Suit of the Week: Banana Republic

Corporette's Suit of the Week: Banana RepublicFor busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

I really like both of these pieces.  Cobalt suits seem to be a trend that’s been brewing for a few years now (I first saw it with independent designers Quincy Apparel) and I like the pop of color.  This particular set looks particularly nice — I like that both pieces are a lightweight wool, and are fully lined.  The colorblocked dress doesn’t look too Star Trekky, and for once I like the included belt — it seems like just another interesting element of the colorblocking. The jacket (Banana Republic Cobalt Lightweight Wool One-Button Blazer) is $198 ($139 with today’s code BRDRESSED), and the dress (Colorblock Cobalt Lightweight Wool Belted Sheath) is $150 ($105 today with the code). The 30% discount is available exclusively online.

Banana Republic Cobalt Lightweight Wool One-Button Blazer Colorblock Cobalt Lightweight Wool Belted Sheath



  1. I’m a brand new associate at a large law firm, and it’s been a very very slow week. I know I should ask for work, but I’m not sure exactly how to go about this. I don’t have a direct supervisor and my mentor is unavailable and out of town. Would it be weird to send an associate an email letting them know I’m available if they need help, or do I need to ask face-to-face? Sorry for the social awkwardness, but I’ve never had a job where I wasn’t simply assigned work. It just feels very strange to ask.

    • Do you have a practice group leader? I’d reach out to them. Also, an email to your practice group letting them know that you have capacity is a good way to get your name in front of people. I am more likely to assign work to someone if I know that they are looking (assuming they are good) rather than piling it on someone’s desk who is already swamped with 4 partners’ work.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I agree with fbb that it depends on your firm, but the things I would consider are (i) e-mail is good for the reasons set out below and the fact that if someone doesn’t have something just then, they may keep the e-mail and remember it later on but, equally, (ii) if you are new to the department and people don’t know you, going to see them may be better as it makes them actually remember your face, rather than you just being a name in their inbox.

      So if they already know you, send an e-mail, if they don’t, maybe consider popping in to introduce yourself but bear in mind people may be busy!

      • Good point, Elle. I have mostly only emailed people I knew. If I emailed someone I didn’t know I would add a request to meet face to face–something like “I am new to the firm and I’m interested in your practice area. Is there a time we could chat?” But only do this if you are genuinely interested.

    • Lady Tetra :

      I am in a similar position, and when I am slow I first go walking around the office to see who is in, and I chat with those people to see if they have anything. If not, I go back to my desk and send some emails out. They generally go like this: “Hi Partner, I wanted to let you know that I have availability this week, and I’d love to get some experience in [whatever Partner does]. Thanks!”

    • Do you have an associate development/professional development manager on staff? Often times they assist partners/sr. associates with staffing. Let he or she know that you’re light on work. What about a work flow partner/sr. associate for your department?

    • I wouldn’t send out a mass email. While it’s fine – and advisable – to let people know you have some availability, you don’t want to look like you have nothing to do (even if that’s true). Also, it’s just better for your image and your relationship with senior associates and partners to suggest that you’re asking them for work because you’re really interested in either working with them specifically or working on the kind of work they do. Again, it doesn’t matter if this is really true. But just as employers don’t want to feel like you’re interviewing with them just because you want a job, any job, partners will think better of you if they feel like you’re specifically seeking them out. As for whether you should email or just stop by, that totally depends on the partner. One way to figure this out is to talk to the partners’ admins. Say you’d like to talk about [see if you can find out the actual new case(s) the partner is working on] because you’d like to see if there’s a role for you on the case, and ask the admin whether her partner would likely prefer that you email her or stop by and if stop by, when would be the best time to catch her.

      As for senior associates (another great source of work), you can be more casual and just stop by to see what they’re working on and if there’s anything you can help with. Be really, really flexible in what you’re willing to do. Nothing turns off senior associates like junior associates who ask for work but then balk at what they’re given. If you get something to work on, try to figure out what the next step in the case would likely be and offer to do that. (This can be hard when you’re really new, but do your best. Even consider asking another associate — maybe a 2nd or 3rd year — what the next step is likely to be. The senior associate will be impressed that you were thinking ahead.)

      • I definitely wouldn’t do a mass email, and agree that email vs. face depends on the person. I would first walk to halls and pop in with whoever is available, and then follow up via email with those who weren’t. If you do transactional work, this is a really slow time of year, so don’t expect things to immediately appear. Use this time for business development (volunteer to write an article or blog post or legal alert with a partner/senior associate) or grab a pro bono project. I like to get ahead on both of these things early in the year because invariably the second half of the year I am too busy.

      • I respectfully disagree with TBK’s assessment that you shouldn’t let people know you have nothing to do. Pounding the pavement has worked very well for me–and when people know you have nothing, you’re likely to be at the top of the list when it comes to assignment work. It’s not in the firm’s interest to have work distributed unevenly, so as long as you’re competent, there is no shame in not being busy–sometimes very busy cases end abruptly, and then you have nothing.

        Plus, at my firm, if you need work, the assignment coordinator will send out an email to the partners saying you have availability, so there’s no hiding. I think people appreciate if you’re transparent about how busy you are –then they can properly assess staffing and hiring needs, etc. Although I do agree that you yourself should probably not send out a mass email. Not sure why, just seems like a breach of etiquette.

    • Do you only work for one or two people in the office? If so, I would just send them an email, saying: “I am available to take on more work. I am currently working on xxxxxx, which I expect to last me until xxxxxx. Thank you.”

      If you have a lot of direct contact with the senior associates and partners you work for, stop by their office super early in the morning and let them know you’re available for work. Don’t expect them to give you anything on spot. If something comes up that day, you’ll be fresh in their mind on who they can pawn it off to. I wouldn’t recommend going to them midday since everyone is super busy. Early in the morning, everyone is a little more relaxed. In the morning, you have a better chance of getting the senior associate or partner to discuss work with you.

