Thursday’s TPS Report: Cap Sleeve Peplum Blouse

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

Vince Camuto Cap Sleeve Peplum BlouseI always like to get a few nice, on-trend blouses in white and black for the summer — they’re the easiest thing to mix into your wardrobe, and they instantly update any pieces from previous years.  I think this white, cap sleeve, peplum blouse looks like it would be lovely — it seems so much nicer than all of the skintight white peplum shells we saw last year.  This one is $89 at Nordstrom. Vince Camuto Cap Sleeve Peplum Blouse

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


  1. Cap sleeves are so unflattering on me, and I don’t love peplum. This blouse is meh for me, but, I can see how it might be viewed as more classic if it suits your shape/wardrobe.

    Has anyone here had a personal trainer? How did you choose your PT? Were the results worth it/of note? How long did you use the trainer for? Also, pricing (if you don’t mind saying..)? Other commentary re: PTs?

    • A few years ago I signed up for a personal trainer at the gym I belonged to. I absolutely loved it and they definitely pushed me to up my weightlifting/core strength/etc. (I generally just run or take a cardio class). I saw the trainer twice a week and they worked out a plan for what I should be doing the other days (and accepted it when I told them that realistically, I was only going to the gym 4-5 days per week). I did it for probably 2.5 months? It was expensive ($65/session? $85/session? Can’t remember which) and work got crazy and then I took a lower paying job and so on. But if I win the lottery, I’m totally getting a personal trainer again. I just work much harder when someone else is there telling me what to do. I definitely saw excellent results (I dropped some weight and was much stronger).

    • I have had a few personal trainers – 2 that I trained with maybe 2-3 months each and then another that I trained with for 8 months.

      I saw significant results with all 3 PTs, but they did not last after I stopped PT. I stayed with the last PT for 8 months because by then I had figured out that it was important for me to like the person or I would not attend the appointments. My advice would be to try out a few and don’t feel bad about switching to another PT (even within the same gym). My last PT told me that PTs understand that fit is important and sometimes elusive. In the end the expense was substantial ($60 per week, I think) and I couldn’t prefer it over other expenses.

    • I have had several personal trainers over the years, good, bad and just meh. My current one is great. I went to him after I had lost about 60 pounds, and over the last 18 months, I have lost 60 more with his help. I am now squarely in a health weight for my height, and have consistently lost inches from my arms, waist and hips. He weighs and measures me at the beginning of each month.

      I go 3x per week, for 1/2 hour each session. In that time, he shows me the exercises to do for the day, and I usually get two sets in, and then do another after our time is up. So I spend 30 minutes with him and then another 15-20 minutes on my own. The cost is about $ 30 per session. I buy blocks of sessions at a time, and pay with monthly bank drafts.

      My trainer is through a gym, and I like that because there are several on staff. The one that I had before this guy was just basically a glorified counter, and once I realized that I was not getting results, I asked to switch. If you go with an independent person, you don’t have that luxury to switch as easily. Plus, when my trainer was off for two weeks for his wedding and honeymoon, he had another trainer fill in with me. He also has laid out a plan for me to follow on the other 2 days that I am not there with him. We change that plan up every month or so when we do weight and measurements.

      Ask for what certifications your trainer holds. Mine has extra certifications in nutrition, and he helps me with what % of my diet should be protein, fat, carbs, etc. My guy’s focus is not just doing the work, but doing the work CORRECTLY which is a big deal. He is very picky about form. That was hard in the beginning, but really makes a difference. In 18 months with him, I have not been injured once whereas others I know seem to have pain and injuries with their trainers fairly often. HE can often help me “tweak” areas. . . for example, I REALLY hate my upper arms. He spends time with me on those, and then gives me extra things to do on the “off days” to work on that area.

      Most gyms will give you a free session, so try a couple of different ones out. It’s kinda like a good hairstylist. . . you just have to find a competent person that “gets” you.

      I am happy to correspond about this by e mail. [email protected]

    • I used a personal trainer for two years and lost about 50lbs. It was hard work – and truly the only way you’re going to lose weight (if that’s your goal) is to monitor your eating habits because the trainer isn’t going to do it for you. I now do small group classes at the same gym (where there are a max of four people in the class) and we do similar workouts.

      I think it was 100% worth it for me. I needed to the discipline of 3x/week training so I could be disciplined in other areas (my eating). I am very strong now, love having muscles. It was $60/session if I signed up for a year, 3x/week. Now the small group is unlimited class for $300/mo.

      Expensive? You bet. Worth it? Definitely.

      • My PT does help with nutrition and such. I send her food logs every week, and she will both keep me accountable (“Girl Scout cookies, seriously?”) and will recommend various foods to ensure I’m eating enough protein, etc. Its part of the base rate of her fee, which is about $65 for a 60 minute session. I only work out with her 1x per week (I’d LOVE to do more but can’t afford it), and then she helps me plan other workouts for the week, and then randomly texts during the week to follow up. So far, well worth the money.

    • Anyone have a great personal trainer in the DC area? Preferably north west.

      • I had a few sessions with Chris Perrin (Perrin PT) and he is very professional and knowledgeable. I don’t know if he works in north west, I had sessions with him in the gym of my condo building in Rosslyn. He has a good social media presence if you want to check him out beforehand to see if he’s a good fit for you.

      • I’ve never used him for personal training, but I take exercise classes with Devin Maier at Balance Gym in Thomas Circle, and he is excellent and does personal training as well. You can get lots of discounts on personal training when you sign up for the gym, which is also a steal for DC ($69/month).

    • I’ve always wanted to use one. But then I started taking cross-training classes (free with membership) at my gym, where I get worked really hard, have the trainer spotting me and other folks, with the added perk of camaraderie over the many ways she has tortured us in a session. So if the cost of personal training is cost-prohibitive for you (as it is for me), you may want to see what group classes your gym offers.

      • I usually do group classes- spin, etc., but they don’t always work with my schedule, and I think I may be looking for something more personalized.

        A friend has been seeing a trainer at our mutual gym, and she recommended him, but she said she hasn’t noticed a ton of changes in the month she’s been working with him, so…I don’t know. I’ve had a trainer in the past and I didn’t think he was at all worth the money- I repeatedly asked for a program I could follow on the days I didn’t see him, and he never gave me anything, I think he underestimated me, and we didn’t click, so I’m hesitant to spend the money again for another pointless experience.

        • I’ve worked out with several trainers–the one I had in DC was awesome (sadly he’s moved since then), and the couple I’ve had in Seattle have been so-so. For me half of it is just if I have a session I know I have to show up at the gym, but I also want to see results, and I’m not sure how much is my half-assed-ness, and how much them not pushing me more/not having me do results-worthy exercise. I think the worth really just depends on the trainer.

    • My swimming partner is a PT, and I signed up for six months with her for a triathlon training schedule. It helped me put exercise dates on a calendar and helped with goal-setting. I think that if you enjoy data and want to measure improvement, a PT who offers lots of online support is a good way to go.

  2. Boston Meetup? :

    Boston ‘R e t t e s – Would anyone be interested in a meetup in a few weeks? Maybe 4/4 or 4/11? Happy to take suggestions for an alternative date as well!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I would love to do this on 4/11 but I couldn’t make 4/4!

    • Miss Behaved :

      If you want to organize a meet-up, there is an existing Boston area [this site] email list and email address. The address is boston[this site]

      If you email that address, you can get access to the list.

      • I think bunkster maintained that list so I’m not sure if it will still work…

      • Maybe people who aren’t already on your private distribution clique would want to attend, also?

        • You sound delightful.

        • Miss Behaved :

          Those people could email the account. It was always about including everyone. This way you’d get the people who are in the area, but don’t check the site regularly.

          • I didn’t know there was an account, and I have posted about a few times about wanting a Boston meetup. Didnt realize there were meetups already going on.

          • There hasn’t been a meetup since January, but they occurred on the Third Thursday of every month. And there were always postings about the meetups on this site as well.

            They’ve kind of been discontinued because people got busy and a number of people quit this site because of the changes in tone and atmosphere.

    • Ooh, I’m interested. I’m emailing the list now!

    • wintergreen126 :

      I’m interested! I’ll be sure to email the address. Is there anything specific I need to include?

      • I think just indicate you’re interested! If the email list is still working, you’ll be able to join the planning conversation.

  3. lawsuited :

    I just moved from Blackberry Bold to iPhone 5 and am looking for app recommendations from the hive?

