Tuesday’s TPS Report: Button Down Dress with Belt

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

Alice + Olivia Button Down Dress with BeltI’m intrigued by this colorful button-down dress with a belt. I think the belt is the key to making it look good (see, e.g., the Saks video, where the whole dress looks much more schlumpy when styled with a skinny belt and wedges). For work I’d wear it with a wide belt — white if I had it, but brown or black if not — and classic pumps, with a shrunken blazer, perhaps with the dress’s collar popped up a bit on top. In cooler weather I’d wear a white cardigan on top of the dress, belted with the same wide belt. The dress was $396 but is now $237 at Alice + Olivia, or $277 at Saks. Button Down Dress with Belt


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(L-2)

Comments

  1. Leggy, I guess :

    Cute dress, but not for work.

    I have a career change problem/question. My husband is being recruited by a company in France and it looks like he might be offered what would be a fantastic job for him. I have agreed to think about moving– even though I have a great job here already– if I can find a job that is just as exciting for me over there.

    Problem is, I don’t even know where to start looking. Has anyone had to do this before? What kinds of resources would I look for? Are there headhunters that would help with this sort of thing? I am an attorney, specialized in international tax , still fairly junior. I would be willing to look at either a firm or in-house, maybe preferring in-house. The firm I am with now does not have an office there, unfortunately. We do have clients in the area, but I don’t know how to contact them without letting my current firm know I might be moving.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi; Congrats for your husband’s job.
      Just wanted to let you know that in France, workers’ unions (unions syndicales) are very influential. You need to be able to brand yourself such that your work is unique or your qualities are rare enough to justify employing an expat/foreigner instead of a French.

      • I don’t know why my post showed up as anonymous…

      • Single-Bilingual :

        I work in France. It is relatively easy to get a work permit as an attorney (probably due to the fact that we are much better paid than most other job applicants seeking permits, and there is a simplified procedure for obtaining a permit if your yearly income is above Euro 50,000).

        There is a fair number of international law firms in Paris, many of which have tax practices. As noted by someone already, Big 4/similar companies should also be a good bet. Law firms in France do pay less than NY/DC BigLaw.

        I would suggest talking to a recruiter, e.g. http://www.ssq.com/ssqInternational/france/default.asp
        I am sure there are other recruitment firms on the French market as well.

        Good luck!

      • Leggy, I guess :

        Is this true even for white collar/”cadre” level positions? Is it true in firms?

        • Single-Bilingual :

          You are considered “cadre” if you own more than a certain amount per year. You will most probably meet this threshold as a lawyer. You will need a work permit, but law firms usually hire somebody to handle the process of obtaining one for you. It takes a couple of months, though.

    • There are a lot of American law firms (and other international law firms) with offices in major cities in France. An international tax attorney would likely be able to secure a position at one. You should begin by consulting an international legal recruiting firm and explaining your situation. A headhunter will definitely be able to help you find a job there.

    • No advice…just want to say I’m jealous!

      • Agreed. My brother is going to Paris for business for 3 weeks starting on Monday. His wife is going for a looonnng Memorial Day weekend. And I’m so jealous I can’t stand it. The food, the wine, the shopping, the cheeses, the art, the wine….

    • Welcome to Europe! :

      I’m in Germany but I can say that – while you won’t make as much money – the lifestyle here (and in France from what I hear) is great. I am in-house and looove it.

      For jobs, thelawyer.com has pretty decent European listings and you might be able to find something there.

      Also I would totally use any personal connections you might have with clients, I am sure they would understand the need for secrecy. If you wait until it is sure that you are going, though, you may be able to do it more officially…there is nothing a law firm loves more than having someone with a strong connection to the firm move in-house – it is a pretty strong guarantee for continued business. I know of people who have had their firms make contact on their behalf in similar situations.

  2. Apologies for the threadjack, but do people have opinions on Hobo International bags? looking to buy one that has been heavily reduced in price and seems a good deal but interested to hear about quality. How do they compare say with Coach’s leather bags?

    • I have a Hobo International clutch wallet. I love it. The leather is soft and looks good. It has also held up beautifully (I’ve had it for about a year). I’d definitely go for it over Coach.

    • Threadjack on the Hobo International threadjack. What do people think about an olive green purse for spring/summer? I’m not the kind of person who changes out purses much – I tend to carry one purse for a year or two until it starts to look shabby. Generally I go for black, brown, or burgundy. Right now I’m using a burgundy one that, I suddenly realized yesterday, does not work with my spring clothes at all. Is olive neutral enough that it can work with anything? Does it look too fall?

      • I think it depends on the olive and on what you generally wear, tone and color wise, but I think olive could certainly work year round, inc. summer.

      • I recently came to the same realization about my burgandy purse. I was thinking of green, too, but more of a kelly green (I would retire it in the fall until next spring, probably). For me, olive looks fall-ish, unless you tend to wear a lot of khaki “safari” colors–then, I think it would look fantastic.

        • I wouldn’t think you would have to retire a Kelly green bag in the fall. Personally I kind of like carrying bright purses year-round – in the winter in particular, they brighten up otherwise dark outfits. And that shade of green isn’t overly “summer” IMO.

      • Honey Bear :

        When you say “olive green” to me that sounds like a darker green, and if so, then I would think fall. Maybe you could get a purse that is a lighter green color so it looks more spring-y.

        I, too, regularly carry a burgandy wine colored marc jacobs that I need to retire for the spring!