      If you don’t have any folks to whom you directly report, then I would swing by other associates’ offices and ask for their input on how they ask for work. Who knows, they may have a project they need help with themselves and will get you involved.

      My last, but most important piece of advice: never walk into a partner or senior associates’ office without a pen and notepad.

  2. I have sent emails before. YMMV depending on firm culture, but in my experience, email is a lot easier than trying to catch people at their desks/not on the phone. I’ve emailed both partners and upper level associates, just to let them know I’m looking and to ask them to keep me in mind if something comes up. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

    Also, I LOVE this suit. This is the only color combination I want to wear these days. If I hadn’t just bought a cobalt jacket and two new black dresses, I would be buying it. I might still watch it for end of season sales, though. Gorgeous find, Kat.

  3. I have a hard time picturing this as a suit.

  4. hellskitchen :

    The sweater over a shirt, the rolled sleeves, and the color-blocking make this look too casual to be a suit.

    • saltylady :

      I’m having that problem with so many blazers I like. The photos they use, always with jeans, are casual friday at best, more like mom going to a midday PTA meeting.

    • Between the color, the sweater and the rolled sleeves, I totally agree. It reminds me of those cheap “pretending to be a suit” suit from places like Bebe or Charlotte Russe.

      • Bebe suit confession :

        Confession of the day:

        I wore a Bebe suit to my college admissions interview (cringe). However, in a moment of self-doubt before the interview (after parking my car, but before arriving to the interviewer’s office), I decided that the skirt was too short. I made my way to the ladies room, unzipped partially, and wore the skirt low-slung on my hips to give myself a few extra inches in length. Because the waistband was still covered by my untucked silk shell, this trick remained hidden. To this day, I don’t know why I wasn’t worried about the skirt falling off, and I REALLY don’t know why it didn’t do exactly that.

  5. Didn’t get a chance to reply on the earlier thread, since I got sucked down a couple of rabbit holes at work, but for those that were interested, here are the links to a few journal articles demonstrating that weight loss is more complicated than calories in/calories out.




          • Tara Parker-Pope of the NYT also has a great piece (which includes references to the above articles), if you’re looking for something a little less dry, but that still pulls in actual science:

    • I had also posted this, which includes some citations.

    • I am all for spreading the word and sharing good scientific evidence, but I think that you don’t even need to dignify that poster from this morning with a response. She obviously had no idea what she was talking about and is a significant minority opinion in this community. I think the vast majority of us here already are on the body positive, size-isn’t-everything bandwagon. ;o)

      • Probably so, but most people I know are still very much believers in “calories in-calories out” as the sole dictator of weight change. I was myself until the last year or so, and learning to the contrary has definitely helped me adjust my thinking. Totally apart from that particular comment, I think these links are useful.

      • Olivia Pope :

        I agree with Monday that the links are useful outside of the “discussion” from this morning. Scientific reporting of any sort is usually wrong, so I always love it when people make substantive articles easily available.

        I really miss the days of being a student and having full access to academic journals. I would look at random journal articles all the time.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I miss that too. I’ve been lucky to find some professors post free copies of their articles on their websites. I’ve had the most luck with this with professors like Edward Deci who is a psychology professor focused on motivation and self-determination theory. Fascinating stuff to me!

      • yeah, you’re probably right, disregard the above. ;o)

        • Wildkitten :

          Z, These were my exact thoughts this morning but I didn’t want to engage in any additional troll feeding. Props.

    • Bewitched :

      Amazing information. I wonder if some of the others who blithely commented that you can lose weight by just limiting calories in will feel the same way when they read Tara’s article. To have to exercise two hours a day, not eat more than 2000 calories a day, avoid whole categories of foods (white flour and sugar), weigh every item before cooking etc etc sounds extremely difficult to me. Not as simple as just watching calories. To top it all off, the woman in the article still weighs 195 lbs, which would likely still be classified as overweight. I would also note that a weight that is easy to maintain by watching calories in your 20’s or 30’s may not be so easy to maintain after having a child or multiple children, and certainly not easy to maintain after menopause. Thank you, emeralds, for this information. The last couple of articles on this blog have been upsetting to me-as others have indicated, why can’t we embrace all sizes and emphasize healthy eating, living and exercising, rather than focusing on a clothing size, number on a scale, or some media based perception of what can/cannot be “easily” done with regard to losing weight?

      • Was it the articles or the comments that were bothersome to you? Some of the comments were more problematic to me, but not necessarily the post. I understand why people took issue with Kat’s title “Feeling Too Fat to Interview, ” but I took it as her trying to make the title as succinct as possible, while still conveying the message that the reader feels too fat and, as such, has a lack of confidence about interviewing. There’s really no easy way to say that. It’s really difficult to find a way to discuss bodies that are larger than the societal ideal because so many of the available words have been used in hurtful ways and are triggering to someone. It seems to me Kat’s aim with these posts has been to acknowledge that, while not everyone fits society’s ideal body type, we have bodies that are worth discussing and figuring out how to best dress and I appreciate that.

        • Wildkitten :

          The comments that were the most wildly out of line IMHO were on the blazer article from this morning, not the “fat article” from yesterday.

    • From reading those articles which also seems to coincide with other health information that I was aware of, it seems like calories-in-calories-out is still accurate, but determining the amount of calories being consumed and burned is more difficult than might be assumed, especially determining the calories out. These articles suggest that different people burn vastly different amounts of calories while participating in more or less the same activities. Which means that calories-in-calories-out is accurate, but determining the accurate amount of both numbers (but calories out especially) can be tricky.

