Weekend Open Thread

slate gray Tumi crossbodySomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

I’m still ho-hum about crossbody bags for work, but most of my other objections (mostly arising from my dislike of crossbody straps as a busty woman) are wearing down because a lightweight crossbody bag is SO great for running errands on the weekend. This slate gray Tumi one, available at Nordstrom’s big summer sale (see our workwear picks here) is great if you like a sedate, wear-with-everything kind of bag. It was $195, but is now marked to $117 in the sale. ‘Voyageur – Capri’ Crossbody Bag

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  1. Little House :

    Has anyone used SoFi for a mortgage or personal loan? I refinanced my law school loans with them easily and now I’m looking for mortgage rates to buy my first home. I don’t think they’ve offered mortgages for very long but would love to hear if anyone has any experience.

    • I comparison shopped with them and they were way more expensive than any other option. We did not need a jumbo loan, so maybe there are more competitive in that niche, but for my conform loan they were seriously 2-3 percentage points above most other quotes.

    • I don’t know anything about SoFi but you should be using a mortgage broker. You want to be able to get competitive quotes from many lenders. The mortgage broker should take on the same commission fee a bank employee should get, so if you choose a reputable broker, you will be getting the absolute best deal.

    • As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to use someone who is brand new to the market at this point in the real estate cycle. They see it as opportunistic and they are inexperienced. A bad lender can royally mess up, if not entirely kill, a transaction. I would strongly recommend using a bank with a strong track record. Even better, echoing the above, find a mortgage broker (any sale broker can make a referral if you need it) so you can shop the most competitive rate.

      • AlexisFaye :

        They are AWESOME.
        Tricia McLelland has done mine, my brother’s, and my parents.
        I may have offered her margaritas, last time.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      We considered them because they offer jumbo loans with less than 20% down without having to pay PMI. But when we ran the numbers for our situation, with SoFi’s higher interest rate, it worked out to about the same as getting a loan from a more traditional bank and paying PMI. In the end, we decided to save longer, put 20% down, and get a traditional (still jumbo) loan.

      I never even considered using a mortgage broker, and I am not sure what value they add. Maybe it would matter if you would struggle to get a mortgage for some reason. We got quotes from three large banks on a Saturday morning just by going to the bank branches, two of them offered the same exact rate and once was 0.01% higher. The rates seemed pretty fixed, at least for our situation.

  2. Any recommendations for a cat-friendly house plant beyond cat nip? I haven’t had any inside for a while because I have a young cat who has a special skill for getting in places/food she shouldn’t, but I’m missing having some fresh living things in my apartment. Most of the flowers I prefer I can’t have because they’re toxic to cats and I’d rather not risk it.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Most herbs are ok (note that lavender, however, is toxic. I spend a lot of time at the plant store googling to ASPCA plant list). How about something like a rosemary plant?

    • I have a spider plant (non-toxic to cats) that’s nice and green and easy to maintain. Plus, it reproduces super quickly so you could fill your space easily after buying only one plant.

      • Oooh. I didn’t realize they were non-toxic to cats – thank you for that suggestion! Bonus that they usually come in hanging baskets, so maybe she won’t get into as easily (though she’s a climber so who knows. One of her favorite activities is to scale my desk chair from the back like she’s climbing Mt. Everest.)

    • Lace flower vines, African violets, friendship plants, hens and chicks, Christmas cactus, money plant, Boston fern.

  3. Moonstone :

    I’m looking for recommendations for Lisbon. I’ve had the good fortune of visiting Portugal before and seen the sights, so mostly I’m interested in food, walks, and other fun that I would be able to enjoy solo after my workday ends at 5 pm. I’ll be there almost week. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  4. Marshmallow :

    Can anybody help with vicarious furniture shopping/ decorating? We are moving in a couple of weeks, and the guest room is going to double as my office and dressing/vanity area (tiny closets, no room to share in the master bedroom). Any general tips or inspiration for setting up a space just for oneself? Ideally I’d like to have some separation between the “office” functions and “dressing room/ hanging out” functions, but I may have to use the desk for both work and vanity purposes. Maybe a little cabinet to hide work things when I’m not using them?

    Vicarious shopping: I’m looking for a cute loveseat that folds out into a full-size (not queen) sleeper sofa. I’m finding lots in twin and queen sizes but nothing really in full size. I like the style of the Brittany futon on Amazon (linked below), but I think the sleeper dimensions are too small. Budget is about $500.

    • Marshmallow :


    • Wildkitten :

      I had the Ikea Brimnes vanity and when you put down the mirror it looks just like a regular desk. A parsons desk could also do this trick, but you’d need to figure out what to do about a mirror.

    • If Ikea works for you, I had looked at and almost bought the Friheten sleeper sofa. They don’t tell you what size the bed is in normal terms, but the measurements of the folded out bed align with a full size mattress. We ended up going with an old skool futon because we wanted queen size on a budget, so I don’t have actual experience with this one.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        It’s a good sofa! I have the version with the attached chaise thingie and I slept on it this week. It isn’t super soft, but it doesn’t have that falling-into-the-middle-crease thing the sort of futon foldout couches have.

      • Marshmallow :

        Thanks! It might be slightly larger than will fit in that room but I’ll check it out and look at measurements.

  5. Postpartum :

    I am six weeks postpartum and just got diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse. My OB/gyn prescribed physiotherapy and I will start with that asap, but I am extremely shaken by the diagnosis and my v***a feeling full of organs (collapsed interior walls, i.e. the bladder and intestines bulge inside). I have been crying all day yesterday and most of today. I already went down the rabbit hole of researching online and am now even more depressed. I am scared to never enjoy “gardening” again. Also, I really wanted more than one child, but this just feels like I should leave it at that. I feel so broken and sad. Does anyone have experience with this? What was your journey like? Thank you so much in advance.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I don’t have any advice or experience, but I have big gentle hugs for you! I’m sure it will be fine but good grief! Nobody needs news like this while your hormones are still all higgledy piggledy!!

      Congratulations on your sweet baby!

      • Postpartum :

        Thanks. That is very sweet of you! And yes, I just feel really broken und desperate (but I also had a fairly traumatic birth). And then I feel even worse for not being able to enjoy the little one (at the moment at least).

        • I only have experience with birth, not prolapse, but I definitely felt broken and sad at six weeks postpartum with a somewhat traumatic birth (and my husband still felt a little panicky and sad). In general, things are about to get better! Six weeks is peak crying, but within the next two to four weeks, the baby will start smiling and sleeping more predictably. Breastfeeding (if you are) will get significantly easier. You will start enjoying your baby far more when those things happen.

          • Anonymous :

            +1 this was my experience too. Just knowing that crying peaks at 6 weeks helped me get through it. My baby smiled predictably at 8 weeks which made things sooo much better, and at 12 weeks everything became a breeze (relatively speaking). And don’t feel pressure to enjoy every single moment. It would be great if you could, but it’s totally normal to have hard hours or days where you aren’t soaking up all the baby goodness.

    • Anonymous :

      I am so sorry you’re going through this, and I completely understand that you’re scared and sad. But my mom had this, and had she been younger (she was 55 and postmenopausal at diagnosis) she would have had tons of options for PT, surgery, etc. She ended up having a hysterectomy, but she got a lot of improvement working with a physical therapist who specialized in pelvic floor function. Ultimately, because she wasn’t willing to do any HRT (which I understood) the easiest thing to do was take everything out. But you’re not there, and you should talk to a doctor who specializes in treating this before making any big decisions. When in doubt on a health issue, see a specialist! My mom had a great OB/GYN surgeon who worked with her to find a solution. A specialist will be able to tell you what you should consider if you want more kids.
      Big hugs! I know this is scary.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’m so sorry. Birth injuries are so much more common than people discuss. There are so many treatment options – surgery is not your only choice these days – and I hope your recovery goes well.

      • +1

        I really agree.

        OP, we are so sorry you are dealing with this, and it will get better. This is really much more common than people realize and not discussed enough. There are lots of things to try. One step at a time.

    • I don’t have any advice as I haven’t experienced it but definitely check the Fitnessista’s blog. She dealt with it, ended up having a surgical fix, and I think is in a much better place now. Hang in there!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m sorry you are going through this – especially with the postpartum hormones on top of it!! It’s going to be OK, you’ve been diagnosed and you have a plan for going forward. That’s half the battle! Stop Googling because other people’s experience isn’t going to be your experience. My only advice is to perhaps seek out therapy for the birth trauma (I know…with all your free time right?). But I had a pretty straightforward birth minus the fact that I had no pain relief (no time!) – and it took me weeks to process what had happened to my body. Even now 6 months later sometimes I get a little freaked out by the memory. You’re going to be OK, it may just take some time.

