Thursday’s TPS Report: Melvina Tweed Skirt

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

T Tahari 'Melvina' Tweed SkirtI noticed this “Melvina” tweed skirt a while ago and really liked it — it looks like an interesting navy tweed, perhaps with a little bit of a metallic shine to it, and it just looks like a basic great navy skirt. (And, as styled, it’s a great example of how you can wear black tights with a navy skirt.) Then, I realized it’s part of a suiting set. Nordstrom has the regular-sized jacket in lucky size 2, but the plus-sized version of the jacket is on sale in all sizes. So I went on a hunt for more matching pieces, and found that Lord & Taylor has a totally different jacket in both regular and plus. (I can’t find the plus-sized skirt anywhere, though.) So: lots of options if you like the tweed. (The skirt is on sale at Nordstrom for $73.)  T Tahari ‘Melvina’ Tweed Skirt

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

Update: It turns out L&T has this very skirt on a deeper discount — it’s marked to $58 there; with the promo it comes down to $49.  FYI!


  1. Why am I on a shopping ban? I love this!

  2. Thanks to the HIVE for recomending warm coat’s for me. I gave the list to my mom and dad, includeing Eddie Bauer, Pantagonia and Canada Goose, and they are goieng to buy me a VERY warm coat and have it sent to me as an early BIRTHDAY gift !!!! Yay!

    My dad said I should get a man’s coat (b/c there is more DOWN in it), but my mom convinced him that I should NOT dress like a man if I EVER expect to be able to find a man. She was RIGHT! My dad was speecheless, and gave in. I do NOT care if I have less down as long as I am WARM!

    The manageing partner was a little embarassed about one of my slides at his CLE. I had forgoten to take off a question mark and my coment to myself “Check/ I dont think so ” Peeople were laffing at the slide b/c they interpreted it as the manageing partner NOT wanteing to pick up the LUNCH tab, even tho there was NO lunch at his CLE session. I forgot to check anyway on the issue, so not a big deal I told him. He said NEXT time, I should give the POWERPOINT to LYNN to do. I said she was OUT so I had to do it ALL myself. FOOEY! I hope he will forget about it when my BONUS is figured out by FRANK! YAY!!!!

  3. momentsofabsurdity :

    Rettes, I need help/advice/something.

    A good friend has been having vision issues. She is at the doctor now and they told her there is a strong possibility she has MS and are rushing tests. She doesn’t want to call her parents/family until anything is confirmed but she is (obviously) freaking out. We are texting (right now) – I am stuck at work and wish more than anything that I could drive to her (she’s in a neighboring state but several hours away) and hold her hand. I have no idea what to say to her or what advice to give her beyond just to breathe and try to break it up into small steps of what to do in the next few hours (re: blood tests, MRIs, etc) and to not try and figure out all the longterm stuff right this second.

    • Houston Attny :

      Oh yikes. I feel for her and am certain she is thankful for you and your wisdom. I particularly like your piece about not figuring out all of the longterm stuff this instant but waiting to see. I have no advice, just support for you and your friend. I’ve always thought that knowledge really is power. If it is MS, OK. Now we know. So now we know what we’re dealing with and we can decide what to do. I realize this is small-to-no comfort for someone going through this today. Thinking of both of you…

    • You are doing the best possible thing. Make yourself available for calls/texts today. I had a brain bleed once and one of my friends did this for me and I will never forget it. It was so comforting just to have a voice of reason and someone to listen. (I waited to tell my folks until they did more tests and we could tell if it was an aneurysm that needed clamping, etc.–turned out to be leak from a vein so not as serious). If you can get out there for an evening or a weekend, make the offer. It may bring her some comfort knowing her friends are ready to rally if needed.

      Also, don’t try to be an expert even though it can be really tempting. I was really upset by people googling and giving me advice. It was hard to keep straight what was told to me from my doctor and the rest of the noise I was hearing as I was trying to take the whole situation in. Instead of an armchair doc, what people need is someone who will listen. (I’m trying to take this advice myself right now going through some health things with my dad, and it’s really hard. I think it’s a natural instinct on wanting to help or feel less helpless when someone is sick.)

      You’re being a really good friend, and she is lucky to have you there right now , even if it can only be in spirit. I’ll be thinking of you both today and sending positive thoughts.

      • Your point about not being an expert is excellent. When people are sick, they need to be able to trust their doctor. When people undermine your doctor’s medical expertise, they put you, as a patient, in the position of having to defend your doctor, or having to doubt your doctor. Neither are healthy. To be sure, there’s a point where you want to be your own researcher and advocate — but that point is not in the midst of crisis.

  4. momentsofabsurdity :

    Reposting for moderation since I used the dreaded e t t e ending:

    [this site readers], I need help/advice/something.

    A good friend has been having vision issues. She is at the doctor now and they told her there is a strong possibility she has MS and are rushing tests. She doesn’t want to call her parents/family until anything is confirmed but she is (obviously) freaking out. We are texting (right now) – I am stuck at work and wish more than anything that I could drive to her (she’s in a neighboring state but several hours away) and hold her hand. I have no idea what to say to her or what advice to give her beyond just to breathe and try to break it up into small steps of what to do in the next few hours (re: blood tests, MRIs, etc) and to not try and figure out all the longterm stuff right this second.

    Does anyone have any ideas for things I can say? She doesn’t want to talk on the phone (she’s in a waiting room) and I am stuck in meetings so that would be difficult anyway.

    • I think doing what you are doing is great. I think you’re advice re: small steps is spot on. She has to stay calm and listen to and concentrate on what the medical professionals are telling her right now.

      Is there a way you can offer to drive and see her tonight after work or tomorrow after work?

    • goldribbons :

      [regular poster, new handle!] Can you just ask her to tell you what she’s learning? Maybe try to keep some sort of log in case she’s too overwhelmed to do so herself? If I’m in a stressful medical situation, with a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, I really appreciate having someone who can just respond with things like, “okay, glad to hear you’re alright, let me know if you hear anything else.” I tend to feel like a burden telling other people about a situation that’s stressing me out, so comments from you that encourage her to keep talking might be helpful. Also, sorry to hear you’re going through this, good luck to you and your friend!

    • I’m not quite sure what to say, but one of my friends was diagnosed with MS a couple of years ago. If it comes to that, let me know and I’ll tell you what we did for her. She had to spend several weeks at home. She’s in remission now and has since had a child.

    • Agree, you’re really helping by just keeping in constant text contact. You’re giving her mind an outlet and focus.

    • Anonymous1 :

      My spouse has MS. Do check back in when she has a diagnosis and let us see if we can help!

    • As someone who went through a lot of scary and serious testing recently, just know that you being there keeping her virtual company means A LOT. Random texts, not just about her medical procedures, will help. Everybody copes different and needs different levels/types of support – you know your friend best. Recommend a book or an app or a magazine or whatever. I hope your friend will be okay – just remind her to carry a phone charger, water and some food with her. There are lots of long waits.

      • This, so much! This time last year I was in and out of tests where words like “MS” and “brain tumor” were tossed around. They weren’t likely, but when those words were said, things like sitting in the waiting room alone were awful, it was a scary time. My best friend lives two time zones away, so that was rough. But she and a few other friends were texting me constantly, and that made facing the appointments and tests and results bearable.
        If she’s anything like me, texts that will make her laugh while she’s waiting for her name to be called will help too. If you know what might make her smile, throw some of those things in there as well.
        Best of luck.

    • Call your local chapter of the MS society. and maybe the one near her. Ask them if they have anything helpful for people to consider as they’re going through the diagnostic process. You don’t necessarily have to give it to her, but when you’re facing the possibility of something life-changing it is hard to know which end is up. Plus they can usually point you in the right direction for ways to be supportive. Really great organization.

      And just be a good friend. Ask how it’s going, but also talk about other stuff. There will be days when its all she wants to talk about and days where she just wants to pretend she isn’t having to go through this.

    • I was in your friend’s shoes about 3 months ago. I had sudden vision loss that was the result of a blood clot in the central vein in my eye. My eye doctor sent me to a retinal specialist, who ordered a million blood tests (12 vials of blood; 6 large, 6 normal). The blood tests included checking for MS, cancers, lupus, and many other frightening disorders. It took about a week and a half for all the blood tests to come back, and I was terrified the entire time. While my family knew I was experiencing vision problems, I did not tell them about the frightening possible explanations because I didn’t want to add stress to their lives. I was lucky; it turned out my blood clot was caused by birth control.

