Holiday Weekend Open Thread

Joie 'Veronica' Floral Jacquard BlouseHappy Memorial Day! Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

Three cheers for long weekends! The Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale continues, with discounts of up to 50% on tons of basics like jeans, lingerie, swim suits — as well as work clothes. For a lazy weekend, I like this romantic blouse from Joie — the colors and ruffles seem soft and romantic. It was $198, now marked to $118.90 as part of the sale. Joie ‘Veronica’ Floral Jacquard Blouse

A few other great deals going on this weekend:

Endless is offering 20% off on select merchandise.

Piperlime is offering up to 40% off on select merchandise (ends 5/29), and its sister sites Gap (up to 50% off), Old Navy (lots of pieces start at $6), and Banana Republic (up to 30% off) are having some great sales also.


The Outnet is offering sales of 40% on your summer wardrobe for their “weekend shop-in” event.

Bluefly (today only) has dresses marked up to 70% off, and they have a bunch of Judith Ripka jewelry marked 30-40% off as well.

Amazon has a Memorial Day Sale of up to 50% off on tees, shorts, swim and dresses.

Finally: eBags has Tumi on sale for up to 40% off.



  1. Sometimes I feel ranty about things that probably aren’t a big deal, but: have you seen that commercial for Samsung phones, the one with the woman and two men going out for what looks like a business lunch? Basically it’s this: the lovely woman is wearing a cute grey sheath and is with two men in suits. They sit down and one of her colleagues puts his phone on the table. His screen-saver is a big ugly-looking spider. The image is so realistic that the woman thinks it’s a real spider! So she jumps up from her chair! And starts screaming! At the top of her lungs! In the middle of the restaurant! Manly Boss Man comes in to save the day by taking his shoe off and smashing the spider (really, the phone) repeatedly on the table.

    Now, spiders scare the heck out of me and I don’t want to minimize any real phobias that people have. But I really would have much rather seen the professional woman, instead of screaming hysterically, just take off her very own closed-toe, nude-for-her heel and smash the spider herself.

    I mean, it’s not Dockers “men wear the pants” offensive, but … I don’t know, I just wish the ad had gone the other way. Any thoughts?

  2. SF Bay Associate :

    Someone suggested earlier this week that we share comments on Half Yearly sale items. For me, yes to the CE Crosshatch Jacket and Skirt (336820 and 336824). They fit like everything else at CE, which is good for me. I’m still a bit wavering on the jacket because I’m not sure how to wear it. What do you all think? Too weird looking?

    No to the CE Sidewalk stripe jacket (336833) – even in my usual 2, it was way too big in the chest/body. With the hook-and-eye closure, the fit problems were more obvious than in a buttoned jacket. But the jacket is very cute and would look great on a bustier corporette. The pants and skirt haven’t arrived yet.

    • Anonymous :

      Just a note on CE. I recently moved into a space with a much smaller closet than my old place, so I had to do a massive reduction in wardrobe. A CE silk blouse that I bought for interviews in law school (now 10+ years ago) and that (sadly) no longer fits, was shown mercy and remains because the quality and style has held up, and I still have hope I will be able to wear it again. A testament to the brand, I think.

    • Anonymous :

      I like the crosshatch and don’t think the jacket looks to weird. I know some on here dislike short-sleeved jackets, and I kind of understand, but they are a lifesaver in the South, so I’ve just embraced them. I wear both short and long sleeves underneath. It actually looks like the model here is wearing a shirt similar to yesterday’s Corporette pick from Talbot’s. That is one suggestion.

    • LOVE the crosshatch jacket. Tempted…

  3. Question for any MBA types out there.

    My brother is thinking about going back for his MBA. For a variety of reasons, I think this is a horrible decision for him. Are there any books I can send him that will enlighten him on the realities of business school– how difficult it is to get into, succeed in, and what the job market is like post-grad? He is a very idealistic, dreamer kind of guy who sees this as the next project to take on, and I want him to realize what a huge commitment it would be.


    • Well, the MBA application process will weed out most who aren’t suited. Has he taken the GMAT? Is he going to have to take on debt or does someone have the $$$$ that it costs? The WSJ Careers page online has a whole MBA section about job outlook, cost/benefit analysis, etc. Better than a book and very realistic (although I don’t know any books on this specifically) plus free and up-to-date. You could look there and print/forward articles for him to read.

    • Anonymous :

      MBA programs — and higher education in general — has become a cash cow for the schools. I respectfully disagree that the process will eliminate those who aren’t suited. I know one recent MBA grad who is doing OK, and maybe a dozen who have crippling debt and poor work prospects.

      But how to prove this to him? Not sure.

      That said, if he can get into a top-3 finance program and graduate at the top of his class, the contacts he makes will likely get him a good job.

    • I’m currently doing my MBA, and I have to agree that a lot of programs aren’t going to weed out people who probably shouldn’t go back. Also, what is he trying to do with his MBA? The thing that pushed me to do it was looking at the specific skills required by the job postings for positions I want in the next 5-10 years. I determined which skills I could either develop on my own or attain via work experience, and determined to pick up the rest by going through the MBA. And, most of those positions specifically ask for the MBA.
      Basically, I would encourage him to find some evidence of why he thinks it’s beneficial. It is stressful to work all day, and then be gone an additional 2-3 night per week, plus homework/group work on the weekend. It’s a well-rounded degree, so you don’t get to do the “fun” stuff until the last half.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        There was fun stuff?????? I just remember 2 straight years (yes summers) of spending 90% of my nights and weekends studying, fighting with excel spreadsheets and trying to work on group projects with several people who should have been weeded out in the admissions process! lol The knowledge was great and has been an incredible value add, but I already had a job, and wasn’t planning to go looking for one on my MBA….

    • Anonymous :

      I agree with Ashley. I would suggest that your brother not go back to school unless he very clearly understands how earning an MBA will help him advance his career goals. I know several people who went on to MBA programs/other Master’s programs/law school because they knew they wanted to do something different, but weren’t really sure what. They had the idea that they would figure out what they wanted to do while they were there. Then they found themselves with a new degree and lots of debt only to realize they still weren’t quite sure what they wanted to do, and the extra debt limited their options.

      That said, an MBA can sometimes be a direct route for someone who wants to work with a big corporation (GE, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, etc.) with management trainee programs where associates go through a program where they rotate through various areas of the business. Also, amen to the huge commitment part of the MBA. I am very fortunate that I work for a University, and therefore don’t even have to pay tuition. However, with fees, books, taxes, and other costs it still costs about 5,000 per year for me.

    • Thanks a lot, all. There’s no way he’s getting into a good school (Sorry, bro, I love you, really), and I worry that he’d be throwing all that money away for now job after. A lot of the advice sounds similar to what I got in applying for law school, so I’ll try to use those tactics on him.

      I really appreciate everyone’s input! Have a great long weekend!

