Thursday’s Workwear Report: Carmen Top

Custom-Made Top: Ureshii Carmen TopOur daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Oooh: a reader mentioned this store a few weeks ago, and I’m now drooling over much of what they sell, including this top (pictured), as well as this top, this top, this top, this top, and this top. Everything is made to measure (in Canada), has a slightly vintage vibe, and generally looks lovely. The pictured top is $74 and is available in 33 (!) colors and patterns, in bamboo, rayon, modal, or viscose. Ureshii Carmen Top

Psst: Check out our guide to slow fashion.

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



  1. Yay, Kat! HAPPY Saint Patrick’s Day!!!!

    I love these Carmen top’s! The color’s are OUTSTANDING, and I even showed Grandma Leyeh on my Ipad, and she loves them also. She said she will buy 5 for her caregiver’s and give them to them for Easter! YAY! You see, Kat, your website is now appealeing to peeople over 80 as well as us younger one’s! DOUBEL YAY!

    I am workeing from home this morning, showing Grandma Leyeh what I do for a liveing. She can NOT believe I can do anything from home, but I am goieng to prove her wrong. We are watching the TODAY show right now, and watching the Irish dancers. They are SO fit and all of the women have smaller tuchuses (tuchii?) then I do, but Grandma Leyeh only mentioned this once. That is a step in the right direction. Dad is comeing over around 10, so I can then go to the office where the manageing partner has 28 new files for me to review from a new Cleint he brought in from the Bronx. I hope that will be good, but I do NOT know the judge’s up in the Bronx. I will ask Roberta, b/c she live’s in the Bronx.

    Anyway, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to the HIVE! I love Shepeard’s Pie! YAY!!!!

  2. Anonymous dropout :

    Are there any r e t t e s who don’t have any education or vocational training beyond high school, or who like me did not even graduate from high school and did not go on to college or take some other kind of training later on? I have always been curious if there are any other r e t t e s who didn’t complete high or go on to pursue higher education if they did receive a high school diploma.

    • Anonymous dropout :

      complete high *school

      • Senior Attorney :

        My former husband didn’t complete high school. He got his GED and ended up working in the technical side of the television industry, working for an engineering firm that designs and installs television and recording studios. He’s the guy that supervises the crew doing the wiring and installation of all that equipment. He makes six figures and has done well.

    • hey macaroni :

      My mom went to a business votech for the last year of high school (I think she completed her diploma in 3 years instead of 4) and is an office coordinator in academic medicine.

      Do you have a GED? That is a diploma and screw anyone who says otherwise.

      What do you do without a HS diploma? What are you looking to get into?

      • Anonymous dropout :

        I don’t have a GED. I dropped out of high school after grade 10 and that’s as far as I went. I’ve owned my own business for fifteen years so I don’t feel the need to go back and get my diploma now.

        • Impressive. What do you want to do now?

          • Anonymous dropout :

            Thank you.

            I was just curious if there was anyone else here who was a high dropout or never went beyond high school to some form of higher education. From meeting other successful people and reading here it seems like most of them have gone to college and/or have a degree or some other training. I know there must be some other people like me who didn’t finish high school (or go beyond high school).

          • I have a large number of successful business owners in my family who do not have college degrees. I believe they all graduated high school, but academics were definitely not a priority.

  3. DisenchantedinDC :

    I’m going to be doing two weeks abroad this summer – Phuket, Hong Kong and Hanoi with two of my best friends and another friend. (I’m extremely excited… and I’ve been playing the miles game and am flying Cathay Pacific business class both ways, which I’m equally excited about)

    Any recommendations for a small, lightweight bag/purse I can carry for daily use while there? I’d want to get a bottle of water, any necessary documents/daily items and possibly my SLR with a compact lens in there.

    Also more than open to any other suggestions for any of these places! We are doing an overnight on a junk in Hanoi and will definitely go to Macau.

    • DisenchantedinDC :

      Should have added – I’m thinking cross body, but not committed. Carried a backpack in Iceland last summer and don’t want to do that again.

      • Caption contest? :

        Why? I find that when I’m truly travelling, I have to use a backpack (esp. if lugging camera / jacket / umbrella also) but have been known to bust out a fanny pack (LLBean for the win) if I need to give my back a break). My back/shoulders just do so much better that way.

        • DisenchantedinDC :

          I’m just anticipating it being really hot and trying to avoid carrying too much stuff around. I’ll definitely do my actual travel with a backpack for the plane, but this is more for the “out of the hotel for a day” activities.

          • Anonymous :

            That makes sense. A lot of packs are better these days re ventillation (and part of the reason I’m willing to fanny-pack).

        • Also, backpacks are really easy to steal out of. I’ve seen so many people who had stuff stolen out of their backpack when traveling without noticing. I would never go with a bag that I could not see at all times, but you do you.

          • Agreed, but there is nothing in my backpack I’d worry about losing: jacket, sunscreen, snacks, umbrella, guidebook. Not a place for passport / $.

          • But I also would not carry a camera in a backpack. I’ve seen too many cameras stolen to even think of doing that

            And I can replace a passport (with a little inconvenience) and credit cards, but can’t replace all my trip photos if my camera is stolen.

    • Lesportsac. While admittedly not always the most stylish, they are incredibly functional and lightweight. They also come in a bazillion styles and colors so you can find something that suits your size needs and personal style.

      I’ve been to Phuket and Hong Kong within the last few months, but any recommendations are very budget-dependent. What are you looking to spend (either as individuals or collectively)?

      • DisenchantedinDC :

        I’m not looking to have a crazy-budget experience, but not looking to blow my entire savings, either – I think we are thinking around $1500-$2000 while there? We are staying at the Renaissance in Hong Kong, if that helps – so not small hotels/AirBnBs, but not exactly the JW Marriott, either.

      • DisenchantedinDC :

        And, thanks for the rec! Will look at them. Not overly concerned with being super cute as finding something that won’t kill me to carry around and will fit my needs (for this trip and hopefully those in the future!)

      • +1 to LeSportSac. I got mine from Zappos.

    • Did something similar awhile ago and bought a used small black leather crossbody bag on eBay for $9. It held up so well. It was a Coach from the 1980s.

    • Wildkitten :

      Patagonia and Timbuk2 make really function cross body bagsl. Timbuk2 makes a soft camera case you can put in any bag. Other people might know the theft risk in those locations – if you have a cross body bag will someone cut the strap and take it? If you wear a backpack do you need to lock it to avoid pickpockets?

    • Check out Tumi’s Voyageur line. They’re kind of pricey but great quality and lightweight. I’ve carried a previous version of the Calera Crossbody all over the world, with similar requirements to you (swapping camera out for kindle). You can sometimes find them on sale or at outlets for close to half the price. Also check ebay/other stores for older versions in a similar style.

      • +1 on this – I’ve carried my Voyageur Q-tote for years now and it’s great. Super lightweight and packable, fine for carrying just a wallet, or packs as much as a mid-sized backpack. I put my DSLR in there frequently. It’s casual enough to throw around but nice enough that I don’t feel silly at a fancy restaurant or even at work.

    • Drink all the cafe sua da (iced coffee with condensed milk) in Hanoi. Our favorite coffee shop was right near Hoan Kiem Lake, but you went through a rug shop into an alley and then suddenly emerged into this lovely courtyard. There are “hidden” coffee shops like that all over Hanoi, so seek one (or a few) out. I carried a cross-body and didn’t have any issues with theft or pick-pocketing with reasonable care.

      • Curious about this because I’m heading to Thailand soon — is it really ok to have drinks with ice in countries where you can’t drink the water? I had been told to avoid the ice in Southeast Asia at all costs but I would love to try Thai iced tea.

      • I went for it. My guidebook indicated a 50% chance of getting a stomach bug no matter how careful you are – from the beach, from inhaling water during a shower, etc. I’ve been to SE Asia and less developed parts of Central America and I have had ice in each one. I did not get sick in SE Asia, but did have an uncomfortable 24 hours in Nicaragua. I just use probiotics before leaving and while I’m there and pack immodium,

        This is a know your stomach/risk tolerance situation though.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Tumi. I have the Tumi Singapore messenger bag (it’s really just a small crossbody purse), which is from their outlet and replaced a similar non-outlet version (I think it was from the Voyaguer line) I had that got lost. There are usually some on EBay if you don’t live near an outlet.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Also, before I had the Tumis, I had a similar-shaped bag from Fossil, though it was a little heavier than Tumi’s nylon.

