Holidays Open Thread

Stuart Weitzman - Laceswoon (Black Satin) - FootwearSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

All right, ladies — we are taking the next week off from regular posting. (We’ll return Monday, January 3, 2011.) Stay tuned for deal alerts and other good deals — and of course, check out the holiday open thread.

Happy holidays to all — may your 2011 be bright and cheery.

Pictured: One of my favorites from the year-end round-up was this “Swoon” shoe from Stuart Weitzman, which now also comes in a lovely lace. It strikes me as a great thing to wear to holiday parties and more. (It’s also still available in a number of colors in patent leather.) It’s $365 at Zappos.com. Stuart Weitzman – Laceswoon (Black Satin) – Footwear

Comments

  1. Jealous of Kat for getting next week off — I already have back to back calls scheduled all day Monday — FOOEY :) Happy holidays all!

  2. Anone says:

    I’m a little sad that I am not off next week, but since everyone else here is, I can at least get some work done in peace! Also, I am seriously thinking of smuggling my little dog into work one day next week. =)

    • michelle says:

      sounds like a great idea to me… it’s usually Death Valley in the office this week!

    • houda says:

      Ow how cute, I think no one would notice if it is a tiny (non-barking) dog.
      This is not even a christian country and everybody is getting off for christmas! I am expecting monday to be extremely lonely.

    • divaliscious11 says:

      I am covering the office so I’ll be in…hoping it will be quiet so I can catch up!

    • TennADA says:

      Used to take my little Boston Terrier-ish dog to the office with me. Once she “escaped” my office, and when I went to look for her, she was at the front door denying entry to a criminal defense attorney. No barking, no growling, no aggressive behavior – just standing in the door and refusing to move.

  3. Happy holidays, Corporettes! May everyone receive at least a little of the relaxation we all so greatly deserve! (Even if it’s just for one weekend before heading back to the office on Monday…)

  4. Divaliscious11 says:

    I’m not off either…but ALL except one of my clients is on vacation, so it should be a good catch up week for me!

    And I am super excited because I just got an AWESOME gift from one of my outside counsel!!! This firm is the best. So long as I am in-house, they have a client. They do wonderful work, the price is fair, and they top it off with a great gift!

    Okay, off to purchase Christmas dinner groceries!

  5. SF Bay Associate says:

    Kat,

    May I suggest an Open Thread auto-post at some point next week. The woman who runs J Crew Aficionada always has an auto-post when she goes on vacation so that the comment threads don’t get ridiculously long. We’re running over 200 comments each weekend, so I imagine a solid 10 days with only one open thread will probably become overwhelming by day 3 or 4.

    Thanks so much for all your hard work this year. Your blog really does add something positive to my life on a daily basis, thanks in no small part to the wonderful community you have attracted here (minus “Ellen/Alan” and a few other suspects).

    Have a wonderful vacation Kat!

    • that’s a great idea, SF Bay Associate… I’ll plan for it!

    • Thanks Kat and best wishes for a fab 2011!

      To all my Corporette friends, I wish each of you peace, joy and prosperity in oh eleven.

      hugs to all (except ellen/alan and related trolls :)),

      suze

      • fresh jd says:

        Suze, very long time no post! The commentary on this blog has changed a lot since you went away. Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year to you and yours!

        • Hey fresh jd! Miss ya – hope things are going well in the job (not that new anymore, right)?

          Yah, long time no post – I didn’t really go away, I’ve been lurking a little, but between being blocked at work and just crazy.busy (a GOOD problem – especially given that back in Aug, I thought I might be looking at the breadline – still worth a whine every now and then ;-)), I just kind of fell out of talking here. And I HAVE noticed a change in the commentary over the last few months – community expands, trolls jump in, lots more anons – I guess it’s all good, but I do kind of ‘miss’ the closer feel of the old days/known and predictable ‘commentariat’ …

          Hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday! Mine’s been really nice – saw True Grit w/hubs and went out for Chinese tonight – perfect end of 12/25. I hope you have a superfierce New Year’s Eve (or a quiet evening at home if that is more your taste). I’ll be at my neighborhood street party in sweats and sneakers, embarrassing to admit, not at all fierce, but comfy and legal and a good prelude to the Outback Bowl, which will be fun.

          Best wishes for a bang up start to oh eleven!!

          Hugs,

          Suze

          • JessC says:

            Outback Bowl, huh? Who you rooting for?

            For my part – GO GATORS!!!!

          • Well, house divided – Penn alums and UF alums. But me, GATORS!!

          • You’re back! Yummy House by any chance? If you haven’t been, I recommend it highly. Happy New Year! Hoping I won’t get the pink slip when I go back, so I know how that feels.

          • Hey MelD – thanks for the rec on Yummy House, I haven’t been, but it’s not far from my neighborhood – will try it. Have been looking for good Chinese here, thus far unsuccessful – Yummy House sounds like just the thing.

  6. skippy pea says:

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    I do have to work on Tuesday next week and prepare for it over the weekend. But not to bad.

    I now need to go and workout like a fiend because there are a ton of parties coming up starting Sunday! I am sure to pack on 5 pounds. :(
    FOOEY

  7. Headlights says:

    Sorry, threadjack already – I really need some help!

    This is slightly embarrassing so that’s why I don’t feel so comfortable asking anyone. My office has been freezing lately, to the point where I just constantly have headlights on top. Now, this isn’t so much of a problem when I’m sitting in my office, because I can wear a shawl or put my heater on. However, throughout my day, I do get up frequently and am in more public places if not in a coworker’s office as well. I can’t really walk around with an extra shawl or scarf as that would just be too bulky for me, since I am usually carrying other things and don’t want to trip. And I usually don’t like to wear scarves anyways. I would wear padded bras everyday except I am already large enough up there for my size that doing so really makes a difference in my clothing and I wouldn’t be able to wear half of my stuff. In the meantime, I’ve mostly been sticking to dark sweaters, but I have some really pretty light-colored ones that I’d love to wear.