    • M.S. Degree :

      So this is kind of a threadjack of a threadjack. I work as a scientist (yeah, not target audience for the blog, but I still enjoy the career/fashion advice) and I have a M.S. I was lucky enough to have my degree completely paid for via departmental assintantship, meaning that in exchange for teaching a few labs each semester, the university paid for my tuition and gave me a very small stipend. I think all of my fellow students in the department had assistantships. I’m not sure if this is a science thing or what. Do most folks with graduate degrees have to pay for it themselves?????

      • My understanding is that a few, select MBAs get full stipends. I have a former colleague who got a joint MBA/MA from Wharton with a stipend and at no cost to her, but she would be in the top 1% of students nationwide based on her GMAT scores and an undergrad 4.0 record. Sciences are somewhat different as they need a large pool of lab managers/research assistants and Master’s students make good, low cost workers. Other programs – like perhaps English – need lots of TAs and graders and thus some of those students get stipends.

        As the poster above said, Law and MBA and some other professional programs have become cash cows for some universities. There are a limited number of folks that get full scholarships but most pay full freight, or their employers pay the tuition.

        • M.S. Degree :

          Thanks for the response, Coach Laura.

          That makes a lot of sense about the low cost labor that grad students provide. Heh. I was glad to do it as having my master’s has opened up opportunities that I would not have had with a B.S. (Granted, my M.S. is in a complementary field to my undergrad degree, and I work in that complementary field).

      • Normally the overwhelming majority of students at professional schools (law, dentistry, medicine, business) pay for their degrees themselves. Graduate students seeking academic degrees normally do not (in fact, I’ve heard that it’s considered a sign that you’re not really qualified enough for a PhD program if you get admitted but not funded – it means the university will take your money, but they don’t want to invest in you). MA programs not leading to a PhD are less likely to be funded.

      • I have an MLS, which I will be paying back for what seems like the rest of my natural life. :) There were assistantships for library science students – managing small collections/libraries around campus, mostly – but it was highly competitive, and most of us didn’t get one.

      • Esquirette :

        Former scientist, now a lawyer. The sciences (and generally only the hard sciences) are really the only academic fields where students routinely have their advanced degrees and stipends covered by the school (usually TA-ships, awards, etc) or their PI’s funding. This also happens to a lesser extent in humanities-type advanced degrees but funding is less frequent (usually for teaching responsibilities) and not as much (not that science grad students are rolling in cash). As glamorous as scientific research is (ha!), the degree of commitment (both time-wise and mentally – thus preventing other jobs for financial support) and the low paying jobs/long difficult road to success for graduates (compared to professional degrees) make it such that no reasonable person would do it unless the training/degree were otherwise covered. Generally, a pound of flesh is taken . . . rather than the direct influx of cash!

        • Threadjack part 2, electric boogaloo. So it looks as if I will be offered a Director of Communications gig in the Adirondacks. We don’t know if there will be a job for my husband; he’d like to go back to school for his MS in Information Technology. He’s got a lot of undergrad debt, so we’d like for him to get a TA gig of some sort to help offset costs, since we’ll be going down to one income. Possible? Ridiculous? Should we call the Financial Aid office in advance of application just to talk it out?

          Also, a huge shout-out to everyone who gave me advice on what to wear to the interview; it worked BRILLIANTLY!!!

          • I’m not sure if Info Tech falls under the category of “less likely to lead to a high-paying job” that Esquirette was talking about. (Which I think really hit the nail on the head, btw, E.) My sister has an MS in IT, and she had to pay full price.

            But you should certainly called the Financial Aid office or the Admissions office if he’s been accepted to a program and can’t afford it. That’s what admissions counselors are there for – once you’ve been accepted, they’re there to make sure you can actually enroll. They field this sort of call all the time.

          • I’m not sure he’ll be able to get a TA gig, but its possible that there will be some project assistantships, which were preferable at my school, since they covered 100% of tuition rather than a portion. This might include, for instance, running the IT department for a particular school – like medicine, biology, liberal arts, etc. It varies according to school.

  4. A few days ago someone posted a link to a Gap t-shirt with sheer spots right over the front shoulder area. The poster wondered what the point of such a t-shirt was and how it could be worn without one’s bra straps showing.

    Well, yesterday, I saw an attorney wearing that very shirt while giving a speech before a fairly large and prestigious audience. Yes, one’s bra straps are clearly visible through the poorly-placed sheer fabric parts. And as a bonus, it’s also sheer in the back.

    I’m sorry to report that I still don’t know what the point of such a t-shirt is.

    • Good for her to be giving a speech to a prestigious group, but oh. my. gosh. I feel for her – surely she didn’t know, right? RIGHT?! But how could you not know that your bra is showing and not by accident but by design?

      I suppose a top like that would be cute if you could get by with a strapless bra. But as you indicate, never for work.

    • Or for a presentation! Wow.

  5. Bra confusion--please help! :

    So, I realized I was wearing the totally wrong bra size, and replaced my whole collection by going down both one band size and one cup size. (I have lost some weight, but mostly I think I was just clueless/lazy when I bought the wrong size before. They were also very stretched out.) The new size is great: it looks better, I feel better, and my posture is better. My favorite bras were a demi style from VS, which has a smooth cup and lace piping, so I got a bunch of the same kind in the new size. I’m very confident that this is the right size for me.

    One problem: I had tried on these new bras with every type of shirt except a thin knit–which happens to be what I usually wear when not at work. Now that I tried to wear them with this kind of tee, I see that the edge line of the cup (on top) shows through my shirt! So I’m wondering: why did my too-big bras, in exactly the same style, not show through like this? And, is this problem just a fact of life when you’re wearing a demi (in the correct size) and a thin knit? Do I need different bras for this kind of shirt, or is something else wrong here? Is this not as big a deal as I think it is? If anyone has thoughts, please help. Many thanks.

    • I can’t help answer your question, but I just wanted to say that I myself was just fitted at Nordstrom and found out (as I suspected) that I was wearing totally the wrong bra size my entire adult life. I thought things were a bit off, but not *that* off. Wow. The new bras are a revelation. I never thought that bras *could* be a revelation. The only sad thing is getting rid of all my old ones, some of which I really liked.

      Anyway, the Nordstrom gal was excellent – thanks to all of you who suggested going there. She basically spent an entire hour with me and really knew her stuff. She even gave me her card and told me to call her and she would ship me anything I needed. I’ll be back for sure.

      • Sorry – I didn’t put in those links! Sheesh, how annoying.

        • What links?

          • When you type “Nordstrom” or many other store/brand names, it automatically shows up as a link to their website in the Corporette comments.

          • @Anonymous – I’ve never seen this happen, and I’m not seeing it now. Weird.

          • Weird. I don’t see it either, in Firefox.

        • Wow, that is annoying. Why are comments being turned into forced ads? That seems….unnecessarily manipulative. (I can see them using Mozilla….maybe they don’t show up in all browsers?)

          • Anonymous :

            They show up for me in Mozilla, Chrome, and Safari, but maybe there are a few browsers that don’t show them.

