Tuesday’s TPS Report: Monarch Ponte Jacquard Dress

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

Trina Turk Monarch Ponte Jacquard DressGood morning, ladies! I’m loving this dress by Trina Turk. Sleeves! A high neckline (they call it a “retro fit” on the page description) and a ladylike hem length! A really cool, almost space-dyed effect for the ponte jacquard! A contrasting belt! Love it all. It’s $298 at Bloomingdale’s. Trina Turk Monarch Ponte Jacquard Dress

Update: Annnd… I just realized Trina Turk has both the black version and a lovely purplish/red version on sale for $178. Nice.

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


  1. This is really pretty!

    • Coincidentally bought this dress last week on Trina’s website and it arrived yesterday! LOVE IT and fits true to size.

  2. Sorry for the immediate TJ–this one is for all the contacts wearers out there. Any tips on the best place to buy contacts? It is likely that I am going to need to wear dailies from now on and I am guessing that will represent a price jump. Up until now, I wore bi-weekly lens and have just purchased them from the optical shop at my doctor’s office (mostly because it was the path of least resistance), but now I think I need to look into more economical options. Does anyone have any experience with 1-800 Contacts or any other online resources. Thanks!

    • Miz Swizz :

      I buy mine from 1-800 Contacts and have been quite pleased. I save my insurance coverage for glasses because I’m very nearsighted and ordering online is usually cheaper than if I order through my optometrist and pay out of pocket.

      • +1. My optometrist price-matches against 1800-contacts, but it’s so much easier to have them shipped and not worry about picking up during business hours from the doctor.

    • amelia earhart :

      I use Vision Direct, which was recommended to me by more than a couple of friends and have been very satisfied with service and price. I got 90 days worth of dailies (so, 180 contacts) for around $60, which I thought was very reasonable. They called my optometrist to verify my prescription and then shipped the next day. I had some questions prior to ordering and their customer service was truly top notch, and they have coupon codes available online.

      I don’t wear my contacts every day, but right around the 3 month mark after ordering, they sent me an email asking if I was ready to place another order. I’m sure 1-800-Contacts is similar but I found they were pricier for my brand.

    • Walmart has the best prices I’ve seen. They own 1-800-Contacts, but for some reason, their prices are even cheaper. And I like that I can grab a box or two whenever and where ever.

    • I’ve always used 1-800-Contacts. You just need your personal information and your optometrist’s contact info (they verify the prescription with him/her). It’s much cheaper than getting them at the doctor’s and they keep your info on file so it’s pretty easy to re-order. I would definitely say you should go with an online place.

      • nowadays you can snap a picture of your prescription with your phone and they store it with your account. So, they never have to call the doctor to verify and ship right away. Yay, technology!!

    • I used to buy them at Walmart or Costco. Walmart used to have really good Black Friday sales on them, though I’m unsure if they still do.

    • I go back and forth between 1 800 contacts and visiondirect, depending on who’s cheaper. Last time I ordered from visiondirect, I got a coupon towards drugstore com. Pays to do a web research on who’s cheaper at that moment.

    • I wear dailies and I’ve used contactlensking for years now. I used opticontacts last year and it took them FOREVER to ship. I saved about $20 but it also took like a month to get my contacts. Thankfully, I had contacts and glasses to hold me over.

    • Anonymous :

      Man I am jealous of you gals who have simple enough prescriptions that you can wear dailies and get a 90 supply for $60. My contacts are meant for three month wear, though they are SO expensive that I usually go more like 4-6 months between replacement.

  3. Morning Routine :

    Fun TJ: What tricks do you use to streamline your morning routine?

    For me it’s brushing my teeth while showering, putting socks/tights on top of my shoes by the door, packing all non-refrigerated parts of my lunch in my bag before bed, and keeping my makeup lined up in the order of application on my vanity.

    Interested to hear what others do!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I like to sleep as late as possible so I’ve streamlined as much as possible. I shower at night, lay out my accessories and clothes the night before, have my lunch packed and in the fridge the night before, and have my bag, coat, and shoes near the door and ready to go. I can get out of my house in 10-15 minutes this way if I take breakfast with me or pick something up near work.

      • I’m a night shower as well. I pack up leftovers at night but really should get my clothes together the night before instead of my current procedure of staring blankly at my closet for 10 minutes before deciding what to wear.

        • ExcelNinja :

          Night showerers: I’ve recently started doing this as well and love it, but if I don’t get around to it until 9pm or so, my hair is still soaking wet when I go to bed. Do you just sleep with wet hair? Give it a quick blowdry? Or just don’t shower at 9pm, stupid?

      • +1

        This is pretty much my exact morning routine. The only addition I have is that my office has a break room with full-sized frige, so I’ll often put breakfast items in there on Monday morning for the rest of the week.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          That’s a good idea. There is room in our fridge and I could add a small bag of breakfast stuff on Monday mornings.

    • Clementine :

      I set up my coffee maker so all I need to do is press a button. I know I could use the timer, but something about just pressing the button helps me. I’m lucky enough to live between the gym and work, so I can stop home and change my clothes fro work, but I pack my gym bag and put the clothes I’m going to wear to brave the arctic tundra to get to the gym on top of them so I have 0 excuses to skip the gym. I make sure I have my ID badge in my bag so I’m not running around looking for it (used to be a major source of last minute stress).

      Also- and this is something that has always helped me- I always keep an emergency outfit or two on a hanger right in the front of my closet. This usually is a middle of the road outfit that is nice enough to wear to a meeting- right now it’s a pencil skirt and a sweater. This outfit is always ironed, checked for weird spots/marks/etc, flattering and already matched. It’s my go to when I have that moment where I slept too late or suddenly discover a giant white spot on my black shirt or somehow that dress that was flattering yesterday suddenly has turned into a Chris Farley lunch lady-style caftan.

      • The emergency outfit is a brilliant idea. I’m going to start doing that.

        I make my bed while I brush my teeth, programmed my coffee pot to start brewing at 5:45 each morning. I’ve started using a BB cream that functions as a moisturizer and foundation. I’ve learned to start putting my tights on before I dry my hair because sometimes pulling tights up is a workout.

        My routine is a little more complicated by dropping off two kids under two at day care each morning. At night I pack everything (non-perishable) in my car so all I have to grab in the morning are my keys, phone, bottles for the baby, and any lunch/breakfast food that I might bring. I keep non-perishable breakfast food in my office (oatmeal, protein bars, mixed nuts, etc) and just eat breakfast when I get to work each morning.