    • This is my travel bag:
      Comfortable, adjustable strap, hidden pockets and hard to cut through. I feel safer with a cross body bag than a backpack when traveling because your things are more secure, especially in crowded markets where thieves can easily reach into your backpack.

      • Ooh! I have a friend that has that bag, or similar, and I’ve always liked it. It’s down to $28, now and I’ve needed a new bag like this, so SOLD! Thank you.

    • I carried a Sportsac all through SE Asia. It wasn’t particularly fashionable, but it was light and worked well with the heat, and I felt like it was more secure than a backpack (under my arm vs. on my back) in crowded places where there might be pickpockets.

      Hanoi — Hanoi was my FAVORITE. I just loved walking around and drinking coffee and bia hoi and eating everything. We stayed at the Medallion Hotel — we were very broke and it felt like such luxury. The staff there was great too, as was the food. Our friends who were not broke stayed at the Metropole — I think they really liked it.

      The second best pho is at Pho Gia Truyen (a.k.a. Pho 49 Bat Dan) — google will help you find it. The best pho is… I think it’s called Phở Tư Lùn? It’s on the south side of Hai Bà Trưng not very far from the south end of the park with the lake. You eat on the sidewalk so if that’s a thing that might make you uncomfortable maybe skip it. (But don’t! It’s so great!)

      I really enjoyed the (tourist trap?) water puppets show — I think you can know if you like that kind of thing. If you do, go see it! It’s fun!

      Drink bia hoi! It’s the cheap “fresh beer” sold at sidewalk pub-type places. I liked it because we got to sit and chat/attempt to chat with locals. One of my favorite memories from Vietnam is a long debate I had in Spanish (a language everyone knew a little of, but no one knew well) with someone from Vietnam about whether or not people were inherently good or inherently evil… over bia hoi.

      There’s a coffee shop on the second floor at the north corner of the park where you can sit on a balcony and look out on the crazy traffic and drink your coffee. Also on that wild intersection is a place you can get a fancy ice cream concoction! Recommended.

      (A note on Hanoi. I hear a lot of second-hand stories of people who don’t like it. It’s intense. I think knowing that going in makes it more enjoyable. I hope you love it!)

      Hong Kong — How long are you there? Do you want to go to mainland China? You can take the subway to Shenzhen (but you may have to get a day-visa in advance). There’s lots of crazy shopping in Luo Hu just on the China side of the border. If you’re into fabric, they sell lots of lovely fabric there. Also knock off handbags and souvenirs and such. There’s good dim sum on the top floor of the Luo Hu mall. (I don’t recommend getting a one-day suit made in HK, Shenzhen, or Hanoi. If you have like 4 days, they can probably make you something nice, but the one-day custom suit is more novelty than good clothing.)

      If you have a clear night in HK, it’s actually pretty nice to go up to the Peak. You can take public transit/a cab if you don’t want to pay for the touristy shuttle. Take the ferry across the bay at night too — so pretty!

      Riding the escalator in Central is also fun. You can stop off at little places to eat and shop.

      On the Kowloon side, I liked to walk through the Peninsula hotel, because it was pretty. It’s fun to walk up and around Nathan Road. The Hong Kong Museum of History is fun!

      If you like outdoorsy stuff there’s a lot of hiking, actually. There’s a hike to the Big Buddha that’s pretty intense, or you can take the gondola (also intense if you’re afraid of heights).

      Maxim’s for dim sum was my favorite thing to eat in HK. It’s kind of inside a theater (or something?), and you should show up right when it opens, but it’s great. Tsui Wah was our “comfort food” choice — I loved the Crispy Bun with Condensed Milk.

      Sorry for the novel. I miss living there.

    • Chi Squared :

      MZ Wallace Hayley. The dslr might be a tight squeeze, but otherwise it’s a great size for day trips, and has good organizational features. I like having my camera out – get a neoprene carrying strap instead of the standard canon/Nikon strap to reduce tourist look and increase comfort.

    • Travel purse recommendation :

      Highly recommend Marc Jacobs Natasha cross body in nylon (link below). Super light and lots of big pockets. I always use it when I travel internationally because of all of the zippers and pockets .

  4. This models face is exactly how I feel about this pick

    • hey macaroni :

      I can’t tell if there’s something wrong with her shoulder or if it’s the top.

    • She has a weird expression in literally every photo. I think some of the clothes are okay, but the rest….eh, pass.

    • yeah this top looks really dated to me. Plus the low, straight neckline will be obnoxious to manage (i.e., will droop in revealing manner) unless you have naturally perfect posture.

      • huh, this is one of the most flattering necklines on me — but I don’t have much bust so maybe that’s the difference. (Very square shoulders, very small bust, long neck.)

      • Anonymous :

        And it will totally show your bra straps!

      • Bluestocking :

        The neckline would be really unflattering on me.

    • Edna Mazur :

      She’s looking at me like I just ripped one in public.

      • Or like you just pried the lid off the casket at a wake.

      • You just made my afternoon. I hate the top but I can’t get the model’s expression out of my head. This is when spending a few bucks on a professional would have gone a loooooong way.

    • Anonymous :

      Hahaha +1

    • anon-oh-no :

      totally agree. I rarely post when I don’t like something on here, but this is hideous.

      • I don’t think it’s hideous (it’s too plain to be hideous) but I think the model is definitely a real person and not a ‘model’ model. Not trying to single anyone out at all, but it seems that we all often complain about how clothes aren’t shown on real women and then when they are, we say that those clothes are frumpy or ugly or whatever. I’m as guilty of this as anyone – my first thought was ‘that’s an unfortunate facial expression’ – but she probably looks like more women wearing that top than the typical catalog model, so…

        • It’s nice that the model looks like a real person. The fact that she is making a weird face is totally separate from the fact that she is shaped like a real person. Nobody should make a face like that when modeling clothing.

        • anon-oh-no :

          your point is well taken, but I think this is hideous. Obviously, fashion is in the eye of the beholder, but I wouldn’t be caught dead in this top. a lot of things others think are ugly, I often like, or at least can appreciate the fashion-forwardness of it. this is just an ugly, ill-fitting top with no redeeming qualities other than perhaps the color.

        • My complaint has nothing to do with the fact that she is a real woman. That’s a super hideous shirt. It’s like from wet seal in the 90s

    • Maybe she’s thinking about her ugly yelow shoes.

    • Haha, yes, I am so distracted by the model’s expression that I can’t even form an opinion on the top! And I can’t tell if she’s standing awkwardly or if the top is making it look that way?

      I finally went to the website and that’s just the way she stands I guess. Not loving any of the tops they have, NMS.

    • As a tall girl, i appreciate that you can customize the length here. But agreed that this particular style is dated. This looks like early aughts. Skin-tight tops are just not in right now.

  5. I’m really unhappy about the intransigence of most of the Senate Republicans WRT taking up the nomination of Judge Garland. (Go, Susan Collins!)

    My state has two very right wing senators, one of whom is on the Judicial Committee and one of whom is up for reelection. I’ve called both offices to register my disappointment.

    What else can I do? Call them back every day? Call Senators who do not represent me? I’d like to do something more than write a check. I will be checking out the Constitutional Responsibility Project mentioned in yesterday’s Times.

    • Congressional disgrace :

      Call every day, write an op-ed, talk to your family and friends, etc. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell your senators that their intransigence smacks of racism and that they are being enormous hypocrites when they proclaim to be so pro-Constitution except when it’s inconvenient for them. Susan Collins doesn’t deserve any praise either – why should she be lauded for barely performing her most basic and essential duties? It’s like saying “I’m going to get up and go to work today!” – yeah, you’re supposed to.

      • Wildkitten :

        I like the op-ed idea and the constitution idea. People don’t react well to being called racist, so that’s not as helpful, even if it is true.