    • Old golden loafers :

      No experience nor advice, just internet hugs from a stranger who had a difficult postpartum for other reasons. Big hugs.

      • +1 from another mother who had trouble in the first weeks (another kind, but it’s all hard).

    • If you’re in the SF Bay Area I have a great recommendation for a physiotherapist that specializes in this. Hugs to you.

    • Anonymous :

      I have no personal experience, but I can tell you my mom had a prolapse in the 70s, had two more kids, and still has sex all the damn time.

      Also, she really, really loves to overshare.

    • Puddlejumper :

      The Longest Shortest Time Podcast has had some great podcasts about birth injuries and what you can do to repair them. You might find some of them helpful!

    • I didn’t have a prolapse but I did have a third degree tear (you can google that but don’t google images!) and a 24/7 colicky baby and serious PPD.

      The best thing I did was pick up my phone and call my doctor to tell her I was anxious and weepy. This is normal hormonal stuff, but I needed some extra help, and you should not be ashamed if you do too. I ended up getting some talk therapy and a prescription for anti anxiety medication, which I kept on hand but never used. Just knowing I had the medication available if I really needed it helped a lot. I kept it on my dresser where I could see it. The talk therapy went on for about six months and was such a relief to talk honestly about how I was feeling with someone who wouldn’t judge me for it

      The number one help was just making that first call talking to my doc about how I was feeling, finding out it was a normal thing that a lot of new moms go through, and I didn’t need to feel like a monster.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        WORD. I thought I was on high alert for PPD but somehow it took sitting naked on the hallway floor sobbing because getting dressed felt impossible to make me think like, “oh, maybe I need help.”

    • My mom, aunt, and grandma all had this problem. All had surgical fixes to put things back in their proper places (though I don’t really know about their s*x lives…thankfully!) and are doing great. It’s a crappy thing to have happen to you but can be addressed!!

    • I Wish I Knew What I Know :

      Please search out Lauren Ohayan and her Restore Your Core community. She has a facebook group (private) and a number of YouTube videos. Her community is full of women who are recovering from birth injuries and prolapse, both physical recovery and mental/psych0logical recovery. Her program has a fee but there is a lot of free info in some of her videos and tons of inspirational stories in her group.

    • This is random, but a podcast I love called “Call Your Girlfriend” had their most recent episode dedicated to pelvic health. I highly recommend that you listen! They had a few professionals on, one of whomn is a pelvic specialized physical therapist. She specifically noted on the show (I can’t remember the details now) how one would go about finding a PT with the proper credentials, and explained what their training involved and the scope of their practice. Please give yourself grace right now — this would be a lot to deal with even if you weren’t recovering from a difficult birth, which would be a lot to deal with even if you weren’t caring for a newborn. Sending love to you!

    • Hugs, sister. It’s going to get better, we promise you.

      FWIW, 30 years ago after baby 2 I was on the waiting list for surgery. Couldn’t walk a mile without getting the sensation that “everything was falling out”. Then I came across the recommendation to use gravity, don’t fight it. In other words, do those therapy exercises while on your back, toes pointing at the ceiling. Or at least with knees bent, if that’s too athletic.

      Blindingly obvious, but no health care provider ever mentioned it. Six months of Kegels while in the bicycle position got me 95% back to normal. And not to overshare, continuing the program has thus far prevented those old-lady problems we dread.

    • I have a different problem down there (the opposite one), and I’ve seen 3 pelvic floor physios in the past three years. I have to say that I would not be here today without them. They have been my cheerleaders, my strength, my everything. Don’t be afraid to see more than one, and plan to go for a long time. They can do so much.

      Also, make sure that you don’t have Lyme Disease, because that tends to be the cause of a lot of these problems, and it is kinda not talked about outside of the physio community. Yeah, the birth may have triggered it more, but there may have been a previous issue there. I’m not sure, but just saying.

    • Anonymous :

      Not sure if my experience is helpful but for what it’s worth: I had stress incontinence after my only child was born, didn’t have much luck with PT, and ultimately got surgery to fix it this year (son is 5). It was the best decision I ever made, worked well, easy recovery, and I’m finally back to running. In the meantime, I wore pads and it sucked, but I did get used to it and find alternate exercise options that worked for me. I also think my mom had surgery for prolapse recently.

      You are dealing with so many adjusting to so many life changes and hormones right now that of course this is overwhelming, but keep your eyes on the prize – you are going to find a solution to this that you can live with. You just don’t know what it is yet. I spent much of my son’s first year regretting becoming a parent–not due to incontinence, I was just generally a mess–but with anti-depressants and time I got through it. It is just really hard becoming a mother, even if your organs aren’t flopping around, there’s always something stressful happening. Take it one day at a time, and seek mental health help if the crying doesn’t get better soon. Big hugs to you!

  6. Ugh — I am a smallish and trim person but it seems that I have a permanent baby bump. I have had children, but haven’t been pregnant in 7 years. Could they have wrecked my abdominal muscles (and somehow wrapped them in generous padding) that bad? Just do lots of crunches? Something else?

    At this point, I’m still at my college weight, but it seems that it’s all shifted to my belly. Starving seems unpleasant and losing weight might fix the tummy and make the rest of me gaunt/sinewy.

    It’s just a vanity issue (and it isn’t fibroids, I thought about that but my OB/GYN says no) but it’s becoming a hard figure to find pants for b/c they all want to slide off (maternity panel for the win? nevermind . . .).

    • Anonymous :

      Did you read this recent NPR article about “mommy tummy”? Have you been evaluated for diastasis recti? (Link to follow).

      • Anonymous :


      • Anonymama :

        So basically the exercise they say to do is flexing your stomach muscles to draw everything in as far as possible, and holding it for like 10 minutes. Basically suck it all in and flex those abs like you do when you’re standing in front of the mirror before your shower and trying to convince yourself the pooch is not that bad. And hold it for as long as you can (for me this was literally like 2 minutes). I did this a few times a day for like a week or two, and honest to god I can feel that the separated abdominal muscles have drawn back together, and my stomach is noticeably less poochy. You can even do it while you’re sitting in your car or standing in line or whatever.

      • See a pelvic floor (women’s health) physical therapist. They are best equipped to evaluate you for this and give you the most appropriate exercises. The NPR version is oversimplified.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      Probably diastasis recti (spelling?). When you lie down can you feel a separation between your abs around your belly button? Definitely don’t do crunches. You need to focus on pulling the sides of the abs back together and not further apart. If you look into it, there are specific exercises to deal with the condition.

    • I mean, everyone’s weight shifts from hips and thighs to belly as we get older. You don’t see a lot of old ladies with big butts. They mostly have bellies. It could just be due to perimenopause.

    • I am NOT an MD, so will NOT try to diagnose, but if you are the same weight you used to be and have had kid’s, do NOT worry about the baby bump. I have not even had any children, and Dad tells me I also have the baby bump (not to mention my tuchus), so be glad you are married, have kids, and are at the same weight you used to be at before you started haveing babies. I hope to have babies soon, and do NOT even care if I wind up keeping the baby bump I already have, as it does NOT seem to deter men from trying to see that baby bump, either with my new bikini, or as a few slobs lateley wanted, wearing NOTHING at all. I of course told those schmoes to fly a kite, and did NOT give them the time of day (or show them anything at all). FOOEY on men that just want for us to take our clotheing off for them. Who do they think they are, Brad Pit? DOUBEL FOOEY! I might think different if it WERE Brad Pit, but he would not look at me with my baby bump and tuchus. FOOEY!

    • Senior Attorney :

      If all else fails, I had a tummy tuck a few years ago and although the recovery was gruesome it was totally worth it…

    • Anonymous :

      Well I don’t have children but in in late 20s, I developed a “baby bump.” I joke that I now always look like I am in the early stages of pregnancy. I don’t know a woman over a certain age who doesn’t have a “baby bump” regardless of whether they had children. Assuming you don’t have a medical condition, its just a mater of aging. Not much you can do about it.

  7. Update to my plus size MMLaFleur review

    I am a solid 18W on bottom/16W to 18W on top in Talbots sizing. I’m 5’11.” I ordered a bento box. They sent me all +1 size, which was mostly too small. (they chose the size)

    I only kept the Deneuve top in +1 in a stone/cream color. I like it a lot for under jackets. I ordered the same top in burgundy and black in +2. It’s a great top. Doesn’t feel synthetic, drapes beautifully and does a little bellyflage, which I need after 3 kids.