    So- I need suggestions on something that I could insert into my regular bra that would not show through at all but would provide enough coverage. I don’t want anything that you could see the outline of..that would defeat the purpose. And it needs to be rather thin/small too, so that it won’t make a difference in how my clothing looks. Please, no suggestions on padded bras- I have a Chantelle one that is great, but that is not what I’m looking for right now.

    Can anyone help? TIA!

    • lawyerette says:

      I don’t understand your question exactly. Why can’t you wear more clothing (another sweater/cardigan/blazer) such that you’re actually not cold? It sounds like you’re content with walking around freezing all day.

      Your comment about not being able to wear half your clothing if you got a padded bra makes me think you’re wearing really really tight clothing. I’ve gone up almost two sizes recently and can still wear most of my tops (jackets are another issue) but sweaters and blouses (I don’t wear button downs) have a lot of “give” (and are meant to be slightly lose). I wear DDs and still mostly wear padded bras. They give much more shape and do help with the headlight issue (though they don’t exactly eliminate it in all circumstances either).

      There are some bras sold at onehanesplace.com that are thinly padded or not padded at all and have these “circles” where the nips are that are more padded. Those are pretty good but it sounds like your problem is that the office is so cold that this won’t really help that much. It might help too to wear a camisole underneath your sweaters.

      • Headlights says:

        Sorry, need to clarify before everyone thinks that the problem is that I wear clothes that are too tight! I am actually one of the most conservatively dressed in a very conservative office. I have actually received feedback along the lines that if a partner would need someone to come along with him the last minute to any client, he knows he could depend on me to be dressed appropriately at any time. I’m serious- my most “daring” skirt is one that hits at the bottom of my knee.

        None of my clothing is tight, but because of my shape (basically straight down, slightly smaller waist), I try to buy well fitted clothing…not skin tight, but clothing that won’t make me look shapeless, which is what can happen otherwise since I am a DD. If I size up, I’m swimming all over. I usually wear a minimizer bra and nothing gapes or anything. My clothing simply fits- not too big, not too small.

        In either case, I was slightly exaggerating when saying half my clothing wouldn’t fit if I wore a padded bra…I just mean that I wouldn’t like how it looks as much, since I don’t like looking any bigger up top since I really am rather petite (so it sort of throws me out of proportion).

        Please don’t turn this into anything snarky about tight clothing. I have no need to even defend myself here so I don’t know why I am doing so! I’m just asking for some help. I know that the size of my clothing is not a problem.

        I do layer frequently (always wear a cami, so I’m not including that as a layer), but the problem comes if I’m wearing a thick turtleneck, or something that just looks strange layered. I want to be able to wear that kind of stuff too, instead of having it just sit in my closet the whole winter. I know it’s weird that I show through even thicker sweaters, but I’m telling you, the office is really cold! I’ve asked if we could get more heat but they haven’t done anything yet and probably won’t.

    • You can purchase breast petals or nip concealers at any lingerie store. They shouldn’t show from beneath your bra. Did you really not know about these items?

      • Headlights says:

        Yes, of course I know about these! But the ones I’ve bought either haven’t worked at concealing or else have shown their shape through my clothes. I just wanted some suggestions as to which ones people liked.

        • Know what you mean! says:

          I can vouch that your clothes are not tight and that you are not “cold” in the “need to wear warmer things” sense. I have this problem seasonally and I live in a warm(er) climate – Texas.

          I don’t care for the little adhesive petals because of the adhesive, because they get expensive for daily use, and because if I am not very careful I get creases in them which show through my bra/sweater. Last winter I bought a pair of silicone covers at the Hanes/Leggs/Bali outlet store. They do adhere to my skin, are reusable, and mold well enough to my shape that they don’t in any way distort it. They are similar to what I found at dimrs.com when I googled “nipple covers.” Not at all uncomfortable and they haven’t irritated my skin.

          They practically changed my life – no more selfconsciousness.

    • Comfy Cups. I wear them with my minimizer bra. They are thinner than a padded bra, but because they have a larger circumference than those little nip petals, the edges don’t show under my clothes. They don’t add bulk, and they do the job. At least for me.

      http://www.dillards.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=301&langId=-1&storeId=301&productId=500799882&splashlink=header_lingerie&N=1603935&searchUrl=%2Fendeca%2FEndecaStartServlet%3Fsplashlink%3Dheader_lingerie%26N%3D1603935&R=01564513

    • I used to have the same problem. Bali makes bras with the petal things built right in, and those are the only bras I own now. They work perfectly. They come in several styles – be sure not to buy the ones with the sheer nylon straps, though – those cut in and are uncomfortable.

      • spacegeek says:

        YES. Bali petal bras are amazing!! I wear thin sweaters now with no problems. I used to be the top and jacket type all the time, but these bras changed my life!!

    • Eponine says:

      Can you keep a blazer at the office in a neutral color that will look fine even over a sweater and throw that on when you’re cold? I understand not wanting to wear a cardigan over a sweater, but a blazer should look fine.

      Barring that, when I used to go braless as a young lass, those round-shaped bandaids covered my nipples perfectly and didn’t hurt at all to take off.

      And I know you said you didn’t want advice on bras, but I wear a 34G and I have to wear a molded-cup bra (not necessarily padded, but with substantial, thick cups) to avoid this problem. They fit fine under my clothes so I think you should give it another try.

    • This is slightly crazy, but you may want to try nursing pads — the disposable pads that absorb milk when you are breast feeding. They are disposable and some are quite thin. They can give an extra layer of thin converage.

  8. i'm nobody says:

    i had these shoes in 1985.

    except they were pink flats.

  9. Rainee says:

    Can anyone recommend heels and boots for a wide forefoot but a regular heel? Most wide shoes slip right off my heels.

    • Try Franco Sarto. That is my foot shape and I love the stuff. I also like the price point — the quality is good but not so expensive that I can’t pick up a new shoe in a more current shape on a semi-regular basis.

    • I have the same problem. Most of my shoes are Mary Janes or t-strap heels. If it’s a regular pump, I stick little pads in the back of my shoes.