      • Thanks for the advice, everyone. I generally wear more muted colors – not really a kelly green kind of person. Gave some thought to my spring/summer clothes – more whites, some yellow, some pink. Amazon has some amazing deals on Hobo International bags today (PSA of the day!) . I just ordered one, at something like 60% off. I’ll see if it works, if not I might just hold onto it for the fall.

      • Yes, I think so. I got a Hobo “leaf” green a few years ago and received more compliments on that purse than all my others combined!

    • Honey Bear :

      Loopy, I don’t have one personally but some of my friends do and they love them, and I think the leather quality looks great. I would go for it!

    • LOVE LOVE LOVE Hobo International. They are designed by women for women, so the purse straps are always long enough to actually put over your shoulder!

    • Anonymous :

      Love Hobo!

    • I have the Hobo Lauren wallet, and it’s still in the same condition as when I bought it 4 years ago. I LOVE it. Recently, I received the Hobo Elinor Tote as a gift (after seeing it here, on Corporette) and really like it too! IMO, the quality is much better than that of Coach, and just different enough from what everyone else has (at least in Houston) to make me happy.

    • I, too, love my Hobo black wallet. It’s held up perfectly – more than a year and half – and no sign of wear at all. It was a great gift!

    • I have several and love them. Much better quality than Coach.

  3. I think a wide navy belt would add polish to this dress.

    Anyways, re the upcoming half-yearly Nordstrom sale – do they really offer significant price savings? Which sale has the deepest discounts? I’m thinking about getting a store credit card and I really want to maximize the savings.

    • That’s what I thought too. I wide navy belt.

    • I like the look but would reserve this one for Fridays. The sale is great but I don’t know if any sale is worth getting a store credit card. I usually order a lot of things, sometimes in multiple sizes, then return when I’ve had a chance to try them. You can generally do this in one credit card cycle.

    • Hi Ru, I never found the half yearly sale to be worth it. The best sale of the year is the Anniversary sale in mid-July, but even there, I find that eventually most of the Nordstrom merchandise gets marked down anyway. If you have a Nordstrom Rack near you, the prices at the Rack was on par or less than the prices at the half-yearly or Anniversary sales.

      Also, have you thought about getting a Nordstrom debit card instead of the credit card option? You still get points that way and the added plus is that you’re not paying interest. I don’t have either card but if I were to get one, I would choose the debit card.

      • I have the Visa signature card. You don’t pay any interest if you pay the whole bill when it’s due, much like other credit cards. I like it because then I don’t have to remember to put money on the card in advance. Just buy what you want and pay the bill when it comes. I love my Nordstrom notes! And I just generally stalk the items I like and buy them when they go on sale whenever. If it’s during a bonus period then yay.

    • The Half Yearly is basically a clearance sale of spring and summer merchandise, although they do always bring in some new items for the sale. They usually offer double or triple points during certain days of the sale for store cardholders. I have a Nordstrom card because I use those points, and also because I spend enough every year to qualify for free shipping the following year (Level 2 in their parlance.)

      The holy grail sale, though, is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (you might see this called the NAS on certain forums.) That is a fall/winter pre-sale in July, and the discounts are pretty good, though not clearance-level. Usually about 1/3 off. If you get a store card, you will be able to pre-shop this sale – that means you make an appointment and view the sale items in a back room before the sale, and reserve yours. For the last few years, the pre shopping has been essential because many of the most coveted items sell out during pre-shop and never make it to the actual sale. Also, the NAS covers women, men and children so I do some back to school shopping for my kids there, too.

      I don’t work for Nordstrom! I just love the NAS, and have been looking forward to the upcoming Half Yearly to get a couple pairs of spring/summer shoes.

    • Good on you if you can pull it off, but adding navy to this color combo skews way too Tommy-Hilfiger-Americana for my taste.

  4. I would pay any amount of money for these shoes: I frequently make day trips that require driving to the airport, walking through the airport, flying for about an hour, walking through the next airport, cab to federal courthouse, court appearance, and then the same thing in reverse. My feet are invariably killing me during this haul. The shoes must be sturdy, offer good support, good looking with pant suits, professional, and have 2 to 2.5 inch heels. The other alternative is to bring a small roller bag carry on and change shoes on route. I would also entertain suggestions for this option, including the bag and the shoes. My first choice however, is to find good shoes.

    • People sing the praises of Nordstrom’s personal shoppers… perhaps you could contact one and ask her to pick out some shoes for you?

      • second this. One Nordstrom PS found me the perfect pair of Sofft pumps. I ended up taking the same pair in brown and in black!
        That was in March 2010 and they still look new (I walk through sand, cobblestone, mud.. you name it)

    • I won’t post links to avoid getting stuck in moderation, but look on Zappos for the following:

      Clarks Sugar Spice
      Clarks Sugar Sky
      Clarks Sugar Plum
      Clarks Wyld Foxtrot
      Clarks Partridge

      All seem to fit your description to a T and would slip off easily for security. I have several pairs of Clarks and they’re all very comfy and supportive.

      My absolute favorite pair of shoes to wear with pants when I need to walk a lot but look nice are Dansko Scout boots. However, it would be a pain to wear boots going through airport security.

    • I’m interested to hear everyone’s responses because I’m also looking for a shoe that could do all of these things!