      Also, increased hunger hormones and lower self-restraint hormones in the body push some people to feel the need to consume more calories (not that they have to consume more calories, but their body is pushing them too, while others do not feel the same physical urges). People with the higher-hunger lower-restraint hormones will have a harder time limiting the calories-in part of the equation because their body is pushing them to eat more. People with lower-hunger and higher-restraint hormones will have an easier time sticking to a lower amount of calories-in because their bodies will feel satisfied on the lower-calorie fare. So calories-in-calories-out is still accurate, but both numbers can be difficult to determine and some people’s bodies are happier to cooperate in living on a limited amount of calories-in while other bodies will resist the exact same limited amount of calories-in.

      • AnonInfinity :

        That’s what I gathered from those articles, too. For example, the first one actually talks about people losing weight on a calorie-restricted diet, and the conclusion is about whether the weight stays off after the people go back to a higher calorie diet.

        I do think it’s more complicated on an individual level than just telling a person to eat less and you’ll lose weight and keep it off forever. Maybe the phrase “calories in vs. calories out” is too flippant and makes it seem like the speaker is saying it should be easy. When you factor the difficulty of determining basal metabolic rate in addition to the hormonal factors and individual biology, it can be really hard to figure out how much a person needs to eat to maintain or lose.

        Does anyone know of a study, or even anecdata, where the researchers actually tested a person’s basal metabolic rate, factored in activities, then the subject ate a diet of fewer calories than BMR + activity, and the subject didn’t lose weight?

        • The last part: oh, the much-discussed “starvation mode,” right? I would love to hear about a study on this, too.

          All I know is, when I don’t eat enough for a while and I run a lot, I will retain water like crazy. Then, I will eat a whole lot and bam – not bloated nay more.

      • Flying Squirrel :

        I was going to observe the same thing regarding calories in/calories out. I think most dieticians use a rule of thumb of about 30% efficiency, but it can actually vary greatly from person to person. It’s not physically possible to gain weight if you are expending more calories than you consume, but it is possible for one person to expend considerably fewer calories than another doing the same thing (or nothing at all except breathing and circulating blood). This isn’t to discount anyone’s saying that the research isn’t true about how body types and rapid weight loss can change a person’s metabolism and thus their calorie needs, but just to point out that metabolism is just a measure of the rate at which you expend energy (i.e. burn calories). Can you tell I’m a physicist?

        As to your second point about hormones, I don’t know much about that so can’t comment either way.

        I can’

        • Thank you, Flying Squirrel. The supposition that some people can gain weight by expending more calories than they take in always bugged me, because isn’t there some law of physics that you can’t create matter? Something like that. Obviously I am not a physicist.

          Totally agree that some people might be more efficient at holding on to calories than expending them, see the thrifty genome/metabolism hypothesis. That said, I think very few people walk out of, say, POW camps, looking chubby. Sorry if that is insensitive, I guess my point is that if you engage in brutally hard labor and are severely calorie-restricted, pretty much everyone will lose weight. But that’s no way to live.

    • Baconpancakes :

      These are fascinating articles to read. Thank you for posting them, ladies.

    • I think Gary Taubes is one of the writers trying to find evidence that all calories are not created equal. I haven’t made it all the way through his book “Why We Get Fat (And What to Do About It),” but it is heavily supported with footnotes to journal articles, etc. Those of you who enjoy reading scientific journals will probably love it! Very dense writing but informative, IMHO.

  6. Anonymous :

    Since that’s a blazer, the 30% discount doesn’t apply.

  7. Tall dress pants :

    Can anyone recommend a place where I can buy tall or long dress pants with a narrower leg opening (looking for a straight leg, not skinny jean narrow) under $100 – preferably a place that regularly has sales so I can get them for less. I found some that look exactly like what I want at The Limited but they were made from a weird stretchy fabric and they stretched out and bunched up in a very unflattering way once I’d worn them a few times. I’m looking for a suiting fabric or something similar that will hold up over time and not get stretched out. I’ve checked Ann Taylor, LOFT, BR, GAP several times over the last few months and have not seen what I’m looking for.

    • J Crew Bristol pants? I don’t own them but they sold out in most colors which strikes me as a good sign

      JCrew also has the Paley pants in long but they’re most cropped.

    • Have you tried the straight leg Martin pants at BR? They come in a variety of fabrics. The long/tall have a 36″ inseam. They are $79 right now…

    • HappyHoya :

      I recently bought some great straight-leg work pants from Macys. Anne Klein pants do not come in different lengths but are longer than most, since they seem to be made to be hemmed. Tahari and Calvin Klein also make long-length pants. It takes a little bit more work to find them and try on all the different styles, but I’ve had more luck with department stores lately, in general.

  8. Swwoooooon, the New Yorker heard my prayers and answered them. It loves me, it really loves me! I feel so validated.

    Also, Sadie, check this out: “clerical workers who were exposed to open-office noise for three hours had increased levels of epinephrine—a hormone that we often call adrenaline, associated with the so-called fight-or-flight response.”

  9. Diana Barry :

    I will be so glad when cobalt is OUT, out forever! Can’t stand it!!!

    Ladies, I have a workout question. I recently went back to practicing yoga (hot power) and am not sure what to eat/drink afterward when (1) I don’t feel like eating so much and (2) I also feel weak/emptyish for most of the day. Does this mean I’m low on electrolytes or water or something else?

    • Low appetite + weak + empty + lethargy = classic dehydration. Drink more water (or better yet, stop doing yoga in temperatures designed to dehydrate you).

    • Olivia Pope :

      I have never been much of a yogi, but whenever I do hot yoga I drink ALL. THE. WATER. Ridiculous amounts of water before, during, and after.

    • You need to make sure you’re well-hydrated before you go. Drink plenty of water the day before and the day of. Typically you don’t need electrolyte replacements unless you’re sweating for 90 minutes, so it depends on how long your class is (or how sweaty you get) whether you think Gatorade would be a good option. Some studios go crazy with the heat, it might be worth checking around for one where it’s more warm than hot.

