Coffee Break: Victoire Patent Leather Skimmer

Jean-Michel Cazabat Victoire Patent Leather Skimmer, Military Neiman Marcus has some killer sales on shoes, with most marked at least 50% off (including a healthy selection of Cole Haan, Manolo Blahnik, and Maison Martin Margiela, all in lucky sizes). For today’s coffee break I’m liking this lovely skimmer (which would probably be a great nude-for-me shoe for some women). I love the caramel color, and the grained patent leather looks sharp but cool. It was $260, but is now marked to $117 (with lots of sizes left). Jean-Michel Cazabat Victoire Patent Leather Skimmer, Military



  1. Empty Nesters Dine in NYC :

    We will be in NYC Saturday night for our first trip as empty nesters (dropping daughter off at college Friday).

    Any recommendations welcome for a dinner restaurant that is quiet (so we can talk), won’t push us out (so we can linger) and has interesting, “clean” food (no heavy sauces and lots of seafood and veggies). Extra credit for romantic, not a gajillion dollars and interesting neighborhood to wander in after.


    • I think Fulton hits all your requirements except an interesting neighborhood to walk around in after. But it’s close to the subway if you want to hop on and explore somewhere else!

      • Fulton is great, and if you walk up towards the park, it should be lovely. Although I am not sure it is particularly romantic.

        Prima, in the East Village, could also be fun – the food is great and they have great drinks. Or try ABC Cucina, the food is great, you can walk down to union sq. or madison sq. park to people watch, and if you get there before 7:30 you should be able to get a table and not be rushed. You can always get a drink at the bar and wait, too. And you can’t beat the atmosphere.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      My parents really like to go to Jane for a reasonably priced but good meal when they visit me:

      The menu’s a little small, but it should be decently quiet for dinner (much more crowded for brunch), especially if you go early by NYC standards (like 6:30 or 7), but the food is good and you can wander to the West Village after dinner.

      • Jane would be good, but it can be a little loud at night. The Harrison would be nice, too. Semi-pricey, but totally worth it because the food is awesome. Then you can wander around Tribeca and grab a drink at Smith and Mills, 2 blocks away (and so fab).

        • Love love love Smith and Mills! It is so tiny and quaint. The food is actually really delicious there too.

      • Brooklyn Paralegal :

        I used to work at Jane. If you’re going on a weekend, it can be totally slammed and gets kind of loud, but the food is fantastic. The Smith is also great (same owners), but even louder and usually super-busy. (Most customers when I was there would say the food is great but almost impossible to hear over the music.)

        If you’re looking for something a little quieter, I’d go for Jane, although they do want to turn tables there, so they’re not big on people lingering. If you do go there, be sure to try to truffle gnocchi appetizer. It’s AMAZING.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Last time I was at Jane, we got something (maybe the calamari?) that had fried lemon slices in it. I don’t know if it was a special or regular thing, but if you go, ask if you can just try a fried lemon. You would think who would fry a lemon and how could this possibly be any good, but it was amazing.

          • Brooklyn Paralegal :

            I have mostly very fond memories of working at Jane. I used to LOVE my shift meal at the end of the night, and brunch. I know OP wanted dinner, but let me tell you, their brunch is still TO DIE FOR. (Ellen caps are totally called for.)

            They have the most killer vanilla French toast, cooked al dente with maple butter. It’s basically a dessert, but a damn good one. (And not too bad if you’ve got a hangover, like I often did in college when I worked there, ha.)

    • Hudson Clearwater in the West Village is one of my favorite restaurants. Their back patio is really lovely (and relatively quiet). It is on Hudson and Morton.

    • Empty Nesters Dine in NYC :

      Thanks, everyone!

    • Anonymous :

      Home Restaurant in W Village. Takes reservations and they have a lovely garden in the back! Good, fresh food. And you can’t beat the West Village for a nighttime ramble.

  2. AttiredAttorney :

    Anyone know of a similar shoe in a size 11 or 12?

    • JCrew has a similar pointed shoe called the Viv that comes in and 11 and 12.

      If synthetic leather is okay, BP has a version here:

      • AttiredAttorney :

        Thank you!

        • I’d be curious to know what you think of them – I’m in the 11 range too and since Jcrew never has that size in store, I never get to try them on.

  3. BTW, free shipping with no minimum when you use code AUGFS on!

  4. I just started at my first law job out of law school. I moved into my office and at the moment, it is pretty bare. Two questions:
    First, my partner mentioned that the firm would pay to have my diploma framed so that I can hang that (how nice!) and implied that I could probably get other art or something framed, too. It was a vague statement. My firm is small, not big-law, and no one has mentioned anything at all like a decorating budget. Is there a practice of letting new attorneys do this sort of thing (generally, in your firms), and if so, how far does it extend? I don’t want to try ordering Picassos if the industry-wide custom is is to recycle college movie posters.

    Second, if you were in charge of picking out art for your office, what did you pick, and how? Somehow a trip to Ikea doesn’t seem entirely appropriate for this.

    • Cornellian :

      I’m in Biglaw and there is no budget for diploma or other art purchases/framing. I would be appreciative of the free diploma framing and take it as a cue that that should be hung in a visible place.

      I would assume you need to buy a second piece of art, and pick something calming that means something to you without offending someone else. Maybe a picture of your favorite national park or something like that.

    • I’d see what everyone else has in their office and go from there. I have heard of firms giving attorneys a furniture allowance upon making partner, but not a framing allowance. Can you ask the office manager if associates generally get funds for marketing. decorating, trade publications, etc?

    • I work at a mid-size regional firm, and a decorating budget is new to me. In addition to my diplomas and admission certificates, I also hung a print of a local artist’s painting of one of our downtown landmarks.

    • At my law firm (which is a small Booteak firm by Manhattan standard’s), we have artwork on the wall from the 1940’s, I think. The manageing partner says he pay’s for it as part of the MONTHLY rent to the Landlord. When we move, he said he will consider comision MARGIE to do some decoreating, including wall poster’s and print’s and he says her price is VERY reasoneable. The other partner’s said if he want’s her to decorate, fine, but the FIRM should NOT pay for it b/c she is not a professional interior design person.