          • I use Mozilla and don’t see them but just tried in Safari and now I do. That is annoying – I’m all for Kat making money from links she posts herself, but she shouldn’t force commenters to insert links too.

          • But just dont click on them. I think it makes a lot of sense if we are talking about nordstroms, here is a link to them to use. Dont click if you dont want, but it doesnt affect the post at all in terms of readability.

    • Runnin' for it :

      Maybe because the old bras were looser the line didn’t show as much. I don’t wear a lot of demi’s, but I do wear a lot of thin knits and it can be tricky to find bras without lines that will show through them. If you are self conscious about the line showing through, then I suggest shopping for another bra to wear with tops like that and taking a couple of your tops with you to try on the bras with.

      I’ll join Nonny and rave about getting sized at Nordstrom. I lost weight and got measured and found out I went down a band size though my cups stayed the same. I was a 36F, and now am a 34G. Even though the cup size is the same I find my new bras fit and do their jobs better. Hurray!

    • I think this is exactly why they make “tshirt bras”, for sheerer fabrics where the lines show. I prefer full cup bras to the demis in general though, for this among other reasons. I also avoid lace cups and seamed bups under those shirts for similar reasons.

      • On that note, why are all t-shirt bras so boring-looking? It seems like if they can’t put lace and weird seams, manufacturers give up any attempt to make a bra pretty and just go with black, nude, and white. I can’t be the only one who wants a fun-looking bra that doesn’t show under thinner fabric.

    • Just as a note, I recently got re-fitted at “My Intimacy.” The sales clerk tadvised me to switch from a 34B to a 32DD. I’ve gained a little weight recently, but not a ton. I figured, well, they are European bras, maybe the sizing is different, and hey, they are supposed to be the experts. Spent over $400 on 3 bras as a splurge. Three weeks later, I find all 3 horribly uncomfortable and too tight around, though the cup size is fine. Price tags are obviously off. I emailed the store but am overall pretty bummed out by the experience.

      • The same thing happened to me at Intimacy. I’m a 36D, and they squeezed me into a 34DD, which they swore was the right circumference, even though it felt tight. I stupidly bought a bra in that size, only to find that it never stretched out, never felt comfortable, and so I can only wear the bra for a few hours at a time.

        • Well, I emailed the clerk, who was very nice and even sent me a handwritten note in the mail – I explained how disappointed I was and asked if there was anything she could do. Ill let ya know. Such a bummer.

          • If you’re not able to return them, consider buying an extender and wearing it until the 32 stretches out a little.

    • How bad is it for the bra line to show? I tend to treat it the way I do bra straps. Which is that I make sure it doesn’t show in professional settings, but as long as it’s not really obvious, I don’t really worry about it for casual settings (going to the grocery, or to a diner with friends, etc). Is this about right?

      This is opposed to how I treat, say, headlights, which I think are a big deal all the time. And guys have a sensor for them, my husband will notice if they’re showing when I can barely tell by squinting and looking at the mirror at exactly the right way!

    • Please please please go to a real lingerie store and get fitted. I just did and I am convinced. My experience – I had been wearing 34DD for a long time and thought it was fine, although got ridges when the bra wasn’t properly in place. But just needed to adjust it.
      Went to a lingerie store (a nice one, not VS) She looked at me in that size bra and suggested we try a 32G…I did, and it was great. She also explained that she gave me a bra that had softer fabric on the cups b/c of the shape/size of my breasts and said that molded cups wouldn’t work for me…
      so much information, and my mom and one of my best friends have independently told me that I look thinner and my breasts look great :)

    • Anonymous :

      When your bras were too big, they didn’t sit snugly against your skin. Now that they fit, they’re sitting against your skin, and squeezing just a little bit, which is what creates that line. That style of bra works well if you want to create cleavage; not so well under a t-shirt.

      The blog KnickersBlog used to have a great post on how to fit yourself for a bra, which included how to evaluate the fit of different styles of blogs, not just different sizes. Unfortunately, it seems to be down right now. But google for knickersblog do it yourself bra fitting guide and hopefully you can find it later!

      • Anonymous2 :

        I read the above post quickly and thought you typed KnockersBlog. Which still would have been applicable given the nature of the blog, I suppose!

    • Yep – You’re looking for a “t-shirt bra.” It’s shaped differently at the top of the cup, so that it doesn’t produce a line.

      Unfortunately, many other bras do.

  6. New York ladies–I need help! I’m in NYC with a client, in the area of Grand Central Station. You all gave me great shopping ideas last week, but I need plus size shopping in the vicinity. Ideas?

  7. Valleygirl :

    I’m putting together a graduation present for my best friend and I’d love some help/ideas of what to include… This is best friend since freshman year of highschool – and she’s getting her PhD in Econ in June and will be moving cross country, from SoCal to Washington DC, to start working at a think tank in Aug (as a side note I’m doing the cross country drive with her – kinda excited). I’ve asked her what she wants for graduation and she’s giving me nothing to work with. Basically, she wants nothing she’s going to have to pack for the move and she’s one of those hard to shop for people anyway.

    All I’ve got so far is kind of a California Care Package – I’ve found a necklace in the shape of the state with a little heart cut out in it. I’m going to swing by Olvera Street and some places downtown to get some LA-centric stuff to include (and I want to find a cute/fun tote to package this all up in). I was also thinking a bottle of wine (she is getting her PhD from UC Santa Barbara and we’ve done the winery tours up there a few times) and a cork screw… I’m also putting together a few mix cds of songs from our highschool days and songs about CA.

    So any ideas of what to include – things that make you think of CA or you’d want for a move to DC would be very welcome!

    • somewherecold :

      Maybe a DC guidebook or Zagat guide? You could get a gift card for dinner out in DC, or maybe for a massage/spa treatment…those would probably be appreciated after she gets out there and has to set herself up. I haven’t really spent enough time in DC to have suggestions, except for an awesome frozen yogurt place that I went to way too often the summer I was there, Mr. Yogato (they do gift cards–I’ve looked into it for my college-age brother who’s interning in DC this summer). A gift card wouldn’t be yet another thing to pack, so that’s an advantage.

    • Gift card for a house cleaning once she moves to DC? I’ve moved many times, and I would have appreciated a thorough scrub of the new place before I moved in.

    • Anonymous :

      What about a subscription to Washingtonian magazine, a membership to one of the museums/attractions that charges an entry fee, or a gift certificate to a nice DC restaurant? No packing required.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      A great friend of mine sent me a care package that I received about a month after I moved from the west coast to NYC. She filled it with west coast goodies, a gift card to Panera Bread with mapquest directions to the closest location, a NYC moleskin notebook, and a calendar (I moved in January). It was so thoughtful and was really nice to have it mailed to me since it seriously is a pain to move anything more than what you absolutely have to.

