Thursday’s TPS Report: Pique Blazer

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

PIQUÉ BLAZER I think I had this exact same color of blazer a few years ago. I got a great deal on it, but expected to not wear it enough — something about my skin (blue undertones) makes this color of green usually make me look ill. And yet… I wore the blazer all the time. With all-black outfits… with white and gray… with navy… it turned out to be a really versatile piece and a nice pop of what was, for me, an unexpected color. This Zara blazer also comes in navy, but the green is giving me fond memories (and I always love piqué cotton for summer). It’s $89 atÉ BLAZER

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  1. I really love this blazer. Of course, it probably only works with the midriff-baring top, but it may be worth it for the gorgeous color.

    Seriously, love the blazer. May have to purchase.

  2. I LOVE ZARA, and the navy color, but am NOT crazy about the green color, except mabye on Saint Paddy’s Day, when everyone can be IRISH! YAY!!!!!

    The manageing partner came in mad today b/c he got into a fight with Margie. She evidenteally spent alot of money at the Manhasset Mall (suposedly over $8,000) and he said that he did NOT want to be payeing all of those charge card interest rates.

    I told him that he should look into a home equity loan b/c they are only chargeing about 4.5% interest, and that is alot less then the rates that the credit card companie’s charge. He said he told Margie to bring back the jewelery she bought b/c it was NOT there Aniversary. She said he could aford it b/c he ran the firm. I think she told him FOOEY!

    Frank could alway’s give him a salary advance like Frank gave me when I moved out of my old apartement (with the bug’s) b/c I had to replace alot of my warderobe b/c I did NOT want the bug’s to travel to my new apartement. That was over $3000, which I paid back out of payroll deducteion. That is a good idea, Myrna said, and she told me to tell that to the manageing partner and Frank. I am already thinkeing like a partner, to do the right thing and compromise. I can’t wait to be a partner and get MARRIED! YAY!

  3. Cornellian :

    Relationship TJ: I am thinking a lot about a relationship situation, and I don’t really have a lot of real-life friends with similar jobs to give input/advice about the way my career plays in to the whole thing, so I’m turning to you guys. (Thanks for all the input yesterday on my tech set up, by the way… I’m thinking I’ll keep backing up my old laptop, get a nice monitor, and probably an iPad mini in the next 6 months or year).

    I had a friend in college (he was a grad student in my department when I was an undergrad) who I hung out with maybe once a month in a group between 2004 and 2008. We kept in touch online every year or two, but were never close friends. He got stuck in the city without a place to stay last summer, I volunteered my couch on facebook, and we spent the whole night talking. He was living about 90 minutes or 2 hours from the city then, and we fell in a sort of FWB casual thing that I wanted to keep casual because he was leaving and I wasn’t certain I had the time to devote to a real relationship, especially a distance one. He was interested in something more serious, but understands where I was coming from and thinks that he himself wasn’t ready for a relationship right then either.

    When he moved to the other side of the country, we kept in touch, and by the early winter were talking every day. I’ve visited him twice, he just visited me, and neither of us have been seeing other people. Now we’re at the point that we need to decide if he’s going to move back out east so we can be together and how that would work, or not. I have a job I legitimately like in biglaw earning 6 figures, and I’m not going anywhere for a few years unless they fire me. He’s been a bit of a drifter employment-wise, earns about a fourth of what I do (in a lower COL area, obviously), and isn’t in love with his job, so he’d be the one moving. We get along very well, have fantastic chemistry, have the right amount of similar interests to have things to do together without ending up in one of those couple mindmeld things, care a lot about each other and seem to have similar life goals. If he were to move here, at least in the short term I would be the busier, richer partner, and he’d probably be the more home-oriented one.

    Obviously it’d be a huge deal for him to move out here, but there are also concerns on my side of things, and I don’t want to just think of it as a decision that he has to make. I need to figure out if it can work, if I want that, if I’m willing to take the risk he comes here and hates it (or me), if I’m willing to be the breadwinner and possibly bankroll him for a few months while he looks for jobs, etc. I’m also a bit concerned by our age difference (7 years? 8?). Honestly, I’m also concerned that while he’s hard-working, he’s not as conservative with money as I am and despite having nearly a decade on me and coming from a solid middle-class background (unlike my bastard, single-parent, now orphaned self), I have much much more savings and retirement money, and I’m not sure I can get over a feeling of jealousy that he enjoyed his 20s and would end up financially secure, whereas I came from a disastrous background and have been working since I was 12 and may not see the results of that. I’m not sure how to navigate money questions in this case… in previous serious relationships we were of similar age and both poor students who split everything 50-50. He’s amazing with kids and wants them, which is great, but I’m not sure when/how to bring up when to have them.

    Has anyone been in a similar situation, either with respect to a long-distance relationship or being the younger and more secure partner? How did you decide what to do? If you stayed together, how did you address money and other big decisions going forward? Anyone have any words of wisdom?

    • I can sort of relate to the difference in background that you mention. My husband was raised in a very comfortable (but not extravagant) household and as a result never had to worry about money. My parents were lower middle class, in tons of debt, and divorced as a result of money problems. I’ve worked since age 14 and have always had a certain amount of ambition because I knew I had no safety net– no parents that could (or would) bail me out if I needed money or was unemployed or anything. My husband has never had the same drive or fear pushing him. I am sometimes envious of him and think about how nice it must have been to not worry about money and have to work during college, etc., but what makes it okay is that we are on the same page about money going forward. If you guys can agree about spending/saving/budget going forward and have the same goals, then I think it will be fine. Remember that it’s not his “fault” that he didn’t have to go through the same struggles as you and also that you are a better, stronger person for being so self-sufficient.

      • Cornellian :

        I think I got over anger at my middle- and upper-class friends a few years ago (it took a while, haha), but the fact that he’s been working for 12 years and has about 2K saved is terrifying to me. I know I err on the other side, since I don’t have a couch to crash on if my career blows up, but isn’t that legitimately a little bit irresponsible? I guess I need to see if he sees and understands now that not saving any money for the last decade was a bad choice and that he’ll now need to save more aggressively… if he thinks the last ten years was fine, then that’ll be problematic.

        • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

          On this vein, I would suggest not letting him move in with you right away if/when he comes. Take a little time to see if he can support himself so you don’t end up doing that.

          • This is good advice. Most of these questions can only be answered through a combination of multiple discussions over time and observing his behavior; they don’t really sound like things you can just ask him once and be done with it. Moving in together right away sounds like it would obscure your opportunity to have these dicussions and observe this behavior in context.

            That said, these don’t sound like insurmountable problems if you can get on the same page about spending going forward. And I mean generally the same page; agreement about fundamentals in a couple is important, but your desire to save more than he desires should be something people in a healthy relationship can work through.

        • Argh! Don’t go into it wanting him to “understand now that not saving any money for the last decade was a bad choice.” Yes, you can say that if he isn’t into saving in the future it won’t work for you, but that’s really different from saying that a grown man has to understand he was a bad, bad puppy for the last ten years.

          First, I think this is going to be challenging because you still resent his relative comfort growing up. Can you see that you got some benefit from your background in that it gave you the drive and discipline you have now? So not that he got all the good stuff and you got the dregs, but that while his upbringing had its benefits, so did yours?

          Second, you seem to disapprove of how he’s chosen to live his life. If he has said he regrets his choices and wants to live differently (just because HE wants to and not because he thinks that’s what you want), then that’s one thing. But if you’re just being judgemental, that’s not going to go anywhere good. Can you see that he made choices that made sense based on what was important to him in life? Look, I totally get it. I grew up with a single parent and was considerably poorer than my classmates (like got food from the church poor). Financial security is one of THE most important things to me. But if that’s never really been a problem for you, you might not prioritize things like salary and saving but might put a higher priority on other things. Were there things that were lacking in his life growing up? Did he feel unduly constrained by his parents to choose the “right” path in life? If so, maybe he’s been reaching for something just as vital that was lacking from his life (freedom? lack of pressure and stress?) while you were reaching for financial stability.

          Third, if you decide to use your money to facilitate this transition, look at it as something you’re doing because YOU want to, not that you’re “helping” him. You want to have a relationship with him. Having that relationship means that (1) he moves across the country and does the job hunt thing (which is a sacrifice) and (2) you use some of your money to make this happen (which is your part of the sacrifice). You’re both sacrificing something to make it work. Don’t make him your charity case or else you’ll never respect him, and he’ll never want to be with a woman who makes him not respect himself.

    • goldribbons :

      First, I’m excited for you. This sounds very promising and your thoughts about it are calm, rational, and quite clear (or so it seems).

      I think the age difference is absolutely not worth thinking about. If you’re compatible now and into the future, great. Don’t think about it as younger/older; focus on being equal partners. He respects you just as much as, if not more than, you respect him.

      Your life story will always be what it is; if you resent him for how he spent his life or because of how you spent yours, it won’t work. You can think of adding him to your life as gaining experience, gaining knowledge, gaining insight into what these things (that you didn’t experience) are/were like and (1) whether you can create that for yourself/yourselves in the future and (2) whether you want to create it for future children. My DH and I had very different stories about our 20s, and it’s helping me figure out what I might want to enable my children to have, and how we might spend time post-children (aka retirement).