    • LawyrChk says:

      I have a similar problem and usually just squeeze my toes into medium width shoes. However, the cobbler I go to sells these heel inserts to prevent slippage that are fantastic at adding just the right amount of grip and width to the heel. They permanently adhere to the inside of shoe, so I’d try them on a cheap pair before risking them on a good pair. I think they’re around $3-5 per pair, don’t remember the brand.

  10. Happy Holidays to all!!

  11. Legally Brunette says:

    Kat,

    Your blog has been an enormous help to me over the last two years. I enjoy reading your recommendations (even if everything isn’t my style) and I love all of the great advice from the other commenters. I check your site so often at this point that it’s the first site I go to in the morning after my email! Thanks for all of your hard work and happy holidays. :)

    • This.

      As a recent law school grad, I have learned a tremendous amount from this blog (and the extremely helpful and compassionate commenters) over the past few years. I am so grateful for this community! Even when I disagree with an opinion, it’s helpful to know what other people are thinking and to hear different views. Thank you, Kat, for all you do, and thanks also to all of the lovely ladies who take the time to comment and help out every day! Happy holidays :)

    • Another Anon says:

      Thanks, Kat. This blog has been such a help.

      Thanks, Everyone, for your insight, guidance and help. You have no idea how much of a positive impact you’ve made.

      Best wishes in 2011!

    • Miriam says:

      Agreed! Thank you all for your helpful advice!

  12. My doctor gave me phentermine this morning. I didn’t even ask for it, I just said I haven’t been able to lose weight (and in fact gained recently) so she suggested diet pills. Anyone taken this? Results?

    • Unless there was more to the discussion than you’ve reported, I’d get another doc. No discussion of healthy diet? Your physical activity level? Side effects of phentermine?

      I know nothing about this drug, except that it was part of the fen-phen combo pulled off the market because of serious side-effects in the 90′s. As a general rule, when a problem is one that will be on-going (stress, weight control, cholesterol management) I think a better strategy is to find a way to deal with it that will be sustainable for the long haul.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a metabolic disorder and this was a miracle drug for me, but it has some unpleasant side effects. I hadn’t asked for it either but after gaining 50lbs in 2 years my endocrinologist prescribed it to help me lose the weight. You should check in with your doctor regularly while taking it because of the possibility of side effects, but my experience (lost 50lbs in 9 months) was great and so long as you’re under medical supervision you should be fine.

      • Thanks for the input. I also have metabolic problems (PCOS + hypothyroid) and have the diet/exercise under control for the most part, but I’m hungry all. the. time. hopefully this will work, I need to lose 40 lbs still.

        • Anonymous says:

          I also have PCOS and I think that the other posters responding to your question, while well intentioned, don’t really get it. So long as you’re under the care of an endocrinologist you trust, go ahead and try the phentermine.

          • Thank you! I love my internist (she does general internal medicine.) She spends a full hour with me at my yearly visit. She also expects monthly visits while I’m on the phentermine, or at least calls, so hopefully this will work. I took it today for the first time (something about starting new medicine on a holiday made me uncomfortable, lol) and so far I feel good.

        • Anonymous says:

          If you have PCOS, have you tried Spironolactone? I got on it last year and lost 35 lbs within about 8 months. It has an appetite-suppressing effect in many people and it also helps cut down on your androgens so you experience fewer PCOS side effects like unwanted hair growth and central weight gain.

          I am concerned your doctor gave you phentermine without discussing how you can address your PCOS with drugs commonly used to treat the condition…I understand the desire to lose weight (believe me, I do!) but the phentermine may not help you lose weight and keep it off unless you address the underlying condition causing the weight gain. Spirono, Metformin (which you also should be on, regardless of whether or not you are diabetic or pre-diabetic) and a low-carb diet are working for me, albeit not very rapidly, but it is working. You might want to think about seeking out an endocrinologist who knows about PCOS. Not trying to scare you, but PCOS causes heart disease that begins and worsens regardless of body weight – without something to address the underlying hormonal disorder, the excess androgens (and then resulting excess estrogen and low progesterone) can cause a lot of damage. Take the phentermine if you wish, but I wouldn’t do so without making an appointment with a doctor who really understands PCOS and can help you with that. Good luck.

          • Thanks for the info! My gyn is th best PCOS doctor in the state (he has many PCOS patients with successful pregnancies) but he said all of my hormones were fine. He said I should be ok at my weight (40 lbs overweight) because it’s better than most, but I’m not happy with it. My internist is aware of the PCOS, specifically asked about it when discussing the diet pills, did bloodwork and I trust her.

    • I agree that you should get a second opinion. I am surprised there was no conversation re: what you have tried so far. Have you tried strictly counting calories? And by that I mean, measuring or weighing everything out and keeping track of every single calorie you eat and every calorie you exercise off. There are apps that can help you with this (LoseIt if you have an iphone; and I have heard that spark people is good too), and a number of websites will tell you how many calories are in just about every food you can think of. If you haven’t already tried calorie counting, I would try that before you take a drug that could have serious side effects.

    • Please, please be careful with this. I have not taken it myself (never needed), but my father was on Phen-Fen when I was in high school. It caused SERIOUS mood disorders. Like he went from normal to CRAZY all the time. Anger, yelling, irrational. He would literally fly off the handle if I did something completely normal. I can still remember some extremely odd episodes. He did lose weight, but gained most of it when he went off phen-fen. He also returned to being a normal person when he went off it, and apologized after.

      I realize that you are only on one “phen”, not both…but please do some research.

      This sounds a lot to me like some friends who have been given antidepressants like candy from their doctors. I am not anti-meds–I take a ton of asthma drugs every day–but phentermine is serious stuff.

      I really encourage you to look at other ways to lose weight–more exercise, serious portion control and “banning” trigger foods from your diet. There has got to be another way.