        • Oh, and I got a keratin treatment for my thick, wavy-if-air-dried and frizzy-if-blow-dried -and-not-straight-ironed hair. It literally saves me 15-20 minutes every morning. I just shower, air dry while I do makeup, then blow dry and I’m done.

    • I have a morning routine that I rarely deviate from. It keeps me on track. I unplug my phone when I wake up and throw it in the middle pocket of my purse. I take food for lunches on Monday morning. I pack up one of my reusable grocery bags so I can just throw refrigerated food into it and walk out the door. I pack my gym bag the night before for days I go to the gym. I check the weather and decide what I’m going to wear because that’s the one thing that will trip me up (especially shoes). I get up early but I’m not really a morning person so I really have to stick to a routine or I’ll forget something major. I also know what time I have to do each thing so I keep on track.

    • The big trick : not wearing make-up. The little one : I decide on the day’s outfit while in the shower, right down to undies and accessories.

    • My big outfit spreadsheet/list. I plan out three weeks’ worth of outfits at the beginning of the season and basically rotate through them (I might switch it up if, say, I have a meeting on a day when the rotation would have a less formal outfit, but basically I stick to it). I’m such a big fan of my outfit planning that even now that I’m in the hospital I have one for my rotation of yoga pants, tops, and sweaters (although it’s more like a week’s worth of clothes instead of three weeks).

    • Mountain Girl :

      I lay out all my clothes the night before including undies, tights, scarves, belts and shoes. Everything is pressed and ready to go.

      I went to a very minimalist makeup style (tinted moisturizer, blush/eye shadow combo and lip gloss.

      I have recently been varying my routine and showering very first in my routine to give my hair a bit of time to air dry and then just slightly blowing the ends to flip then under to give them shape. (I have wavy to slightly curly hair that is very thick.) It takes about 60 seconds to style and is probably the biggest time saver of my morning. I’m just not sure if I love the look enough to continue with it.

  4. Killer Kitten Heels :

    I desperately want this dress (the cut would be awesome for me and I love Trina Turk), but could only wear to work on Fridays (super-formal office). Someone please tell me it’s reasonable to spend $178 on a dress I can only wear on Fridays (and weekends, but I’m not usually that “fancy” on weekends).

    • Couldn’t you wear the black and white version with a black blazer in a super-formal office? I would totally feel comfortable wearing something like that for a client meeting (but possibly not court).

    • Is it a suit every day except Friday level of formal? If it’s anything below that, I would you think you could get away with wearing it with a blazer.

      If it can really only be worn on Fridays, I probably wouldn’t recommend it. The cost per wear would be too high for me.

      • I’d be worried about hearing “here comes Alice in her Friday dress.”

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        Yup, suits everyday (real suits, none of this blazer-over-sheath nonsense :P).

        And obviously I wouldn’t wear it every Friday . . . which, I guess, makes it even less useful. Darn. No dress for KKH today.

        • Math Chick :

          Which field are you in? I need to remember that this sort of office exist so I don’t business-casual myself to the point of looking like I came in in a clown car.

          • Killer Kitten Heels :

            I’m in law, in NYC, and even by NYC standards we’re considered a little “old school.”

          • This is me, especially with this very cold winter and my very pregnant self. I have really crossed the line on some outfits lately!

        • Ha. I have the opposite problem Office is casual to the point of dishevelment and a $178 dress just wouldn’t fit in. But I looooooooooove it. Love the red/purple one, too. How do Trina Turk dresses fit, on the off chance I win some money and decide a dress splurge can happen? I guess I could find a Bloomingdale’s and try some on?

    • pilates princess :

      I want it too! But I’m going on 10 weeks pregnant and I plan on nursing, so it seems like a bad investment. Ugh.

      • pilates princess :

        to be clear, pumping and that dress won’t work, even if I was able to guess the proper postpartum size

      • Diana Barry :

        Congrats! I found it hard to not stalk regular clothes when I was pregnant, but it does help if you stalk maternity wear and baby clothes! :)

    • Me too. I love Tina Turk, but is Bloomie’s the onley place I can get this? If so, FOOEY! unless I go up to see Rosa and get it in Westchester. DOUBEL FOOEY b/c I would have to take the train unless Myrna drove me.

      I got a text today from Fred. He want’s to know if I like the kitty litter. Should I even respond to him? I think he think’s I am desperete for a guy so that he is lookeing better all the time. I hope Ed did NOT put that idea in his littel head. I have standard’s and scrupule’s.

      I have decided to council Mason about his behavior. What he doe’s on his own time is his own business, but I will tell him NOT to touch Lynn’s tuchus in the office (or any one else’s tuchus for that matter). I also will say that it is proabley not a good idea to date Lynn b/c she work’s here and he should not have sex with the staff. FOOEY! I did NOT want to bring this up with the manageing partner b/c I want the manageing partner to think that I am independent and have MANAGEEARAL capabilitie’s! YAY!

      I am wondering, tho, if we need to bring in an HR speciealist to give me some pointer’s b/c the manageing partner also want’s me to head up a new department he is cobbeling together useing some peeople who are now “underutilised”. The manageing partner is thinkeing of consolidating our estate’s group into what he is now calling our international group. He see’s alot of opportunity in import/export b/c he has a freind on 31st Street who work’s in the area lookeing for council, and he figure’s that with the FTC getting new authority, that I could learn FTC law, and something called ITC law and we could market ourself as a full service international import/export firm.

      Do the hive know peeople doeing this kind of work? Is it realy that lucrative? I want to be abel to respond to the manageing partners’ inquiry, but have onley found articel’s about international law, but NOT import export law. FOOEY!

  5. Does anyone know of a good place to buy earrings with 14k+ gold posts? I had stopped wearing earrings because they would irritate my ears and when browsing at department stores, it seems like they’re impossible to find outside of the fine jewelry section. I’m not looking for anything particularly fancy – no diamonds, as I’m realistically probably going to lose some of these earrings.

    • If you like pearls, you can try pearl paradise. They do studs with gold posts.

    • If it’s just the irritation you’re concerned about, have you tried wearing silver? (Obviously doesn’t work if you’re more of a gold color than a silver color person.) Also, if it’s a nickel allergy, there are now a lot of less expensive earrings out there that are labeled “nickel-free.” If you’re specifically looking for 14k gold, though, I think most stores would by definition put those in fine jewelry (because gold=fine). But I have a terrible nickel allergy and do just fine with sterling silver and earrings labeled nickel-free (although not those labeled “hypoallergenic” — those still make my ears itch!).