      For the money questions, you need to be comfortable talking with him about that. You can absolutely have different attitudes about money and make it work — anything from “you live on your salary and I’ll live on mine, but we’ll agree on housing/joint expenses” to “we split everything 50-50” can work. I don’t think that bankrolling him as soon as he comes out is a good idea. I think crashing on your couch for a limited period of time can work, but immediately moving in together might be a recipe for disaster. He should get his feet under him on his own. If you want to pay for dates or groceries or anything, great, but only do it as much as YOU are comfortable. Unless you’re interested in a SAH spouse (and unless you feel you could be marrying this guy in the imminent future), I think you should really encourage him to create his own life in your town. Live separately for his first 6 months – 1 year and see how it goes.

      Good luck!! This really sounds exciting.

      • Cornellian :

        I don’t have a goal of having a SAH spouse, although I think I would be open to it in the right circumstances. I think it’d be important for him to continue to have his own world and commitments if he wasn’t working (either when he arrived or later) ie X has class MWF 1-4, or X volunteers every Saturday, etc., though.

        I’ve considered the living apart thing, and if he goes back to his old job outside of the city that would be necessary, but in his field it’s damn near impossible to live on his salary in NYC or even the vicinity. At the job in metro NYC, his boss said she had an awful time keeping anyone who wasn’t a dependent spouse, because the salary is so awful (think 20K in metro NYC for a job requiring at least one degree). I think he would probably have to come straight to my place. I am buying a 2BR place, though, so maybe we could do a roommate set up… with my last serious five-year boyfriend, we always had a two-bedroom place in case things went sour and so we could lead our own lives. Hm.

        • He could get roommates, though.

        • Anne Shirley :

          Are you really interested in bankrolling his non-financially viable job? I worry that I would really resent this. Being a lawyer isn’t always a barrel of laughs, but I value supporting myself financially. I’d struggle to move in with someone who didn’t.

          • goldribbons :

            +1. I would really really resent this arrangement. Even if he would have to live outside the city, could you make that work for 6 months? More fundamentally though, it sounds like Anne Shirley’s questions below are really important to discuss about money and plans for the future generally. It’s okay if he doesn’t have answers now, but being able to discuss those things and start creating answers that you’re both happy with is important.

          • I think this is difficult tricky because some incredibly hard, important, and stressful jobs do not get commensurate pay at all, including some that require graduate degrees. Community-service social work comes to mind, and in a way it’s especially laudable when someone from a privileged background takes the material hit to go into a field like that. The result may be a partner who isn’t sure these values and long-term prospects are ok with them, but it doesn’t mean this person doesn’t value supporting him/herself. Since Cornellian says he’s “a bit of a dritfer,” though, it sounds like he may not always have prioritized maintaining a job, which is different. I agree with comments about the questions to ask, but also that only time and experience will probably tell you all that you need to know.

          • I’m bankrolling my husband in a non-financially viable job and it works fine. He works very hard and loves what he does. His hours are much better than mine and he picks up a larger share of the chores. And he is not a big spender. There is no resentment. I think women are going to have to start accepting this arrangement and not always expect the man to make as much or more money.

            That being said, I would not be comfortable bankrolling a guy who wasn’t making good use of his time, and who didn’t have any ambition in his career. Even if he’s not making much money, he still has to have the drive to excel at what he does.

          • Anne Shirley :

            @MH, for me, there’s a big difference between making less money than me (totally fine) and not making enough money to support himself (which to me is a luxury decision that I’m not willing to finance). But I agree, the arrangement can work just fine. You just need to be careful.

          • Cornellian :

            Yeah, he works in nonprofit/conservation. definitely an underpaid area as a rule. if he were working part-time at a coffee shop, I’d be pissed, but I think it’s just a field where society doesn’t value it as much as it should.

          • +1000 to Anne Shirley for articulating the difference. I also would not be comfortable with someone who could not support himself. And yes, I also see that as a luxury decision regardless of the gender of those involved.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            I see the point that taking a job where you cannot support yourself is a luxury decision (regardless of gender) — but it’s also possible (in fact it’s probable, since he’s been living on his own) that his career DOES allow him to support himself (for example) in Eastern Oregon, or Butte, MT or some other low cost-of-living area where is is currently, but would not allow him to support himself in NYC (Cornellian’s area, unless I am wrong?).

            In that case, I don’t see it as this huge luxurious thing. He is living in an area where he can support himself on his salary, and probably would not move to NYC (where he can’t) if not for this relationship. So he IS making a sacrifice for the relationship – and, IMO, giving up the ability to support yourself because you move to such a high COL area is actually a huge sacrifice. In fact, it’s one I would not make for a relationship, even if I knew there was a high-earner-dude-of-absurdity who would be supporting me.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I agree with Moments but it is something I would do for the right person if I thought I could move back to wear my job could support my standard of living if things failed.

          • Re MOA’s point that giving up the ability to support yourself is a huge sacrifice–YES. I had one relationship in which I kept offering to support the other person, and in the next one I’m in more of a position to be supported, and I have found it is far, far harder to be in the latter position. I never understood my ex’s hesitancy about being supported by me until I actually tried on those shoes. It’s a very vulnerable place to be, and you have to do it with the same conscientiousness–maybe more– as you would have going into a situation where you are the breadwinner. It’s also a prime opportunity to breed resentment and passive-aggressive ways of acting it out, so again, doing it really signifies that you see yourself as a unit with your partner. If the unit ever falls apart, that’s what spousal support laws are for, right? To recognize that the lower earner not only planned on this financial stability but also, as the other half of the couple, enabled the money to be made in the first place.

            I think being comfortable on either side of this kinds of deal is huge in a committed relationship. (Not necessarily making zero money, but making less.) My husband and I definitely talked about all possible arrangements.

          • Chiming in to agree with Moments and MH. I am also the breadwinner in my relationship and my H is in what most would call a non financially viable job. However, I’m (usually) okay with this because 1) we’re married and we have been for awhile and we made the choices that led to this situation together; 2) similarly to what Moments points out, my H COULD support himself if he had to- but he would move to a much lower COL area and his lifestyle would be quite different. He is absolutely okay with this (I believe him when he says this- he’s not a spendthrift). We moved to this high COL area for me, so I could work here, and we upgraded our lifestyle partly as a joint choice, but usually with me pushing for it. So yes, I’m bankrolling him in that he could not continue to rent in this area without me, but he also would not be in this area if he hadn’t agreed to give up his last job and follow me here.

            Cornellian, I agree with TBK’s comment above- I think you would need to be able to put some of your resentment aside to make this relationship work. I also agree with others that you two should not merge finances immediately. Can he save up a bit more and get a sublet with roommates while he’s looking for a job? I would be wary of let tin ghim “crash on your couch” for a “limited” time at the beginning bc what happens if he doesn’t find a job right away? Are you prepared to kick him out? That’s going to be a difficult situation all around. Also, while I think you need to put some of your resentment/judgment aside, I do think that your fears re 2K in savings are valid. That is not much for a grown man to have, and I would want to have a long chat about money to figure out whether he thinks that’s acceptable, (in which case you guys have some very different values about $) or whether he wishes he had more and would like to build up his savings (in which case, you guys would be more or less on the same page and working towards the same goal going forward).

        • In a similar situation – BF moved to my city and his salary could not support him living in my city. He looked at apartments but I went with him and the neighborhoods were not safe, and still close to out of his price range. I now own a townhouse, and my BF pays for rent as a hefty but do-able proportion of his salary. We both pay “rent” into a house funds account, and I use this account for only house things like furniture, utilities, and repairs. This way if things go sour he didn’t get away rent free, and he doesn’t feel like I’m out getting mani/pedis with his hard earned money.

          As far as savings – he’s 4 years older than me and has none, but now defers to me (and his Dad) for all savings/investment planning. As of a month ago he’s now putting 5% in his 401K. I think for someone who’s used to a low salary, savings just isn’t a thought. I needed to teach him the importance of it because it had never crossed his mind. I try to make saving fun for him – “Look at this big vacation we can take in a few months!” I also make it realistic by showing him things like the new roof repair, that will be $5,000+, that I can handle because of my house savings.

        • Live apart! I did long distance and then he moved right in and it was really hard and masked things and made everything very confusing and years later I’m just realizing how much I regret it. This all sounds super promising and great but if he moves somewhere he needs to establish his own life – friends, job – and put the work in to do that – and that will be much easier is he also has to find a place to live.

          • Agree. My now-ex husband moved here for me (because I was more settled in my career) and it was a big mistake. We wouldn’t have stayed together if we hadn’t had that pressure. I would have been able to see the patterns that became problematic later.

          • NOLA, could you outline what the patterns were that became problematic later? As I shared above, I’m in a similar situation. I’d love to hear any warning signs or red flags. So far we are smooth sailing but every couple has their arguments.

          • Career issues – he was really good at getting jobs but wasn’t great at keeping them. He would start really excited then become disillusioned to the point where he would get fired or not have his contract renewed. He also was constantly trying (despite 2 graduate degrees in different fields, including a Ph.D. and a ton of student loan debt), to figure out what he wanted to do. He burned a lot of bridges career-wise.

            He also had a lot of debt and was terrible at managing money. I thought the debt was from the transitions he’d had in the few years before we got together, but it really wasn’t. My accountant said to me later that we always made good money but we never had any. Mainly because we were drowning in his debt.