    I like the +2 slightly better than the +1 in this one, as its less clingy across the back. The +1 I will always wear under a jacket. The +2 in burgundy I’m wearing today, stand-alone (i mean, I am also wearing a skirt, but no jacket)

    I ordered the Greenpoint skirt in both +2 and +3, because the +1 they sent me was super tight. I could wear either of these sizes but felt slightly more comfortable in the +3 because it doesn’t cling as much to my thighs, and the +3 gives me a little extra length, which i like due to the small front slit. It hits me right at the bottom of the knee. If you’re not tall, this will be a below knee skirt on you unless you get it altered.

    But it’s a beautiful skirt. The stretchy material is thick and nice looking. It is just the right amount of narrow, and looks great with the Deneuve top.

    In my other post I mentioned that most of the dresses were too short for me, so I didn’t try reordering any of them in the taller size. I did really like the Masha dress in black, and it was long enough, but I own a very similar dress already. I would otherwise have kept it.

    Let me know if I can answer any plus size MMLaFleur questions for you based on my experience so far!

    (and if you were one of the posters who were SO OFFENDED by the plus size pick the other day, you can keep moving)

    • Thank you so much for the detailed review. I’d looked at MMLaFleur, but figured they weren’t for me based on the sizes I saw at the time. Might take another glance now!

      • Anon Lawyer :

        I’m size 16 and have had great luck with them too! They send me +1 in most items, and they’re incredibly flattering.

      • Hazel, they just added plus sizes recently. I’m always willing to give designers who venture into plus sizes a try!

    • Chicagoanon :

      Just a note of thanks. I’m 5’11 14W/16W and felt like I didn’t have a chance with MM LaFleur. I’m ordering your top and skirt picks this evening!

    • LOL at your clarification that you’re wearing a skirt with your new top! I very briefly pictured someone Donald Ducking it at work today! :-)

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have been thinking about but couldn’t find any reviews as to how the plus sizes fit. I feel like, based on your review, I should get the +3 rather than the +2 the website recommends (- am a perfect size 19).

      • I think they generally run small, even in straight sizes. Returns are free so you might try two sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit.

        • I can confirm that they tend to run small in straight sizes — but I love the fit when I size up +1. Once I adjusted and started ordering [normal size +1], I was very happy with the fit.

    • S in Chicago :

      I LOVE the Deneuve top. That was the only item I kept from my Bento. That burgundy color is divine and it was like the unicorn of comfy sleeved top that can stand solo without a jacket and still look formal. I’m 5’8 and more of a straight build (reg 18 or 20 vs. 18w or 20w usually fits better in the waist and length),and I also received +1 across the board. The Emily dress was perfect except for being tight in the arms. I just ordered a +2 to see if that will be better. Hopefully it doesn’t bag out too much at the waist in the larger size. The Sarah dress fit but was a little tight. I ordered the +2 to keep it a little less bootylicous. The Etsuko was really tight everywhere on me. I ordered the +2 but hope that’s enough up. I also received the Noho skirt. Way too tight. I didn’t reorder because I have similar already. Length was perfect across the board (plus items are sometimes too long on me). I was super impressed with everything they sent and hoping that the items I reordered work better. I’m amazed and how much I loved everything. Fabric feel was wonderful and what they selected was totally my style.

      • Anon Lawyer :

        Hmm, I’m getting the +1 Noho skirt in my Bento. I hope it’s not too tight because I’m impressed with the crackle pattern.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          The crackle Etsuko may be my first purchase. And the Deneuve in that blackberry colour.

          • The Deneuve in blackberry is gorgeous. I wore that one yesterday. What I like about this style is that it’s beautiful under a jacket or on its own. I can take my jacket off and my arms are still covered, which I pretty much require in a professional setting.

  8. Yay Kat! I love open thread’s, but I also want to do a plug for the TUMI cross-body bag. In NYC, it is virtually a certainty that we HAVE to be abel to carry things, as walking is the ONLEY way to shop, as you really should NOT be UBERING to go 7 or 8 blocks to the store, or to Lord and Taylor. Even in the Suburb’s, where peeople drive to the Nordstrom’s and the supermarket, a Cross body bag is helpful, as people have no where else to put stuff if they are walking.

    As a HUGE TUMI fan, I think this bag is a bargain. Although I generaly prefer leather, leather is heavy, and also sweatty, if you are carrying stuff inside the bag. So I will vote to get this bag at NORDSTROM’s, as they will put it aside for me and give me the bargan price b/c I am a BIG BIG Nordstrom customer. I also think they are smart NOT to take sides in the Ivanka Trump line, as I also LOVE the Ivanka shoes (closed toe of course).

    I hope the ENTIRE HIVE gets through Hurricane Erma, and that we can all regroup next week safe and sound. Best of luck to the all peeople in Florida, including the HIVETTES that I am freindly with on this websight! We are strong when we stick together! YAY!!!!!!

  9. Burning Man :

    Is Burning Man the real-world equivalent of the cantina in the first Star Wars movie (the one that came out in the 1970s, I think it Episode 4)?

    I kind of want to go. It’s not my cup of tea (I am just like Lilith Crane), but seems the closest I can get to being on another planet.

    • Anonymous :

      I have never been. That said, there was a substantive “what is burning man” post on reddit dot com today – check the /bestof subreddit.

    • Anonymous :

      I know people who go every year and they basically use it as a time where they can be totally different people and do stuff they would never dream of doing in their normal lives. For them, that includes drugs and s winging (I realize not all Burners do things like that) but also art and music making, deep conversations with creative people, etc. For them, it is almost a religious experience. They don’t treat it as a “yuppies gone wild” opportunity, but I understand there are a lot of folks there who do treat it like that.

      I am basically Miranda from SATC but I’ve always wanted to go too. My life is pretty buttoned down, and I’ve always wondered what I would discover about myself if I was in an anything-goes, no-holds-barred environment where no one really knew me.

      • Anonymous :

        Try Vegas by yourself if you want to enjoy modern amenities and good living as opposed to the Burning Man camp experience. Vegas solo is incredibly liberating and a phenomenal way to recharge for the button down world.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Wow I would love to hear what you do in Vegas solo. (I seem to have to go there for work a lot, and I mostly hide out in my hotel room watching HGTV.)

          • Anonymous :

            Vegas is really fun solo. Everyone is there to have a good time–so it has a great vibe–which really helps solo. Some tips:

            1. Eat at the bar of any restaurant that you want to try. There are some amazing places to eat and the bar is the way to go solo. Meet cool people, have even joined up with groups for a bit to run around and then dropped off after a while because just felt it was time and I don’t have to answer to anyone in Vegas.

            2. Red Rock Canyon is beautiful for hiking. Head out around Sunset and look back at the Strip for an amazing view. Also see (but don’t touch) desert tortoises. Very cool area to capture beauty of the desert.

            3. Quirky: Neon Museum, Pinball Hall of Fame, Mob Museum–each one worth a visit.

            4. Spas are phenomenal for pampering and recharging (and perhaps recovery from a particularly awesome night).

            5. Shopping–from Ferraris to La Perla and everything in between. Window or real–the shopping is fun.

            6. Pool parties–day drinking and way too loud music–the ultimate vacation getaway. This does not happen in Des Moines–and Vegas does it right. Worth the experience at least once. (and you do not have to wear a swimsuit).

            7. Gambling…duh. I like poker and Vegas has a ton of small poker tourneys that let you learn/ practice without killing your bankroll. Plus easy way to meet people.

            8. Diverse swath of people. The people watching in Vegas is epic. I would put it up against the people watching anywhere. Grab a drink in a bar overlooking the Strip and let the world pass you by–you will not be disappointed.

            9. Anything you have longed to do but don’t want to tell someone–or do it in front of someone you know. Shoot Guns–Battlefield Vegas, Drive Race Cars–multiple racing schools, Explore your adult interests–plenty of temptations, other things not mentioned…just google it with the word vegas…and surprise yourself.

          • I’m fascinated by your response. I assume by adult interests you are talking about things that are not generally talked about here. Did you use craigslist or something else…

          • Mary Ann Singleton :

            So Vegas is not my cup of tea but I loved your response and I wanted to add that there’s some place near Vegas where you can go and drive heavy equipment – like gigantic tractors and backhoes and what not. Apparently very common for bachelor parties, and I have to admit if I ever had a bachelorette party that is what I would want to do!

          • Mary Ann Singleton :

            Yessss, found it: https://digthisvegas.com/

  10. I finally ordered an Instant Pot and it’s arriving today. I’m so excited! What are your favorite tips and recipes?

    • I love making ribs in my instant pot.
      Get a 3# rack of ribs – country or baby back.
      Pour a 12oz bottle of beer (whatever you have) in the bottom of the pot. Put the rack in the pot.
      Get a container of Emeril’s essence. Put it generously all over the ribs – like really coat it on.
      Cut the ribs in to individual pieces. Put them in the instant pot like soldiers (vertically) in the pot on top of the rack.
      Squirt some BBQ sauce – like maybe 1/4-1/2 cup on the ribs.
      Put on instant pot for 30 minutes.
      Quick release
      Grill or broil the ribs for a few minutes afterward for char

      • Senior Attorney :

        What, what? 30 minutes?