      I’ve had pretty good luck with the Sofft Florence – they are nicely padded in the footbed and the Mary Jane style helps them stay comfortably on my foot.

      • Those may be what I have–I have a Sofft mary-jane style pair that I wear a LOT–and I am often going to the airport, walking through that airport and another, all around the rental car parking lot, and then through a hospital and their parking lot, which ends up being a lot of walking! (Sadly, this also means I have tons of gorgeous heels I rarely wear). The Soffts are good for it.

    • I’d recommend a black wedge. For me, wedges are more comfortable since they’re stable and you don’t have to worry about getting your heel stuck in cracks etc. Kate Spade’s Marli has a great reputation but is on the more expensive side. http://www.zappos.com/kate-spade-new-york-marli-too-navy-patent
      Here is a cheaper option that has gotten great reviews: http://www.dsw.com/shoe/jones+new+york+kent+wedge+pump?prodId=212862&productRef=SEARCH
      They’re both a little higher than you want at 3 inches. However, with my wedges, they don’t feel high at all to me.

      • Jones NY is cute in the beige color. But I wonder if the cork wedge heel is too casual for work. Thoughts?

        • I think the beige is too casual to wear with suits because of the heel. I don’t know why they made such different construction choices between the beige and black.

          • Thanks, that’s what I suspected. It’s a shame — they would be great for work with any other type heel!

      • Wow. Those Jones New York Polina wedges are adorable. I’m actually glad they’re out in my size, because I have absolutely no need to buy them, but probably would if they were available.

    • I hate posting links on here, but search Zappos or Endless for these:

      Rockport Women’s Barbarella Pump Wave

      They were posted on here a few months back and I bought them in brown (also available in black) and I must say…amazingly comfortable (and the heel is quite sturdy).

      Many people commented saying they were a bit dowdy (I believe someone even said Queen Mummy-like) but I like them and they are really comfy.

    • I like the Tory Burch Sally wedges

    • Sofft brand pumps are very comfortable. Also check out barkingdogshoes .com and Scarpasa .com.

      And, while we are talking about shoes, I am dying to get these. http://www.scarpasa.com/product/buy/1888/c/
      Does anyone have experience with the Cantini & Cantini brand?

    • Accountress :

      You by Crocs. They don’t really have anything *right now* that I’d call “good looking with pant suits” but they have in the past.

      • Do they have rubber soles? I have wondered about the You line, but never seen them in a brick-and-mortar store to try on.

        • Accountress :

          I think it might depend on style- the ones I’ve thought “Oh, those would be nice to wear to the office!” about have had rubber soles. Crocs is starting to add actual stores to malls, rather than just the kiosks, and I have seen the You brand in the stores. Orlando’s Florida Mall for sure has some- not sure about others.

    • On the expensive side: I’ve found Chie Mihara heels to be the most comfortable (and often gorgeous). Your milage will vary depending on your feet. But her shoes are incredibly well made and supportive. If you were willing to entertain court appropriate ballet flats – manolo’s quilted black ballet flats are, after a couple of wears, slipper comfortable. They’re my go to shoes for Court. Only pair of Manolos I own and I initially felt silly for shelling out so much for a name associated with heels on flats – but so worth it.

      • Maybe not the most fashion-forward, but I think Aerosoles Envy are the most comfortable heel I’ve ever worn by a mile.

  5. Hi corporettes
    I am excited to share how my interview with head hunter was.
    When I joined my current company, that was the only interview I ever had; and it was for an internship!
    So technically, today’s interview was my first professional interview.
    I was very confident. They wanted someone with 5 to 6 years experience. I convinced them that with 2 years experience I am a perfect fit.
    The interviewer was impressed and he will setup a meeting with the HR manager from the hiring firm.

    The assignment they proposed is challenging and can be very rewarding. I am a bit intimidated but didn’t show it. I just want to know how much they will propose to have a good idea about my market value. They asked me about my current salary and I answered right away… (do you usually lie a bit or refuse to answer?)
    Other than the salary part , I think they loved my profile and the interviewed added me on LinkedIn before I even got to go back to my office.

    Thanks all for encouraging me to give this interview a try. It was psychologically rewarding (especially for my dwindling self esteem). Plus today my general manager was very happy with some last minute work he asked me to do. I feel valued. It has been a long time since I had such a rewarding day.

  6. I can never wear bold prints or patterns to work- I just never feel comfortable enough. I don’t like my work outfits to attract too much attention or to scream “look at me!” It’s probably just me but I feel too distracting. It seems especially non-lawyerish.

    But I really love this dress (just not for work). If it were 100 bucks cheaper I would pull the trigger and wear it to fun summer events!

    • I agree – I try to think how I would want my lawyer to be dressed if I needed a lawyer, and dress that way.

      The last time I went to the doctor, he was overbooked and so I saw a physician’s assistant (which is a high-level medical professional, not a junior nursing assistant). She was wearing a jean skirt and espadrilles with her lab coat, unstyled long blonde hair, and looked about 30 years old. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in her. She looked like she was playing doctor, not being a doctor. If she’d been wearing professional attire with her lab coat I think she’d have seemed a lot more authoritative – my usual doctor is a 40-ish woman with long blonde hair, looks like she could be a Real Housewife of Orange County, but she is a great dresser and really projects competence and authority.

