Weekend Open Thread

Nine West Giggly GirlSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Hideous name of this shoe aside, I actually think it looks like a great sophisticated option for summer. I like the zipper up the back and the wrapped 3.25″ heel. It’s on a pretty good sale at 6pm, too — was $89, now marked to $44-$49; it’s available in sizes 5-12. Nine West Giggly Girl


Psst: don’t forget to check out the open thread on CorporetteMoms!


  1. Does anyone else here find back zippers on shoes uncomfortable?
    I have a pair of ultra-comfortable, light as air sandals, but they have the back zipper that gave me a very painful blister the first day I wore them.

    • It might just be that shoe. I like a back zipper (or an ankle strap), because I like my foot to be securely strapped in at the ankle when I’m wearing high heels. That is my serious concession to middle age.

    • Some of the sandals I have with a back zipper and an ankle cuff are *very* uncomfortable because they come up too high and rub right above the heel. I generally find that back zip shoes run big on me. I mentioned this on Saturday to a shoe sales guy at Dillard’s and he asked if I have a narrow heel – which I do. Interesting! I tried on a pair of lacy cutout back zip Vince Camuto booties which were okay but looked like the cutout might be uncomfortable after awhile. And a pair of sandals with a t-strap so high that I couldn’t get the top strap buckled over my instep. Total fail.

    • I add a piece of moleskin adhesive to the back of the zipper and it usually fixes the problem.

  2. I really don’t need any more shoes but already trying to justify these in my head. Hmmm…

    Repost from earlier since I posted too late this am and only got one response (but thanks for the OPI suggestion!).

    So, I have been really slacking on taking care of my nails in the last year or so, but I will be on the job hunt soon and don’t have the first clue about what colors are in style now and are appropriate for interviewing. I prefer either Shellac or Gelish colors since I do them at home (I have my own lamp) and like them to last as long as possible, but the last two I tried ended up being a neon-y pink and a muddy brown. Any recs??

    ETA: I don’t mind some color, and my skin is on the pale side, but the first color I tried was blindingly bright and the second just plain drab.

    • You don’t need to paint your nails for interviews, but if you want to, stick to neutral or normal colors. Ballet pink, ok. Bright blue, probably something to avoid.

      • Wildkitten :

        I would get mine done in ballet pink gel, because otherwise I chew them and that’s as unprofessional as blue.

      • Wildkitten :

        OPI Bubble Bath is a good interview color.

        • I’m wearing OPI Bubble Bath today, I also like Funny Bunny (soft white), Passion (a little more pink than bubble bath) and Cosmo-not tonight honey. The OPI Gels last longer imho.

    • Not sure what field you’re in, but for law generally I wouldn’t wear any color for interviewing just a neutral sheen.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I agree. Buff ’em and forget about it.

      • I agree – I generally think of nail polish as too risky for interviews – too likely to get an ugly chip at the last minute. Though something very close to your skin tone usually won’t make that obvious. But I’d just as soon do without.

        • Funny, I pretty much think of nail polish as a must because I play tennis and more often then not, they look a little beat up and buffing doesn’t quite do the trick. Perhaps one of the soft pinks above are the way to go…

          • Oh yeah I meant use polish just not a bright color – I usually use a soft pink or I have one that looks white in the bottle but is an opaque gloss.

          • Susie, what is the one that “looks white in the bottle but is an opaque gloss?” I am intrigued. This sounds like exactly what I want for my new nail maintenance regimen.

    • I’m rough on my nails so usually just use a clear polish. It gives them a little oomph without the chipping.

      LOVE these shoes. PSA: Bloomingdales has some great savings with an extra 25% off sale items with code EXTRA25

    • Jessica Glitter :

      Not sure if you will get this since it is late, but I love CND (Shellac) Satin Pajamas. It is a really good neutral pink.

  3. Love these.

    Question: how much do you discuss your day with your SO? I like to leave work at work, but then I get mad when hubby doesn’t understand why I’m exhausted. So I started trying to tell him everything I do, but it’s hard. For one, I can spend hours reading patents, which doesn’t sound like much but can be mentally exhausting. So I just don’t know how to tell him about my day. On the days that I do, however, he seems very interested and happy to hear about it, so I think telling him more about my day would be good for us.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Maybe consciously collect an anecdote or two during the day to have at the ready?

      Also, maybe suggest that he hone his interviewing skills. When my son was growing up I got nowhere with “how was your day,” but got pretty good info when I asked questions like “what was the funniest thing that happened today?” or “did anything happen today that surprised you?” Come to think of it, your husband doesn’t even have to ask you those questions… just ask them of yourself and you will have anecdotes to share.

      I think you’re doing the right thing to try and meet his need to hear about your day. And maybe he can back off a little and learn to be satisfied with the highlight reel instead of a blow-by-blow of the whole day.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I discuss my day with my husband a lot generally, but we’re both attorneys so it’s easier for us to swap stories or understand the parlance. One thing you might try is just doing it in the style of “what’s best thing that happened today and what’s the worst.” Then you don’t have to walk through the whole minute by minute of your day, but he’s getting a feel for what’s going on.

      • I call this the “high and low” method. We’ll swap stories of our high and low points of the day. Sometimes, they’re interesting and lead to a follow up conversation, and sometimes it’s enough to give the brief update and we’ll talk about something else.

        • Wildkitten :

          I’ve heard some families do this at family dinner and I think it’s a great idea.

          • anon-oh-no :

            i do this with my kids before bed each night. while we snuggle.

          • Maddie Ross :

            I think the Obamas actually do this (and maybe that’s where I heard about it originally…).

          • Senior Attorney :

            We did this when DS was growing up. Along with the other questions I mentioned earlier. I miss it!

          • I know I first heard of this on the Kardashians show, so although I think this is a really nice idea I associate it with them in my mind and that kind of ruins it…

          • My parents did high low around the family or if not that, what we are thankful for and why. I believe we stole it from camp? But I saw that on the Kardashians too…

      • Yay! Open thread’s! I love open thread’s, but NOT open toe’d shoe’s! The manageing partner does NOT pay for reimbureseing me for OPEN toe’d shoe’s, so it’s strictley a FOOEY on these.

        I love this thread and discussion’s with your significant OTHER. I have found that I usueally did NOT discuss that much with mine (when I had Alan), b/c he tended NOT to care about anything that went on with ME, at MY Job. He onley wanted to tell ME what he did with HIS boss and with his CLEINT’s (acounting customer’s are CLEINT’s), and how they went out to bar’s drinkeing and saw a strip joint with the most BEAUTIFUL girls, etc, etc, which I realy did NOT want to hear about. But I still LISTENED b/c I was hopeing he would finaly start listening to ME and my issue’s with my job and the manageing partner, and MY cleint’s and Lynn and Madeline and Frank and my ETHEICAL quandrie’s…..But he never did. DOUBEL FOOEY.

        Instead, he onley listened for 5 minutes when he wanted something, like for me to make him some thing to eat, and of course, just when I wanted to sleep, he would get friskey and start rubbeing up against me in Bed hopeing that I would roll over and do what HE wanted, again. But lot’s of times, he was tipsey, if NOT outright DRUNK, so I did NOT want to have to smell that alchohol on his breathe and him huffeing and puffeing on top of me, so most time’s I said I was to tired and needed to get to court earley the next day.

        I think that if he had NOT been such a drunk, and he actualy cared about me and my issue’s, that we would have been MARRIED by now, and we certeanley would have been alot more INTIMATE then we were b/c of his alchololism. No woman want’s to smell old alchohol on their man every night, especialy if the guy get’s FRISKEY, right? Is there anyone in the HIVE that would continue to put up with this? I got sick of it being so one sided. TRIPEL FOOEY!

        Now I am hopeing that this Butch guy is for real b/c his text’s are sincere, and he does NOT apear to be focused on getting me to go to bed with him, like all the other guy’s I meet. He could be the right one b/c he make’s alot of money and has told me he does NOT want to have sex with me soon. I realy want this one to work out b/c I am NOT getting any younger and I need to have CHILDREN NOW!!! Happy weekend to the HIVE! YAY!!!!!!

        • Butch sounds yummy!

        • I disagree. He is just like the others only smart enough to fool you with reverse psychology. Of course he wants to sleep with you. His talk is just a cheap ploy for you to think he really is different. Trust me, he’ll be in your panties in a flash if you let down your guard. I’ve been there. The worst part is after he’s had you, you won’t hear from him again. Whatever you do, do not let him take any embarrassing pictures on his iPhone. Like a dope, I am still paying for that mistake.

    • Only if something interesting happened.

    • It’s good that he wants to hear about your day and is supportive. (Doesn’t happen with my partner.) I suggest you say something like “My day was hard as I spent five hours doing X, which is tiring but I made progress so I was pleased. What was the highlight of your day?” That way you open the dialogue but it doesn’t seem like you’re just dumping.

    • My ex and I used to talk over our days endlessly and it was pretty exhausting. With my current SO, we didn’t always have a lot of time before one of us needed to run out to an evening activity so we decided that if something was worth talking about, we’d talk about it for 10 minutes then let it go. It definitely works better for me.