          • Thank you!! I think I’m in the clear on these ones so far. Helpful warning signs!

      • Houston Attny :

        Goldribbons is right – I think you’re approaching this in a very level-headed manner. (The fact that many of you approach things in an analytical manner as I do is one of my favorite things about this blog.)

        I think this sounds promising. Is there a way he might find a job before he moves so that he’s not moving in with you immediately? You’ve visited him twice, he’s visited you, and you’re talking every day, so I know that creates a bond. But I also think that you haven’t really ‘dated’ or seen if this can work in the day-to-day. And I wonder what would happen if he came to town, lived with you and then didn’t find a job/search for a job with the intensity you’d like him to/whatever. That might sabotage something that could be great.

        • +1.

          This is definitely complicated. I see your side, but I also see his. Moving across country and taking a lower paying job, with limited financial potential is scary. Plus add in the stress of having to make sure you’re making someone else happy with said living/job/financial situation. That is a lot of pressure.

          Why not have him come stay with you for a week and you two figure these things out together. Would he even be comfortable with you ‘bankrolling’ him? What does he see you all doing in 5, 10, 20 years? I’ve done long distance and I will tell you having these discussions face to face, after work and ‘normal’ life, is eye opening. Much different then when you’re on a quick visit and caught up in the rush of seeing each other.

    • Anne Shirley :

      First, I think you need to say all these things to him (if you haven’t already). Why do you only have $2000 in savings? What’s your plan for if you get hit by a bus? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How are you planning on paying for that? Not because there’s any one right answer, but to see how it goes when you two talk about this together.

      Second, I would reconsider planning on bankrolling him. There’s no particular time crunch, so why can’t he be saving up now for the move? Looking for an extra part time job?

    • It sounds to me like it is far too early in your relationship (or at least, early in the defined aspect of a relationship) for you to be concerned about combining financial issues in any way (I don’t mean actually merging finances, I mean discussions about you supporting him, etc.) I think that the relationship sounds promising, but I don’t think that you should be living together or supporting each other at this point, before you are really in a true relationship for a while. It might be OK to give him a gift (not a loan) of a little money to help him get settled, and let him stay with you for a few days while he apartment hunts, but be sure that you’re in a really solid relationship before you go further. I know that moving is a big deal for him, but do bear in mind that he can always move back.

      I hope that didn’t sound harsh – just my two cents. Good luck and I hope that things work out.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would be super cautious about marrying a much lower earner if you live in a community property state. I am divorcing my lower-earning husband after 14 years and it’s going to cost me half of my retirement savings. Proceed with extreme caution.

      • Cornellian :

        I have definitely considered this. I am totally new to this and not in divorce law, but can you not make a prenup around that that is enforceable in various states?

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes, you can and (in my view) should have a prenup. Which is, I guess, what I mean by “proceed with extreme caution.”

          • Cornellian :

            Got it. Yeah, I worked briefly after 1L year in a divorce firm and it drilled the importance of prenups into me, even though they seemed low class somehow before.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        This doesn’t just happen in community property states. Many states consider retirement funds earned in marriage a marital asset to be divided 50/50. The rationale is usually that the lower earner spouse would have earned more/saved more for retirement if they weren’t planning on living jointly on the higher earning spouse’s retirement. The whole, you support him now you would support him in retirement too argument.

        In some circumstances, it is a valid argument. Even though I’m the higher earner, my husband has much better retirement benefits. We contribute more of our joint income (though it comes from his paycheck) to his retirement account than mine because we get much more bang for our buck (matching and otherwise) that way. I still contribute to mine, but at a much lower percent than I would otherwise. I would absolutely expect 50% of that if things ever went sour.

    • This will sound flippant, but what if you think of him as a trophy husband? Attractive (I assume), nice companion, enough time on his hands to allow him to help make your life easier, happy to stay home and raise children, etc. Men marry and support women to fill that role all the time – why shouldn’t you?

      • Cornellian :

        I am comfortable being the more financially supportive spouse, for sure, and I think he thrives at homemaking/cooking/kids stuff (he used to work at a daycare in Germany). It’s a good point.

        I have a few concerns, though. I don’t know of any relationships where one spouse doesn’t work at all and the couple actually seems happy (except when one spouse is caretaking for very young, pre-school children). Also I don’t think I’m partner-track… I don’t think I’ll ever earn much more than, say, 200K, and I’m not sure hwo comfortable I’d be with my partner’s earnings being 0. Even if they were 20K, that makes not losing the apartment a lot easier. Finally, I think one problem with reversing the gender roles in a single-earner relationship is that the woman is still the one birthing kids (if anyone is), and she is necessarily going to take a hit in the workplace to do that.

      • One of the reasons why there are so many landmines around the trophy spouse + big earner spouse arrangement is that the “trophy” spouse is treated like a junior partner while the big earner one is the managing partner. That power imbalance and sometimes status/respect imbalance creeps in often, even when the parties involved try not to fall into those positions.

        I would think those same issues exist regardless of the gender of the “trophy” spouse. And, there’s something gross and objectifying about the term, so I’ll stop using it, even in jest. I don’t think the answer is to start objectifying the other gender.

        • Cornellian :

          I think the only way you can really think of the “trophy spouse” arrangement is to think of everyone bringing a series of offerings to the table, and that each spouse values the other’s offerings. That gets dicey when you start throwing looks and bra size in to the game.

          The way I always imagined money would work in a relationship (although I imagined being the less powerful or equally powerful partner in earning) is that people give according to their means. If paying rent is 1000, and I earn twice as much, I pay 2/3rds, so we’re each paying a similar share of our money.

      • I would also get bored with my husband if he was just staying at home with the kids all day, or was just a “trophy” spouse. I know that’s probably a really crappy thing to say about any stay-at-home spouse, but for me, at least, it’s the truth. I like hearing about his work, and knowing that he’s doing interesting things every day with other adults. I also find his professional successes sexy. He works in a nonprofit field and does a lot of trainings and group presentations. I’ve seen him in action before and it’s so attractive to watch him work a room.

        Anyway, that’s probably TMI, but I’m just echoing the importance of knowing your own relationship, and what exactly it is about your partner that you appreciate. I definitely don’t need mine to make money, but I do appreciate that he has a fulfilling career that he excels at.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I haven’t had time to read all the responses but wanted to throw something out there. My husband is from a much wealthier background than I am. We are both certainly ambitious but I found he was willing to take bigger financial risks than me because of that safety net.

      8 years into our marriage, I have found that his safety net is now my safety net to some degree. We can take X risk because if push came to shove, we would have Y as an option (via his parents). Note, we have never needed any assistance from his parents, though they still kindly send some, unsolicited if they think we need it, in the form of a gift. Example, “Congrats on the new job! Here is $500 for some new suits.”

      I would consider if you would be less bothered by him bringing less to the table financially if you gain a safety net in his family that you are currently missing in your own if you were happily married to him. I know that I appreciate his family’s support so much more than I ever could have imagined – and I don’t mean just financially.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Just to be clear, we married young and had no individual assets. He is not wealthy in the sense that he has money in his name or earned money or something. I mean he grew up upper class while I was lower middle. His parents are more than set in retirement and will likely leave a nice inheritance. We will be supporting my parents eventually. I have no problem being the bigger earner (though he still earns his fair share for sure) because I get many other benefits but if looking just at money, that includes his family safety net.

      • Cornellian :

        That’s an interesting point. I don’t know what his parents’ financial situation is now, but they seem very nice and would presumably be as supportive of us as they could be if something went really wrong. I also definitely value having a supporting family, money aside.

        I’m never sure how to treat inherited or family money in relationships. I don’t think they’d be leaving an inheritance (maybe a share of the family house in the small town midwest) or sending us cash, though, so I probably don’t need to worry too much about it with him. I do feel like inherited money somehow belongs less to that person (unless they receive it as a result of having a parent killed in a car crash or something), but then my politics trend towards a very high tax on inheritance, generally, and my religion doesn’t believe in leaving money to children, so that’s probably part of it.

        • Anonymous :

          Which religion doesn’t believe in leavng money to children? I’m actually curious, I know a fair amount about most religions, and I can’t even guess which one this is

          • Cornellian :

            Hicksite Quakers (ie the majority sect in the U.S.). It’s not a “rule” but part of the belief system and taken seriously. I think leaving your primary house to your three children would not be looked askance at, but trust funds, leaving cash/stocks in your will to children, etc are non-starters. I’ll follow up with a link to Friends General Conference on it.

      • Blonde Lawyer, did you find it difficult to adjust to having that in-law financial safety net? My husband also comes from a much wealthier background than I do and grew up sort of expecting/anticipating family help with house, car, general safety net, etc. I grew up more expecting to support my parents, and certainly never expected or wanted financial assistance. My MIL is super kind and generous and offers to pay for things constantly – if it’s a dinner out or occasional groceries, I can handle it, but when it’s bigger things like offering to pay for the car insurance or for a new car (!) I don’t know how to react. It feels wrong to me to accept, even though I know she can far and away afford it. I also don’t want to count on it or budget based on it. From our conversations, I think my husband would be ok with accepting but would understand if I wanted to turn it down and suggest she put it in a savings account for future grandchildren. I’ve only been married 2 years — did you find you were able to mentally adjust over time to having that extra financial safety net?