      • I’ve tried sterling silver and stainless steel and they both always made my second holes kind of weepy. Maybe the ones I had bought weren’t real silver, though. It seems like they shouldn’t be irritating.

        • Anonymous :

          I have this problem too. I buy regular silver earrings and coat the hooks with clear nail polish. Seems to work fairly well. I avoid studs generally so less metal will touch my ears.

    • If you tried an Indian jewelry store, you could find 21k-22k gold earrings as well and those might not bother you..

    • I’m a huge fan of Blue Nile but they’re definitely going to be “fine jewelry” and not discount stuff. They have really nice 14k+ gold studs for $50-$150. (Here’s the $50 ones: http://www.bluenile.com/14k-yellow-gold-ball-earrings_20181?track=product&elem=image)

    • Sorry, dear, but solid gold is, by definition, fine jewelry.

      • Ain’t nothing wrong with “fine jewelry”! You deserve it! GO GET YOU SOME GOLD GOLD GOLD

    • Do you like studs only, or would you wear longer drop/dangle earrings? If you’re open to longer earrings, you can purchase gold ear wire to replace the original ear wire with. It’s relatively simple and can be done with a small pair of pliers; search online for a tutorial.

      You might also look into gold-plated or gold-filled posts/ear wire. Gold-plated earrings are dipped in gold and may still bother you, but there’s a chance that you’d react better to gold-filled earrings. “Gold filled” refers to jewelry that is primarily gold with another metal for a core, with the other metal generally being deep enough down in the earring for it to not cause an allergic reaction. I’m sure that some still react to gold-filled jewelry, though.

      If you don’t feel like playing with pliers, try Etsy. There are hundreds of jewelers who would love to make you custom gold jewelry.

  6. I LOVE the red/purple. And I sometimes fit a 12 – anyone have any comments about Trina Turk’s fit? Small/large?

  7. I recently enrolled in a ballet class and the purist in me is insisting I wear a black leotard with pink tights. I’ve got the shoes and tights, the leotard has been shipped. Now I need to find a non-racerback sports bra to fit my 36C self. Any suggestions?

    • pilates princess :

      Check Champion brand, their website or catalog. (I also hate the racer back with leotard look.)

    • This is my favorite sports bra, but I am a 32DDD, so I need way more support than a C would.


      You can search that website by bra type and if you hold the mouse over the photo, they all show the back.


    • Also try Athleta and Title 9. Prana? Yoga places?

      I take ballet classes, too, and leotards really aren’t built for the generous of chest! But this is an issue for most women in adult classes, so I see a lot of bras with leotards in my class. I think racer back leotards might exist? I was fortunate to find a leotard (brand is Marvella, but it’s a couple of years old) that has a sort of double fabric construction and is heavy enough to hold my 32Ds in place. Haven’t seen anything like it (although I haven’t searched extensively) so I treat that thing like a very rare and precious object.

    • hoola hoopa :

      moving comfort

    • Moving Comfort has a bra called Luna that is non-racerback. It’s got medium support, which should be fine for dance, I think. I wear it for yoga, but not for more strenuous cardio.

      • +1 to Moving Comfort Luna. I wear a 32 C, and this is actually the most comfortable bra I own. It has thick straps, which may bother you under a leotard, but otherwise would actually be pretty great for ballet. It sort of looks like a cross between an everyday lined bra and a sports bra… I have been known to wear it on the weekends running errands too.

    • Girl, you need to get yourself some Yumikos.

    • Anonymous :

      Discount Dance Supply

    • anon in tejas :

      champion! I have a few max support sports bras from there that I absolutely love. my most favorite/supportive is not racer back.

  8. I have broad shoulders and I can’t decide if this dress would hide that or make it worse. Thoughts?

    • Me too. I think it would make it worse, but I have a large chest too. I think if you have a small chest it might be better. I need V necks and scoop necks or I look like a linebacker.

      • While I don’t have large shoulders, I am a 32DD and find Trina Turk to be very well cut for my chest. I have several dresses from her, including several of this particular style.

    • Worse but I find that wearing a necklace breaks up the linebacker look.

  9. I just got married on Saturday and will be changing my name. Any tips on how to make a smooth transition, personally and professionally? While I’m excited to take my husband’s last name (and it was entirely my choice), it seems so strange to introduce myself with a new name, all of the sudden. I’d welcome any tips from the hive.

    • First stop is the SS office – that is really the key to doing everything else. At work, send an email to the colleauges/clients you work with most frequently to give them a heads up. It took me a month or so to get used to introducing myself by my new name, but after a while it’s much easier.

      One thing I wasn’t able to do is to use a new email address as my primary account. I tried importing everything from one gmail to another, but somehow ended up not getting any emails at all :( I ended up just making an address with my new name and forwarding to my account with my old name.

      • Oh, and congrats! :)

      • Olivia Pope :

        Yes, SS office first. Then change your driver’s license. Everyone else just took my word for it when I had a SS card and license with my new name on it.

        I was able to import my old gmail messages into my new one. I also have my old one forward to my new one in case anyone is using an old address.

        • Anonattorney :

          You can just merge gmail accounts now–if you’re going to open a new account, just go to your old account settings, click on “accounts,” and “add another email address you own.” Then you just have one inbox for all the old and new accounts. You can send from either account, so if you get an email at your old name, you can reply from your new name just by clicking the drop-down menu in the “From:” line.

          [Maybe you already know this. I am always a little late to the game with tech stuff.]

          • A 'tech' person :

            Wow! Thank you so much.

            Before we where even engaged my husband secretly made me a gmail account with his surname. When it became time to switch, I did not want to part with my maiden account, which is linked to every other online account. I also couldn’t find a way to import/export details.

            Husband was always a bit sad that I don’t use it, just added it, and now I can!

      • Ha, you may want to mention that you’re changing your name because you got married. I’m very private and none of my clients knew about my engagement/wedding and I got a few gently worded emails asking if I was doing ok because they assumed I’d recently gotten divorced.

    • baseballfan :

      When I got married and changed my name, one of the big things I started doing at work was answering my phone with my full new name, i.e. “This is First Married” where in the past I just said “This is First.” That way clients and others started to get used to hearing it.

      It took a while to get everything in place, and changing it at work in every required place was a bit of a pain. Payroll, email, directories…none of them talked to each other.

      I will confess I have yet to change my name on my Paypal account and I have been married 12 years this month. I decided that wasn’t important enough to go to the trouble of sending them a copy of my marriage license.

      In many places it is as simple as a phone call. My credit cards and airline frequent flyer accounts were no trouble.