      • I took phen-fen for over a year. Lost 30 pounds and kept it off so long as I took the meds, but gained it back every time I tried to stop taking them. They caused all kinds of problems, foggy thinking, hands shaking, dizziness. Half the women in my officer were taking them, we coined the term “phen-fen moments” to describe our continual inability to articulate coherent sentences. I’m grateful I did not end up with the serious medical issues so many faced, but I’ve sworn off any kind of diet pills. Things like that might help you lose at first, but too often people just gain it right back. And the side effects can be fatal.

    • Putting the part about your PCOS in the original post would have helped and provided a lot of context. People gave you very thoughtful responses on the basis of a post saying you went in with the complaint that you’re trying to lose weight and the doctor without knowing much else prescribed this for you. (Reminded me at least of the post where a woman with serious gyn symptoms went to her doctor and without much discussion suggested anti-anxiety meds.)

      Anyway, glad you got comfortable with this and I hope it works for you!

  13. LawyrChk says:

    Ladies, how do you spend (or save) your bonuses? Just got my first bonus at a firm where bonuses are not a given. The amount isn’t huge, but a it’s big enough amount of money that I feel like I should be doing something responsible with it. However, the thought of putting it all toward my student loan debt kind of makes me want to cry.
    Do you take a nice vacation? savings? shoes? gifts for others? invest? pay down debt?

    • buy one really nice, lasting classic thing, e.g., a great leather bag or a classic trench coat. Then pay the rest to your student loans. Do it right away before you are tempted to spend it. You will be so happy to have reduced your loans to a point where you can potentially pursue more interesting/lower paying opportunities when they arise. And, every time you use the one classic thing, you’ll remember getting your first bonus.

      • Congrats!

        Second–I just got a referral bonus of 15K (pretax) for bringing a friend to my firm, and I bought one nice thing and then sent a check to completely pay down one of my three private loans. It felt SO GOOD. I promise when you’ve gotten those stupid loan statements enough and you don’t see movement…you’ll want to get rid of them asap.

        Otherwise, I recommend sticking it into a Roth IRA or IRA (up to the limit), or using it to pay conversion taxes if you are thinking of coverting this year.

    • Suze Orman (and other experts) would say to add it to your six-month emergency fund, unless it’s fully funded. The six-month figure would be six months’ worth of living expenses post-tax (that is, you’ve already paid taxes on it so it would be a net amount).

      If it’s not fully funded, do that. But maybe a small splurge (e.g. bag) would be a nice compromise.

      If it’s fully funded, pay down expensive debt first (which may or may not be your student loan debt). Or perhaps open a Roth IRA or put it aside for a trip or a house downpayment.

      Congrats!

    • houda says:

      I have received my bonus 2 days ago. It is not huge, but definitely a breeze for my finances. I first kept it on my regular account just to be able to stare at the number: it has been so long that my account didn’t have such a number. Then I just transferred the bonus amount to my tiny/almost non-existing savings account and I labeled it “Car Savings”. That represents 25% of what I need to save to buy a (very) used car.
      I am hapy with my decision and as I expect small paybacks on expenses, I will move everything to car savings.
      Also, I am done paying some debt (for gym membership and school tuition) so with my regular paycheck I will splurge on some knicknacks (sp.?) for my empty apartment and 4 or 5 items of clothing slightly on sale (in this part of the world sales will not exceed 20% off inflated retail prices).

      This way I feel I did something wise (saving for my first car) and something fun (furnishing my apartment and bying clothes).

      Whatever you do with your bonus, never feel guilty ! you worked hard for it, you earned it, so enjoy it !

      Happy holidays

    • michelle says:

      If you have credit card debt, pay that off. Then, I suggest buying a nice treat for yourself (nice watch? Classic tote? Vacation? One year I bought an Oriental carpet for my living room) and then either invest the rest or pay down loans, depending on your debt load. I agree with the overall advice – get some treat that will last, and be sensible with the rest. And congratulations!

    • divaliscious11 says:

      Split it 3 ways – 50% to savings, 25% to something responsible (student loans, debt, kid tuition these days…) and 25% for ME, since I am the one who busted my butt to earn it!

      I also have a percentage go to my 401K since can’t max out on an even percentage with my base pay deductions, so the above is after taxes and after 401K….

    • I would take some small but meaningful amount (definitely 10% or less) and buy something or do something nice for myself. (I’m planning on taking my boyfriend to Sunday brunch at the Waldorf when my bonus hits – that’ll be about $200, less than 1% of my bonus but still something I’d consider an extravagance.) Then I’d do whatever is most financially responsible with the rest (e.g., pay down loans or other debt, establish or build emergency fund, retirement savings – or some combination). I’ll personally be saving/investing the rest.

      • Hel-lo says:

        I wish I made a bonus like yours. That’s awesome. Congratulations.

        As an older woman in my religious community told me, “You should be proud of yourself!” :)

  14. New Mom says:

    I need some advice from moms who have pumped after going back to work. I’m heading back soon after a 3 month maternity leave. My first day back I need to take a trip for 3 days and 2 nights on the other side of the country. I have been pumping and freezing milk for the trip, but am looking for some tips as to how best to travel and keep up with the nursing. I have the Medela Freestyle pump. Does anyone have any tips as to how to save milk while I’m traveling and bring it back with me? Is there any storage system I could get to transport that much milk back? I think my hotel will have a mini-fridge, but I will be away from the hotel at meetings during the days. I am thinking that I can pump in the bathroom while at the meetings and keep the milk in a cooler and put it in the fridge when I get back to the hotel in the evenings. I would love to be able to save as much as possible and bring it back, but am not sure of the best way to transport it back. Maybe this is completely unfounded, but I’d rather it not go through the x-ray at the airport. Any tips on pumping while traveling and keeping the milk would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    • I pumped for 1 yr while traveling about once a month for work. It was definitely challenging, but doable.

      Day-to-day, I carried around the small cooler that comes with the Medela for transport of milk. Whenever possible, I stashed the milk in fridges. When at hotels, restaurants, offices, you can just ask to store the entire cooler with milk inside. I would freeze in milk storage bags the milk at the end of the day.