  4. Meg Murry :

    I found something worse than a shorts suit – a skort suit! And bonus, its paired with a Leather Belt Bag – also known as a fanny pack. Wow, wrong on so many levels. http://shop.nordstrom.com/o/1-state-jacket-top-skort/3724478

    On a related TJ – a friend and I were commenting on the college students we were seeing wearing shorts with tights and how that was a trend you could only do once in your life – when it comes around again, you are too old, in our opinions. What other trends did you participate in once that you won’t do again? For me (and some of this list is from when I was 10 and didn’t know any better) my list of never agains, no matter how trendy they become are:

    -shorts with tights
    -skorts (shorts with a flap, not athletic skirts with hidden shorts)
    -any kind of rolling, cuffing or pegging my jeans
    -poofy bangs
    -bodysuits as a shirt
    -head to toe neon
    -pre-ripped jeans
    -fanny packs
    -baby backpacks
    -overalls (early 90s with only 1 strap fastened, I’m looking at you)
    -colorblocked pastel shorts (saw a student wearing these last week and wondered whether they bought them new or if they came from our local vintage/thrift shop because I definitely had them in the 80s)

    What’s your list? And what would you happily re-wear if came back around? So far the only thing I can think of I’d rewear are chunky shoes and flared pants.

    • On the list of never again: crimped hair

      • I knew a girl in highschool that crimped her hair so consistently, it was like she was born with it. She literally never didn’t crimp her hair.

        (And no, it definitely wasn’t just the way her hair was… you could tell). Hilarious!

    • Gloria Vanderbilt jeans (1970s incarnation)
      Peplums (early 80s)

      For the record, I refused to wear peplums again when they came back a few years ago. It’s been a good decision.

    • Overalls! Sorry, I can’t get back on that train.

      • Wildkitten :

        Whatever. If I ever get pregnant I am going to rock overalls whenever I want.

      • I had capri-length teal overalls with giant plastic buttons. I liked to wear them with a fuchsia top with dolman sleeves. I may have also rolled up their cuffs. Dear god. Good thing I was so cute back then with my asymmetrical spiky hair!

      • Totally had multiple pairs but that was 1990s.

    • sister wife attire :

      Does anyone remember prairie-style dresses? Sometimes they came with visible petticoat-type layers.

      That + Elaine from Seinfeld’s hair = perfect sister wife get-up.

    • I know that there are a lot of people who think boat shoes (Sperry’s) are really cute, but I wore nothing but white keds and brown boat shoes during college and I am officially over boat shoes. They just don’t look cute to me.

    • The top offender I can think of is the oversized tshirts with the little ring holder.

    • S in Chicago :

      jodhpurs and stirrup pants for anything but horse riding
      crop tops
      sneakers that go up to or past the ankle (high tops)

      • Oh yes I have been guilty of the stirrup pants and body suits. Trying to remember if I wore the socks over or under the stirrup pants??

    • Clementine :

      I’m all about wearing chunky shoes once again… I remember owning a pair of platform, chunky heeled black loafers that I guarantee were incredibly comfortable and worked well walking through snow and slush.

      Undecided on: Scrunchies. Like sweatpants for your hair. Not sure if they’re something that should be worn outside of the house.

      • Lorelai Gilmore :

        Oh man, I miss chunky shoes and especially those chunky heeled loafers SO MUCH.

    • Ha ha. The jacket and top are sold out but the skort is still available in all sizes.

    • Neon green overalls. Never again.

    • Mine is the opposite!

      When I was in junior high my family moved from the Bay Area to a mid-western city and I was rolling my eyes at the way the kids in my new school pegged their jeans. I had never seen that before – it just wasn’t a trend on the West Coast. I must have been so smug, but it seriously got on my nerves for the next year or two that **everyone** was doing it.

      Flash forward twenty years and I just bought a pair of boyfriend-style jeans specifically to wear cuffed. I’ve seen so many women (both on Pinterest and in real life on the weekend!) wearing this style; it looks so easy and casual. We’ll see if it’s on my list of regrets in another few years :)

      • A passion for fashion :

        It was totally a trend on the west coast in the 80s in the Bay Area. Me and everyone else I knew did this. I even pegged those guess jeans with the zippers.

  5. Major Major :

    Anyone interested in some vicarious shoe shopping (similar to the photo?)

    I am in a wedding this summer as a bridesmaid. I will be wearing this dress in the color navy: http://www.weddingshoppeinc.com/pr/Kennedy-Blue-Harper/3200/49145

    The bride has requested that we wear nude shoes (I have pale olive skin). I would like them to be thicker heels or wedges, because the wedding will be outdoors and I don’t want to sink into the grass (or buy those little heel covers that might be visible in photos). The heels pictured above are probably too thin.

    My problem has been that most of the wedges and thicker heels I’ve seen have been espadrilles or wooden, which just looks too casual for a lace dress. I want the shoes to be very open and summery and not make my legs look stubby with too many straps.

    Size 8, under $200.

    Help! I’ve been looking for awhile now and haven’t found anything that seems right.

    • These may be too light for you, but they’re in your price range and somewhat dressier: http://www.neimanmarcus.com/Diane-von-Furstenberg-Park-Pointy-Patent-Wedge-Pump-Cashmere-Nude/prod162670070/p.prod?ecid=NMALRFeedJ84DHJLQkR4&ci_src=14110925&ci_sku=prod162670070skuCASHMERE

      Were you looking for sandals or pumps? I totally know what the problem is, though. I helped a friend look for that very thing (but in black) two summers ago.

      • Oooo love these… this is what I would get.

      • Major Major :

        These are gorgeous, but it almost makes me think more of the office. I think heeled sandals would probably be a better fit for a summer wedding, but if I keep being stumped, I might just have to get these.

        • Would this rose gold be nude enough to suit the bride but fancy enough for the dress? http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=690886002&tid=plsp1r&kwid=1&ap=14

          • That’s gorgeous.

          • Major Major :

            That’s just about perfect! I love how non-clunky/summery it looks, and it’s not such a low heel that I would feel frumpy. I’ll check with the bride about the color, but that may be a winner!

    • This might be too much with the dress: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/jeffrey-campbell-delaisy-wedge-pump/3646628?cm_cat=partner&cm_ite=1&cm_pla=10&cm_ven=Linkshare&siteId=J84DHJLQkR4-qDoR8RLp_YcFS8e9e692Dg

    • Something like this? It might be too dark for “nude” but I’m not sure:


      • Major Major :

        This is closer to what I’m looking for, but I think they need to be lighter. You don’t think the wood heel would look strange with the lace dress? That’s what keeps tripping me up. Lace bridesmaid dresses just seem “fancier” to me.

    • Meg Murry :

      These have a thicker heel, but still might sink in grass. Not my favorites, but maybe if you click through the “you may also like” you might find something better?

    • Not sure how these would go with your skin tone, but they’re pretty and low, so maybe more comfortable? http://www.zappos.com/via-spiga-terrilyn-nude-patent

    • I am a banana. :


    • Is a neutral metallic “nude” enough?


      • Or something with a bit of bling?

    • ColeHaan online has 50% off all clearance with code TAKE50. There are several cute pairs of nude pumps and wedges that are under $100. You’re welcome :-)

    • Major Major :

      Thank you, ladies! You’ve been a big help. Other than I now also want nude wedges for work :)

  6. NotAHorseRider :

    I recently acquired an equestrian hunt coat like this one:

    The construction is much better than most of my blazers and similar-weight jackets. Is there ever a case where I could wear it to work? Style it somehow? I could probably get away with a good bit at my office, but is it weird to bring in something designed for horse shows?

    I know equestrian-style jackets are a thing, and Angie at YLF showed off her Smythe equestrian jacket to much approval. Any thoughts?

    • It looks more like a coat than a blazer to me. I would wear it but probably take it off inside, unless your office is freezing.

      • NotAHorseRider :

        It sometimes is freezing, but I’m leery about wearing “outside” coats at the office. Maybe keep it for outdoors or commuting, I guess.

        Maybe it’s a good option for riding a bicycle to work.

    • West Coast :

      I’m not too much of a fan, but mostly because when I rode, I always preferred my hunt coats in a more American style. (for reference, they look more like this: https://www.smartpakequine.com/tailored-sportsman-carrick-hunt-coat-11052p?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=googlepla&utm_content=Supplements&utm_campaign=2109735968&cm_mmc=Google-_-googlepla-_-Supplements-_-2109735968&source=pla&gclid=CNqbloyhsb4CFceCfgodqSwA4A)

      You could wear this jacket with the right styling for a casual Friday and it would not be to bad or out of place; you will probably need to work to make an outfit work where the proportions are right on, but not too costume-y.

      • NotAHorseRider :

        Thanks for the thought! Costume-y is not what I’m going for, but I think the jacket is very flattering on me. It does have a longer torso and more flare at the hips than I suspect your American style would.

        Hmm, I will have to think more about how to make this work.

  7. Investment advice for a novice :

    I’m hoping some of you wise women can give me some advice about how to begin investing. I have a mid five figure amount of cash sitting in my savings account and I’d like to put it to work, but I don’t know where to start.