      The manageing partner says he will ensure she does NOT charge more then $10,000 for her services, but this is NOT goeing well with the others. Personaly, I think I can decorate my OWN office, and get my own poster’s. I saw a MONET at the Met that I can get a print of (framed for less then $100). I would LIKE that, so I will tell the manageing partner to consider getting all of our picture’s from the MET, framed, at a fraction of the cost. YAY!!!

    • Coach Laura :

      Congratulations on the job. I’d get the diploma matted and nicely framed and I’d pick a print or painting of a local landmark. Common themes in Seattle are prints of Mount Rainer, Pike Place Market or the skyline of the city from the water or ferry scenes on Puget Sound. I’ve got Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square in my office. I’d suggest something similar from your area.

    • Commentress :

      Framing is for you, what a lovely gift!

      When it comes to art, I purchase/acquire my own if it’s a personal favorite. That way I can bring it home or swap it out if I want something new.

      You could also ask. or observe, and see if there is anything available that is not in use (empty office, supply room) that you like that fits with the tone of the office. Calming, familiar and neutral, without being beige. Greg Otto’s Baltimore landmarks are bright.

      I also found photos that I liked and purchased them in sizes that I could hang in a series. You can also frame a meaningful quote.

      I have a few plants (peace lilies) that also help with decor without being “art” in a nice pot as a stand in for sculpture. Ditto for a good-looking lamp.


  5. Afternoon TJ: What’s your favorite brand/type of casual shoe?

    I’d probably go with Keds, but I also love my Converse and Sperry’s. Really, I can get behind most types of colorful sneakers too :)

    • My Sperry’s! Bright and colorful.

      • I love my Sperrys mostly for comfort. I also have some Kate Spade flats that have a neon coral toe cap. I’m obsessed with bright colors, so I consider them a great neutral.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Supergas. Or Toms.

    • I love my Converse but also love the mesh, low profile pumas.

      • I think Converse look really cute with jeans, but I have a hard time wearing them with anything else, and since I don’t wear jeans that often, my Converse stay in the closet most of the time. What else do you pair them with?

      • Puma flats are great.

    • I have a pair of gold sparkly JCrew espadrilles that I will wear into the ground. Love!

    • Anonymous :

      Clarks, a pair of perforated nude flats. I got them for work and now I wear them any chance I can. So comfortable.

      • I’m wearing these right now!! ;o) Shoe Twinsies!

        I also really like the moccs I posted the other day:

        And Clark Privos for a ‘sneaker-ish’ shoe that I wear on the weekends. And my guilty pleasures are the Bensimon sneakers. They were popular in France at one point, and I just love wearing them because they make me feel super fancy and french. But they aren’t that sturdy and only available online so it’s kind of a less-than-smart purchase. ;o)

    • Veronique :

      Born is one of my favorite for winter and summer (boots and sandals respectively), but I with shoes to wear in spring and fall. I wear mostly dresses/skirts and am not a huge fan of how they look with keds/boat shoes (on me, it’s cut on other people). Any suggestions on transitional shoes that would look good with dresses?

  6. Paging Senior Attorney :

    I love your idea about having a separate savings account for routine but not monthly expenses!

    Obviously the numbers will vary based on expenses and salary, but can you comment on what level you feel comfortable with in that account compared to your emergency savings account? Or, to get at it a different way, how much percentage-wise you contribute monthly there compared to what you contribute to your emergency fund? How big a chunk are routine by not monthly expenses? I’m just starting out so I would have to build up this account over time as opposed to just reallocating some funds for that purpose.

    Thank you!

    • Anonymous :

      — Checking for routine bills: Expected amount plus ~$100 buffer, with the built up buffer being transferred to savings periodically.
      — Checking for incidentals: Our average cost, based on review of our spending reports and goal budget. For us, that comes to about 25% of monthly spending (both checking combined).
      — Short term savings: Up to ~ 1 month of expenses
      — Long term (but still liquid) savings: Ideally 3-6 months of expenses, built over time.

      • Not the OP, but two follow up questions… what do people consider “liquid” beyond the obvious checking/savings accounts?

        Does anybody have experience/advice re: using Roth IRA Accounts as an emergency fund?

        Basically, I am balancing building up emergency savings vs paying down debt but have a nice chunk in RothIRAs that I started before law school which could serve as emergency funds but that I don’t usually consider as emergency funds.

        I thought of this when I was reading No More Harvard Debt’s blog and realizing how much I pay in interest every month.

        • Veronique :

          I wouldn’t use an IRA as an emergency fund. My only liquid funds are checking/savings. I transfer my longer-term savings to an online savings account, which makes it more difficult to access on a day to day basis (out of sight, out of mind).

        • I don’t think “liquid” is a binary state when you’re talking about finances. Rather, you can hold assets that are more or less liquid. So, cash is very liquid, stock is less liquid, a twelve month CD less liquid still, and art quite illiquid indeed.

        • DH and I each have Roth IRA accounts that have several years worth of living expenses in them. We don’t consider them our “emergency fund”– though, in a true emergency, we could liquidate and still have decent retirement savings in our 401ks.

          That said, our “emergency fund” is a probably a bit less conservative than most. We have miscellaneous cash/money/resources/assets in avariety of places that could get us through a couple of years, but some are more accessible than others.

          For example, if kidnappers called DH and said he had to bring a suitcase full of cash in an hour, he could probably come up with 2 months of living expenses.

          If the kidnappers called during market hours and wanted a suitcase full of cash by the next business day, DH could access 10ish months of living expenses without tapping into our retirement funds, but he’d put a pretty big dent in our long-term savings account (savings for a bigger hours, a boat, etc).

          If the kidnappers wanted more money but gave us a month to come up with it (and/or were cool with stock options in various employers, a few cars, and maybe a boat or two), we could come up with another 1-2 years of living expenses.

          If that money wasn’t good enough, DH could scramble around to our other accounts and come up with another several years of living expenses, but at the detriment of things like our retirement fund, our children’s college savings account, etc.

          I know that’s sort of a silly way to think about it, but helps understand what’s literally liquid vs. easily accessible.

          • Oh, and I guess we have home equity too. If the kidnappers wanted to wait around for DH to get a home equity loan, we’d have more ;)

          • I like your examples. I have a somewhat similar situation (minus the boats), but I keep about 2-3 months living expenses in cash, an additional 5 months in my Roth, and if I stopped living in NYC and emptied out my 401k, a year of living expenses. I guess I just wonder if I need to keep that much in cash when I’m paying so much in interest each month. (Realizing this is very much a personal comfort thing).