      For smallish amounts of milk (e.g., 8-10 “tubes), I would bring as carry-on. You are allowed to bring breast milk through security. Unfortunately I had to dump the ice packet for cooling the milk. I would ask for ice post security and then ask the flight attendant to store for you in flight.

      For larger amounts, I’ve heard that people would ship it packed with dry ice. I never bothered with this, but just dumped the excess. I still pumped however to keep supply up.

      I had the hardest time finding where to pump at airports. If you have a layover this is unavoidable. Most airport personnel I dealt with were not helpful, e.g., directed me to a women’s bathroom which is not ideal especially if you need a plug. The pump makes a lot of noise and I found I needed some space to set up. I found that the best thing was to ask for a “family bathroom” or handicap bathroom that only has 1-occupant, this setup gives a bit more privacy and time to pump.

      You will likely needed to dump some of the milk since there is no good place to store it. So it is good you have some stores available.

      Good luck!

    • One resource I found very helpful for these kind of questions is the La Leche League Website and boards. They are very (VERY) pro-breastfeeding (some bleed over in to militant, IMO) but have millions of suggestions and tips for these kind of issues. They too are a supportive community, and I find a lot of inspiration while I was pumping up to 4 times a night when I was working nights as a surgery chief resident. Pumping is not fun, but they really were a useful resource.

    • I don’t have any first hand experience, but was outraged by this video/story of what a breast-feeding mother went through during airport screening, which seemed to be retaliation for a previous complaint she had made about the TSA screeners, who were not knoweldgeable regarding TSA’s own policies re: breast milk. Hopefully, things have changed, and TSA agents are now better trained.

      http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2010/12/tsa_breast_milk_incident

    • Seventh Sister says:

      You can buy a little battery pack for the older Medela model so you don’t need a plug (though the pack is not as powerful as plugging it in). I found a lot of parts on Amazon.

      One thing I did was carry a printout of the TSA rules about breastmilk when I flew – I was never challenged, but it was nice to have just in case.

    • I am just finishing up with this very thing. I never had any trouble with TSA and flew almost every other week for about 4 months. I found that there was no “routine” response when it came to the pump and the milk. I used the Medela cooler packs that fit the bottles and never had any problems with them not being cold for long periods of time. They will make you send the cooler through the X-ray machine and I always told them it was breastmilk. They will call a supervisor to check the milk for explosives. They usually just opened the lid and swabbed it with a cotton pad and then tested the pad. They never tried to actually touch the milk (which I was always worried about). Some would test every bottle and some only checked the one bottle. Overall, it was a great experience – the men were usually a little freaked out so they wanted it over as quick as possible. As far as the pump, some screeners would test it the same way for bombs

      Be sure and call the hotel and request a fridge in your room. I found that hotels that advertise fridges only have a limited amount.

      I second the battery pack for the pump. Just be prepared that it takes a ton of batteries and they need to be replaced after about 10 uses. In airports, I just pumped in the handicap stall. The bathrooms are so noisy anyway, it is really not that noticeable and other women usually feel sorry that you have to pump in the yucky bathroom. I usually hung my pump bag on the coat hook and set everything else in the floor on the seat covers.

      As far as transporting, if I was going to be gone long, the easiest thing was the freezer bags. They take up less room and I just double bagged them in a ziploc bag. It is just a pain if you have someone that wants to test every bag.

      Good luck! It gets to be a hassle but it ends quick enough. My son is only nursing morning and nights now!

  15. Anon for this says:

    The breastfeeding threadjack above prompted me to put this question out there: have any of you corporetttes dealt with not being able to get pregnant yet being surrounded by pregnant women at work? How do you deal with the multitude of baby showers?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. I just keep reminding myself that happiness is not a zero sum game, and that things happen in their own time. But it’s rough.

    • Yes, for 7 years before it finally worked out for us. Don’t pressure yourself. Go to the showers if you feel up to it; don’t go if you don’t. And don’t feel guilty about it. Find some nice, generic gift that you can give without thinking about it. (Baby Gap has nice gift sets you can order online, so you can just send them to whomever without having to go shopping).

      • Good advice! My other advice is to be kind to yourself and develop a support network of people who understand what you’re going through.

      • Anon for this says:

        I like the idea of sending a gift. I treasure my friends with children but sitting at a baby shower while people uh and ah over onesies is unbearable. Going through this has made me realize that asking people when they’re going to have kids is very rude and that boasting about how easy it was to get pregnant can be unintentionally hurtful.

        • FTD.com also has some cute baby baskets. Somewhat pricey, but I sent one to a friend on the other side of the country.

        • And the last thing you want to do when going through fertility problems is go to Babies R Us or babyGap or something. That’s why I suggest having some nice, generic gift you can send without having to cause yourself pain by going to the store. Honestly, it sucks what you are going through. It completely and utterly sucks. And people will tell you how you should feel and how you should act and how much better they would handle it. However you feel is okay. Whatever you need to do to deal with it is okay. There were days I could totally enjoy a baby shower, and there were days I’d be crying in the bathroom in the middle. There’s no reason to put yourself through that.

    • Anon for this says:

      I’m a semi-regular poster, but I didn’t want this under my username for various reasons…

      I was told at 18 that it’s almost impossible for me to have children. Back then, I didn’t mind so much. Now that colleagues and friends are reproducing in large numbers, it’s really difficult. Some of my good friends know, and are at least polite/thoughtful enough not to nag, or use the “you’ll understand when you have children” line; at other times, I really have to grit my teeth.

      With work baby showers, I usually use them as an excuse to bake something extravagant, go, and leave about the time people start on unbearable conversation topics. With friends, it’s harder – it still hurts, but I want to keep my friends, which includes seeing them with children later, babysitting as necessary, and generally not being the obnoxious anti-child one. Sometimes I just can’t though – nice people usually understand, and I’ll confess to having had a convenient flair-up of a chronic medical condition at opportune moments once or twice.

      Best of luck to all those dealing with this.