      We had spent a fair amount of time together in the bay area, so she included Girhadelli chocolates. A bottle of wine is also a great idea. The panera gift card was awesome because we regularly went there when we lived in the same city. If there is something you normally do together, try to incorporate that in some way that exists in DC.

      Have a great trip driving across the country!

    • Anonymous :

      A photobook, nicely bound, of California memories.

    • Did you already buy the necklace? Was it from Urban Outfitters? Just read an article that UO ripped this off from a small artisan. If you haven’t bought yet, look at this article and consider going to the original source!

  8. Ugh. Husband and I are struggling with infertility issues, and as a result, I have been a little quieter/more distracted at work. I don’t think it’s affected my performance (other than taking a little longer to get things done, but still on deadline and without over-charging the client), but does anyone have any tips on how to keep personal stuff off my mind during the day? I am fairly close with my colleagues, so I’m sure it’s noticeable on some level. Also, given that things may not be resolved any time soon, I’d appreciate some tips on how to manage this “down” feeling over an extended period of time.

    Thanks in advance.

    • It’s very hard. I was fortunate enough to have a friend at work who had been through some of the same stuff and was able to confide in her. I did best when I was really, really busy, otherwise I had way too much time to think about my own issues. You could try giving yourself little breaks where you are “allowed” to feel bad – I would catch up with my fertility support chat boards in the morning while drinking coffee, and then check in again for 10 minutes later in the day – but it’s a daily struggle when your life is measured out by dr appts. GL to you – I saw someone on an IF board once say if you want to be a parent, you *will* be a parent, no matter what it takes to get you there – that helped me get through a lot.

      • Thanks for your suggestions! I wish I had a work buddy to confide in; I tend to be an over-sharer, so keeping the situation to myself has been one of the harder parts. I do agree that we’ll get there. I’m just so used to knowing the right steps to take to achieve a goal that the unkowns have also been tough.

        I hope your name signifies that your struggles ended with a little one!

      • I know this is going to sound weird, but I just pretend that part of my job is “acting.” I act engaged, happy, alert. I only do this when I’ve been going through a hard time and I actually find it is a nice relief b/c it is a break from what I’m really feeling but I don’t feel like I have to actually snap out of it.

    • Consultant in NoVA :

      I’ve dealt with down times by forcing myself to write down a few things I’m thankful for each day (and specific to each day). Sort of like a gratitude journal. It forces me to focus on the good and positive in life. Even when things seem insurmountable at the time, there is always something good and positive going on (no matter how small).

      • I love this suggestion. Also, I think this place is a great place to vent when you need to. Corporettes are so supportive and there are a lot of us going through the same thing as you. You’re not alone!

    • First, I want to say that I am sorry you are going through this. I can relate on a certain level (miscarriage, followed by months and months of messed up cycles). It was incredibly difficult for me to function normally while I was going through all of that, so I definitely know where you are coming from. The things that helped me were the following: (1) talking to other women with similar issues, although make sure this doesn’t take over your life, (2) doing yoga or other exercise that helped clear my head, destress, (3) intentionally going out and having drinks with friends/my husband on a regular basis where talk of IF would have been awkward, which forced me to have fun and think “I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this delicious wine/cocktail if I was pregnant!”, and (4) reminding myself that my whole life would not be like this and it would get better eventually.

      In all honesty though, it is really tough. I would not expect to be able to carry on as normal while going through IF issues. Some women may be able to do that, but don’t beat yourself up if that’s not you.

      Oh, and schedule a fun vacation. Having something to look forward to is key. I went on three big vacations last year, and I desperately needed all of them. It helps to be excited for something in the future to help balance the disappointment of time passing with failed cycles.

      Good luck to you. I hope you get your baby soon.

    • Have you considered counseling? It’s probably covered by your insurance, and there are counselors who specialize in counseling couples or individuals struggling with infertility.

    • Still Trying :

      Try to remember that the people you pass in the hall may be dealing with infertility as well and that you’re not alone. Also avoid baby showers at work.

  9. Hi, I am going to be going to Atlantic CITY on this Saturday with my friend. She knows ALL about the slots machine and other good things there.

    We are taking a luxery bus there and getting $20 of quarters to start. We also are going to the beach, but I can NOT wear my new bathing suit until I loose 10 pounds, which will not be until July 4.

    We are NOT going to look for men, either. We agreed on that.

  10. Crowd source question: How do you break up with a friend? I am good friends with someone who has become increasingly self-centered, negative, and bossy (well according to mutual acquaintances she has always been that way and I just like to see the best in people) and I’m at the end of my patience with her. I feel somewhat like a terrible person because I should be just telling her about what the problem is in hopes that she will change, but I have tried and she is so bossy and controlling that it’s impossible to say ANYTHING to her without her turning it around and making it MY problem instead of hers. She has very few friends at this point, and so I feel even worse breaking off contact, but I’m not interested in any more phone calls where she goes on and on about herself with no interest in me, whatsoever. What should I do?

    Also, as an easier question, where’s a good cheap place to buy contact lenses online? I usually just do 1-800 contacts, but maybe I’m missing something?

    • From what you describe, it doesn’t sound like there’s anything to feel guilty about. Start being less available to her, and in case she does confront you to ask what’s going on, have some kind of statement ready. The statement should be true–meaning it will probably hurt, inevitably–but it’s designed to give her an explanation rather than either a false sense of comfort OR a needless insult.

      I have successfully broken up with a friend this way, but I also have been the breakup-ee! I did not question her decision, but just noticed she stopped wanting to talk or hang out, and took the hint. Incidentally, a few years later she wanted to “get back together,” and so we talked about it then for the first time. She acknowledged that she had broken up with me, explained why she now regretted it, and we moved on with no hard feelings.

    • Been there, d0ne that. Not so different from a romantic break-up.

      Honestly, I think you can go one of two ways:

      1) Be blunt (but kind) about the “issues” affecting your friendship and what you foresee happening if nothing changes. If she is able to turn the boat around, so to speak, great! If not, she has had fair warning and you can legitimately tell her that it just doesn’t work for you anymore. It is hard, but it is direct. But once you do this, you must be firm. Be prepared for some pretty crazy voicemails and emails. At the end of the day, you have to be a friend to yourself and part of this means refusing to tolerate consistently poor behavior.

      2) The passive-aggressive approach is to simply screen phone calls, always be “too busy” for that lunch, etc. Eventually, you will fall out of her normal routine.

      I have had to do both. I used the direct approach to deal with a friend who, like yours, always reflected her issues back on to me. A few years later, she approached me to apologize and to explain the issues she was dealing with internally at the time. We aren’t friends anymore, but now we are civil.

    • I agree with Monday. I understand feeling guilty (because put me in a situation, and I’ll get to guilt eventually) but from an outsider’s point of view, Monday is right – you have nothing to feel guilty about.

