and cancer is a b*tch. I know Rainbow Hair said don’t be too sad before you have a reason, and she’s right. But note that she didn’t say “don’t be sad” at all. You get to be sad about this bc it’s sucky sucky situation. I’m too lazy to set up an anon email, but you can find me at twitter at @ style and reason

    • Anonymous :

      FYI – I replied below with an alternate perspective but the comment ended up in the wrong place.

    • May Welland :

      Omg we are mom cancer twins–I’m sorry. My mom was diagnosed with IIIC ovarian cancer in 2011, had a fantastic response to chemo, and one month shy of being 5 years cancer free, was diagnosed with a small reoccurance last December.

      Since I like to research and logic my sad feelings to a manageable level: medically speaking, there have been quite a few advances in ovarian cancer treatment, especially on the BRCA front, in the last 4-5 years. I know that if this second bout doesn’t bow out as easily as her first, there are more options than last time, and I’ve made it my job to keep up with approvals and phase 2-3 clinical trials and also make sure my family is aware.

      Get in touch with the Clearity Foundation if you haven’t yet–they are an amazing ovarian cancer resource founded by a biotech CEO who battled ovarian cancer.

      Echoing what multiple people have said here–you gotta keep living your life in the meantime–there is always going to be uncertainty in the mix in various sucky shades.

  33. Can anyone help me with the math problem that is my life right now? I may re-post for the weekend if people don’t see. It seems like a good crowd for a question like this:

    I moved to my current location for my husband’s job. My husband left me last fall and the divorce is complete. I had two close friends here, but both have moved away. My job is about 80% work-from-home. All of this is to say that I don’t have much reason to stay living where I am right now. It’s a fine place, but I’m lonely and not very engaged with the place anymore.

    I am from a beautiful place several states away, where all my family currently lives. I want to move back there within 6 months if possible. The real estate market there is extremely hot, with no expectation of going down, so I’d like to buy a home–especially because once I get back there I know I’m never moving away again.

    What I want to do is buy a home in Hometown, move there, and stay at my job going 100% remote. However, there’s the chance that my employer won’t let me do that, and I don’t want to be between jobs or job-searching while applying for a mortgage. So my thought is that I need to surreptitiously buy the home, from afar, and make sure my bosses don’t see what I’m doing, and then tell them I’m moving by X date and that I’d love to stay on if they’ll let me go full-time remote. Obviously they could say no, but at least I’d already have the home. I am employable in Hometown, though there may be a pay cut. Frankly, I also have a well-off mom who wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me either. Taking help from her is not my ideal plan, but I’d do it, and she wants to help make this happen. (I recognize this is rare and lucky.)

    Please tell me if this sounds nuts or if you have better ideas?

    • Anonymous :

      Not nuts…. but not smart.

      Ask your employer if you can work 100% remote.

      If no, then start looking for jobs near hometown. And plan to rent if you feel you must move before you have a job.

      Do not move to a higher COL place with rapidly rising house costs and buy a house without a job.

      Be smart. Don’t count of Mommy to start paying your house payments.

      • I’m confused by the suggestion to rent, since rents are usually higher than mortgage payments, and moving twice is more expensive than moving once. If I can handle the down payment, I’d be paying less for housing month to month once that’s made, and I’d insulate myself from the ever-rising rents. Can you say more?

        • Anonymous :

          You need a job. Don’t commit to a mortgage before finding one. Live with family or rent a bit. Movers are a drop in the hat versus a house.

        • Anonymous :

          In HCOL places, rents are often much less than mortgage payments

    • Senior Attorney :

      Honestly I don’t have a huge problem with this plan. Life happens and if you are 100% sure you have a backup plan, why not?

    • Do it. my only concern is if the mortgage broker/company/etc has to verify your employment or something. then your current employer will find out. absent that, i’d do it in a heartbeat if your mom is there to support if necessary. but buy a small cheap house as a starter home that won’t cause a huge strain if you’re unemployed or take a pay cut.

      • Anonymous :

        Wouldn’t *any* kind of mortgage payment cause a strain if you’re unemployed though? Choosing to burn through an emergency fund when you have the option not to doesn’t seem like a good plan, and most people don’t have more than a year of living expenses in there anyway. Sorry, but I just don’t understand all this “buy a house in a place where you have no job” advice. Why not get a job first and then move? I just don’t see a downside to that unless you need to immediately get out of a bad work or personal situation and that doesn’t sound like it’s the case.

    • Sounds like a good way to handle it. Do it.

    • Your employer can’t fire you for asking to be 100% remote, right? If my logic is correct, ask!, the worst they could say is no.

  34. Can anyone help me with the math problem that is my life right now? I may re-post for the weekend if people don’t see. It seems like a good crowd for a question like this:

    I moved to my current location for my husband’s job. My husband left me last fall and the divorce is complete. I had two close friends here, but both have moved away. My job is about 80% work-from-home. All of this is to say that I don’t have much reason to stay living where I am right now. It’s a fine place, but I’m lonely and not very engaged with the place anymore.