      • Anonymous says:

        Can I ask why you haven’t considered adoption (or if you did consider it, why you didn’t take that route)? I’m also unable to have children, and I’m not quite old enough to have tons of friends with kids plus I’m still single, but I always kind of assumed I’d adopt kids if I get married. Of course I won’t be offended if you don’t feel like explaining your life decisions to an anonymous internet poster.

        • Anon for this says:

          Am happy to answer – the anonymity probably helps!

          On a practical level, I’m single at the moment, so the adoption topic is off the table right now anyway.

          I have to say though, across various relationships and friendships, I’ve found the attitude to adoption much more ambivalent than I expected…so many people seem to consider it a last resort and assume heavy-duty medical reproductive intervention is vastly preferable, whereas I have never wanted to go through that, and would be happier dealing with the complications of parenting a non-biological child. Such a persistent disconnect is off-putting, to say the least.

          Secondly, the medical condition that makes having biological children unlikely also makes me wonder if having children at all is a good idea – my physical limitations aren’t much of a problem on a daily level, but the thought of adding a child to the mix is really scary, and I wonder if it would be fair.

          Finally, I’m not in the US, and in the countries I spend most of my time, the adoption process is so complicated I’m not sure I’d even be approved (see health issues, above, plus my ethnic background is a little unusual, which matters in some circumstances/countries).

          I may just be scared, though!

          If I may ask a question in return, though? Has the no-biological-children issue been a problem for relationships? It didn’t matter for me at 20, but ten years on, potential partners start asking sooner, and things have occasionally been both awkward and unpleasant. (Same proviso as in your post – no worries if you don’t want to explain this online!)

          • Anon for this says:

            Just adding that I’m a different “anon for this” than the other one posting on this thread. Seems it’s the sort of topic that inspires alternative handles, alas. (I really wish people talked about these things more, and I include myself in that. Particularly stories without the “happy end”.)

          • Anonymous says:

            Same anonymous from 12:48 here – I’ve actually never been in a relationship serious enough that it came up. I’m in my late 20s, and just starting to really feel the desire to get married and be a parent. I have always suspected it could go badly, though, so I never brought it up with a boyfriend. If things got serious enough with someone that I thought I might marry the guy, then I guess I’d bring it up, but probably not before that.

          • Anonymous says:

            “I have to say though, across various relationships and friendships, I’ve found the attitude to adoption much more ambivalent than I expected…so many people seem to consider it a last resort and assume heavy-duty medical reproductive intervention is vastly preferable, whereas I have never wanted to go through that, and would be happier dealing with the complications of parenting a non-biological child. Such a persistent disconnect is off-putting, to say the least.”

            This does happen and it’s awful…my own mother told me, when we were in fertility treatment but seriously considering adoption, that she would never think of an adopted child the way she would think about her own, biological grandchild. (Thanks Mom.) I have a few friends who have adopted, and it is viewed by many people in their lives as the “port of last resort” and people still talk regretfully about “still, it’s a shame so-and-so wasn’t able to have her OWN children” as if the adopted child belongs to someone else.

            I think that there are plenty of people out there who either don’t want children, are ambivalent about having children and are willing to go without, or would be willing to adopt rather than have biological children. One man I know has said he does not want biological children because there is a strong family history of schizophrenia and other psychiatric problems (close relatives on both sides), and he doesn’t feel it would be fair to potentially pass on a gene that would lead a person to have a severely compromised life. I know a woman who decided the same thing after she found out she had BRCA-1, before she had kids – she ended up adopting. We also have friends who adopted without ever even trying to to have biological children – they just did not care about having biological children at all, and chose to adopt a sibling group of four (!) and are super-happy. I think it’s just going to be a matter of finding the right person, and bringing up the issue early enough in the relationship that there can be a full discussion, or someone can bail if they want to. FWIW – the people I know who have adopted have zero regrets about their choice and are some of the happiest families I know. Everyone has to choose their own path, but I think it is totally possible for you, Anonymous at 8:06, to find a partner who wants what you want. Good luck.

    • Anonymous says:

      BTDT. I went through a year of fertility treatment and it seemed like that year, everyone I know except me got pregnant.

      It is totally OK to beg off the baby showers on days when you don’t feel like you can handle it. What I did was bought a whole bunch of baby-themed Target gift cards in denominations of $25 to $100 and a box of pretty non-baby-related blank greeting cards. Then when the showers came up, I would stick a gift card in a greeting card, fill in an appropriate message expressing congratulations and regret that I had a “schedule conflict” and couldn’t attend, and then either mail it, or give it to the person at work coordinating the shower. If it was a work shower, I would arrange to have a “doctor’s appointment” or “offsite meeting” when the shower was being held. If it was non-work-related I would have a “business trip” or “weekend working.”

      I know that most of us have a “buck up and soldier on” attitude most of the time, but if you are trying to get pregnant and it isn’t going well, you need to be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission to opt out of things that are going to drive you to the brink of meltdown. I had a good friend whose baby shower fell the day after a failed cycle for me. There was no way I was going to be able to go to the shower, sit there and smile and ooh and aah over baby gifts, and not lose it. So I called her, convincingly faked laryngitis, mailed her the card, and stayed home watching bad movies. Do I regret missing her baby shower? Sure. But I think I would have regretted it more had I gone, collapsed into tears in the middle of it, and had to have coped with the “oh, you poor barren soul” pity I would have been subjected to.

      This is a hard thing and it is nothing anyone can prepare you for. There is no “don’t be selfish” or “you should just get over it” or “act happy and eventually you’ll feel happy” that will allow you to cope with it any better. That Sex and the City episode where Charlotte has a miscarriage and then is still able to put on her Holly Golightly dress and go to the baby’s birthday party is great fiction but very unrealistic. And unfair. People who have not gone through infertility have no idea how hard it is and how bad it feels, and you are not obligated to explain your decisions to them.

      I have a son now and he was worth every minute of what we had to go through to get him, and more. But those two years we tried without success to get pregnant were without question, the worst of my life. I am not going to say “it will happen for you!” because I don’t know that. The best piece of advice I can give you is one that was given to me at the time: “When you’re going through hell, keep going.” Big hugs to you.