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          It has helped tremendously that my husband and I are on the same page and belief system. He doesn’t consider their money his. He will never ask for their money except for a true emergency (which we define the same).

          The gifts were a little harder to adjust to. I feel like I have to be cautious to not offend my parents sometimes. A present from his parents is usually worth 5 or 10 times what my parents give. I think my parents have figured out though that it is their way of “helping” us a bit and not the standard by which a present should be measured. If we get a $1000 check for our anniversary from them, I don’t mention it to my parents! I noticed my parents tend to give us $100 checks and donations to fundraisers and such when before I think they would have done $50. I hope they do it because they want to, not because they feel they have to compete. Even if my in-laws donate anonymously to my cause, my family knows that the scrolling $500 didn’t come from their side.

          I pretty quickly became comfortable and grateful for the gifts. I’m less comfortable with considering them a “safety net.” We have been trying to pay off my student loans aggressively and have far less in savings than I’m comfortable with. We had the “what if we lost our jobs” talk. He replied that if we lost everything and couldn’t get back on our feet, we would live with his parents until we could. Again, this is dire circumstance scenario and not likely to be a reality. I’m not as comfortable assuming we could do that, though in reality I know they would welcome us with open arms or pay our mortgage. I’m still in my “every man for themselves” mindset.

          I at one point considered offering them the idea of buying my loans so they could be earning all the interest I am paying rather than the student loan company. (After reading the idea here.) However, we both decided we are not comfortable doing business with family and we’d rather not go there.

          I think it also helps that my husband is VERY independent and wants to show he can do it on his own. When his parents last visited, our AC went out and we had the repair guy there. His mom offered to pay and he insisted we would pay. I was kicking him under the table to let her LOL.

          I think it gets easier but only works if you and your husband are on the same page, you get along with your in-laws and there is mutual respect all around. There is never any “mine versus yours” in our family and they treat me as if I were their own daughter. To the point where I had to tell her to start introducing me as her “daughter in law” instead of “other daughter” when we visit because we then get quite the side I when the neighbors see I’m in a relationship with their son! I couldn’t figure out why this couple was staring at me so much at a cookout I went to w/ them. I finally realized it was b/c she said I was her daughter and then they saw me canoodling with the man they know is her son!

          • Thanks — this is helpful to think about and I appreciate you sharing your experiences. :) Funnily enough I’ve had similar mix-ups with my MIL referring to my husband, BIL, and me as “her kids”, and people reacting with “I didn’t know you had a daughter!” It doesn’t help that many people tell my husband and I that we look alike (really just similar frame/colouring… our facial features aren’t that similar, IMO).

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I keep thinking about this thread. The other thing that I think helps is my inlaws did not grow up rich. My FIL did very well with a major corporation. My husband’s uncles are lower middle class. My inlaws rarely make any classist statements or assumptions and their beliefs and principals align with mine. I think this is another reason we mesh well.

          I initially had trouble (for the first 3 years of our dating relationship) being comfortable talking to their country club friends, going to a 5 star restaurant, that sort of thing. While I knew his parents didn’t care if I put my elbows on the table or something, I was afraid their neighbors, many of whom had always been rich, could see how “different” I was. I totally got over that the night I wore a $35 gown from Sears to a New Years Eve black tie event and their friends were gushing and asking who my designer was. (Genuinely, not mean-girl mocking me.) I realized I was faking it just fine and then got quite comfortable playing along.

          My inlaws are also happy eating thanksgiving dinner at my parents house, despite its 70’s decor, and will genuinely compliment my family on things and make themselves at home. My parents on the other hand have resisted a trip to the in-laws house (it requires flight so it is easy for them to avoid) because I think my mom is just petrified of spending a week in a gated country club community and fitting in. I’m working on getting her over it and taking a trip down there with them at some point.

    • I would caution you against getting involved with someone who makes significantly less money than you do. I am married to a man who makes $50K a year and I am the managing partner at a law firm making $500K a year. I love my husband dearly but the wide gulf in our earnings does create problems–for him and for me. It creates an inequity in the relationship whether you acknowledge it or not. And it is a very difficult subject to talk about honestly because of the egos involved on both sides. For my part, I have to make a conscious effort not to be resentful when he wants to spend money on things that I don’t want that would otherwise be far, far out of his price range. For example, I want to downsize our house since our kids are all grown. He, however, wants to buy an even more expensive house which he insists he “must” have. But he could never possibly afford it if it wasn’t for my salary. It has hard to deal with things like that or to even discuss them without sounding shallow.

      • When I was younger I told myself that I’d never marry a man who made less than me because I saw my parents struggle with the exact same thing that you’re talking about. But, I fell in love with a man who makes significantly less than me. I know that at some point we’ll have some of the same resentment issues that you’re mentioning, but I’m not really sure how to avoid it. I just try and remind myself that couples have successfully dealt with this for many years when the husband made much more money, and I refuse to let it destroy my relationship just because the roles are reversed. My husband and I try to have an extremely open dialogue about money and the fact that I’m making much more than he is. I’m not quite sure how else to deal with it at this point, early on in our marriage and careers. Any tips would be appreciated.

        • When I feel resentful, I think about his beautiful blue eyes and that helps remind me why I married him. My husband definitely meets other, more primal needs (if you get my drift!) And money (usually) can buy that–at least no legally.

      • This really interests me. I’m not at such a significant difference (~30k), but I outearn DH now and will probably continue to widen that gap in the future.

        did you always feel that way or has it increased as your earnings have gone up? I find it interesting because early on in our relationship, even before marriage, we sort of gave up the mine/yours approach to money.

        I really am not judging, I’m just curious is all.

        • We got married later in life – I was 40 and he was 50. So I was already well into my career. Maybe things would be different if he had been with me and encouraging/supporting me as I climbed the ladder. I think he sees my success as easier than it was because he didn’t witness the hard work that got me here.
          We combine all money into one account and talk about all major purchases so there isn’t a dividing line that way. I think the division is more in my head than openly set out as a yours/mine thing. It has been interesting to see him become used to the better lifestyle-when we met he could hardly pay his bills each month and he about passed out when he realized I spend at least $1000 a month on clothes. That was an interesting conversation.

          • Thank you, that was helpful. I can definitely see it being very different when your partner didn’t have to watch/live through what it takes to earn that kind of money. It seems great on the back-end, but on the front end it can really suck!

  4. Okay, so I try not to publicize my blog on here really, but I got a reader mail question that’s kind of got me stumped, so I’d super duper appreciate it if any pregnant or recently pregnant ladies could read it and give me your thoughts (in the comments on the blog would obviously be best for other readers). It’s on — of all things — maternity undies. I know that doesn’t seem like that complicated of a question, but I only know what I did, obviously, not what other options there are. So anyway, if you feel like it, I’d love you to read my post and let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

    (I promise I won’t be self promoting anymore . . . )

    • I can’t help with this question, but I just wanted to say that your babymoon outfit is adorable. I am very sad that the striped dress is maternity-only :(

      • Agree, you look fabulous!

        • Y’all are so supportive and wonderful! You really know how to make a girl feel good. :)

          • And can I just say, I know preg anon *in real life* and she is just as fabulous in person as she comes off on her blog (and dresses even more fabulous when she isn’t pregnant, if you can believe it!)

      • Marie Curie :

        You can probably still wear it? I have two items from the ASOS maternity range (a dress and a t-shirt) and I don’t really see any difference except that the dress is slightly longer in the front (I don’t think anyone will notice unless they know it’s maternity). But I agree, the dress looks fabulous on preg anon!

    • Also have nothing to add about maternity underwear but I love your outfits and I have to say, it is stunning when you turn to the side! From straight ahead, you hardly look pregnant, then from the side it’s whoa!

    • Executive wristlet recommendations :

      I have loved the hipster / bikinis from Target that have silicone grippies on the bottom. They have virtually eliminated the VPL on me (big butt, so prone to VPL). I found that they are low enough to allow the bump to grow over them, but accept that while you can wear regular underwear all 9 months, they will be ruined (which will be great for the yucky month or so after you give birth). And then you will have earned the right to go shopping again :)

      I never went for the granny panties or the maternity spanx (wicked gas pains in the first trimester, so no squeezing the mommy!). YMMV.

      • Anonymous :

        will you link to the Target silicone grip hipsters? I can’t seem to find them on the website.

        • Executive wristlet recommendations :

          Yikes — it looks like they aren’t there anymore! It’s worth a look in stores and to recheck the website in case they come back. They are the G&O brand and seem to come in a black/nude 2-pack. They are microfiber and seamless. No elastic around the legs, but think rows (5?) of silicone. I am now regretting not hoarding more of these since it looks like my next ones will be from Soma.

          Highly recommend the concept. No VPL for me.

    • Houston Attny :

      Not pregnant but I like the striped dress! You look great!

    • I swear by the Soma vanishing edge underwear. I bought it in a size larger than I normally wear and those are the first ones I reach for after laundry gets done. I have both the briefs and boy shorts and love them. They also have the silicone grippies on the edges; I haven’t tried the Target version but if it’s similar, then that might be a cheaper option.

      I also LOVE maternity Spanx. They’re not like normal Spanx in that they squeeze the daylights out of me. They actually provide a good deal of support and my back doesn’t hurt as much on days when I wear them.