          • B, why not just mvoe what you don’t want to keep in cash into a brokerage account that is NOT a retirement vehicle? The downside to using your Roth as an emergency fund is that you have a big penalty for pulling out the cash early/ for non-retirement purposes. There are options out there between cash and retirement…

    • Senior Attorney :

      I actually got this idea from a book called “Debt Proof Living” by Mary Hunt, many years ago. She calls it a “Freedom Account” because if you institute this plan it gives you “freedom” from unexpected expenses that wreck the budget.

      Anyway, this is what I do:

      First, it helps to track every penny in and out of your life. I have been doing this for 14 years (I use MS Money because that’s what I started with — YMMV. You can use Quicken, or, or a spreadsheet, or a pencil and paper). Once you have a good idea of what your expenses are, you can start contributing 1/12 to the appropriate account.

      For example, I know my property taxes are going to be $3,900 per year. So I contribute $325/month to the “property taxes” account. My car costs $500 per year to register, plus it’s getting older and needs more maintenance than it used to, so I put $200/month in the “auto expenses” account. I’ve budgeted $3,000 for holiday spending so that account gets $250/month. I like to take big vacations so the “vacation” fund gets $1,000/month (except that’s on hold with the divorce pending). My emergency fund has taken a hit lately so it’s getting $500/month until it’s back at a level with which I’m more comfortable. I have a $6400/year pledge to a charitable organization, so I have an account for “charitable contributions” that gets $550/month.

      And so on. When DS was younger I had a college fund for him, as well as a separate account for his miscellaneous expenses. For a while I had an account for his sports expenses. Basically, your categories and amounts will be specific to you and your life.

      Note that almost my whole paycheck goes into these accounts. The only amount that doesn’t is the mortgage/rent, utilities, and a weekly allowance amount for walking around money and weekly household expenses.

      Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll try to tackle them. I love this system!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, and my emergency fund sat untouched for years at $30,000 until I had to use a chunk of it to leave my husband, set up housekeeping, and hire a lawyer. Now $30,000 doesn’t seem like it was nearly big enough. But note that the “optional” Freedom Account categories like vacations and such can also be diverted to emergencies in case of, well, emergency.

        • Senior Attorney :

          And in answer to your question, when I had everything up and running and fully funded, the total of the Freedom Accounts varied from one to twoish times the amount of the Emergency Fund, depending on, for example, whether the bathroom remodel was just getting started or just being completed.

        • and for Sparkle Friday.

      • Anonymous :

        Not the person who asked, but this is a fascinating setup. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hi friends — About to pull the trigger on my first Boden order. Does their stuff run big, small? Fitted or not? I’ve read all the reader reviews on the pieces I’m about to order (jersey dress, a pair of shoes, a sweater and a skirt) but am looking for more feedback. I’m short with a post-baby tummy; usually a 10-ish in Lands End and haven’t ordered much else since my second kiddo was born. Thanks!

    • Most of the time they provide actual garment measurements. So, find a skirt/top/pants that you own and fit you well, measure it, and compare to the measurements on the Boden website.

      I think they run a bit narrower on the bottom than most store brands (I usually am a 4 in bottoms at Loft/BR, but get a 6 for Boden skirts, haven’t tried their pants). I also find their tops to be kind of boxy.

      Hope this helps!

    • Hi, From my experience my size is bigger in Boden than Lands End – Boden seems not to vanity size as much. For dresses I also often go with the ‘tall’ for a more modest (knee length) length for work.

  8. i’ve found the tops to be true to size, but i’m pear shaped (almost typo’d ‘bear-shaped’) and need to size up for that. they’re cut pretty small in the booty/thigh region. they also have high waists.

  9. any of you have a kitchen tool you cannot live without? mine–the splatter screen. such a great invention!

    • AttiredAttorney :

      The microplane. Amazing for grating fresh parmesan, lemon rind, fresh/whole nutmeg, etc.

      • +1 to the microplane. I grate garlic, ginger, citrus, hard cheeses, chocolate, etc. on it.

        • +1 on the microplane.

          • Microplane makes the best graters. Also, the skimmer to get the fat off soups/broths. I don’t use it for that. I use it to strain my wine when I mess up the cork……so it’s a good multi-tasker :) The food processor. Food scale. Parchment Paper. A very good knife. Stand mixer with extra bowls. My Kershaw taskmaster shears.

    • Anonymous :

      cookie scoop, which is unexpected. I use it for so much.
      hand blender. In a recent conversation it came out that owning one of this is somewhat rare, which I can’t even comprehend.

      • Tell me how you use your hand blender. Every time I try to use it (like in a smoothie with whole fruit, yogurt, and ice), it doesn’t work. I’ve killed several hand blenders.

        • Oh gosh, no, I never try to use it with ice. I use it to puree soups in the pot, making pesto/sauces, sometimes baking stuff…

    • garlic press

    • I probably have too many! :o) But definitely the hand-blender. And my really nice, heavy Chinese cleaver which is my chef’s knife. It makes cooking insanely easy. OH!! Obviously my rice cooker, what was I thinking? Use it weekly if not more. Also a great wooden spoon, which sounds totally obvious, but I was at a friend’s house who cooks almost daily, and yet she only had 2 cooking utensils, one plastic spatula and one metal flat spoon thing. And they were totally beat up and difficult to clean.

      • Tongs, lots and lots of tongs and wooden spoons to cook with. Good knives (or at least 1), lots of cutting boards, and a reliable thermometer. A good set of pots/pans helps too.

    • hefty, good quality chef’s knife.

    • Anonymous :

      Tongs. I don’t know what I did before tongs.

    • A good solid cutting board. Nothing like slicing something and having your board move and knicking a finger.

    • Anonymous :

      Food processor.

    • Anonymous :

      Garlic zoom!!! I couldnt live without it

    • Kitchen shears.