    My intentions for the account: (1) I want to have access to the funds if I need them (but separate from my emergency fund, which is for true pay-or-die scenarios), and (2) I want to earmark a good chunk of it as the funds I expect to use to help supplement my mother’s retirement when she can no longer work, in about 10 years or so. She raised me and my siblings by herself and hasn’t been able to save much, and I don’t want her to have to worry about money in her golden years if I can help it.

    When I start out, is it ok to just use an investment advisor at a brokerage, or do I need an independent advisor? Does it actually matter if they work on commission or not? I’d like someone to can manage the portfolio for me, similar to the target date fund I have for my 401k. Is this something that’s offered for smaller accounts?

    My 401k is with Fidelity but if anyone has another broker suggestion (or words of caution), please share!

    • Rachelellen :

      So I am a financial journalist, not in finance itself. I cannot recommend strongly enough against giving your money to a broker and letting him/her invest it. Unless you really, truly know someone who truly has an impeccable track record. My advice for beginners is low-cost index funds. This is probably not popular, but there you have it.

      • NotAHorseRider :

        Yes! Basic low-cost index funds are more accessible than you think. The risks you want to take on may change as your mom’s retirement gets closer, and that would be the reason to have any degree of management. As the next post details a bit more, this is definitely something you could do yourself with probably less difficulty than you think.

        • Third this recommendation for an index fund. Vanguard is a really great place to look and they have several index funds that would serve your needs. I’m not sure where exactly it is, but they have a quiz that helps you determine your risk level and what index fund would be best for you.

          If you’re really nervous about handling the money yourself, I suggest reading I Will Teach You to be Rich, specifically the sections on investing. They’re quite empowering and really lay it out for you. Best of luck!

        • Regina Phalange :

          Second the low-cost index funds. Vanguard is known for their low fees and it is easy to set up an online account. An index fund is going to have a bit of risk, though, and is better for longer time horizon. Once the money is needed on the short term, something with lower risks might be better. For short term, look for deals with credit unions or banks (we get 3% interest on up to $10K on an account with one financial institution by using our debit card X times per month–check your area for sweet deals like that). Also consider government bonds. Low return, but low risk too.

          • Please share the name of the bank! That sounds amazing!

          • Regina Phalange :

            Its a credit union that only locals can use, unfortunately. We were so happy when we found them after moving, Our interest last year was enough to go out to dinner. They have definitely made us loyal customers. I think local banks and credit unions are more likely to offer deals like this than the bigger banks.

      • Third this recommendation for an index fund. Vanguard is a really great place to look and they have several index funds that would serve your needs. I’m not sure where exactly it is, but they have a quiz that helps you determine your risk level and what index fund would be best for you.

        If you’re really nervous about handling the money yourself, I suggest reading I Will Teach You to be Rich, specifically the sections on investing. They’re quite empowering and really lay it out for you. Best of luck!

    • Anastasia :

      As a caveat, I’m not a financial advisor, so this isn’t “expert” advice by any means. I do like personal finance, though, and I’ve been investing for about 10 years now.

      You could just buy a target-date fund for your investment account. I haven’t looked for this specifically, but I’m sure it’s possible. People invest their own money in IRAs, after all… Just look for a fund with a good manager and low expense ratios.

      To me, you have some competing ideas here: you want access to funds if you need them – which to me, says that they shouldn’t be invested in stocks, but maybe in something more like a CD ladder – but you want to supplement your mother’s retirement (good for you!), so you don’t need some of these funds for 10 years – which is a timeline that’s good for stocks. I might suggest splitting up those separate chunks of money so that you can cover both of your bases.

      I think you could do this without an investment advisor, but if you really want one, be very careful of how such an advisor is paid. You want to make sure his interest align with yours (growing your portfolio). For that reason, I would not consider a commission-based structure, especially not one where the broker is paid a commission per trade. It incentivises “churn,” which is usually bad for returns and also has negative tax implications if you’re selling positions held for less than a year.

      If you don’t mind doing a little bit of work, take an hour or two and think about your risk tolerance and asset allocation in broad categories like small caps, mid caps, large caps, international (developing and developed world), REITs and bonds. Once you’ve decided what you feel comfortable with, open an online investment account with a discount broker (ScottTrade, TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, whatever) and find index funds that represent each of those categories. Buy them. Rebalance and reconsider your asset allocation occasionally. Seriously, it only takes a few hours a few times a year. This is what I do with a huge chunk of my IRA, and it’s pretty much idiot-proof. If you diversify into investment types that do not usually move together (ie bonds are stronger when stocks are weaker), you have some cushion in major market corrections… and when the market is strong – like now – you rack up 20%+ growth without breaking a sweat.

      • I would not do a target date fund. While they are less hassle than index investing, they will invariable have a fair chunk of fixed income, which is highly exposed to interest rate risk. (This is getting technical, but on a very basic level, interest rates up, bond prices down–so your bonds will be worth less than what you paid for them if the rates go up, which is not good for your returns.) Even if your mom is going to retire in ten years, you are going for growth right now, and your mom will not need all of the money the minute she retires. You need to decide how much principal risk you are comfortable with.

        Also, just FYI, if you move that money to Schwab, they will set you up with an advisor who can help with low-cost index fund allocation. Easy-peasy. The advisors are not paid to recommend anything in particular…you just tell them your risk preferences, when you need the money, etc., what it’s for and they put a portfolio together with you, over the phone, for free. They’re fantastic. I cannot say enough great things about Schwab…impeccable service.

        Ping away if you have further questions!

    • NotAHorseRider :

      The big reason to be picky about your adviser is the way advisers are paid. If someone is fee-only, they aren’t making their money by investing your money in less-desirable funds. I would go fee-only for that reason. If you just want some general introductory advice about how different accounts work, the adviser at a brokerage may be just fine to sit down with. If your needs are very simple, you may not need too much adviser management and this could matter less. Your decision.

      You could absolutely open a brokerage account and invest in a 2025 target-date fund (like the kind of thing you use for your 401(k)) and call it a day. The downside to this strategy is potentially high fees associated with mutual funds. The upside is that it is managed for you. An index fund that matches your willingness to take on risk could be an option, but you would pay to have someone manage it over time if you wanted to switch to less risky investments.

      • Rachelellen :

        I feel like another downside for her might be that a target date just 10 years out might be only fixed income. I don’t have any experience with those funds personally but thats what I’d expect. I think she should be a little more diversified across asset classes.

        • NotAHorseRider :

          True. It is something to consider. Target date funds are available, but are probably set up for retirement more than for a 10 year progression.

          Also some food for thought: if you have a 401(k), but no IRA, you qualify for a Roth IRA, and you would not otherwise use a Roth IRA for retirement, you can start one and withdraw the principal (NOT the interest) as desired. A quick google search for Roth IRA as a savings account would probably turn up a lot.

        • Generally, target date funds, even those with 10-year horizons, are significantly invested in stocks as well as bonds and cash. They generally intend to maintain a sizeable percentage of assets in stocks at the target date and beyond, since people need their money to continue growing even in retirement. In fact, some target date funds took flak after the financial crisis of ’08-’09 because they experience losses that some investors, at or close to retirement, weren’t prepared for.

          For the OP: Read a “Mutual Funds for Dummies”-type book, and check out the Motley Fool website. If you decide you want to use a financial advisor, you should check out napfa.org to identify fee-only financial planners. They’re not necessarily universally better (or worse) than advisors who earn commissions, but on the surface anyway, they have fewer conflicts of interest.

          Also, Fidelity has investor centers around the country; since your 401k plan is with them, you likely have access to the investor centers for free. The financial advisors there are paid salaries and are allegedly free to recommend funds outside of the Fidelity family, and are allegedly paid no commissions (my employer’s 401k plans are with Fidelity, and our Fidelity relationship manager swears that this is true – I have no way to confirm this).

    • If you really want to work with an advisor, look for someone that works on a fee-only basis. Generally, commission based advisors are incented to sell you product, and although not all advisors are going to behave badly, it does incentivize them to trade more to earn more commission. However, you could easily use a target date option with a 10-year horizon earmarked for use with your mother, and a different strategy/target date fund for the funds you are investing for yourself. Clark Howard dot com has a pretty good beginners investment guide that will give you a few options based on how much involvement that you want to have, but in general if you focus on consistency (both in saving money and in sticking to your investment strategy) and keeping fees reasonable, you will be way ahead of the game.

      • ETA: If you really want to work with someone, however, make sure to work with a planner that will look at the whole situation (especially accounting for your mother’s situation), and not just focusing the cash you’re looking to invest.

    • I have found Vanguard to be extremely helpful and I’m pretty happy with the returns on my funds (mutual funds).

    • A Roth IRA could be a good fit for you for part of the money. It’s a retirement vehicle, but you can withdraw your original contribution without penalty. (That is, if you put in $1k and it grows to $1.2k, you can withdraw the original $1k without penalty.) The idea is that you pay income taxes on the investment now and do not pay tax on what you withdraw (the entire $1.2k from the previous example). This is different from a 401k on which you do not pay income tax on the invested money, but do pay income tax on withdrawals (can be advantageous because the initial investment is bigger due to no taxes). I agree with Rachelellen that a Roth that invests in an index fund is a good choice. Don’t think this is a good choice for any money you earmark for your mother though, since you won’t really be able to get at the money until you retire.