      One thing I did remember to do was change my social security card and THEN my driver’s license; as I recall, that was important. (I hope I’m not reversing this; it’s been a while)>

    • Kontraktor :

      Try to do things as soon as possible and all at once. If you lag on a few items and push them off, the liklihood of changing goes down the longer you wait. We went to the Social Security office 2 days after the wedding so we wouldn’t lag. We changed credit cards and whatnot right after that. In retrospect, I should have just sent my passport in at that time, but didn’t, and now it’s years later and I still don’t have an updated passport.

      Professionally it’s not so bad either. My friend recently did this and just sent out an email to her whole contact list/address book and said something like, “I recently got married and have changed my name. Please note my new contact information, blah blah blah.” For awhile, her email signature said Jane (Maiden) Newlast, but she stopped doing that after about a month.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I wrote “Killer Maiden Married” in my email signature and on memos and things for awhile, even though legally I’ve completely dropped my maiden. After about 2/3 months, I just dropped Maiden out and went back to using my middle initial, as was my previous practice. No one’s been confused.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This is what I did. (Heh… both times.) It seems like it’s going to be a gigantic deal but it’s really not.

    • Congrats!! First stop: Social Security. Second: DMV. Third: Bank/credit cards/ work/ emails. I had the best luck just setting up a new email address, emailing everyone I could with a “here’s my new email address” notice, and setting up an out-of-office on my old personal email saying “hey I don’t use this email address anymore since I just got married.”

    • Get the clerk’s office in the town/city where you were married to send you a bunch of marriage certificates (the real ones, with the seal — not just photocopies), even if you have to pay for them. I agree that an SS card and license will work for almost everyone, but I did have to give a lot of places my marriage certificate and some places held onto them.

    • It may well depend on your state. I had to go to the DMV BEFORE the SS office – which felt odd and backwards to me, but whatever.

      Some things were such a PITA to change my name on, and didn’t matter (looking at you, Amtrak account, who wanted me to mail in an original marriage certificate) that I just let the old account linger and set up a new one with Married Name.

      Passport was scariest (original marriage certificate + current passport sent in the mail??) but worked out fine and timely.

    • Congrats! As everyone’s said, first stop is Social Security. When I got married in October 2010, I put in my paperwork early November … and didn’t get my new card until late January 2011. So it could take awhile. So keep that in mind if you have any upcoming trips. My workplace refused to set me up with a new email until it was “official” from SS (and then the IT people acted like this had never happened ever in the history of the world, but I digress).

      1) Social Security
      2) DMV
      3) You’ll need a bunch of copies of your marriage license to change bank records, investments, etc.

      • I got married in October 2010 too! I agree with all of this, including the attitude I got from IT (one mentioned that if he had his way, no one would ever be able to change their names!). Just wanted to add that I went to the SS office in person (actually added one extra day off after my honeymoon to make sure I had time) and had my new card back within 10 days. I’m assuming you mailed in your SS forms, as I’ve heard the processing time is exponentially longer when you do. I also found the SS office wasn’t a terrible experience, and was actually somewhat pleasant compared to the DC DMV…

        Also seconded that while some things (credit cards, bank accounts) were really easy to change once I had a new SS card, some of the least consequential accounts are the biggest hassle (looking at you, United and Starwood… luckily I got married before I accumulated many points so I just abandoned old accounts and created new ones).

        • I definitely should have made the trip to the office! Yeah it took so long I actually called up the national number (and waited nearly 45 minutes on hold) only to have them tell me that taking 2+ months was par for the course. Silly me!

          And yeah, my FF accounts with the airlines are still in my maiden name (and also abandoned) because it was harder to change those than to get a new passport. Seriously. My bank needed less verification.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Agree with others that SS first, then DMV, and everything else will fall into place. I needed to fax a copy of my marriage certificate to a couple of places, but nbd.

      Note that if you plan to travel internationally soon (ie, before you could get a new passport), then you want to wait until you return to start the process. You do not want your passport to have a different name than your other identification.

    • Anon for this :

      On a related note, anyone have any experience with husband changing his name after marriage? FWIW, my fiance is planning to take my last name as his middle name, our marriage license will be in California, and residence/work/driver’s license is in DC. I am dreading starting to research this….

      • California is awesome and makes equally easy for both genders to change their name! For details look up “Name Equality Act of 2007”.

    • Best wishes to you! Try this – I received it as a gift and found it very helpful – http://www.hitchswitch.com/ . Didn’t change my name for professional purposes, but did “socially” – which basically meant changing my personal email address, social media, etc. and everyone got used to it. Still feels weird saying my “new” full name even a year in!

    • Just (mostly) finished up this process this week, and I married in September.

      One piece of advice that I haven’t seen yet in the responses is regarding your professional license, if you have one. I would check the website or local organization to see if this would apply to you.

      In Virginia, you cannot practice law under your new name until order of the Supremes. I had to submit a form motion and certified marriage license to have mine changed (and pay). I then received a formal order back from the clerk of court. The clerk changed my name with the state bar, and then the bar sent me a new bar card with my new name.

      Also make sure you’ve got the right paperwork–some people/states use marriage certificate and marriage license interchangeably. In Virginia those are two different things. I’m sure it works differently in other states, here is a PSA for Virginians: the marriage license is what you want to use–the form you submit to the clerk of court and your officiant submits to the clerk once your ceremony is performed. The marriage certificate is the keepsake certificate that does not have legal meaning.

      When I clerked in a circuit court after law school I had a panicked call from a couple that was traveling internationally and realized the husband’s name was misspelled on their marriage “license.” It turned out to just be the marriage certificate–you can usually just have the clerk grab you another one of those for free (I did for mine since our officiant left a letter out of my name on the first one we had).

    • For all work related stuff, I used the following on my email signature for a couple of weeks: First (Maiden) Married. Putting my maiden in a parenthetical let everyone know I had a new last name and that my maiden name was eventually going to disappear. It was a very effective. My firm bio also had this for about a month.

  10. We have a snow day today! Well, not really a snow day but we may get snow later. It’s supposed to be freezing rain, lots of ice, etc. The bridges (lots of them) and elevated roadways freeze and there were pileups the other day. So I’m home for a quiet day. Maybe knitting, a little cooking.

    Anybody have a shopping challenge I can undertake? Shoes for the win!

    • I have a boring shoe shopping challenge you’re welcome to take. I’m looking for weekend errand running shoes I can wear with flaired jeans and cords. I’m in the northeast and have really gotten into a rut of skinny jeans + riding boots on the weekend. I know I want something comfortable that I can wear socks with in a brown, not black, color, but beyond that, I just don’t know what’s appropriate. Help me?