        For reals?

        Man, I need to get one of those things…

        • TBF, it’ll be more like 45 mins-an hour total cook time. It takes a good 15 minutes to get up to pressure, plus the broiling at the end. But ribs usually take all day so …

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          I am a firm believer that every working woman needs one.

          We bought an office instant pot for food share Friday and it’s made Fridays (and mornings when we make oatmeal) amazing.

      • I love ribs. Thank you!

    • Mujadara is my new obsession.

      Dice 2 onions. Saute cumin seeds and black pepper (I like 1 tsp of each) in olive oil for about a minute, then add the onions and caramelize. Add a cinnamon stick, 1 tsp ground cumin, salt, pepper, 1 tsp cayenne, 1 cup brown rice, 1 cup green or brown lentils, and 3 cups liquid (veggie broth for richer flavor, but water is fine). High pressure, 15 minutes, let it rest for 10 minutes and then release the pressure. Top with pine nuts, lemon juice, yogurt, or nothing at all.

      This does not work as well with white rice because the cooking time doesn’t match up as well, IME.

      • That sounds delicious. Thank you!

      • Yum!

      • I made this in my instapot today exactly as written. YUM thank you!

        I used chicken broth that I make from chicken carcasses in my crock pot. It was super delish. Thanks again! My daughter who is a sort of vegetarian (not strict just doesn’t like to chew on meat) loved it and ate two bowls, which is great because she usually just likes to eat a bagel.

    • I just used mine for the first time and OMG (ok, I did hard-cooked eggs in it a while ago, but that was not exciting). I made salsa chicken. Literally salsa. And chicken. High pressure, set timer for 7 minutes and it was perfect.

      I noticed that some of the Nom Nom paleo recipes say to dump whatever cooking liquid is left on your meat, but I didn’t do that because I am paranoid about salmonella. But if the chicken was cooked through I should be able to use the liquid too, right? Anyway, the chicken was perfect and the eggs peeled so perfectly I don’t want to go back to boiling them (and it only used a cup of water).

      Have fun!

      • Min Donner :

        7 minutes at pressure should have boiled/heated the liquid past any danger point – you should feel free to use it, over the meat, as broth or as addition to another recipe, etc., but just make sure that if it sits out or cools before you use it you reboil it. I use my InstantPot (and NomNom recipes) all the time and have never had a misstep food safety wise, so I think as long as you apply regular kitchen sense you’ll be ok!

      • This is probably going to come off wrong, but you kill all the potential salmonella bugs when you cook the chicken and the liquid. There aren’t bugs in the liquid that wouldn’t also be on your chicken. So, if you follow professional/food safe/trusted instructions to get it to the right temp, and the chicken is cooked through and liquids have ran clear, you should be good to go. You also don’t need to fully reboil if it’s just a smallish amount of cooking liquid, if you put it away in a timely manner and consume it in a timely fashion. Think of it either like soup or like pulled pork/chicken – there’s a lot of flavor in the broth!

    • I’m not OP but this thread great for me too. I ordered the insta pot and it’s still its box. Please keep these coming. I will be making both the ribs and the mujadara this weekend!

    • I made cashew chicken last week and it was ridiculously delicious and tasty. https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/instant-pot-cashew-chicken/

      A common quick, kid-friendly meal in our house is instant pot pasta. Throw in a box of raw pasta, a jar of sauce, and a jar of water. Set for half of the time that the pasta normally needs, quick release and done. One pot cooking and the pasta tastes better because it cooks in the sauce.

  11. Anon For This :

    I’m feeling really demoralized about my job situation. I had a few interviews and I got two rejections this week. Waiting to hear back about one more (where I’ve progressed pretty far in the process) – but the waiting and the suspicion that it’s not going to work out for me is making me feel really stuck and hopeless.

    I obviously don’t know what’s going to happen but I feel like I’m at the end of my rope with my current job and losing all my options for escape in the course of a week is the worst…

    • I got some great but silly advice here: find the theme song to the Karate Kid (that “you’re the best around!” one) and blast it and sing along. And dance.

      When I did that, no lie, my phone rang and it was the job offer I had been agonizing over and needing after a period of unemployment following underemployment.

      You ARE the best around, girl!

    • I feel ya sister. I am in a similar situation. Just remember it can take months for people to find the right position. I like Katy Perry’s Rise for this occasion.

  12. Anon Lawyer :

    I figured how to check what I’m getting in my MM LaFleur Bento and I’m really excited about trying everything. It includes the Noho crackle skirt, the Fey top, the Koi dress in plum, which I had been interested in trying, the jardigan in ecru (debating how useful that will be; I have and like the one in black) and the Esuko and Pauline dresses. Help me while away Friday afternoon – should I be excited or not excited about getting these items? I’m a size 16, busty/generally top heavy.

    • The Jardigan is fantastic and combines comfort with the awesome ability to pull your outfit together. (Plus keep you warm in the Arctic office environment.)

    • The Fey top is kinda amazing, but really really really form-fitting. Yet it is very flattering, holds things in, and so unique it stands alone and doesn’t need a jacket/topper. So don’t get thrown off if you are self-conscious about your body when you put it on. Have someone else give you an opinion, because you probably look great.

      The only downside is that the black is so dark you can’t appreciate all the folds etc…. and for me, the other color makes me look ill. I have the black.

      For me, the big downside with MM Lafleur are the colors. Many of them are too warm, and my coloring is more cool. I don’t need anymore black blouses. I really need true white blouses, and they cannot be found…

  13. Senior Attorney :

    I can’t remember who it was, but a little while ago somebody posted their rules and one of them was “do the thing instead of worrying about not doing the thing.” So this morning I did the thing I’d been worrying about not doing and of course it was fine and I feel SO MUCH BETTER! Thank you!

    So I’m challenging you all to do the thing and go into the weekend feeling better! Who’s with me? Report back when you’ve done it!

    • Yes! I think it was Sloan, and I am proud of myself for… taking advil when I had a headache! So stupid but I had been saying “oh, it’llgo away” everytime I had a headache.

      Gonna do more rule-following this weekend (when you’re on the fence, have the s e x, yo)…

    • Anonymous :

      This is advice that really speaks to me. It’s so helpful as a worrier and a procrastinator. I always feel SO MUCH BETTER when I do the thing. Even for stupid things like vacuuming. I hate vacuuming.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      It was me. I feel so honored that you thought back on one of my rules instead of vice versa!

      I’m currently practicing the rule “take care of my body when my body needs it” by taking today off. Because I had vacation time and I really, really needed it.

    • Anonymous :

      I just accepted your challenge and made the call I’d been dreading, while waiting in the carpool line at school. It was much easier than I had feared. Thanks for the inspiration, Sloan and SA!

    • Anonymous :

      Sent a quick professional email in response to someone I really, really admire the heck out of, whom I approached to be a conference speaker, who sent an email about some logistics and now we’ve sorted out the issue and I just needed to send the “we’re all good, thanks!” email. Surprisingly challenging to get the tone right.

  14. Sunny Days :

    I lost my last pair of cheap sunglasses and need to replace them. The freebie corporate partner branded faux-Ray Bans are not a cute look. Should I keep buying shitty cheap ones (like the last pair I bought from Nordstrom’s juniors dept.) or should I invest in a quality (>$50) pair?

    • Know thyself. If you’re the kind of person who loses or breaks sunglasses, stick with cheapies. If you have a good sturdy case and know you will be able to keep track of them and protect them, then splurge.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Yeah, I would not invest if you lose them a lot. I’m cheapAF on the sunglasses front, but kind of cute and fun, and I had been buying the ZeroUV brand from Am*zon (trying to avoid moderation?) for about $10 — but I also found really cute funky ones (NEW!) at Goodwill for $6.

    • Librarian here :

      I was always on the “buy cheapies because I lose them” train until my husband got me a pair of Ray Bans. I’ve now had them for five years, and I am much more aware of where I set them and using the case they came with and they’re in great shape. They’re also much more sturdy and knowing I can send them in for repairs instead of just tossing them out when they break is great. Previously, I’d always buy $25 pairs maybe once a year before losing or breaking them, so I haven’t really spent any more on them.

      • +1 – I always lost sunglasses until I spent money on them. I think it’s a lot easier to see out of better ones, fwiw

      • Agreed. I was afraid to get expensive ones because I was always breaking/scratching my cheapies, but boyfriend convinced me. Now I regret not buying my nice ones earlier (Smiths with ChromaPop lenses). I take better care of them and I can see so much better.