    • Investment advice for a novice :

      Thank you all so much for your advice! It sounds like I definitely need to revisit the idea of figuring out the investments myself. I’ve played around with a few calculators online to figure out the best allocation based on my preferred amount of aggressiveness (pretty balanced, leaning more aggressive), but I’ve never pulled the trigger for my 401k. To be fair, it doesn’t seem hard, but I’m no expert. I’ll certainly check the sites you’ve suggested. I think the intimidation factor is something I need to get over.

      I do have a Roth 401k for my own retirement account. I don’t max it out but I get close; my mom’s situation has me nervous about her future, and I want to make sure I have enough money for myself. I don’t think she’s let herself do the math of what she’ll have vs what she’ll need, and I haven’t had the big conversation with her yet. Letting her know I have something in place if she needs it will probably be a big blow to her pride, but I hope it provides some reassurance to her too.

      • SuziStockbroker :

        It makes me sad to hear such distrust of investment advisors, although I totally get it.
        And I agree with the advice. With that amount of money, low cost index funds or ETFs are a good strategy.
        When/if you do get to a point where you want/need an advisor, find someone who is transparent about fees, does financial planning as well as investment strategy, is mindful of tax consequences and genuinely listens to you.

  8. Just throwing this out to get people’s opinions: Does your employer have a wellness program (some kind of program that rewards you for exercising a certain amount or achieving certain health standards)? How do you feel about it if you have one? Love it? Hate it? Does it actually motivate you to do anything differently?

    I’m an in-house lawyer on my company’s “wellness committee” and they want to do things that seem kind of aggressive to me. I’ve been doing a bit of research on the area and it kind of seems like it has the potential to be the next frontier in employment litigation. I think we should tread carefully but the committee wants to be pretty aggressive. Just wanted to hear some people’s thoughts on the subject…

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      My old job’s insurance plan had a $200/every 6 months reimbursement for gym memberships if you went at least 50 times in the 6 months. It did actually motivate me to go to the gym. I now have a free gym in my building and do probably exercise less. The firm also occasionally had “biggest loser” competitions amongst the employees. It wasn’t firm-sponsored; people just paid an entry fee themselves.

    • I clicked over to Don’t Blame the Kids (she posts here sometimes) blog, and I think she mentioned that her employer gives her X hours during work time during the week for exercise. I think this is a fabulous perk, and if employers really want their employees to be “well,” providing time for exercise seems like one way to do it.

      Not sure how I feel about rewards for exercising or maintaining a certain level of “wellness.” It just seems to subjective. And I am not sure how you would track exercising. I would rather go to my own gym and ballet classes than do company-sponsored exercise classes. I do like the idea of providing subsidies for gym memberships, or maybe discounts at athletic gear stores? Things that make it easier for people to exercise.

    • Clementine :

      My job does nothing for us but coworkers and I joined together to do a little fitness challenge. It’s basically positive peer pressure/ light public shaming* to encourage us all to work out. We have a tracker printed and hung in a high visibility spot and those of us who have chosen to participate mark down our exercise each day. It really, truly has gotten me to work out more and encouraged me to go on days I wanted to skip my workout to avoid putting a dreaded X on our tracker.

      * I say shaming in the loosest, least negative sense of the word. These are supportive individuals who are able to rag on those who seem to be slacking in a light, fun manner, not full on public flogging.

    • My company switched from have a $250 reimbursement for doing “wellness based activities” to requiring you to do “wellness based activities” to get the total amount of company HSA funds. My husband’s company reimburses him up to $800 per year for activities, including gym memberships, skiing, marathons, yoga classes, etc. We are both pretty active, but don’t like gym-type activities, so it’s nice that other activities are covered.

    • We have one: we pay less for health insurance if we either 1) meet certain cholesterol/blood pressure standards or 2) attend two hour-long classes about them. My big concern has been privacy (reporting my cholesterol to my employer wasn’t the high for my day). Not sure if anyone is motivated to change by it. The difference in price is probably $600 per year, which may not be enough to motivate a radical lifestyle change.

      • This. I am sort of surprised by how much information people are willing to give up to get some extra cash. Not just at your job, but judging from all the other answers ….

    • Bewitched :

      My employer pays us to undergo an annual health evaluation (not full physical) and also pays us to participate in certain wellness classes, e.g. stress prevention, weight loss. I think the whole thing is a joke and would much prefer something along the lines of payment for going to the gym (or lower insurance deductibles). Honestly, if you google employee health incentives, there are some incredibly ambitious programs that might actually improve employee health. My employer just knows that my cholesterol is still low but my waist size and BMI have not decreased from last year’s evaluation. What good is that?

    • We only have stuff like time off to go get a mammogram or prostate exam or to donate blood (instead of using your sick leave) but my mom works in healthcare and they have a lot of stuff, including reimbursements for the gym and a penalty if you don’t get a flu shot. I find that one really troubling – basically it’s something like you lose $250 or some sum if you don’t get it. Talk about coercion.

      • We have a penalty for tobacco use (or a bonus for not using tobacco). It’s only about $200. I heard that several associates quit smoking when they instituted this policy. The cost of cigarettes didn’t motivate them to quit, but $200 did? I mean, don’t cigarettes cost a lot more than $200/yr for a regular smoker? Human nature is a funny thing.

      • Wow, I sort of think a flu shot SHOULD be coerced for anyone in a healthcare setting, both to protect themselves and the patients. Of course, this assumes that the employer provides the shots and makes it convenient to get the shot, and the employee does not have allergies. But if a healthcare worker is around vulnerable people (elderly, pregnant, babies, people on chemo), I have no problem with coercing them to get vaccinated.

        For my job at a biotech company, I was required to get the HepB vaccine because I was working with human cell lines. The risk of me getting HepB from the lines was very low, and I suppose I could have asked for other duties, but the company paid for the shot series and it was no big deal.

        • Absolutely.... :


          If you don’t want a flu shot don’t work in healthcare.

          We are required to get them.

        • At least in NY (state), if you work in a hospital and didn’t get a flu shot last year, you had to wear a mask in the hospital throughout flu season. They put a sticker on your ID to prove you got the shot at employee health.

          • It’s the same way in our county in CA (not sure about other counties). They provide the flu shot for free, you get a sticker, and you don’t have to wear a mask.

            Getting the flu results in a good number of lost productive hours … plus it’s a communicable disease. I can’t imagine NOT getting the flu shot and visiting the hospital, even as an IT person.

      • Need to Improve :

        It seems seriously messed up to me to charge people for choosing not to get a shot. I am not one of those anti-shot peole, either. But it just seems . . . wrong.

    • Philanthropy Girl :

      We have a pretty detailed program. We have up to five discounts for meeting certain health standards (non-smoking, BMI, cholesterol, BP and glucose). It is all managed by an outside company, so all HR sees is the number of discounts you get. Additionally, it’s voluntary to go for the annual screening. If you don’t meet the company standards (which are adjusted from the insurance’s recommended standards), you can meet with a free clinic doctor who will give you a plan for adjusting, and you still get your discount.

      Additionally, we have a program that allows you to earn points for cash (gift card) rewards. Tracking exercise, logging food/water intake, doctor’s appointments, chiropractic appointments, therapy, financial counseling, marriage counseling, massage, marriage seminars – the list is long and they are always open to considering something that isn’t on the list. Additionally, participating in company programs, attending wellness meetings and other type things earn points. 250 = $15. The points reset to zero every year. All information is given voluntarily, so there is no HIPAA violation.

    • My company is offering up to 2 extra vacation days for participating in certain wellness activities. In past years I haven’t minded too much because I was working out anyway, but this year they re-designed it so that you have to workout AND get your wellness exam AND get your biometrics checked AND participate in a 5k outside of work (not all these things, but it’s a combination of things–you can’t just get it by working out). The verification of getting a wellness exam is dicey from a compliance perspective but it also makes me mad from a privacy perspective. I don’t want to share that info with my employer! And I’m mad that we can’t earn extra vacation based on performance metrics…vacation time is part of my comp–it’s not enough that I just do my job?

      Sorry just venting.

      • Your employer doesn’t see you individual results, and even is they did, why do you care? who cares if they know I have high cholesterol.

    • My company increases the amount in our HSA if we complete a wellness questionnaire (all you have to do is complete – you don’t have to reach a certain level of fitness) and there is also a reimbursement program encouraging you to belong to a gym (up to $500 per year) or take fitness classes – there’s a whole list of qualifying expenses.

      At my location we also have a gym available for free to all tenants in our building (not just my company) which is a very nice perk, but not all locations have this. I try to lift weights at lunch a couple of times per week.