      Having lived through all of that (and going through a breakup during the same time), I can tell you that what I wanted was just to have somebody I could contact either by text or phone. It was nice to be able to relay information as I received and processed it to friends and family who were also concerned. And when the stress got to be too much, it was nice to be able to call somebody and just vent about the frustration of waiting for results and adapting to life with significantly impaired vision. If you happen to live nearby, I can tell you that there were times when all I wanted was somebody to hug me or sit near me as I balled my eyes out day after day.

      I wish your friend the best. I’m glad you’re in her life.

      • anon just in case :

        I went through this EXACT SAME situation. My vision went back to normal eventually (the clot dissolved on its own) but it was a scary time in my life.

        I agree with others that what you’re doing is exactly right. I appreciated just having someone to tell what was happening, without feeling like a burden, especially when I didn’t want to worry my parents.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Thanks especially for these stories – I think my mind is jumping to worst-case scenarios, but I’m glad to hear there are similar situations out there that didn’t turn out to be MS, but something fixable.

    • As for right now, right this instant, as in while you’re texting her – I’d say the best thing is to just tell her that you love her and care for her and you’ll be here for her no matter what and so will her family. And that MS is a chronic illness that lots of Americans live with every day and that there are lots of kinds and that there are treatments and not to put the cart before the horse (i.e., don’t panic before there’s something to panic about). I know its almost impossible to do in the moment – but its sometimes the only thing we can do.

      Long term – finding the local MS group is seriously the best. Meeting other people living with this and living their lives and being “normal” can help a ton (I know that I’ve become much more comfortable with my chronic illness since I became involved with my local chapter). But today – its just about sending love and support through the ether I think.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Thank you guys so much! This information is really helpful and the suggestions here are great. I’m going to keep texting her through the day/tomorrow.

      I offered to drive up tomorrow after work and spend the weekend – she said she would let me know, I think she may tell her parents and her parents may want to come up. I know she doesn’t want to worry them, but they also knew she was going in to get this vision thing looked at, and they’ll ask her how it went, and she doesn’t want to lie. I told her to just try to get through the next few hours and then figure out what to do.

      Nothing is confirmed yet, and even though I’m telling her not to panic and just to breathe and take small steps, I know that is SO much easier said than done and I don’t want to come off as insensitive to what she’s going through. She is in medical school so the reality of MS is unfortunately, very clear to her and I think her mind is cycling through 23,000 worst-case-scenarios. I just so, so, so hope it’s something else and the idea of her sitting alone in a waiting room with all these terrifying possibilities is breaking my heart.

  5. Sugar Magnolia :

    The plus sized version of the jacket makes it look absolutely terrible! The model is wearing a size that is way too large and it looks bulky and shapeless. Also odd that there is no matching skirt for the plus size version. Being a size 18 is the worst – I have got to lose this baby weight or I won’t be able to buy a thing!

    • I agree. That jacket looks terrible in plus.

      • AnonMidwest :

        I agree, but am wondering if tailoring/wearing the right size would help?

        Sugar Magnolia – I hear you. 18 is hard….neither regular nor plus sizes seem to work very well (for me at least). Any brands you’ve found that work well at this size?

        • Anon also in Midwest :

          I’m usually a 16, sometimes 18–but not plus, which makes it hard. Ann Taylor and Tahari are my go-to brands for work attire. I also do a lot of shopping online since little is carried in store. (AT Outlets for some reason tend to carry more than regular mall offerings though, so I often will do trips even though I’m not big on outlet shopping generally.) For jeans, I’ve found the curvy style and long and lean style at the GAP work well.

          • Thanks for the tip regarding the GAP. I’m a size 16 to 19 depending on the brand AND 5’2″. Spent several days last week attempting to find work appropriate clothing and the only places I found that had anything that fit were Kohls, Target, and JC Penney. The Talbots here didn’t even have a suit in stock! 18s at Ann Taylor & New York & Co. were probably 2-3 sizes too small. It would just be so much easier if designers had a standard size instead of being all over the board!

          • AnonMidwest :

            Thanks – I too am a big fan of the online, for the reasons you mention. I may need to check out the Ann Taylor outlet. The AT store I go to seems to only have sizes 16-18 when I over
            order (for try-on purposes) and then return in store!

  6. Did any of you read the WSJ article on collars on men’s shirts today?

    It got me thinking — since I don’t wear ties, why do I even bother with them? I like the look (on other people), but find that the collars aggravate me (maybe my neck is too short or bad computer posture) and look funny when they don’t quite work with a jacket’s cut. I am wearing a no-collar printed button-front today and am so in love with not having a collar that I am (A) not caring that perhaps it wasn’t the best color for me and (B) seriously thinking about how I can remove the collars from the remaining button-fronts that I own (bad combination of craftiness plus too much Tim Gunn “make it work” spirit).

    Thoughts / advice? Do I just need to donate and go shopping and switch to Team Blouse?

    • I rarely wear collared shirts. I wore one under a sweater earlier this week and was annoyed all day at the way my collar was sitting. I’m a big fan of blouses under blazers/cardigans – I think it still looks polished but getting ready is now a snap! So I’m definitely on Team Blouse

    • Diana Barry :

      I don’t like them either. The collar, plus the gaping between buttons. Blech. I mostly wear fancy t-shirts or blouses (no collars) or sweaters, and am phasing out most of my collared shirts.

    • I own a couple of button downs that I absolutely never wear. Not even for job interviews. They fit fine, but they’re just not my favorite. I love blouses and realized the other day that I have way too many blouses. Wearing a button down with a pencil skirt makes me feel like a secretary, and wearing one under a sweater seems too prep school to me. (Not to mention the never ending struggle to make the shirt sit properly under the sweater).

    • Ha, I’m the opposite and regularly am drawn to collars. I like the look of a top that “frames the face”.

      That said, my issue is finding collared shirts that are long enough to tuck into a skirt/pair of pants. I have a much easier time finding blouses that are long and don’t require constant retucking. So, I end up on Team Blouse most days.

      If you like the look of a button up sans pointed collar, I’ve seen a number of button ups with mandarin collars or a small ruffle at the neck. Maybe you could cut and finish existing shirts this way.

      • I’m the same, I like my collared shirts with a bright colored cardigan or sweater vest. I have a few collared shirts from NY & Co that are long enough, and just fit my body very well. They were only maybe $15 each too!

      • I agree — collars can look great. I like polo shirts for casual wear b/c they are so much less sloppy that my other leisure options, but that is about the only time the collars don’t drive me crazy.

        If this were a work-from-home day, I’d be mandarining my shirts right about now :)

      • Mountain Girl :

        I am wearing my white oxfords more than ever. I am also very tall but have found the Lands End and Gap tall sizes to work well for me. The Gap shirt is a little more tailored than the Lands End so it works well under sweaters where only the collar is showing (like a v-neck pullover). The Lands End shirt I like is no iron so it stays a little more crisp during the day and doesn’t look crumpled when I take off my jacket. Even though it is no-iron it really does need to be ironed before wearing.

      • Cornellian :

        The length of button downs is always an issue for me, which is strange, as I’m only 5’4. It seems like a lot of button-downs are made with an older high-waisted pant/skirt style in mind. Not that I wear low-rise jeans with my button downs, but pants that end an inch below my belly button are apparently too low to wear with button downs.

    • I did not read the article, but your mention of ties reminded me of a question I’ve been meaning to post.

      Does anyone ever wear a tie to the office? I’m thinking of a pencil skirt plus collard shirt plus a tie (girly tie in pink or something) with fun shoes. But I’m not sure if I can pull it off. Has anyone successfully worn a tie to the office?

      • I’ve never done it but it sounds adorable. There is a fashion blogger who regularly wears them (I think quite skinny ones) but the name is escaping me.

      • I think that would be really cute- so you just need to know if your office is ok with cute. (Mine is)

        • My office is okay as long as I wear clothing…If only I could describe some of the outfits I see everyday. Like the woman today in the tight pink sequined jacket and shoulder-length feather earings.