      • Actually this cartoon from Legally Drawn sums it up nicely: http://www.legallydrawn.com/storage/2011-03-28.gif?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1301862094956

      • I think it really depends on the person. I met one woman who switched from a female doctor who drove her fancy Jag and wore tons of bling to work everyday to a man who wore jeans and a polo or button front and she absolutely loved the second doctor because she felt like she could relate to him. I know I would not be impressed with a doctor who dressed like a RHOC and I think many others would also be turned off.

        I had a dentist who loved everything Western had somewhat Western attire with the bolo ties and short-sleeved shirts. He was an amazing dentist and I did not feel like his style of dress really detracted from his practice whatsoever.

      • Srsly, thinking back on all the various doctor’s I’ve had, I can’t say I remember what a single one of them wore during an examination. The white lab coat is the only thing that registers for me. I must admit, however, that I’d probably be prejudiced against a lawyer who doesn’t dress “professionally” (though I apparently have a broader view of what constitutes professional than most corporettes).

    • It’s a beautiful dress, but I cannot imagine it in a conservative office setting. I’m beginning to agree with the comments that Kat’s choices have gotten a lot less professional and a lot more fun/weekend.

  7. Cute dress, but like so many items featured recently, it’s way too casual for my office.

    • Even with a blazer? I have a hard time imagining that would be too casual at any offices, even business formal ones.

      • It’s a white and red summer shirt dress. A blazer does not magically make clothes like these office-appropriate. It’s an adorable dress, but when I see it, I think Betty on Mad Men could totally wear this and not look even remotely out of place! I don’t think that a dress that could have been worn by housewife running errands in the 60s is appropriate for a business formal office, blazer or not.

        The Joan dresses are questionable enough as is, but at least Joan worked in an office . . . ;)

    • too casual for my office too . . .

  8. Except for very conservative work environments, I think this could be styled to be a great work dress, and it is different enough to make a bit of a statement.

    I would wear it with a medium-thin belt, maybe in light brown, coupled with light brown neutral pumps. Would most likely wear a red sweater over it, maybe a professional but shrunken cardigan. I wouldn’t wear a white sweater, for some reason all white sweaters scream Old Lady! to me.

    • Haha. I have a white sweater I call my grandma sweater that I bring out when I want to be cozy and warm without worrying about fashion.

  9. Ladies, I need your help. I’m in a major exercise rut and can feel my clothes getting tighter. I have the entire summer off (I was able to arrange the start date of a new job so that I could take a nice long vacation) and want to use the time to get back to my old healthy habits. I’m hoping for a few recommendations:
    1) do you recommend any workout DVDs? I’m debating Tracy Anderson and Power 90 and am thinking of checking the local library since they’re not on Netflix. I saw the conversation about TA on an earlier thread and would love if anyone could offer any comparisons between that and Power 90/P90X.
    2) how do you keep your own health a priority when you’re busy working? I know this summer will be a great time to re-center myself, but I’ll need to actually carry these habits over to “real-life” when my new job starts.
    TIA!!

    • Is Groupon or something similar available? If you’re in the same city as your new job, is it going to around gyms and the like? If so, are you able to try out some gyms/classes around your new office? Many places will run weekly trials or free classes so that would be a fun way to get back into working out by trying out a bunch of places. It would also make it super easy and convenient for when you do start your job because you’ll already be in the area. I started a new job three weeks ago and had scheduled a cardio kickboxing class after my second day – that way, I worked it into my routine from the start. Also, I heart yoga and pilates – if I do that in the AM, my day is much more likely to result in healthy choices (like oatmeal/yogurt instead of a bagel, etc).

      Good luck!

    • I too find it difficult to maintain a regular exercise routine while working. However, the good news is that once I dedicated myself to eating healthy food, my weight is more or less constant irrespective of whether I exercise. I just focus on eating lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, etc. and then just exercise when I can. I read somewhere that a person’s weight is 80% dictated by diet, and only 20% by exercise. I absolutely think that’s true. I would recommend reading Feed your Face, Crazy Sexy Beautiful, books by Michael Pollan (Food Rules is great and very simple to read) and some of the nutrition books by Gillian McKeith. Before I got into nutrition, I didn’t realize that the “healthy snacks” I was eating like pretzels, juice, grapes, crackers were actually making me gain weight.

      • I think this is absolutely true. I worked out with a trainer for a year and a half. I felt a lot stronger and in much better shape, but I didn’t lose any weight or very many inches. Once I went on a cleanse, though, I lost ten pounds and have incorporated a lot of the habits into my daily life, meaning I kept it off. I’ve stopped eating cereal in the morning, and I’ve seriously cut down on my carb intake. Instead, I do a smoothie in the morning and then meat and two vegetables for dinner. I have gotten such better results from a three-week cleanse than from 18 months of really tough working out with a trainer (although that was still worth it, and I am still glad I did it and continue to do it).

        • What cleanse did you do? I am interested in some of these, but I don’t trust the kookier ones that make you subsist on nothing but grapefruit juice for a month or something. Can you share a little more, since you had good results?

          • Wondering :

            Gillian McKeith outlines a cleanse in You Are What You Eat that seems pretty good. I haven’t tried it yet, but she recommends lots of vegetable juices and broths during the cleanse plus lots of warm water with lemon. She also stresses eating salads or fruits if you’re feeling light headed.