      • Diana Barry :

        That’s it! I am totally forgetting to hydrate before class. The studio is not that hot, compared to the previous ones. Thanks. :)

    • Also, the water tends to help more if you drink a lot before the class instead of during or after. You should still drink during and after, but make sure you’re not missing the before part – that’s important!

    • No advice on the yoga, but I am so with you on the cobalt. I honestly can’t think of any color I dislike more.

    • Baconpancakes :

      It’s ok, I’ll wear all your cobalt for you. I love it! It looks great on my skin tone.

      • anon-oh-no :

        me too. i have just a few pieces, but i love them.

        • Baconpancakes :

          The only thing I don’t own in cobalt is a blazer, which is making the BR “suit” really enticing.

      • me three. I really want that blazer and that dress. Very sad the dress (like so many beautiful dresses) does not come in tall sizes.

    • Eating a piece of fruit works for me after a workout when I can’t eat much.

  10. Anthropologie newbie :

    I’ve never ordered from Anthro before and am looking to order around $200 worth of clothes. But it looks like they charge for shipping even at that amount. I hate paying for shipping! Is this normal for Anthro? Does anyone know if they offer any free shipping promos? TIA!

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Not sure about shipping, but if you sign up for their rewards program you get a 15% off coupon for your birthday month. May be worth a try.

    • Anonymous :

      Its normal and they generally don’t offer free shipping (once in a while, they’ll have a free ship over $150 promo, but its rare). If you are in a city that has an Anthropologie, you can go to the store and have them order the stuff for you and get free shipping that way. Sometimes, a store will allow you to do this by phone (call and place the order with the store, rather than the website), but most of the time they won’t let you do this. Its why 98% of the time, I close the little x on my browser instead of placing an order. I hate paying for shipping and their shipping charges are really astronomical.

    • They will randomly do promos where its free shipping above $100/$150. You can also order items that are not in stock in your size from the store for free.

    • Only in the past 2 years have they bothered to give occasional free shipping promos if you spend $100 or $150 (depending on the offer).

      And only because they have been hounded by so many customers and prominent bloggers
      like Roxy (from Effortless Anthropologie). In prior years, they almost never ever gave free shipping.

    • It’s normal. Isn’t it strange that the charge more for shipping the more you order? Most places it becomes free when you buy more! Anyway I never order online from Anthro because of their ridiculous shipping costs.

  11. Paging "Real Food" :

    I was about to eat my apple and realized it has a bar code on it! Is is still considered real food? Should I eat it? You’re the expert, so please let me know!

    • In all seriousness, when my niece was little, I offered her an apple in my house and her mother (my SIL) said, “Oh, we’re not used to apples with stickers! The farmer’s market doesn’t have apples with stickers!”

      • hoola hoopa :


        • Wildkitten :

          When I was little stickers were my favorite part of fruit. I still love when banana stickers are clever.

      • And there was that time I walked by a farmer’s market during set-up: what really caught my eye was the dude in the back picking all the stickers off the perfect, deep red, one-the-vine tomatoes.

    • Anonforthis :

      I’m sure Real Food would tell you that if your apple has a bar code you probably need to peel it since it’s contaminated with pesticides. I went anon so I could confess that even knowing this I don’t wash storebought apples when I’m in a hurry.

      • I don’t either!

      • PinkKeyboard :

        I read an article that said that washing in plain water does not actually remove pesticides and since i’m not scrub brushing with detergent my fruit I have felt free to not wash forever after!

    • Real Food :

      Yes, undoubtedly the reason you need to use a bar-code tracker to monitor your calories is because you’ve really been overdoing it on the *apples*

      • Anonymous :

        Apples have a lot of sugar, yo.

      • I guess you just don’t get it, the bar code tracker is not just for weight loss. I mainly use it for daily intake, vitamins, iron, fiber and potassium intake.

        • Wildkitten :

          I assume Real Food is being facetious here?

          • Paging "Real Food" :

            I wish. “Real food” thought it was appropriate to tell an anorexic girl (woman?) who uses the bar code in the fitness app to track calorie intake, that real food doesn’t have bar codes.

            It’s all good though. I think “Real food” is just visiting for the day from jezebel. They’re discussing wedding dresses over there today, and I think with a personality like the one “Real food” is blessed with, looking at wedding dresses (albeit for her or a friend) isn’t something that’s not on the horizon. One needs friends and a partner for that, so she looked for another place to spew her opinions. She’ll be back there tomorrow, and thus out of our hair.

          • Real Food :

            Honey, you called me, remember? I gave you exactly the reaction you were TRYING to get from me, so that you would have an opportunity to revive the topic. You’re welcome.

  12. Woods-comma-Elle :

    I’m planning a trip with my parents to the US in the spring and part of the trip will involve driving from Niagara Falls to Boston. I’ve done this drive before, but in one go, whereas this time I want to split it into two parts and stop somewhere in the middle. My parents have only ever been to big US cities before and my mum especially is keen on seeing some ‘small town America’.

    I’m looking for ideas by way of Google maps, images and Wikipedia, but any suggestions for a cute place to spend the night between Niagara and Boston? Somewhere we can find a nice hotel and B&B and something nice to eat – it doesn’t need to have anything particular by way of sightseeing, it’s more about the picturesqueness and the experience. I would perhaps rather it was closer to Boston than Niagara, but that part is really open.

    • anon in tejas :

      this might be helpful….

      I googled boston day trip to niagara falls and got some results that might help you out.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Thank you so much for your helpful response. As I clearly stated in my message that I was googling stuff but was looking for recommendations, I’m not really sure it was necessary to be snarky.