      I think it’s a good idea to have a prepared statement in case it comes to that so you are able to stay on point without being ugly and, more importantly, without responding to the crazy. If she turns everything around on you, your first instinct might be to defend yourself or to allow her to take you off your message of “I truly looked forward to spending time with you, but lately, you’ve seemed preoccupied with things (namely yourself) and pretty bossy and demanding, and truthfully, our interactions have been unpleasant and something I dread. Since that doesn’t seem like the Susie I know, I wonder if something is wrong or if you might want to talk with a professional about what’s wrong.” If she tries to engage you on details, I suggest saying that you have no desire to provide a list of specifics but that she’s a smart girl and she can spend some time thinking about it. The truth is, if you give her reasons, it sounds like she’ll shoot them down with how it was your fault or she was having a bad day or whatever. And, if you don’t, she’ll accuse you of not having real reasons. So my advice is after stating your case to not engage the crazy, save the time and messiness of getting in the mud with a pig (I love that imagery someone gave a few weeks ago in the comments!) and go drink a glass of wine.

      • Anon for this :

        Your advice couldn’t be truer! I had the WORST break up with a friend recently. I tried to not list the reasons- just kept repeating that I felt it was for the best. She INSISTED saying she needed to hear the reasons for closure. I felt nervous, but gave in and told her my reasons. She got very upset, refuted each one, then proceeded to tell me all my faults. Then continued to email me repeatedly about the ways I was a terrible person. It devastated me. And she wonders why I ended it…

      • Anonymous :

        Oh yeah. I forgot I have wine in the house! Thanks!

    • As to the easier question, I sometimes use Vision Direct’s website – visiondirect dot com, especially if they’re offering one of their frequent deals. The rest of the time I order through Costco (good value if you already have a membership).

    • From experience, I would just stop taking calls or responding. If she asks why, then that’s another ball of wax. I think you ought to tell her the truth, because even if she doesn’t take it well, you didn’t want to continue the friendship anyway.
      I tried to tell one of my former friends why we couldn’t remain friends and we haven’t spoken in over three years. In fact, the two times we have seen each other since then, one of us leaves the location because it’s so awkward. It was worth it to me, though. She was a toxic, selfish human being who played very nice in front of others.

    • Anonymous :

      I ordered from 1800 contacts for several years without doing any comparison shopping. Last year, I discovered 1) they were purchased by Walmart (which doesn’t matter to many, but did to me), and 2) had much higher prices on my lenses than most other places I ended up finding online.

      A good place to start is the Lenspundit blog, which has a comparison chart. I ended up going with Discount Contact Lenses, which had the best price on my lenses (acuvue oasys), and frequently has promo codes available. Good luck!

      • Anonymous :

        Same anon as above here. Those automatic links are getting REALLY annoying.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        1800 Contacts price matches, and allows you to return new in package contacts (loose or in a box) if your rx changes, which I appreciate for my continually worsening eyes. I look up my contacts on 1800, then google what I need to find the lowest price. Then I do a livechat on 1800 contacts, link them to the better deal, they verify it, and they match the price.

      • And another thing about 1800-Contacts is that they say they check your prescription with your doctor, but basically they leave a voice mail or something for your office, and if the doctor doesn’t call them back according to their schedule, then they say they’ve “verified.”

        One time 1800-Contacts sent me the wrong contacts, and when I asked my doctor’s office about it, they said that 1800 says they’ve verified the prescription, but haven’t really.

        So I stopped using them. (I also stopped using contacts, but that’s a different story.)

      • North Shore :

        On contact lenses, I’ve had good results at Vision Direct for years. There are coupons — there was one last week for 20% off new users. Another coupon showed up when I got to it from Google, a “google-coupon,” I guess.

    • summer in illinois :

      Everyone else has great advice but I wanted to add one thought, which may come off terribly online, and for that I apologize in advance: I’d suggest that you start prioritizing your own schedule earlier next time around. I’ve learned in these situations to say something direct early on, such as “I can’t hang out tonight because I’m not really in a position to be a good listener right now — I just need to relax” and, when my more troubled friends react poorly, chuckle and say something like, “That’s not very relaxing!” It’s not graceful, but they often get the hint that they’re being overbearing.

      Similarly, I’ll refuse to let people come over to visit when they’re distraught if it looks like it’s turning into too much of a pattern. I try to make sure people know where the line is when they’re crossing it. Nobody likes it, but it avoids the more extreme situations where I turn into someone’s lifeline and really don’t have the resources to handle it.

      I don’t think you should feel guilty about pulling away at this point, and I totally agree with everyone else on the thread who says you should start being less available and have a statement ready. If you want to avoid the squicky feeling in the future, setting boundaries earlier can make things more harmonious. You have to keep your voice present in your friendships!

    • Runnin' for it :

      Just a question- have you ever confronted her about her self-centered, bossy and negative behavior and told her it was affecting you and asked her to change it? Are you willing to give her a chance to change her ways or do you just want to write her off?

  11. UPF Sun Hats? :

    Are all 100% polyester ribbon hats UPF? Or only the ones that have a tag that says “UPF?”

    I bought a FABULOUS sunhat from a street vendor yesterday (100% polyester, white ribbon hat, black trim, four inch brim all around, fits me perfectly). The only tag it has says “100% polyester” — no manufacturer, no nothing.

    How do I tell what UPF factor (if any) it has?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Only the ones that say it have UPF. It’s not polyester that has sun protection, it’s a chemical that the fabric can be treated with.

  12. No matter how sexist, the goal of any marketing campaign is to grab attention. Maybe they were trying to annoy us!

  13. Anyone have ideas for alternatives to bikini waxing? It has continued to me very painful for me over the years, even if I go regularly, and it simply feels barbaric. That said, I dont like shaving either. My grooming preference is a brazilian, but I dont know what to other than wax. Sigh.



    • Laser! Pricey but totally worth it. FYI the hair won’t be 100% gone in my experience, but after a few treatments (at least 6, probably more like 10), it’ll be so thinner/lighter that it won’t be a big deal at all.

      • Really?? Is there no long-lasting damages doing laser . . . down there? I dont mean just the sides like a bikini wax, I mean the whole she-bang, like a brazilian . . . woudlnt want to deaden any nerve endings!

        • I second the laser suggestion (and I did a Brazilian down there). No nerve damage, significantly less pain than waxing, and very little maintenance. If you’re used to paying for waxing once a month or every two months, laser will be less money over the course of a year (though more up front), and you only have to do it for 1-1.5 years! I did 8 sessions three years ago, and am just now doing some maintenance for a couple of months. Definitely recommend it.

    • Definitely laser. Groupon and livingsocial often have great deals.

    • Electrolysis :

      I did electrolysis about 11 years ago. You go for several appointments, each one as long as you can stand (for me, one hour). It does smart, but once a follicle is killed, it is dead forever. (Sadly, it might take more than one zap to kill a particular follicle.)

      I never totally finished, so I still wax. But when I wax, the effects last much longer than they used to (4-6 weeks instead of one week).

    • anon for this one :

      I have always been put off by the pain factor of getting a brazilian wax so have never done it. Am curious about how people decided to go for this and was it worth the discomfort?