      • hellskitchen :

        I had a colleague who once wore a black tie with suspenders, white shirt & black pants and looked fabulous. But a) we have a business casual office and b) she was known for being creative in her outfits so it didn’t raise any eyebrows

      • I personally am anti-women ties. I’ve had to wear them myself as a cater waiter in the past but other than that… no.

        • Anonymous :

          Ditto, but I’m 5’10” and slim, so if I wear men’s clothing, I look like I’m cross-dressing.

      • I think it would read fetish-y/sexy at the office with a pencil skirt and heels. The only person I’ve ever seen pull this off professionally was a former co-worker who would sometimes wear a loosely knoted tie with a slouchy pant suit. It fit with her very masculine style (no skirts ever/minimal color/short, product-free hair/no makeup) and didn’t look like a costume.

        • Yeah, I think this would probably look better a la Dianne Keaton as Annie Hall – wide leg pants, tie, maybe vest.

      • I’ve tied silk scarves in Windsor knots for the office, so kind of like a necktie.

        But I am legit dressed like a nun today, so don’t listen to anything I say about fashion.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Many years ago I read some “Dress for Success” type book, and the author’s theory was that a tie is a symbol for a peni$, and when a woman wears a tie to the office she is saying “I am pretending I have a peni$.” Don’t know if that’s true or not, but reading it scarred me for life and I have never considered wearing a tie to the office!

      • I had a white button-down with very slightly puffed shoulders that came with a matching white tie (exactly the same fabric). I often wore it to work under a cashmere sweater vest. I realize now that sounds a little strange, but I loved the look, and often got ‘why didn’t I think of that’ comments from my female co-workers.

    • The only one I consistently wear is a plaid buttondown from the gap. I wear it tucked in to a high waisted denim pencil skirt and a old man cardigan and booties but I don’t love the look of a plain shirt tucked in.

    • LOVE collared shirts. I have probably six white button front collared shirts and three blue ones. I love how they look under a pullover sweater (especially a fitted v-neck one) and with a cardigan. I wear them with jeans and with pencil skirts. Nothing says “I’m professional but dressed down” like a white button front collared shirt, a cashmere cardigan, and dark-wash jeans.

    • I love collared shirts too. Maybe it’s a function of having worn an oxford shirt all through high school for uniforms, but they make me feel put together.

    • I generally hate collared shirts, except when the collar is a soft collar (like on a silk blouse). I’m pro-collarless blouses.

      • Me too. I just never feel comfortable in collared shirts. I end up feeling sort of squirrelly all day and they never seem to interact with my jackets very well.

    • Up until about a month ago I would have sworn blouse means a lady’s collared shirt. It may have been this site that set me straight. So I guess for work I like collared shirts, but I have a hard time finding ones that fit and are not too sheer so usually I wear dresses.

    • Anonymous :

      Team Blouse FOREVER!

  7. a passion for fashion :

    totally just ordered this.

  8. Kitten Heeled :

    I’ve really been enjoying the financial threads and you’ve all inspired me to buckle down and start saving! Over the past two days, DH and I have set a tight budget so that we can meet our savings goal of $70k this year. We’ve never been anywhere close to this amount for the year so we would be over the moon if we made it. What are your financial goals for the year?

    [As an aside, we realized we spend about $550/mo on food for just the two of us. We live in a high cost of living area (NoVA) so groceries are a bit expensive, but we don’t eat out often at all- maybe 2-3 times a month. This figure seems too high to me, even factoring in that we eat a lot of fresh produce- any ideas for how to cut back?]

    • That’s about what we spend on groceries each month for the two of us (but that includes non-food items like toiletries and paper goods). We eat out with about the same frequency as you. I would say that you have a very reasonable food budget, and eating in is ALWAYS cheaper than eating out! Plus, you can’t be eating rice and beans every night.

      To answer your question about saving money on food, my top recommendation is to limit your meat consumption or buy in bulk. I buy 2 whole chickens every month and get 4-6 meals out of them (meat + broth + chicken soup). Buying the pieces individually is so much more expensive.

    • That actually doesn’t sound like too much on groceries at all. My mom had a $200/wk budget for a family of four around 2000, in a suburb-bordering-on-exurb of Philly, so $100-$125/wk for two, 12 years later, in a more expensive area, sounds very reasonable.

    • Ideas about groceries were posted yesterday, I think, but in general:

      -write a list and stick to it
      -try to stick to the perimeter aisles and fewer processed foods
      -cook less often and eat leftovers
      -stick to one grocery store trip a week
      -don’t buy cleaning and paper products at the grocery store unless you’ve compared prices
      -eat fresh produce in season to avoid paying premium costs. Plan cooking around what’s in season. We have a sort of co-op here where you can get in-season produce baskets. I have some friends who do it and they plan their cooking around what’s in the baskets.
      -use store brands wherever it doesn’t make a difference.

      Like you, I’ve been thinking I need to start saving, but for me, it’s more about saving for special things (like a trip I want to make next year). I don’t have debt and I have a retirement plan and I regularly add to my cushion, but I feel like I don’t allow myself to spend on larger items. Having even a small savings account that I transfer money to every paycheck might help me.

      • The perimeter idea that’s been tossed around so many times is funny to me as a person that actually cooks. All spices, seasonings, oils, etc are in the middle of the store. Also, nuts, bulk grains, flour / pasta / rice and dried fruits. Why not just say, “stay away from crackers, chips and cookies?”

        Along those lines, I cook a lot and buy in bulk whenever I can, including meat and cheese for freezing. This saves a lot of money. I buy chicken breasts, pork chops, sausage (poultry and regular), ground beef / chicken / turkey and all non-fresh cheeses (i.e. fresh mozzarella) in bulk and then freeze them in individual (or two person) serving sizes. The way I cook, I know I’ll use the meat and cheese eventually, so the weekly grocery list includes only fresh produce and recipe specific items. Whenever there’s a sale on something that I use often and won’t go bad, I stock up (i.e. canned tomatoes, chicken broth or whole wheat pasta). I also rarely buy extras like dessert or non-water beverages (I do buy wine / beer, but no juice, Gatorade, etc).

        But, generally, I figure that even if I spend $150 / week on groceries and that covers breakfast, lunch and dinner for two people for all but one or two meals, we have saved some serious $$. Considering its hard to buy lunch for two people for less than $20.

        Another way to save is to actually determine how much it costs to make a meal. This requires keeping track, but after you’ve done it and eaten it, you can decide if the cost v. taste is worth adding it to a regular rotation. Ideally, you could end up with 30 – 40 go to lower-cost recipes that you could just swap in and out.

        • I think making a list sometimes works against you. I always go to the store with an idea of what I want, but I also look for what’s on sale and change my plan accordingly. For instance, if I see that the fresh pasta is half off, I’ll make that instead of whatever I was planning. I also stock up on things with a long shelf life like rice or canned tomatoes, so even if my weekly total is more that week, I ultimately save money long run.
          One thing that also helps is I don’t buy snacks almost ever. With the exception of fruit, I think and eat in terms of whole meals. It’s hard for me to resist eating cookies or pretzels if they are in my house, but it’s easy not to buy them and, honestly, I don’t think I am missing out.
          I’d also add that for those who just start cooking, it can seem like a lot because you are buying basics like seasoning or olive oil. It helps to think in terms of the whole weak and plan accordingly so you can reuse the same stuff. I think to just pick random recipes that are all different from each other can end up getting really expensive.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          You can freeze cheese? I had no idea. What types freeze best?

          • Yes! For cooking purposes, freezing cheese is fine. I would not freeze any fine cheeses that you are planning to serve on a cheese plate. But, blocks of hard / semi-hard cheese (such as cheddar, provolone, monterey jack, swiss, colby) purchased in bulk used for cooking is fine. (I slice the blocks into more manageable sizes before freezing — that way I don’t have to defrost a whole block of cheese to use it).

          • We freeze shredded mozarella with great success. Blocks of cheddar didn’t work that well.

    • (former) Clueless Summer :

      I think that’s a reasonable food budget, but tips: mealplanning so that your ingredients are used for multiple recipes to eliminate waste, buying bulk and freezing, potentially changing to a discount grocery store.