          • Sure! I did one called Clean by Alejandro Junger. I really liked it. I must admit that I was hungry sometimes, but it was good for me to have strict rules to follow for a short period of time. You also get to snack on blueberries and walnuts. The only drawback is that it is recommended by Gwyneth Paltrow! :)

      • Honey Bear :

        I totally agree with Wondering about the food. Try to stick with unprocessed, “whole” foods, i.e. eat an apple over a granola bar.

        • Also, be realistic about how much food you actually need to consume in a given day in order to accomplish your goals (be it to maintain current weight, gain weight, or lose weight). Many people tend to over-estimate calories spent during exercise and under-estimate calories consumed (particularly during post-workout refueling meals/snacks). If your goal is loss, then following up a 400-calorie exercise session with a 600 calorie smoothie is going to be your (hard to figure out, and frustrating) downfall.

          • That’s great advice. Try to keep a food diary to make yourself be honest. I like a phone app called myfitnesspal that counts your calories and also subtracts calories burned exercising.

          • I’ve also met a lot of people who think they HAVE to have 2000 calories in a day, regardless of activity level. No, you don’t! Especially if you’re a sedentary office worker who’s not out running 5 miles every day. I think there are calorie calculators on livestrong.com and other websites that help you calculate how many calories you need every day to maintain your weight or hit a goal weight depending on your activity level, age, current weight, etc.

          • Honey Bear :

            I would actually advise against counting calories. Sometimes I feel like it might make you eat more than you actually need to eat, or eat more even if you’re full. You might think, oh I’ve only had X amount of calories so I should eat 300 more, even if you’re not hungry and would otherwise not have eaten more.

            Just eat until you feel satisfied, don’t deprive yourself, but make healthy choices!

          • Honey Bear I don’t understand how counting calories would lead to weight gain. In order to lose weight, one has to decrease the number of calories put in the body through food or eliminate them through exercise. Depending on weight to lose, lifestyle etc, a goal calorie day could be 1200-1500 calories. Eat more and you gain weight. Eat less and you starve your body. I think many people gain weight because they can’t judge just how much their body needs. Eating until “satisfied” will lead many people to eat more than their body needs.

          • Honey Bear :

            Bonnie,

            What I mean is that, if you’re just so fixated on hitting a certain calorie number, you may lose sight of whether or not you’re really hungry. If your calorie goal is, say, 1500 calories a day, and you keep track of what you eat, then you are probably going to eat around 1500, right? Well, what I meant was, what if without counting calories you would hit 1300 or 1400 calories, but if you’re counting and you think, oh I have an extra 100 calories I can eat, then you may eat more than what you would without counting calories.

            And I actually say this out of experience. A few years ago I used a calorie counting iPhone app, and I found myself doing what I described above. I never count calories now – I just focus on eating healthy foods and drinking a lot of water, and I’m happier now with my weight and how my body looks. Of course it doesn’t work for everyone, I’m sure some people need to be more rigid and exact in their counting calorie, but just beware that you’re not eating to hit your maximum calorie goal!

      • This for me too!

      • uh oh, what’s wrong with grapes? I eat frozen ones for dessert sometimes. (strange sounding, I know, but it’s kind of delicious)

        • Wondering :

          It’s much better to eat grapes for dessert than say ice cream. It’s just that grapes have a very high glycemic index, which can lead to weight gain. If you’re going to eat high glycemic foods, better to eat them during the day than at night. At the end of the day, eating 5 frozen grapes is not going to kill you so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If you’re looking for an alternative though, berries have a very low glycemic index and you could eat those frozen as well.

          • I used to snack on grapes all the time, grapes and bananas were my favorite fruits, eaten daily. I recently started changing my diet due to blood sugar issues, and discovered those fruits (plus pineapple, another favorite) are some of the highest in sugar. Now if I snack, it’s on thin deli ham slices, low fat cheese sticks, and I eat apples and blueberries with meals. I’ve been losing weight, and my blood sugar is getting better. Fruit can really sabotage your weight.

          • I think it’s this kind of information that gets a lot of women discouraged right from the jump. Fruit is good for you. So are vegetables. Period. Eat as much as you can, as often as you can.

            I’m not saying that any of these facts about grapes, glycemic index, etc. are wrong. In fact, I know there is hard science to back it all up. BUT, when you throw in the human factor (which is a HUGE factor in 99% of people’s diets), telling people not to eat fruit for this reason or that reason turns out to be incredibly discouraging. It’s a mentality like “jeez, if even grapes are ‘bad for me,’ than I really just can’t win. ” And then people just give up.

        • Accountress :

          Frozen grapes are absolutely amazing- best way to eat them, hands down!

      • This. Breakfast I do oatmeal, lowfat yogurt, or high fiber cereal plus 1/2 cup milk (amazing how much milk does to combat pre-lunch hunger). Lunch/dinner, I try to have 2/3 rds of my plate be veggies/leafy green and 1/3 lean protein like chicken or fish. I munch on a few almonds or a mozzarella stick when I get the afternoon snackies. And I switched from soda to Crystal Light (my office stocks individual Crystal Light packets, but I bring my own in when I don’t like the flavors the office has).

    • Do you have wii or kinect? Even if I can’t make it to the gym, I usually do one of the EA Sports Active 2 workouts. They’re really good and challenging. I’m about to finish the 9-week challenge again (in 2 days).

      The system really cheers you on and praises you and you can choose which exercises you want to do. And if you can’t fit the actual workout in, you can opt for a trainer generated one, where you select what area of the body you want to work and a time period (you can select as little as 10 minutes).