    In particular, I’m looking for a list/errand app and a password app (to replace my beloved Blackberry Password Keeper).


    • Evernote is my favorite “list” app. You can have the app on your phone and via the web from any PC.

      • Evernote seconded – it’s wonderful!
        And, actually, I’d use it for passwords too. My passwords are in my planner, written out in code, and they’re actually more vulnerable there than they would be in the same code in a note called something like ‘Summer Plans’ in Evernote.

    • There’s a free password app called “Keeper.”

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I love Secret Saver for my passwords.

  4. “Lean in” discussion – the I pay too much attention to the critics edition.

    In the section that I was reading last night, she was discussing the differences between the ways men and women accept praise and success. I’ve heard this before, but the research indicates that women tend to attribute success to external factors – got lucky, worked really hard, had a lot of help. Men, on the other hand, tend to attribute it to their own skills and abilities.

    So, I guess I’ve done a lot of reading on the criticisms of this book. In fact, the fact that the criticisms seemed so disproportionate to the complaints was what really got me interested in it. And I couldn’t help but notice how similar the woman’s reaction to success was to the criticisms I’ve heard about the book and about Ms. Sandberg – she’s lucky, she went to good schools, she was born into a family of success, she has an army of servants and nannies to help her (something I’ve never seen any evidence of, BTW), she’s rich, etc. These have come, interestingly enough, mostly from publications that you would expect to skew liberal and feminist (whatever that means). Slate, Double X, and The Atlantic come to mind, and this site to some degree. (The more conservative/libertarian publications that I read have largely ignored this, though.) Which made me think that this is more than just a problem of individual women internalizing their own doubts, but a cultural phenomenon of attributing women’s success to outside forces, rather than her own skills. I have never heard the same criticisms lobbed at a successful man, as far as I can remember.

    So, two questions: First, am I right in my interpretation? Why, and why is this something so prevalent in places that it should not be, as I described above?

    Second, what can be done to counteract this? The big problem that I see is that the external forces are doubtlessly true, for everyone, to some degree. Everyone reading this is lucky to have been born in a time and place where they could learn to read and transmit information at the click of a mouse. We’re all lucky to have been able to get an education and work; we’re all the product of our experiences along the way. But the skills have to be there, too. Great success, as with great catastrophe, is always a perfect storm of internal and external forces. But, when someone says “He succeeded because he’s really smart.” Then later it’s “She got lucky” – how can we respond to that in a way that makes the speaker critically consider whether they are looking at this through an unintentionally sexist eye?

    • Sadly, I don’t really have an answer to your second point. You could always point out the successful woman’s skills or intellectual accomplishments, but I don’t really think that will change the mind of the person who considers the woman to be “lucky.”

      But on your first point, I actually think it’s not so much that liberals are picking up on the “she got lucky” thing so much as it is an expectation that a book that criticizes male-dominated society has to criticize EVERYTHING about male-dominated society. I really think that sites like Jezebel, Slate, etc. have cornered themselves into such a small pigeonhole of liberalism that they feel like they must address *every single thing* wrong with society in *every single piece* that they write, and force this expectation on anyone/anything that seems progressive. So thus Sandberg becomes a target because she’s not addressing the dozens of other barriers to professional success besides being a woman. They ignore the fact that Sandberg never claims that these other barriers don’t exist – she’s just focusing on the one that she knows best. I truly believe too that if she HAD written a book addressing other barriers (wealth, being a woman of color, etc.), the very same people would have criticized her for making assumptions about something she never experienced. As a feminist liberal interested in addressing all of these issues, it infuriates me that some people are so resistant to addressing these issues by listening to a diversity of perspectives, rather than insisting that everyone have the same perspective.

      • “I truly believe too that if she HAD written a book addressing other barriers (wealth, being a woman of color, etc.), the very same people would have criticized her for making assumptions about something she never experienced. As a feminist liberal interested in addressing all of these issues, it infuriates me that some people are so resistant to addressing these issues by listening to a diversity of perspectives, rather than insisting that everyone have the same perspective.”

        Amen, sister.

        • Agreed.

        • I think part of the problem is that everytime a woman writes a book like this (be it Sandberg, Caitlin Moran or Betty Friedan), she is necessarily expected to speak for all women and therefore will always be judged as falling short of that task. No one expects a book by a man to speak for all men; it is just assumed that a guy is writing/speaking for his particular demographic and no one really spends too much examining all the other men that doesn’t speak for. The same thing is true for art: Lena Dunham gets flack for not representing the experience of women of her generation broadly enough, Hemingway doesn’t.

          • Cornellian :

            YES. Caitlin Moran in “How to be a Woman” talks about this. There’s definitely something to be said for thinking about how your actions as a woman reflect on women (or Americans or Christians or immigrants or whatever other groups you belong to), but women have enough to worry about in becoming equal without becoming spokespeople for 3.5 billion human beings.

          • It seems to me that there’s an individual problem – that is, that regardless of the progress made, many still refuse to see anyone but white males as individuals. Everyone else is expected to represent their *group.* It’s a downfall of identity politics, I suppose.

          • “your actions as a woman reflect on women”

            +100 !

            This XKCD comics is spot-on (although it’s math-oriented, it’s related) :

        • Definitely. Every group has its own internal policing, and sometimes, that gets out of whack.

          I speak as a progressive — and I say that too much policing of a member’s professed beliefs for ideological purity leads to only extremists being left. As a minority woman, sometimes, I wonder if we aren’t alienating white progressive middle-class women (I’ll abbreviate to WPMCW b.c. I’m a lazy typist.)

          Because if a WPMCW says something about improving the lot of women, she’s immediately suspected of being classist (not addressing the lives of poor women) and racist (not addressing the lives of minority women). If she tries to wade into these topics, she’s immediately lambasted for being a condescending white person.

          While there’s obviously a certain knowlege one has when discussing a social class and ethnic group one grew up in, it shouldn’t mean that if you aren’t in group X, you should never, ever talk about group X. It stifles the discussion.

          Seriously, I can see why someone who’s a well-meaning WPMCW will say, “F– it, I’m sick of getting pushed around by all of you thought-police, I’m signing up for Sarah Palin’s newsletter because you’ve counted on my votes and support while crapping on everything I do or say and I’m sick of it.”

          • Anon WPMCW :

            This is exactly why I’ve completely left the left, so to speak. I can’t open my mouth to help without someone making assumptions about me. White + lawyer = grew up middle class with x y z advantages. Not true. Grew up with mom on welfare in charge of raising siblings. Took out massive debt. First to go to college.

    • I agree with your interpretation, Lyssa, and was thinking about this last weekend after having a conversation with female friends trashing the book.

      I can’t think of a solution by grand design, but I have personally resolved to stop trashing Sandberg and other women like her and instead acknowledge her success. This is partly for me privately, because I need to stop assuming thinking that success for women is only possible when external factors allign (luck, FT childcare, etc.), but I think it can also do some good to publicly acknowledge and celebrate another woman’s success the way I acknowledge the success of men like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, etc.

    • I agree with your interpretation, Lyssa, and was thinking about this last weekend after having a conversation with female friends trashing the book.

      I can’t think of a solution by grand design, but I have personally resolved to stop trashing Sandberg and other women like her and instead acknowledge her success. This is partly for me privately, because I need to stop internalizing that success for women is only possible when external factors allign (luck, nannies, etc.), but I think it can also do some good to publicly acknowledge and celebrate another woman’s success the way I acknowledge the success of men like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, etc.

    • I was thinking about this exact thing recently. I think it’s a combination of the common response to women, and sort of a social class issue. Namely, if you grew up in an environment where most people go to Ivy League/top-tier schools, you know that all kinds of people end up at those schools, not just the ultra-rich. And you know that just getting in to Harvard doesn’t transform you into the CFO of a Fortune 500 company – hundreds of people get into Harvard every year, and they don’t end up Sheryl Sandberg. But for those to whom that’s completely foreign, it’s easy to assume that Harvard degree = ultra-privileged childhood and life on easy street. That enables people to dismiss her success as being of the “born on third base” variety.

      It’s kind of like people who assume that Biglaw partners are rich guys who play golf all day. Not much time for golf (or anything else) at 2700 billable a year, you know? But if that’s not part of your world, you don’t have insight into it.

    • Don’t we create our own luck? Success is not so totally random. If you help prepare yourself and seek opportunities, you may get your big break. But not if you just sit and wait for things to happen.