    • I love a bargain but I never skimp on my eyes. Nothing less than category 3 filters.

    • I insist on polarized, so I don’t go too cheap. But I still pay less than $50.

    • I started buying sunglasses from Zerouv.com and I love them. also very cheap (but stylish!)

    • I have 3 pairs of various-shape Ray-Bans, and I haven’t bought a new pair of sunglasses in at least 4 years. To me, it’s mindset – if you find a more expensive pair you love, you’re more conscious of not losing them. It’s also a fashion choice – I’m very classic/preppy, so one of my 3 pairs will fit every outfit/occasion, and I don’t need more options than those. If you like to change it up, cheaper shades mean you aren’t married to one style forever.

    • Anonymous :

      I buy sunglasses at TJ Maxx or Marshalls for about 15 dollars. Styles are always changing so I don’t want to invest a lot of money in something that may be out of style eventually. Plus, I won’t feel bad if I lose them or they break.

  15. KateMiddletown :

    I lost my last pair of cheap sunglasses and need to replace them. The freebie corporate partner branded faux-Ray Bans are not a cute look. Should I keep buying shitty cheap ones (like the last pair I bought from Nordstrom’s juniors dept.) or should I invest in a quality (>$50) pair?

    • Linda from HR :

      you said that three times.

      • Come on. Why pick at her? People accidentally make posts that show up multiple times all the time. it’s a tech glitch, not a sign that a person doesn’t know basic internet skills or is REALLY INAPPROPRIATELY concerned about her sunglasses.

  16. KateMiddletown :

    I lost my last pair of sunglasses and need to replace them. The free faux raybans are not a cute look for a professional, I’ve decided. Should I keep buying cheap ones (like the trendy pair I got in Nordstrom’s junior’s dept) or should I invest more than $50 on a nicer pair?

    • I’d invest in some nice ones. My RB Clubmasters have been going strong for 11 years, and they wear better than any others in terms of comfort, style, materials, etc. I’ve also got a pair of 25 yo RB sportsmans that were my dad’s (he got them as a gift, put them in a drawer for 15 years, then decided I could have them), and they are impeccable.

      But there are also some decent looking non-expensive ones out there! My DH just bought a pair of inexpensive but polarized and UV protection glasses on Amazon, so he doesn’t have to wear his prescription ones in the pool or at the beach. I think they were 40$. I don’t know the name because he bought them, but I was impressed by the quality!

    • Anonymous :

      I never invested in nice ones because I lose them.

    • I never spend more than $15 – those things are strictly TJ Maxx/Target for me. I’m going to lose them, sit on them (which I did with my only pair of designer sunglasses ever), or scratch them. Plus, I want to feel free to switch it up when I get tired of them/they go out of style, not worry about how much I’ve invested.

      • KateMiddletown :

        I’m heading to Nordstrom Rack right now… the happy medium b/w the Juniors dept and the real deal haha. Thanks! (And sorry ya’ll for the multi-post.)

    • Anonymous :

      I use two pair of sunglasses. A pair from target $15 for everyday wear. And then a really nice pair for look sharp occasions. I don’t worry about losing the everyday pair because they are cheap. The really nice ones, I don’t worry about because they are only worn to places where they won’t be forgotten/ lost/ etc. because I am more self aware on those occasions.

    • Anonymous :

      Costco has sunglasses in different prices ranges. I bought a pair with polarized lenses for $40 and 3 years later it’s still going strong. Anthro has cool glasses and they do go on sale (and today it’s running 25% off sale promo!).
      I really like Ann Taylor designs, but their quality is [email protected]

    • Anon in NYC :

      I have had the same pair of sunglasses for, like, 13 years, so the cost per wear on my ~$300 sunglasses is pretty low at this point. But if you’re the type of person who damages/loses sunglasses, don’t buy expensive ones!

  17. Savings account for a kid's future? :

    Asking for help from people who are better at money than I… I have a 6-month-old niece and I adore her. I am not going to have any children so being an aunt is awesome. I want to set up an account for her so she has some money when she turns 18 – she could use it for college, or whatever she wants, if she wants to take a trip, start a business, whatever. I value college but both her parents do not have college degrees and are very smart and successful, and I want her to feel like college is a choice. Anyway, what kind of account is good for this? Or should I do, like, stocks or something? I have no idea how any of this works. I do not have anything more complicated than my savings, checking, and retirement. Thanks for any help!

    • Anonymous :

      18 yr time horizon and you don’t HAVE TO provide her with any money — stocks, definitely. Open a separate account — Fidelity/Vanguard — and buy an S&P ETF. It could be a one time buy today or a dollar cost averaging thing where you put in money over time and buy more and more shares. I personally would make it a regular taxable brokerage account in your own name. I don’t know if an aunt can do a 529 for a kid — but even besides that — hate to say it but 18 yrs is a long time. Maybe there’s a falling out or this kid wants nothing to do with you or whatever, in which case you don’t have to give her the money if you don’t want to at that time; you could keep it. If it was in her name, she’d have claim to it.

      • An aunt can do a 529 for a kid, but you will need to get the kid’s SSN. I did this for my niece because my sister and her husband aren’t great with organization or money. A lot of other family members contributed to it for birthdays and Christmas before my niece was old enough to care about gifts. They can be used for trade schools and the like, but if you want it to be available for non-educational purposes, a 529 likely isn’t the way to go.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Don’t do a 529 if it’s not for college. You can open up a UTMA/UGMA (trust or gift to minors) account at your local bank and keep adding cash until it hits a good point where you want to invest it. It’s easy enough to do on Ally if you do online banking, but any bank can help you with this. (They can fill you in on the taxes. If it’s a small sum of money, it’s NBD, but if you invest it and it increases a lot in value this can be a consideration.)

    • Anonymous :

      If you do just a UGMA/UTMA account that means that she gets the money when she turns 18. No matter what. I know that you said that is what you want to do, but as a parent of an 18yo I urge you to think again. This little girl may be responsible when she turns 18 and can use the money in the ways you plan, but don’t count on it. I recommend opening an account for yourself that you consider for her, but it isn’t legally hers in any way. That way you can decide when/if she can get the money or you can talk to her about how much you have available to gift to her and help decide what to pay for. If she is ready for it at 18, that’s great. But you can wait to give it to her until she’s 21 or 25 or 30.

      • Anonymous :

        Just saw someone talking about Stockpile as a way to give stocks. Have no familiarity with it personally though.

        Definitely agree to think about the cons to UTMA — in addition to it being an irrevocable gift that transfers at 18, “counts” when colleges are looking at financial aid analysis, and I think whoever is the custodian of the account may get taxed on it if the account gets big enough (over $1K in dividends? not sure).

        OTOH, if you open up an account that is 100% yours, you can put money into it intending to give it to the kid and do so later on — you 100% control it until that time. I think you can give up to $17K in gifts per year in 2017, so the money definitely has room to grow.

        • It’s $14k per year in 2017, but that’s not a concern if OP is keeping the account in her name for now. And, down the road, OP can use the funds to pay the college directly, and it won’t count for gift tax purposes (if tuition is paid directly, it doesn’t count against the $14k). There is the possibility that the account could get large enough that if you give it to her directly, there may be gift tax consequences, but even then there can be ways to address it (or at least not pay tax). Final thought, you may have subsequent nieces that you love just as much (maybe not! no judging! you know best!) but an account in your name would be easier to divide up down the road.

      • Can’t you open a trust account and make the rules of the trust yourself?

        • Yes, she could, but trusts are more expensive to administer. If OP is thinking that this could eventually be a significant size, it might be worth it. But just keeping it in her name for now gives her a lot of flexibility down the road…

          I always tell people that an initial consultation with a T&E attorney can be very helpful in determining which path is best.

    • Another idea :

      My mother opened custodial accounts at Schwab for all of her grand children. The money went to the kids when they were 21, not 18. Her intent was for them to use it for college but wanted to leave it open if they chose not to go. She invested X amount on the day they were born, so the amounts they ended up with were different (but not vastly).

  18. Anonymous :

    What would you do? I have a supervisor who is not good at communicating and lacks awareness of this issue. She often, about once a week, misunderstands something I say in an email and responds in a very hostile, harsh, way. Nothing she says is inappropriate, its just the whole interaction and tone is, to me, inappropriate. I would never be so…aggressive to my coworkers. Should I talk to her about it? Or is there something I could respond to her aggressive emails with? I’m usually just so taken aback and don’t reply. Relevant: there’s no one above her at this organization- her name is “on the door”.

    • Anonymous :

      I would ignore it/let it roll off your back and then start job searching. This is not going to change and she is your supervisor, so you aren’t really in a place to try to correct it.