    • I love P90X. Love love love. I have been a runner my whole life and I do a lot of yoga, but nevertheless I’ve gotten better results — and faster — from P90X than from anything else.

      One big caveat: the work-outs are really long (like 60-90 minutes). I just do them in the recommended order, but not every single day because it’s just too much time. Even if you can do 3 workouts in a week, you will start to see results.

      Another caveat: some of the work-outs are really hard. If you have a S.O. or a friend who would be willing to do them with you, it’ll be a lot more fun.

    • runner's high :

      The key is to create a routine. Finding time to work out is much easier when you’ve already incorporated it into your daily routine, instead of having to pencil it in every day at a ‘convenient’ time (something you can always talk yourself out of). Even though you have a lot of time off now, I would suggest that you start thinking about when a good time would be to exercise when you’re back to working full-time. If you get into the swing of exercising at a set time now, it’ll be easier to stick to those good habits this fall.

      FWIW, I’ve never been able to get into exercise videos. It’s too easy for me to look at my schedule and tell myself I don’t have time for the full 90 minute workout. Running a set distance works out better for me- if I’m strapped for time, I’ll just commit to running harder.

    • Honey Bear :

      Hi Joy!
      1) I recommend the cardio insanity DVD. I think it’s about 45 minutes long. I consider myself in pretty good shape and I was DYING at the end. Plus you don’t need any equipment or a huge living room to do the exercises. Annddd the instructor is cute. ;)
      2. I always work out in the mornings and get at least 1 workout in on the weekends. I think that it’s just too hard to work out in the evening, esp when unexpected things pop up at work, and also if I’m just too damn tired at the end of the day. In the beginning it sucked having to get up early, but I’m totally used to it by now. Your body will adjust. I also keep healthy snacks at my desk and try to eat bigger breakfasts and small dinners as opposed to the other way around.

      Good luck and enjoy your summer off! :)

    • One thing that works for me when I am busy and thinking I have no time to exercise is that I tell myself I have to put on my work out clothes and go to the gym…It is fine if I stay only 10 minutes…but I have to go. (Of course, I actually end up staying longer than 10 minutes, but it gets over the inertia of not going). I also do interval training, which makes greater use of the time spent at the gym.

      • This cracked me up b/c I do the same thing — put on the clothes, go out in the cold, and commit to getting on the elliptical for at least 10 minutes. ;)

      • I do it, too. I think it actually works really well. I think just giving ourselves permission to stop can help us get started. Or maybe it’s just me. I use it for writer’s block, too – tell myself I need to write, and it can be crap, for just 20 minutes or so. There’s usually something useful in the crap, and at least I’ve made a start.

        • Funny, same here on the telling myself “you have to work for 30 minutes and then can take a break” — never thought of these two “tricks” as connected!

      • I do that too, but I have a treadmill. I just keep telling myself I can do 10 minutes, and it at least gets me on the darn thing. Most of the time I even do more than 10 minutes.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Timely. I just started a new routine that I can hopefully stick to. Twice a week, I am committing to getting up at 5:30am to hit the gym, home by 7am to shower and get ready for work. It was HARD getting up today, but I know there’s just no other way I will work out on weekdays. I come home from work at night tired, hungry, and often with more work to do – workouts were just not happening. So twice a week, I’m doing the pre-6am gym. (Please feel free to check up on me, corporettes – I need to be held accountable!) I was actually surprised to see how busy the parking lot was – I guess a lot of people already knew what I am just starting to figure out.

      I also agree that quality, whole (not processed) foods are very important. I don’t eat crap, and I really think that helps, especially when I don’t manage to get to the gym. No to the doughnuts someone brought in to share today. No to mediocre grocery store birthday cake. No to “must have dessert after dinner.” Yes to dried fruit. Carrots. Hummus. Beans. Yogurt. For me personally, I consider whole fruits and veggies to be “always ok” snacks because it is better than hitting the candy bowl. I’ve never been on weight watchers, but I think my mental math is somewhat like their points system: is that crappy snack really worth “spending” my calories on?

      Also, up your fiber intake significantly. Miniwheats, whole wheat bread, beans again, etc. Fiber helps you feel full and also keeps your digestive system running smoothly.

      And water. Water, water, water. I am not good at this but am working on it. Make a promise to yourself to drink your 8 8oz glasses a day. I don’t drink caloric beverages – no juice, soda, coffee or ice tea with sugar, any of that. Water. It’s amazing how many calories hide in liquids.

      As for workout DVDs, I like having pilates mat at home, but I don’t think that is really a weight loss tool. I sure feel better when I do it regularly though… which hasn’t happened recently :).

      • Have you tried greek yogurt? I just discovered it, and love the fat free, sugar free. It has more protein and less carbs than regular yogurt, and it just seems so much creamier and filling. I add stevia and sliced strawberries, so yummy.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          I love greek yogurt, especially the Trader Joe’s 0% Vanilla and the 0% Fage. Cook’s Illustrated just did a taste off of 0% Greek, so I’m on the lookout for the recommended brands, too. Amusingly, CI did not like Fage. I throw slivered almonds, berries, or a bit of honey in mine.

          • SF Bay Associate, I’m beginning to think we’re the same person. I love the 0% Fage (despite the review in Cook’s Illustrated) and often put fresh fruit, a tiny bit of oats, and a drizzle of honey in mine.