  10. I am trying to process some very mixed feelings/signals about starting a family and was hoping for some outside input. I am a 28 year old lawyer married to a 34 year old lawyer. My husband and I have been married for 3 years and our only debt is our mortgage. We both have started to feel like it is time to start trying for a baby.
    I work with several women who are mothers and the norm in my office seems to be to wait until mid to late 30s to early 40s to start a family. Several of my coworkers have commented on how young I am and how strange it would be if I tried to have a baby before I was in my mid-30s. I have been surprised by how (a) vocal people have been in their opposition, especially when their advice was unsolicited and (b) how these opinions have made me doubt the appropriateness of starting a family in my late 20s. People have also already commented how odd it is that I was married at 24. I know people’s opinions shouldn’t influence when my husband and I make important life decisions, but I really hate how these comments have started to make me feel insecure in my age. It’s weird in that even though I am young compared to my colleagues, I feel totally secure in my qualifications for my job and that I deserve to be here as much as they do, but when it comes to these family issues I feel like a chastised child.

    I’d be interested in if anyone has had similar experiences or if anyone has advice how to respond/process/ ignore this weird input. I really don’t want to internalize it, but sometimes I can’t help but feel that I am.

    • Cornellian :

      Haters gonna hate. have kids when you want.

      • TO Lawyer :

        +1 If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading comments here over the last year or so, there is never a great time to start a family and you never know whether things are going to work out. If you feel ready, go for it.

      • seriously. both of the above. Seriously.

        to provide a counterpoint to the “you’re too young,” My parents had my sister and me when my mom was mid-30s and my dad was mid-40s. We are now dealing with a lot of ‘older people’ issues that most of our peers would associate with their grandparents. It was hard for my sister to be in her 20s and worrying about parents’ health issues and end of life discussions, so she has decided she MUST have children earlier than they did so that her kids don’t have a similar experience. So, there are arguments for both sides, honestly. You really just have to do what works for you and eff other people. ;o)

        • Totally agree. I got married at 19 (our 19th anniversary is next week) and had 3 kids – last one was born about 3 months after my 30th birthday. I don’t regret it for an instant. I’m so glad to be a young parent, even though it was hard financially.

          I’m the oldest in my family. My parents had 3 kids, thought they were done having children for 10 years, and then had two more. So my youngest brother & sister were raised by older parents. It’s been interesting to see the parenting differences between how they raised their ‘first’ family & how they raised their second. That cemented dh & my decision that we didn’t want to be older parents.

          So, do what’s best for you and ignore what anyone else says. You are the one that has to live your own life – they don’t have to live your life so they have no say in the matter.

    • It sounds like they’re uncomfortable with their own decisions, and are trying to get over that by pretending their choices are the “right” choices. There is absolutely no need to listen to strangers or near-strangers who give such rude unsolicited advice.

      If you stil need encouragement, there seems to have been a rash of articles lately about how having kids on the younger side is great for a number of reasons; you could look some of those articles up. Furthermore, keep in mind that the majority of children in the history of the world have been born to mothers younger than 28.

    • I’m not sure if you’re talking to them about when to have kids, in which case my advice definitely doesn’t apply, but if you’re not and they’re just commenting, I’d be inclined to say something to the effect of “My reproductive decisions are really between me and my husband. Thanks for your input.”

    • Isn’t the usual recommendation to have kids before you’re 35 if you can to reduce risk of birth defects? But seriously, have kids when you want. I’m a year older than you and people in my peer group are starting to have kids. I don’t think 28 is unusual.

      Have you asked the people saying that to explain why they’re urging you to wait? I used to hear a lot of advice from my coworkers about enjoying my youth before I get “trapped” by a spouse, a mortgage, and kids. Maybe they’re wishfully thinking of themselves.

    • People are knuckleheads. You know what’s best for you. I think the vocal opposition you’re getting has very little to do with you. It’s more likely those people giving you unsolicited advice are justifying their own family planning choices aloud. Just because those folks didn’t feel ready to have kids in their late 20s doesn’t mean you’re not ready or that you shouldn’t. Good luck to you!

    • I would not talk about when you’re going to have babies with your coworkers. People have a tendency to think that their way is the only right way. It sounds like you and your husband are ready. That’s all that matters.

      As for how to respond, I really don’t think that this warrants a response. Really.

      In terms of how to process it, I think it’s important to always remember context. When I was 20 I spent a bit of time in a country where traditionally women my age tended to be married or on their way. A lot of older women I met there would look at me with pity whenever I said I was single and had no desire to be married and then would try to console me by saying, “don’t worry, it could still happen for you.” And I was 20! I remember at the time thinking it was quite funny. I have since tried to approach all unsolicited judgments the same way.

      • Anonymous :

        “As for how to respond, I really don’t think that this warrants a response. Really. ” I was thinking the same thing.

        And I agree it’s a very funny world view you’ve got around you. I’m blown away by it, because I was 27 when I had my first child and people around me were all ‘what is TAKING SO LONG???’ LOL, shrug it off. Just remember that it’s only that way in the little pocket you interact with at work. That’s not the thinking everywhere. I have to remind myself of that frequently at work, where I’m in a highly-educated, well-paid bubble. If I had a dollar every time a coworker asked WHICH private school we choose for our kids, I could pay the tuition.

        • I think this is a helpful way to think about it. Thank you. I realized that they are all form the east coast and most are from ivy league schools where their riends waited a long time to have a family. My husband and I come from the south where most of our friends started families a few years ago. I think it started to get under my skin because we are such a small group, I don’t want to feel judged every day of my pregnancy. But really…who cares…its not their life, so I just need to get over it.

          • Yep, totally background-specific. I live in an area of the country where as a 19-year-old bride I was one of the last of my friends to make it to the altar, and now that I am 24 my mother is getting seriously stressed that I will never give her grandkids. If I am still childless at 28 pretty much all of my acquaintances will assume I am infertile and pity me. Most of my friends from high school have 2-3 kids.

            Anyway, everybody’s “normal” is defined heavily by their own experience, and for the most part none of them are wrong (and certainly not *inappropriate*).

          • I totally get not wanting to be judged for your life decisions, but I will say this: pregnancy (and then parenthood) is one of the first times in my life where I felt like my private life was on display. And everyone has an opinion, about all things pregnancy and parenting related and much of it is completely contradictory. It is truly impossible to make all sides happy and constantly “do the right thing.” The only people you can make happy are yourself and your husband: make the best decision for you, your husband and your future family and then learn to ignore the rest. (Or embrace the third trimester and let the snarky comebacks fly and blame it on the pregnancy hormones…. )

    • There is no good time to have kids. The only time that works is the timeframe that you and your partner decide will work. If you think that time is now, then start now. It takes on average 6-8 months to conceive. For all you know, you could be in your 30s by the time that baby is born. And if you conceive right away, then great, everything has gone according to plan! Just because they weren’t ready at 28, doesn’t mean you aren’t. I remember being at a married friend’s 30th bday party when I was 28. She was like “I want a baby so badly!” and all I could think was “WHY WOULD YOU RUIN YOUR LIFE LIKE THAT?” But the baby fever hit me soon enough. Do what works for you and don’t let others bring you down.