      • Executive wristlet recommendations :

        I heard good things about the Soma ones. I ordered the Target ones when I was ordering stuff online and they were great. I have seen them in stores once but have often gotten them online. I may try the Some boy-shorts — the leg roll-up thing makes me stabby.

      • Sigh – maternity spanx “don’t” squeeze the daylights out of me. And they come up high enough that you don’t get the dreaded Spanx roll-down on your torso as soon as you sit down.

      • Do they really help your back pain? At this point, if someone told me to stand on my head for thirty minutes a day to relieve my back pain, I’d do it. (Actually, I am basically on my head for thirty seconds every day in an attempt to turn this kiddo… but anyway.) I have been dealing with killer sciatica since about 20 weeks, so if they Spanx have helped you, I’ll go order right now!

        • I think they help!! The only reason I’m not wearing them all the time is that it is dang hot and humid where I live. It’s kind of a toss up for me – extra heat or back pain? I go back and forth about which is worse.

    • I just went to your blog and wrote an ode to my favorite maternity underwear.

      • Thanks! I’ve never heard of those, so that’s super helpful. They look great. I’m probably going to update the post a little later with some of the suggestions I received here.

    • i’m about 6 weeks along and I was wondering about maternity underwear yesterday, so I don’t think it’s that strange of a question. I just bought 10 pairs of my favorite underwear in a size bigger from the NAS. Hopefully that lasts a while.

      • I’m 8 weeks and I am still fitting into everything exactly the same, with the exception of bras — my breasts are like, WHOAH! I’m having a hard time imagining how things are going to fit, so I’ve held off on buying anything until I actually need it. I’m a huge Hanky Panky devotee, though, so I think I’ll just try to wear those throughout. They sit low enough and are stretchy enough that I hope they work.

      • I’m 14 1/2 weeks and still wearing my normal undies – a combination of Hanky Pankies, VS Lacies and thongs from Marks & Spencer. Haven’t felt a need to purchase anything different yet. Now, bras are another story and I was shocked – shocked! – when I had a recent sizing done at Nordies.

    • Diana Barry :

      I just bought some size L underwear (I normally wear a M) and wore those all the way through. These were the VS low rise, lace side thongs. No “maternity” underwear. Then I bought (actually my mom bought) some super high rise granny panties for immediately postpartum – in a giant size to accommodate my tummy and the giant maxipads.

      For the winter, I looooooooved the Spanx (or assets) maternity tights. So comfy! I didn’t like the spanx pantyhose, but wore them for fancy events (my sister’s wedding) for support.

      • Agree — I just bought one size up in styles that had a lower rise in front. I also just wore some regular undies throughout and they were fine postpartum as well (ie weren’t stretched out and didn’t lose their shapes).

    • First, you are so much more stylish as an expecting lady that I now regret my (probably shlubby) pregnancy styles from a few years back. Rock on.

      Second, on undies–I usually wear thongs during the day so I just kept on with that. At night I change into bikinis and I think I just picked up a few in a size up. I tend to have some junk in the trunk but for whatever reason my bum didn’t change too much during pregnancy, and got smaller as (over the course of a year) I shed the baby weight. For the immediate post-partum period, when you are (ahem) rather bruised and tender it was nice to have comfy boy shorts-type options (also because you’re usually bleeding for a few weeks and will be all padded up).

      Finally, for ladies who are expecting in this miserable weather: stay cool & keep your feet up.

    • Hanky Pankys (original rise, not low) fit pretty much the whole time. They did stretch some but they needed replacing anyways by the end. Cheap cotton bikinis from Target sized up worked too. I liked full panel pants and such, but wearing undies below the bump/near the hips was much more pleasant and gave me more options.

    • I’ve actually been pondering this lately because I definitely need to purge/refill my underwear drawer, but we’ll be TTC very soon so not sure it’s worth it at this point! I also would like to say that I absolutely love your blog… you have great style but also a great voice.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Two pregnancies and never bought different underwear. I always wore my regular stuff, which includes hipsters, string bikinis, regular bikinis, and granny panties. I suppose the grannies probably didn’t get much wear (You’d think I’d remember…). I didn’t wear my favorites often, either, since I knew they’d get stretched out a bit.

      FWIW, I happily wore maternity clothing. I’m not someone who tries to go without ‘maternity’ items, I just never needed different underwear. I carried straight out, which may affect it?

  5. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    One more time cause I’m so proud of her (and equally as diappointed with my alma mater)!

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    • goldribbons :

      Did you see Above The Law picked it up (late yesterday)? The post was kind of funny; the writer obviously sided with your professor.

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        No, thanks! I’ll definitely check that out.

        • I hope I’m not too late: please don’t read the comments on Above The Law. No sane person should be subject to that foul H3ll Mouth.

    • lucy stone :

      She sounds amazing. I hope she wins.

  6. Baby Atty :

    Hey ladies! I have an interview today for a DA position in my city (in the Southeast). I’m a little nervous because I’m coming from a clerkship and honestly have no litigation experience because I didn’t know I wanted to do litigation during law school and have only really come to this decision since I’ve been chained to a desk all day everyday for the last two years. Any tips for the interview? I’ve been told by acquaintance who work there that they won’t be throwing hypos at me, but any tips you all have would be awesome! Thanks!

    • Good luck!! I’m not a DA, so take this with a grain of salt, but, as a clerk, you may not have been standing in front of the jury, but you have great litigation experience under your belt. I bet that you have spent time talking over cases with a judge, trying to convince him or her of your viewpoint (oral advocacy skills). You have observed what works and doesn’t in front of judge & jury. Those can be great litigation skills. My advice to you is to take some time and think about the positive experiences you have and think of how those would be an asset to a DA. In general, think about what you want the DA’s office to learn about you (bullet points) and how you can raise those positive qualities in response to standard interview questions. Good luck!

      • That’s great, I didn’t really think about spinning it that way, but you’re right. I’ve had to discuss my recommendations with my judge and stand behind them, even when he initially disagrees. On the other hand, I’ve also had to make arguments I didn’t necessarily personally agree with because it was what my judge wanted me to do. I’ve witnessed a lot of successful and unsuccessful oral arguments.


        • goldribbons :

          As a litigator, you’ll likely have very little decision-making power for the first… decade or so, and making the arguments you’re told to make (either by a senior associate, partner, or client) will be your job. Oral advocacy skills, respect/understanding for the court, etc. are definitely skills that you already have and will be useful as a DA.

    • I clerked, then went to a major city DA’s office. I love my job and have been here about five years. Here’s my advice:

      First, don’t use the word litigation. That raises a red flag at my office.Talk about how you want to be a trial lawyer and do trial work. This isn’t corporate law. Next, the most important thing is to be completely honest and genuine in your answers. We evaluate people’s credibility as an essential part of our job, so we’re pretty good at it.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about not having “litigation” experience, just be able to explain why you want to be a DA. You should probably mention something about justice and serving your community, not just that you hate being at a desk. Be able to explain how your background will make you able to relate to people – complainants, juries, and even defendants. If you come from a super-priveleged background, that’s fine, but own up to it. Recognize that you’ll be dealing with people who live lifestyles completely foreign to you.

      What we’re really looking for in my office is someone who will work hard, can communicate effectively with a jury, and is guided by a sense of justice. Academic credentials are much, much less important here than they are elsewhere.

      • Great points, thanks! A follow up question. How personal should I get? I am partially drawn to this job because of personal experiences I had in my past– essentially, a boyfriend of my (now deceased) mother who was in and out of jail, on drugs, etc. I would not be inclined to (ever) bring that up in an interview, seeing as I barely ever tell anyone in my personal life about it. Is that what you mean or should I go with way way broader strokes?

        • If the questions lead you you there, I wouldn’t hesitate to bring it up. I might mention it in about the amount of detail you did here when they’re asking about why you want to be a DA, and then leave it to them to press deeper if they want to. Trust me, no DA is ever shocked about someone’s past, or likely to judge them for something that happened to them. It might make you seem more real, and more able to relate to the people you’ll be dealing with.

          • Okay awesome! I honestly NEVER would have thought about that because it’s a part of my past that I keep really hidden in my normal life, but it does absolutely make this job more attractive to me. I also feel like I understand the other side of the coin (how heartbreaking it was for my mom and her experiences trying to help him, his struggles and backslides, etc) and that it would make me more compassionate. Of course it wouldn’t mean I’d be a softy!

          • I think Anon ADA’s advice is spot on. I was recently hired as an assistant public defender due in large part to my personal experiences. Both DA and PD offices tend to look for people who have compelling answers to the “Why do you want to be an ADA / PD?” type of questions because those people are less likely to be using the work as a fall back option. So, if sharing doesn’t make you uncomfortable in that context, I say go for it (assuming, as Anon ADA mentioned, that the questions lead you there).

        • How about all the things that you have seen in court? As a clerk, you have seen what the DAs do, you have probably seen the frightened people asking the judge for a protective order, you have seen how there are really bad things and bad situations out there. It can be the same motivational lines without putting yourself out there if you don’t want.

          • Well, I’m a clerk for an appellate court, so I’m primarily researching, writing, and attending oral arguments. I definitely have seen good and bad oral advocacy through that and about 1/2 the opinions I’ve written were criminal in nature.