        • anon in tejas :

          I wasn’t being snarky, but trying to suggest some other search terms that you could use to try to come up with results that might be helpful.



          • anon in tejas :

            I also tried to post a link, but it seems to be “lost in moderation” sorry again if my response came off as snarky, honestly trying to be helpful.

    • recent grad :

      I recommend stopping in Mystic, Connecticut. A very cute town with an old world feel. It has interesting shops and great restaurants. You can go to the Mystic Seaport or the Aquarium, or just walk along the drawbridge, see the boats, and take in the scenery. It will be beautiful in the spring.

      • Anonymous :

        Mystic is not between Niagara Falls and Boston.

      • Love Mystic. Make sure you have some ice cream at the ice cream place on the bridge.
        Also, prepare for the trip by watching Mystic Pizza. They have some nice restaurant options there too. Highly recommend.

        • Anonymous :

          Agreed, its adorable and lovely, but its a good two hours out of the way (each way). Niagara Falls to Boston is a straight shot east on I-90. Mystic makes the trip a giant triangle for no reason. It pulls you way off I-90 and way farther south than you need to go to get to Boston.

          • Woods-comma-Elle :

            Ah, but luckily we would be going to NY after Boston, so Mystic would totally work for that leg, sounds like a perfect lunch spot! Thanks!

          • Anonymous :

            It will be perfect for a trip from Boston to NYC!

          • My geography skills are not the best for places I have not been so good point, but Woods-comma-Elle, you will enjoy it on the way back. It’s a super cute town. Very typical New England.

    • Anonymous :

      Cooperstown is adorable (in NY). Sturbridge is cute, but is quite a bit closer to Boston. In the Berskshires, Williamstown and Great Barrington are very cute and probably a little more than halfway. Satatoga Springs is also quite adorable.

      • Anonymous :

        *Saratoga Springs

      • Ciao, pues :

        Great Barrington is really pretty and has a lovely town center and even a castle! It’s got a small town look for sure, but is a favorite of NY weekenders so is actually pretty fancy in terms of shopping and restaurants.

      • Ciao, pues :

        Never been, but I really want to check out Williamstown, which is supposed to be beautiful and is home to the Mass Museum of Contemporary Arts.

        Woodstock NY is also very cute, though a smidge out of your way.

      • +1 to all of these. I was just in Williamstown in September, it is a very pretty little college town.

    • I don’t know what your travel plans involve, but if you are spending any time in Niagara Falls, I recommend staying in Buffalo [instead]. While the Falls themselves are neat, Buffalo is a far better city than Niagara Falls (US or Canada). There’s better restaurants, architecture, art, shopping and outdoor activities. If you are only there to see the Falls, I recommend Goat Island (on the US side). Its quite pretty.

      • Flying Squirrel :

        Not to be contrarian, but I disagree with this. Having been on both sides (though admittedly way more often on the Canadian side), I think they are much more impressive from Canada which I think will make Buffalo unreachable. Otherwise, though, I agree on Buffalo being more interesting of a place to stay than Niagara Falls on either side.

        FWIW, I used to really like sailing the Maid of the Mist, even though I know it’s really touristy.

        • Flying Squirrel :

          Oh, and not that you asked, but in general I’m glad you’re making a trip to Niagara Falls. They are one of the things in the world that really doesn’t disappoint despite the hype.

        • Agree that the Falls themselves are more impressive from the Canadian side, but you can see them and then hop over the border and see them from Goat Island and then stay in Buffalo. In order to get from NF to Boston, she’ll have to travel over to the American side at some point. The Falls, especially from the Canadian side, are one of those things that you see and then move on. There’s not much to linger over. Whereas, Goat Island allows for some walking around and exploring. And then, once you are on the American side and have seen the Falls, I would suggest getting the heck out of Niagara Falls and spending some time in Buffalo (if you are indeed staying overnight during that leg of the trip).

          • I'm Just Me :

            As a suburb of Buffalo native, I will just say that I love the American side of the Falls and adore Goat Island and Three Sisters Island. You can much closer to the water on the American side and the view from the bottom of the Observation Tower is not to be missed.

    • I recommend stopping in the Berkshires. Stockbridge is a nice town with many B&Bs (as well as some awesome resort spas). How early in the spring are you visiting? If it’s April or early May, it could still be cold (even snowy) on that stretch.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Ah, good point! It will be mid-April I think, so will need to prepare for that!

    • Ithaca NY is roughly in route (I think). I have many friends who went to Cornell & they all say Ithaca is gorgeous (or gorges, if you like puns) in the late spring. If you are going in March or something though the weather might still be pretty miserable.

      • Ithaca isn’t quite on the way but I don’t think it would add a significant amount of time. If you’re ok with a slight detour, I highly recommend Ithaca! Beautiful town, it really is gorges :) but also agree with LH that if you’re going in winter it will be cold and snowy.

    • You could drive up into the Adirondack mountains and stay the night in a small town there. My mom and I drove from New Hampshire to the Midwest, and took a detour to Old Forge, NY. It felt very small town, especially compared to some of the places you drive through on the turnpike.

    • Check out the Berkshires, just over the MA state line. There’s lots of awesome art, hiking and B and B’s. If you want more small-towny, Cooperstown NY is quaint but nice. I grew up in Albany.

  13. Anon for This :

    I have my first job out of law school and really my first “real job” ever. I’ve made a budget and really have no money problems to speak of. However, for some reason, I get really anxious when my checking account dips below a certain amount ($1000-$1500). This happened the past couple months with holiday parties, gifts, etc. and I feel like I won’t be able to catch back up. I don’t know why this is especially when I have plenty of emergency funds saved up.

    For those of you with budgets, do you actually “break-even” each month or do you have a little cushion in your checking account? I’m starting to wonder how I will ever build up any extra funds in my checking account if I don’t leave some sort of cushion, short of coming into a large sum of money.