      • Anonymous :

        Saying Susan Collins doesn’t deserve any praise because she’s just performing her most basic duties is a little unfair. Yes, she’s “just doing her job” but she is going against her entire party to do so. It’s more akin to if your whole team at work wants to do something inappropriate or unethical and you’re the only one that has the guts to stand up and say no. It’s not quite the same as just waking up and saying “ok, I think I’ll go to work today.”

        • Congressional disgrace :

          OK then, she gets basic points for basic bravery, i.e. not being quite as big a sheep as the rest of her party (although notice she’s not protesting their moves or saying that she would definitely support confirmation hearings – THAT would be brave). +.5 for Susan Collins.

          • She hasn’t said she would vote to confirm him, but she has said he deserves a hearing.

      • Yes, there is something wrong with saying that it’s “racist” of Republicans to finally give Democrats a taste of their own medicine. Political fights *exactly* like this before Barack got into office. This has jack sh-t to do with his skin, and anyone who thinks otherwise is pathetic and mother-f-cking stupid.

        People like you are why Donald Trump is killing it in the polls. Normal people are tired of normal politics and normal opinions suddenly becoming “racist” when the opponent is half-white. Trump is payback for seven years of insulting people’s integrity.

        • Oh Bridget. “Half-white”? Yup. You’re really really extraordinarily racist. You don’t get to redefine the President’s race on your own.

          You’re right. It’s sadly apparent “normal” in the country equals “racist.”

          But, yes, using strong language is really making you seem rational. Snaps for racist Bridget everyone!!

        • Congressional disgrace :

          Yeah, you’re racist. Deal with it.

        • Bridget so you know how many times I’ve been called racist? Zero. You e been called it just on this site at least ten times so I can’t imagine how you come off in real life. Here is a wake up call- if people keep calling you racist, you are probably racist!

        • “This has jack sh-t to do with his skin, and anyone who thinks otherwise is pathetic and mother-f-cking stupid.”

          Someone said on here awhile ago that if we let white people be the arbiters of what’s racist, nothing would ever be racist. I think that bears repeating here.

        • “Yes, there is something wrong with saying that it’s “racist” of Republicans to finally give Democrats a taste of their own medicine. Political fights *exactly* like this before Barack got into office.”

          Citation needed.

          Racist people usually like to complain that it’s worse to call someone racist than, oh, actually *be* racist. Classic.

        • “Normal people are tired of normal politics and normal opinions suddenly becoming “racist” when the opponent is half-white. ”

          WTF? “We should ban Muslims and Mexicans from entering the country” did not magically become a racist opinion because Obama, or any “fully white” people (groooooooooooooooooooooosssss I can’t believe you even wrote “half-white”) opposes it. It’s ALWAYS been racist. And someone who thinks that has NO integrity.

        • People like me? I just want them to do what they are being paid to do. I am not aware that any Democratic senators flat out refused to hold hearings in a similar situation.

          My state’s US senators are the guys running around with the Constitution in their pockets and waving it at every stop. I understand that the Constitution doesn’t provide a timeline for the Senate to hold the hearings, but it does specify that it’s their responsibility.

      • Not a disgrace :

        Congressional disgrace – Is Merrick Garland a minority? Or when you say “their intransigence smacks of racism” you are referring to the President’s race? Seriously? – that’s despicable.

        Senators have always had the right to deny a President’s pick. Does the name Bork ring any bells? Not all of ANY President’s picks are guaranteed nomination. You think that because some people are racist that Obama’s every word should be law? That’s crazy dude. Can’t wait until he’s out of office to derail this type of reasoning.

        • Not a disgrace :

          *picks are guaranteed confirmation.

        • Bork got a hearing and a vote, because that is how Senators who aren’t empowered by their white privilege over a black president oppose a nominee.

          Glad getting the black man out of power will make you more comfortable with your racism.

          • Congressional disgrace :


          • Not a disgrace :

            Why should the Senate waste their time when they would just vote to reject the nominee in the end? This just gets to the end result with less drama.

          • This makes no sense. It’s way more drama not to vote. It’s crazy to not hold a vote- they need to hold the vote and if they reject him so be it. The reason they aren’t holding a vote is because they think he would te voted in- so they are trying to stop the process from happening.

          • Anonymous :

            But they announced it advance that they wouldn’t consider *any* nominee of President Obama’s. It’s not like they have considered this nominee and are rejecting him specifically. Your argument that they would “waste their time when they would just vote to reject the nominee” makes it sound like they reasonably oppose this particular nominee.

          • Not a disgrace :

            It is the height of absurdity to call me a racist because I want Obama out of office. Do you seriously think anyone who voted against Obama is a racist? Everyone should have voted for Obama to prove they’re NOT racist?

            You have no idea who I am, who my friends are, who I’ve dated.

            I do wish we had a black president I could respect. I absolutely supported Ben Carson – who was a friend of my late father – I wish he was the Republican nominee so that I could vote for him, as I’ve voted for other black candidates.

          • Congressional disgrace :

            “Not a disgrace,” the good old feel-good line for whites (“I have black friends, how dare you call me a racist”) means nothing to me. The mere fact that you say you don’t RESPECT our president goes right to the heart of the issue. Whites in Congress don’t respect President Obama and haven’t since day 1 – they have tried, at EVERY opportunity, to delegitimize his presidency, to deny him the same rights that other presidents have had, to question his birth and his right to be President, you name it. White privilege, anyone? White entitlement, anyone? Looks like you fit right in with that crowd if you can’t even “respect” a President, even if you disagree with him. Disgusting.

          • Anonymous :

            “I dated a black guy, therefore…” LOLOLOLOL.

            Yeah, that’s racist.

          • Anonymous :

            On the subject of why they should “waste their time”: the reason is that the vetting process lets everyone in the country — publicly — understand the qualifications of the candidate they are rejecting. They don’t want to hold a hearing because they understand that the country would hear Merrick Garland speak about his judicial career and they would be forced to defend their argument about why this well-liked, very well respected jurist can’t or shouldn’t serve on the Supreme Court.

            In other words, they’ll be forced to admit they lost this round of musical chairs and now they’re throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get to pick the candidate.

          • Pshshhs. Please. Don’t insult my intelligence. This is CLEARLY a partisan attempt to prevent Obama from appoint a justice, like he has every right to do. If you can’t see that, then I can’t help you. The senators are not relying on their “right” not to confirm a justice, like you argue. They are relying on the mindbogglingly weak, nakedly partisan argument that “the people should decide.”

            That is a steaming pile of BS. Know why? Because “the people” elected Barack Obama for 4 years, not 3. It’s so godd*amned transparent I don’t know how they can make it with a straight face.

            “You have no idea who I am, who my friends are, who I’ve dated.”

            BAHAHAHAHAHA. Please. Don’t you even know that this response is essentially a meme?!?!?

          • Anonymous :

            Obama is a well-known rabble rouser who has at worst violated the law and at best turned a blind eye when his agencies have done so under his administration. Christ, I voted for him and while I am not surprised by his actions based on his past, I think it’s a bit ridiculous to think that all of the Republicans who disagree with many of the things he has done (that are, you know, in violation of the law) are only disagreeing because they are racist.

          • Not a disgrace :

            That’s ridiculous – just because some people who are racist say “but I have black friends” does not mean that EVERYONE who says that they have black friends are indeed racist. This is a failure of logic on your part(s). Again, I’m not calling you names, don’t call me names. That’s the last I’m going to say about that.

            Second, to use recent examples, GW Bush and Bill Clinton were both pilloried by the opposing party. It comes with being president – that’s why they get the big bucks. But as soon as Obama took office people said that objecting to his methods, ideas or actions was racist as a de facto result of his being black and the objectors being racist. Heck, I’ve even heard people say that not voting for him was racist. No, it’s not. Politics in USA is contentious and the “opposition” party always tries to thwart the President’s party – I wish that were not true but it is. I respect his office but I don’t respect him. There’s a difference there too. He has done some things that are not acceptable in my mind. Now, yes, some senators may object to him because they have “white privilege” or something. That doesn’t mean all Republican senators are racist – again there’s an error in that assumption. But you know, a lot of Democratic senators reacted poorly to GWBush because he “stole” the election from Gore, and didn’t respect Bush.