  7. Executive wristlet recommendations :

    Can anyone recommend a good wristlet for work? That I could use if I get lunch with clients? I have a Lilly-esque one that I use for weekends that is a little too OMG Cocktails! for the week, but need some examples of what’s out there. Everyone says “wristlet with tote,” which is great, but I don’t have the foggiest idea of where to shop and what’s been good for people in this context. Also, I have a blackberry, and this seems to have become an i-Phone world. THANKS!

    • goldribbons :

      I’ve had two from Coach that have worked well. I have an iPhone but I think the Coach wristlets are generic-sized to allow pretty much any type of phone to fit. It holds the phone, 3 credit cards, and my ID.

    • i have a coach one that i bought ages ago, it has held up well and it a good size. they are only about $50 and you could find them for less at an outlet. it fits my phone (i used to have a blackberry that fit in it) and essentials. however, if i were an executive or had an executive paycheck, i would get a bigger zip wallet that holds everything because wristlets verge on juvenile (imo).

      • I also have a coach one that fits my phone, wallet, keys, and chapstick. It’s pretty basic and inconspicuous (I have a plain black one) which I like. I also remember seeing some cute zip around Cole Haan wallets at Nordstrom that might work.

      • How are wristlets juvenile?

        • Cornellian :

          I have the same feeling that they’re somehow juvenile, and I’m not sure why. I think part of it is that I see a lot of superprivileged 15 year olds with 200 dollar wristlets. It seems like a way to get the well-known brand on your body for not too much money. I think it may also have to do with simply never seeing women over about 35 wear them. I wouldn’t think twice about a woman of any age at a lunch restaurant near my place carrying her ID and phone in it, but if I saw a woman over 25 or 30 wearing one out to a nice dinner, it would look out of place.

          Totally subjective, obviously, but they do somehow read “young” to me.

          • To me, they don’t read juvenile but they do read “casual”. As in, not formal enough to be on par with the formality of my business casual attire.

            As an example, this is my standard weekend bag –

            I love it, but I wouldn’t wear it to the office (even if I were just leaving for lunch and pulled it out of a larger work bag). Not because it is juvenile, but because it doesn’t “go” with my pencil skirt and blouse.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I’m loving the look of these. The seller makes them according to your phone’s make and model so it can fit.

    • I have a Lo & Sons Mott. It’s a wristlet or a small cross-body depending upon which strap you use. I throw it in my tote and then just take it when I go to lunch. It’s nylon, so not as fancy as some, but the pocket placement and overall setup really works for me.

    • I looove this one:

      I have it in black. It fits my 2 android phones, so it would easily fit an iphone. It’s awesome.

  8. I love that jacket! The color is gorgeous and would definitely work well with my current wardrobe. My favorite colored blazer is an eggplant one that I wear all the time and is surprisingly versatile.

    On an unrelated note, I’m so frustrated that almost 30 years old I’m still battling acne. 11-year-old Vero, who couldn’t wait to grow up and be done with pimples, would be so disappointed! The most frustrating part is when my nearest and dearest think that my acne gives them license to act as amateur dermatologists. No grandma, washing my face with bottled water won’t cure my acne, regardless of what tap water does to my uncle’s feet. No bf, just washing with an acne face wash and using a moisturizer won’t cure my acne, acne washes tend to dry my skin out and make it worse. Yes mom, I am careful about “all those chemicals” I use on my face, strictly under the supervision of my dermatologist.

    Ugh. I’m still refining my regimen (Purpose vs cetaphil vs cerave, etc). Anyone have an adult acne regimen that works well for them (prescription or non)? Please share your skin type as well.

    • Anne Shirley :


      • AttiredAttorney :

        Yeah, my 26 year old self (six months into treatment -low dose for long time plan) wishes I had done it a lot earlier. The side effects sounded scary, and who knows what might develop down the road, but I am so relieved to have clear skin now. I really didn’t realize the toll it was taking on me -between the actual pain of the cysts, the time and money on different treatments, and the feeling of just feeling ugly.

        If you’re not ready for accutane, try the regimen at acne dot org. I still use the face wash, and you can’t find a cheaper source of benzoyl peroxide.

      • After trying various topical creams, my dermatologist finally suggested Accutane. The side effects were as expected (mostly dryness). That said, I have had way worse reactions to other treatments, so personally it was a worthwhile experience. It’s been about 2 years since and I have minimal to no breakouts. Like many others, I wish I had been presented with the option sooner.

        In terms of products, I love Cerave moisturizer (it’s so light!). For a while I used Cetaphil, but switched to Burt’s Bees radiance cleanser and find it less drying.

      • Agreed. I finished my course about a year ago and while my skin is not flawless by any stretch of the imagination, it is exponentially better than it was pre-Accutane. The few months of treatment isn’t awesome — very dry skin, had to have lip balm with me at ALL times, etc. None of the scarier side effects, although I am fairly certain that I lost a bunch of hair when I stopped. This is apparently not totally uncommon, but I didn’t anticipate it going in. Luckily I have thick hair to start with so I was the only one who noticed — and it grew back.

        Now all I have to do is use Cetaphil (the normal, not the gentle) and my Clarisonic Mia and my skin is basically clear except for about a week a month. Well worth it.

      • Yup. I took an aggressive amount of Accutane in high school. It was horrible while it lasted (like during prom – ugh – I know it’s been years and years, but that still bothers me), but I think it was just worse because my derm was SO aggressive. I don’t remember exactly the doses, but I took two pills every day – a bigger one in the morning and a smaller one at night. I remember telling other people the amount I took and them being shocked. I got a few nose bleeds in class, I had white spots on my arms, etc. The one plus side: I could go DAYS without washing my hair because I was so not oily all of a sudden. I would eventually be like, “Woah, I haven’t washed my hair in FOUR DAYS. I guess I’d better do it.”

        So anyway, I probably wouldn’t do that again now because the side effects were SO BAD but I would definitely definitely take a lower dose. I haven’t had acne since, and it’s been longer than I want to admit.

      • SoCalAtty :

        Please read the accutane possible side effects! There are some pretty serious possibilities in there. My derm also just told me that accutane has now been found to cause ulcerative colitis. Trust me, you do NOT want that!

        If your acne is hormonal or stress induced, you might talk to your derm about spironolactone. Originally a high blood pressure med, it has been found to regulate high estrogen levels and works doubly well if you are taking certain kinds of birth control. For me, in combination with Seasonale, it is amazing. I take the lowest possible dose (50mg) and it really has done wonders for my skin! Really cheap, too.

        • SoCalAtty :

          Also, if you are getting any cystic acne where you don’t want it to scar, see if your derm is ok with you dropping in for cortisone injections at the site. It doesn’t work for everyone, but before the spironolactone kicked in I was getting them on my chin, and those injections had them fading in 2-3 days instead of much longer, without scarring.

        • Anonymous :

          This. Sprironolactone changed my life. I take 75 mg along with my BCP and after years of cystic acne, I haven’t had ANY in 2 years.

    • Yasmin and Spironolactone prescriptions

    • My Dr. perscribed Azelex cream a few months ago and it’s worked wonders on my face. I had very mild acne, but it was persistent to the point that I always had 1-3 active pimples around my mouth/chin, and blackheads around my nose. The pimples rotated around the same 10ish spots, for the past 6 years. The first month, the cream seemed to pull up all of my recurring pimple spots. I got a big zit every few days in the spots that I’ve always gotten big zits. After the one flare-up cleared, no more in that spot. A few months later I now have no active pimples just a little scarring!

    • accutane. if you’re not willing to go that route, then try ziana, it’s a retinoid + antibiotic, works like a charm.

    • marketingchic :

      I finally “outgrew” acne at almost 40 – not sure if it’s age, or hormonal changes after my 2nd kid . . . but here’s what worked for me in my 30’s:
      1. mild cleanser – I use Cetaphil, and switch to their oily skin formula in the summer
      2. oil-free moisturizer – I like Garnier – it’s clear gel in a jar, forget the name
      3. Neutrogena “acnes stress reliever” gel (salicylic acid) at night, plus their “on the spot” (benzoyl peroxide) for large pimples
      4. Wash my make-up brushes weekly and pillowcases sometimes more than weekly (I bought lots of white one). This is probably obvious to most, but I didn’t figure these 2 things out until my 30’s :)

      Hope that helps

    • You sound like me (both in terms of skin type and frustration with people’s “suggestions”). After 10+ years of bad acne and trying all kinds of stuff from the dermatologist, I finally opted for Accutane, which helped tremendously. After that was done, I still had pimples (but far fewer than I’d had in the pre-Accutane years).

      For the past four years or so, I’ve used a Clarisonic (daily) and Retin-A (twice a week) and now I have my skin under control. I also go for a facial with microderm about three to four times a year. I still get a few pimples, but nothing like the acne I used to have. If it matters, I’m now 32.

      I also had significant scarring from the years of acne. I had a plastic surgeon resurface my face using a laser. I did that three times and the scars are barely noticeable now.

      I absolutely understand your frustration with people giving you their oh-so-helpful ideas about how you can get the acne under control. I hope you can find something that works for you!