      • Anonymous :

        Oooh. I had a Brazilian wax once. You just have to screw up your courage and go for it. I actually didn’t mind anything on, shall we say, the back. But I found I sweat a lot on the front. I guess normally the hair disperses the sweat and it’s not a big deal, but I just felt sweaty and gross until my hair grew back. So no more Brazilians for me

      • I had a bunch. They are horrible (at least, for me). I have resigned myself to trimming.

      • AnonResponder :

        It was for me. I did them for a couple years before deciding to have laser treatments. I just felt more comfortable physically – definitely cooler. I didn’t have a lot of lingering pain either so it was just dealing with it during the session. My skin is sensitive and shaving was not a good option. I decided on laser because it was a pain in the butt (ha!) to have to keep going regularly (and often for me) and my sensitive skin didn’t like the regrowth phase much either. :) As for the pain during the session, I hear that taking ibuprofen about an 1 hr beforehand helps (I may have learned that on here at some point), and also not having it done if you are close to or having your period due to increased sensitivity (this definitely goes for the laser treatments too).

  14. Equity's Darling :

    Okay, this might be really stupid, but I’m single, and zipping up a sheath dress is a huge difficulty. I assume other people recruit their significant others when they have trouble? I guess my arms aren’t particularly flexible, but it involves a lot of twisting, and stretching. I love business dresses, but I’m always afraid of getting stuck in a sheath, because I have so much trouble zipping them up. It’s not a sizing issue, because I have a few that are a little loose, and I have the same problem with those the ones that are slightly more fitted.

    Am I doing something wrong? Is there some secret method of zipping up sheath dresses that I’m unaware of? Does anyone else have this problem?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My grandmother used to order funny things from catalogs, but one time it worked out nicely. It was this long string that clipped to the zipper pull so you could easily zip it up if you couldn’t reach. I’m not sure what it was called, but it might be worth looking for.

      • I think that I saw something like that from Sharper Image recently, in the SkyMall magazine on an airplane. (It sounds like something they would have, at least!)

        • The SkyMall magazine is one of my favorite guilty pleasures while flying! That and playing Tetris if they have it on the in-seat screen units. It kills the time, and a few brain cells, quite nicely.

        • Tetris was the first app I downloaded on my iphone, and I haven’t stopped playing it since. :)

    • Diana Barry :

      Try to stretch your triceps/shoulders by putting one arm up and around your back, and the other down and around your back, and try to grab your hands together in the middle of your back. If you can do that, you’ll be able to zip up anything! :)

    • VicLawStudent :

      I read a suggestion for this somewhere – hook the end of a (metal) coathanger through the small hole on the end of the zipper (this assumes that the zipper is the type that has a hole, which I know isn’t always the case). The extra few inches of leverage provided by the coathanger make it much easier to get your arms in a position to pull up the zipper. Or you could make some sort of a DIY pull (like the thing that Sydney Bristow describes).

      Also, if it’s something you’re really worried about, you could start keeping it in mind when shopping for sheath dresses – my favourite of my bunch is one with an under-the-armpit style zipper, as opposed to one on the back. It’s super easy to zip up. I also like that style of zipper b/c it’s not as visible as the ones on the back.

    • Me too – I thread a string through the zipper and use that to pull it up (and pull the string out once it’s up), but that doesn’t always work if the zipper’s a bit stiff and it doesn’t help me get it off later. I generally avoid zip-up dresses for this reason.

    • Heh, I can physically manage it, but it certainly is an S.O./friend/mother duty when they are available. Otherwise I leave it zipped and sort of weasel squirm into the dress, likely coming close to dislocating a shoulder. Come to think of it… Why aren’t all the zippers on the side?

      • Side zippers make alterations a lot harder. And it might be easier to install them someplace where you aren’t all having to deal with armhole construction….

    • Equity's Darling :

      Thanks everyone! I’ll look into a zipper device for my existing dresses, and in the future, aim for dresses with side zippers :)

      • Esquirette :

        You could potentially make one that works for you using a safety pin and a string. You could tie the string securely inside the hinge/circle of the pin so you would have to worry about it slipping off between uses. Putting the safety pin on the dress before putting it on is easy enough and I’d guess that taking the safety pin off afterwards or putting it on when you are ready to undress would be much like dealing with a necklace clasp (though, pokier!). Hope this helps in case you can’t find the doohickey others mentioned.

    • North Shore :

      I have a sheath dress from J Crew that really annoys me. I ordered it online, and it did not show the back, but it turns out the back is pretty low cut, and although I can zip it up, there is no way to reach the little clasp to fully pull it together on top. I work from home but travel, so the only time I’m wearing that dress is when I’m dressing at a hotel (read: nobody to help me with that clasp). So if I wear it, I can’t ever take off my jacket. I guess I should just get rid of it and try to find some other use for the jacket.

    • Just a slight modification of the DIY string suggestions here–try dental floss instead of string. Floss is ridiculously strong, so that should help with some of the harder zippers.

  15. Black and blue :

    In light of the conversation earlier about showing “imperfect” feet with dry patches or whatnot, I’m curious about showing other “imperfect” body parts. My job has a physical component that leaves my legs and arms bruised from about May to October. Last year I just sucked it up and wore long pants and sleeves, but I really missed being able to wear skirts and short sleeves so this summer I had decided to just say “screw it” and ignore the bruises. I put concealer on them, but it rubs off and by the end of the day the bruises are visible. Everyone knows that they’re from my job, and most of them have bruises to match. Unfortunately, I work with almost entirely men who don’t really have to worry about showing their legs.

    Will it look horribly unprofessional to wear a skirt with bruised shins?

    • VicLawStudent :

      I had this problem (bruised shin + skirt) this year, although the bruises were from playing ball hockey and the skirt was for interviews/networking events, not work. I just wore very opaque nylons.

      This might defeat the purpose of wearing skirts and short sleeves, but could you would a (very lightweight) knit knee-high tight/sock/nylon? I can’t tell from your comment what type of work you actually do (and thus what sort of stuff you’d be wearing – BTW, the description makes me curious about what it is that you do), but I’m thinking of something like this:

      Depending on what you do (or your personal style) those may be too twee or unprofessional, but that’s what I’d probably do if I were you (and didn’t want to wear full-on pantyhose).

      • Black and blue :

        I wish I could say “bear wrestler” or something, but I’m a research scientist and I do a amount of fieldwork where I inevitably end up kneeling on ropes or tripping on sticks. My office is supposed to be “business attire” but it’s really more like business casual.

    • I think that’s fine if it’s from your job. Concealer sounds a little ridiculous.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        If the OP is self-conscious about it, maybe try Sally Hansen airbrush legs. I’ve never tried it myself, but I think I’ve seen a few corporettes recommend it. That should be easier, cheaper, and stay on better than concealer.