    • Anonymous :

      I was also married at 24 and occasionally get comments about how young I am to be married, etc. Like some other commenters pointed out- this stuff is usually a reflection of the person who is saying it, i.e. they’re insecure about NOT having kids or being married, etc.

    • Diana Barry :

      I would just smile and nod and IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE.

      Just anecdotally, of the people I know, the ones who were older (40) when they started having kids had a harder time with energy once the baby was born.

      I had my first kid at 29 and think that was just about perfect, although I would have been happy with a year earlier (we had some difficulty TTC #1).

    • Thanks everyone! This does make me feel better. I think it is hard because I really like my coworkers and respect them. We have a pretty small, close knit group so when they say these things it really stings. I think I have just been caught off guard by how staunch they were in their opinions over something like this. My husband thinks thy are nuts, but I haven’t felt comfortable talking to girlfriends about it because we aren’t really sharing that we are thinking of starting a family, so I really appreciate the feedback.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Another thought – if these are your compatriots at work that are your age and don’t have kids, one of the reasons they may be outspoken about having them at 35+ is to get the higher ups thinking that they are “serious” or “career-oriented.” Rightly or wrongly, they may be outspoken about this not to influence you, but to try to deflect the idea that they may ever take a maternity/paternity leave, etc.

      • I wish I’d been in a position to start having kids at 28. Waiting until mid-30s -40s just because is nuts.

        • +1

        • Same here, wish I was settled down with a good partner by now (I am 28 too). Still dating and it is exhausting, so much mental energy and time wasted on it.

    • Oh man, I was in exactly your situation. My husband and I were married “young.” I was 23, and he was 24. I remember feeling like having a kid in your 20s as a lawyer (especially in biglaw) was like a teenage pregnancy. That being said, we had our first when I was 28 (after over a year of trying and infertility treatments) and I was still in biglaw. When we did tell people, we received both reactions: wow! you’re so young (colleagues) and wow! we never thought you would after having been married for 5 years (family, mostly). When we started trying, we were definately ready to embrace a child into our lives and all the chaos, joy and madness that a baby brings.

      My best advice, as others have said, is to do what is right for you and your husband. If you are ready now, great. Good luck! If you want to wait a few years, you will probably be fine too. But make that decision based on how the two of you feel. And try your best to ignore the random comments. They are most likely a reflection of those individual’s choices, successes and struggles.

      • This makes me laugh because I joke with my husband all the time that I feel like people are going to look at me and tell me I should join the cast of Teen Mom. I recently left biglaw thinking that biglaw attitudes would change in the government…but I was wrong.

      • Chiming in to concur with the “teenage pregnancy” attitude. I’m 30, big law, pregnant with my first. No one has said anything (to my face) about being pregnant “so young” but prior to getting pregnant, multiple partners told me (completely unsolicited) that no one should have children until they were in their 30s. Yes, really. This was sometimes followed with a “how old are you?” Totally inappropriate and totally unsolicited. These were all male partners, btws.

        I’ve been married since I was 23 and never ever bring it up at work because the reactions I got (even pre pregnancy) were shock and slight disapproval- as if my “early” marriage was a teen pregnancy. I really don’t care anymore what these people think and hopefully you won’t either. The people who have made these comments to me about how you “should” wait to have children in your 30s or waiting until your 30s to get marriesd are all, without exception, older, white men who went to ivy league schools and have been divorced AT LEAST once….some at least 3 times. They don’t know me or my husband and frankly, from the little I know of their personal lives, they aren’t people whose advice I would really want to take (they work way more than I would like to at their age and rarely see their families).

        I’m the first of my law school friends to have a baby but the last of my HS/college friends. It’s totally a class/socio-economic/regional issue. If you and your husband want to have children, I say go for it!

        • Oh definately! I remember looking around at those rendering “parenting”/TTC/marriage advice and thinking that there was not a single partner whose life, especially home life, I would want to emulate. I totally felt like I had a teen pregnancy, but in reality I was 28, stable in my career, finances and marriage and it was right for us.

    • I think people will comment/judge no matter what you do. I know plenty of people who judge others or have been judged for waiting until their mid-late 30s. I’m sure if you were 34, had been married 9 years and were still childless you would be getting tons of questions about when you were going to have a baby. Agree with everyone else who said you have to do what’s right for you and your husband, that’s the only thing that matters. Personally, I can’t see myself having kids until I’m at least 30 (I’m also 28 now) but I’ve been married for less time than you and I have only in the last couple of years gotten into a stable financial and career situation. If I had met my husband earlier and gotten my career on track a year or two earlier I think I would be ready now. The people making these comments are probably a little bit jealous that you have your life so settled and together at such a young age and their comments say more about them than you. I know its easier said than done, but just ignore all that noise and do whats right for your family.

      • Houston Attny :

        “I think people will comment/judge no matter what you do.”

        LH writes truth. Do whatever works for you and hubby.

    • Quoting AIMS – “People have a tendency to think that their way is the only right way”.
      This is true about Every aspect of pregnancy and parenting, and other choices that people tend to be passionate about. Learn to ignore – JSFAMO. You’ll need it in the years to come.

    • Echoing what everyone else has said about doing what you feel is right for you.

      I have a friend who got married while she was in college (her DH is a few years older) and 18 months later, was pregnant with her first — totally by surprise. I remember thinking OMG, what are you thinking?! You’re so young!? But also realizing that this was her life and her decision. Now she’s got a 2nd grader and a kindergartener and I see how much fun her kids have had having a “young” mom.

      And it’s a regional thing too — I grew up in Florida, so half of my FB feed is filled with HS friends on their 2nd, 3rd or 4th child, and the other half are my “North/city” friends, who have barely contemplated settling down.

    • I agree with the general opinion to have kids when you want, but the impression I got from your post is that you’re discussing this with your coworkers – as in, you’re the one bringing it up. If so, stop bringing it up. First, it might solve the problem and second, it’s really inappropriate to discuss this at work (this works both ways – if you’re not the one bringing it up, it’s really inappropriate for your coworkers to discuss it).