    • Diana Barry :

      70K is a ton! Are you including retirement in that total? Our goals for this year are (1) finish the rooms in the house without spending too much, (2) rebuild our emergency fund from the last house project, (3) start extra payments on the mortgage again, and (4) see if we can push up the contributions to the 529 plans. (we already max out retirement so I’m not including that.)

      I think 550/month is pretty great! We spend about $900 or $1000/month on groceries and still get takeout quite a bit – and our kids don’t eat that much. :-0

    • Giant. If there is a giant nearby go there. I save a ton of money there compared to HT/Whole Foods, etc. Seriously, it’s shocking. Plus there’s less ‘fun’ food so I’m tempted to purchase less. Also, look at sales/coupons. I have started buying dried beans instead of canned, making my own pasta sauce, etc. It takes a little bit of time for me to get it all together and portioned out, but it saves me money plus I know what is in my food. During the summer we hit up farmer’s markets for produce.

    • I spend about $80-100 every other week for just me and live in a lower cost of living area, so your number doesn’t sound that bad. For me, one of my big rules is to let the store sales flyer and what coupons I have on hand guide my grocery list. While there are some things that I just have to buy whether it’s on sale or not (milk, produce, etc), there are plenty of things that I can buy at reduced prices if I’m willing to wait for a sale and then stock up.

    • kerrycontrary :

      I live in DC and my food budget is about $50/week (live in a studio). Do you cook big meals on the weekend that can last a couple of days? I do this for my boyfriend and I and it helps a lot (especially because it’s winter try soups/crock pot meals). I also only buy the fruit/veggies that are in season and on sale in the store or at my farmers market. And where are you shopping? A lot of people here shop exclusively at whole foods and it’s called whole paycheck for a good reason. My giant/farmers market has organic produce, and then I would go to whole foods for like a special meal to buy salmon, but not all the time. I also eat a lot of vegetarian meals and my grocery bill goes way up on the weeks that I buy meat, so try eating vegetarian just one day a week and that will help.

      • Also in DC, and my food budget is the same (also in a studio). I avoid whole foods for that exact reason, unless it’s a special treat or something. I do Giant and Safeway – their Just for U is pretty good in terms of savings. It’ll track what you buy and offer you personalized prices for it. It was pretty nice to get a gallon of milk for $2 a few weeks ago, for example.

    • Too funny, last night the husband and I set our savings goal for this year and it is $70-$80k as well! (By “savings” I mean it will probably go 1/3 into a retirement account, the rest into high yield savings until we have 1 year’s worth of expenses in there) I’m glad I can talk about stuff like that on here, because my other lawyer friends only earn that much per year and salary talk is verboten.

      I posted yesterday, but we eat out a LOT and have been spending about $1k / month on food, so our goal is to take it week by week but to cut that in half. I’m also switching jobs next month (YAY YAY YAY) and I will be netting about $1500/month more than I am now. 100% of that is going into savings.

      The rest of the number is basically to behave ourselves – like not going to Italy and buying a new horse like last year. Yeah, we were bad…but we had fun!

      • What is the “high yield” savings of which you speak?

        • Try EverBank. Their rates are decent (1.25% intro) for a money market savings. So not super high yield, but better than the 0.1 or other miniscule number BoA has.

        • I use American Express online savings (it’s an FDIC insured bank). I get 0.9% with no particular requirements and it’s very easy to transfer to/from the account. Still paltry, but decent for this rate environment.

    • My biggest tips are:

      1. Meal plan – better if you can plan your week’s meals with that week’s grocery flyers so you are eating things that are on sale
      2. Make a shopping list & stick to it, again referring to the sales ads
      3. Buy staples in bulk. Non-perishable food items that you eat alot of (rice, pasta, canned and frozen items) buy lots when they are on sale, and sometimes they are cheaper at Costco
      4. Use your leftovers for lunch the next day or repurpose into another meal later in the week

    • We spend about $90/week on groceries, shop almost exclusively at Whole Foods with the occasional TJ’s or Costco run, buy almost everything in its organic form, and also live in a high COLA. DH buys lunch in downtown SF every day, land of the $12 salad or sandwich (&#$*&#%@!!!), so groceries don’t cover that, but do cover my lunch. Are you wasting any food? Ever have to throw anything out that’s gone bad? Meal planning helps a lot with this. Buying in season helps too – it’s squash and broccoli and kale these days, plus frozen veg. Also, cheaper proteins. We have the occasional steak or rack of lamb or fresh fish, but mostly eat a lot of chicken, sausage, beans, frozen fish (TJ’s!), and eggs. We’ve switched to non-dairy milk, which has saved $ too.

      • Love TJ frozen fish. They sometimes have “pieces” instead of fillets that are much cheaper (our store has cod and mahi mahi sold this way). Also, you can get a case discount at Whole Foods of 10%, so we get canned beans and veggies that way and store them (and WF is the only place I’ve found no salt added canned stuff).

    • hellskitchen :

      Do you buy a lot of ethnic foods and spices from your regular grocery store? They are usually less expensive in ethnic stores so perhaps you could do some research and find a couple of asian or middle eastern stores in your area? They are also way cheaper for buying grains and beans in bulk

      • Second this. If you go up to the Rockville area (OP mentioned she is in NoVa), I recommend Maxim supermarket and Patel’s grocery store. Patel’s has a ton of variety of microwavable Indian meals for 99 cents each. We make one package with some rice/couscous, and it’s a quick and cheap meal for 2.

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          Um, there are Patel’s (different ones) everywhere. I am certain there is one closer to NoVa than Rockville (which is really quite far for groceries)! My parents go to one in Fairfax.

          • Um, good to know. Maybe my suggestion (which prompted your helpful response-I’m not being snarky) will help other posters looking for ethnic grocery stores, or maybe the OP is going up that way for other reasons and will check those places out (not in NoVa, but not exactly convenient to Rockville, but we stop there if we’re heading up that way for other reasons).

          • Alanna of Trebond :

            Oh my apologies if I sounded snarky. My knee-jerk reaction was that it would be very odd to go to Rockville for groceries from NoVa. Also, sometimes people think that their Indian grocery store is unique.

        • Tired Squared :

          Patel’s for sure. I also love their version of Ramen noodles when I’m sick – “Maggi” noodles :)

    • Anon for this :

      70k in savings is fantastic! Our financial goals for this year include: adding 25k to our emergency fund (our goal is 50k, since that will cover expenses if both me and DH were to be unemployed for 6 months at the same time), putting approximately 40k towards student loan debt, adding 10k (total) to IRAs (this would be the first year we’ve ever done that), maxing out each of our 401ks, and getting rid of revolving consumer debt (unfortunately about 7k right now). And, take 3 trips this year that involve airfare without racking up a ton of debt.

      How we’re accomplishing this: 1) we put ourselves on a strict-ish budget for going out/takeout and created a separate checking account for eating out so that we are only spending cash when we want to grab “just 1 drink” or are “too tired to cook.” My DH claims that this doesn’t affect his mentality at all, but I know that it definitely helps how I think about spending money. And there are times where we don’t have that much money to add to our checking account (like our Jan 15 paychecks when social security reared its head and the new Medicare tax kicked in), so we just have less cash to spend. 2) work has been a little less crazy, so we’ve been cooking at home more frequently (ps – our grocery spend is between 100-150/week for 2 people in NYC, and we are trying to cook approximately 3x per week, with limited leftovers). These are small things, but we racked up a lot of consumer debt simply by going out to eat and/or getting takeout almost every night.

    • Not to be crass, but how much income does it take for a couple to save $70K? Just trying to understand, percentage-wise, how much people are able to save of their income.

      Also, while we’re at it–for those who can’t afford to max out their 401Ks, what percentage of your income do you put aside for retirement in a year?

      • For a couple, I think once you’re above a certain threshold (i.e. you aren’t both making $35k yearly), I think it’s reasonable to go by the “live on one salary” rule. This is what we do — we basically live on my husband’s salary and bank my (slightly higher) salary with a view towards buying a house not too far down the road. We’re not naturally spendy people though – our biggest expenses are rent and grocery store bills – and we don’t travel a lot because we don’t have the vacation days for it. I also luckily have very low student debt, and he has none (high five for Canada). I use Mint for tracking and budgeting but am not obsessive (still buy new clothes occasionally, he has some not-cheap hobbies, one-time furniture purchases here and there as we settle in to our apartment) and it generally works out.