      Also, look at Jack Welch (or Jack Bauer). If they had had to leave work early to take care of children, stay home with a sick child, etc., etc., a lot wouldn’t have happened. A good general has colonels, majors, all the way down. Nothing happens in a complex system like a family without a lot of give-and-take (that can result in career sacrifices) or without an army of helpers backing it up.

      Me, I’d rather not outsource all of the domestic stuff. But it bugs me when that choice is seen as “women not being all that she could be” or “women not being all that men can easily be [because a woman or women behind the scenes are doing most of the work].” If my choice doesn’t bother me, why should it bother anyone else?

      • Oh, I completely agree. For the most part, we do create our own luck. There are plenty of people who have had far better external factors than me, but are not doing as well, and vice versa. But there’s always something that could have gone wrong but didn’t, or that happened to go just right.

        For example, I just got a new job, which I hope to be wildly successful at. There had been very few job openings for quite a while in my area, but, just a few weeks after I firmly decided to either really improve things at my job or find a new one, another attorney happened to get a job in the city that his wife wanted to move to, creating an opening that exactly fit my skill level, interests, and desires. If that had happened 6 months before, I probably couldn’t have taken it (I was pregnant) or might not have even seen it (as I hadn’t resolved to start looking hard yet in hopes that my current job would get better, when it got worse instead).

        But it was my “created luck” (skills and effort) that made me a good fit for that job – my excellent grades in law school and prior successes. And I expect to do well at this job, which again, will be based on my skills and efforts.

        I agree with you completely on the choices issues. A lot of people just need to mind their own business.

        • SoCalAtty :

          Last Friday I was at a leadership class and one of the speaker said “luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” I’m just in love with that quote, because that’s exactly what has happened to me in the last 2 months!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I haven’t started the book yet, but that is such an interesting point. It seems like a natural series of events to go from women attributing praise to external factors, to both men and women hearing and internalizing that, to that being the method of criticizing someone who tries to push past the norms in some way. Maybe part of the solution will be for women to learn how to accept praise based on their internal qualities and to start attributing part of men’s successes to external factors. Perhaps there is a happy medium in there where we can recognize and appreciate both the individual factors of success as well as all the external forces that help create the circumstances for the individual to thrive.

    • I see a few factors at work:

      1) Sexism, both from men and from women (including about themselves)
      2) Given #1, I wouldn’t be surprised if a disproportionate number of highly successful women (and I mean “successful” in a particular way — the Sandberg sort of way) started life with a leg up. If X is how far a man has to go from birth to success, and women therefore have to go X+1, the women who start life at +1 are more likely to reach success.
      3) The traits that allow a man to start at -1 and still reach X are traits that are generally encouraged in men (assertiveness, won’t take “no” for an answer, persistence) and discouraged in women. That means that if a brother and sister are both born at -1, the man has societal pressure to do the things that will let him achieve X+1 while the woman needs to do X+2 (using my terrible faux alegbra example from #2) plus she’ll need to work against gender type even to get to X-1. Therefore, it will be much less likely that you’ll get a rags-to-riches, pulled myself up by my bootstraps story from a woman than from a man. Meaning that, yes, successful women are more likely to be born “lucky” than a successful man.
      4) Maybe instead of discounting “luckiness” for women, men should practice humility and say “sure I worked hard, but I’ve been awfully lucky, too.” (For the record, I count being smart as being lucky. I’m very smart. Smart is the same as beautiful or athletic. You’re either born that way or you’re not. Pure luck. Like any good genes, it’s what you do with it, and how hard you work that matters. I’ll leave for another day the whole kids with marshmallows/self-restraint test question — i.e., is the capacity for hard work and delayed gratification also simply a matter of good genes and lucky — for another day.)

      • I especially agree with your last point. Maybe women who attribute their success partly to socioeconomic factors, or the “help” of others are being realistic and showing awareness, whereas men who attribute their success just to working hard are ignoring things like the role their socioeconomic class plays in success – not just things like starting “ahead” of other people, but an understanding of things like business norms that don’t have to be taught to them because they grow up with those examples all around them. Sure, people do “make their own luck,” but it’s easier to make good luck if you have more choices, not just in the “go to an expensive school vs state school” sense, but in the sense that those choices have to be a part of your world view in the first place.

        • +1

        • +1 Where you end up is largely a function of where you started. For men and women both.

        • I think realistically, that’s a good point, as in ,if we wanted to do a broad study of what goes into success, we would want to consider that. Hoowever, when we were talking about competition in the workplace, this modesty, even if realistic, will not help our cause of achieving success.

  5. The sleeves would be bad on me, but I do like this look better than other peplum tops I’ve seen.

    Early TJ:

    I am looking for a wallet to replace my current beat-up, not very well organized wallet. I’d like to get something that will last. I’d been lusting over the Hobo Lauren – love a lot about it like the fact it can double as a clutch, my iPhone will fit in it, lots of little slots for different credit cards/store reward cards, etc. But lately I’m thinking maybe I don’t want that – I’ve seen some simpler Kate Spade wallets that zip all the way around that I like.

    I’m looking for something a little “fun” – anyone have any recs? I’m looking to stay below $100 – would love to be below $75 (have found the Hobo wallets marked down quite a bit at Nordstrom, Amazon, etc., and Kate Spade stuff on their sample sales or Ebay)

    I’ll post links in the next comment. Thanks for any help!

    • Links below. And when I searched I realize I might have a hard time meeting my own budget. Hmm.’lauren’_double_frame_clutch:150175_30&cm_pla=small_leather_goods:women:wallets&cm_ven=Google_Product_Ads&mr:referralID=299831d1-922e-11e2-9389-001b2166c62d

    • I recently retired a Hobo Lauren I had been using for a number of years. It fits an amazing amount of stuff but can also be very sleek is you don’t have a huge wad of receipts stored in it. I am having trouble with my new, simpler wallet after getting used to the Lauren’s many pockets and storage places. That said, I do really like the look of Kate Spade’s Stacey/Lacey wallets.

    • I have a Fossil wallet that I bought about a year ago that is working really well for me. I was the ‘buy a new wallet every few months’ type of person because I could never find the one that really seemed to work the best for me. Small enough to fit in my small purse, can hold lots & lots of cards and a little bit of cash & coins. I can’t see it on the website, though. It’s not super cute, however, just a boring camel color, and doesn’t hold my phone, but since my purse is pretty small, this turned out to be not a big deal for me.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      I’ve posted before about troubles I’ve had with Kate Spade’s purses. However I’ve been carrying a wallet I bought from the outlet and it has held up extremely well over several years of daily use. It’s basically this one although I have nylon and not leather. It was much less than $180, so keep your eyes open (although that may be a difference in the materials).’mikas_pond_-_lacey’_zip_around_wallet:342597_3&cm_pla=small_leather_goods:women:wallets&cm_ven=Google_Product_Ads&mr:referralID=655c6804-9233-11e2-a969-001b2166c2c0

    • Sweet as Soda Pop :

      I have a hobo Lauren that I LOVE and have been using (without switching out) for at least 4 years and it is still in perfect condition.

    • I have a Kate Spade wallet that I LOVE. Sign up for the Kate Spade email list. Every couple of months they have a sample sale and that is where I bought my wallet. I think I spend $75 for a wallet that cost $200 in the store. Also check out places liket Nordstroms Rack, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls – they often have one-off wallets at great prices.

    • I have been using the Hobo Lauren for years now. It’s the best wallet. I don’t imagine I could ever go back. Grab one on sale- it’s worth it!

    • I have a Coach wallet that is very similar to that Kate Spade wallet and I love it. Fits my iPhone, wallets, gum, pills, receipts, etc. Simple and sleek with plain leather (no C’s) and I’ve been using it for almost two years now. Mine only zips at the top and not all the way around, and the zipper is also a handle so I can wear it like a wristlet or hold it like a clutch. Could be a more affordable option.

    • I recently switched from a nice Kate Spade wallet to this card case:
      I love this thing. I can finally see where everything is and it takes us so much less space in my bag than a full wallet.

    • I apologize ahead of time because I dislike when people post nonresponsive answers, but I wanted to encourage you to treat yourself. I mean, go way beyond your budget and get something fabulous. A wallet is something you see and touch and use every single day. I am not one for status items, but a great, functional, pleasing wallet is a small luxury. I like the Longchamp Veau Foulounne Continental Wallet, snap not zipper.