      I also agree that people who have opinions about things that don’t really affect them (such as when you have kids) are really talking about their own insecurities.

    • Senior Attorney :

      None of their business. I agree it’s best to keep it to yourself if you don’t want people to weigh in.

      And FWIW, one of the best decisions I ever made, in a life full of bad decisions, was to have my son in my 20s.

    • If you want a baby, have a baby. Life will work out.

      That said, I’m *not* in law, but I do work in an environment where most of the women had kids in their mid 30s. I was 28 when we decided to TTC (had the baby at 29), and we did so because we had a long talk about how many children we’d like to have and it turns out that DH felt pretty strongly about more than two. I felt pretty strongly about having kids before 35/36 if at all possible. We did the math. If we wanted 3 kids spaced out a couple years, we decided it was time to get going.

      If the entire decision were up to me, I’d have waited until 30/31 and had two kiddos because hey, kids change things and I was having a pretty good time at 28. But I don’t regret our decision for a second, and marriage is all about compromise.

      All that is to say that if you work with people that are having children in their mid/late 30s, it wouldn’t surprise me if they are having smaller families (at least- the ones I know are…). We’d have loved to have a larger family AND wait for financial and lifestyle reasons, but it just doesn’t work that way! :)

    • Got married at 21 after we both graduated undergrad. Waited to get pregnant and had a baby at 25.

      That baby is starting her 2nd year of college in 2 weeks and I don’t envy my FB friends who are still chasing little ones (although I *love* little kids, I’m glad to be beyond that stage right now).

    • Biologically, it’s better for your body to have babies under the age of 35, according to a perinatologist I consulted after a miscarriage. Apparently the chromosomes in the eggs just get “stickier” (her word exactly), making it more likely for defects to occur. After the age of 35, statistically speaking the odds of having a baby with issues is just higher. Not only that, but quite frankly, it’s easier on your body to be pregnant in your 20s as opposed to your 30s. Healing is faster in your 20s, recovery, muscle tone, weight loss, everything is typically just a little bit easier. Think of it this way: Can you pull an all nighter at 28 and feel the same way you did at 18? Baby = all nighters pretty much for the first year unless you win the proverbial lottery and birth a sleeper.

      I’m 36 and if I had it to do over again, I’d have had my babies 5 years earlier – I was 32 with my first and I’m just now saying goodbye to baby weight after my 2nd, born 18 months ago. I absolutely would have been able to take care of my return to self better if we had started earlier.

      Screw everyone else; do what’s right for you and your husband. If it’s now, then go for it. If not then wait and start when you are ready.

    • Life is too short. I am witnessing that first hand and it’s very tragic and sad.

    • Commentress :

      This is not an area where you need approval. If you are ready, go for it!

      My sister, an awesome aunt, has had issues with the right guy. I have 4, she and mr. right are TTC and are now investing in fertility treatments at barely 40.

      You’ve got love, finances and more time to enjoy your kids and expanded family life through their adult years, those opinions don’t have roots in your life.

    • So wish I had you all 10 years ago when I was 26 and pregnant!!! Now 36, “Director of” with a 10 year old and a 6 year old and very happy, but it was hard not having support.

  11. This is anonymous because I think I’ll get more useful responses if I come right out with my financial situation.

    My husband and I both got new jobs 6 months ago, and combined we now make about $12,000/month before taxes (he make slightly more, but our benefits come out of his check, so my actual paychecks are larger) before that we were un/underemployed. Due to some long delayed expenses, we didn’t focus much on saving the first few months of our vastly increased income. However, we both have amazing credit. Our initial plan was to rent for a year and then buy a house in February or March of 2014. However, home prices in our area are going up pretty fast, so we’re thinking about starting to look now. I’d just like some perspectives to help clarify whether this is a good idea.

    We currently have $17,000 in savings and $3000-4000 in checking. We’re increasing our savings by $3-4000/month. We’re currently paying $1000/month toward my student loans, but we only have to pay $600, and since I’ve been paying ahead I can stop paying anything for a few months without any problem. It’ll cost us about $2000 to break our lease early. Both of our parents would be willing to give/lend us a few thousand to help us buy, although we’d prefer not to ask it of them. We’re hoping to pay in the $250k-$300k range, $320k tops. At that price, we should be able to afford the mortgage payments on just my husband’s income, as I don’t feel entirely secure at my job (I don’t know if my insecurity is rational or not, but we figure it’s a good financial plan regardless).

    So, I know we’re going to have some temporary cash flow problems if we buy now, but my sense of the market is that it still makes more sense to buy now than to wait 4-5 months while prices and interest rates probably increase further. However, I don’t really trust my judgment because I really want to buy, so I think I might be rationalizing to acheive my desired results.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Maddie Ross :

      As someone who bought at the height of the market, let me just tell you – you can’t really time the market and you shouldn’t let that (overly) impact your decision. Especially if you’re not financially confident. If you (a) had a lease that was up, (b) had saved more for a downpayment, and/or (c) felt confident in both your jobs, I would say start looking. But if you’ve already decided that the spring was the earliest you would do it, don’t let rising home prices scare you into jumping in early. Maybe if you wait until spring interest rates will increase. Or homes will go up by 5%. But maybe prices will go down. Or maybe the bottom will drop out again because this growth is unsustainable. You have to buy when you feel confident doing so because your finances are straight.

    • Anonymous :

      Talk with a mortgage broker. One of you may need two years at one job. Friends were recently denied because the earning spouse recently went from associate to partner, and the change from being an employee to ‘self-employed’ apparently reset the clock.

      You’ll easily be able to afford that price on one income. You’re saving at a great pace now. Keep saving and look after your lease is up. You’ll have a very nice down payment. If you have 20% down, you can skip mortgage insurance, get a 15 year loan with a better rate and lower cost over the life of the loan, and all around be better off. You don’t need to borrow from your parents, so don’t.

      • Anonforthis :

        You might not need to be at your jobs for 2 years. This summer I closed a 3.5% 30 yr loan with a major bank (think BOA, WellsFargo, SunTrust, etc.) on my salary alone since my husband declared bankruptcy right before I met him and is ineligible for lending from most major banks. I have been at my current job less than a year, was at the job before that for less than a year, and was unemployed for a few months before that (although before unemployment I had been at my job for a number of years). Because all of those jobs involved being an attorney and because my current salary was fine to cover the payments, it wasn’t an issue.