    • I have similar behavior from my boss. I’m sorry–it’s very immature and unprofessional.

      A lot of how you respond will depend on how senior you are and how secure you feel in your job. When I was more timid, I would under-react, writing back something very benign that clarified what I’d meant and (hopefully) made the sender feel ridiculous. Now that I can afford a little more leeway, I’ll say things like “I’m surprised to hear that you feel that way, given all the responsibilities you’ve trusted to me” or “can you give me an example of when I have done that? It’s never been mentioned on my performance reviews.” Still respected, still employed! I’m interested in others’ suggestions too…

    • Honestly, and I don’t say this lightly, get a new job if you can. Speaking from personal experience, someone who immediately responds with hostility is not someone you want to work with long term. Look up “your boss sucks and isn’t going to change” on Ask A Manager.

    • anonymama :

      Is it possible that you are misunderstanding the tone over email? Is she actually upset about something or are her emails just really curt/harsh-sounding? I have worked with a few people who sometimes have a very abrupt email style that coming from anyone else I would assume was an intentional lashing, but knowing them that is just how they communicate, very directly without any softening words, which can seem even harsher sometimes coming from a woman, since we are so used to women softening up their language. But I’m having a hard time picturing something that would be completely appropriate language-wise but also inappropriately aggressive tone-wise, as you describe it.

    • Anonymous :

      My boss’s boss (who makes most of the important decisions about my compensation, etc. but does not manage me day to day) is … not good at her job. She refuses to use email, for example, so if you need her input on something you have to get on her calendar or if her calendar is full *lurk outside her office* to try to catch her for a quick conversation. She often forgets things and drops key details and is very, very unpleasant if she thinks you need to be taken to task – escalates her tone quickly and will totally yell at you in front of people for something that she misunderstood or forgot.

      My strategy is to keep out of her way as much as possible. I stepped down from one task that was higher-profile so that I did not have to interact with her, I will not volunteer for stuff that involves working closely with her, and I try to document the h*** out of anything I need from her or any instructions she gives me.

      It has reduced wear and tear, but probably cost me some opportunities. It is what it is.

  19. Baconpancakes :

    What color couch should we get? We’ll be replacing our handed down white sectional at some point soon, and we have a dark grey wool IKEA rug (link to follow – no longer sold). I’d like a light grey couch, but I worry it’s too much grey. Thoughts?

    • Baconpancakes :

      Should add – the grey preference is to help camouflage our cat’s fur. https://www.gumtree.com/p/other-dining-living-furniture/ikea-basnas-rug-wool-loop-140-x-200cm-/1217577844

      • I think navy velvet, or a caramel leather would look great with that!

        • Baconpancakes :

          I had never considered navy! This is definitely food for thought. I’m hoping to get a camel leather armchair at some point, too.

          • I have a navy couch that I love. It’s a great color for a couch and I use lighter pillows to brighten it up. Plus it doesn’t show all the fur my black lab sheds on it.

          • I love navy, camel leather and grey together! that would look great!

        • Article makes a reasonable couch in both colors – I have the green velvet and it’s really comfortable.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      How about a grey couch again with bright pillows/coffee table accents?

  20. Has anyone here tried a “medical weight loss” place/program? Either HCG or HCG combined with other stuff? I’ve been trying to lose about 40 lbs for 3 months with literally zero success, and I’ve really been monitoring my food intake/counting every calorie, sticking to 1200-1400/day. I’ve had bloodwork done in the last six months, including thyroid, and nothing was off. The first 10 of that was creep over about 4 years, and the last 30 were the result of emotional eating/stress around my divorce. I have chronic pain, so I can’t do super vigorous exercise, but I do go for a couple of walks every day. I turn 30 next month, and I’m just so tired of feeling heavy!

    • Everyone I know who did HCG has gained it back and then some. Everyone. Yes, I heard about the ones who swore they kept it off, but all the “regular” people I know gained it back.

      Instead of doing that, can you invest in a nutritionist? Get someone else to evaluate your diet and exercise, and make specific recommendations, and revisit your plan every 6 months. You’ve already got a log so you’re set there, but you can start trying to head off any of their first requests, like weighing your food to make sure you’re really only getting 4 oz, or tracking even that “one bite”, or whatever, so you can get to an actually helpful recommendation.

      • Anonymous :

        My friend who did an HCG diet not only gained all the weight back, but developed huge uterine fibroids and pelvic scarring that ultimately necessitated her getting a total hysterectomy at 40. Just reporting. HCG is a powerful hormone and just like pregnancy can cause or accelerate conditions in some people, so can the drug. I would try other things first, like Weight Watchers.

        • Anon- will definitely try to find a nutritionist, have been weighing/measuring and just avoiding “bites” as much as possible, because it’s too annoying to try to calculate how many calories was in said bite.

          Anonymous, thanks for sharing your friends’ story. I guess I just want there to be an easier way, but a hysterectomy is certainly not an easier way.

    • I know someone who lost significant weight using the hcg drops that don’t actually contain hcg (I think they were called either “zero” or “1234”). I was sure she would regain the weight because the diet was low calorie, but that was 4-5 years ago, and she remains slim and high energy. To be fair, she eats a very healthy diet (like vegetarian paleo, but with small amounts of fish and chicken?). It was a lot cheaper and easier than the shots would have been! Other people in the same social circle lost smaller amounts of weight on the same program, but I couldn’t tell you whether they gained the weight back or not.

    • My ex-roommate does HCG and she has a serious eating disorder. Yes, she’s lost about 80 lbs at a time, but it’s basically starvation and then she goes into these binge cycles where she gains it back. Don’t do it, it’s not healthy and no doctor will recommend it. It’s very sad to watch – I think the on cycles are like 500 calories a day and she just lays around being unable to care for her kids. Instead, see a dietitian or try other weight loss programs (low carb, low gi, etc). Maybe see if you can see a physical therapist who can help you with an exercise program – maybe running will never be a possibility, but maybe you could do some mild swimming or pilates or something.

  21. Paging Rainbow Hair :

    I uploaded the shooties I mentioned the other day to Pinterest if you want to see how they look. I got them from Marshall’s, and they’re Aerosole brand. Aerosole actually has several cute options on Amazon if you’re looking for ankle-height boots!


  22. Money question :

    How do you wise ladies differentiate between lifestyle inflation and not being unduly penny pinching? I’ve earned a few raises in the past few years, which is great because some of that has had to cover natural yearly increases in rent (at my current place, which is still under market rate). I’ve saved a fair amount and still budget off of my income from a few years ago, but I’ve also noticed small increases in spending on things I do enjoy, but are somewhat “frivolous” in that they’d be first to go if I lost my job (think dinners out with friends, cheap local sports tickets). What’s the tipping point for when these go from “totally fine, enjoy your life” to “maybe keep a closer eye on things”? FWIW, I can definitely afford these increases, but sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t be increasing spending on principle.
    TIA and have a great weekend!

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think you can answer this by looking at the money itself and trying to find the point where it crosses from OK to “watch out.” You have to look at your personal values and priorities. Which means you have to do some examination to find out what’s important to you and why.
      My Christian faith means I put a high priority on not being tied to money, on not being greedy, on not being controlled by Money. But that has very little to do with actual amounts, or even with external actions. It would be possible never to eat out or go to sporting events and be totally controlled by Money and greed — and be handling my money very poorly. Conversely, I could eat out a lot and go to lots of sporting events, and yet be free from Money and greed and be handling my money very well. It’s about where my attitudes, values, security, and affections are.

    • Enjoy your life. I mean, if you’re emotional shopping then that’s not necessarily healthy. But if you’re on track with your retirement, emergency fund etc, then spend your money and have a good life.

      My dad did not make it to retirement and my mom did, but in terrible health. It made me realize that I need to enjoy my life every day and not just at some magical future point. I travel and have a car I like and live in a place I like. I can afford it and I have not one f to give about anyone saying I’m doing it wrong.

      • I agree with this.

        Similarly, one parent died before retirement and another is severely disabled.

        I am very frugal by nature, and realize every day that it is very important to enjoy today, while living within a reasonable budget.

    • I think lifestyle inflation is the most worrisome when you don’t expect your income to stay at the same high level or when you have lots of non-mortgage debt. For example, I save over 50% of my take-home pay (and even at that point, I could probably be doing much better). But I’m in BigLaw and think it’s like professional sports. I’ve had a good run of 6 years, but it could end tomorrow and I will never see these salary numbers again. So my budget is based on a projected post BigLaw salary number, with a small amount of extra spending.

      If you expect your income to stay around the same amount or keep raising, I would not worry so long as you are saving for retirement and other long-term goals.