      • Property Q :

        Nursing-style clogs (the ones with the backs on them by the heels)?

      • What about a lace-up Oxford? I’ll post a couple links.

        • I like these in the black with the blue sole: http://www.dsw.com/shoe/bass+ely-2+oxford?prodId=274053&activeCats=cat10006,dsw12cat2130002

        • These are sooo cute! http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/rollie-derby-oxford/3630297?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Green+Nubuck&resultback=2166&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_6_D

      • Or a low heeled bootie like this: http://www.dsw.com/shoe/aerosoles+saw+maker+bootie?prodId=282434&category=dsw12cat2230006&activeCats=cat10006,cat20173,dsw12cat2230006

        • I really like these: http://www.dsw.com/shoe/nicole+swiftness+bootie?prodId=288296&activeCats=cat10006,cat20173,dsw12cat2230006

          BTW I’m looking at DSW because you didn’t mention a budget.

      • http://www.6pm.com/dansko-harlow-whiskey-burnished-full-grain

        I recently bought these for the exact situation you’re talking about, and I love them.

    • I do! One of my students showed up with this leather folio, not a padfolio but almost like a soft leather envelope (with a flap). It held a notebook, ipad, papers, and a phone (so letter or A4 size, maybe 1.5 inches thick). It was beautiful brown leather and had a pattern logo (not LV but something similar).

      I’m fairly sure it is out of my price range (she’s impossibly posh) but I’m curious about it.

      • Here’s a less fancy version that I had saved to a wish list. Is this similar? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0085JFLZ2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=J8EL9DJOCMCK&coliid=ISH8CYIZ3FGI8

        • That’s worth a look but this one was entirely unstructured? So you just slipped the papers / ipad etc in?

          • There’s something in Everlane’s ‘coming soon’ section that looks like it might fit the bill. Not available till March, alas.

          • Did it basically look like an A-4, leather envelope?

      • I’m having a hard time figuring out how to search for this.

        Found this http://www.amazon.com/Will-Leather-Warley-Device-Envelope/dp/B009TRXE0I/ref=sr_1_3?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1390927266&sr=1-3&keywords=leather+envelope+business+case

        • This one is a lot more expensive: http://www.amazon.com/Piel-Leather-Envelope-Portfolio-Saddle/dp/B002FSVXZG/ref=sr_1_6?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1390927344&sr=1-6&keywords=leather+envelope+business+case

      • amelia earhart :


        something like that, maybe?

      • Lady Harriet :

        Someone recommended these here a while back: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_0?rh=n%3A1064954%2Cp_4%3APaperthinks%2Cn%3A%211084128%2Cn%3A1069242%2Cn%3A1069554%2Cn%3A490816011&bbn=1069554&ie=UTF8&qid=1382051388&rnid=1069554
        It sounds like the shape is similar to what you’re looking for.

    • just Karen :

      In case you need any more…I need winter work shoes that are flat or (even better) very low heeled, but that I can wear socks with, that don’t look like my husband’s. I know these exist, but I can’t seem to imagine them to even start looking.

      • Hey, just like Ginjury – Nordie’s has some really cute flat lace-up Oxfords that I think would work for work with socks. Let me look.

        • http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-flat-oxfords?origin=leftnav

          Some of them are a lot more feminine.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I do! I’m looking for short boots with an angled top (toward the toe). I’m told that’s most flattering for those of us with short, muscular legs (thanks, Dad!). Preference for black but open to brown/cognac. Need to be rain-appropriate so no suede. <$200.

      • With a heel? I just got the Enzo Angiolini Parita in the dark purple but they make them in other colors. I have muscular legs and curvy calves and I think they look great. http://www.6pm.com/enzo-angiolini-parita

        • hoola hoopa :

          I was planning on a lower heel or wedge, but I do like those. Personal rec is a major bonus. Thanks!

          It’s weird how that’s supposed to be so flattering yet so hard to find!

    • amelia earhart :

      If you’re still going, here’s my challenge: black or nude t-straps with a reasonable heel, in a size 12, around $150.

      • Shoot. I was going to recommend the awesome Adrienna Vittadini t-straps that I bought on TCFKAG’s recommentdation, but they only come up to a 10. Let me see…

      • I’m hitting a blank. Some looked nice but weren’t leather. Or too high.

      • ExcelNinja :

        I’m an 11W or a 12 and it’s just impossible. I feel you, girl.

        • AttiredAttorney :

          Heyyyy that’s my size too! I feel the collective pain – it’s almost an imposible size to find.

  11. hellskitchen :

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a supportive but not restrictive bra for yoga? I am a 34G so most wireless sports bras I try are too flimsy and don’t offer enough support. Yet my regular sports bra feels too restrictive for yoga. Suggestions?

    • Diana Barry :

      I am only a D/DD, but I like the Patagonia sports bras – they usually have a more heavy duty one for bigger cup sizes. Also try Title 9 – they have tons of different styles. Not cheap though.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I am a 36 DDD and love these from Old Navy. Soft, comfortable, and supportive without pinching.


      • hellskitchen :

        These seem great. I am not ready to buy very expensive bras as I have just taken up yoga. How’s the sizing on these?

    • Sweet as Soda Pop :

      I’m a 32DD/E and I love love love lululemon’s energy bra. I own 5 of them. My usual lululemon size is a 6, I wear an 8 in this style.

    • I really like the fabric that Lululemon uses. I have the bra with a criss-cross in the back with two straps in each direction and it’s stretchy enough to hold me in and still be comfortable. Some of their stuff runs kind of low-cut though, so it’s trial and error to see how good each one covers.

    • Have you tried Moving Comfort? They have a lot of options for us larger busted ladies.

    • I’m the same size and what I do is just wear my most comfortable regular bra and then wear one of the athletic tanks with the shelf bra over it. Long ago I learned that for me, I might as well start with a regular bra base and build up. Sports bras alone do nothing for me.

      • hellskitchen :

        is your regular bra wireless? If so I’d love to know which brand you use

        • No, it’s an underwire – I might be weird since I think wireless is less comfortable. Since 34Gs can be a pain to find (and expensive), I’ve had good luck with the Bali “Live it up” bra in 36DDD.

    • hellskitchen :

      Thanks all. I’ll look into these brands. Looking for something not too expensive until I decide I am going to stick with yoga. I haven’t managed to “clear my mind of all thoughts” even once yet :-(

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        It took me a really long time before I was able to let all of my control go, but when it happens it’s magical, so hang in there!