        • Yes! I have used it, and the stuff works. It’s about $10 at the drugstore, and it really is easy to apply. It will wash off with soap and water but will not wash off with just water. Do try it!

    • I have horrible acne scars on my back shoulders and thighs.
      I still wear sleeveless tops even if I had a coworker once comment about the dark spots. I still wore a teeny tiny short to gym which made self conscious.
      At the end of the day you will find out people do not really care about the spots/scars/etc (ignore the odd comment every now and then).. men especially will not notice.
      You will still look professional if your attitude and performance matches the professional image you want to convey

    • I frequently have bruised shins from martial arts, and I still wear skirts. Granted, I also wear stockings, so they may be more disguised. I’ve yet to have anyone comment (and frankly, how could they, without admitting that they are looking at your legs??)

      • I’d say it’s no problem. If you want to cover them up, that’s your choice, but don’t feel obligated to do so. It’s not worth being self-conscious about stuff like this, IMO.

        I also do martial arts, and when I first started, I would get horribly bruised forearms because I was blocking too roughly. It’s more noticeable than legs, especially in summer, but I used to just ignore them.

        I actually found it kind of amusing when (on more than one occasion) people suggested that I ought to break up with my boyfriend, or get some help/counselling, and I got to say, no, this is my hobby. YMMV on that one, though!

    • I’ve got to be honest — all the complaining about people wearing sandals with “problem” feet just struck me as a bit much. I mean — this seems like a real “let he who has done no wrong throw the first stone” kind of thing. ‘

      We all have little imperfections (I have some pretty gnarly scars) and I don’t think we should have to wear clothes to cover them up! Rock out with your bad self. :-P

    • It won’t look unprofessional, but it will be noticeable and raise questions. I’d avoid it in settings where you would not want to be asked why you have bruises – e.g. when giving a presentation, interviews, etc.

    • I wear a light bronzer when I wear skirts in spring, as I’m really pale and my skin is kind of uneven and the bronzer makes my extra-pale legs look nicer. Might something like that be easier than concealer? I actually just ordered some via Amazon by Banana Boat – it’s the only one I can find that isn’t also self-tanner (although you could use that, too.)

      Sure, it’s probably unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, but if it makes you feel more comfortable wearing season-appropriate clothes, why not?

  16. I love Memorial Day. In addition to the day off work, everyone has fabulous sales going!

  17. Anon for This :

    Hi, I need help. I have been looking for a entry-level legal position since February, but no job offers have come my way. I have long suspected I have poor interviewing skills, but I don’t know how to improve. An employment specialist once told me to watch out for my body language, posture in particular, and that I need to smile more, which I am working on.

    Does anybody have any advice or tips on how to interview well, beyond the obvious (show up on time, make eye contact, dress appropriately, don’t interrupt the interviewer, research the company, etc.)?

    • Anon for This – other than what the content of what you are saying in your interview, I think appearance is really important as well. Be sure that your hair is neat and off of your face, that your makeup is there, but light and that you are in a clean-cut suit. I also think that using one of those leather portfolios to hold your resume is a nice touch.

      As for content be sure to really listen to the questions so that you can respond properly, and Rehearse some of your answers to the common questions (like “tell me about yourself” or “why do you want to work here”). Also plan out some thoughtful questions for the interviewer about the office culture, types of projects you will be assigned, who you will work with, etc. GOOD LUCK!

    • Contact your school’s career services and see if they offer mock interviews for alumni. I did these while I was in school and they were incredibly helpful in providing feedback on my interview skills.

    • Interview ansers are great when using the STAR method for structure- situation, task, action, result. For applicable questions, structure your answer with this in mind.

      Interviwer: Tell me about a time you worked hard.
      You: I have quite a few examples that I could speak to, but one sticks with me most clearly. The situation was that we…. [explain situation]. My boss tasked me with/our task as a team was … [explain]. I took the following course of action to accomplish this task we were working on [explain]. The result of my specific action of emailing the spreadsheet 5 hours ahead of schedule caused the client to invest $3 million in our company.

      Not only does this method help to keep you focussed and a little less nervous (because you have a rigid structure to build your answers around that you can fall back on), but I think it offers a very clear and direct way of answering the interviewer’s questions, which also shows you are organized and poised.

      • Anon for This :

        Thanks, that was really helpful and insightful. I have a hard time answering questions that require a more detailed, thoughtful, organized response. Will keep your advice in mind at the next interview.

    • I love the book 100+ winning answers to the toughest interview questions. It is pretty basic, and presents a formula to use, but I’ve found it really helpful in thinking how to organize my answers and how to present information.

    • Also, remember that it is a tough market out there for new law grads, so you may not be doing anything wrong at the interview stage! Have you gotten involved in local bar associations, pro bono, etc?

      • Anon for This :

        Actually, I’m not a new law grad… more like I’m in the middle of getting my paralegal certificate. I already have a bachelor’s degree, but I’m setting my sights on the legal profession. The school requires one semester of an internship, but unfortunately, I can’t afford to take on an unpaid one.

        I haven’t gotten involved in anything because I don’t know where to find them! (You see why I’m anon for this. I feel soooooooo stupid.) I’ve been trying to locate the Paralegal Association for the school all semester and well…. the school has been rather unhelpful.

  18. I’m looking a a new book to read this weekend. Just finished a bunch of fiction, anyone have recs for really good non fiction books?

    • I just read Scoreboard, Baby, which is about the 2000 UW football team. 24 members of the team had either been arrested or charged with a crime, but the coaches, the school and various law enforcement groups chose to ignore the offenses because the team was winning.

      I’m reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants now, but I’m planning to read Paramedic to the Prince next. That one’s about an american guy who served as an EMT at King Falud hospital in Saudi Arabia and then went on to join the emergency team for Crown Prince Abdullah, who is now the king.

    • Not sure what kind of non-fiction you like, so I’ll throw out a few thoughts. FWIW, I tend to like non-fiction that reads more as fiction and apparently, as I read through this list, I also really like memoirs.

      Open (Andre Agassi’s autobiography) was great, and I’m not a huge tennis person.

      …And His Lovely Wife by Connie Schultz (her memoir about quitting her job to help her husband with his senate campaign and the resulting identity issues)

      If you’re a foodie at all, Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires is fun, although it will probably make you hungry.

      Outcasts United by Warren St. John is about a soccer team in a small Georgia town–really interesting story about the town dealing with its designation as a refugee resettlement community.

      I haven’t read Ian Brown’s The Boy in the Moon but it looks fabulous.

      Happy reading!

    • The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs- about reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z. Surprisingly funny and randomly informative. The author also wrote The Year of Living Biblically, where he tries to follow all the rules in the Bible. I haven’t read this one yet.

      Heat by Bill Buford- about working in Mario Batali’s kitchen at Babbo (quite a few years ago at this point because it took place while Otto was opening). In the second half of the book, the author goes to Italy to work in a butcher shop. Fun if you like food.

      Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick- about six defectors from North Korea. I didn’t know very much about North Korea before this book, so it was quite the eye-opener. The first-hand accounts of the famine years were chilling.

      Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper- about a blind cat. Kinda schmaltzy at some parts, but still fascinating how this cat managed to adapt. It’s also a story of a young woman finding her way in her career. It made me want to hug my pets.

      • Yes. I loved the Know-it-All.

        Also, Babylon by Bus is a great book about 2 Boston-area guys who created the “Yankees Suck” t-shirts, but then decided to chuck it all and head for Iraq. They sort of party their way through the country and at one point end up living Saddam’s palace.

    • I read a lot of nonfiction. Here are my recents/favorites:

      The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (about medical advances and patient rites) (Rebecca Skloot),
      The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist (Matt Baglio),
      any of Jon Krakauer’s older books (Under the Banner of Heaven, Into Thin Air, Into the Wild),
      Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival (Laura Hillenbrand);
      Before the Dawn (Nicholas Wade, about evolution and genetics);
      1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Charles Mann);
      The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature (Matt Ridley)

      • I definitely second The Red Queen and 1491. I also just finished Devil in the White City, a book about the creation of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and one of the first American serial killers who was active in the area (the combination makes more sense if you read it).

      • Second Unbroken. I picked that as my post-finals book after reading the excerpt in Runner’s World (in one of the late 2010 issues I think), and it was fantastic.

    • Pretty much anything by Bill Bryson. Most of his stuff are books about his travels, though he has a few newer ones about random things (At Home, which is a history of random objects around the home, like why do suit jackets have decorative buttons on the sleeves? and A Short History of Nearly Everything, which I think is mainly about various scientific theories–it’s one I haven’t read yet). His travel stuff is really, really funny. I particularly like his one about Australia (In a Sunburned Country). I basically laughed out loud the entire book.

      • Absolutely seconded! Bill Bryson is my favorite author – I especially recommend “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid,” his memoir about growing up in the 1950s.

      • Thirded. Bill Bryson is fabulous.

        • This is great to know! I read “A Walk in the Woods” and have been unsure about his other books. I’ll have to try one. My father in law went to high school with him, so “The Life and Times…” could be fun.

      • A Walk in the Woods was so funny that my abs hurt for days just from laughing. Also enjoyed a Sunburned Country and his book about a road trip through the U.S. (can’t remember the name of it).

        Highly recommend Bill Bryson.

    • I’m totally bookmarking this for future reference. I find it so much more difficult to find good non-fiction than good fiction.

      I second Garlic with Sapphires. I also loved Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler, about living in modern China. I just read Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd, it has an odd structure, but really opened my eyes to the enormity of the problem of child prostitution here in the U.S.

    • I am reading a book about Shakspeare. Not a play about him but a book about him. It is very interesting b/c he lived in the Middle Ages and did not go on ANY crusades, even though others went to save the queen.

      When I am done I will give it to you if you want it.

    • John McPhee – he’s an amazing writer, and can make [almost] any subject fascinating – he wrote three or four books about geology, and I have to admit I skimmed part of the third; but I read a book about shad (the fish), about oranges, about Alaska, about wandering the world on a freighter, about dirigibles, and I enjoyed them all. I actually read his books both for enjoyment and to try to understand how/why he constructed his sentences the way he did, why he chose the words he used, to try to improve my writing.

      And I know you asked about non-fiction, but for fiction, T. R. Pearson is great – maybe an acquired taste, with long, long complicated, convoluted sentences and stories that meander. He wrote “A Short History of a Small Place” when he was, I’m guessing, early 20s, and every time I re-read it, I’m stunned that someone that young wrote something that good. I’ve loved all of his novels.

    • “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh, CEO of

    • Alanna of Trebond (formerly 2L NYC) :

      My favorite book from this past year is the Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee — could not put it down, loved it! I also second the rec for the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I also liked the Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed (which won a few awards a few years back).

  19. Shoes, shoes, shoes :


    After several late nights out dancing in heels, my feet are protesting and demanding flats… unfortunately, I was born and raised a heels girls and only now realized that the “flats” I’ve been so proud of owning for the past year are really wedges. Woops.

    A very kind gentleman at Nordies brought me about two dozen different flats yesterday, and far and away the most comfortable were a pair of attilio giusti leombruni – (may need to open in a new browser). I’m now in major buyer’s remorse over spending $295 on them – I can afford it, but I’ve NEVER spent more than maybe $150 on shoes before. The sales guy (as is his job) assured me that they are THAT much better than every other shoe, and, to be fair, I DID try on half the store.

    Anyone have these and either love them or think they were over priced?

    Thank you :)

    • Anonymous :

      Never tried these, but seen them in the store. Generally speaking, I’ve found that Italian-made shoes are worth the price (depends on the brand and style, of course, but that’s been my experience).

    • I’m feeling much the same way about a pair of Cole Haan nude-for-me pumps I picked up this weekend for $200. They are perfect in every respect, except the price. I hope we both end up loving our shoes :)

    • I felt the same way about a green Cole Haan purse I bought a couple of months ago (again, I can afford it…but I felt awful spending so much on a green purse).

      Here’s the thing though, I COULD afford it. It even fit within my monthly frivolity budget. And everytime I carry it, it makes me happy. If these shoes will make you happy and you can afford it — then I think you’re all good.

      Just don’t allow it to reset your impression of how much shoes should cost; that’s how you really get yourself in trouble. ;-) (She says as she browses on-line for some fancy designer shoes…)

      • “And everytime I carry it, it makes me happy.”

        Exactly – this is how I justify spending money on shopping, rather than vacations and the other things a lot of my peers buy. If I buy a lovely bag, it makes me happy 100 days a year for years to come (and bags and other beautiful accessories do make me happy). To me, that’s a good use of $400.

    • Shoes, shoes, shoes – the only thing that your post leaves out is if you LOVE these $295.00 shoes. My motto is “when in doubt, leave it out!” If you are in doubt about the price and you don’t love them, I would return them. But if you love these, or think that you could grow to love these, and will get a lot of wear out of them I say keep, keep, keep. Good Luck!

      • I just discovered the Leombruni shoes and think they may be the most comfortable flats I’ve ever worn, plus they are very good looking (I got the ivory ones with snakeskin toes). They are quite expensive, but being able to walk comfortably in attractive shoes is worth a lot!

    • cubedweller :

      I have a pair (courtesy of a salesperson at Nordie’s) and they are extremely comfortable. I also tried on a pair of Tory Burch flats and the AGL flats were much, much more comfortable. Six months later, I am still happily wearing these lovely, expensive shoes. I do not regret the purchase.

  20. Magdeline :

    There are some great deals going on this weekend! I just bought the suit that goes with this jacket: in navy blue from J. Crew factory online.

    The jacket + dress + pencil skirt + pants came out to $252.22 shipped! I’m so excited because I had been looking for a navy blue suit, and I love having a matching dress.

    I can’t comment on quality yet, but I will update when my package arrives.

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