    • I just bought my fourth Lauren wallet. Yes, fourth. I have been using them fore
      Years. I find that they last me about 2 years before they look embarrassing, but would probably last longer if I didn’t spill stuff on them and throw them around. Conditioning from time to time definitely helps but I was too lazy to do that on my last one. I would say stay away from any of the weird flower or woven ones because they do not hold up as well as a plain leather one. I have had olive, orangey brown, woven chartreuse, and just recently bought the new teal for out for spring.

      I thought about switching to a Kate Spade but after comparing them side by side in Nordstrom and stuffing my phone, keys, etc. in each I realized I will probably use a Lauren forever. Nothing looks as cute as a Lauren on its own, either, because the Lauren looks more like a clutch.

      You can get the Lauren for probably about 70 if you don’t care about color or season. Check ebags and amazon or even ebay. If you want a curremt color, it will cost more. Hobo had 20% off going on this week if I recall correctly from the email but I am not sure what was included. If you sign up for their email list you can get 10% off.

  6. That blouse is really cute. I’d wear it, as long as it fit me properly (I have a wide ribcage and am relatively small-busted, which means most button-ups fit me weirdly).

    • hoola hoopa :

      I have a large bust and small ribcage and was thinking this would be perfect for me!

      Love the top. I can see this being a workhorse through spring and summer.

  7. I have a hobo wallet that is going strong five years in. I’d highly recommend.

    • 5 years definitely makes the cost per wear (per use?) so reasonable considering I’d be using it every day. thanks! do you know what style name it is? I’m starting to look at their more streamlined wallets – not worrying so much about potential to use it as a clutch.

      • I have the lodis checkbook wallet and can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve had it for years and years and it still looks like new. I recently got a new one, just because I wanted another color. It is a classic wallet, but comes in lots of fun colors. I take out the checkbook part. What I like most about it is that it’s got a gazillion slots for credit cards etc. Oh, and the zippered coin compartment, which is a must for me.

      • I have the lodis checkbook wallet and can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve had it for years and years and it still looks like new. I recently got a new one, just because I wanted another color. It is a classic wallet, but comes in lots of fun colors. I take out the checkbook part. What I like most about it is that it’s got a gazillion slots for credit cards etc. Oh, and the zippered coin compartment, which is a must for me.

      • I have the lodis checkbook wallet and can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve had it for years and years and it still looks like new. I recently got a new one, just because I wanted another color. It is a classic wallet, but comes in lots of fun colors. I take out the checkbook part. What I like most about it is that it’s got a gazillion slots for credit cards etc. Oh, and the zippered coin compartment, which is a must for me.

        • I loved my lodis wallet and think I will get another one for my next wallet. Well-designed and held up for years.

      • I just checked the site – it doesn’t look like they make it anymore but it is similar to the continentals.

      • The thing you won’t get in the streamlined wallets is the amazing magnet. That is what makes the Lauren so superior to any other wallet. You can out your ID plus two most used cards in the magnet section and it is awesome. I sound like a total weirdo but it really is convenient.

  8. To the person who posted yesterday morning about Sicily/Southern Italy, I posted my anon email there if you want to contact my friend who goes there regularly. She’d be happy to help!

  9. kira kira :

    Not loving what seems like a bad attempt to trend up a simple white blouse.

    Is anyone using Paula’s Choice products? I’m looking for a new routine/set of products and was thinking of trying out her line but there are not a lot of reviews out there compared to other brands.

    • Yes and I love it! I chatted with a customer service rep to find what was best for my skin and they sent me out a ton of samples to try. I think I received about 2 weeks worth so I could try and tweak if needed. I ended up getting the whole line and my skin has never looked better. I have really problem skin (oily, but prone to drying/flaking) and it actually looks nice for once.

    • yes! I have been using Paula’s Choice for 6 years now and I have been very happy. I definitely notice a difference when I run out or switch products; I always come back to PC.

      I have oily/combination skin and I use the 2% BHA Gel, Extra Strength BP Blemish Solution, and a moisturizer with 30 SPF. I have also used the RESIST anti-aging serum and I just received her 2% BHA body lotion to fight KP on my legs. I have been very happy with the results of all of these products, especially considering the price.

      I used to have acne prone, oily skin and now I get compliments on how healthy my skin looks. I never thought that would happen. It definitely took a little time to get there but it was worth it. The BHA solution also helped to clear up old red acne spots I had, too. My sister has also had a similar experience with PC products.

      I recommend trying PC to everyone who has skin issues and she also offers a 30 day return policy if you are unhappy with any of her products so it is worth a shot in my book.

      Good luck!

    • Yes, for several years now to great success. I use the combination skin line, and the regular-strength spot treatment from her clear line. I consistently get compliments on my skin and when I get a facial (2x a year, maybe), the facialist has commented that she didn’t really have any work to do. Paula’s Choice ftw. There was another woman on here who’s also a PC success story but she hasn’t been here recently and I can’t remember her handle right now. I think it started with a B?

    • kira kira :

      Thanks for the feedback ladies. I think I will pull the trigger on these products next week!

  10. See, to me this is peplum done right, as it’s not awkwardly stapled on to a t-shirt or whatever. I would consider this if it came in a colour, but I don’t do white shirts. They just don’t stay clean for me. I did just get a cute black button down, though.

  11. momentsofabsurdity :

    Something scary/sad happened to me this morning, so I just want to vent. I was driving to work and going with the speed of traffic, and the guy behind me was almost bumper to bumper with me, driving really aggressively. Sometimes, my friends tease me about driving too slow for Boston, but this time, I really was going with the speed of traffic, with about two car lengths in between me and the car in front of me (on a 45mph rd), in the middle lane, with the cars on either side going slightly faster on the left and slightly slower on the right.

    Anyway, this guy was driving really aggressively but generally when I’m driving I don’t like to “give in” to aggressive drivers by speeding up and creating a headache/potential accident risk for the car in front of me and other cars on the road. There wasn’t really room to move right and let this guy pass me either. The guy (who was in a cargo van with another guy in the passenger seat) and his passenger were flipping me the bird and honking the horn, and generally being jerks. I figured they were jerks, or maybe they had gone to a rival school (I have a college window sticker). Finally, some space opened up in the left lane and they moved over to pass me (and the 4-5 cars in front of me going the same speed). I had my windows down as they drove past me, flipped me off, and the passenger shouted “n——r b-tch!”

    I just feel very disquieted by the whole thing, even though obviously I was safe in my car and not in real danger, and the guy was just a jerk with road rage who I’ll never see again. Sigh. Not a great way to start a Wednesday.

    • I am so sorry you had that kind of awful start to your day and hope it only gets better from here.

    • Miss Behaved :

      That sucks. Last spring I was driven off the road by a guy with road rage. He chased me for miles. My car was totaled and I have PTSD. And, yes, I’m in the Boston area, too.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry that happened to you.

      • Oh my word, that’s awful.

        My heartfelt sympathies.

        One word of advice for all drivers — especially women drivers. For your commute and general range of motion, know where ALL the police departments are for all the nearby towns. If you are being pursued, don’t pull over — they may want to corner you to kill you or harm you otherwise. Drive straight to the nearest police station.

        Once you get there, lean on your horn repeatedly– that’ll get the attention of the officer in the “front lines” of the building and hopefully, get the license plate number of the road-rager and file a complaint. The road rager will NOT want to follow you to the police dept and bullies do NOT want people with more power than them (police) to observe their bad behavior.

        If you don’t trust yourself to remember where the police station is in a moment of crisis – program them all in a reliable GPS device (phone or otherwise) and proceed accordingly. Stay safe, ladies!

    • I am so sorry this happened to you. The world can be so ugly sometimes. Hugs.

    • Wow, how awful. I’m so sorry you had to deal with such a jerk.

      I had something similar happen to me once, and even though I know the man in the other car must be pretty sad and angry in the rest of his life to be so rude to a complete stranger who wasn’t doing anything wrong, it still made me feel bad. I’m not sure why it was difficult to brush off, but I sympathize with you.

      • This is what I try to remember as well, but wow, situations like this can be very rattling.

        Glad you’re safe, OP, and here’s hoping the rest of the week is much better.

    • So sorry that this happened to you — that is awful.

      But hey, at least it’s Thursday, not Wednesday! You’re one day closer to the weekend than you thought you were!