        • ExcelNinja :

          This. My husband and I have been living on my salary and saving his for the past two years. It’s worked really, really well for us. He is unemployed right now, but it’s not a big deal, since we are totally used to the second salary being for fun/savings.

          Of course, this really only works if you can tailor your lifestyle to within the constraints of the one salary. Probably anywhere below $85k in my high cost-of-living area would not be do-able or fun.

    • Anonymous :

      RE: groceries — this may sound totally obvious, but (1) get your store’s shopper card (2) look at the circulars and stock up when needed, and (3) use coupons.

      My local market is Stop & Shop, which is INSANELY priced if you do not use your shopper card. We are a family of 4 and I just saved $75 on a $300 grocery trip by combining all three — ie. I stocked up on canned tomatoes because they were 10/$10 and I had a manufacturer’s coupon.

      I don’t buy a lot of canned or prepared foods — I’m mostly a “perimeter” shopper (veg, dairy, meat) — but this does help noticeably.

  9. Apropos of nothing: I’m due to have my second kid on Wednesday. Work is wrapping up — just a couple more things to mark off the to-do list. I have an infinite number of home projects I’d love to get done before Baby arrives, but the important stuff (nursery, etc.) is crossed off.

    Any suggestions re: what I should be doing while Waiting for (Baby) Godot? I feel a little bit at loose ends, I think b/c we’re all just sitting around here twiddling our thumbs until he makes his appearance.

    • TV overdose. Weeds? Dr. Who? Parks and Recreation? Downton Abbey? Watch all the episodes of everything.

    • Cook as many freezable meals as possible and get your house cleaned. I feel like these things would be nice to have done once the baby comes.

      Also go to the movies. See Les Mis or something long and drawn out.

    • Diana Barry :

      Take a nap! Go to the movies! Get a pedicure!

      Good luck! :)

    • Go to a movie. Go to a museum. Relax in a coffee shop mid-day reading a book. Meet a friend for lunch. Go swimming. Clear out more space to store recycling b/c you’re going to get a flood of packages after the baby arrives.

    • I say spend as much time as possible enjoying your last few days as a family of three. Do some older kid things that you won’t get to do for a while (as much as you are able being super pregnant). Focus on your first baby since he/she will have to share your attention soon.

    • Go see a movie! Signed, the woman who hasn’t seen a movie since her daughter was born.

    • MiddleCoast :

      Pack a framed picture of your first in your hospital bag and make sure you have it out when he/she visits you and new sibling for the first time. This subtly shows your first how important he/she is to you and that the new one is not crowding them out. Plus, its great for you to see during your alone times.

    • Manager by Day, Mom at Night :

      Go to the movies. Veg in front of the TV. Sleep. Go for a walk by yourself. Read a good book. Get a mani-pedi. Get a foot massage. Sit at a cafe with a good book, a good cup of decaf, and people watch. All things you won’t have time to do after Wednesday :)

  10. Do you guys tweet? I am working on a knowledge exchange / blogging project and have had more conversations about social media lately. Thoughts on things that are particularly effective?

    • I do – and the things that get retweeted the most are bits of original content that hasn’t been already tweeted. I generally tweet industry-relevant things (I’m in commercial / large scale construction) from the trade publications. I don’t have that many followers, only about 80, but I’m getting there.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I tweet. Mostly commentary on current events , political and social issues, which inevitably causes parrying with the occasional troll.

  11. Woo Hoo – the highs are above 0 F today! The sky still has a little light after 5:30 pm!

    Must celebrate the small things.

    • Amen Minne-sister!

      • And at least I don’t live in Embarrass. Or any of those other points north.

        • Indeed. I heard the air temp there was -42. The -8 at my house this morning as I walked the dogs was comparatively balmy. :)

        • There’s a place called Embarrass? Sorry – that’s all I got from that. Do they go as Embarrassments? Or as Embarrassites?

          • Heh – apparently its a bastardized French word. Having to do with lots of impassable debris for the canoes of the French fur traders.

    • lucy stone :

      Former TC resident, now live on the east coast of Wisconsin. It was FOUR here this morning and I was way too excited. I miss the skyways though!

      • Popular Mechanic once did an article (5 or 10 years ago) on the top tech city in the country, and surprised themselves when the answer came up as the Twin Cities. The skyways were apparently one of the factors. As was the fact that the Mall of America has no independent heating system – it is heated by body heat of visitors and waste heat from all the mechanicals and computers in the building. Which probably also explains why there is never any hot water in the 3rd level bathrooms.

  12. Any tips for getting an eye to stop twitching other than reduce stress? Mine is definitely stress induced. It is actually comical. Phone rings, eye starts twitching. Partner walks in my office, eye starts twitching. It seems to only act up when I have too much on my plate. Other than getting my work done so that I am less stressed, how can I make it go away??

    • kerrycontrary :

      get more sleep and drink less caffiene. I have twitchy eyes too, but mine is usually when I’m not getting enough hours of sleep (pathetically my worst twitchy faze was during the summer olympics because I was staying up too late).

    • My lips vibrate/pulse when I’m super-stressed. I find it funny and I’m sure gobbling caffeine really doesn’t help. Do you do anything to unwind/relax from work once you go home?

      Also, I’ve researched meditation classes and they all seem very intimidating. I’m going to do Netflix yoga and call it good.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I had a twitchy eye for months after Sandy (squinting in the candle light triggered it). I worked on stress reduction and also used Clinique’s roller ball under eye depuffer, which I doubt has any real value, but it was calming to feel like I was doing something.

      • Hmmm. I’ve caught myself squinting a bit lately too. Maybe I need that eyeglass prescription checked again. It hasn’t even been a year yet but that could be contributing to the problem.

    • New around here :

      I know it’s against the accepted wisdom, but I do find that my occasional eye twitch is a symptom of not quite enough potassium in my body. I find that eating a banana or a yogurt cup usually helps.

      • Another deficiency to consider — magnesium. I usually reach for bananas and/or magnesium caps when I start to feel twitchy. Perhaps I’m prone to deficiencies of these things…

    • I had totally forgotten until I saw your post that I had a twitchy eye for most of the summer. It drove me crazy, so I feel for you. I had also turned it into an imaginary brain tumor. And I guess I didn’t notice when it went away, because it’s definitely gone now. So it seems that either it wasn’t a brain tumor after all, or that I have discovered the cure for cancer – which is regular doses of Sauvignon Blanc.

      The only two things I could find online about twitchy eyes (other than imaginary tumors) were stress and dry eyes. Saline drops could be worth a try.

  13. I had my first performance review at my new job yesterday and got a “very good” rating overall but was told I am uncooperative and that I need help communicating. I even got a 2 page “communication plan” that requires me to give a daily update to my boss in addition to Monday and Friday summaries. OK, fine. But then it was brought up that I might not be the best fit for this job, and that my boss “doesn’t want me to get hurt down the road”. This only confirmed my gut feeling that it is time to move on after just four months. I knew within the first month that this wasn’t the job for me (mostly because of my boss) but it is hard to hear it from someone else. I need a hug.

    • Big hugs!! At least it’s almost Friday. Yes, you are right, it is time to start the hunt. If they don’t feel you are a good fit, you’ll be on the chopping block as soon as they have to make cuts. I hate to say that, but it puts you in a bad position. It’s always better to move on voluntarily, too.

      Hugs and happy hunting! Here’s to finding the perfect fit!

    • Hugs. If you weren’t job searching, start now. If you were, then you know that this is just reinforcing your decision. Those are tough meeting to sit through.

    • Daily summaries were something that I floated to my boss in my first job out of college, because it seemed like she had zero confidence that I knew what I was doing, so I thought that would help. But then a higher up in the same company helped me to see that if a daily summary was needed, then something was seriously wrong. Good luck in your search!

    • Houston Attny :

      I’m sorry to hear this. From your post, 2 things struck me:
      1. I agree with the posters and with your assessment. You knew it wasn’t a fit, now you know they know it’s not a fit and now you get to look for something that *is* a fit.
      2. Your bosses think there are things you are doing “very good” as indicated in your review. So perhaps look at those items as you look for other jobs and perhaps focus on those areas in your job search.