    • You get anxious at $1k??? Sometimes I have like 17 cents in my account right before my next paycheck deposits. I take it as an indication that I make the perfect amount of money.

      • I hope you’re being sarcastic.

        • I’m actually a little offended at this, Anon. No one likes living paycheck to paycheck, and as someone severely underpaid in a HCOL area (as a supposed investment in my future) it is sometimes inescapable for my finances to go down to the wire like that. You remind me of my friends in the private sector who have entirely lost touch with what it’s like to be on a tight budget. I consider myself fortunate that I break even instead of accumulating debt or choosing whether to pay the rent vs. the electric bill.

          For the OP, I get nervous at $100. I get even more nervous when I see that I’ve transferred money out of savings two or more months in a row. I get angry when I realize that the reason I’ve been blowing my budget is that I’m fronting the money for business travel that won’t be reimbursed for several months and I have not, in fact, been irresponsible or living beyond my means.

          • Why are you fronting money for business travel that will not be reimbursed for several months? Several months is a long time to wait for reimbursement. Most companies reimburse within a month. The company is borrowing your money to pay it’s bills – not cool.

          • Wildkitten :

            …She probably does this because it’s expected for her job and if she were to stop doing her job and be fired she would have even less money.

            Seriously guys. Sometimes.

          • I would ask for company credit card if it’s a significant amount of money we are talkinga about. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be reimbursed for travel monthly. Fronting your own money for 3 months for business travel should not be part of the job description. If the company is that low on funds you should be worried about losing your job.

          • KA: She wasn’t asking for advice, so you don’t really need to give any. She is probably not stupid and has probably tried every possible angle to NOT be that far in the hole because of her workplace’s policies. And even if she hasn’t, it’s up to her, it’s not your problem. I am in a similar situation and there isn’t some simple thing i have just *not done* .. i have to front these expenses and I get the money when I get it, if I don’t like it I can quit, those are my only options at this point.

          • Welcome to academia (and I’m technically on staff, not a student).Travel is only reimbursed after said travel has occurred. Plane tickets, conference fees, etc. must be paid for well in advance by me (no company credit cards or travel agents here!). Even after travel, add three weeks for paperwork (all filled out by me, not an assistant) to bounce around various departments being nitpicked and acquiring signatures and suddenly my employer owes me 80% of my puny monthly take-home salary.

            To add to the fun, I also have no business phone and am expected to use my personal cell phone to make business calls (without reimbursement).

            This is in one of the top 3 departments in the country in a STEM field. But don’t worry, it’s all an “investment” in my career, so I should be grateful they’re reimbursing me at all! *sarcasm*

          • And it’s not just academia where this happens. Happens in the private sector too. I was appalled when my company expected my non-exempt coordinator to front several hundred dollars on travel expenses yet wouldn’t provide a credit card. I had been spoiled prior to working here — my prior company had credit cards, direct bill arrangements for hotels and a travel agent in house where airfare was paid directly by the company; at most you’d be out of pocket for meals and cabs. Unfortunately, that is not the case at my current company. Now whenever someone new/junior/lower comped starts working in my department, I always ask them prior to their first trip — do you need my credit card for airfare, an advance for travel expenses (available but never advertised), etc. and I let them know that reimbursement can take quite a long time. I think it’s wrong for the company to expect people to give them what amounts to an interest free loan but it’s especially wrong when it’s a junior person living in a high cost of living area who may not be able to carry that balance.

        • Wildkitten: I think I love you, will you Internet-Marry me?? :o)

          Also: I get anxious when I get two or more overdrafts in one month, but i’m not exactly offended by the above two comments. I don’t know enough about those two anonymous internet commenters to know whether they ‘get’ that some people really do live paycheck to paycheck, and I don’t really care if they do…

          • Wildkitten :

            Of course. But my bank account tends to look like Posey’s so don’t be internet-marrying me for the bitcoins.

      • Hug’s to you. I have been there also before my dad took over all of my finance’s. When I was in college, my dad gave me $2000 spendeing money each semester, and once that was GONE I was on my own. Well as a freshman and sopomore, I ran out of money every semester and was FORCED not to go out the last 2 week’s of each semester. That taught me to BUDDGET my money. YAY for that.

        But it is actually more compleicated now, with 401k’s and partnership share’s and coop maintenance fee’s and clotheing allowances. With all of this, I would be totaly OVERWHELMED and NOT be abel to be a litieagator, so my dad told me forget all that, he would take over and do all of it for me until I got MARRIED, so I could just be a lawyer!

        He did NOT expect I would STILL be UN-MARRIED and he is getting sick of doieng everything financeial for me, but he made me a deal that he would ONLY give it up when I got a guy to MARRY me who was MONEY SMART. Incendentally, even Alan, as a CPA, was NOT that money smart, b/c he was usueally DRUNK! FOOEY on that! How could he manage my money if all he could think of was getting a bottel of Jonnie Walker Black or a case of Beer! DOUBEL FOOEY! Also, his bedroom skill’s were terible b/c he was drunk alot of the time, so why would anyone want him?

        But as for the OP, just hang in there and if you are worried, get your dad to help or get a guy to MARRY you. You can then focus on being a lawyer, which is what we are paid to be, not a bookeepter! FOOEY!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I built mine up over time but I like to keep a cushion of about $500-1000 in my checking account. I top of that I’ve actually built up a cushion so that I am paying this month’s expenses from last month’s income and I budget myself to the point that I’ll break even on last month’s income. I currently throw all extra income above my regular expenses to my loans but I used to put it all into building up an emergency fund.

      In practice this means I have an emergency fund kept in an online savings account, a separate online savings account building up my current month’s income, and my checking account has the amount I made last month plus a $500-1000 cushion that I try not to dip into but is there in case I somehow forget a transaction. I’m not perfect at keeping this system exact but that is what I aim for and come close to it most months.