  12. How much do you usually pay for professional framing? I have had two things framed recently in separate shops and was shocked by the expense both times. Picture 1 was a thin wood frame(admittedly not the most basic one but not the fanciest either), glass, no matting, total size a bit larger than your typical computer monitor: $195~ Picture 2 was an oil painting, no glass, just nice wood frame (but again nothing super high end), maybe 30 x 20: almost $300.

    I feel like this is highway robbery. I get that I am in NYC and everything is marked up but how can these frame shops that are on every corner stay in business? Does anyone really regularly pay these kinds of prices? OR — and this is my theory — did they quote me waaaay higher prices because I had groupons for both places and realistically I paid roughly what I would have paid if I didn’t have a groupon entitling me to $100 worth of framing for $35 or whatever?

    • We got three things framed (two had matting, all had mid-range wood frames and glass with UV protective coating). I think it was about $500 total for everything. We went to a big box crafts store during a 50% off framing sale, which they have fairly frequently (maybe it’s like shopping at Jos A. Banks–you don’t not get a discount).

      I’m not surprised about Picture #1, but that seems high for Picture #2 with no glass. Framing is surprisingly expensive, though.

      • Well picture 2 was a groupon that I paid $65 for and “got” $200 of framing services + I paid the rest out of pocket. I think it was officially $331 total and with the $65 for the $200 groupon, I paid $131 to the store direct. My thinking is if I didn’t have a groupon I would have just paid ~$200 for it. I probably should have kept quiet about my “deal” until after he quoted me the price. But I feel like then there’s always some fine print that says you have to hand it over when you first come in to get the benefit. Ugh. I guess this is why I have so much unframed stuff still sitting under my bed. Maybe next time I will just try Michael’s.

        • FWIW, I just went to Michaels to have two (somewhat large, but not gigantic) prints framed and there was a big sign advertising 50% off framing, plus an extra 25% off a specific line of frames. The woman was really nice and spent about 20 mins to 1/2 an hour with me going over matting options and framing options. She pulled the whole thing up on the computer to see what it would look like, etc. Then, she rang me up and it was close to $600 for both. I nearly choked. I was like, oh, but then I get the 50% off and the 25% off and she was like, no that’s with the discount. So, you are trying to tell me that “normally” that would have been ~$1,500 to frame?!?!? I am actually contemplating complaining to a consumer fraud agency or something. Again, these prints were not massive. Probably about 16 x 20 ish.

          • I just googled around and found this, but it seems like Michaels is still doing this:


          • I had a similar experience. I ended up ordering the frames from Michaels anyway because I don’ t have many other options in my small-ish town, but I think those coupons/discounts are a huge scam.

          • Thanks for this. I guess you just can’t win!

          • I believe the NY AG already investigated and possibly fined Michaels for this.

          • We had a similar experience with Michaels – we left. I also found them kind of pushy.

    • Carrie Preston :

      That’s pretty typical for custom framing in SF. My avoid it tip is to buy premade standard frames and if something is an odd size, get a standard mat but have it cut to fit rather than trying to get the frame to fit.

    • Diana Barry :

      Yup, it is expensive. I find the best prices are at the frame shops that are DIY. They will usually also frame your stuff for more than it costs for DIY, but still cheaper than the regular frame places.

    • chicago chic :

      I agree — shockingly expensive. You are paying for the “labor”/expertise, not the parts… as even “nice” custom frames are not that expensive.

      Now I only pay for professional framing for very special/unusual things that may need extra care, mats etc.. and I go to a reputable place. I have had an antique print I bought in Paris RUINED when they mounted it poorly and it now has a huge fold/wrinkle running down the length of the print on humid days.

      For less critical things, I buy frames on the internet and do it myself.

      The prices you quote are similar to ones I have paid in other major/expensive cities.

    • That seems expensive to me, but the only time I’ve gotten things framed was from websites like art.com, and it was a long time ago. I’m in NYC, and I usually just buy a pre-made standard sized frame and then you can have a mat cut at a frame store (usually about $30). You save a ton of money that way and it still looks nice.

    • Use http://www.americanframe.com/. You type in the measurements of your art work and they send you the custom cut mat, glass, frame etc and you just put it together. Its SUPER easy. We got 6 things framed through them this month and it cost under $200 in total.

    • It can get a lot cheaper if you’re willing to get a standard frame size (which I believe match standard photo sizes) and then get a custom mat. Doesn’t work on everything (if the aspect ratio is very different it can look off) but reduces costs dramatically.

    • That’s about right for custom framing. You are paying for the labor, skill and expertise. I try to avoid the big shops like Aaron Brothers and seek out the small independent stores. Those framers can advise better and don’t approach the process like an assembly line. I just had two very inexpensive prints I purchased in Italy for $20 each. The framing was $220 for each.

      • Thank you everyone. I still feel like it’s slightly insane to pay what I paid but I feel better knowing it’s more or less the standard. I may try the custom mat/standard frame route. I just wish I didn’t have so many odd shaped things to frame!

    • My BF owns a picture framing business in Boston and those prices seem reasonable for me compared with his prices, especially if the frame itself is hard wood and was hand finished. You didn’t mention the size of the pieces which makes a big difference.

    • Anonattorney :

      Don’t forget about used frames! I switched some art into old, used frames (kept the glass, frame and mat) and it cost $15. They cleaned everything, removed the paper, put the artwork into the frame, and replaced the paper and mounting wire on the back.

    • This is about what I paid for custom framing on my diploma and the picture that hangs over our fireplace. Now I buy the frame and matte and do it myself – it isn’t quite as good but its a WHOLE lot cheaper.

    • I have bought a ready-made frame and then ordered the appropriate size of pre-cut matting at an art shop. It may not be the same number of inches’ space all the way around, but it’s much cheaper than “custom” framing.

  13. Property Q :

    If you buy a condo when you’re single (so deed is in Lizzy Singleton) and you change your name when you get married, what do you do with the deed? I don’t think that anything magically happens if you neglect it, but do you need to do something if you want to sell later (when you’re Lizzie Singleton-Married or Lizzie Singleton Married or just Lizzie Married)? Or it as simple as signing “Lizzie Married, formerly known as Lizzie Singleton”)?

    • just Karen :

      I think I just signed my new name and the deed may have had the X formerly Y language in it, but definitely didn’t have to do anything in between changing my name and selling it. In my state my husband had to sign off on the sale even though he wasn’t on the deed at all because of his potential homestead interest, so be prepared for that.

    • When you go to sell, the Grantor on the deed will just be “Lizzie Married, f/k/a Lizzie Singleton,” and then you can sign your name “Lizzie Married.” You don’t have to do anything between now and then.