      • Money question :

        Thank you (and the other commenters above) for these helpful points. I am not in BigLaw/a lawyer of any kind and do generally expect my salary to increase over the next 10 years. I’m early in my career and my earnings currently reflect that.

      • As a current 3rd year BigLaw associate, I’m curious whether you were able to save 50% in the earlier years. I don’t have debt and live modestly; however I dont think I’ve managed to save that high of a percentage (I don’t track closely the change in my net assets). I’d really appreciate hearing any advice you have that’s specific to budgeting and the BigLaw lifestyle. Thanks!

    • value not expense :

      For us, we try to make sure that we’re extracting the most value. So, if I value something at $100 but it costs $150, then I probably shouldn’t buy it, because the value:expense ratio is out of whack. This mindset has forced us to really understand WHY we’re making a purchase. We’re in a HCOL city, so going to a mid-range restaurant can easily cost $40-$50 for two people. We determined that we were basically being too lazy to cook, and that we shouldn’t really “waste” that much on being lazy. Our rule now is generally that if we’re eating out because we’re lazy, we go to Chipotle, and if we want to have a date or a treat, we go to a steakhouse. This is similar for our hobbies and social activities. Happy hour with friends is a lot of fun, so I’m willing to pay more for a drink at a bar to have the ambiance and girl time vs. just buying a cheap bottle of wine and drinking at home alone (sure, I could invite friends over, but meeting half way to avoid traffic, etc. is another benefit). The point is, spend the money on the things that you value, and spend the time to really understand what things you value most.

      We also generally subscribe to the 4% rule, so we’ve roughly budgeted our annual expenses to keep pace with our net worth growth. In theory, we could sustain X level of spending indefinitely. If we start going over X, we either need to grow our net worth, reduce our spending, or be ok with the fact that we’ll run out of money if we stop working if we keep up that rate. That’s fine for things like a big vacation or a car purchase, etc., but we wouldn’t want to have “unexpected” expenses of $5k-$10k every year.

      And finally, pick a few things that make your life feel fancy/extravagant, but are small in the scheme of things. For me, buying the fancy olives from the antipasto bar makes me feel like a rich person, even though it’s only like $4 to buy those vs. $2 to buy the olives in a jar. That could be the “nice” pair of shoes, or the workhorse purse, or the upgraded flight/hotel room when you go on vacation every few years, but everyone has something that makes them feel extravagant. Having that tiny thing to indulge in curbs my desire to splurge irresponsibly because I already feel so fortunate to be able to afford Thing frequently.

      • Money question :

        Thank you. It’s hard to put a dollar amount on how much I value things like a dinner out with friends because there are multiple good things about it (trying a new place, catching up with friend X, feeling socially connected), whereas it’s easier to ask myself whether a pair of shoes or event ticket is worth $Y, but I’ll mull it over.

        What is the 4% rule, though? I’ve heard it mentioned in passing before but don’t know what the 4% refers to.

        • value vs. expense :

          The 4% rule is a rough estimate of how much money you can spend based on your assets and never run out of money in retirement. So, if you have $1M in assets, you can spend $40k/year in perpetuity, $2M in assets means you can spend $80k, etc. The theory is based on the expected returns from your portfolio, so if you’re spending less than your returns, your net worth will keep growing.

          This is not to say that you should always just up your spending as your net worth grows, and it’s not to say that you should bail out early just because you’ve hit the 4% spending for a month or two. However, it keeps things in perspective when looking at lifestyle inflation.

          We used to read a lot of Early Retirement Extreme, and eventually, Mr. Money Mustache, but we’ve since stopped visiting those forums because we’ve got the hang of the mindset. We also like playing around with the FireCALC tool, which allows you to input your current portfolio size, annual spending, and number of years you expect to spend at that level (ie: how many years in retirement). Then it spits out a bunch of scenarios over that amount of years to show you the likelihood of running out of money based on your variables.

          On a practical level, this helps us make bigger/long-term decisions. When we were looking to move into a bigger apartment, it was a handy rule to consider whether the increase in rent would be sustainable in the long-run. We also do an annual snapshot of our finances to consider whether early retirement is feasible in 5 years/10 years/30 years, etc., and looking at the ratio of spending to net worth is a number that we care about. Again, not saying that hitting 4% every year is always the goal, or that once you hit it you should just quit working, but seeing the spending in relation to our net worth is really helpful for us to keep mindless lifestyle creep at bay.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I give every raise a job to do. I have a zero-based budget so every dollar has a job, and when new dollars come in they also get a job so they don’t just get frittered away. Maybe I increase the travel budget, maybe I have the cleaning service weekly instead of every other week, maybe I get another theatre subscription. But I feel like that way I am bossing my money and spending around, instead of the other way around.

      And no consumer debt, ever.

      • Money question :

        Not sure if you’re still reading, but can you say more about how you decide what job new dollars should have? I get this concept but I think hearing about your decision making when you’re “bossing [your] money around” would be really helpful.

        • Wildkitten :

          1. Pay down debt. 2. Savings. 3. Retirement. 4. Pay down Mortgage.

          You can spent part – 10% at most – on something fun like cleaning service, and 90% goes to something responsible.

          • Anonymous :

            Eh this depends a lot. I have no debt except mortgage and I max my 401k. I spend much more than 10% of my salary on fun stuff, and I’m ok with that. I agree if you have consumer debt or are not maxing retirement, extra money should go to that.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I’m late coming back but I hope you see it.

            I’m much older so my debt is long gone. My retirement savings is on auto-pilot. So it’s making sure the discretionary money goes toward the highest priorities. And yes, I’m pretty spoiled so it’s like “Should we add this money to the travel fund or the clothing fund or should we do that home improvement we’ve been talking about?” Or, say, this year it’s “Oh, good! Now we can fund Lovely Husband’s big birthday party!” Basically it’s just putting it somewhere so I feel like I’m getting bang for my buck instead of just letting it get swallowed up by unnoticed lifestyle creep. (I want to SEE my lifestyle creep!!)

    • Anonymous :

      I am in the same situation and I find I have been spending more. I often feel guilty about it but it is something I am working on not feeling guilty about. I have no debt, I am maxing out my deferred comp/401k, saving additional money in savings accounts and a Roth IRA, etc. I try to remind myself that if I don’t spend it, someone else will, like the government in the form of taxes.

      So I say that as long as you are not in debt and are maxing out your 401/deferred comp plus have savings, then don’t feel bad about spending more than you have in the past.

      • I Wish I Knew What I Know :

        I think some of it depends on what your extra spending is … it’s one thing to spend on things that are fun and frivolous in the moment … manicures, expensive hair cuts, expensive coffee … because you are not obligated to continue to spend that if something happens and your financial world comes crashing down. It’s another thing to take on an expense that you would still be obligated to pay … car loan, home improvement loan, crazy expensive mortgage.

    • Living life :

      I am a frugal person. I was raised that way largely by my mom, who stayed at home. my dad always “got in trouble” for spending too much at the grocery store (name brand cookies?! Did you have a coupon?? Why did you get chicken? The meal plan said pork chops because they are on sale!), and was definitely looser with his wallet. He made a very comfortable living; we lived in an upper class suburb of NYC, didn’t want for anything. I was maybe in the middle 50th percentile income-wise in my (nationally ranked) public high school, but I had many friends with more money (or so it seemed) than me- big ski vacations to Colorado or Canada, weeks or summers in summer homes etc.

      As I got older and had my own family, I’ve become my dad. His dad died at 62 of a heart attack. His next door neighbor just died at 63. My dad is 60 and told me last weekend “my goal is to leave you nothing. No offense. You don’t need my money, and I want to spend it before I die- which for all I know could be tomorrow.”

      He has plenty of money for long-term care and has already told me I dare not drain my savings to put him in some fancy home. He owns his own business and still works, but just bought a (big) boat and works 4 days a week, from the marina mostly. He takes our family on ski weekends. He goes on deep sea fishing Charters.

      My parents divorced in their 40s and this was a huge contributor- my mom wanted to hoard the money and my dad wanted to actually start doing things once all the kids were out of the house.

  23. Wildkitten :

    Still struggling with the dog situation. Still appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Oh no no no. That’s not the update I’ve been meaning to ask you about. I am so sorry. Email me if you need to chat- my username plus the last 4 of this site at google’s mail.

    • WildKitten, I am So sorry for your Dog Situation and am sending POSITIVE VIBRATION’s your way. When I was a young girl, we had a nice dog, Harvey, and he was very freindly to the neighborhood. One day, Harvey disappeared and my dad put up a big $ reward for Harvey to be returned to us. He p’osted signs all over our town on LONG Island, and even up into Cold Spring Harbor, which was the next town away. Unfortunately, we never got Harvey back. I can only hope he found a nice home, as he was a beautiful German Sheperd dog which Dad was planning on breeding. Rosa was so sad also, but Dad did NOT get us another dog b/c Harvey was really special to us. I think it is VERY sad to lose a dog b/c he is a member of our family and we still have his picture in the hallway on the wall. Hopfully, you will find some consoleation in this, and you will become stronger, Wildkitten. Sloan Sabbith, like me, is also a very smart and compasionnate commentator, so I think you are in good company with her and me sending you positive signals over the Internet. YAY!!!!