      A couple of positive things – It seems they want to give you time to look for something, so I see that as a positive. They’ve let you know what you already knew (see?! now you also know you can trust your gut – that’s a positive thing, right?) so you can feel confident as you do your best at the job for the rest of the time you are there while you search and network like crazy. And you WILL find something great! In the meantime, *HUGS* to you.
      Pollyanna :)

      PS – A glass a wine with friends will make it better.

  14. just Karen :

    To any of the ‘rettes that desperately miss the old cut of THE skirt (the cut that seemed miraculous for curvy girls), I have one in Blue Depths (a color in between cobalt and navy, more towards cobalt) in a size 6 that I have only worn a couple of times. I just got a new one in a different blue color (blue ceramic) and realized the new cut works better for me as a someone with a straighter figure. I have e a much easier time getting rid of things when I know they’re going to a good home – so if this is something you would love and wear (and you know already that the size would work), e-mail me at volvogrl507 at yahoo dot com and I will get it in the mail to you.

  15. Is anyone else not seeing photos of the items? Last night I wasn’t able to see images and thought it was temporary but still having the same thing this morn.

    • I am on my Mac using firefox and can’t see the pics, but I could see it yesterday on my work PC using IE. Bizarre.

    • I haven’t been on the site for a few days but when I came back today, no photos of the items for me, either.

    • As of this morning, no pics for me either. Internet Explorer on a PC.

      • Also, I’ve noticed recently that after I post a comment and the page refreshes, I get taken back up to the top, whereas in the past I would be at my own post.

    • original anon :

      Yeah, I can’t see them at home or at work, so I know it’s not my (computer) error.

  16. Transitioning :

    I’m a 4th year associate and will be changing practice groups at my BigLaw firm from a more niche type of litigation to a general litigation practice. I’ve been very unhappy in the niche group, mostly because of the work, and think that a general lit practice would be a much better fit.

    Wondering if anyone has gone through this and if so, any advice on making the transition as seamless as possible?

  17. I was given my performance review last week and it wasn’t very good – not at all what I was expecting. I was shocked at some of the comments about personal behaviors as they were areas I was actively trying to improve upon. One of the reviewers gave me terrible reviews about things that he previously complimented me on. I defended myself to my manager and explained to him that I have received positive feedback in these areas so I was unsure why there was a discrepancy. I feel angry, resentful, and most of all disappointed in myself.

    I am starting to think that maybe this isn’t the right job for me and the skills that I naturally have aren’t being used. Instead I am focusing on improving other areas I have no real interest in developing just to keep my head above water. Is this major red flag or I am just being a defeatist? I am really starting to feel like a square peg in a round hole when it comes to my career.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Sounds like the people you are working with are jerks that are playing and mind games and maybe setting you up for a stealth lay-off. You know your work product. If you regularly get compliments there is probably something much bigger going on to which you are not privy. I suggest looking for a new gig while biding your time.

    • If it doesn’t fit your strengths it is a good idea to move on. I found the book Strengths Finder to be be helpful when I was lacking direction on where to go.

      • Strengths Finder is amazing! I was forced to read that / take the assessment as part of a leadership program I’m in, and it is spooky. It basically said “get out of litigation. Run. Do not walk.” It also said to get into something that is more of a mediation/negotiation role, which is my favorite part of lawyering – mediation/negotiation! I thought it was darn accurate.

      • ExcelNinja :

        Another +1 for Strengths Finder, which showed me that it doesn’t matter what job I’m doing, as long as it matters/is strategic to the organization, I get to work with people, and that I get regular legit recognition for going above and beyond.

    • I had an unexpected negative review in a previous position and was let go a short time later. I agree with those who say to look for a better fit.

      You might also think about following up with the reviewer who seems to have changed his tune – “Bob, you mentioned in my review that my presentation skills need a lot of work; however, when we gave the presentation to Big Client last month, you said I did a good job. Can you explain what made you decide to include the negative feedback in my review?” This might help make things better at your current job (either short- or long-term), and might give you some peace of mind.

    • ExcelNinja :

      I’ve had a review like this before. It was given to me by a new boss (4 months), who said I needed to work on building relationships and being positive, and that I was too emotional/not professional. I was shocked because building relationships and being positive are things that I excel at…they’re my M.O.! And I always get high scores on professionalism.

      I would suggest asking for specific examples, but honestly, it sounds like the best thing to do would be for you to put your resume back out on the street here, since it doesn’t seem like a good fit for you anyway…

      I asked my bad reviewer for specific examples and he couldn’t give them to me, which raised a huge red flag. I found myself a new job and was out of there ASAP, within a few months.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Or maybe do better work? Not saying you do “bad” work, just could be better. When people post that they received a bad review, we all jump in and say the boss must be wrong, find a new job etc… A fair number of us also post about co-workers/bosses/subordinates who don’t measure up. Are all of them being treated unfairly? My point is not to bash you, or anyone else who posts, but in most instances there is something worthwhile in even the most difficult to hear criticism, so before you just chalk it up to bad fit, why don’t you try some corrective action and see if things change before you bail…. Who knows. you could have a boss that totally sucks it. Or maybe their is just room for improvement and the messaging was less than graceful….

      • ExcelNinja :

        On the flip side, I think that low performers probably wouldn’t be too active on a site that’s targeted at high-performing career women.

  18. Anon For This :

    I have my first appointment with a therapist this afternoon and I’m really nervous. Nothing is really wrong in my life – I’ve been unhappier than usual lately, and as both work and my relationship are a little difficult right now, I figured it could be a good move. Any suggestions or advice? Or even what to expect? I feel like I could be less nervous if it wasn’t so unknown to me…

    • I saw a therapist for anxiety about a year and a half ago. Like you, I felt anxious about going — after all, my life was okay as it was, but I wasn’t very happy with it, and aren’t there people with REAL problems out there in the world? My therapist did NOT minimize my problems at all, or tell me to get some perspective because things could be so much worse. If your therapist does this, you should find a new one. Instead, she listened thoughtfully and gave me some pointers as to where I might be able to make some changes. I’m in a much better place now than I was then — mostly due to the passage of time, but I think therapy helped me make an attitude adjustment as well. (Also, truth be told, I didn’t really turn the corner until I tried a low dose of an anti-depressant). Good luck!

    • I myself always find the anticipation before something like going to the therapist, or the doctor, or an interview, to be the WORST PART EVER. Usually the first appointment is about talking about the things you want to work through, and getting to know each other.

      I am a list maker, so I like lists. Maybe make a list of the things you want to make sure to talk about, or google questions to ask your new therapist and use those as a jumping off point when you get there.

    • Try not to be nervous, and take the time to see if the therapist will be a good fit for you. When I first went to a therapist, the sessions felt too cold, impersonal and clinical. So, for the next go round, I sought someone that felt more familiar and almost “mother-like”. Do not be afraid to say, “Hey, I don’t think this is going to work out” and find someone else that will be a better fit.

      Also, it will take time to build a relationship with this person, so don’t feel like you have to spill your deepest darkest secrets during your first appointment. Therapy will be what you make of it. And a good therapist will make you feel safe, but also tell you that any progress will take a fair amount of work on your part.

      Good luck!

    • Also, after you have gone to a few appointments, really assess if it is helping you. I stayed in therapy for much longer than I needed to because some family members had convinced me that I “needed” it. Really, I was just going through a rough patch with family and work and my anxiety was normal, and the therapist helped me to get outside of my head for a bit, but I spent way more than I needed to on it.

    • Houston Attny :

      Truly, this is the second hardest part. (In my opinion, the hardest part is making the call.) At my first appointment, my counselor went through a long list of questions: do you ever want to harm yourself? cut yourself? harm others? harm animals? do you take drugs? do you drink? do you want to take drugs? do you have a family history of those who harm themselves, others, animals, etc? And at some point after that (I can’t remember if she asked or I just blurted it out.) I said, “I just feel sad. Like there’s nothing wrong and I know there’s nothing tangibly wrong, but I’m just blue about 90% of the time, and I cannot snap out of it.” And we talked about work and stress and my general feeling of right-below-blah.
      I hope it goes well and that you feel better when you leave than you feel when you walk in the door. Will you post this afternoon and let us know? :)

    • On my first visit I sat my educated, professional self down and cried and cried. I could not stop the tears.