    • I’m mid-20s and have recently gotten it under control. I went to the derm recently and she was impressed that given how bad it was in the past (evidenced by scarring) that my skin was as good as it is without any prescription meds. Here’s what I do for my oily, sensitive skin:

      Internal care:
      a) Take vitamin A (2 10,000mg tablets, though I started at 3 per day) every day. Accutane is just a really high dosage of Vitamin A, so taking a smaller dose as a supplement can help without the prescription, major side effects, etc. I really think this has made a huge difference.
      b) This is probably a no-brainer, but drink things good for your skin. I don’t drink anything but water and tea. Yogi tea has a skin detox tea that I really like.

      Face care/prevention:
      a) Remove make-up with an oil-based cleanser. Wipes don’t get all the make-up off.
      b) Cleanse with a natural, gentle wash. I use LUSH Angels on Bare Skin, but I think anything gentle with natural ingredients (no salicylic acid, etc) will work.
      c) Dab on any spot treatment. I like diluted pure tea tree oil.
      d) Moisturize. Use something gentle and light.

      BE GONE step (taking care of any breakouts that do happen, and getting rid of scarring):
      a) I exfoliate a couple times a week.
      b) I use a mint mask for breakouts when needed – Queen Helene, Earth Science, or LUSH.
      c) For fading any scarring or just making my skin look better in addition to the mint mask, I really link REN’S Glycol Lactic Acid Peel – started off once a week, probably once a month now.

      Seconding marketingchic’s note to wash your makeup brushes (or switch out sponges, whatever) and pillow cases! Also something I didn’t figure out until recently.

    • I have combination skin, though tendy more towards oily. I was breaking primarily on my chin, but also usually one or two big and deep pimples on my cheek.

      My dermatologist prescribed spironolactone and even she was impressed by how quickly/how well I reacted to it. At around the same time, I switched to the Paula’s Choice Acne regimen. I use the regular strength CLEAR cleanser and the regular Strength CLEAR Exfoliant (toner).

      My skin isn’t perfect, but it is 95% better than it was before I started spironolactone/paula’s choice.

    • After two cycles of Accutane, the only thing that permanently cleared my skin (aside from the occasional breakout) has been BC pills. I have a combination skin type – both oily and dry. Good luck! I know how frustrating it is to keep trying new things and continue to get breakouts.

    • Not to jump on the gluten free for fun thing…

      BUT, my friend was told he had a sensitivity and went gluten free and his acne totally cleared up. He had acne for the 3 years I knew him, and with the change in diet the acne just disappeared.

      Also, tons of the water/bikram makes my face glow!

      • Diet and acne are totally related. They used to say that it was an old wives’ tale, but there were some studies done in the last 10 years that prove otherwise, like this one:

        Since it says that a low-GI diet reduces acne, it makes sense that cutting out gluten (assuming it’s in the form of high-GI carbohydrates) would result in clearer skin.

    • I bailed on the dermatologist thing after a string of bad experiences (I’d get a prescription, it’d work for three months, then my skin would adjust to it and I’d be back where I started or worse – very frustrating). I started seeing an esthetician and getting regular acne facials (some spas call them “teen facials” or something similar), and using the products the spa recommended (face wash and moisturizer always, plus sun screen in the summer and on any day when I’ll be outdoors for a long period of time), and I’ve seen a 90% reduction in acne. What I still have tends to be a lot smaller (and easier to cover up with makeup, if needed) than it was before, which is a nice bonus.

    • I struggled forever (have been seeing various derms since teen years with some success more than others–I’m now 39). This past year, I finally was prescribed Avar-E and it has been a godsend (topical mix of a sulfur base and antibiotic). No more breakouts and no more dry skin.

      If I could go back in time, the one thing I would have done differently is request to try something different when something didn’t “quite” work after giving it a fair shot. Yes, retin-A helped but didn’t really fix. Yes, microderms and lasers helped but didn’t really fix it. Yes, various oral antibiotics through the years have helped to some degree but didn’t fix, etc. If you’re still seeing acne, then you still need something different. It really can’t hurt to ask for another strategy. Also, new medicines are constantly coming out. So options that weren’t around 5 years ago may be available now. If you’re derm doesn’t seem up on the latest research or offer other options, then find another. Life is too short to have to deal with acne if you don’t have to. You shouldn’t have to settle.

      And I completely feel your pain. There is absolutely nothing worse than bad skin. It’s like everyone feels like they are suddenly an expert and can comment since it’s so visual in nature. I’ve also had my parents, friends, etc. give me their insights: “Drink more water.” “Don’t eat X.” “”What kind of face soap are you using, it doesn’t look like it’s working.” (No kidding–thanks, Mom.) They just don’t understand.

    • Veronique :

      Thanks everyone! I’m not a big fan of my current dermatologist, but I’m moving in less than a month, so I’ll explore some new options when I find a new derm. I was on Accutane twice, and it worked marvelously, but the last time was probably a decade ago. Might be time for a refresher.

  9. :( I hear you and I’m in my 40s! Oily skin. I’ve gone back to stridex pads and spot treatments on bumps or anything that looks clogged. I don’t have bad skin, but I feel that by now, I should be done with this (my fear is that in 10 years, when menopause really hits, that I will get bad acne as my hormones really go crazy — like a second puberty, but this time I wind up as a boy with a hairy face and cystic acne and all that).

  10. Is anyone having problems receiving notifications about new comments added? I am not receiving any….

    • I didn’t get any (even though I had subscribed) after Kat made the changes a couple days ago. I emailed her about it. Now we don’t even have the option of clicking the box to subscribe (or at least I don’t). I find it problematic. I generally comment and subscribe then read comments on email or on my phone later.

    • I’m not either.

    • looks like it may be working now.

      • Sorry guys just realized that plugin didn’t come back on when I thought I turned em all on the other day. Whoops…

  11. Any advice on how best to support your friend the bride? She is really overwhelmed with wedding stuff right now and either can’t or won’t delegate stuff to the other bridesmaids. I’m volunteering to help and listening to her vent but that doesn’t seem like enough. I tried to plan something fun so we could just hang but she said she can’t right now so I don’t know what else to do

    • Anything that would free up time for her would be helpful. How about cooking a meal (one dish meals like lasagna or a stew are great) and dropping it at her house or offering to run non-wedding errands for her? Think of the type of things you’d do for a friend who is sick or recently had a baby.

    • Some advice I found particularly helpful as a bridesmaid was to volunteer for specific tasks. Instead of asking “Do you need help? What can I do?”, instead I’d say “Why don’t I (stuff invitations/make place cards/coordinate with your mom to make a list of shots for the photographer/put together the favors)?” Sometimes I had to be insistent when she said “Oh, it’s no problem, I’ve got it.” and remind her she’d still have full oversight.

      Other than that, it sounds like you’re doing a great job of letting her vent. Maybe get her a small pampering gift? An indulgent lotion, a fancy candle, some flowers? Just to remind her you’ve got her back :)

    • I arrived a few days early for my best friend’s wedding last year and the first night I was there I cleaned their kitchen and ordered in dinner. I also ran a few errands, I think it helped.

  12. SoCal Gator :

    Shopped the Nordie Anniversary sale yesterday and got some nice items, including a beautiful Calvin Klein leather moto jacket, two beautifully cut Lafayette dresses and a Halogen pencil skirt with a quilted front inset. I tried on a DVF wrap dress that was a great deal but could not pull the trigger. I know so many of you guys love them and they are classic but it seemed way too low cut for me, even if I wore a cami. Although it was gorgeous and looked good on me, it made me feel very uncomfortable so I didn’t buy it. I guess sometimes you have to admit that something is just not right for you even though it’s a very popular item.

    • Fashion tape & the Shemie :

      I actually brought the Shemie (slip that looks like a camisole on top) and found that that AND fashion tape are what let a DVF wrap dress work for me.

    • I finally got on last night (couldn’t before because I hadn’t activated my new card and didn’t know the number). I ordered a couple of basic v-neck cardigans that, if they work, will be staples for me. Also a Chantelle bra – a different color of one I already own. Lace but really comfortable. And a pair of shoes (yeah, I ordered the Sam Edelman Darla pumps) that might not work on my high instep and a pair of Enzo Angiolini booties that could be perfect. So we’ll see when I get it what I keep, but I’m hopeful!

      • Please share if you love the Enzo booties when they arrive. My daughter is eying them and I thought they would be a great Christmas present, but I worry about the sizing and buying so far in advance. Thanks!

        • Enzo shoes tend to fit me really well, so unfortunately, I’m sure I’ll love them. But I will report back!

      • Famouscait :

        In a similar vein, if anyone tries the Vince Camuto “Vive’ booties, I’d love a report!

        Also, please report back on the cardigans.

    • I’m just not getting excited about what I’m seeing in the Anniversary Sale this year. Good for my wallet but sad for my shopping fun…

  13. Paging SunnyD :

    You may have already ordered your invitations, but I was just looking at the upcoming sales on RueLaLa and saw that they’re having a Tiny Prints sale Monday 7/15. It’s redeemable online, so most likely it’ll be something where you get a discounted gift card to use on the site. May be too late for you, but just wanted to pass it along!

  14. Would love to see this styled differently – It has potential! Nice cut.

  15. what do you all think of this white leather kate spade watch? it’s on the anniversary sale for $119. worth it? i assume this is a spring/summer only type watch. too trendy or is it something that will last? link to follow


      • goldribbons :

        I think it’s great. Probably spring/summer would be best. Unless the face is as large as your wrist, I don’t see it being too trendy.