      • I do something similar to this with YNAB and the advice from All Your Worth. I have a one month buffer which means I budget this month’s expenses with income earned last month, and next month’s expenses with income earned this month. I also keep an additional $1000 cushion in my checking account. The rest of my savings goes in a separate account, but this serves as kind of an absolute, right this minute, emergency fund.

        You should include a cushion in your budget if that makes you feel more comfortable. For example, you can either work your way up to $1500 or you could just take whatever cushion you have now and budget any remaining funds.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Yup, I do it with YNAB. I’ll have to look up All Your Worth. Is it a book or a blog or something?

          • Wildkitten :

            Book. I liked it but I didn’t regret getting it from the library rather than buying it.

        • Anon for This :

          Just put this on hold at my library. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • Also in Academia :

      We keep a $500 cushion in ours, just to avoid a catastrophe if I decide to go to Target and my husband decides to do a big Home Depot project run all on the same day. I know intellectually that I could just transfer money over that evening when we realized what we did, but the cushion helps me manage my anxiety around money.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        In my experience my bank likes to put through all my charges from one day through first in order from highest to lowest then any deposits. I think it’s still possible to get an overdraft charge so I still think the cushion is a good idea!

    • When our checkbook reads “$0” there is actually $1000 in our checking account. Kind of a super emergency slush fund. I could never manage to do this on my own since I am obsessed with online banking and see the actual balance (which includes the $1000), but my husband is old school and keeps our checkbook to make it look like that $1000 is not there. However, we slowly built that $1000 cushion up. It’s not like we opened a checking account with an extra $1000 we didn’t need.

    • My cushion is similar (1000-1500), because I have everything set up on direct debit and I don’t want to have to monitor it too closely.

    • Miz Swizz :

      My freakout amount is around $500. I’ve been an uber-budgeter in the last year or so and would love to get to a point where our cushion is much larger but we seem to have settled in around $500. I blame the extra payments toward student loans.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I keep a $5,000 cushion in my checking account so I don’t have to worry about stuff like that. Basically it’s part of my emergency fund but I keep it in my checking account as a self-funded overdraft protection program.

    • A couple of options 1) move some of the emergency funds into the checking account 2) look into overdraft protection and link the accounts and 3) trust that it will slowly go up as you continue to work and save.

      • Anon for This :

        Need to remember #3 more often – I’ve only been working for 5 months!

    • I also get anxious if it dips too low. For this reason, I keep about $3K of my emergency funds in my checking account (the rest is in a saving account). That way I never need to worry month to month if I have extra expenses. I’m probably losing out on a few dollars of interest that way, but it’s way more important me to have the peace of mind (even though I know it’s in my head and it only takes a few minutes to transfer money from my savings account to my checking). Sometimes it will dip below $3K or even below $2K, but I will then hold off on putting savings elsewhere until I get it back up.

    • I get anxious when I get an e-mail saying that my money has dropped below $25. Winky face.

    • I did that as I had more money. My cushion grew from $1K to about $16K when I decided to move it. But it was very satisfying to be able to say “ok, as of this month, my new 0 is…”

      • Bankratty :

        @NOLA, where did you move it? I don’t know where to keep my emergency money (6-8 months of living expenses) so my savings account balance is rediculous. Earning no interest, naturally.

        • Yeah me too. I probably should figure out something else.

        • If you want to keep it in cash, I’d open an account at Capital One 360 or Ally.

          If you want to invest it, I’d put it in an index fund at Vanguard.

    • Since you say you have an emergency fund (savings account?), it sounds like you’re just talking about what is left in your spending account (checking account?) by the end of your pay period. If so, you sound a lot like how I budget my income.

      I have direct deposit into my checking account and get paid twice a month. After I make my regular monthly payments (loans, credit cards, house payments, Netflix, gardner, pool guy, etc), transfer 20% of my paycheck into my savings account (my emergency fund), and make my 401k contributions (all front-ended at the beginning of each year), I only have about $700 or so left in my checking account. My checking account is my spending account so I can spend it on whatever I want — gas, food, movies, gifts, shopping, etc. By the time my next paycheck comes around, I usually only have a couple dollars left in the checking account. If I know I have a big purchase coming up (e.g., scheduling a trip), I’ll transfer money from my checking account into another account and label it accordingly.

      Currently, I have 11 cents in my checking account, which means I’m brown-bagging it until the 15th. Of course, if a true emergency comes up, I use my savings account.

      • Anon for This :

        Yes, this is essentially me! However, I do try to keep the cushion currently, but was wondering if that’s even necessary if I have an emergency fund.

        My 401(k) doesn’t start until I’ve been working for a year so I will have to figure that all out too come next year, but hopefully I will also have a salary increase so it won’t make a huge difference.

    • Coach Laura :

      Someone – Senior Attorney perhaps – talked recently on thissite about saving up in separate, specific accounts for things like major car repairs, Christmas gifts, vacation trips, known $$$ medical procedures. If you get nervous even with emergency savings, why not create a Christmas account and a vacation account and fund that in 2014 (perhaps by decreasing other savings over the whole year)?Then when you buy the gifts or the plane ticket, transfer money from the specific account instead of from regular savings. That should help with the anxiety.

  14. recent grad :

    I recommend stopping in Mystic, Connecticut. A very cute town with an old world feel. It has interesting shops and great restaurants. You can go to the Mystic Seaport or the Aquarium, or just walk along the drawbridge, see the boats, and take in the scenery. It will be beautiful in the spring.

    • Frugal doc..... :

      I agree.

      I also took a photo of myself in front of Mystic pizza… :) cute movie back in my young days

  15. The Zappos ad telling me I should check out rain boots because it’s going to be raining near me Friday is really creeping me out.