            We could go back and forth about this forever. But I’m done and my conscience is clear.

        • The issue is not that the Republicans in the Senate might choose not to confirm Garland, but that they refuse to bring the nomination to a vote. With 7 months left before the election and 9 months left before a new president takes office, this is a new level of obstruction.

    • Wildkitten :

      They’re going home for Easter if you want to let them know in person how you feel.

    • I’ve heard too that you should call the office of those who would be in charge of bringing it up to a vote to let them know you’ve addressed your concerns with your representative.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Letters sent to representatives who don’t represent you are likely to be ignored. I worked as a legislative correspondent for a House member and if we got letters from someone who lived outside the district, we would forward them to that person’s member. I don’t know if that’s how every office handled it, obviously, but one perspective. We were also more likely to read actually personalized letters as opposed to those who just copied text from a mass letter some action group sent to their members and said “send to your Congressperson”–the software caught duplicate language and we would stick them all into a batch to be responded to en masse (I mean, we actually read everything, but if we got 100 of the same letter, it got read once, not 100 times).

      • Congressional disgrace :

        Same for me – I worked in a congressional office and we would forward letters from other districts, but that’s why it’s better to call. Calling is more disruptive and they can’t ignore it, even if they respond and ask you to contact your own representative or senator. Trust me, when the phone is ringing every two seconds all day, the message gets through.

    • Start a petition or letter writing campaign – easier to do now online. If you’re not the only one calling and writing letters it will have more of an impact.

    • I’ve worked in politics. Sometimes the public voice makes a difference, and unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t.

      My boss was required by leadership to carry a VERY unpopular bill. Why? Because her carrying it was in exchange for other things that were more important to her/”the greater good” (i.e., you carry this piece of crap that we’re pushing through to assauge extremist primary voters, and I’ll guarantee your bill about orphans that costs a lot of money sails through).

      And sometimes leadership tells you how you’re going to vote, and you hold your nose and do it, because your bill about orphans gets through if you do it or the big compromise legislation about Hot Button Issue will get through if you’ll just do this.

      Sometimes, if enough people call, the other legislators being made to take these crappy positions will go to leadership and say, “Look, Bob, my constituents are really hacked off about this, and so are Jane’s and John’s. Can’t we save face on this somehow?” and you’ll see a pivot. But sometimes that vote is set in stone because that’s the way the system works and it doesn’t matter if a million people call, the extremist primary voters drive the system, and if leadership wants to stay in office, they have to throw bones to them, or they’ll lose their seat and their own bill about orphans [or insert main policy objective] won’t get achieved because they’re not in office.

      Moral of the story: primary elections matter way more than anybody thinks. That moderates stay out of them is a major problem in American politics today.

      • Thanks for posting this great example.
        I’m sure this goes both ways (GOP & Dems)

        • Oh, of course it does. The parties work in largely the same way, internally, in terms of keeping party members in line.

          Although the example posted is more relevant to whomever is in power at the time, since the party not in power has a more difficult time claiming to be able to pass someone’s legislation if they’ll support Xlousybill in return.

      • Yes, this.
        Just in case this posts in the wrong place, this response is to: Anon :
        03/17/2016 at 10:25 am

    • I’m am SO MAD about this even though I know that it’s more than likely that we will have a President Clinton in January and end up with a more liberal appointee, and thus there’s no real consequence to this BS (except to poor Judge Garland). But gaaaaaahhh DO YOUR JOBS people. If you don’t like him, fine, vote no. But at least give the man a vote!

      • That’s kind of it: if you’re Judge Garland, do you just go along b/c the White House wants you to do something (and he has lifetime tenure and it’s not like he can otherwise go higher in his field).

        How do you find these martyrs? Is there a nice consolation prize for what seems to obviously taking to fall for politics?

        I’m assuming that none of the other 4 was nominated to save them for later, esp. if they have a real chance in a later administration. But if I were Judge Garland, I’d be more pis*ed than honored by this.

        • As a 63 year old moderate, this is probably his last shot at a nomination. I think that’s why you do it, even though you know it’s mainly for politics.

          • I know! If I were one of the nominees in their 40s and had been the one nominated now, it’s like the kiss of death and I’d be all “gee, thanks”. At least Garland got to give his “I’d like to thank the Academy speech” (since it’s unlikely that anything else will happen). Maybe he can be given a nice ambassadorship somewhere? BUT there out to be consolation prizes to people who are good sports enough to go along with the charade.

          • In response to Anon at 12:48 –

            Why would he want an ambassadorship? He already has lifetime tenure and is on one of the most prestige courts in the country. The only place left to “promote” him to is the Supreme Court.

            * I’m not sure it is really a promotion. For example, just because as a district court judge doesn’t mean they want to be an COA judge

          • Anonymous :

            aren’t ambassadorships the usual way people say thank you in politics?

          • Anonymous :

            Not for people already in positions with lifetime tenure

        • Also, he seems like a dude who is genuinely committed to the greater good and the rule of law. So he might be perfectly happy to be sacrificial lamb who is used to point out the ridiculousness of the Republicans’ refusal to hold hearings. I’m sure that the vetting process included some clear conversations about all of this. It doesn’t take a martyr – he is going to go back to a very cushy lifetime appointment. It just takes someone who is willing to bear some personal sacrifice to uphold a principle that they believe in. And hey, 1% chance of actually getting appointed is better than nothing.

          • It’s not that cushy though. Going back to his old firm is cushy. At his old firm, the 1Ls probably make more than he does now (but he has a pension and probably a better health plan and holidays and gets to personally pick people who work for him).

            He does seem like a good guy though. Like I wouldn’t mind him as a neighbor.

    • Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. It’s super helpful to get ideas and esp perspective from those of you worked inside congressional offices.

      I think my senators are jerks even without this, so I am especially irked. And McConnell… saying he might consider waiting until the lame duck session–so he can assess who the winner is likely to nominate and decide whether Garland is more to his liking. Ugh.

  6. I do actually like that top, but the model’s expression is hilarious to me. It looks like she’s just said, “GTFO.”

    • Caption contest? :

      I think it is saying “I do not recall you telling me that your mother is coming to stay for two weeks.”

    • Haha I scrolled back up to look – she is very unimpressed.

  7. In my head re: weight loss. :

    So since just before the holidays, I’ve lost 20-25 pounds – all regain (I’m over 50 pounds down total). I lost a little unintentionally and maybe just over half intentionally in the last 6 weeks. I’m currently sitting just a couple pounds shy of my lowest adult weight. I’m back in my “skinny” suit pants, and yesterday I tried on maxi dresses from 2 summers ago and was really pleased with how they fit and looked!

    However, I am still about 35-40# from my goal weight/size (I’m a little flexible on this because it’s more about fitting in to clothes/looking a certain way/etc. after I get under a certain number for my health) and I realized I am psyching myself out. I took a day or two off my eating plan, but I buckled back down yesterday. I realized it’s actually really scary. Getting under 200# for the first time as an adult, which is just a few pounds away, is both exciting but also terrifying, and I’m probably even more afraid of it subconsciously than I am consciously.

    Had anybody dealt with massive weight loss and the feelings that come with it? Any recommendations for books/articles on emotionally navigating this change?

    • Anonymous :

      I haven’t dealt personally but I have discussed a lot with my sister who did.

      Her mental number was 176. It took her a really long time to get from 180 to below 176. 176 was the start of the normal BMI range for her height. She said in the end, she thought it was because being overweight was her ‘go to’ excuse when something didn’t work out – like the guy she liked didn’t like her because she was overweight or she didn’t get the promotion because the higher ups were biased because of her weight. Once she let go of weight as a reason that something didn’t work out, she made progress.

      Total anecdata of course. Congrats on your loss so far and best of luck with continuing your journey.

    • Anonymous :

      It Was Me All Along was really helpful to me.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I lost 70 pounds then gained it back and am now losing it again. I think if I would have focused more on the emotional aspects that I might have not gained it back. It’s more important than I realized.

      I recommend the book It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell. It is a memoir of a woman who is now a food blogger who lost over 100 pounds. She is very focused on the emotional aspects.

    • Congrats, y’all! That is great progress!