      • I just bought that watch with the black strap and really love it. I think that the shape is classic – if you thought the white was too summery you could get another strap to wear it through the winter. Considering you’re saving at least $80 from what I spent (thanks to being the Great White North) I would see it as worth it.

    • My only concern would be keeping it clean. I had a white watch with a black grosgrain bow a few years ago and after a summer of 3-4 days/week wear the band looked pretty dingy. Not sure if there’s an easy way to clean/pretreat white leather that could help prevent that.

      • yes, that’s a concern as well.

      • Saddle soap is great for cleaning leather. It really de-gunked the handles of my brown bag, which had turned black with wear (aka dirt).

      • I have a Skagen watch (small, delicate) with a white leather band. It does get dirty but the dirt wipes right off.

  16. I am heading up to Boston for a few days — any suggestions for things to do? I will be traveling with an infant (about 12 months), so need more child-friendly options… TIA!

    • Aquarium!

    • Second the aquarium idea. If the weather is good, I always enjoy walking around in the West End (and eating!), Boston Commons, and Beacon Hill.

    • Diana Barry :

      Will you have a car? Or will you be taking the T? If so, I have additional recommendations.

      The science museum has a “little kids” play area (near the omni theatre and the entrance to the duck tours) that is really nice – my babies have loved crawling around in there and playing with the water table and crawling in and out of the bee hive. There is also a playground section on the top floor with two swings that the babies love.

      The aquarium just completed its renovation of the big tank and is a nice place to go, especially if it’s hot, to look at all the fish and penguins and seals, etc.

      Babies are free at both museums; it is best to go when they open or near closing, particularly if on a weekend, otherwise it will be crowded. I don’t recommend the Children’s Museum for babies.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Also suggest the Aquarium – they just reopened the Giant Ocean Tank and kids love it. Reserve online since they just switched to a new ticketing system where your ticket will only let you in at certain times — so it would suck to get there, stand in line, and realize because of all the crowds, you won’t be let in until 4pm (or whatever).

    • Thanks! We will have a car, but not (entirely) adverse to taking the T.

      • Diana Barry :

        By car – Science Museum has a good parking garage that is not too expensive. Aquarium – parking is expensive, T may be better. If you are by yourself, the T is often a pain to take with a stroller (not all stations have elevators, etc.) and you may be better off with a carrier.

        If you are here on a weekend – take the car and go to Full Moon on Huron Ave in Cambridge for brunch. There is a kids’ play place there and good food, and you can finally relax and not worry about the baby yelling (because there will be 5 other yelling babies at the same time!).

        It is also fun to go to the Public Garden and take a picture of the baby riding one of the duckling statues, and go on the swan boats.

    • Boston has a lot of nice parks that are good for little kids. Boston Common and the Public Garden for starters, but also the Esplanade (river front park — there’s a big playground near the Hatch Shell where Tom Brady takes his kids), or Cambridge Common in Harvard Square, which you could combine with a trip to Harvard Square for lunch.

      • The playground right by the Hatch Shell is really more for older kids. The better one playground for this age would be the one on the Esplanade near the Mass. Ave bridge or the one near the Science Museum (there’s also a wading/sprinkler pool there so that’s a good option if it’s hot out).

    • I second the Childrens Museum and Aquarium recommendations. Also, you can hit the Frog Pond on the Boston Common — it’s a big wading pond with a fountain in the middle. There’s a nice-ish snack bar there and also a carousel. If you like art, I always found art museums to be a good adult w/baby activity, if your baby sleeps well in a stroller. Go at nap time and just push the stroller around enjoying the art. The MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) is great for this because it’s big and nice and quiet. Also worth a trip is the Peabody Essex Museum up in Salem. Personally, my favorite art museum in Boston is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but it’s a smaller museum on multiple floors and so no quite as easy with a stroller.

  17. Santa Barbara/Ojai? :

    Anyone have any good recommendations for (affordable) hotels in Santa Barbara or Ojai? A friend and I will be driving down there from the Bay Area in early October. We thought the Ojai Valley Resort looked amazing… until we saw the prices. Ideally, we’d want something centrally located that’s no more than $200/night.

    We’re also seeking ideas for restaurants, shops, bars, and spas. Thanks in advance!

    • Try the Hotel Santa Barbara. Its right on state street. The rooms are small and its an older hotel, but its very nice and you cant beat the location. I’ve gotten rooms there for less than $200 on occassion

    • “Affordable” and “Santa Barbara” don’t really belong in the same sentence. My go-to is the Presidio – it’s basic but nice and in a great location.

    • Santa Barbara/Ojai? :

      Thanks, ladies! Those both look great and are exactly what we’re looking for.

  18. I just got a perm position where I’ve been working temporary! After two years of job searching I feel like I can take some time off from it (though not the networking). It’s brutal out there.

    I just wanted to thank everyone for the support on and off over the last two years. You guys are wonderful, funny, snarky, and kind. :D

    • Congratulations !

    • Congratulations!!!!! I finally made permanent this summer after close to 3 years on contract and it’s a HUGE relief in terms of job security, being able to do some real long-term life/career planning, not having to worry that your contract will expire every 5 months.. Enjoy the feeling of turning from Pinocchio into a real person (I know it’s weird – but that’s sort of how I felt) and do something to celebrate for sure.

      • Silvercurls :

        Very well put. Feeling like something other than a real person is definitely a side effect of job-hunting. Fortunately it’s not a 24/7 feeling.

    • Sydney Bristow :


    • Congrats! :-)

    • Silvercurls :

      Congratulations! Enjoy your new place in life. You give us all hope.

  19. momentsofabsurdity :

    I’m sure a lot of people have already seen this article about how to avoid being a victim of violence (it’s a couple of years old) but a friend sent it to me yesterday and I thought it made some pretty good points about self defense. I’ve been thinking of taking Krav Maga or some other kind of self defense class (which I will probably do) but this article brought up some additional good points I hadn’t thought of. It addresses stranger violence, which I know doesn’t take into account the reality that a lot of violence people may experience will probably be perpetrated by someone they know.

    • just Karen :

      I just read the article, and it gave me some good food for thought, but I am having a hard time with the recommendation to run away if someone has a knife at your child’s throat…intellectually I understand his point, but I can’t imagine putting it into action, or being able to live with myself if I did, and the end result was my child being hurt (even though I understand his point that the child would be hurt anyway).

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Yeah that threw me as well too – because I don’t think I could ever do that (I mean who knows, godforbid I am in that situation. Clearly some people can do that, as referenced by that guy at the movie theater in Aurora who booked it, got in his car, and left, leaving his girlfriend and two kids in the movie theater) but I think he acknowledges that suggestion might not be realistic by following it with:

        “Granted, it is almost impossible to imagine leaving one’s child in such a circumstance—but if you can’t leave, you must grab a weapon and press your own attack. Complying in the hope that a sociopath will keep his promise to you is always the wrong move.”

        I think the overall point – don’t just listen and do what you’re told in the hope that things will be okay because this person has already demonstrated they are a crazy person, and you can’t expect crazy people to behave rationally – was a good one. On the one hand, as a natural peacemaker, my instinct would be to defuse the situation and not escalate it – but if someone has already escalated to violence/threats of violence, it’s probably unrealistic that I will be able to convince them to treat me fairly.

        • +100.

          I can’t imagine leaving someone I loved, but I also can’t imagine listening to a maniac in the hopes that I can temporarily placate them. Easier said then done, obviously. I also wish there was more information on where you can get reliable self-defense training. I know a lot of women who have taken one class and think they’re fine, but I would imagine unless it is ingrained in you, you’d still hesitate.

    • Thanks for posting, well written article and worth a read.

    • Please, yes – take self defense classes. Regularly. Be proactive in learning how to defend yourself. I teach self defense classes and I can’t tell you how sad it makes me when a new student tells me that what brought them into class was getting attacked/a friend getting attacked, or when a student suddenly panics during a drill because it brings back horrible memories of a prior incident. Please learn how to defend yourself NOW.

  20. recent grad :

    I have to bring a “cold side dish” to a BBQ/party on Saturday. The basics – pasta salad, potato salad, green salad – are already covered. Any suggestions on what to bring? Thanks!

    • Cold salad of shrimp, cucumber, avocado, onion, lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro, S&P.

      • YUM.

        • Yes. It is freakin’ delicious. No real recipe, just as much/little of the various chopped veggies as you want. I tend to chop the shrimp as well but you can also leave smaller ones whole. Tastes equally good eaten off of a fork as off of tortilla chips :)

    • Martha Stewart’s Black-Eyed Pea salad. Sooo good.

    • Anonymous :

      Tomato bocconcini/mozzarella skewers drizzled with balsamic

    • Proscuitto wrapped cantaloupe skewers, fruit kebabs with yogurt dressing, grilled corn/tomato/avocado salad

    • Ina Garten’s cucumber salad or panznella

    • Anonymous :

      beet, carrot, green apple salad (bonus: raw and vegan! but don’t let that scare you because also DELICIOUS!):

    • Miss Behaved :

      Watermelon and feta salad with mint

    • Grilled corn cut off the cob red onion (rinse under cold water to cut the bite), lime, thyme, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, tomato.

    • oh! Watermelon Feta Salad – so surprisingly good, and it’s the perfect time of year for it!

    • Black bean and corn salsa or deviled eggs.

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