  24. Do any of you have a great way to organize your pantyhose/tights drawer? I realized there has to be a better way then just throwing them in there. If anyone has a good way it’s you ladies!

    • Late reply but maybe you’ll see it – after I bought a case of wine, I took the cardboard divider (shaped like a grid) and put it in a dresser drawer, then rolled my tights and pantyhose into balls and put them into the slots. Some of the tights were small enough that I could group multiple of them into one slot, keeping colors together.

  25. Drawer Organization :

    Do any of you have a great way to organize your pantyhose/tights drawer? Either a method or product that helps? I figure there has to be a better way they just tossing them in there.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I bought these little drawer organizer boxes from Ikea –

      They are awesome. I have a set for my underwear drawer, one for the sock drawer and my nightstand drawer has never been cleaner!

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I need something like that! The other day I was getting annoyed at my husband for not knowing which was the sick place and which was the tights place … until I realized I didn’t know either.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          …sock place.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          These will change your life. They come in different fun colours even. I have one for dressy socks, one for tights, one for gym socks, one for cozy socks…

    • Start at waistband. Fold in half lengthwise (bring two sides of waistband together so legs are lying on top of each other. Roll down from waistband to toe. Put this little roll on its side in drawer. I have a drawer full of these little rolls, and because I have some tights in colors other than black and nude, it is pretty – they look like rose buds.

      • Something like this but I don’t use rubber bands, and my rolls are tighter and neater looking. It helps to have the drawer full or something up against the rolls to keep them tight and standing like little soldiers.


    • Thanks ladies! I know exactly what do to know. Going to get that drawer organizer and then roll them up described! Simple but genious! Thanks again!

  26. Anonymous :

    Hi ladies – can anyone recommend a good tailor in NYC who can do women’s suit alterations? I heard good things about Alan David but apparently they no longer to alterations. And a couple of places only do men’s suits grr. Thanks

  27. Husband switching antidepressants - acting awful :

    My husband switched from Lexapro to Zoloft yesterday, and has been short and at times cruel to me today. We were in the car and I was on Facebook – saw a particularly brutal headline on the Rohiynga crisis, and quietly said “Oh my God,” automatically. I didn’t even expect I’d necessarily be heard, with two toddlers in the back. A few seconds later he says, “What?” And I said, “So have you heard about what’s going on with the Rohyingas,” and his response was a terse “I don’t know what that is.” I was taken aback and just said, “Okay, I’m thinking you don’t want to know? Don’t want to elaborate with that tone.” And he said, angrily, “Just – why do you have to be such a downer all the time?” And it was like a punch to the gut. During the primaries, he told me he was tired of hearing about Trump, etc, and I’ve made it a point just not to talk about politics around him, or be “activist”-y, or whatever. (For the record, we’re in the same party, and he’s fine with handling the kids when I volunteer, about every two months or so.) Today we were at the zoo, for goodness sakes, and I kept it light, and just usually do. So I was quiet, and a few minutes later when he asked about picking up food that we ordered – it would be a while and we were almost home – I gave some innocuous suggestion, and he rolled his eyes and said that won’t work. And I said, “What do you want from me right now?” and started freaking crying, which I didn’t want in front of the kids, and he snapped, “I just want you to be normal!”

    That was some hours ago and he hasn’t apologized since. I told him I thought the zoloft was affecting him, and he again rolled his eyes and asked me why I “always” blame our fights on his antidepressants. He brought up some mild work irritations I’ve had lately and said “Maybe you’re just difficult to work with.” Which was also a huge WTF, bc I’m legitimately pretty easy to get along with – the irritations have had nothing to do with interpersonal stuff. And now, he’s outside drinking a beer and I can’t imagine it’s good for this initiation stage of the drug.
    My point is – I really, really despise him right now. And could use some advice. Thank you so much.

    • A favorite quote from something I read years ago: “But Dad’s not depressed–he’s just the meanest SOB in the neighborhood.” That’s typical of lots of men, including my DH (and FIL, surprise) when they are depressed. Project your misery on your nearest and dearest, and then feel even worse about yourself. I practiced 3 or 4 noncommittal answers that demonstrated that I wasn’t ignoring him, but I didn’t probe or ask for reasons.

      A few hours or days later when things were more relaxed, I’d ask him to consider whether Incident X or Tirade Z was related to depression. This almost always resulted in heartfelt sharing that restored calm and family goodwill on both sides.

      I think it takes weeks for changing meds ( or starting them) to have any effect, but I am no expert.

      Finally, since going on Prozac myself some years ago…nobody has ever caused me to cry. I love the “eh, whatever” effect it has on me!

      • Husband switching antidepressants - acting awful :

        Thank you so much for this kind reply. It really helps.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree with the poster above – in men sadness is often expressed as anger. But I think in your case, trying to get your your husband to admit he’s being an ass because of depression or medication or whatever is not useful. You just need to get him to understand he’s hurting you.

      My husband acts the way yours does a lot — he’s prickly and irritable — and I think we’re both really sensitive and reactive, which tends to escalate things. We both have a history of depression and anxiety. But I know he finds it very stressful when I start crying and get really upset. He has a lot more trouble expressing his vulnerable emotions (no problem expressing anger/irritation) and feels like mine take up all the space in the room. I don’t really know how to balance this, but I do think it leads in to a cycle of me wanting to feel heard and him feeling overwhelmed and unheard, and then we both feel unheard.

      I guess my advice would be to try to ignore small slights in the moment, and then at a time when you both are calm and the kids are not with you, tell him how these slights made you feel using very vulnerable, personal language. Like, “when you said why do you have to be a downer all the time I felt like you were saying you don’t enjoy my presence or value my thoughts, and i love you and love being with you and care about what you think of me more than anyone in the world, so this really hurts.” I think your goal should be less preventing him from being jerky right now, since that may not be possible — give the medication time to work and assume that getting undepressed is going to fix the irritability — and more repairing some of the damage to yourself by having conversations that give him a chance to demonstrate he does care about you and reconnect.

      Also, I’m not a doctor but my understanding is also that most SSRIs stay in the body for quite some time–weeks–and the impact of an SSRI medication transition is unlikely to be a dramatic overnight thing beyond side effects. So give it some time.

      • Anonymous :

        Hugs. This is so very hard. Based on my experience, I agree that trying to get him to stop acting like a jerk is likely to be counterproductive. Your boundary-setting may need to involve removing yourself from the situation (leave the room when he is being cruel) or avoidance, just in the short term. It is even harder with kids in the picture, because you want to insulate them. Can you plan an escape valve for next weekend, like having a grandparent take the kids so you can do something alone?

        Someone here will probably recommend couples therapy, but that is unlikely to be useful until he has a handle on his individual issues.

    • I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your thoughtful and heartfelt replies and advice. I will try these approaches.

    • Anonymous :

      You despise your husband. Get a divorce. Really. Now before your toddlers learn that it’s okay to be mean to women.

      • Anonymous :

        It is more complicated than that. If you divorce a mentally ill spouse, you run a huge risk that that person will get solo parenting time, which could be very very bad.

  28. Me too. My husband is like this a lot. I keep it bottled up and don’t share my reality with people. It’s very hard sometimes. I don’t have any suggestions, just Internet hugs.

    • I’m so sorry. I do that too. I hate it. It doesn’t seem right, to be tolerating it, but then I wonder if I expect too much.
      Thank you so much for sharing – hugs back to you.

      • NO. You do not expect too much. It is not “too much” to be treated with respect by your husband. It is not “too much” to have someone listen to, and engage with, your opinions as if they are meaningful. It is not “too much” to want to feel like you are loved.

        He needs to understand how much this is hurting you. People with mental illness do not get a pass on how they affect others. Lack of respect kills love, and it kills marriages – even if you don’t divorce.

        I speak as someone who has been on the receiving end of this kind of behavior from a spouse, as well as someone who has struggled with a serious mental illness in the past. You matter and the way this makes you feel matters and it is NOT OKAY.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I’m late but can’t help chiming in: You do not expect too much! I completely, completely know that feeling of “OMG he treats me so badly and what kind of person am I that I let this happen?”

        I understand the risk to your children if you divorce, but please know that it is not normal and not okay to be treated this way, regardless of the reason. You don’t deserve it and your children shouldn’t learn that it’s okay.

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