    • hey macaroni :

      I feel you. I had lost some weight (like 30#) due to a GI issue, then gained most of it back. I wasn’t happy about it, but I’ve recently realized that I’ve gained more back, for real. Not because I have a crappy scale and uneven floors and a cold and retaining water and it’s a few days before or after my period or or or or or or… I’m just under 200. I want to be just under 150, but I’ll settle for 160. I weighed 150 in middle school– I was overweight but it feels weird to weigh less than I did at 13.

      I start some workout classes next week, working on settling out an eating plan this week. Trying to get other things organized and get healthier in other realms too. We’re having a major upheaval coming in the next few weeks and I’m trying not to eat all the oreos to deal with it.

      Good luck to all of us to get where we want to be.

  8. Paging padi :

    I’ll be at the SJ meetup!

  9. CEO Brunch :

    Urgent help please!

    I have a brunch with the CEO today along with several other new employees. I was just informed this morning. Conversation tips? Questions I should ask?

    • Wildkitten :

      Biggest challenges. Biggest opportunities. What does success look like for an employee at this company.

    • Clementine :

      People love to talk about themselves-

      Ask how they got to where they are now, how they got into x field, their plans for the next quarter, etc.

      Relax. You’ll do fine.

    • Look up a major company accomplishment or event that made the news, and congratulate the CEO if it was positive/discuss if negative.

  10. Asheville / Grove Park Inn recs? :

    I am going to Asheville for Easter (TH-M). I have never been before. Any recommendations for things to do with two grade-schoolers? Staying at the Grove Park in the old section. Will probably go to the Biltmore (I’ve been there before; children have not) for a little bit one day. Kid-friendly restaurant recommendations, other things to do or suggestions, all welcome (we will have a car with us).

    • Ashe Vegas! :

      Rhubarb is fantastic for families. Also my kids love Tupelo Honey (2 locations–I like the downtown one, but it is harder to get into) and Early Girl for breakfast. French Broad Chocolate is fun but will often have a long wait. Dali or Curate for tapas (make a reservation).

      Definitely go to Malaprops–amazing book store with a cafe.

      Are you kids up for hiking? There are great trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway, fairly close to town. I like Black Balsam Mountain and Graveyard Fields (which is really flat). Grab picnic stuff at Earthfare or Greenlife (which is owned by Whole Foods). If they are old enough, you can do a zipline tour with Navitat Zipline Adventures.

      The Grove Park is huge and will be fun for them to explore. I love Asheville, have a great trip!

      • Why do people call everything “___ Vegas” now?

        • I only do it for Asheville and the only other place I’ve heard it used is for Nashville.

          It’s funny to me because the two places are the exact opposite. YMMV.

          • Right. Nash Vegas makes a lot more sense than Ashe Vegas, in my opinion. Is it just because Asheville rhymes with Nashville?

    • Maddie Ross :

      Do the Grove Park Easter Brunch. Do not eat anything before you do (maybe even the night before!) and wear stretchy pants. I’m kidding. Sort of. It is an amazing brunch on a normal weekend, but really over the top on Easter. Cross your fingers they have the chilled peach soup. It is amazing.

      I also love the truffled popcorn at the bar at the Grove Park. We sat and watched several NCAA tournament games there a few years back and probably ate three bowls of it while sitting on comfy couches.

    • Biscuit Head for breakfast. Fair warning, it is super jam-packed on weekend brunch and has limited seating. All the different butter flavors (Ex: Cheerwine butter) were fun to play with.

    • PamBeasley :

      Since you have a car, exploring the parkway is definitely a winner. Make sure to stop off and take some of the fun trails like Skinny Drip Falls. Do some searches on where those trails are because the good ones are “secret” and not marked on the road.

    • Asheville Move :

      Piggy backing on this –

      Has anyone lived in Asheville? My SO has an interview down there which looks promising.

      Any ideas on the overall labor market too? I would be a trailing spouse.

      • Former NC resident, though not Asheville. It’s my impression that the biggest downside of Asheville is that to be in close proximity to the city, the housing is relatively expensive, but the salaries are generally much lower (i.e., compared to Greensboro, a starting salary for the largest law firms would be less than $100K, whereas G-boro is $120K, and the housing is comparable in expense).

    • White Duck Taco – two locations (downtown and River Arts District) – for a quick bite. We went to Asheville for our honeymoon and ended up going to each of the locations in the four days were were there! Curate was also amazing, but I’m not sure elementary school kids would be awfully excited about it.

      French Broad Chocolate lets you tour their facility, which is not too far from downtown where their shop is. It’s a very short, self-guided thing, but kids may be interested.

      Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s gorgeous and the views are amazing. We ventured all the way to Mt. Mitchell, which is the highest point east of the Mississippi. My husband does landscape photography and had researched some waterfalls to shoot. My favorite was Crabtree Falls. It was a bit of a hike to get down and back, but very beautiful!

  11. Anonymous :

    Tips for surviving the annoying suck-up try-hard guy in the office? The day has barely started and I want to scream. (It’s really funny how blatantly jealous he is when our boss prefers me over him, though.)

    • Wildkitten :


    • Ha, do you work in my office?

      • I don’t know, does he say “Have yourself a good rest of your day!” every time he concludes a conversation with someone?

    • Let him burn himself out and resist the urge to comment to your boss unless it interferes with your own work in a real way (i.e., don’t say anything if he’s just annoying, but do if he tries to take credit for your work or discredit your ideas in favor of his own or something). You’ll just come off worse if you take the bait.

    • Find a friend who will commiserate. I had one of those and it helped to share stories with a coworker/friend who found him irritating, too. It made each annoyance a story to share over coffee and I actually began to look forward to some of his more extreme behavior.
      Also, try to go in to chat with your boss with the door closed or whatever just to mess with him.

    • When dealing with people like this, I play mental bingo.

      • I feel really bad for this guy in my office. He’s been busting his bum trying to make sales and he finally did and he was practically dancing the cubicle hall and chatting to all us peasants that he usually ignores about all the work that will be coming our way. I decided he’s too invested in his work and he needs more self-esteem from outside of the office. But I did congratulate him on all his hard work, and then I did snark a little bit on him with my co-workers.

  12. Does anyone else dislike and struggle with business casual?

    I realized the only green in my closet for today is a silk shell, and I ended up pairing it with a khaki cotton suit because it really doesn’t look right with anything more casual. (It’s 80° here today.)

    I had forgotten how easy it is to get out the door in a suit! Business casual is so much darn work! You need all these coordinating separates, and they all have to be clean at the same time, and Piece A has to coordinate with Piece B…just so much effort.

    I really miss my old dressy business office. I love feeling like a boss when I’m wearing a great sheath or suit. I don’t get that feeling from skirts and cardigans. I always feel frumpy.

    #thingsonlyrettessay haha

    • Meg March :

      Can you pair easy dressier pieces with more casual pieces? Wear your great sheath dress with a cardigan.

    • Anonymous :

      Dresses will save you! I hate separates for the reasons you mention. Dresses are one-and-done.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Yes. 100%. Give me a sheath dress or a suit any day. I fell in love with the idea of wearing suits in 10th grade, but unfortunately, I went into a field where it’s inappropriate to be too dressy.

      • Anonymous :

        Thirding dresses with cardigans. I make only two clothing choices a day. One other thing I have found to make it easier: all of my dresses are black, black and white, or grey. That way the cardigans match everything.

  13. Photographers – worth buying used camera lenses or no? I want a camera lens that is $800 new and I can get a “like new” version for $480 (fulfilled by Amazon so if it’s not as advertised, I’m sure there will be no issue returning it). Warranty has expired. It sounds worth it to me, but curious if anyone has experience buying used lenses and whether you would recommend it.

    • I bought some used prime lenses from Adorama. They were also “like new” and I haven’t had any issues with them. I would think that if it’s actually fulfilled by Amazon, you’re right that there won’t be an issue returning it.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      When I did a photography class recently, the instructor said he would suggest you do this, as it can save you a lot of money, but only if you buy them from recognised on-sellers because they can normally offer you a short warranty. The main issue would be returning it if there is a problem, but if it’s Amazon it should be fine.