    I am from a beautiful place several states away, where all my family currently lives. I want to move back there within 6 months if possible. The real estate market there is tight, with no expectation of going down, so I’d like to buy a home–especially because once I get back there I know I’m never moving away again.

    What I want to do is buy a home in Hometown, move there, and stay at my job going 100% remote. However, there’s the chance that my employer won’t let me do that, and I don’t want to be between jobs or job-searching while applying for a mortgage. So my thought is that I need to surreptitiously buy the home, from afar, and make sure my bosses don’t see what I’m doing, and then tell them I’m moving by X date and that I’d love to stay on if they’ll let me go full-time remote. Obviously they could say no, but at least I’d already have the home. I am employable in Hometown, though there may be a pay cut. Frankly, I also have a well-off mom who wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me either. Taking help from her is not my ideal plan, but I’d do it, and she wants to help make this happen. (I recognize this is rare and lucky.)

    Please tell me if this sounds crazy or if you have better ideas?

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, buying a house in a city with no job before you know you can work 100% remotely does seem kind of crazy to me (although I completely understand why you want to move back there). Why not tell your current job you have imminent plans to move there (you could live with your parents temporarily or rent an apartment, no?) and ask if you can work full-time remote. If they say yes, go ahead and start house-hunting! If they say no, then I would look for a job in your hometown before moving there.

    • Coach Laura :

      Monday, I think you should go ahead and buy the house. Banks usually verify employment though so your boss may find out about it, depending on the HR policies of your employer. You can be ready to say it’s an investment or a rental property or to lock in a lower price given rising prices. It’s possible your boss might ask you point blank if you’re moving so you might decide to tell the truth if that happens.

      I don’t think your plan is too risky as long as you have some financial cushion and do some preemptive networking in Hometown. Good luck!

  35. Anon for this :

    Looking for opinions on how to handle distant relations who have had legal run-ins but have “served their time.” My FIL remarried about 2 years ago; my SO and his siblings are all grown and out of the house. His wife has two daughters. “Hester” married “Hank” about a month ago; she has one child from a previous relationship. “Ophelia” is living with “Otis” and they are having a baby soon. She has 4 children from several previous relationships as does he. They are all in their 20’s or early 30’s. SO and I are mid-30s.

    Hank served 10 years in county jail and was charged with aggravated assault/attempted homicide. He pled guilty to some charges. He was released earlier this year.

    Otis was charged with aggravated assault, robbery, theft, etc. within the past year. He pled guilty to robbery charges and is on probation.

    I haven’t ever met Hank, Hester, Otis, or Ophelia. My SO has met them but only briefly. We are likely hosting a family gathering at our home at the end of this month for SO’s brother, who will be leaving the country for about a year. My SO wants to tell his father that Hank, Hester, Otis, and Ophelia aren’t invited. I agree with him but I’m trying to get perspective on what others think. Is this a reasonable decision or am I being too judgmental?

    What would you do?

    • Don’t invite them. They are basically strangers and there is no reason to.

    • Completely reasonable. Just say it’s too many people so you’re just having a small gathering. Step-family in this kind of situation certainly don’t have to be included.

    • Two things:

      1) Yes, it sounds pretty judgmental given that there’s no explanation offered that that they committed crimes in the past. Except for Ophelia, whose offense is apparently having children with multiple fathers. What is your SO’s actual concern? (BTW, deciding someone is a social untouchable because he committed a crime 10 years ago, for which he’s been punished, seems pretty rough, unless you have reason to believe he hasn’t changed his ways. This is part of what makes recidivism so high – ex-cons are barred from normal society.)

      2) The party is for your SO’s brother, not your SO. What does the guest of honor think? Unless you think Otis is going to commit aggravated assault at your party (i.e., that this situation is unsafe), I would defer to him. This goes back to the “what is the actual concern?” question above.

      3) All of the above notwithstanding , it seems like you guys barely know these people – are they really even close enough to your SO’s brother to be invited?

      • BTW, I say “what is the actual concern?” not because I think there aren’t reasonable things your SO could be concerned about, but because the two situations (crime 10 years ago for which a stiff sentence was imposed and recent crime that appears to have been only lightly punished) seem pretty different to me. Like, I would have more concerns about inviting Hank, because the offenses just occurred and depending on the backstory, I might be worried about having someone with a history of violence/aggression at my party, than about inviting Otis, for whom this is all far in the past. (Unless, of course, there are reasons to think Otis isn’t rehabilitated.) W/r/t the spouses/partners, I’m not sure what the relevance of Ophelia’s 4 kids is, but maybe I’m missing something.

        • Anon for this :

          You’re hitting the heart of the issue, which I was having trouble articulating, and I appreciate that! The recent offense versus less recent is relevant and I don’t know enough about the backstories of both to determine if they’re risky or not risky.

          I mentioned the kids mainly to note that there are children involved too. It makes me hopeful that the moms are making good decisions and perhaps the men had made a couple mistakes but are on the right path now.