      • I am pretty set on a 20% down payment, so I would argue that you either buy a house in the $100K range, or wait the 12 months until you can buy at $325K. It doesn’t make any sense to pay PMI if you’ll have the proper savings within a year. And it also makes sense to funnel that $4000 into a “housing” account to get used to living on one salary before you make a 15/30 year commitment to doing so.

        Then talk to a mortgage broker to see if you qualify for a loan of that amount. Only then, if you qualify for a loan, know you can afford the payment, AND have 20%, should you start looking at houses. Housing likely won’t dramatically change in a year, even if prices increase 10% – that means a $300K is now $330K. That doesn’t largely change the quality of house you can afford.

        • Also adding… I don’t know what market you are in, but $250-$320 is a huge range. You should narrow that down more – look on Zillow (only the homes actually up for sale – the estimates are crap) or MLS or whatever resources you have to understand a more realistic range and what kind of house you can get for that money in your area.

          And be careful about your max – most homebuyers buy +- 5% of their “max” price, so for you, that would be between $300 and 340, give or take. It’s simple human dynamics – in a given market, homes at say $320 are “better” than homes at $250, so you’ll naturally graviate to the $320 ones. But they won’t have everything you want. So you’ll look “just to see” at a $335 home. And of course, it’ll have one “better” thing, and you’ll say “Well, $15k over 15/30 years isn’t that bad… and it would cost us more than that to upgrade it ourselves….” And then you’re offering 330.

        • Anonforthis :

          We bought a few years ago. We actually had the ability to put 20% down, but instead opted to put 3.5% down and get an FHA loan. Yes, we have to pay a mortgage premium. But we left the extra 16% in the market and have earned over 20% in returns in that time period. We just sold a bunch of stock, paid off a big chunk of student loans, and are contemplating paying down the mortgage to the point we no longer have to pay mortgage insurance or just continuing on as is.

          I guess what I”m saying is that there are a lot of people for which paying 20% is important. It made sense for us not to–and it was something we were comfortable with– even though we had the funds available.

          • In-House Optimist :

            Agreed. If you can make the mortgage payment on one salary comfortably, and a house is something you want, and your loans/other debt are in good shape, not putting 20% down isn’t the end of the world.

            Also, the more you put down the less PMI you pay — there are loans out there that will allow you to put a range of downpayments: 3.5% down for an FHA, or 5% – 15% down for other loans. Putting $17,000 down on a 300k house is more than 5%. So long as you don’t do an FHA, you can get rid of the PMI once your mortgage is valued at 78% of your loan. So if you guys find a fixer-upper that’s lower in your price range, this would be a great option. You can also extend out the closing date by a month or two to give you time to get your cash reserves back up.

            Moral of the story, I don’t think you should get sucked into the “IT MUST BE 20% DOWN” conventional wisdom so long as (!) everything else is ok financially. My only piece of advice would be to not forget about the closing costs. Those suckers add up fast and require cash!

    • I would wait until you had 20% for a down payment to make sure you have equity in the house, and avoid paying PMI. That would give you about another 15 months of saving (make sure you know what your max house price is vs. your max mortgage amount. If you have a higher down payment your max mortgage will be smaller.) I think waiting is actually wiser in this economy, because it’s very unclear what the housing market is going to do in the next few months. In my market prices have increased by over 12% in the last year, which is significantly higher than the 4% (ish) average over the past 50+ years. If interest rates go up, there’s no question prices will go down because the economy is just not doing well enough to sustain this growth in the housing market. I don’t think you’re missing out on anything right now if you wait. ‘

      When you’re calculating your monthly payment, don’t forget to factor in property tax and home insurance. Those amounts will have a huge impact on your monthly payment. Also, in my experience there are a TON of hidden costs in the first year after buying a house. You don’t know what fixes you’ll need to make, what furniture you’ll want to buy, and other things you will want to do to make it yours. Of course, you likely won’t need to do all of that, but it’s fun to be able to have the cash on hand to nest.

  12. Do any of you lovely ladies get hives when you’re really stressed out? If so, how do you manage them? I currently have them on my scalp and hair line, and even on my face in spots, and I have to keep coming to work, so I can’t continually take Benadryl to mitigate the itching. They are painful and burn, so there’s that too. I’m miserable. Hydrocortisone cream is an option for the face, but not for my scalp as much, since it makes my hair look greasy. :/

    • I don’t regularly get hives, so take this with a huge dose of salt. The last time I had hives (out of the 2 times I’ve had it), the doctor recommended steroids as soon as it spread to my face. I have no idea if steroids are something you can take regularly if you get hives regularly, but the doctor did seem to be extra worried about the face hives.

    • I get what I call “finger bumps”, but I’m not sure if they’re from stress or allergies. They come intermittently and can itch a little but not too bad so I just wait it out and within a week they’re gone.

      • I get those & realized it was related to using disinfectant wipes on my keyboard. apparently my skin was allergic to the chemicals.

        • Hm interesting! I haven’t noticed using any specific problem before getting it but I’ll try to pay more attention.

    • Frou Frou :

      I get a horrible rash (not hives) from stress. If it’s really bad, you might consider a round of prednisone. Go see your derm. He/she should have some options for you that are far better than the OTC meds. I went to mine after suffering for 6 months with a rash from head to waist that wouldn’t go away. She got on me for waiting so long (“no need to suffer! I have remedies!”).

    • I do on the inside of my arms when I’m stressed. I use clear Calamine lotion. It gets rid of the redness and the itching. I also get canker sores that are cured by Abreva. Unsolicitied I know, but if your body is allergic to stress, like mine, it might be helpful.

    • I use scalpacin for the itch to my head so my hair doesn’t look greasy. My derm said use steroid cream/ointment for my skin rashes and that the permanent solution is to get a new job. I am sure there are natural things that you can do as well. The long term steroids for me, has made my skin very thin on my hands and shins and it rips easily when scratched. Try some stress relief tactics. Easier said than done, I take a deep breath and close my door.