    • Not a lawyer :

      I actually wrote my thesis on this subject- employees’ wellness and its implications for work effectiveness. There is a lot of research out there that shows that a company’s investment in wellness programs pays off at a rate of 3 to 1. Employers have to be careful to actually walk the walk, and not talk the talk. By that I mean, employees can see through employers who say that they are all about wellness employees’ health, but don’t give them the means- time, reimbursements, tools- that they need to achieve the results.
      My former corporation had an extensive wellness program. There was a reimbursement for gym memberships up to $100 every 6 months; a substantial deduction in health care premiums for taking yearly assessments and acting on the results; lots of resources available for mental health services; flex time for appointments; long parental leaves, health coaching, internal competitions regarding steps/ exercise, etc. etc. Some were more motivating than others, but in general, if someone were to participate, she could easily save herself hundreds of dollars each year and have more engagement in her health to boot.

      • And there wasn’t push-back from the more involved programs? I have mixed feelings about this stuff. I think what bugs me about mine is that they’re trying to administer it in-house without an outside vendor. I don’t want to give my health info to our HR person, who is a co-worker. But I realize I’m also the grouchy person who doesn’t want to do more than she’s already doing. I’m kind of like “isn’t working out 5-6 days a week enough? grumble grumble…”

        But it’s interesting to hear that the more involved programs actually motivate people.

        • In house might work for gym reimbursements, but not anything that requires an employee to submit health information. A vendor is the only way employees will feel that their privacy is being protected. Otherwise, they will feel uncomfortable and resentful that they have to compromise their privacy to avoid paying a penalty.

    • Our company has one that I think is pretty intrusive, but I comply because I want the insurance premium discounts. You earn points for various activities, but none of them count if you don’t report the results of your health screening to them. That gives them cholesterol, blood pressure, etc info. They use the results of the screening to suggest various activities for you, for which you earn points. The activities themselves aren’t that onerous — I have already earned enough for the maximum discount, and we have until October.

      The only activity that actually led to me making lifestyle changes was a weight loss course they offered a few years back. I actually learned things and lost weight. Of course, I stopped doing the things and gained a lot back. Thus they suggested it to me again for this year, and I’m doing it now again, and have lost 12 lbs. So. I guess I’m in favor?

      • Other than that one, mostly it’s been me reporting the things I would be doing anyway so I get points for them. Flu shots, going to the dentist, whatever.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        This sounds like a great idea in theory but what if you suffered from an ED and telling you that you had to “lose weight” triggered that. Sounds a bit dangerous.

    • We have a program where once a year you get a gift certificate worth $75 if you attend voluntary biometric screening (height/weight/BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol.) It was very popular in my other department, but when I transferred to my current department a few months ago, not so much. I work for a icty and I transferred from Finance to the department that operates a regional transit service (buses). The culture difference is significant.

    • Call me paranoid, but there is ZERO possibility of me sharing any personal health information with my employer on a voluntary basis. (We also have the bonus incentives for blood/cholesterol screening as well as discounted gym memberships, running clubs, etc.) Not for $500, not for $5000. It’s just not worth it.

    • Chronically Ill :

      How do these things work for people with invisible chronic diseases? Obviously I disclose my disease to the insurance company — since they pay for my very expensive medication — and my boss actually knows, but I don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry in HR knowing about my illness and I have absolutely no desire to have my co-workers gossiping about why I can not participate in a 5 k or other sports related activities. If there is someone with a controlled autoimmune disease it seems like this could be a horrible thing. Doesn’t it fly in the face of the ADA?

      • If it’s a legitimate wellness program, it has to either waive the participatory condition for someone who can’t achieve it, or offer a reasonable alternative. And if it’s a big enough company, it will have a third-party handling wellness issues, so HR/management won’t know who can and can’t achieve which goals. If you’re talking about a small company, though, all bets are off.

    • The large employer I work for has a program. It’s advertised as a way to reduce your health insurance premiums. The program has changed over the last few years; here’s basically how it’s evolved:

      1. Complete an online wellness profile, certify receiving a wellness exam in the past 2 years, and for women certify a gyne exam in the past year. Certify being tobacco free.
      2. Wellness profile + wellness exam + certify being tobacco free (gyne requirement dropped)
      3. #2 + employer-site screening (height, weight, blood test for glucose, cholesterol)
      4. #3 + screening now includes cotinine + spouse must complete wellness profile + certify wellness exam + certify being tobacco free

      Employees must complete all parts of their requirements to receive a lower insurance premium. I think this year it’s around $100/month discount. The spousal portion results in an additional $ off; I can’t recall how much.

      Tobacco users can enroll in a cessation program and that will take them down to the tobacco-free premium level.

      The actual results of the screening do not determine your premium discount, and we’re told the company does not receive the results.

      • Additional note, since I only covered the health insurance premium discount. We have an on-site gym that offers all kinds of classes. There are also a number of other wellness programs, some free and some paid (Weight Watchers, for example). We don’t get a financial incentive to participate in any of these programs.

        BTW, it’s a health insurance company. Many times, a wellness program that is newly developed will be put in place for us to try, and then the overall results can be used to show other employers the value of the program.

  9. Okay Hive, I need a wake up call (Relationship/Personal)

    Four years ago, I fell very very in love with someone who lived very far away. We had stretches (4-6 months) of together, but were apart (different continents) most of the time. He loved me too, and worked hard to make it work. At some point, about 2.5 years in, I just felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, and I ended things (there were some other things besides distance, but they were things we likely could have worked through). That was over a year ago. About 6 months after the breakup, I visited him in on his continent. It was really nice, but I felt like we were growing apart and I had closure (even though he wanted to get back together, he was respectful of my wishes to end things). Now, more than six months later, I am starting to feel like I made a huge mistake. I obsess over his facebook, Instagram, twitter. I have been excelling in my career, but not much in my personal life, and while I have been dating I don’t feel like I connect with anyone the way I did with him. I’m beginning to cycle around all of these absurd feelings like I will never meet anyone I connect with that way again and that I will be alone forever (several mean, unpleasant people at work said things along these lines to me after my latest promotion, that I would be super successful but when I was old that would be all I have to show for my life).

    How do I get over all of these feelings? I want to call him, but I know feelings dumping on him isn’t fair to him when I think he is finally moving on, but all I want to do is make him love me forever (I know I can’t do this and its unfair and unreasonable).

    • If you love him, and he (still?) loves you, and you don’t think you can be happy without him, why can’t you move closer to him or him to you? I get putting your career first (temporarily) but love is our greatest motivator and aspiration in life… I can’t imagine letting the love of your life go by without at least trying to sacrifice other aspects of your life.

    • You ask for a “wake up call” but I can’t tell if it’s a wake up call to let him go and move on, or to commit to him and make plans to live in the same place. Either option would be valid, and it sounds like you just have to pick one or the other rather than staying in this limbo any longer.

    • I am in a somewhat similar scenario so take what I am about to say with a grain of salt. No one is owed a great mate or kids. They are blessings and celebrated for a reason! Anyone who makes you feel like your life is not complete without those things is wrong. It’s just like anything else people say about you that hurts your feelings – it’s almost always about their insecurities anyways. That being said, when someone says something like that to me at the wrong time, I spend a few days pretty upset that I am going to die alone with no one to share in my success. What helps me get out of that funk is that I know I work on being and am an amazing, successful, well-rounded, nice person.

      The other thing is, I think it takes a year to get over someone. I went back to back in relationships that did not work for too long (14 years). I just reached my year deadline of not dating anyone seriously since moving on about 3 weeks ago. I don’t know if I am ready to move on but I have about 4 different first dates this weekend to see if I am. (solving my whole ‘there are no guys out there’ worry). It really feels like I am not ready in some respects and I think about him all the time.

      What I do know it was too hard to be with that person – for me – with the distance. It may feel like he is the only one who understands me but a deal breaker is a deal breaker and neither of us can move. Loneliness is hard. But without a fair period of time, and dating around, you are only returning to a cycle that you’ve proved does not work if you try to get back together.

      Stay strong. Wait it out.

      • Original Poster :

        Thank you for this, it really resonates and helps me remember that I do probably just need to wait it out and find ways to combat my feelings of personal life inadequacy that don’t involve pining over things that ended up being deal breakers, as you say.

    • Live from Spinsterville :

      If you were my friend and you asked for a wakeup call, I’d tell you that obsessing over someone you haven’t seen in a year is about as productive as obsessing over an old high school or college boyfriend. The truth is that you broke up for a reason, if only that reason was neither one of you was willing to upend your lives to be together. Odds are you’re not actually fixated on a real three-dimensional person but instead some figment of your imagination who happens to have the same name and face as your ex. You’re in love with the idea of him, or perhaps worse, you’re so afraid of becoming the spinster whose career won’t keep her warm at night that you’re grabbing onto the last time you didn’t feel so alone and didn’t have to face that fear.

      To be clear – I promise this is not from a judgy place. I’m in the same boat and am simultaneously giving myself that lecture about an ex who moved to another state as I type it out. Also, the people at work are truly awful people and likely having secret coffee dates with Princeton Mom plotting the demise of single career women’s self-esteem. I’m livid at them on your behalf.