    • I’d be careful to only buy from a well-known seller to avoid the possibility of stolen or damaged lenses. Not sure what amazons policy is on checking out their sellers. I have purchased refurbished through Canon directly and been happy, although it’s not as much of a discount, especially on the more expensive (e.g. L-series) lenses.

    • I’ve done this. Got a great lens in all the original packaging, for half the price of the new version.

    • Thanks guys, I went for it.

  14. Career women :

    Does anyone know of a website where you can read well-written interviews from successful career women? I love reading day in the life type of articles or really detailed interviews that give you a sense of what that person’s job is like and what you need to succeed in the field. I’m especially interested in women in healthcare (in any capacity). Any recs would be great!

    • Career Contessa is good for this. The Everygirl has career profiles too, but I don’t find them as compelling.

    • Anonymous :

      Real Simple magazine has a day in the life feature every month where they shadow a professional woman for a day. They feature women in all kinds of jobs – business, doctors, even clergy. I always find it really interesting.

      • Anonymous :

        The Real Simple profiles are fun, but they are extremely short-form (and mostly photos, really), so I wouldn’t say they qualify as “well-written.”

    • Anonymess :

      I don’t know if these are still running, but the NY Times had “The Corner Office,” which were usually pretty interesting interviews on career paths, leadership advice, etc. from executives in all industries.

  15. WSJ does some in-depth interviews.

  16. Momma Drama :

    I don’t know if I’m seeking advice or commiseration or what.

    My mother has been seeing this very nice guy for about 2 years. He’s asked her to move in, which I am thrilled and very supportive of. I feel like she keeps making excuses for why it’s hard to move in. Part of that is her saying ‘Well, I know that it is important to you that nothing changes,’ which is totally false.

    The worst part of this has been her cat. She has this 16 year old cat who, admittedly, I picked out at the shelter when I was 14 so she was at some point ‘my’ cat. Well, her BF has a cat too and my mother has decided that her old cat cannot live with her BF’s cat in his big house. My mother wants to discuss this in depth with me. I’m not in a place where I can take this cat- we have a new baby and are really more dog people. I feel guilty because of this, so I have just told my mother ‘I can’t discuss the cat. I support your choices, but it’s not something I can talk about.’

    This seems like a pretty reasonable boundary, yet? My mother continues to just talk about this cat and somehow now it’s my fault that she is having a hard time moving in with the BF and just… UGH. I just don’t respond when she starts talking about the cat, but what else do I do here???

    • “Mom, this isn’t about the cat. Is there a reason you don’t want to move in with BF? It’s okay if you don’t, but it’s also okay if you do.”

      Because this isn’t about the cat.

      • I really wish that we could have a more rational conversation. I tried having it last summer with a different variable and was told (see above) that she ‘knows its important to me that nothing changes.’

        • “Mom, I’ve told you before and I’m telling you now that that is not a true statement — I am all for change that you want in your life. So what else is going on here? Do you want to move in with BF or not?”

    • You were a child when you got the cat, it’s not your responsibility or problem. My mom obsesses over weird things like this too. It really does sound like she’s making excuses for not wanting to move in with this guy.

    • I totally get the not wanting to move in with a BF, esp. when you have a life and a house already. Moving in with him is not right for her at the moment.

      “Mom, I love you and I will support you. I’m glad that you and Richard have such a great relationship. I think it’s great that he wants you to move in with him. And I respect that you don’t think that that’s the right decision for you right now.”

      If it’s truly about the cat, it’s unfortunate. But if it’s not truly about the cat and it’s easier to make it about the cat then say something that might hurt Richard’s feelings, then just love her and support her. Some things don’t get easier with age.

      [FWIW, I’ve taken a cat even though it was totally inconvenient and I’m more of a dog person and I’m totally allergic to cats. The army deployed my sister: of course I could take the cat. Sometimes you have to take cats. A 14-year cat is not going to be a long commitment, no? And it is a cat — it’s a bit more work than a plant, but not like a dog.]

      • Yeah, if it was really the cat, I would just take the cat… It’s not though. The cat is the way she pushes my buttons.

    • I don’t think it’s about the cat or the move-in, you just had a new baby so it sounds like she’s wanting more of your attention.

      • Maybe. I’m really thinking that it might be an issue of ‘she doesn’t want to move in but needs a reason and the cat is the reason because we’ve overcome all the other reasons.’

    • Senior Attorney :

      Can you talk about the cat while still making it clear that you can’t take it? Brainstorm other solutions? It may or may not really be about the cat, but it sounds like she wants to talk through this decision and maybe you can help her with that while being consistently clear that you taking the cat isn’t an option.

      • It starts the vicious cycle of me getting upset and then her accusing me of being manipulative and standing in the way of her moving in with BF and all that and a bag of chips.

    • I think, “sorry, we can’t take the cat” is a perfectly reasonable boundary but not talking about the cat at all? I’m actually not seeing that as a reasonable boundary.

      • Me either!!

      • I don’t know your situation… but when my much-older grandpa (so, late 70s and early 80s) became obsessed with the cat(s), it was later seen as a sign of dementia. I don’t think this is that, but be aware if your mom is not acting like herself.

        In your situation, it will be the cat today, it will be your bedroom set tomorrow, she is using excuses to avoid whatever true source of her anxiety is…

        • It’s not dementia- I’m quite certain of that.

          I should have made it more clear that I previously was willing to discuss the cat with her, but after beating that dead horse over. and over. and over., it now makes me so upset that I can’t talk about it. If I do get upset on the phone, my mother accuses me of being ‘manipulative’ and then I’m the reason she can’t move. I am trying to not get in trouble here and am genuinely supportive.

          And yeah, I know it’s just an excuse. Previously it was that she had, ‘all this stuff I wouldn’t let her throw away’. I went up to visit and went through all that stuff that ended up being family photos (which I think is a pretty normal thing to hold on to, yes?) and (literally) one small box of mine from childhood.

          • Ugh, no. Okay, with a clearer picture….I’m sorry you are dealing with this.

      • Okay, thank you–I’m glad I wasn’t the only one whom that struck the wrong way. If the cat is given as the latest reason, and you say basically fine whatever I can’t discuss the cat…? That doesn’t seem to leave a lot of maneuvering space for your mother to express herself and work her and your way toward having a real conversation about whatever it is that’s going on.

        I like this statement from above: ““Mom, I love you and I will support you. I’m glad that you and Richard have such a great relationship. I think it’s great that he wants you to move in with him. And I respect that you don’t think that that’s the right decision for you right now.””

        And I agree with Kittens’ caveats and observation w/r/t dementia as well.

  17. Tax refunds — are you getting one? What are your plans for it? I’m unexpectedly getting one! Yay. Not sure what to do with it. Normally I just throw it in the market but this year, I’m not so sure given how the S&P is doing (and this isn’t money I want to invest for 20 yrs, I may want to use it in the next yr or two for something or other).

    • $300, mostly from the state. It’s going into the regular savings account.

    • I thought I was going to get a HUGE one because I made more than $200K for the first half of the year and about one third that for the second half of the year. But I ran the rough numbers last weekend and I think I’m getting $3,000. Which, while not nothing, is about 10% of what I thought I would get. Anyway it’s all going to the mortgage because #adulting.

    • Veronica Mars :

      About $1k, and it’s funding my tickets to Europe for my vacation. I already saved the money for my vacation, but I like being able to “cash-flow” this expense and leave that money in the account in case my final costs are higher than expected. If I have a lump left over after the vacation, it’s either going into my 2016 Roth IRA or my investment account, depending on how I end up funding my IRA this year.

    • Got about $4k and it’s going toward the down payment on our new house!!!

    • $10k and it’s going straight into savings. Until it’s used to buy a minivan later this year. *sigh*

      • In the process of buying a new minivan right now that my sons (10, 13 & 16) will fit in when they are all 6 feet tall (because they will be). There is very little choice out there. There were several when we bought our first van 11 years ago (just before ds#3 was born). Not sure if you need a ‘real’ minivan or if a small SUV will work, but be warned. It’s a dying market. We are test driving thr Toyota Sienna tonight, but will probably go with the Honda Oddessy that we test drove earlier this week.

        • Love my Oddessy!!

