On New York on $70 a Week

I'm a little confused. It seems like the $70/week budget was just for spending money. The author states she was "[l]iving rent­-free in a dorm, on a full meal plan with unlimited cafeteria use[.]" Dorms aren't rent-free. Someone had to pay for the lodging and meal plan, unless she was on a full scholarship that she is not mentioning. Either she had existing savings that were earmarked for college expenses, her parents still covered the costs of her education (including tuition, room and board, meal plan, etc.), or she took out a decent amount of loans. Even with the lowest tier lodging and meal plans, the current cost of a year at Fordham looks to be over $57K. Given that she was living rather comfortably on $45k out of college, I assume she doesn't have a hefty monthly loan payment. Just seems a little odd to describe this as "living" on $70/week when most major expenses (lodging and food) were already covered.

Posted on February 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm 2

On Life Hacks

"Experiences over things" is one of many Pinterest-board mantras that really irks me (don't get me started on "Do what you love"). It often fails to account for the fact that "experiences," though they may or may not require as much money as "things," also require TIME. I know everyone is "busy," but some of us in unreasonably demanding fields simply do not have the luxury of setting aside the time that experiences take. When I was at a big law firm, I and many others were forced to cancel vacations on a regular basis. I knew a 6th year associate who hadn't taken more than a long weekend in his entire time at the firm. It can also be extremely difficult to plan anything on a weeknight before roughly 8pm, because it is expected that you will be available to handle all emergencies (real ones and silly fire drills alike). The frustration of being tied to a desk, for me anyway, frequently results in justifying splurge spending. I can't go on this vacation, but I can buy these shoes, instead. I can't make it to that concert, but I can order this new duvet cover. And so on. Things may not be as gratifying as experiences, but I'd argue that they are better than having neither.

Posted on February 25, 2015 at 11:24 am 1

On What Is It Like To Go Luxury Shopping In Sweats

1. No one in Bergdorf's is ever nice until you pull out the credit card. I've found Saks employees to be MUCH friendlier. 2. For one-brand boutiques, the employees in the Soho locations are often a good deal nicer than those in the uptown boutiques. Uptown they are looking for rich foreigners and don't care much about anyone else (though Prada associates have been awesome at every location). 3. Re: YSL v. Saint Laurent - this is the greatest article on the subject. 4. How did you happen upon this just now? I read it back in March when it was published on Fashionista.

Posted on February 20, 2015 at 5:15 pm 1

On The Cost of Vacation, Part 4: NYC

Man, did no one tell you there are lots of good places to eat in NYC (cheap ones, even!) instead of Starbucks and office drone buffet bars? I don't know which Pod you were at, but the one on 39th has an awesome taco place right downstairs. And when you were at Housing Works/Botanica, you were STEPS from Parm and Grey Dog and Cafe Habana. I'm bummed that you hung out in my neighborhood and just ate sad generic food. :(

Posted on February 12, 2015 at 12:05 pm 4

On Taylor Swift Trademarks "This Sick Beat" and Other Swiftian Quips

Not to be a pedant, but it is important to note that this is a discussion of things that Taylor has trademarked, NOT copyrighted. The two terms are not interchangeable, and each type of intellectual property comes with different rights for its owner. Short phrases or single words cannot be copyrighted, but they can be trademarked. Companies TM single words all the time. None of us takes issue with the term APPLE being TMed for use with computers or electronics, right? You can't trademark the name APPLE for your apple farm because that is a generic description that would foreclose others who are just trying to describe what their business does. But calling your computer company APPLE doesn't prevent any other computer companies from accurately describing the nature of their business in their name. You can also only limit the use of a trademarked phrase in the categories for which you have registered and been granted a TM. Granted, Taylor appears to have registered in a LOT of product categories. But these haven't all been approved, yet. Plus, you can only limit the use when that TM is being used by others in commerce. TMs are meant to prevent consumer confusion as to the source of the goods. FWIW, Taylor sells everything from branded flash drives to "scented hair mist" and perfumes in scents named after her albums/songs. Girl is using those TMs.

Posted on February 11, 2015 at 5:18 pm 1

On What Success Looks Like, According To The Harvard Business Review

OK disclaimer, I only skimmed the HBR article, but why do these studies (and many bosses) always assume that work/life balance only matters to people with children? I am not sure I'll ever reproduce, but not because of some lofty career ambitions. I like getting home in time for dinner and not checking my work email on the weekend just as much as someone with a kid does. It is easy to become resentful when you are viewed as lazy or not dedicated enough because you don't have a "reason" you need to leave work at a reasonable hour.

Posted on February 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm 3

On 8 Ways I Might Spend a Modest Windfall, In Order of Fiscal Prudence

That Tug McGraw quote sent me down a "who said it first?" internet wormhole because it is very similar to George Best's quip, "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered." Alas, I can't seem to pin the Best quote down to a date.

Posted on February 5, 2015 at 6:00 pm 0

On The Best Restaurants In America Are Not That Expensive

I'm going to go ahead and assume that the best places to eat aren't primarily west of the Mississippi but rather West Coasters are more avid Yelpers/not as critical as East Coasters/more likely to write about a good experience than cynical, petty New Yorkers, who only write a review if something horrible happened.

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm 4

On Why Don't Ebooks Have In-book Ads? Because We Don't Read Enough

Knowing that hardly anyone finished The Goldfinch makes me feel so much better about how long it took me to get through it.

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

On Tax Season

I've used TaxACT for the last few years and it is super convenient when you have fairly straightforward taxes like mine. $14.99 total for my federal and NY state. I got my W-2 last week and already had another form for some award/prize money I won last year (you may have seen me on tv!), and I'm not even bothering to wait for the rest of my student loan interest forms because I make too much to take the deduction. What I'm saying is that I filed my stuff this weekend and got the federal return acceptance email today. Refund coming w/in 21 days!

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 1:23 pm 0