      • Anon for this says:

        This!

        I couldn’t have said it better myself (except that it took 3 yrs for us). And try to find a support network either IRL or online. There are a lot of people who understand what you’re going through and want to support you through it.

      • Anonymous says:

        i recently read an article about how infertility is common but rarely spoken about.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s a big secret many people carry, but few want to talk about. There’s still a perception, that’s been around forever, that if you can’t conceive, you have something wrong with you or you and your partner are incompatible in some way. There’s also a vocal minority out there that fertility treatment is “immoral” or that it’s allowing “inferior genetic specimens” to reproduce. I heard both opinions when I was in fertility treatment, expressed to me because the person speaking didn’t know I was in treatment. After that I decided it would be best if I kept what I was going through to myself. I still don’t understand the attitude that infertility is something “wrong” with you, but if you try to get medical treatment to “fix” it, you’re “immoral” or “countering natural selection.” But whatever.

          I have seen that more and more people are starting to talk about infertility and pregnancy loss openly. I really admire Celine Dion for talking about what she had to go through to become pregnant; many celebrities undergo fertility treatment and deny it, which I understand is their right, but I don’t think it helps the larger perception. Lisa Ling recently talked about her miscarriage in the press and I think that started a good conversation. And I also hope this is a safe space for women to talk about their struggles, because there are many of us here who have gone through it and come out the other side, changed for sure, but happy with whatever choice we made in the end.

      • This is what I was trying to say above, just so much more eloquent. The hardest thing about seeing other people go through this is you can’t say, “It’s all going to work out for you.” Because we don’t know. Eventually, it did work out for me (twins after 7 years), but it took a long time and a lot of disappointment. That doesn’t all erase in an instant when you have a child. So just be as kind as you can to yourself and to your relationship.

    • I have nothing concrete to offer, but HUGS to you dear poster.
      I was there and know that it’s hard. Just go easy on yourself, indulge yourself a little bit and spend some relaxing, quality time with your SO. Do whatever makes you feel less stressed/worried/upset and distract yourself if you need to.

  16. Happy Holidays to all!

    Thanks Kat for all you do. Enjoy the time off the site.

  17. Yasmin says:

    Threadjack! :)

    I recently got the job as GC of a mid-size corporation, and was allowed to hire a part-time law student to assist. This will be the first time that I am actually “managing” anyone.

    The woman that I hired – who will start Jan. 3rd – is super smart and highly motivated, and I want her to stay for as long as possible (there is the possibility that I could eventually move her to a full-time position).

    I want to do my best to encourage her in her professional goals, but also connect on a more personal level.

    Any tips from the more senior people out there?

    Happy Holidays everyone!!!

    • Yasmin says:

      PS – My thanks as well to Kat and the women who post here, I love this site!!

    • That sounds like a great position to be in! Since she is already super smart and motivated, I would guess that you should pretty much be able to expect her to be professional and get the job done with minimal “managing” (at least, I would hope so). In that case, and since you are only over one person, I would recommend that you simply be her friend. Take her out to lunch, get to know her goals, make recommendations for people who she can speak with who are experienced in jobs that she’s interested in, let her know that you’re able to answer any questions for her. If you’re friendly and open and show an interest, the rest will follow.

      Of course, there’s always a danger in getting too friendly with an underling, but you can watch and make sure that she keeps up with her work, and pull back if she isn’t. Also, give her lots of feedback- good and bad, to help her develope. Good luck!

    • I am a 3L, and I thought I would give you advice from that perspective. I have been quite fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with my boss. He has been more of a mentor than I ever could have asked for, or expected out of a supervisor. One of the things that I find most helpful about our working relationship is that I am comfortable to ask questions on ANY legal topic, not just something I am directly working on at that moment. Fostering the type of relationship where your law student can ask you about common court schedules to intricate parts of the law, without feeling like she should already know the answer will result in a closer personal relationship.

      One of the things that I have appreciated and valued is 1) guidance when I need it, but 2) being given the opportunity to try it myself without someone hovering. If you give her tasks that are “above her level” or that her peers don’t have the opportunity to do will make her appreciate you, and the job. I love that part of my work. Treat her as if her opinion matters to you, and she will respect you for that.

      Again, this is all from the perspective of someone who was lucky enough to get assigned to a partner who has taken the time to show me the ropes. I’ve been with that firm for 8 months, and I truly wish I never had to leave.

    • divaliscious11 says:

      First Congrats on the GC position.

      As for managing tips:

      Lay out your expectations right up front, but be reasonable for where she is right now. she is a law student so she wax eloquent about the theory, but she is likely woefully deficient in practical knowledge. She also won’t know what the business expectations/objectives are, so you need to groom her for issue spotting for business risks, not necessarily for law school exams. Try to meet with her regularly, and give her lots of feedback early. Finally regardless of what she does, you own the work product to the company so be constructive, but don’t be afraid to be firm

    • I agree with being a friend. I’ve been on both sides of this, and I think the most useful is taking someone to lunch and getting to know them personally. If they have a particularly tough personal story, for instance, then that might be something that’s important for you to know as a boss and as a friend.

      The other ladies are right about assigning work that is a little above her abilities, or the abilities of her peers. And when it’s tough for her, tell her that you’ve been there, and she’s doing fine.

      I had a younger associate come into my office to cry recently. It was the type of situation where she didn’t cry in front of the person that treated her in the awful manner, but needed to let it out later. I liked being the kind of senior person that she can trust enough to confide in. (And I confided in her that I had done the same thing recently.)

  18. ST - engr says:

    Threadjack: I need to find a new perfume. I currently use Philosophy Pure Grace and it is the only fragrance that I have ever used that I truly love. I have been using it exclusively for quite some time an am ready for a change. I like light, clean scents.

    Heavy perfumes give me headaches and nausea. Many perfumes turn sour on my skin. Lovely floral scents can turn to almost vinegar after a few hours on me. Any suggestions?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hermes Jardin line. Especially the Mediterranean one. Lovely, light, clean scents.