    That is a beautiful blazer. But baby started daycare this week so we have $0 disposable income. Sad trombones…

  16. In-House Anon :

    Advice/stories sought from the all-knowing hive: I am strongly considering scheduling surgery to remove the cataract in my right eye in the near future. I’ve known about the cataract for a few years, but it has progressed such that it’s affecting my vision fairly significantly, so I think it’s time. I’ve seen one specialist and am slated to see another next week for a second opinion. The first doc told me selecting the timing of the surgery was really up to me — i.e., how much is it affecting my quality of life? I’m anxious about the surgery, but I know I will need to get the surgery eventually, so I’m leaning toward doing it now as opposed to putting it off (which I actually did for most of the latter half of 2013 since I just got married in November). I’m also fairly young to be having cataracts (I am in my early 30s), so I’m anxious about the “why” behind it too. (I have a cataract in my left eye as well but it’s not nearly as far along at this point and I do not need surgery for it right now.) Both my grandmother and my FIL have had cataracts removed (many years ago, too) without a problem so I know it’s not a big deal, but I’m still anxious. Stories and experiences from the hive appreciated, especially if you’ve gone through the experience of deciding when to have the surgery. TIA.

    • It’s late, and I don’t know if you’re still reading this, but I’ve had a loved one go through cataract surgery and learned about some questions to ask. Ignore if you already know this, but I thought I’d throw it out there in case others find it helpful:

      1)What sort of replacement lens do they want? The surgery that I’m thinking of happened 3 yrs ago for my relative, so had he gotten the surgery today, the options on offer might be different and better. It was his left eye; he’s left-eye dominant, and he opted for a single-focus (set to long-distance) lens. Before his surgery, he was nearsighted in both eyes and needed glasses to drive. Post-surgery, he had 2 pairs of glasses. One pair with a 0 correction in his left eye (because he had 20-20 vision in the left eye for distance), and some correction in his right eye (still myopic, but no cataract.) His second pair of glasses was for reading/computer work. For the left eye, it was to correct for reading distance, and for the right eye, it corrected for myopia. His right eye is myopic enough that he needs mild correction to read a book on his lap.

      2)Do you do a lot of reading and are you very particular about the clarity? My relative was told that if he was very observant and cared about clarity; having a ..dual (? multi? progressive? I forget the term) lens which would allow more than 1 focal distance would drive him up the wall, because neither the distance view nor the near-point view would be exactly clear. But on the other hand, he could shave in the morning w/o fumbling with changing glasses.

      Finally – don’t worry. Find a good surgeon and it should be a not-too-difficult recovery. The actual procedure was done in under 10 minutes, and with minimal comfort. Make sure your after-care is good (and the practice you choose is well-regarded for after-care.) It will curtail your more strenuous physical activities for about 30 days after surgery. As in, no jumping jacks or jump rope. But I think walking, and other not jarring forms of exercise are acceptable — check w/your surgeon about what you can or can’t do afterwards.

      Good luck!

      • In-House Anon :

        Thank you so much! This is really helpful — especially with regard to questions to ask the dr when I go in next week.

        • Oops, meant to type minimum DISCOMFORT, but I think you knew what I meant. I’m also gladf to see other replies. Good luck and keep us posted!

    • Mermaid In Heels :

      I’m also a “young” cataract patient (in my 40’s). I had surgery on both eyes last year, about 6 weeks apart. You have absolutely nothing to worry about – most surgeons do hundreds of those procedures every year, and it’s a pretty simple (and painless) process.
      As for the surgery itself, I was seated in big recliner, given a sedative, and a short time later I was wheeled into surgery, recliner and all. I don’t remember any of it. The procedure itself takes a few minutes. Afterwards, I lounged for about 45 minutes and was sent home with an eye patch on. I took some Tylenol and napped for the rest of the day. I removed the eye patch that evening. I could’ve gone back to work the next morning but opted to relax for an extra day instead.
      For follow up, I was told to avoid strenuous jumping/bending/lifting for a few weeks, and not have my eye directly under the blast of water while showering. The most difficult part of the whole process was the regimen of eye drops (3 different kinds, 4 times a day) for two weeks afterwards.
      One thing to be aware of is that since you’re so young, there’s a good chance you’ll need a revision (posterior capsulotomy) at some point, if the tissue behind your implant gets a little cloudy. That’s a simple 30-second laser procedure which is done in the doctor’s office. I just had mine done last month.
      Seriously, if I were you I’d go ahead get it over with – it’s no big deal and you’ll wonder why you waited so long. Good luck!

      • In-House Anon :

        Thanks so much!! This makes me feel better. I did hear from the first dr I saw this week about the revision (what I think he said is commonly referred to as a “secondary cataract”) issue.

  17. Paging "Anon OP" - LA Tailor - SoCalAtty :

    I posed on the earlier thread, but you may not be reading. I’m 5′ tall and desperately need a great tailor in LA. Help would be much appreciated! My email is meyerlemony at gmail dot com. Thanks!!

    • Just sent you a super wordy email about how much I love my tailor! Enjoy…

  18. Killer Kitten Heels :

    So I went to Kat’s Quincy Apparel post, and was super-excited about the possibility of affordable, custom-sized suits, and then immediately discovered that the brand no longer exists. Sads.

  19. Anonymous :

    I’ll try again tomorrow morning, but are these professional enough for a multi-day conference with a lot of walking all over a major city. . . field is finance/biotech, attire generally creative professional (nice sheath dresses/non-black suits)? With sheath dresses each day. Thank you!

    • Wildkitten :

      Yes. I don’t own KS wedges but this article makes them sound very walkable:

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t know, the bow makes them seem a bit juvenile. I have some plain KS wedges that I love though, very comfortable.

    • anon-oh-no :


    • Those are absolutely suitable They kinda look like Ferragamos.

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