On American Girl Dolls Are Still Expensive (But Not As Expensive As They Could Be)

I was #Mollyforlife because she had mousy brown hair and was essentially the only character that never wore anything with lace, but it is important to note that Samantha's cream of carrot soup was the most delicious recipe in any of the AG cookbooks.

Posted on November 10, 2014 at 12:35 pm 0

On Good Enough Homes & Destinations: What You Get For $199,000

I grew up about 15 minutes away from that house in Wickliffe, in the next town over. Not much to say about the area except that you are conveniently located about a 3 minute drive from this lovely chemical processing company: https://www.lubrizol.com/

Posted on October 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm 0

On How Wizards Do Money: Dean Thomas

This is the HP/HTGAWM crossover fan-fic the world has been waiting for. Also, you missed a real opportunity in the tags ("Five Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration").

Posted on October 30, 2014 at 12:13 pm 5

On Lunch Spots and Budgets

Are you using a Hale and Hearty-specific app? I've got LevelUp, which powers the H&H app, and which I use at Chop't and Organic Avenue. Same rewards deal without the hassle of having to download a different app for every restaurant. Organic Avenue even sent me a random $2 off coupon a few weeks ago since I hadn't been there in a while (I can only justify so many $9 green juices). Also, I usually bring lunch, but Potbelly is definitely my only-once-every-so-often lunch treat.

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 1:09 pm 0

On I Don't Get Las Vegas

I've been to Vegas twice (once when I was 14 so that hardly counts). Much as it will make me sound like the Las Vegas Tourism Board, I think the appeal really is the escapism. The whole city is about pretending to be something or someone or somewhere else. That's exciting for a lot of people. It's also exhausting and explains why most folks (myself included) can't handle more than a long weekend there. An anecdote - on my last trip, my group of friends hatched a plan that I've since seen replicated in multiple Vegas hotel commercials. We pretended one friend was a celebrity and let others react. Our tougher-looking friends wore suits and pretended to keep a watchful eye on the crowd. The ladies wore cocktail dresses and fawned over our "actor" friend. The staff at a fancy lounge started asking who he was. Other patrons tried to take photos (which our "security" guys firmly asked them to delete from their phones). We were given a prime table and free drinks. In line for the bathroom, I overheard a girl whisper to her friend, "She's at that table with that famous guy!" The next day, the VIP coordinator texted and thanked us for coming. Whether or not all those people actually believed my friend was a celebrity sort of doesn't matter. They got to pretend just like we did.

Posted on October 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm 1

On Selling Sexless Sex at Abercombie & Fitch

While in college, I was recruited to work at New York's Fifth Avenue flagship A&F shortly before it opened. This was 2005, when the brand was probably past its peak here in the U.S., but was just starting to tap into international markets. European tourists made up the majority of the customers during my two years at the store. My experience was somewhat different than the author's. No one gave a damn if the employees flirted or hooked up or started dating. The store was too big and the managers too worried about covering shifts to care about those sorts of things. And the "wholesomeness" that the brand purported to sell always seemed to me to be offered with a knowing wink. Yes, these were the good kids, but they had a naughty side. They still fooled around, they just didn't get caught. The one thing I never understood about the entire A&F saga is how it has been singled out as the most nefarious of brands in an industry that is built on exclusivity and appearances. Walk into a Chanel boutique and it will make the A&F employees look diverse. Karl Lagerfeld has uttered things just as distasteful as the gaffes that Mike Jeffries has made. I'm not defending A&F, I've just always been confused as to why so many people seem to think its approach is unique in the fashion world.

Posted on October 17, 2014 at 11:20 am 0

On Things I Am Looking For in The Mid-Sized City of My Dreams

It won't give you mountains or a coastline, but I'm going to make a pitch for Columbus, Ohio. You'll want the Short North, Victorian Village, or German Village neighborhoods. Here is your ice cream shop: http://jenis.com/scoop-shops/short-north/ Your coffee shop with free wifi: http://www.imperocoffee.com/category-s/1846.htm Your vegetarian spot that is always buzzing (free veggie burgers on Earth Day!): http://www.thenorthstarcafe.com/index.html Your independent bookstore: http://www.bookloft.com/ Your monthly cultural event: http://www.shortnorth.org/popular-links/gallery-hop It snows less than NYC, I promise.

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm 1

On Things I Am Looking For in The Mid-Sized City of My Dreams

It won't give you mountains or a coastline, but I'm going to make an honest pitch for Columbus, Ohio. You'll want the Short North, Victorian Village, or German Village neighborhoods. Here is your ice cream shop: http://jenis.com/scoop-shops/short-north/ Your coffee shop with free wifi: http://www.imperocoffee.com/category-s/1846.htm Your vegetarian spot that is always buzzing (free veggie burgers on Earth Day!): http://www.thenorthstarcafe.com/index.html Your independent bookstore: http://www.bookloft.com/ Your monthly cultural event: http://www.shortnorth.org/popular-links/gallery-hop It snows less than NYC, I promise.

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm 0

On Infinity Zillion Vacation Days, the HORROR

A few months before I left the biglaw firm I used to work at, they adopted an "unlimited" vacation policy. Previously, we had been able to carry over up to X amount and cash out up to Y amount of unused days at the end of the year. Since biglaw attorneys take even fewer vacation days than the average U.S. employee, under the old policy, most people would end up cashing out the max amount of days and the firm had to cut a lot of extra checks at year-end. When the new policy went into effect, people continued to take roughly the same amount of vacation days (based on my observations and those of the former co-workers I keep in touch with). Like the policy quoted in this post, you had to be sure that your work would be covered and that you were up to speed with everything. In commercial litigation, that is almost never the case. Sure, there were a few people that exploited the system and took multiple multi-week vacations per year (the same people that would expense everything down to a $0.50 toll to drive to court or a $2 tip left to housekeeping on a business trip). But most people were so bogged down that they were lucky to fit in a few long weekends and holiday travel. It's pretty clear to me that the firm anticipated this, did a cost/benefit analysis, and figured out that the the amount they would save on paying out for unused days would far outweigh the amount "lost" on outliers who took full advantage of the policy.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm 1

On The Real History of Madewell, 1937

That piece was well-written and engaging, but there are quite a few things about it that irked me. For someone who hadn't bothered looking into what happened to the family company until he saw the name pop up in Soho, the author had a bit too much simmering indignation for my taste ("Wasn’t that misleading and just a little bit gross?"). And as someone that has spent a great deal of time inside Madewell stores and on the website, I can honestly say I've never once noticed any association with "New Bedford" or overt references to the brand's purported history. To the extent that Madewell has touted its workwear roots, it generally seems to be in connection with collaborations they enter into with actual artisanal/local brands. Abercrombie immediately sprung to mind when I read the lede here (we're all familiar with how A&F allegedly outfitted Teddy Roosevelt for his safaris). Both Madewell and Abercrombie have been fairly upfront, in my experience, with acknowledging their corporate parents. I imagine that most consumers know that the Madewell in their shopping mall is not a mom and pop operation. They also know they haven't been shopping there since 1937. It's interesting that the author got in touch with the owner of Save Khaki. They have a store across the street from my apartment (and just a few blocks away from the Soho location of Madewell). That brand definitely has a "hand-made" sort of aesthetic to it, though I admittedly know nothing of where it obtains or manufactures its goods. I wonder if Dan (or that vintage store owner in New Bedford) would have been offended if David Mullen had simply tacked the Madewell name onto his company instead of passing it along to J. Crew. This comment was a lot of words about a store that sells jeans but I have so many feelings clothes. Just so many.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 6:49 pm 1