    • Anon For This :

      OP here – I’m totally conflicted about my first session. I basically cried the entire time (not sure why). I’ve made a second appointment but I’m not convinced it’ll be helpful. She didn’t say much so I felt like someone was just taking notes as to why my life is awful. It’s expensive and my insurance will only cover 3 sessions so I’ll go a second time and then re-evaluate.

      Thank you all for your supportive comments – I really appreciate it.

      • Houston Attny :

        I hope the next appointment is more helpful and lets you know if the third visit is worth it. I hope it’s more of a dialogue next time.

  19. does anyone have the dvf “julieta” silk dress? if so, how do you like it? any opinions on length/fit? (and for anyone who’s interested, there are a few of them in different prints in the ruelala dvf boutique today!)

  20. ExcelNinja :

    District of Chic posted a navy skirt with black tights/black shoes today. It works really well. I liked it so much so I copied the outfit – I’m wearing black tights, black shoes, navy skirt, orange sweater with a white blouse underneath.

  21. Aaaaargh. An assistant to an administrator on campus keeps mistakenly sending me health information about students with whom I have had no contact when one of the intended recipients has a name similar to mine (and two different ones!). I am so uncomfortable mistakenly getting personal information about students. I think it’s just an issue where she starts typing in Outlook and my address pops up and she doesn’t realize it’s not the person she’s trying to email. I tried to explain to her on the phone how to handle that but when I asked if she was using Outlook, she didn’t even know, so she has to call IT. How can someone be in that position who doesn’t know how to send email to the right person? Okay, rant off.

    • Tell her it’s a HIPAA issue and she could get in trouble for it.

      • When I emailed her (for at least the 3rd time), I said that I was uncomfortable mistakenly getting confidential information. I generally don’t know it’s not for me until I’ve opened the attached memo. When she called, she said that it wasn’t confidential, but I don’t believe her. I don’t want to take it to her boss, but it’s really unprofessional.

        • If she has repeatedly made the same mistake after you’ve notified her multiple times, I think you have to take it to her boss. It could be a serious liability for her to be sending out confidential info to the wrong person.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Knock, knock!

        Who’s there?


        HIPAA, who?

        I can’t tell you.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      That is super annoying and also really unprofessional.

      Semi relevant – when I was in college, we shared mailboxes with students with alphabetically close names. I grabbed a notice from my bank, opened it, realized it was an overdraft notice and panicked — and then realized that because everyone’s parents in our small college set up an account for their kid at the same bank at freshman orientation, what I had thought was a notice from my bank to me was actually a notice from the bank to my box mate. Who I didn’t really know. So I had to shamefully tape a “sorry!” post it on the opened envelope and put it back in the box and studiously avoid eye contact with him for a few months.

    • OK just so you know it can happen to a more or less compentent person – I emailed one of my employees – let’s say his name is Robert Andrews – his performance appraisal and the system corrected it to Andrew Roberts, who is also a person who works here. I was so embarrassed.

      Thankfully it was a good perfomance appraisal.

      • Yeah I know and we deal with it pretty regularly where somehow somebody’s personal email gets into your Outlook and pops up instead of their work email. We’ve all gotten used to that and check it. But she’s done it at least three times and it was to have gone to two different people!

    • I don’t know if Outlook allows for this, but can you set up an auto-reply just to her? You could have it ask her to double-check whether you are the intended recipient. That way you’re not wasting your time telling her that she sent the email to the wrong person, and you are not reading the sensitive information. I guess that will only work if she doesn’t normally send you emails intended for you.

      I agree that it’s extremely unprofessional for multiple reasons, but I also see your reluctance to go to her boss about this. Perhaps if the auto-reply is not an option, you can send her a stronger worded email next time it happens? Tell her that it is inefficient for both of you, and ask her what system she is putting in place to make sure that she directs emails (particularly those containing sensitive information) to the right person.

  22. No Pictures :


    I’m using Firefox (18.0.1) and none of the pictures from this or previous threads are appearing. No recent updates to this computer or browser and yesterday it was working fine. Just FYI.

    • Big shout-out to Kat on another note — I’ve been unable to post comments forever and she emailed with me to get the problem fixed today. Yay Kat!

  23. Does anyone have experience with the NuvaRing? Thoughts? I’ve had bad experiences on BCPs, so I’m trying this an alternative, but I’m nervous about having similar symptoms again. My doctor and I agreed to try it out for a couple months and see what happens, but I’m still a little worried.

    • I used it and on the whole liked it – I think BCPs contributed to symptoms of depression I had had, because as soon as I switched to NuvaRing my mood in general improved considerably. However, like some other people I’ve heard about, NuvaRing seemed to decrease my desire for LGPs. I really liked it for the most part and appreciated having fewer artificial hormones in my body. If I was still on BC, I would probably have stuck with NuvaRing.

    • ExcelNinja :

      No experience with the NuvaRing, but I have a Flexi-T (copper IUD – no hormones) and love it!! After 12 years of being on HBC my desire for LGP is finally back full force!!

    • I only used it for a couple of months bc I am now TTC, but I really liked it. DH said he could not feel it, it did not descrease desire for LGPs, and I liked not having to take a pill every day.

    • locomotive :

      I had one and did not like it. I don’t know if itw as the shape of my ladyparts or what..but I constantly felt like it was going to come out of me and had to go to the bathroom every couple of hours to push it back up and it became really annoying and uncomfortable.

      • I had the same problem. Between that and, um, being dry as the Sahara, I couldn’t get away from the ring fast enough.

    • I am a banana. :

      I used it for three years and it was fine. Pills and I didn’t get along emotionally and I didn’t have that issue on the NR. I didn’t notice any side effects like weight gain or mood or anything. The downsides for me at that three year mark were that it was expensive, I didn’t want to have LGPs (which only became an issue after three years, btw), and I kept getting low level UTIs (but I’ve always been really sensitive to those). I also would take it out sometimes during LGPs and once or twice forgot to put it back afterward, and those episodes really freaked me out.

      Now I have a copper IUD and I would never go back.

    • I’ll be the voice of dissent here – I hated it. I had problems on the pill too, switched because I hoped the NuvaRing would be better for my moods, my sanity, etc. It was not. It intensified my mood swings & hormonal depression and for the two months that I was on it, things were really bleak. As soon as I figured it that it might the culprit and took it out, I noticed a dramatic and sudden improvement. I’ll never touch the thing again.

    • I hated it too. Like locomotive, it always felt like it was coming out (that “full tampon” feeling) because it usually was. I found myself having to go to the restroom and push it back in several times a week, sometimes more than once a day. It especially wanted to leave during physical activity, whether of the LGP or gym variety, but also would want to leave after I sat at my desk for a few hours. I gained 3-5lbs on it, which fell off the month after I quit using it. It messed with my mood, reduced my interest in LGPs, and gave me wicked hormonal acne the one time I tried to back-to-back my rings as I had done with the pill for years. It also made my ladygarden dry all the time, which was really uncomfortable, not just for LGPs, but just in daily life.

    • I’ve been on it for about 3 years. I had been on so many different variations of the pill in the previous 7 or so that were alternately horrible. I went off NR for about 5 weeks late last year because I had to have surgery. I HATED the PMS symptoms from the first non-hormonal period I had had in years, but other than that I felt pretty much the same (and I have heard this from people before). It hasn’t made me depressed, made my skin weird, made my boobs huge, gain a bunch of weight, or decrease libido.

    • Have used it for years, love it. I can never feel it once it’s in (for me the hardest part is remembering to take it out monthly) regardless of what I’m doing. It has way fewer side effects than the pill for me, which is good and bad (no noticeable loss of libido=good, doesn’t suppress PMS symptoms=bad). It is really expensive.

  24. Need a recommendation :

    for a mental health therapist/counselor in NoVA, ideally in Fairfax City. TIA!

    • I have been looking for the same thing, and received a recommendation for the Growth and Recovery Center, which is in Fairfax. I have my first appt next week. The downside is they do not take insurance.