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Oh hey! You’re right. And that actually weirdly has improved my mood…

    • Ugh, sorry to hear that. People can be real a– h o l es when driving. I was rear ended once by someone following too close and not paying attention and my car was totaled. I make sure to keep a good distance between cars b/c you never know when someone will slam on their brakes.

      I’m glad you were safe and did not get hurt. But yeah, the morning commute can definitely be stressful at times. Hope the rest of your day is better!

    • Wow that is so awful. I’m so sorry that happened to you. It makes it so much more harmful that they were overtly racist and sexist.

    • That sounds awful, I am really sorry.

    • Ugh, MoA, I am so sorry. I drive like the Masshole I am, but that type of behavior goes so far beyond Massholery it’s like 800 miles out into the ocean. As my mother would say, you only had to deal with them for five minutes but they have to deal with themselves their whole lives. What jerks.

    • SO sorry an idiot like that crossed your path… I know how hard it is to let to of these things it but hopefully it has rolled off you by now… Tomorrow you will still be awesome and he will still be a moron.

    • Wow, that is awful! So sorry. Big internet hugs your way.

    • I’m so sorry that happened to you. Hugs. Please do something nice for yourself today to get the nasty taste out of your mouth.

    • Ugh. I bet it was Storrow or a Storrow extension yes? That’s the worst. I hope you’re able to relax before your evening commute. And I apologize on behalf of Boston drivers everywhere (we really are the worst, aren’t we? Not that I’d ever yell at someone out my window…or honk at them.)

    • That sucks – I’m sorry. But don’t give them too much headspace – they don’t deserve it!

    • Veronique :

      I’m glad you’re ok and that they didn’t physically harm you in any way. Situations like that are definitely scary, especially since they’ve shown themselves to be (a) overly aggressive/angry, (b) racist, and (c) sexist.

    • Hold my earrings. I’mma cut a bish for you.

    • wintergreen126 :

      I’m sorry that this happened and that you had to start your day like this! I hope the rest of the day is better!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      That completely sucks. That sounds like the Mass of my early childhood, but not of at least the last 20 years…..

    • That’s simply awful. I would have had a hard time not screaming at them back, even though that’s probably the worst possible thing to do. I do not miss driving in Boston.

      I was once in Southie with a friend not from Boston and they beeped at a pick-up truck stopped at a green light. I was like, “NEVER, EVER beep at a pick-up truck in Southie. They might get out and kill us.”

    • Anonymous :

      I am so sorry!

      I regularly call either the state police or the local police about aggressive and unsafe drivers. The highway patrol number here is easy to remember (*77). I am excellent with car make and models and at memorizing plate numbers. I probably make two calls a month. Pay attention to mile markers too. Even if they don’t always get pulled over, it makes me feel better that I am making the highway patrol aware of aggressive and unsafe drivers. Might not be a bad idea to learn if there is a similar number in your area.

  12. Plus sized bridesmaid dresses? :

    Bridesmaid dress threadjack – my boyfriend and I are one step before engagement and I know a ring is coming soon. I would like to ask his sister to be part of the wedding party – she is plus-sized, but I don’t have any clue what size she is. I thought I would do J.Crew or AT bridesmaids dresses – just pick the color/fabric and let every maid pick her own style but I am concerned they may not make dresses in her size. I would really like to avoid picking a dress and having her tell me there isnt one that fits. Any suggestions for places to look for dresses in a mix of sizes? (I would be open to a range of colors in the same tone, too).

    • I know that my now sister-in-law basically just said “pick a yellow dress” – she did have two girls in long dresses and one in short (I was added late for some weird family reasons), so she said that a short would be better to balance it out, but that it didn’t matter too much. We did wind up all getting from David’s Bridal*, so I guess the yellows were more similar than they would be if they had come from all over, but they weren’t all the same, and it still worked nicely.

      So, you could consider something like that, if you’re not too picky about colors – maybe just say short or long, or something else basic about the style, and let the girls have at it.

      * I found mine on Ebay – 18 dollars, including shipping. It was a cute dress, but not one I’d really have a reason to wear again, and that was A-OK.

    • I’ve been in a few weddings with plus size bridesmaids and the brides all used David’s Bridal. They did the same thing you’re thinking about: told us what color fabric to use (lavender in one, for example) and that it had to be knee length, and we could pick the most flattering style. It seemed like the sizes went up pretty high, and the store offered tailoring on the dresses, although I didn’t use it so I can’t attest to that.

      My only caution would be that it seems like David’s Bridal cycles through colors/fabrics fairly quickly. For one of my weddings the chosen color was going to be discontinued, so we had less of a selection than we normally would.

      • +1 for David’s Bridal. Although some JCrew dresses come in plus sizes and may fit.

        Thank you for being considerate. Seriously. The best thing one of my friends did was to not make a big deal out of the fact I was plus size, but not make me go to any stores once she realized that I wasn’t in fact going to fit into a size 8.

      • My comment was apparently eaten. but DB’s is very good. Jcrew may fit depending on her size. if you find out where she generally shops, i’d be happy to give you more ideas of what may fit.

    • Olivia Pope :

      I’ve been to weddings where the bride gave everyone a specific color (e.g. indigo) and the bridesmaids bought them from wherever they wanted. It worked well when the ‘maids had different body types.

      • This. It is the easiest, kindest way to make sure everyone looks and feels great when they are standing up for the bride. It is also considerate of people who might not prefer certain styles (for example, I don’t wear strapless dresses because I feel very exposed – I like a higher neckline – and I would feel unbelievably uncomfortable if a bride told me that I HAD to wear a strapless dress).

      • Based on my personal experience, I’d suggest providing a few more criteria other than just color , as it could lead some to feeling like it’s a test and there is actually a certain look that you are going for, but just aren’t telling them. And they may be concerned about co-coordinating with the other women.

        One other place to look is

        You have to register, which is a pain, but they let you filter by body-type and they have a ‘full figured’ option. It looks like some styles go up to 24 – 28.

    • My sister is getting married and we got our dresses from Alfred Angelo. They have lots of styles in each color, and the sizes seemed to go up into the 20’s. David’s Bridal is similar as well, though we liked Alfred Angelo’s selection better.

      • +1 for both AA and DB.

        I went into DB expecting it to look lame and “discounter”-ish, and found that they’re actually fairly on-trend. Yes, some of the options skewed towards “teen hooker”, but there were plenty of lovely, simple options in decent fabrics (the dress I ended up choosing for my bridesmaids was a Y-neck, A-line dress in some kind of linen/cotton blend, and there were some fairly classic, flattering chiffon options as well that ran a close second to the dress the girls ultimately chose).

        I liked the AA dresses online, but they weren’t carried widely in my area, and I hated the idea of having people order online without getting to see the dresses in person first.

    • J Crew does go up to size 20 in their bridesmaids dresses. Their 20 is probably pretty small, and 20 is a small size in the plus size range anyway, but it’s something.

      I think that if you think she might be able to fit in the JCrew 20 — you could ask her to try it on but keep it very low pressure so she knows you don’t care if it doesn’t work. I personally wouldn’t be upset about that at all, but you know her the best.

    • Shopping options will vary based on her size. The way I see it, you can approach it one of two ways:

      1. If you are really into the idea of J Crew or AT, you will need to find out her size – or at least if she is a size that they carry. To avoid too much awkwardness, could you ask someone (her mom? your future fiance? a mutual friend?) if she shops in those stores?

      2. If you are open to other stores, try some of those that other posters have recommended. They should have a wide range of styles and colors, and offer a great size range. Are they the most amazing dresses of all time? No, but you should be able to find something that is pretty and flattering for your entire bridal party.

      • I am a size 16/18 so an 18/20 JCrew or AT bridesmaid dress could potentially fit me, but I still can’t shop in either store because they don’t carry anything in those sizes in their store.

        I’d wait until you’re actually engaged (because this is a weird inquiry to make unless you are planning a wedding) and then talk to her. Tell her you’d like her to be your bridesmaid and ask whether she thinks JCrew or AT would work for her, explaining that you’re totally fine if it doesn’t because you’ve also been looking at some other places (David’s Bridal, etc.)

        • JCrew actually only carries their bridesmaid dresses in like 5 stores nationwide so all of your bridesmaids (regardless of size) will likely have to order their dresses online and then return to the nearest store. My bridesmaids in DC were able to make an appointment to try on dresses at the Georgetown store, everyone else ordered a few dresses in a few different sizes and then returned to a store. (You can mail back if you prefer).