      My wakeup call is this: you probably don’t need him. Your feelings are likely a symptom that you need a vibrant life that you are so happy living and hobbies that make you feel alive that you don’t internet stalk your ex and instead internet stalk those other things (mine? cycling tours in amazing places, like Provence!). It’s not fair to present-day you to put on hold your right to be happy until you find The One. It’s tough, but sounds like it’s time to sign up for classes, throw yourself into hobbies (ideally in coed settings if you’re looking for a male spouse – might as well set yourself up to meet new male humans organically instead of signing up for, say, Junior League), and take the pressure off of dating other people for a bit when the person who needs the love and care you’d give a significant other at this moment in time is…you.

      Oh, and therapy is always a good idea for spirals of counterproductive thoughts and feelings.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I don’t think you really want *this* guy, I think you want *a* guy, and since this guy is the guy you most recently had a good connection with, you’re playing the “maybe it was better with him than I realized” game. And that’s fine, but recognize it for what it is, and don’t up-end the guy’s world just because you’re lonely (and possibly maybe also the teensiest bit hurt/jealous/sad that he’s “finally moving on” and no longer eternally pining for you as perhaps some part of you thought he would be?).

      I have a friend who was in an international long-distance relationship for a number of years, and do you know what happened when they couldn’t take the distance anymore? They got married. You guys chose “break up.” There’s a reason you chose “break up” and not “marry the dude.”

      • First Year Anon :

        I agree with this assessment.

      • Original Poster :

        This is a really fair assessment, and probably what I needed to hear. I definitely was triggered by social media evidence that he may be moving on and no longer waiting for me to “change my mind”, and this made me a horrible combination of hurt, jealous, sad, and guilty (particularly in this moment of weakness with ongoing commentary about how all i have in my life is work).

        Ultimately, I felt like it wasn’t worth it, and you are right. I feel like I’ve grown a lot since the break up and I have this lingering feeling of- i was younger and didnt want to try hard enough and wasnt mature enough to figure it out. But one of my friends said to me that we have to sort of trust our past selves, because our nostalgia glasses always making our memories better than they were. Life is just sort of confusing, and emotions are complex and are making me feel a little unhinged.

        Thank you everyone for all the thoughts, Its nice to have things put in perspective.

    • One of my favourite sayings: don’t mistake nostalgia for regret. Every situation is different, but I’d encourage you to really examine where these feelings are coming from.

      For what its worth, I too had a boyfriend I went out with 1.5 years (long distance 6 of those months but I would be away for 3 years) and 2 years after breaking up, 6 months before returning to my home country, but still long-distance, we got back together. Went out for a year but it ultimately didn’t work out for reasons unrelated to distance. Was the second break up hard? Yes, absolutely. Even harder than the first because we couldn’t blame the distance this time. However, I’m now 100% sure us not being together is the right decision, and I’m glad we got back together or I might still be pining for him. But your situation might be different, I don’t know. Before I felt exactly the same as you did – how could I ever meet someone as great as him?? But even though I’m now single with literally NO prospects in my city, I know that as great as he is, he’s not great for me. Hugs though, this is a tough position to be in.

    • you need to date other people. That’s how you get over this guy. You will meet someone if you try.

      • Saying “you will meet someone if you try” is really not helpful. Many of us who have been in similar situations to the OP have been “trying”…for YEARS now! I understand and agree with what you meant–that she will move on eventually through dating other people–but the way you phrased this was really insensitive to those people who have been putting in an earnest effort for much longer than anyone could have anticipated.

    • Wildkitten :

      I has this problem. Email witldkittenrette to chat

  10. Texas Ex Pat :

    I saw these in person at a wedding last weekend. They did not disappoint.

  11. Does anyone have a favorite flavor of K-cup? My office only has two options (Vermont Breakfast and Sumatran) and I’ve gotten very bored of those two options. Any suggestions on something good?

  12. Need to Improve :

    I lost the belt to my new rain/trench coat. I am so bummed. It’s a plain black trench. Anyone know where I can get a replacement belt? (I contacted the manufacturer and no dice.) Black could be hard to match, but I can maybe get a red one . . .

    • hoola hoopa :

      I like the idea of a contrasting color. Way to see the silver lining.

      If it’s a top brand, I’d try contacting the company and asking customer service. You could also try the store where you bought it if they are known for having good customer service. Always worth a try.

      It would be easy to sew a new one. A seamstress could easily work with nylon or polyester, but you may want to look for an outdoor gear repair shop if it’s ripstop or other specialty outdoor fabric. You could get two, one in black and one in a contrasting color.

      • Need to Improve :

        GREAT idea to call the store. The designer was unhelpful, but I did not try the store, and I bought it at Nordstrom, which has the greatest customer service ever. Getting on chat with them now . .

    • That is annoying, but can’t you wear it with just about any belt? I lost the belt to a navy trench a couple of years ago and was sad until I realized how much more stylish the trench looked with my snakeskin belt, my cognac leather belt, my neon pink patent belt, etc. etc…I found I could wear pretty much any belt, wide or thin, with it.

      • Need to Improve :

        That’s not a bad idea. I will fiddle around with what I already have. I prefer one I don’t have to buckle and can just tie because it seems easier.

  13. Prius Shopping :

    If you have an older prius (2007/2008) or a newer prius with 100k+ miles on it – how is the reliability and maintenance? I’ve had an amazing experience with my 20+ year old corolla, but I’m not sure how that translates to the “new” hybrid technology. The junction of my desired price point and features seem to put me right around the 100k mile roll over.


    • We have a 2004 Prius with 130k miles, it still runs great and hasn’t required any major repair just routine maintenance.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I have a 2005 Prius that is still in great shape. I haven’t had to do much more than get new tires and brakes, knock on wood.

    • Wildkitten :

      At some point you might have to buy a new battery and it is very expensive. I don’t know specifics but you should look into it if you plan to keep the car for 20 years.

      • Regina Phalange :

        This is what I worry about with our Prius. We’ll probably sell at around the 7 year/100K mark because I just don’t want to risk the battery going out on us and forcing a $3,000 repair. I think the battery is under warranty for 8 years. Otherwise, our Prius (5 years in) has been very reliable and has only needed new tires, a new battery (not the hybrid), and routine maintenance.

        • This was the concern at first, people didn’t know how long the electric battery would last. It seems now since Prius’ (Prii?) have been on the road for over 10 years, some getting up near 300k miles, generally the battery have only needed to be replaced if there was something like an accident or other intervening event. I didn’t do very extensive research on it, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t look into it, but I think now most people are comfortable with it being equivalent to a transmission, ie somewhere down the line it may fail but not something you need to plan for 5 years out.

          • Regina Phalange :

            Thanks Susie. I tend to be conservative on these things . . . even if 99 times out of 100 the battery lasts more than 8 years, I don’t want to be that 1% that is stuck with a $3K repair in year 9. The repair would have to happen–no one would buy the car without the battery in it–and the repair would add little to no value to the car. We’d just be out $3K. Much safer to sell while under warranty and buy a reliable car that doesn’t have the battery issue.

          • $3000 is still cheaper than a new car, though. Why not just factor that into the cost of the vehicle, save for it and pay the cost if you still like the car?

          • Regina Phalange :

            The Prius is already more expensive than the Corrolla. Factoring in an extra $3K just to own a hybrid seems silly. Gas would have to be way more expensive than it is now to make up all the extra costs in owning a Prius versus a comparable non-hybrid model. But to each her own.

      • Prius Shopping :

        That is exactly my concern. The warrantee is good until 100k miles, and a replacement (used) looks to be about $3k, maybe less. I wasn’t sure if I should figure a replacement in a year or two into the price, but it sounds like the battery typically lasts several years past that. I’m paying cash for the car now, so I think I’ll be comfortable buying a new battery so long as it’s several years away.

        Thanks, everyone! Very encouraging responses.

      • My coworker’s 10 year old Prius required a new battery (something like $8k) around year 7 or 8. It hadn’t reached 100k miles. She complained and Toyota chipped in some money towards the battery (but not the labor).

    • Golfballs :

      I heard someone talking just last week about their ’03 (or whatever year they came out) Prius with >200k miles on it. Said he’s put less than $1,000 into it over that entire time span. Team Toyota4eva.

    • We have an ’08 with probably 120K on it. We’ve only had to do routine maintenance. New battery (not the electric one), oil changes, new tires. It’s very reliable.

    • Jenna Rink :

      I was considering a used Prius with just under 100k miles on it, and ultimately ended up getting a brand new Prius C. When it came down to it, I wasn’t comfortable taking the tiny risk of being the person who ends up having to pay out of pocket for a battery replacement. The Prius seems to hold its value very well so I couldn’t find a used one in my area for under 12k, even with 100k miles on it. I didn’t mind getting a car with very few bells and whistles, so I decided to get a new Prius C One for around $18500 instead. Something to consider if you’re open to driving a pretty tiny car!

    • Late on this thread, but just curious as I’ll probably need to buy a car in the next year or so (moving from NYC to a driving city).

      If you have driven your Prius pretty regularly, how much do you estimate you’ve saved in gas? Are there any additional costs to a Prius that aren’t inherent in “regular” vehicles (other than upfront costs)?