    • I do (or at least I used to), and they would sometimes last for weeks and be all over. I finally had a doctor suggest that I go home, take one (1) 24 hour zyrtec and one (1) 24 hour benadryl (apparently they cover different allergens, which is something I didn’t know before), and go to sleep for 12-16 hours. Done. Steroids and other drugs had already not really worked for me, and I had some pretty bad side effects from the steroids. Obviously there are some concerns with this, but my doctor felt that the upside outweighed the risks, and since we could never determine exactly what was causing mine (but chalked it up to stress given the general high-stress nature of my job), this was a fast and (at least for me) sure-fire cure. I rarely get hives anymore, but if I catch it early, before it really starts to spread, and sleep the pills off, the hives are completely gone and don’t come back, but YMMV.

  13. Anon for this :

    Skip if you don’t want to be bothered by venting and advice seeking.

    Alright, where to start.
    To make super long short story, I am in a big slump at the moment. I am seeking advice before I do something irreversible.
    I just turned 28 and I have no qualifications, no job, stuck in a foreign country and in a failed relationship because I have no finances to move out.
    I was studying Psychology in my home country, quit it in my last year because of financial issues. Meanwhile I met someone from another country, since I was jobless and not studying, we decided I would move to his country. We never thought it would be this troublesome to get residence permit or work permits, but it was. I am here for 4 years now and I still haven’t received my renewal of residence permit. One thing leads to the other, no residence permit = no work permit.
    So while not working, we decided I would go back to study. It hasn’t working. I enrolled in Law and everything was going great until I deeply realized I don’t like this place and my life here (in fact I never really liked and with all the trouble to get permits and other things, I never really felt “fitting in” here). Since I cannot practice Law anywhere else if I study it here plus together with the fact my partner is paying all the expenses, I quit.
    Going back to my home country is not really an option, they are in big recession there, my parents can hardly support me and there are no jobs or opportunities, especially for people like me without any qualifications at 28. My plan would be to move back to Europe but to another country if I had any money.

    So here I am. I feel I have nothing. I feel I can do nothing without some savings at least.
    I would like to ask for some advice. I feel completely lost.
    Thank you in advance *

    • Anonymous :

      So sorry you are stuck in this situation, but I know you can and will get through it! I believe many people set off with grand expectations, but then life throws them some curveballs. When those curveballs arrive while you’re in another country with no citizenship safety net, I think the only choice is to seek out cash paying work (i.e. as an au pair/nanny or waitressing/bartending). Maybe even teach English? So many foreigners do this type of work, do try to look into it and save save save! At first enough to rent a room somewhere to leave your unhappy relationship, then enough to start standing on your own two feet while figuring out what you want to pursue long-term. Baby steps and the rest should fall into place, although it will obviously take a while. Best of luck and keep your spirits high!

    • Houston Attny :

      Oh my goodness. There is much here to cause stress. I know how it feels to think you are at the bottom of a pit and to be unsure you can see light. It’s there – it really is – so please don’t do “something irreversible.”

      Let me throw out some random ideas, all of which you might’ve considered:
      – Are there any friends/extended family who might be able to offer a helping hand? Perhaps who might help with accommodations for a couple of months until you are settled in a new place?
      – Have you looked for jobs/internships/former classmates in the city or country you’d like to move?
      – Though your home doesn’t have a great economic situation, is it a place you might go to assess the situation, find something even temporary that pays a little while you collect your thoughts?

      Please post this early on tomorrow morning’s thread if you don’t get many responses. Since it’s later in the day, many may not get to see your post and offer their great wisdom. I’m going to think on this some more but please let others weigh in. And in the meantime, hang in there. Think of it this way – yourself on the other side of this, having survived this and how very strong you will be.

    • Hi,
      1) Can you give more details about the two countries since you’re anonymous anyway? Whare are your home and current residence countries? We have readers here from many places, and some who travel a lot, and you may get more specific tips.

      2) Thinking through what you’ve described, it seems like the primary problem is your lack of savings making you feel powerless. It also looks like you can’t work in the country you are currently in, not having a work permit. So I guess you have 3 choices – try and apply for a work/residence permit as soon as possible, be a student for a little while longer or take unpaid opportunities maybe getting skills that are more readily transferable, or move to another country where you’re eligible to work.

      3) While you’re thinking through the options in (2), are there things you can do to make friends, get advice and mentoring, and think through your future life plans? Maybe go to meetup groups to meet more like-minded women? Join an association of people from your home country? Go to your consulate and seek out opportunities to meet others? Join a volunteer group or teach without pay? Seek out (free) counseling? If you belong to a religious organization that may be another way to meet people. You don’t want to be stuck in this place completely dependent on your current relationship partner. You need to talk through this with a third party, or just be out and busy with other things once in a while.

      Do post again in the morning thread, and I hope you’re comfortable giving more details to get specific advice.

    • Commentress :

      Find something you like to do and volunteer.

      Check in with a faith-based organization that meshes with your family’s culture. Most religions are international and can help, and work with immigrant populations, so are familiar with visa/permit issues and may know someone who can help with the permit process.

      Consider that getting an education in law will add something to your resume if you return to your home country and want to work with international matters – it’s not all about using it while you live there, FWIW.

      Take care of you. Get enough sleep. Find one thing you are grateful for in this moment. Notice one beautiful thing every day and take a beat, or moment to just accept that beauty. Bonus points if it’s part of you – a fleck of color in your eye, a funky punk hair, a fold of skin in your navel.

      Oh, and on floating balloons, does your alma mater have a study abroad program in your area? Alumni to network with?

      The going is tough, keep going!

  14. Lo & Sons UK alternative :

    To the poster who was looking for an alternative for the OMG (or the OG?): my boyfriend recently ordered a laptop bag from Knomo, and I noticed that they also had several very nice business bags for women. I haven’t seen any of the womens’ bags in person, but his bag seems to be of high quality, so they must also be nice. I actually had the exact same question as you, but had forgotten about the brand until today.

  15. Merabella :

    I have to thank whoever suggested playing BINGO with terrible phrases their mother said – I think it was K in Transition. This has seriously helped me with all kinds of regularly annoying things – colleagues who can’t seem to get their stuff done/show up/arrive on time. It makes it a game, and far less irksome.

    I don’t remember who you are, but you have seriously changed my life for the better.

  16. I have very similar shoes to this from Target or Payless or Gap or something. I wear them like *every* *day* in the summer. I love wearing them with light suits for court. Love them.

work fashion blog press mentions