          Ann Taylor also does not have any of the dresses in store and will not let you return online orders of bridesmaids dresses to a store (have to mail back) which is why I ended up choosing JCrew.

    • I second the David’s or “whatever you want in this color” approaches (I did the latter — AA cup, DD cup, and preggo lady– we weren’t going to find ANYTHING to fit everyone), but you could also ask the sister to help you, including finding designers she likes. This depends on her personality and yours of course but it might be a nice way to get your sisterly relationship off to a happy start.

    • I went to a wedding where all the bridesmaid dresses were black, but then each bridesmaid had a lime green accent. One had a lime green belt on her dress. one had a lime crinoline under her skirt. One had really lovely lime silk flowers on her shoulder. One wore an awesome lime green fascinator. Not for everyone, but the concept was great and it added a nice twist on the bridesmaid theme.

      • Mountain Girl :

        I love this idea. I bet it looked wonderful.

      • I love this idea & saw a cute variation at another wedding recently, where same thing – all BMs in black dresses of their choosing with different colored shoes/accent piece (for some, not all) that coordinated with the pop of color in the shoes. I think the bride told each BM what shoe color to get so it all coordinated, but they chose their own dresses. It looked great.

    • I thought there was someone on this website who resolved a similar issue with a Nordstrom’s personal shopper?

      • You’re right – and as I recall, it turned out really well for that poster and her MOH.

        • Ex-dressbuyer :

          I’m not sure if it’s still the case, but a few years ago (when I was a dress buyer), Ann Taylor did not do their own dresses – they bought from the same vendors you’ll find in department stores. This was also the case for Talbot’s and Black House/White Market. In all cases, you could usually find the same or similar dresses at deparment store for a lot less, and sometimes in special sizes.

          I would try a personal shopper at Nordstrom, Dillard’s or Macy’s – email some photos and see what they can find that fits your style.

  13. Olivia Pope :

    Has anyone made a peplum shirt work with a cardigan or blazer over it? That is the main reason why I have zero peplum tops.

    Gross TJ:
    I just discovered that my suit jacket smells like BO. I am absolutely taking all my suits to the dry cleaners when I get home. In the meantime, is there anything I can do to reduce the smell while I’m at the office.

    I feel like the “real” Olivia Pope would never have this problem.

  14. My firm has recently taken on a new partner from a competitor firm. This is a young male partner, approx 5-7 years my senior (I am a junior associate). I have heard rumors from an acquaintance at his previous firm that he had a junior female associate working for him and they may have had a personal (romantic) relationship. Now that he is at my firm he is giving me lots of work and has indicated interest in furthering my career, getting me in on big projects, etc. He seems like a good mentor, except I am weirded out/paranoid that he has ulterior motives. He asked me to go for coffee this week to chat about my future/ career development. How do I navigate this situation?

    • I think you give him the benefit of the doubt and go to coffee with him during business hours in a large, public coffee shop. Coffee w/mentor = not an unusual thing at all. But if he says or does anything that makes your spidey senses tingle, trust your gut and act accordingly w/r/t future interactions with him.

    • I think it is really good to have people who are interested in helping your career and you should definitely take advantage of that. I think it is fine to go to coffee and even lunch with this person. I would try to keep the topic about work, but part of building a relationship (including professional) includes getting to know someone personally. I would decline going out to dinner unless it is somehow client/work related, and would just keep things professional. I think until he comes on to you, you can proceed like this is just a mentor relationship. If he comes on to you, then you should shut it down right away, or course.

    • Cornellian :

      I might bring something career-related to lean on as a conversation topic… a recent deal he was involved with that you’d like to be in the position to manage in five years, or an organization you’d like to eventually become a member of, etc. I think it might make your intentions crystal clear if you show up with a folder of work-related topics to talk about. That sentence reads very blame-the-victim, but on a practical level, that’d be my advice.

    • frugal doc.. :

      This is tough, as I have been in this situation before and if you don’t nip it in the bud early it can cause problems.

      Of course keep things very professional, and honestly…. I now drop the boyfriend/partner reference early and clearly. Even if I am making it up.

    • Before I went in house, I worked in biglaw and had a male partner as a mentor. He was fabulous, really made a difference in my career (both in the short term at his firm and in the long term). Our relationship was 110% professional. However, I heard rumors that some people thought our relationship was less than professional. This may have been due to the fact that he picked his own mentees and, at the time, he had only two mentees and we both were female. It may also have been in part due jealousy or similar motives, since he was clearly a game-changing mentor for those he singled out.

      Sometimes mentors may have ulterior motives. But sometimes they don’t and rumors are just rumors. If I were you, I’d try to ignore the rumor you heard until you have reason to believe it. Discussing career development over coffee does not, in and of itself, seem like a reason to believe it yet.

      • goldribbons :

        I’m not the OP, but this is really reassuring. Thanks for sharing your story.

        • Anon for This :

          This is also very reassuring for me – I have a male senior counsel at my firm who has apparently taken a shine to me and gives me very good, high-level work. He doesn’t have a good relationship/doesn’t think very highly of the male associates (I’m also the only female) but I like to think that something I’ve done/my work product has shown him that I have potential and he’s working on nurturing that. FWIW – we’ve been out for drinks together, and I’ve been in his car and have never felt uncomfortable or like he’s being inappropriate. He’s also had affairs with female associates in the past (rumored) but I’ve never felt like anything untoward is happening.

      • Thanks everyone for the responses so far! The rumors I heard are from a very reliable source and the only reason I call them rumors and not facts is that I want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. I have also heard rumors about him having an extra-marital affair with someone other than the previous associate. I guess I am both worried about what might happen, but also what people may think. He knows I have a SO but I don’t think that matters in this case (see extramarital affair) He is giving work to me exclusively, and when I have suggested that he give work to other (male) associates when I am too busy to take on more, he says no, that he would prefer if I did it. It is possible he just thinks I’m the best junior, but I am also the only female so I’ll never know.

  15. Diana Barry :

    I feel like I am having a 1/3 life crisis. Nothing is right – our nanny isn’t great but a new one would be too expensive, I feel like I don’t get enough time with the kids, I feel like I want to work less so I can see them more, but I can’t work less because of hours, I feel like I can never take a vacation because I won’t make hours, my job has flexibility but I feel like a failure because I haven’t “made it” to become a partner or a high-powered wealth adviser or some other high-prestige position, my husband likes his work and I feel like we used to want to move to the country but now we can’t because it will take him away from his work, and instead we are stuck in the land of high traffic and high housing prices. ARGH.

    Please tell me this is just because I got my first postpartum period? :-P

    • LackingLuster :

      Are you me? I don’t have a nanny though and my housing concerns are different. The rest- yes. Hugs. Also take a nap and eat something. Everything is worse if you are tired and hungry.

      • goldribbons :

        +1 to eating. I find warm foods (panini, soup, pizza, etc.) really help me cheer up.

    • I hate to be all “moody woman = must be woman problems” but I’ve felt the same way (everything in my life is a mess! wah!) when I’m tired and sleep deprived and nursing and hormonal. After a good night’s sleep, it’s surprising how things don’t seem that bad after all. Hope you get a bit of rest and a break and distance and perspective, which will tell you which of these are really problems you want to address. Go easy on yourself until then and try to do something that’s a “happiness booster” (Gretchen Rubin terminology, but works for me) for you.

    • hoola hoopa :

      This was me last month. Not that I recommend it, but it took a (uncharacteristic) freak out wherein I nearly listed our house and leveraged every cent we have to spontaneously relocate to realize that’s not really what I wanted, or at least how I wanted it, and that our current life wasn’t really so different than what I wanted. It was like the bubble of growing claustrophobia and disappointment had to burst before I could escape it.

      I realized that for me, we needed to (a) commit to our current house and really move in, and (b) develop a five-year plan with my husband. We had been reasonably settled in the house before having kids, but we rearranged to accommodate them and then did quite a bit of renovation work, then never settled in again because we wanted to move but couldn’t. I also felt out of touch with where we saw our lives *realistically* going in the next five years or so. We’ve been throwing out this and that idea, but I was struggling to see how it was really going to work and making me anxious.

    • Seventh Sister :

      I always love your comments, and I am wildly impressed with the fact you have 3 kids and are in private practice and seem to do all kinds of interesting things. You are not a failure, you are awesome!

    • Oh lady, you are not alone. I don’t have kids and I feel this way. Sometimes I wonder if a “simpler” life would be nice.