      • Regina Phalange :

        Kathryn, it is pretty easy to figure the gas savings. All you need to know is how much you will drive the car, the miles per gallon of the Prius compared to the other car, and the expected cost of gas. Let’s say you drive 10,000 miles a year, gas in your area costs $4 a gallon, and you are comparing the Prius (48 mpg, approx. avg.) versus a Corolla (35 mpg, approx average). With the Prius, you are going to spend about $833 on gas each year. With the Corolla, the cost will be about $1,143 a year in gas, so your savings are about $300 a year. If the Prius costs $8,000 more, then the gas savings won’t balance out the additional cost of the car unless you own the car 26 years. This estimate could change based on how much you drive, your expected miles per gallon (highway versus city driving and other driving habits), and changes in gas costs. There are also other factors (the Prius might be a more enjoyable car, so that makes it worth more to you, etc.) However, unless gas goes up substantially, the cost savings on gas alone aren’t usually enough to justify the extra costs of a hybrid.

  14. Senior Attorney :

    Gah. I have a work project that had no particular deadline, but I have procrastinated for so long that it’s now undeniably tardy. I have informed the person coordinating it that I will have it done by Monday morning and I will be finishing it this weekend, but… gah. Mortified, paralyzed.

    Please tell me I’m not the only one who does stupid stuff like this.

    • It happens. Just get it over with. In a few weeks you will have forgotten about it (hopefully).

    • Texas Ex Pat :

      You’re not. And your personal life has been a little bonkers lately, no? Now is the time to focus on getting aforementioned project done, not the negative emotions associated with putting it off. Good luck!

    • The best feeling will be when you finish the project and turn it in on Monday. You’ll lose all the anxiety that’s been sitting in the pit of your stomach this entire time.

    • Hi , I am facing the same thing. I scheduled a review meeting for Tuesday so that I have to get it done by then.

  15. Brunette Elle Woods :

    Recently I posted about an e-mail to an attorney asking if she would be willing to meet up for lunch or coffee. Eventually I would love to work for her firm so I’m trying to build a relationship and network now. I also think she would be a wonderful contact and mentor in general. Fortunately, she agreed to schedule a time to meet up! What are some good topics to discuss and questions to ask? I, of course, cannot simply come out and tell her I want to work for her!

    • Not an attorney :

      How about saying you’re really interested in the kind of work she does and ask her about how she got into it?

      • Brunette Elle Woods :

        We work in the same area of law. That is how I met her and why I want to work for her firm. It’s a small boutique type firm. But I can still ask her how she got into just for background information.

    • Not a lawyer :

      I have a list of questions that I think of as ‘back pocket questions,’ as in I could pull them out of my back pocket at anytime I need them without ever having to think about it. When speaking with someone I think would make a good mentor, I ask them: Tell me about your career path and how you came to [this firm/ this position]. What are your major projects right now? What part of [this position/ firm] do you get most excited about? What was the hardest to learn/ the biggest challenge you’ve faced, how did you handle it? Is there anything you did to prepare you’ve found extremely useful? If you could go back 5-10 years, is there anything you wish you would have done to prepare for where you are today?
      And be prepared to tell her about yourself too. Don’t expect that she will do all the talking. Practice telling her about yourself and your background, what you’re doing now and how you find it, and your career goals (possibly to include that you would be interested in working for her). Good luck!

    • West Coast :

      In addition to the great questions from Not a lawyer, I would ask:
      – What made you choose to work at you current firm? (it gives you some fodder when you want to start a conversation about moving there yourself, and also can let you connect with her priorities)
      – A question that is more big-picture. I am not sure how this would translate from business to law, but something along the lines of ‘what trends you see affecting your area of law?’ The goal would be to have a base from which to send her an article or two when you come across a piece of news on the topic, and an excuse to continue to network with her.

  16. This community has been an amazing resource over the years, and I’m wondering if anyone would have advice for a long-time mostly lurker. I have an interview next week for a development job at a large cultural institution, and I’m totally new to the field as well as arts institutions/non-profits. My background is in research and writing/editing, and I’m pretty early career. It would be great if someone who has been there could give me some pointers or advice, since it’s all so new (I don’t even know the right questions to ask). For those of you who work in development, how did you obtain your first job in that field? What do you wish you’d known going into it? What questions would you recommend asking?

    This is unhelpfully open-ended. Any advice would be deeply appreciated. This job would be *so cool* but I know I have an uphill battle to make my case. I’m qualified for the job, but a newbie to the field – one that I would love to be in long term. Thanks, all!

    • (1) Grab a copy of their Annual Report (might be on their website), which should highlight the organization’s purpose/mission. Even generic/historic art institutions/non-profits have a more focused goal that can get lost in translation to the public. Know it and show that you know it at your interview.

      (2) The Annual Report should also identify their major funding sources and their allocations. Tons of information here. Figure out where your job fits in and what funding source it supports. Ask if their current allocation is their ideal or if they’re looking to increase/decrease certain sources. What’s been their historical splits? What do they want moving forward? E.g., a non-profit may have multi-year grants that are expiring/disappearing, and so replacement grants or major gifts are the new focus. Or an organization may have just received a huge major gift and want to capitalize on that through more special events and donor events. Or some organizations have no plan at all and just do the same thing every year. You should ask about these things. Also, how large is their development department? Small – you’ll have your hands in everything; large – more specialized, just like any large company.

      (3) Definitely highlight your writing/editing skills. Always needed and appreciated.

      (4) I think entry level jobs in development are no more difficult to get than any other entry level job in any industry, if not a bit easier, as there are more opportunities for you to interact with the development department. It might be too late for this job interview but in the future, if you’re looking at another cultural institution, visit the institution, repeatedly. Get on their email lists. Get your hands on their marketing/promotional materials. If possible, go to one of their special events or volunteer at one of their events. These are all facets of their development department, and you’ll meet the staff through these interactions. Wins huge bonus points during and after interviews.

      Hope this helps!

  17. Shopping PSA: I know that a bunch of people here like the CH Air Tali wedges. The CH website has a few of them on sale for around $65 right now (with promo code Take50). It’s final sale but Nordstrom will price match. I bought the eggplant ones. FYI. http://tinyurl.com/lsz5r2t

  18. Anonymous_ :

    Any shopping suggestions, either brands or specific items, for sheath dresses for a “reverse pear” body type? (e.g., big on top, almost no hips)
    Lots of sheaths fit me well up top and then have several inches’ worth of excess fabric around the hips.

    • Try searching for dress suggestions for “apple” body shape.

    • Anonymous_ :

      Ah, wow, thanks everyone. For some reason my brain is not fully functioning today because I’ve totally used those terms (apple, inverted triangle) myself but couldn’t think to search for them.

      • I am built this way. Ann taylor tends to work on me. I also have several INC sheaths from Macy’s that fit really nicely.

    • Joan Holloway :

      I really like the DDAtelier sheaths this season.

    • Ditto, ditto, ditto. I love sheaths but have to buy them to fit my chest and have the hips taken in. Have never found one that fit off the rack unless it was super stretchy, but then that creates too much of a work-inappropriate silhouette. Which makes me cringe as I think about the last time I wore that stretchy sheath to lunch with my boss, and walking down the street heard some very inappropriate (if complimentary) remarks about my body in that dress from a bystander. I ignored, boss ignored though I’m sure he heard, but I’ve thought twice about wearing that particular dress to work without a big boxy jacket over it! :)

  19. I feel like I need “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay” for my work situation…

    I’m currently dependent on a partner who doesn’t really seem to have my back & who I don’t trust to help me advance, but I like what I’m doing work-wise and my current job situation, and I realize that any move will likely be less comfortable (e.g., in-house at a lower salary, into a situation where I have less autonomy). Without delving into details, making my way on my own is not likely possible due to the structure of our organization.

    Any advice from anyone who has been there?

  20. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    So, I finished T25 (alpha, beta, and gamma) and lost a total of 13.5 inches! I loved the program and would do it again. I felt the largest improvement in cardio after the alpha phase and the largest improvement in strength after the gamma phase.

    • Congrats! Have you done any of the other Beach Body DVDs? I have Insanity and wonder how it compares. I’m getting a little bored with the workouts.

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        This was my first. In the past, I avoided Beachbody like the Plague because I didn’t want to be sucked into the social media aspect of it, but, so far, my inbox is safe. I am getting ready to start the Brazil Butt Lift program, so I guess they’re doing something right. I haven’t done Insanity, but I’ve heard from friends who have that T25 Shaun T is much more encouraging (but still just as butt kicking) as Insanity Shaun T. If you’re looking for something new, I strongly suggest T25.

  21. DC Wonkette - A-line dresses :

    Lots of convo this week about A-line dresses – this one is on sale at Ann Taylor, and I bought it today. Highly recommend. http://www.anntaylor.com/striped-boucle-dress/323442?colorExplode=false&skuId=16034068&catid=cata000012&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=0177

  22. Belt advice needed :

    What are your favorite work-appropriate belts? I am assuming most are leather and I am hoping for durability. Looking for a skinny for layering and a wide to help with dresses/waist definition. For these, I think they probably need to lie closer to my natural waist which is small (27″).

    On advice from this site, I purchased wide and a narrow braided style belts in the past, as I was looking for more flexibility in waist size for different styles of low/med/high waisted bottoms. Those have been very useful, but to me are a little more casual than I would like for work.