    • Try Bond No. 9 Scent of Peace. It sounds right up your alley, and is very light, non-headache inducing. They sell it at Saks & at Bond stores. They also make a ton of other amazing scents (Astor Place is really lovely).
      I love the Hermes Jardin line, but I would say those are a little stronger than what you may like…

    • I am really excited to see the responses- I am in exactly the same situation, and frustrated that the market for subtle, clean scents is not larger. The only perfumes I’ve found with a similar degree of subtlety are CB I Hate Perfume, but they fade quickly on my skin. That said, if you are in the NYC area you may want to check out his boutique in Brooklyn.

    • TennADA says:

      I’d recommend that you find a Jo Malone counter and sniff and sample. I used to wear fairly complex/spicy orientals, but my tastes have changed greatly and Jo Malone has a great selection. I like to use the soap and/or lotion to layer, with the same scent or others. The Jo Malone web site has a fragrance layering chart – many of the scents are made to be worn alone or layered with another.

  19. A Christmas toast:

    Here’s to all Corporetters out there, near and far. If, like me, you have spent the last month or so doing one, any or all of the following things:

    - Baking Christmas cookies, cupcakes etc. for the office, school, preschool, husband/partner’s office, etc.
    - Planning, buying, and planning to prepare the elaborate Christmas Eve/Christmas Day meal so that everyone attending will have exactly the food they want, prepared exactly the way they want it
    - Delving through pages and pages of information to close out end-of-the-year financials
    - Responding to outrageous and burdensome last-minute requests from clients, bosses, etc. who are trying to close out their end-of-year financials, and who could have asked you for this information a month ago, and not at 3 p.m. on Dec. 23
    - Participating in Secret Santa games where you inevitably get the one person in the office you can’t stand, and then have to buy gifts for that person that won’t make you look like a cheap, petty b*tch
    - Trying in vain to get your employees to stop watching the JibJab end-of-the-year political satire cartoon and do some work – any work – for five minutes
    - Trying to get your boss to stop watching the JibJab end-of-the-year political satire cartoon and sign off on those critical documents Accounting MUST have before Dec. 24
    - Getting the signed documents to Accounting at 9 a.m. on Dec. 23 to be greeted with the news “oh, they’ve all gone home already – sorry”
    - Buying Christmas presents for assistants, accountants, bosses, subordinates, myriad relatives and friends
    - Buying Christmas presents for teachers, babysitters, nannies, after-school-care coordinators, your husband/partner’s assistant/boss/accountant or his/her subordinates, your husband/partner’s mother, father, siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc. – and let’s not forget your housekeeper, hairdresser, mailman, dog-walker, office cleaning person, and every other person who seems to expect a gift this time of year
    - Sitting through Christmas plays, rehearsals of Christmas plays, snacktimes in the middle of Christmas play rehearsals, and after-play Christmas parties
    - Sitting through your own or your spouse/partner’s endless and endlessly boring Christmas parties
    - Attending professional organization/networking group holiday “mixers” where people wearing holiday sweaters and/or reindeer ears hit you up for jobs
    - Buying and putting up Christmas trees, Christmas lights, Nativity scenes, Christmas yard displays, pine/holly wreaths, etc. etc. etc.
    - Listening to your neighbors complain about your Christmas yard display and/or ask you if you couldn’t just put up “a few more strings of lights so it looks like everyone on the block made an equal effort”
    - Planning for everyone you know (except yourself) to have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and reconciled close of the year

    Then look at it this way – at least it’s all over!! If no one else in your life says it to you, let me say it: thanks for all you do. You are a rock star! Without you many people would be having a much-less-merry Christmas this year.

    So tonight, when the house is quiet and not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse – sit down, pour yourself a glass of something strong, and raise it to yourself. You did a great job, and it’s over now.

    Maybe next year they’ll be a Christmas Corporette retreat we can all go to. In Hawaii.

    :)

    • Ha! Love it :)

    • Eponine says:

      Merry Christmas!

    • anon xmas says:

      Ann, this is priceless! Thank you. I could go on and on about my trials but let’s just say DH’s biopsy was not benign and we’re looking at a potential big “C” diagnosis next week. I will toast Corporette tonight when only the lights of the tree are sparkling.

      • So sorry to hear about your DH. I know how hard it can be to go through a loved one’s medical scares, and I hope everything turns out for the best. And if not, we will be here to support you! Love from your corporette friends

      • Anonnon says:

        Oh, so sorry to hear that! *hug.* My DH is starting therapy in Jan for big C, not a mortality issue, but definitely a life gamechanger….and it is kinda scary.

        Have a little hopeful toast tonight with your lights and know that your Corporette friends are thinking about and here for you!

    • Ann – You’ve done way more than me. I’m single with no kids, and ate a whole lot more cookies than I baked.

      May have worn some antlers, but not when hitting anyone up for a job.

      Hats off to you, lady. I’m raising my nog + kahlua in your direction as I type.

      :)

    • divaliscious11 says:

      Cheers!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha! This year I said “no” and went on vacation with my husband and kid! Best Christmas ever!

    • Ann, I love you!! I just poured myself that glass, sitting amid the wreckage of post Christmas (the food, the paper, the inadequate lights, the garbage, the gifts that have to be returned, the tree, the ornaments, OMG), looking at all the emails that came in after 1 pm on 12/23 (well, I looked at them then too, but since that was the very one day that I took to bake and shop with all three kids for the whole entire fam, and get everything ready for Christmas Eve party, Santa and all the rest of it, I just ignored the ‘need it now’ red exclam points – really? you need it TODAY, when you’ve known for at least the last three months that this was a problem? Sorry….)

      We who have survived 2010 are all rock stars! What a year – after 08 and 09….and, yes, I agree with the Christmas Corporette retreat! We don’t even have to go to Hawaii, we can just go somewhere that there is no cell service – Montserrat?

      Merry to all who do Merry, and Happy 2011 to everyone!!

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