          Thanks for being blunt but tactful, I appreciate it.

          • Well, I feel like I was super inarticulate, so thanks! I think the biggest thing is really “does it even make sense to invite these people?” – this sounds like the kind of event where you might really only want people that are close to your SO’s brother, you know?

            I would say that if you think you’ll need to socialize with them in the future, maybe you can get a sense of more of the backstory so you know if these are people you feel safe having in your home. There’s just a lot of different potential answers to that question and you’ll need more info to understand that.

            FWIW, my brother’s closest friend was a fairly violent guy as a young man and spent time in jail. Even jail didn’t straighten him out, but he was in a serious accident, came close to dying, and after that turned his life around and is now someone that I respect and love (and would recommend any of my single friends date, although I think he’s engaged now). These situations are so individual, and you just can’t know until you learn more – they could both be great guys who made bad choices that they’re trying to overcome, or they could be people that you really don’t want in your life.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah that was my thought – what did the women and kids do wrong? I could understand not wanting the men in your home, but Hester and Ophelia and the kids have never done anything wrong. I guess it might be less awkward just to completely not invite these families rather than just saying the men can’t come.

    • Anonymous :

      You’re not obligated to have a relationship with them – at this point, everyone is grown and you shouldn’t be expected to force anything familial. I would give them a wide berth from here on out. FWIW I have an in-law that has been out of legal problems for years and years but I still keep an eye and am very much on guard when that person’s around.

      • Yeah, to me, the biggest thing here isn’t anyone’s criminal history but rather that it seems like you barely know these people and you’re all grown-ups, so no real need to blend the family.

      • Anon for this :

        Thanks for your perspective. That’s how we’ve been handing it thus far and we’ll likely continue that in the future. I was feeling conflicted about it because my usual going-in position is to be more inclusive.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. I wouldn’t expect or even really care to be invited to a party by and for my stepparents’ children.

    • Is SO’s brother close with HOHO? That’s really the question here – would the guest of honor want them? If the guest of honor isn’t close to them either, there’s no reason to invite them.

      • Anon for this :

        Good points here. I was looking at it more from the “keeping the peace with the family” angle but this is really the key.

  36. Lingerie recommendations :

    Need lingerie recommendations. Would prefer underwear and bra that I could actually wear during the day. I am 5’9, 155, size 8, sporty and busty — 36 D — need something not too frilly, not a thong, but prettier and sexier than the underwear I have from target. Help? Where to browse or specific items.

    The reason for this is that I am dating again for the first time post divorce at age 48. Super nice guy and he mentioned he likes. Never have worn before.

    • Try Nordstrom! Or Nordstrom rack.

    • Asos! They carry lots of brands to browse. How about something like this?

    • Check out the Natori Feathers bra and underwear.

      • I am the exact same size as you & this is my go-to perfect fitting set.

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you for this!! I need new bras and my Wacoal bras aren’t fitting as well as they used to so I’d like to try something else. Small band and big cup options do not exist in my small city, so this gives me a place to start for my Nordstrom order.

    • Try Gap.

    • anonymous :

      I know everyone says this, but consider getting sized while you are at it! You might be 36D at Target, but 34DD at a lingerie store or another store that carries extended sizes.

      I would try Natori (as others have recommended) and Felina for what you’re describing. Also don’t overlook Betsey Johnson.

    • I’d also recommend going to Nordstrom, getting sized, and trying a lot of different things on. The Natori Feathers used to be my favorite, but I discovered the Chantelle line at Nordstrom and basically haven’t looked back since. Underwire, pretty, and comfy.

  37. Try Third Love. Not cheap, but many pretty styles that hold up well for every day. Plus, they’re not as expensive as many of the stunning but impractical sets, and their return policy and customer service is great.

  38. Anonymous :

    I’m in a very similar situation to you and am offering my alternate perspective.

    One of my parents was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer three years ago. They are currently in remission but it is a terminal diagnosis for almost everyone (this particular cancer has a median life expectancy of <six months following diagnosis and a <5% five year survival rate).

    I am planning to start trying for kids when they hit the four or five year mark (I'll be 31/32). I have a demanding job and if (when) my parent relapses, there is no way I could care for them the way I would like to, stay at my job and also care for an infant. I struggle a lot with the decision because it's possible my parent won't live to see their grandchildren.

    It's the right decision for me. Making the decision to hold off trying for kids felt like lifting a huge burden. I had so much anxiety about starting to try to have kids, for many of the reasons you articulate, and I'm much happier now. I'm spending a ton of time with my parent while they are healthy and it's so wonderful. It's really meaningful to me to have the flexibility to see them all the time, take spontaneous trips, etc.

    Many of my friends are having kids now and I do get a little jealous sometimes, but overall I think I will be a better parent because I'm waiting a few years. This makes me sound like a terrible person but I am pretty sure I would have been resentful that caring for a child would have either limited the time I spend with my parent or forced me to leave my current job. Holding off just made sense for me.

  39. I love this top!

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