    • locomotive :

      Elizabeth Sloan in Mclean. She doesn’t take insurance, but I have had a great experience with her after not so great experiences with a few other therapists in the area. She has been good for relationship and anxiety counseling.

    • If you can make it over to Vienna, the Women’s Center has a whole host of fantastic therapists.

  25. goldribbons :

    Dropped my almost-2-year-old Longchamp le pliage tote off at a local Longchamp store — because they’re fixing the zipper and the corners for free! So excited! I thought I was going to have to buy a new one!

    • Did you have to show a receipt/proof of purchase?

    • Will you post back how they fixed the corners? I heard they just re-stitch it and make it slightly smaller.

      • goldribbons :

        Definitely. I would not be surprised at all if that’s what they do, but that’s perfectly fine for me – I’m on a tight budget right now and hoping to get another year out of this bag.

    • Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know this could be done!

  26. Hi! I in law school and have some interviews in the next few weeks and I need a portfolio or something similar to carry resume copies, etc. I can’t find one! Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • These have been recommended here:

      Levenger and the office supply stores also carry similar ones.

      I’m on the lookout for a zippered one that won’t break the bank (under $100) – any suggestions?

    • Koozie Advocat :

      Check your campus book store or office supply store. This one is basic and would do the trick:
      I like ones that have a place for notepad, pen, place to stick business cards or schedules you may get.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Several years ago, I got one from Barnes and Noble that has worked well. I got it in black, which I don’t see on their website, but they have it in brown. Search “bonded leather business folio with memo pad” on their website–it’s the one that zips. They may have it in black in a physical store

    • Try your school’s bookstore, that’s where I got mine.

    • If you already have a professional, decent quality tote, I’d skip the leather folio and just carry that. Have a manila folder inside to keep your resumes neat, and a pad of paper and pen. I just feel like those leather folios are SUCH a waste of money, my hands ended up getting full (folio in one hand, bottle of water handed to me by the receptionist in the other, leading to awkward juggling when time for a handshake and also no ability to gracefully pat my nervous little palms against my thighs to eliminate dampness), and then there’s the need to go retrieve your real bag before you go for lunch or drinks at the end of the interview anyway.

      • this.

        • Koozie Advocat :

          Eh, I use mine as a practicing attorney all the time for running around to internal office meetings. I think they are a good way to carry a few documents, papers, pens and phone around.

          Folio should ideally fit neatly in professional tote with water bottle — do a pre-interview purse clean out to the basics.

    • SoCalAtty :

      Head over to Staples or your local office-supply store and see. Also, I had a really nice black leather pad-folio that had my law school’s insignia embossed on the front. I love that, but it eventually fell apart. Check your school bookstore too! Barnes and Noble has some cute ones right now too, but probably too wild for interviews.

      Since mine just recently fell apart (again), I’ve been using colored blue folders. They fit perfectly next to my note pad in the leather tote bag I just bought, so that works too in a pinch.

  27. chocochat :

    TJ: A really dear gf is getting married. It will be a destination wedding in June. I was asked to be a bridesmaid. Problem is, I don’t want to go.
    Reasons for not going
    – I have terrible memory at the destination of this wedding (with an ex. I know, not her problem)
    – I already attended her large and elaborate engagement party/ traditional wedding last year.
    – I have few vacation days left and prefer spending them differently

    Am I terribly selfish?

    • Regarding the large party – was that her engagement or wedding? Are both ceremonies equally as important in her culture?

      But yeah, if you don’t want to go, then nothing anyone can say here will make you want to go. Personally, for “a really dear gf” I would suck it up and go to the wedding if I could, especially because your reasons don’t point to being unable to go due to lack of resources, or no vacation time or something. But if you don’t want to go, then just politely decline, and whatever you do, do not be upset if she is hurt, or takes it a little too personal.

    • Koozie Advocat :

      No. Just RSVP with a decline. The worst with wedding planning is people who are vague about attendance.

      • If she was asked to be a bridesmaid, I don’t think she can just RSVP with a decline.

        That being said, I think it is perfectly OK to tell your friend that you love her, are flattered that she asked you to be in your wedding, etc….but that you just can’t swing an extravagant trip right now.

    • This is her second wedding? To the same guy? And it was just last year? I think you’re good. (I would say are your friends Seal and Heidi but I think they broke up).

      • chocochat :

        To clarify: They signed the papers last year, then had the engagement party/ traditional wedding with families and friends from both sides. This year is a western-style destination wedding, which I think will be more partying, relaxed, and with more of the classic wedding elements (flowers, gown, etc.)

        • Still – that’s a lot of wedding happening. And you did already celebrate with her.

          If you don’t want to go (and it sounds like you’ve got a couple reasons) I’d probably respond with a “it’s an honor to be asked and so thoughtful of you to think of me, but I don’t think I’ll be able to this time around. It sounds like an amazing trip so I hope you have a ton of fun”.

        • I don’t think you ever have to go to a wedding, especially when there is significant travel involved for you, and hopefully the couple can understand that (I certainly tried to). In this case, I think it’s a little silly that she’s drawing out her wedding celebration for a year. I get wanting to incorporate different cultures, and that might mean having two ceremonies and celebrations, but having a destination wedding is totally unnecessary to the “western-style” wedding experience, and having it a year later? With bridesmaids? You make choices when you plan your wedding, and this couple seems like they just want everything.

          • I understand your points above, but it seems like these threads always end up being more a judgement of the bride’s decisions versus the invitee’s. Not sure that’s necessary.

          • I see what you’re saying, but I think there is some value to saying, “I think bride/friend/couple/etc. is being unreasonable for xyz reasons, therefore I would not bend over backwards to do this,” rather than just the latter part.

    • Mountain Girl :

      She got married last year and is getting married again in June? To the same person?

    • With things like this, Carolyn Hax always says that if you can’t be enthusiastic about going, don’t go. Skip the “should.” Assuming the worst: even the most uncaring, self-absorbed bride doesn’t want a bridesmaid who clearly doesn’t want to be there. Assuming the best: you’ve been invited to do this because you’re close friends, and no close friend wants you to be unhappy.

    • I kind of disagree with everyone here. If it’s truly a close friend (and if you were asked to be a bridesmaid, I think that means it is or she’s seriously delusional), I think you suck it up and go–and put a happy face on while doing it.

      • I’m with you, Batgirl. If you’re close enough to be a bridesmaid, you go if you can. Also, it sounds like this event might be more the wedding that she wants v. the prior traditional/family version. As to the “bad memory” in the location, I’m a big believer in taking things back after breakups — if you liked a place, go back & create your own new, fun memories there.

    • I think it’s wholly unfair to have a large and elaborate wedding and then another wedding and expect your friends and family to attend both, but for a close friend I’d suck it up and go, assuming that I could afford to go and it wouldn’t be a problem with work/vacation time. Fly in on Friday night after work, and fly out Sunday morning. I generally think that you can decline a wedding invitation for whatever reason you want, but with a close friend I think it’s much trickier. I don’t think that a bad memory of the destination itself is an adequate excuse, IMHO, and I’d be really hurt if a good friend told me that’s why she didn’t want to attend my wedding. I would only miss the wedding of a close friend for money reasons (can’t afford it) or true scheduling conflicts (don’t have vacation days left, have another already-committed-to wedding on the same day, family obligation that I can’t miss, having a baby, etc.).

    • No, you are not terribly selfish. I think you are totally within rights to decline. If the friend is as dear as you say, she will not force you to go to a place that has terrible memories for you.

  28. Duke Silver :

    I do not think you should feel compelled to attend your friend’s second wedding to the same person. My brother-in-law had three weddings last year, and, since he is family, we attended each one. The first was a destination wedding, the second was a religious ceremony, and the third was a hometown reception. We had to travel for each wedding, which was very expensive. At the time, we felt like we had to attend each event to keep the peace in the family, but I am not sure that we made the best decision. I still really resent BIL / SIL for selfishly planning three weddings in one year and then acting like it was a vacation for us (it wasn’t, and we were really strapped for cash since I was still in law school). I think that if you feel forced to go, you might resent your friend for taking your vacation time to revisit a place that is unpleasant for you.

  29. Kat, I noticed this comment on every thread today. I really appreciate your efforts to keep the comments ad free and just wanted to flag this one. Thank you.