        • We’re in the same boat with 3 future tall kids. No serious shopping yet, but definitely looking for a real minivan. I’ve been scouting my neighborhood and it seems like everyone has an Odyssey, so that’s definitely high on the list to investigate.

    • Had to pay $2500. Stupid marriage penalty.

      • The year my husband and I got married was a bloodbath. Now we both withhold at the higher single rate and we still usually owe. Ugh.

        • Same. 15K owed. I nearly choked.

        • First year married and we owe over $20k (mainly due to my husband getting a huge year end bonus that’s impossible to predict and adjust our withholding to cover throughout the year). It’s almost my entire after-tax bonus out the door. The mortgage deduction is the only tax deduction we could still qualify for, but for a number of reasons, we’re not quite ready to pull that trigger yet.

      • This will be us next year. Getting married in June 2016, ran the numbers, and will end up paying significantly more in taxes (one high earner, one low). Yay to marriage, boooo to more taxes (well that go towards BS – i’m all for socialized medicine, education, etc and would happily pay even more if society benefitted).

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Ours somehow worked out ok this year, thank goodness. I got about $400 and my husband got about $3000.

        I think we just got lucky. In 2014 I was on my husband’s insurance as a domestic partner and my share of the costs the employer covered was considered taxable income. Getting married took care of that. Also, I’m paid hourly and worked a ton of hours for about 10 months and had 2 months of no income.

    • DH and I owe $6k thanks to the marriage penalty. Time to adjust our withholdings . . .

    • I'm Just Me .... :

      Just under $1k. It’s going into the 529 accounts for the kids.

    • I’m getting $13K combined state/federal. I will use it to either fund a used car to replace my 16-year-old SUV or take our first family vacation somewhere nice, now that I am in house and actually have the time to go on vacation!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I got a big one and I’m using it to pay for a big trip to Asia in a couple of months! Super excited!

    • $1550 – straight to student loans.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      ~1300. Paid off a credit card. :-)

    • Getting a little over $6,000. Using it to pay off one of my student loans. I’m counting down the months until I can be done with them, which should be around November.

    • Meg March :

      $18. Went for the splurge and bought fancy chocolate.

      • Anonymous :

        Haha. I haven’t done my taxes yet but I think mine will be just enough for a Snickers bar.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Yes! $1500 towards a trip to Iceland, $1500 to savings, the other $1000 to splurgy stuff like a Bezels and Bytes fitbit bracelet, camping cookware, and a new dress.

    • Anonymous :

      $500 from the state, after being offset by the $100 i owed the feds (grr). Thankfully i just bought a house (yay me!) and next year anticipate getting some serious money back. I was super annoyed because Turbo Tax kept asking me “are you sure you don’t own a house” whild filling out 2015 taxes lolol.

    • Anonymous :

      $1800. I will use it for closing costs to refinance my mortgage to 15 yrs.

  18. I’ve noticed on this site (and in real life) art degrees get disparaged yet we praise the skills. Like talk therapy is always recommended here but psychology is typically an arts degree (vs psychiatry). Museums are always recommended, but who do you think curates, authenticates, and runs those places? Same with world class libraries or ballets or operas. The public disrespects the discipline yet takes full advantages of the rewards. What about ECEs? I’m sure almost all of you who are mothers have used one at some point, but they are so disrespected. Just something I’ve been thinking about and something that disappoints me.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Hmmm this isn’t something I’ve really noticed here, although I agree it’s a common theme out in the world. I wish vocational paths would get more credit too. If I could do it all over again, I’d want to go down the electrician or plumber path.

    • More rigorous disciplines require higher IQs. You can be disappointed all you want but that’s the truth.

      • Tell me more about the require this — is there an IQ test?
        Not disappointed just wanting to hear this truth.

        • I think it’s more that math & science line up with what is tested on IQ tests. I think it’s undisputed that scientists and engineers have higher IQs than artsy people, but that’s because IQ tests measure things like spatial reasoning that are very collaborated with mathematical ability. There’s no test that measures creative ability.

        • Really? I can’t recall taking an IQ test. I did win the NPR news quiz once though.

          • Yes, really.

          • Anonymous :

            Like there are IQ tests for different professions / degrees?

            I get that Mensa uses an IQ test, but wasn’t aware of that as a a criteria for anything else.

            [Maybe it is that a high IQ is necessary for many fields, but it is hardly sufficient.]

      • Then I better tell my 2 Mensa member cousins (an ECE and an auto mechanic) and my 3 non-Mensa member “average IQ” cousins (an attorney, a research scientist and a surgeon, who all attended Ivy league schools on merit scholarships) that they are doing it wrong and all need to switch careers to something more or less rigorous.

        (You know that just because somesome doesn’t work in a “rigorous discipline” doesn’t mean you are allowed to disrespect them. Your attitude is what’s disappointing)

      • Anonymous :

        So if you’re not a lawyer or a doctor, you’re stupid?

      • Actually IQ is a not a good indicator of success, especially when you get to the very high (more than 1 standard deviation higher). High average intelligence has been found to be ideal for success.

        -Mom to 3 kids with 140+ IQs and wife to someone who has a Masters degree in gifted education.

        • Anonymous :

          This. My siblings and I are all identified “gifted,” my IQ was tested at 150+, and my mom subsequently became a gifted education specialist as well. I’ve done a lot of reading on this topic and find it totally fascinating.

          Rigorous career fields demand rigor. Rigor is difficult to cultivate when everything comes easily to you early in life. I majored in English because I could write an A paper in an all-nighter, which was waaaay easier than being diligent all semester about organic chemistry or high-level math (both of which I also studied and enjoyed). One sibling is a music major (originally intended to do engineering, but it was too much work), one is poli-sci with a major in international studies for an excuse to study abroad multiple times. One dropped out of school to join the military. Most people I went to school with who ultimately became doctors or engineers are averagely smart, but more importantly, are conscientious and driven. Hard work beats innate intelligence most days of the week.

        • Anonymous :

          Agree entirely- I was just talking with a co-worker about this. Highly gifted kids are harder, you need to keep them stimulated, etc. The dream is above average intelligence, and above average emotional capabilities -you need both

      • Anonymous :

        Sorry, I think rigorous career fields demand rigor (as belied by the descriptor!) more than IQ. I’m really smart according to IQ tests, but I just never wanted to work hard enough to make it in a field that demands hard study. It was super easy to whip up an A paper about Crime and Punishment in an all-nighter, but there’s no way to cram for organic chemistry or high -level math; you have to be diligent the entire semester. Voila, English major! A lot of people I went to school with and thought were kind of dunces are totally competent doctors or engineers, because they put in the time and effort to learn their field.

        • Anonymous :

          huh, this comment did show up after all. this site is acting weird for me today.

      • IQ tests measure how well you take the IQ test. And maybe how well you test. So, how knowledgable on testable/measureable things.

        How do you test creativity or the ability to captivate and motivate?

        IQ is only one type of “intelligence”. It may correlate with certain things, but that doesn’t create a causal relationship.

    • I have no idea what ECE is (and I’m an liberal arts major — philosphy).

      I think the reason why liberal arts degrees get disparaged is usually something like this: kid spends north of 40+/year at a non-science school that is at best a semi-competitive regional school; majors in something like “___ studies,” doesn’t work in school, doesn’t prepare for life after school; moves home with parents (who seem to have no idea that this was coming) and has no / nominal job (and is maybe thinking: grad school would beat this!). [I get how this happens in first-generation families, but most aren’t.]

      Unfortunate result? Yes. But it’s not the liberal arts degree’s fault.

      [Real art degrees — like art, music, etc.: I have no idea about that. But I know a lot of whip smart music majors.]

      • Early childhood education.

        FWIW, the traditional liberal arts actually do much better in long term earnings than things like undergraduate majors in business, criminal justice, etc. Probably mostly correlation, not causation – I think it’s a much more common trap for a 1st gen student to see an undergrad business degree as the equivalent to an MBA than to major in women’s studies on a whim.