      And just Karen is correct, at least in my state also (not sure if this is true in all states), that when you sell your husband will have to sign also to release his dower interest in the property.

    • In my state, when the house is sold, the escrow officer who is closing the sale will tell you how to sign and if an affidavit of some type is required, it would be prepared. Those escrow officers know their stuff.

  14. Communication Issues :

    Have any of you wonderful ladies successfully dealt with some communication troubles with your SO? We’ve usually done so well with dealing with (external) stressors and managing our conflicts, but, in the past couple of months, some communication issues have suddenly cropped up and we’ve become so entangled in them.

    Basically, I think we got ourselves in a bad cycle of discussing something rationally, then something little happens, like “OMG, you joked to relieve tension after I repeatedly told you it infuriates me and does not help,” and then I can feel a switch in my brain shut off and I just get so. overwhelmingly. furious. and I am really not proud of the way I’ve taken to dealing with my feelings (I apparently started doing to irrationally screaming and stomping around, like a child, and I can’t stop it). My SO stays calm and ‘rides it out” and he tries to make me feel better, but I really think it’s adding up to making him feel really bad.

    There is nothing really wrong other than our trying to fix some communication issues in the first place. My SO has always had trouble with letting me know when something upsets him or with feeling “afraid” to challenge me on a lot of decision-making things. He also has a definite history of depression and feeling blue. I think I have just become increasingly frustrated with his not sharing with me how he really feels sometimes and I don’t think his not letting me know when he’s upset with me or disagrees with something is doing us any favors. We have talked about this several times successfully and we agree, but it appears to be difficult to put into practice. Another new thing coming out of this is that he now starts getting defensive when I start to get too over-the-top with yelling and lawyerly cross-examination of him. (Yes, we laugh about it afterward, but it’s getting to be an annoying pattern.) I am scared! Yes, therapy. He is making us an appointment today. But, other real-life stories and advice, please?!

    • anonymous for this :

      In addition to therapy (which I’m going to call about today for me and my husband – you are not alone), I recommend the book “Taking the War Out of Our Words” by Sharon Strand Ellison. Confession: I went to a training by the author and thought she was amazing and brought the book home for both of us to read, but it’s been four months and I haven’t gotten around to it…so do as I say, not as I do)

    • Olivia Pope :

      When you feel the switch go off, say “I need a minute” and leave the room. Just leave. Everyone has irrational feelings at one time or another, but you don’t need to yell them!

      The last time I felt really angry at DH, I walked to another room, ate a piece of fruit, and watched an episode of my favorite dumb tv show. (The Only Way is Essex. Mind boggingly stupid.) And you know what? I felt completely fine. I was able to walk back to DH and say, “Next time X happens, do Y please.” He said, “Oh I’m sorry. Sure!” Then we had brunch, which is my happily ever after.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. In my view, it is never okay to yell at the person you supposedly love. Temper tantrums are for toddlers. Just leave until your pulse gets back to normal.

        • I’ve been told that switch flip you feel when you go from 0 to 60 is called being “flooded.” And you can’t function like a rational being when you are flooded, its all emotion. So taking the break is important. .. essential even. .. for getting back to a productive conversation.
          Good luck!

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yes. And a word of warning… I tend to want to re-engage too quickly. It takes something like 20-30 minutes for your body to get back to normal after being “flooded,” and if you don’t take enough time you can just make things worse. (Ask me how I know…)

      • Anonattorney :

        TOWIE! I totally binge-watched that show.

    • I am like your SO. It is difficult for me to share my thoughts and feelings, especially when I am in disagreement with my husband. The reason is b/c I don’t feel safe doing so…by that I mean, there have been times in the past when I’ve opened up and he’s gotten mad/angry and basically reacted negatively to what I am saying. I would prefer if he reacted calmly and listened to my point of view.

      You mentioned that you get “over-the-top with yelling” and cross-examine him. It’s already difficult for me to share my thoughts so if my husband reacted like that, it would just be easier for me to keep my mouth shut.

      So therapy is good. I think it would be helpful for you to get some guidance on how to communicate with each other. I think it would be helpful if you provided a safe atmosphere for your SO to express his feelings. In turn, he needs to learn how to speak up and talk about his feelings and emotions. This may not be something that comes naturally to him, so that might take some work/effort on his part.

  15. TO Lawyer Paging Senior Attorney :

    I’m always looking for a way to stay more organized and on top of things, especially with my finances so I just calculated my annual expenses for things like gifts, donations, property taxes, travel etc. and set up my own “freedom accounts” – thanks for the tip!

    It already feels reassuring to know that money will be set aside for these things and I won’t need to worry when trips come up or property taxes come due!

    • Senior Attorney :

      YAY!! You will love it!

      Be warned that it will be a little bumpy at first. Those expenses keep on coming while you’re building the accounts, and they don’t care if you’re not fully funded yet! But you will get there and I hope it’s as big a game-changer for you as it’s been for me!

  16. Retirement Savings :

    I feel like a dunce, but I can’t seem to figure this out. I match out my 401K, and have a HHI of around $250K. Can I open an IRA? If so, a regular, not a Roth, but I could potentially roll it into a backdoor Roth? Help!

    • Yes. I just did exactly this.

    • Also, you state that you “match out” your 401k above. Did you mean to say max out?

    • OMG THIS, just asked it below– this is confusing me like crazy!
      In past years we have done this but the rules seem to say no…. (we also maxed out our 401ks individually). So, tagging to follow.

      • Also, can you explain how you would roll it over into a backdoor roth?

        • Oh okay HHI = household income. In 2010 the income limits for IRA to Roth IRA conversion were lifted. You would open a traditional IRA and then convert it to a Roth IRA. A good financial advisor should be able to help you with this if you don’t feel comfortable doing it by yourself. Make sure you understand the tax implications of doing a Roth conversion. If you work with a CPA, you should give them a call. I wouldn’t rely on what the financial advisor tells you about the tax side. I’m a CPA and I’ve had a lot of people say – “well my financial advisor said it wouldn’t have any tax due. I’ve had to tell them, well your financial advisor did not calculate your balance due correctly because they didn’t consider the whole picture. Thing get much more complicated if you have a traditional IRA for which you have taken deductions for your contributions.

          • Anon in NYC :

            This. You open a traditional IRA, deposit the money, and then convert it. It’s very easy to do from a mechanical standpoint.