      That said, yes you probably are having compounding feelings because of hormones, but sometimes life just sucks and it gets you down. If it helps, make a list of the things that are frustrating you and in a calmer moment figure out workarounds. For example, maybe your nanny isn’t that great, but you could do a nannyshare with a better nanny?

      Honestly, take a day of vacation and sleep. Let the nanny deal with the kids. You’ll feel much better.

      • Diana Barry :

        Thanks, ladies. I feel like we do need a 5- and 10-year plan – otherwise I will still just feel that everything is temporary until….when?

        Plus I’ve been getting up with the baby twice per night for months now. Tired!

    • Coach Laura :

      Diana Barry, I think that ECMD posted a similar post right after her return from maternity leave. Not to quote her without her permission, but other posters pointed out that she might have post-partum depression. You should check this out with your MD. But yeah, hormones, young kids, return to work…it sounds familiar. Hang in there.

  16. Cornellian :

    For those of you who bought a home, especially while single and relatively young, how deep did you dig in to find a down payment? If I add together cash I have saved, a loan against my 401(k) (not a withdrawal from it), and a chunk of the principal I have in my pre-fulltime job IRA, I’ll have an adequate downpayment in about two months. That would just leave me with an emergency fund and about half of my retirement savings. I obviously don’t want to wipe out everything in the name of owning property, but I also want to own (for personal and financial reasons as a high-bracket earner) and think it’s a great investment in an up-and-coming neighborhood.

    Where’s the balance between security and taking advantage of the fact that I’m 26 with decent retirement savings and can pretty safely bet I’ll have a while to make up the 40K I might pull from retirement?

    • If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may qualify for an FHA loan. They require a minimum of only 3.5% down which allows you to own without bankrupting your savings. The downside is that you have to pay PMI (although they generally offer lower interest rates than a conventional loan so it’s kind of a wash).

      • Cornellian :

        I have considered this, but since many buildings in NYC (where I should have mentioned I am) won’t let you finance less than 80 or 85 percent, I’m not sure it makes sense to take the 4K closing cost hit… although the monthly PMI wouldn’t be that bad…

        Definitely something to think about, though! Thanks.

        • Talk to a lender for sure. Jumbo loans, for example, you need 20% down for almost all of them. So what lenders do is do a first mortgage of a conforming loan and then either a HEL or HELOC for the secondary loan. Buyer puts down say 10%, gets to deduct interest on both loans and no PMI. Again, YMMV and I don’t know anything about the NYC market.

          • Agree that you should talk to a lender. It _could_ be that borrowing against your 401K might make them nervous about giving you a loan — or might make them give you a higher rate. You might also want to talk to a broker to see how that might be viewed by sellers. I just sold my apartment, and if I had two similar bids, one of which was borrowing against their 401K to come up with the down payment, I would have viewed that bid less positively. For better or for worse, NYC is becoming a very competitive real estate market again for buyers, and you wouldn’t want to do anything to make you a less attractive buyer.

    • You’re really asking a question about risk tolerance…there’s no right answer to this. Do what won’t keep you up at night. If you have enough money to feel emotionally secure abou the choice, that is the “right answer” for you. I am sure you’ve already thought about the typical “should I buy? “questions such as “Do I want to say in the area?” “Do I need a mortgage deduction” “What is rent vs. buy cost?”

      If borrowing against your 401(k) makes you nervous, wait a bit. Also, if I remember right, you are a youngish biglaw associate, so note that your salary may fluctuate in the next 3-5 years, so do what makes you comfortable based on the assumption that you may leave biglaw and may take a paycut to do so. Sometimes financial flexibility is worth it, and you can’t really model that out numbers-wise.

      Good luck!

    • I guess it depends how much of a downpayment you are wanting to come up with. Plenty of lenders will finance less than 20% down for well-qualified candidates and the rates are pretty good. I also think you have to balance what kind of money your investments are earning against the return you get on the equity. If the investments are doing really well, I would leave them alone and just do a smaller down-payment.

    • Baby DC Esq. :

      No ideas, but I would also love to hear thoughts on this. I can see myself being in a VERY similar situation in a year or 2. Is it worth draining most of our savings/retirement in short term to own?

      Also, real estate agents keep saying I could get a mortgage with as little as 3% down, but the idea of that scares the daylights out of me! I have been trying to save, 20%. Is that being too cautious?

      • Living in NYC, the concept of 3% down is completely foreign to me. And frankly, I also find it scary, because IMO it allows people to purchase houses who aren’t financially stable yet. I mean if you can buy a $400,000 house by scraping together $12,000 — a house you’ll have to make $1,800 of mortgage payments a month on? That being said, I don’t know that you need to go for 20% if you’re not in an area that requires it. I say get to 10-12% and then start looking.

        • I don’t disagree — 3% down can make real estate an impulse buy of sorts. I see it as FHA > borrowing against 401K, if you had to pick.

      • I don’t see anything wrong with a small amt down, if you can easily afford the monthly payments. My husband and I just bought our relatively inexpensive house with 5% down; we’re planning on staying forever, and our mortgage payment is lower than our rent used to be.

        • I agree, Brahbrah. DH and I bought our first house with 0% down in 1997. We could easily afford the monthly payments but we were fresh out of school and hadn’t been working long enough to amass a significant downpayment. It sounds nuts, but the property was a gorgeous brick rowhouse in an up-and-coming neighborhood, and we knew property values were rising steadily.

          Seven years later, I sold the house for over twice what we paid for it, and had a 50% downpayment for my dream place.

          The devil, as usual, is in the details. A low downpayment isn’t always a bad idea.

    • I would never touch retirement savings for a downpayment on a house. If you are scrounging for cash, maybe lower your contribution % in the short run, but don’t borrow against a plan. For one thing, if you leave your job or get sacked, you generally have to pay that $ back in a lump sum. I know someone who got an offer for her dream job and hadn’t read the fine print on her 401k loan and had to turn it down. Not worth it.

      For my first place, I had an FHA loan with a minimal downpayment (3k? this was back in the 90s) on a condo. But try to make it as small as can be — you don’t want to be cash poor getting into a house. You will have things that need to be fixed and things that you want to make better (none of which I ever thought about as a renter), plus this will inspire your car to break or something else expensive to happen.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1, wait and don’t take anything out of your retirement or a loan against it.

      • Also +1.

        When I bought, I used up most of my savings. I had enough for 3 or so months plus some investments I could sell for another couple months (I am talking: covering mortgage and ramen noodles, living extremely frugally). I still feel anxiety when I paid that down payment. I am in NYC and no one would lend me more than 80% for my condo so it was 20% down and it was to me a lot of money. But I comforted myself, at least I have that 401K. Of course, taking money out of it would be at a penalty, but it was there.

        Also in your savings for a home, consider a little extra for some new furniture or rugs or whatever. I wanted to buy a few new things like a couch so it was nice to have a bit extra for that.

        • long time lurker :

          that post above is from me. i’m not sure i’m regular enough a poster for people to “know” me but just in case…

      • +2. Your stated rationale for raiding your retirement savings is that you are young . . . but retirement contributions made when you are young are so. much. more. valuable. than those made when you are even a little bit older. You are really ahead of the game by having those retirement contributions at your age; don’t undermine it.

      • Just another viewpoint, but I think it depends on where you live & how good of an investment real estate is there. If you plan to own for the long-term, having some of your portfolio diversified in RE, which may appreciate more than a 401K, might be a good idea from a financial planning standpoint. I think this is highly dependent on where you’re talking about buying, however.

        • +3 keep the money in retirement. It will mean much more down the road. Wait, scrimp, and save more. Then put down enough to make payments small enough to be reasonable but not necessarily 20 percent. Also, while you want a decent house in a good neighborhood, and I don’t mean to sound preachy, not everyone needs a $400k house!

    • This is a very relevant question for me right now! I am just in the process of buying a house and we are pretty much using up all our liquid savings (not touching the 401ks though) to make the downpayment of 20%. We have some stocks in non-401k accounts, but no emergency fund left. I feel very nervous about it but I’m in a very high cost of living/high home prices area and this seems to be common. Hopefully we will save up some in the next few months and have some cash in the bank again, and then I’ll relax a little.