        Also, I teach in a “studies” program and we have great preprofessional placement and preparation. We’re an area studies program (so, Latin American Studies, European Studies, etc) and our students can sell themselves as having language skills and cultural competencies in other regions.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah, you really have to sell ___ studies degrees. People know what a CPA does. It’s not clear what the skills are of a ___ studies degree (which I’m sure are more likely to vary widely than, say, physics programs or accounting).

          I’m glad your program is forward-thinking (and even if your program is, you still have to rely on their students to go out and advocate for themselves in the job market at the end of the day).

      • Anonymous :


        I am a recent lib arts major who graduated with a job straight out of college; not a single one of my other lib arts friends have a job 2 years out of college. It is beyond frustrating. I interned pretty much the entire time I was in college, worked ‘real’ jobs every summer where I could learn skills, and had a 3.75 GPA. I worked my ass off, and all of my cohorts who did nothing in school, went into dept for their degree (with a D is for diploma attitude) are now angry they do’t have jobs. Are liberal arts degrees undervalued? Sure, but when you get one you have to force yourself to gain a marketable skillset. In engineering or business degrees, they teach you a skillset. You hit the nail on the head when you say it isn’t the liberal arts degree problem, but rather how people went about getting that degree. And frankly maybe it’s a sore spot with me, but it really peeved me when I got the call that one of my internships wanted to hire me, and my fellow students said I ‘got lucky’. Why no, I didn’t ‘get lucky’ I worked my ass off to be a marketable hardworking person that people wanted to hire.

    • I’ve never seen it disparaged on this site. I’ve seen it praised.

    • I think you’re using different definitions of the word “art” and “arts”.
      Yes, I did go to a liberal arts college – that produces many science majors, but no B.S. degrees. Even the science majors get a B.A. (It’s a Seven Sisters College.) Liberal arts, performing arts, psychology are different kinds of uses of the word “art”. Can you please narrow down your argument? I’m not a lawyer but it’s hard for me to follow you when you’re being, um, artsy-f-artsy.

      • Maybe “arts” is British English or Canadian (like how our math is their “maths”) or something?

        [I know — maybe I need an IQ test . . .]

        • Yep, British English. Sorry I didn’t catch that before I posted. I generally try my best to edit my posts to American English.

        • I’m wondering if the poster means “arts” as non-science discipline, “arts” as performing and visual arts or “arts” as any set of in-depth study of any subject (including hard sciences). I think s/he posts all different ways and assumes the same reaction to each.

    • As the mom of a science-loving girl I love that girls are now being encouraged to pursue STEM careers. However, I don’t like the current push to treat college basically as a vocational school whose only purpose is to teach job skills, especially combined with the fact that many high-achieving kids enter college with most of their general education requirements already satisfied through AP or IB. No, a liberal arts degree on its own isn’t going to get you a high-paying job. But people who have studied history, literature, philosophy, etc. in depth are well-rounded critical thinkers who make better scientists, engineers, lawyers, doctors, and citizens. I’d like to see colleges require a minor in a field that’s not closely related to the major, and I will be encouraging my daughter to pursue a liberal arts major or minor in addition to the science major in which she’s currently interested.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree with having a minor / second major. Also doing optional things (like a thesis).

        I also agree with the skills majors are probably better — accounting vs “business” or math vs “pre-med” in making sure that you have to learn something and don’t just float along (and floating along seems to be what so many people do — if you’re not a self-starter, I really think you can be ill-served by even a great institution). I’m not saying to expect serious scholarship from ever undergrad at every school, but it seems that the value of a BA is so diluted these days by the lack of any serious learning done by so many.

        • This Biology/Political Science double major thinks it really made her a more balanced individual.

      • I majored in biological sciences and minored in English literature. English lit courses were much more difficult to get A’s in than science courses. I am a physician now, and I use the skills I learned in English lit all the time. Critical thinking, written and verbal communication etc. I no longer have any idea what the difference between an aromatic and aliphatic compound are.

    • Anonymous :


  19. Yup, Wearing Green :

    Ugh… this is an irrational rant but…

    No sh*t I’m wearing green. I am the one who chose what I was going to wear today. Why does EVERY. D*MN. PERSON. need to comment?!?!

    “Wow that’s a green dress” (it’s a true kelly green color – the dress is a simple sheath with cap sleeves – nothing scandalous and I’ve worn it before)

    “You’re a bit greenish today”

    All men. I hate everyone today.

    • Get over it. It’s a day everyone wears green and everyone talks about it. Even women.

    • Can you tell me more about this cap-sleeved green dress?

    • LOL I am wearing exactly the same thing, but people’s comments have been kind and cheerful. Maybe take a quick walk outside and breathe? Sometimes you need a break from people in general – I know I do :)

    • Or don’t wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day? I mean, isn’t that the point of wearing green on this day? To recognize and acknowledge the event?

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, I kind of feel like you’re celebrating the day and inviting comments by wearing green. So +1 for taking a break and a breath. :)

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’m wearing green today by accident. I didn’t even realize it until reading this thread.

      • If you DON’T wear green then everyone will remark that you’re not wearing green….

    • I’m annoyed for the opposite reason. I didn’t wear green today and people keep saying I’m asking to be pinched. No, I’m a grown-up and don’t think it is appropriate to pinch people in a professional setting, so I didn’t see the need to wear a color I don’t prefer and don’t look good in!

      • Anonymous :

        I combat this with, “I have a green tattoo and no I will not show it to you.” But we have a very casual and probably inappropriately fun group here.

    • It’s only luck that I’m not wearing green today, it didn’t even occur to me that it was St Patrick’s Day when I got dressed. (Although it’s not so big here)

    • Yup, Wearing Green :

      So I was hangry…. hahahaha…. and definitely needed a break. Thanks all!

  20. Anon for This Relationship Update :

    I posted yesterday about having unexpectedly realized I want to marry my boyfriend of 18 months, and whether or not to bring it up after brushing off his comment over the weekend about moving in together. After getting some encouragement from some of you lovely ladies, I decided to go ahead and bring it up last night even though it was hella scary.

    I said “I would be open to moving in under certain circumstances,” and he said “you mean if we were married, right?” And we talked about it and what that would look like, and went into way more detail about our respective finances than we ever had, and he allowed as how the idea had crossed his mind, too. No proposal was forthcoming in the moment on either side, but it appears we may be headed in that direction. So although it isn’t quite the Cinderella story it might have been, I am more than happy with how it turned out.

    So thank you for the encouragement!

    • yay, I’m happy for you :)

    • Wildkitten :

      Congratulations! That is a big scary conversation to have. I’m probably going to have it in the next 3 months and gosh there is nothing I want less than planning or paying for a wedding…

      • I couldn’t care less about a wedding. Been there, done that. I’m thinking courthouse followed by dinner out. Boyfriend may feel differently but that’s a topic that didn’t come up at all during the big scary conversation.

        • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

          I did a city hall wedding followed by a fancy pants lunch with just my husband for my first (and hopefully only) wedding. No regrets at all. :)

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      That’s lovely, congrats!

    • Anonymous2 :


    • Yay! I was thinking of you!

      • And to me that pretty much sounds like a Cinderella ending to that first convo at least.

    • That actually sounds better than a Cinderella story to me. You talked about it like adults, considered the various consequences from all sides, and moved incrementally forward in a direction that you are mutually happy with. That is a WAY better indication of good long-term prospects for your relationship than a spur-of-the-moment proposal would have been.

    • Thanks, lsw and NYC tech! I admit I was the teeniest bit (only the teeniest bit, but still…) deflated that it wasn’t the whole enchilada and you two have helped me come to my senses!

  21. I’m thinking about going to Iceland for a week over the summer with my parents. Do you think 1 week is enough?

    • Yep. I think it’s one of the best countries to visit if you only have 1 week. It’s got a ton of natural beauty but it’s geographically small and you can easily see everything in 4-5 days and have a day or two leftover for exploring Reykjavik and soaking in the Blue Lagoon.

  22. In the Pink :

    +1,000,000 My Dh and I visited there as a stop on a cruise. Later he spent 1-2 years posted there. Have a wonderful time; I’m jealous! :) There used to be an artist in the downtown area who make amazing scupltures out of the black lava. We should have purchased something then.

  23. This model is what I picture Ellen like and also a separate note, it looks like she’s holding in a fart

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