    • I love the skinny belts from JCrew and JCrew factory. You can usually find them on sale for between $10-$20, they come in tons of colors and are great quality for the price.

  23. Belt advice needed :

    What are your favorite work-appropriate belts? I am assuming most are leather and I am hoping for durability. Looking for a skinny for layering and a wide to help with dresses/waist definition. For these, I think they probably need to lie closer to my natural waist which is small (27″).

    On advice from this site, I purchased wide and a narrow braided style belts in the past, as I was looking for more flexibility in waist size for different styles of low/med/high waisted bottoms. Those have been very useful, but to me are a little more casual than I would like for work.

    • West Coast :

      I have a couple of the belt kits from Hermes, and they are pricey but fantastic. Each is reversible and I have 2 buckles, one that is more masculine and one that is more feminine to put with the color I need.

      They way they are structured also makes them versatile. The excess leather is inside, not out, so by punching a couple extra holes (which don’t show due to structure), I can wear them with high/med/low waist pant.

  24. This is so random but I am wondering if anyone might have some advice or insight. A childhood friend just told me she is probably getting a divorce. I am in compete shock. They have two fantastic kids, 9 and 4, and he is probably the best dad I’ve ever seen – changed every diaper, drove to every after school thing, builds sets for their school plays, you name it. They are probably the most “perfect family” I’ve ever seen. I know appearances can be deceiving (obviously) but I also can’t believe all the things she is saying about him. I mean I can, but I also can’t help but think she may be seeing things not quite accurately. Her family is very involved and very controlling – a lot of what she is saying feels like the words of her mother who has always been very against the husband and really would love my friend to be single so they could spend all their time together. I know my job is just to be a good friend and listen and be there, but I also feel like my friend could be making a huge mistake here. Is there anything I can say to make her take her time to consider what she is doing? I don’t think a book like “too good to leave, too bad to stay” would really be appropriate here, but is there something else along these lines I could send her?

    My friend is very private and apparently this has been building up for the past 6 months or so without anyone knowing and then she only confided in her mother who convinced her that her husband is a monster. Any advice would be appreciated. I’ve only dealt with divorces I understood before.

    • I would get the names of a few great local therapists and encourage couples counselling. They will need to co-parent if there’s a divorce but if he’s as great as you think, maybe a non-biased 3rd party can help her see that as well. Couples counselling is the reason I’m still married to my DH – we had a few rough early years but it was so worth it to work through it.

      • I am so glad to hear that counseling worked for you and your husband. I did suggest it today to my friend, but so far she hasn’t been too receptive. She seems to think that because her family is involved now and apparently the husband has now told them all what he thinks of their involvement, they will never forgive him and this will just not be something the two of them will be able to ever get past. She is more open to individual counseling though and I think that’s probably a good idea at this point, too. Thanks so much for your insight.

    • I have two separate experiences that sort of relate:

      1) My best friend’s parents are people who, frankly, I don’t respect. They’re excruciatingly judgmental and controlling of her, and for every major life decision she’s made they have pushed hard for the option that served their selfish interests. A lot of her process of growing up has been trying to recover from her upbringing and figure out how to interact with them now in a healthy way. I can totally see them trying to talk her into divorcing a good guy if they thought it would bring her closer.

      I used to argue against their position all the time, but eventually I realized I was doing the same thing they were: undermining her judgment and trying to convince her to see things my way. So I’ve switched to a much more questioning approach–“oh, do you agree with what they say about this? What do YOU want to do?” I am still critical of them when she asks my opinion, however. In your case, maybe this means arguing not on behalf of the husband, but on behalf of independent decisions (and maybe raising questions about her mom’s motives–I still do that, and I think it’s fair).

      On the other hand…

      2) A woman in my family divorced an apparent amazing catch/super-dad. Everyone was so confused–what could have been the problem? I still don’t know the whole story, nor do I need to, but it turns out she had good reasons and has never looked back. In fact, I think that how perfect things looked from outside was part of the problem–it made her feel especially guilty, but it also pointed to some areas where he was working harder on the appearances than on the reality (if that makes sense). Picture a man slaving over his house’s outside paint job, impressing the neighbors, while all the pipes were rusting away.

      I have several divorced friends, though none with kids. The above may not be useful at all. But I feel for you, and kudos for trying to handle this conscientiously. She is lucky to have such a thoughtful friend. Good luck.

      • Thanks for your kind words, Monday. That’s actually very useful. Your best friend’s family sounds like my friend’a family. Her mother would really be happy if my friend was alone and they could all move in together – parents, my friend and the kids. She actually tried to make it happen before but the husband eventually prevailed into everyone living 5 minutes apart. Now she can have a second chance.

        I think you’re right though – I can’t try to impose what I think on my friend any more than my friend’s mom should be trying to impose what she thinks is best. I will try to press for my friend to make independent decisions. It’s all just so complicated and hard because of the kids.

        And of course it could be that’s it’s more like scenario number 2. Obviously if this is happening things weren’t as perfect as we all thought. I’m trying to keep that in mind, too. I’ll admit I have a hard time thinking that things were secretly so bad but the truth is you don’t ever really know and it’s important to keep an open mind. I really appreciate your thoughts on this.

  25. Blackberry :

    I’m just about to start a new job (private law firm), and have a planned vacation abroad for five days just six weeks after I start… what do I do? Do I (a) cancel the trip and never mention it to the partners? (b) mention “hey, I planned a five-day trip abroad a long time ago, before I knew I’d be switching jobs, but I’m happy to cancel if it you would like” or (c) go on the trip and tell the partners that I am available to work on the trip as much as needed? I’m inclined to go with (b) but worry that most people, when confronted with (b), would say “of course, go ahead” but resent the new associate anyway. Thanks corporettes!

    • Law Firm Recruiter :

      Was the trip planned before you began the interview process? If not, was the trip planned when you got to the offer stage? Either way I would have recommended that you disclose it to the firm recruiter during the recruiting process. You should have made the employer aware earlier in the process and then they could have incorporated the time off into your offer or delayed your start date to after the trip. In the first 90 days, you’re typically probationary and not eligible for vacation (unless you negotiated it). I would cancel the trip/postpone it to a more appropriate time. Failing to disclose it ahead of time and springing it on them after you start makes you look immature. It would not go over well at my firm – there would be resentment from colleagues and worse from partners. I don’t mean to sound like no one takes vacation at my firm- we do – but you should have been upfront during the hiring process. Option C serves no one and is a recipe for disaster; Option B makes you look shady and immature; Option A sucks but that’s the adult response. A five day trip can be rescheduled. Next time, disclose it during the interview process and either negotiate for the time off so that everyone’s expectations are clear and satisfied or set your start date after your travel concludes.

      • Blackberry :

        Planned the trip last summer (almost one year ago). I didn’t bring it up during interviews because I saw it like discussing salary. I haven’t finished the offer process but I know that I will be accepting and that they want me to start six weeks before the trip. So, I was already going to be talking to them tomorrow about some of the offer details, so I will go and bring it up tomorrow… unless other corporettes think that even bringing it up would be bad? I mean, given that I’m still at the offer stage, is it acceptable even to bring this up (a pre-planned abroad trip), or do I just need to cancel the trip? I know this happens all the time with jobs (that the timing works out this way), and I’m thinking that it will just depend on what they need – if deadlines fall during my trip, I’ll need to stay. But if they think I can go, then I’ll go. Thanks.

        • Yeah, this is the kind of thing where you don’t want to bring it up, but what you should have done (in retrospect) was told your recruiter, so that she could address it for you. For example, I lateraled and couldn’t start until six weeks later than they wanted because I was teaching a law school class in my then-city (across the country from my new city). The recruiter laid the groundwork for me by investigating how urgent their need was, and after determining that an immediate start was more of a want than a need, explained the situation at the appropriate time.

          It’s too late for this to help you, but for others.

        • If you are still in the negotiating the offer stage, you might as well bring it up and see how it is received. I’d at least give them a chance to let you know if this is an issue.

    • A different opinion – I had a 1 week trip planned about a month and a half after I started in Biglaw as a lateral junior associate that was planned long before I got the offer or even applied to my firm. Delaying my state date was not an option as I was unemployed at the time and needed the $$$ badly. I asked the partner I worked for about it, framing it as more of a family obligation than a fun vacay (we were going with my parents, albeit to a tropical place) and he said it was fine to go. It was the week between Christmas and New Years, which is always dead in my practice group, though, so that made it easier. I checked email religiously (to the point that it didn’t even really feel like a vacay) but absolutely nothing came up because it was so dead and I wasn’t fully ramped up. I don’t think it was held against me as I got a great review soon after. I think option (b) is fine. If the partners you work for are cool with it, I don’t think it really matters if you have official vacation time.

  26. Madeleine :

    Wondering what your opinion is about these trouser socks for the office:


    Say with a black pantsuit and black pumps?

    • I wear some version of that with all my pants if I’m not going bare legged. Fwiw, a plain small fishnet looks better than elaborate patterns, at least in my personal opinion, but I’ve done all variations. I’m not sure why it would be a problem. Small nude fishnet socks also look great. I say don’t think twice and go for it.

    • Fine with black pants!

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