    • SoCalAtty :

      I was 27 when we bought our house, but that was right after I got married so we had two incomes. We leveraged ourselves down to 0 – put everything into a down payment. It was a really dumb thing to do, because we didn’t even leave ourselves emergency reserves. I don’t regret spending the money at all, because we were able to buy at the bottom of the market and get a very good location. It did make for a scary summer a year after we bought the house (2009) when I had been caught up in the construction industry layoffs and my husband’s business slowed way down. We didn’t have any retirement to borrow from, and I don’t think I would do that, but we used ALL of our reserves.

      I will tell you that on April 1 the FHA loan guidelines for PMI are changing. As it is now, you pay PMI for the first 5 years of the loan, and then you’re done. Starting April 1, you get to pay it for the life of the loan (or until you refinance into a conventional loan).

    • real estate :

      I don’t think there’s enough info here for internet people to really assess if this is a good idea for you. I don’t think its automatically awful to borrow against your 401k but you need to analyze your expected earnings, anticipated appreciation of the property, what interest rate you will be getting, etc.

      I would also suggest that you look into getting a loan that you can reamoritize. With the historically low interest rates that we have currently, you’ll probably want to keep your rate for a good long time.

  17. momentsofabsurdity :

    I think the universe knew I needed a laugh this morning. I got an (unsolicited) email from an individual service provider we don’t use, pitching their business, which ends with:

    “To take advantage of me, please call 555-123-4567”


  18. Threadjack – I’m attending a cocktail party next week as my husband’s date. The party’s hosted by one of his clients and it’s in NYC. I have no idea what to wear. Do I dress like the “date” that I am and go full-on “what-I’d-wear-to-a-social-cocktail-party”-mode (basically, a black chiffon cocktail dress with metallic shoes), or do I keep it more professional, since I’m also in a professional career and will likely be meeting some potential business contacts? If I do go professional, I’m thinking sheath dress and blazer (with the option of losing the blazer if I look too corporate) – is that acceptable? Is there some more fashion-forward way to dress for this? (I currently work in a small government office in suburbia, so my trend knowledge is woefully out of date.)

    FWIW, I’m leaning towards professional rather than “date”-mode, since I’m currently job hunting and looking to return to the corporate world, but I don’t want to accidently show up underdressed, as that would reflect badly on my husband. Also, it’s a marketing/entertainment crowd – not sure if that matters.

    • goldribbons :

      I would go with the professional outfit, relatively conservative shoes, and fun accessories (which you can stick in your bag if they feel out of place). Have fun!

    • This sounds like a time for a black sheath dress + interesting jewelry and shoes, which is what it sounds like you’re thinking. A blazer doesn’t sound partyish to me, unless you really are coming right from work and you’re cold. Or if it’s a fun blazer, not a suiting blazer.

      Personally, the chiffon dress sounds like fun and I would much rather wear that, but if you think the party could be good networking, I’d go with the sheath.

      • I agree with this. Unless it’s direct from a conference or some other professional function, in my experience, women don’t generally wear “suit” blazers to Saturday evening c!cktail events, even in professional mode. The marketing/entertainment crowd will definitely be more trendy than the lawyer/banker crowd. A dressy sheath dress or other conservative c!cktail dress would be perfect. You can still do the metallic shoes/jewelry, as long as they’re somewhat conservative (no lucite heels or major platforms).

    • No blazer! Then you’ll just be the frumpy wife. If you’re going straight from work, sheath dress and fun accessories, but as long as your black chiffon dress isn’t all tit$-out-fir-the-boys I think it sounds great.

    • For these kinds of situations I bought two fail proof dresses that I wear over and over again. The first is a black jewel-neck tory burch shift dress, the fabric has a self houndstooth print in black and shiny/metallic black. I recently saw something nearly identical at banana republic. The second is an Elie Tahari jewel-neck black shift dress that is made of black and black/gold fabric with some black lace detailing over the neckline, it’s all pretty subdued but also has an exposed back zipper that is gold.
      Both dresses work with a ton of accessories, blazers, cardigans, and shoes so I find that I can just keep mixing it up and it seems to strike the right balance between professional and party.

      • here’s an image of one of the dresses:

    • I’ve been in a similar situation. Part of my outfit calculus is always when the event is–in my experience anything post-work on a weeknight (including Friday) is going to have most people coming straight from work and dressed as such. Also, I put things that are work-related (including spouse’s work) in a different category, especially if it’s a scene that may accrue some professional benefits to you, too. I know this is probably my own insecurities speaking, but I’ve always wanted my outfit to make very clear that I’m a spouse AND a professional peer/contact.

      From what you’ve said I’d definitely go with a dress, jacket (which could be removed), and slick accessories. A chiffon dress is something I’d save for a different type of party, like an engagement party, charity event, etc.

    • Anonymous :

      Original Anon here.

      FWIW, I was thinking “fun” blazer, not “suit” blazer, but consensus seems to be to skip it regardless. Any suggestions for alternative add-a-sleeve options over a shift dress? I’m consistently cold at functions like this, and I feel like cardigans are even more “frumpy suburban wife” than blazers.

    • If it’s during the week and people will be coming from work, I’d wear a black shift dress with fun accessories and fun shoes. If it’s during the weekend, a conservative co*cktail dress would be appropriate.

  19. hoola hoopa :

    Pantyhose recommendation at Target? I need to run to get an emergency pair of nude hose.

  20. Nude pumps for a wide foot? :

    Can anyone recommend good nude pumps for a wide foot?? TIA!!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Comfort Plus Karmen pumps at Payless are very comfy for my wide feet and their beige-y color is nude for me.

  21. Sorry for the threadjack, but I need some advice. I am currently in a two year fellowship position that ends in the late summer. I have made great contacts from the position and have loved the experience, but I am starting to get nervous about finding a new position once my term ends. One contact that I work with often/ have grown to know well is now the managing partner of a boutique law firm that I would LOVE to work at. I want to speak to the attorney about possible positions, but I don’t know how to go about it a) without being too pushy and b) without my current boss finding out/ thinking I am trying to jump ship early. Thank you ahead of time for any advice you can give me, I know the clock is ticking and that I need to start applying!

    • I would contact the partner to set up an informational interview now, and closer to the end of your fellowship contact him again to inquire about possible openings at his firm. Have you had any discussion with your current boss about your future? I did a one year clerkship and started putting feelers out several months before the end of it, which my then-boss new. I made it known that I would be interested in staying there if the right opportunity presented itself but that I would also look at alternatives. I ended up staying at the same company but in a different division, and my former boss recommended me for the position and made the introductions. It was very nice to be able to interview with everyone knowing it instead of having to sneak around!

      • Thanks so much for the response! I have put out feelers and have definetly been told that there is an opportunity to stay as long as I want, but I think I would be limited to the fellowship money ( and the title). My employers like me very much and I LOVE them, but it seems like the only opportunity here is to stay in the position that I am in, for another 1 yr commitment.

        Thank you for the advice, I will approach my contact the way you are suggesting. I would like to leave where I am on good terms, as I really like and respect the people I work with. I just don’t know that I can be a fellow forever.

  22. Fascinating discussion of crying at work. When I was at biglaw, pretty much everyone (women more than men, but some men) openly talked about crying in their offices from time to time. It was definitely not a big deal, and I think it actually was helpful. It was part of the whole “I’m so dedicated and work so hard” thing, like pulling three all-nighters in a row, or keeping a towel in your office to roll up as a pillow to sneak a midnight nap under your desk.

  23. I think I need to hunt for some spring/summer blouses.

  24. Veronique :

    I ordered the Halogen Taylor Curvy Fit Denim Pants (trouser jeans) from Nordies that someone recommended for those of us with curvy hips/thighs/butt. They fit well, except the rise is a lot higher than I’d prefer (around the belly button). Is this something that a tailor could fix?

    Alternatively, has anyone tried Eddie Bauer’s curvy denim trousers? They look good online, but the sales staff could only tell me that they are mid-rise which means different things in different brands.

    • hoola hoopa :

      In theory, lowering the waist is simple. In practice, it would likley need to be made from a new piece of cloth (since the higher waist is likely narrower than the lower waist you want, and therefore the tailor would need a long piece of fabric) and could significantly impair your ability to use the pockets.

      I’ve tried on the EB curvy bootcut jeans. They were not high (definitely below belly button) but not low (no hip bone or bum showing). They covered my ample behind when standing, but I had a peak of crack when crouching. I still had waist gap, so I consider them a ‘mild curvy’. I found them to be overall similar to Gap curvy boot, but with less flattering pocket placement. While I didn’t end up buying, they were definitely worth trying.

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