    • I don’t know if you have On Demand, but my On Demand has a ton of workout videos. A lot of them are part of a larger DVD set, so you can get an idea from the first or second one whether you’d really like that one. Netflix also has workouts on the streaming feature.

      There are lots of options for the Wii- some that include the balance board and some that do not need it. I used My Fitness Coach (the first one) for a while. It was more like a customized workout video than anything else. It lets you tell it whether the workout is to easy, too hard, just right after each section and will get harder as your fitness improves. The Wii Fit really did not do that much for me. It’s a lot of stationary work and the hula hoop, which burns a ton of calories but it’s not something you can do for 30 minutes straight.

    • Full disclosure: I’m single, no kids. I keep my health a priority when my schedule gets busy by constantly mentally reminding myself of how fantastic I feel (and look) when I work out regularly and how dumpy, tired, and sluggish I feel when I don’ t work out / eat right / get enough sleep, etc. When things are really blowing and going at work, I’ll still force myself to work out at least 3-4 times a week, even if it’s at 10 p.m. (some people can’t exercise too close to bed. I’m the opposite – exercise before bed helps me sleep better). When I’m tempted to eat junk because I’m stressed/depressed/tired, I (1) make myself drink a glass of water first and then reevaluate whether I really want the junk after that (usually the answer is no); and (2) ask myself whether those cookies are worth a half hour on the elliptical.

      It’s all pretty tough sometimes, but the improvement in how I feel and look keeps me going.

    • Tracy Devotee :

      The Tracy Anderson Method is actually on sale on Gilt today (ends at midnight tonight). If you need an invite here you go: http://www.gilt.com/invite/dzdancrgrl

  10. I bought this dress: http://www.talbots.com/online/browse/product_details.jsp?id=prdi25693&rootCategory=cat400044&catId=cat80018&sortKey=Default&section=Outlet&conceptIdUnderSale=cat400044
    in black on final sale from Talbots in a 4P, and it’s a bit too roomy for me in the top. Before I put it on Ebay, I thought I’d see if anyone here wanted it. I’d be happy to sell it to you for what I paid ($25) plus shipping, or if you happen to be in the new york area, I can just meet you somewhere rather than shipping it. As for the fabric, it’s sort of a boiled wool, if that makes sense (kind of like a cross between fleece and what most winter coats are made of)–good for winter. I’m 5’6″ and it hits just above the knee on me, and a 32B and it’s a tad big in the chest. So if you’re really normally a petite 4, it should fit (I can’t for the life of me figure out my size in talbot’s dresses). If you want it, send me an email at [email protected]

  11. A white belt? That doesn’t strike you as a little too “cruise ship?”

  12. Looking for some advice from the many lawyer corporettes: I’ll be attending my first state bar association convention this week. My law school is hosting an alumni reception, and the invite says guests welcome. Do people generally bring only spouses/fiancées to these types of events, or should I bring my boyfriend? Is it better to go alone?

    • Feel free to bring him but only if he wants to attend and won’t be a sourpuss about having to hear about classmates, etc. he doesn’t know. My ex- would be quiet the whole time and then get upset with me afterwards because I didn’t “include him” in our numerous (“oh, did you hear about so and so”) conversations, but alumni receptions are all about reconnecting and reminiscing and gossiping so I don’t know why he had to have such a stick up his butt about it.

  13. Diana Barry :

    Piggybacking on the above threadjack – I have a state bar association “gala dinner” this week. What should I wear? Have not been to this dinner before and I can’t find pictures online – have already looked. Everyone else going to the dinner from my firm is a man.

    I plan to wear a suit with a nice blouse – probably pant suit since it is still v cold here.

    • Business attire is usually fine, but often women will wear something a bit dressier to events like this, like a sheath dress and heels.

  14. Hi! Threadjack again.

    Does anyone have any favorite or recommended high-yield savings accounts?

    I’m a year out of college and now have some savings, but I’m just now realizing that they could be somewhere more useful than my interest-free “student saving” account from BoA. Surfing the web, i’ve heard talk of high-yield accounts, money market funds, etc. — but I honestly don’t even know where to begin.

    Help?

    (Also, Kat, this question, combined with other related topics could be a very useful “Money Talks” post, for the Corporettes just starting out.)

    ps. Sorry if this double-posts. My first comment is in eternal moderation.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I like my ING account, but I’d love to hear other ideas!

    • I’ve had a positive experience with American Express personal savings so far (only had the account for 6 months or so). The customer service is great and the current interest rate is a tiny bit higher than other banks. I’ve also heard good things about ING and HSBC. Befor you decide, check out interest rate comparison website like http://www.money-rates.com/savings to compare interest rates currently being offered at different banks.

    • I haven’t shopped around, but I can tell you that my Discover savings account has paid me a lot more in interest over the past couple of years than my Citibank savings account (and until recently, the Discover acc0unt had a slightly lower balance, to boot). I’ve heard a lot of good things about ING, too, but haven’t checked it out.

    • I like ING for accounts under $10k. For accounts greater than that, I prefer Capital One. Their rate is slightly more generous and they give you a nice quarterly interest “bonus”.

      • South of Houston :

        Second the Capital One recommendation… I think it’s a good combo of interest rate and ease of use. I’ve been able to open several online savings accounts under one profile for different purposes (e-fund, house down pmt, etc.) and automate transfers from my BofA account each month. I think ING is somewhat easier for splitting accounts into different buckets (you can designate categories within one account rather than setting up multiple accounts, I believe), but when I opened my account Capital One had a (slightly) higher interest rate.