  17. Good morning ladies! Does anyone have a recommendation for a portable shopping/grocery cart? I live a few blocks away from a grocery store (I walk, no car) and am getting really tired of carrying everything (or I should say my husband is getting tired hehe). I did a quick check on bed bath beyond’s website but didn’t see anything with good reviews. I want something that’s easy to fold up and put in a closet. Thanks in advance ladies!!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I have this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DZ4QTC/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      It was easy to put together and folds up easily.

  18. I’m south asian and I’m looking for recommendations for fashion/style/outfit blogs featuring south asian women (but western clothing) or women of color. There are so many fabulous style blogs but when I try to copy the outfits sometimes they don’t work for my complexion, or I feel like I’m trying to hard to look like a jcrew model or something. Thanks.

    • Senior Attorney :

      There are several regular posters on the forums at You Look Fab dot com who are south Asian.

    • There’s a blog I’ve seen with two sisters who I believe are south Asian. I’ll try to remember the name, but I have read the blog in quite a while.

    • anon-oh-no :

      extra petite.

    • Extra Petite is popular, and I believe the blogger is East Asian.

    • Economy of Style

    • Hello Gorgeous

    • Hmmmm, maybe a poc fashion blog geared towards black women might be more useful for our complexion.

      • Olivia Pope :

        Very possible. I’m a black woman, and I think I have the same skin color and undertone as Mindy Kaling. Also, the last time I bought foundation, the models in the picture around my shade were all South Asian.

    • Thanks, everyone. Will poke around.

    • Yesstyle has a blog i think, though it’s mainly a clothing store, featuring women of color, mostly East Asian. They also have a store in Daly City, CA.

    • I know a couple – style-n-naina.com and hithaonthego.com (this is more a travel blog but she has done quite a lot of outfit posts). You may find more links to So A blogs once you visit these sites.

  19. I own this dress and I LOVE it! I have it in the monarch color (purple). I actually wore this on Christmas and wear it both to work on the weekend for going out to dinner/drinks. Living in NYC, closet space is less than ideal so this is one of the multipurpose pieces that I’m always looking for.

    • I have this dress in purple, blue and emerald. I love the cut and wear them to work regularly!

  20. legal question thread jack:

    this is regarding real estate in Ontario: my husband and I have signed a mutual release regarding condos we put deposits on. The builder can’t deliver on time and notified us, we had the opportunity to sign the release and get back our deposit.

    We signed the form in the office on Dec 11. To date we do not have the money or any paperwork other than the ‘release’ which the salesperson (picture a home site with a trailer on it) signed but did note to us “this is not executed’.

    It has been 6 weeks, and no one is taking our calls or returning emails. The builder and law office are big operations in Toronto so I am not worried about them disappearing, but can you Ontario lawyers tell me if it reasonable to expect my money back in 6 weeks? $50,000 may not be a lot to them but it is to us :)

  21. TJ- Kat, can you do a post on taxes/finances geared to taxes???
    I’m married filing jointly and we both maxed out our 401ks for the year, any other good ideas that we should be doing? We are late 20s DINKs (but eventually we will have kids, no house because we live in a HCOLA, make about $250k combined). I consider myself moderately financially in the know… but somehow this still confuses me, especially at this time of year!

    • AnonymAtty :

      I second this request. Non-married (but living with partner), late 20s, no house, no kids, no student loan interest deduction (because of income cap).

    • Anonymous :

      CPA here. Do you have an HSA through your job? If so, max it out. You can use the funds later in life for retirement if you don’t need if for healthcare expenses. (if not used for health expense you will have to pay tax on withdrawal).

      You can also do the Roth conversion discussed above but it won’t really help your tax situation – just your long term financial situation.

      If you’re an employee (receive a W-2) there’s really not that much you can do to bring your tax liability down. Do you own a home? Did you buy a home during the year? Make sure to capture any additional interest expense/RE tax you might have paid at closing, etc. Be sure to amortize points on a refinance. Be sure to deduct points paid on an original loan.

      Do you have a house that’s underwater? Consider converting it to a rental property so that when you sell you have a deductible loss.

      Those are the things that come to my mind immediately. Like I said, there isn’t much tax planning you can do when you’re an employee.

      • We are both employees.
        No HSA :( I have heard mixed things about the fees associated with them though.
        I am thinking of buying a house in my hometown to use as a rental property in the short term & possible principle place of residence in the long term.
        Will def look into the Roth conversion thing because I didn’t know you could do that and that is very nice to know about.
        Thank you. :)

        • Anonymous :

          My employer pays the monthly fee for my HSA, not sure if that’s standard practice. Glad I could help a little bit. I wish there were more planning opportunities for employees with high incomes.

  22. Any tips on how to motivate staff to be more proactive? How can you encourage them to take some initiative, not wait for answers or next steps to be handed to them. I am supportive of their ideas, recognize their abilities and expertise, provide opportunities for them to check in with me on things they may be considering, but often, they won’t move forward, or act like it is up to someone else to hand them information. I’m at my wits end.

    • I had a convo with my staff earlier this year along these lines, and since then, I’ve noticed a lot more initiative taking. It’s hard to provide specific advice without more info on industry/staff size, but I tried to look at each person of my team individually. For example, one problem was a couple of people not being clear on expectations and not sure how much initiative they were allowed to take (they had come from places with micro-managers and were scared to act on their own). We also did weekly meetings to talk about progress, ask questions, etc and anytime I could immediately provide an example of where they could take initiative, I did. And we had to let a couple of people go because it was clear they just didn’t have the ability necessary. Good luck!

    • With one of my staff, it was an issue of giving clear high-level goals, then setting up time to have her present how she’s going to achieve those goals/ask questions/get feedback from me. Essentially, throwing her to the wolves of time/task management. She did great! And I think felt really empowered.

  23. Anon for this :

    Pregnancy Blogs?

    I’m looking for blogs and books that can discuss mental and physical health during the trying-to-conceive stage and during pregnancy. I also want some general tips on dealing with an office environment during pregnancy. I’m not really interested in anything too touchy-feely, and I like hard facts with my medical advice. I mainly just want some good, general advice on what to eat/not-eat, good exercises to manage back pain, office politics, etc. Kind of a no-nonsense guide to the pregnant professional. Help?

    • I love love love AlphaMom and her pregnancy calendar. I’m not sure how much she has on TTC because I discovered her about half way through my pregnancy. Here’s her pregnancy calendar: http://alphamom.com/pregnancy-calendar-overview/

    • A great book for what you are looking for is Expecting Better by Emily Oster. Lots of hard facts and medical research.

    • For the eating stuff, check out Pregnant Chicken. Very fact-based assessment of the should/should nots of pregnancy.

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