    • I’m in a similar situation — finally having a savings account that is steadily growing (yay!), but only getting really low interest in my ING account (boo).

      For long term savings, I’ve started putting some money into a Vanguard Index/Mutual Fund — the reading I’ve done has said that it’s silly to try to beat the market and the managed funds end up costing you because of higher fees, etc.

      But I’m not sure where to put shorter-term savings for some liquidity in case of emergency/job loss or even a down-payment.

  15. Ugh, just had a phone call w/ an important client and totally sounded like an idiot. You know sometimes you are on and sometimes you just are not — well this was a not. Oh well. It was just fact gathering for a case so no huge deal but still the bane of every associates existence.

    • We all have those days. Maybe next time you’re not feeling 100%, you could keep a few bulleted notes on a post-it to keep your mind focused for the phone conversation. Hope you feel better about it =).

    • I had one of those days last week, when I had to call a regulator about getting a special exemption for a client, and left a voice message, and immediately after hanging up thought, huh? What on earth did I just say? It was one of those situations where you wish you could just go back, erase the message and start again. The regulator must have thought I was an idiot. But when they called me back it was a different individual who called me, who had not even heard the message. So no big deal. These things happen to everyone. :-)

  16. somewherecold :

    Threadjack: My sig other and I are moving to DC in the fall, and we are trying to figure out buying versus renting. We anticipate spending about 5 years in DC, but we do not think at this point that we want to stay there much longer than that. I’ve been looking on Redfin because I’ve seen it recommended here, but I feel like it’s hard to compare properties and know exactly what everything means. We are not local, but we’ve both lived in DC before; we’d ideally like to narrow down listings and see several on one trip.

    I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for books for first time home buyers about buying a place? I’d also be open to any suggestions about buying versus renting or your own advice about home buying, of course.

    • I don’t have a book rec, but the NYT recently made an interactive calculator on whether it’s better to buy or rent: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/business/buy-rent-calculator.html

    • Running out of cute screen names :

      I am getting a great deal renting a home that someone is having trouble selling. They are taking it off the market so long as I am renting it. This might not be as applicable in DC but for my market the options are buy a house in the burbs or rent a small place in the city. I’m getting best of both worlds by renting a house in the burbs. Rent is the same if not lower than the city rent. I don’t have to worry about maintaining the property nor do I have to worry about selling it. The house is exactly the size as the one we would have bought anyway so we are not losing out on space either.

    • Consultant in NoVA :

      I recommend reading books by Ilyce Glick.

  17. Threadjack for all the attorneys here: I’m starting law school this fall and have started getting questions from my family about my schedule for next summer (eek!) My family (based in DC) always takes an international trip in the summer with close family friends from the Middle East and everyone is apparently starting to plan! I have NO idea what to expect for the first summer- would it be unreasonable to plan to take a two week vacation between the end of our writing competition/finals (May 30) and the start date for whatever job I’ll hopefully have? Is a mid-June start date for a summer job (whether it’s a summer associate program, an internship, etc.) typical?

    Thanks for the advice!!

    • Honey Bear :

      Hi Carrie,

      I summered at a firm the summer after my 1L year and the start date was end of May. My significant other also summered at a firm after his 1L year and his start date was also the end of May. I think there’s always going to be some flexibility, but I don’t know if I would want to miss the first week of a summer program due to a family vacation – not that I wouldn’t want to go on the vacation, it’s just that the summer is already relatively short – a typical summer program is about 10-12 weeks (more on the 10 week side these days, I think). But like you said, it’s so hard to plan in advance so I would just be honest with your family and tell them that, and if worse comes to worse, they’ll just have to go on the vacay without you.

    • I started my summer job after 1L year (clerking at the US Atty’s office) in late May. I started my clerkship at a firm after 2L year in late May. You are much safer off planning a trip at the end of the summer.

    • somewherecold :

      I started my 1L summer job at a state AG office right after Memorial Day weekend. My fiance went to UChicago, which was on the quarter system, and he started the same job in mid-June because that’s when he was finished with the quarter, but he also started classes later in September so he was able to stay later in the summer.

      I don’t know if you have any idea if you think that you will be interested in working at a firm for your 2L summer, but those interviews can occur in mid-August, depending on your school, so it wouldn’t really be feasible to push your summer back.

    • People don’t usually start the week that begins with Memorial Day – the earliest my summer job started was the following Monday. Depending on the location of the trip, maybe you could join for Week 1 (or Week 2, depending on when they leave) only.

      As for delaying until August:
      If you’re interested in OCI/BigLaw, I’d check with your school’s career office to see what the dates are for signing up and interviewing in the fall. Also, if you make a journal (particularly Law Review), some of them have responsibilities that start before school does, at least for the newbies.

      • Former 3L :

        My chambers has interns starting the Tuesday BEFORE Memorial Day this summer. OP, it varies. I wouldn’t plan anything for early summer if you can’t skip it at the last minute.

    • 2L Summer :

      I was at a firm my 1L summer, and I don’t know about your law school, but ours had a pretty short summer for 1L’s given that there was a writing competition at the beginning and then there was OCI — interviewing for firms at the end. My family and I went for a 2 week vacation after my internship ended, but I also took a week off at the beginning so I could go to a reunion — ended up having a 9 week summer, which was fine.

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