Weekend Open Thread

American Living Ruched Dress, BoatneckSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Reader J wrote in to recommend this dress, noting: “I kid you not when I say I originally bought this dress last month as a part of a Halloween costume. I was going as Joan Holloway from Mad Men and needed something that reflected her figure-hugging, bold-colored, yet covered-up, style. This dress fit the bill perfectly and I fell in love with it the minute I tried it on. The material is a bit thicker, so no significant concerns about VPL. The dress is also quite stretchy and runs a size or two large in my opinion. And the color is bold without being obnoxiously bright. I wouldn’t consider it office/work-day appropriate, but would be great for an office holiday party.” Lovely — the dress wins rave reviews from the other commenters on the JCP site as well. It was $90, now marked to $56.99 at JC Penney. American Living Ruched Dress, Boatneck

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Comments

  1. Just wanted to provide a brief update on my pre-Thanksgiving father situation for the many who chimed in with helpful comments… Thanksgiving wasn’t terrible, mostly because I nipped my father’s bad behavior in the bud. He started getting nasty (sarcastic, raising his voice) at dinner Wednesday night. I interrupted him and said firmly, “No. Stop talking to me that way right now. You don’t get to talk to me that way.” It was incredibly awkward, but it worked. One or two other times, he started to behave badly, and I called him out on it and told him to stop. He did and was better behaved on this visit than most. Do I expect him to permanently change his behavior? No. Do I expect to have to do this with him in the future? Yes. I’m okay with that, though. Turns out he’s just like any other bully—he stops once his victim tells him to cut that ish out.

    • And PS, thanks to all the great ladies who responded to my original post asking for help. You all are good peeps.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m so glad it worked out well for you!

      • Thanks for the update! I’m glad it worked. I’m actually at the end of my rope with my mother (I’m the one who had the mom going crazy about the non-church wedding). I was there last weekend for a doctor’s appointment and, once again, things got so bad I ended up throwing all of my stuff haphazardly in the car and leaving on the spot. I actually might try your tactic–a simple “stop talking to me that way right now”–and see if that works. I’ve tried yelling, ignoring, crying–none of that seems to work.

        I’m glad it worked out with you! Sometimes I feel like making people feel awkward in a public place is a really good route.

        • I think most people have a tendency to respond to a parent as a child rather than an adult, and the parent then continues to treat you as a child. It’s an ingrained behavior. Sometimes it does help to talk to your parent the same way you would to any other adult, and sometimes I think it shocks them into treating you like an adult. At least, sometimes, lol.

          • Agree with this. I have recently found myself getting increasingly frustrated with my parents and feeling like I was 16 again in my reactions towards them… but then I realized that at least part of the problem is that I am still subconsciously seeking/expecting their approval and relating to them from a child’s perspective. I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t expect or seek our parents’ approval, but that our desire for their approval should be weighed against our needs as adults to make choices that best suit our lives and their opinions should just be one of many. If that makes sense.

          • This X2!!!

    • WTG Herbie!

    • am thrilled both by the news and by the update in general, I love hearing how things have turned out when people have asked for our thoughts… GOOD FOR YOU!

    • So glad you gave us the update. And even more glad you got his unacceptable behavior under control. Good job!!

  2. Hair Down There :

    Frequent poster; anon for this.
    What is considered an acceptable/normal/okay amount of hair to have “down there.” My BF said this week he’d like it if I waxed off all the hair (which I’ve never done). I lasered my bikini line pretty far in years ago. I keep the rest of the “patch” well trimmed. So I’d say it’s about 4 square inches of short hair at this point. Is bald the new normal?

    So I guess my questions are: (1) do you still have hair? (2) If so, how much? (3) If not, is getting it all removed painful or weird? and (4) If not, does regrowth cause itching? The last thing I need is an itchy crotch at the office!

    • To your BF’s request, I’d say, ‘YOU FIRST’. See what he says then.

      • karenpadi :

        Second this. I’ve said that to a boyfriend and the issue was never brought up again.

      • I said the same to my husband.

      • You first and last :

        I had a BF spontaneously shave it all off and “surprise” me. He looked like a little boy. Talk about a major turn off!

    • 1) Yes
      2) I don’t do any shaving, just “manicuring” and trimming. It’s not a lot, but it’s not just a strip either. I naturally have a very defined bikini line, so I’ve never had issues with it peeking out of swimsuits or anything like that. I just keep it trim and tidy.
      3) No experience with this, other than shaving it off experimentally.
      4) Shaving it off does cause a lot of uncomfortable itching. Very uncomfortable for a day or two. Trim and tidy doesn’t cause this issue.

      And I’m part of the younger crowd here, but don’t consider it an option to go bald. I’ve tried it, and didn’t appeal to me, or my husband, so no reason to continue.

      • I forgot to mention… the grow-out period where it is stubbly and itchy is not comfortable for me or husband when we have sex, and it is not practical to expect smoothness all the time.

    • I am like you – hair free anywhere that would show when wearing a bikini, neatly trimmed everywhere else. I like to be trimmed because it helps me feel more clean, especially during that time of the month. I’ve shaved everything before to see what it is like, and I don’t recommend it. For me it’s really hard to keep it totally smooth, and any amount of stubble is really itchy until it gets long enough to be soft (which is about the length I trim it to anyway). DH isn’t picky, but I think he probably prefers neatly trimmed to both overgrown and stubbly/prickly.

      FWIW, it kind of skeezes me out when I hear about guys who insist on having truly no hair down there, because the kind of girls who are like that all the time are … nine years old. (I am certainly not saying guys with this preference are pedophiles, but it strikes me as a kind of weird request for this reason).

      • Hair Down There :

        I’m totally weirded out by this issue as well–I think men are being trained to think “hot” = huge b**bs and bald below (while having very thick hair on the head and gorgeous eye lashes, of course)! But maybe the huge b**bs is because I’m in Texas :)

    • This is RIDICULUS for a mere boyfriend to demand this from you. What about HIM? Why should YOU itch in the office, is he doing that much for you down there? I suspect not. THEN FOOEY ON HIM!

      When I was dating Alan, he asked for alot of things and this was one of them. I did NOT do it b/c HE did not do it so why should I be miserable and itchey at work just so that HE can go around telling his friends that I am all fresh and smooth down there? FOOEY!

      I know another guy that wanted his girlfriend to do the same, and guess what? After she did, he lost interest. It is always better to be a little shy, and NOT show him everything, b/c once you do, they will LOOSE interest in her and went to another woman! FOOEY on him too!

    • 1. Yes.
      2. All of it? I might trim a bit so its not peeking out of a swimsuit.
      3 and 4 – no idea.

      It is not the new normal. Whatever is okay/acceptable is based on what YOU are okay with. But, yeah, if you’re bf wants you to shave, I’d make it a double or nothing and make him join in. Just so he appreciates the itchy regrowth.

    • Anon right now :

      None. I shave every time I shave my legs and don’t have any itching issues, but I shave my legs almost every day. It’s more comfortable for me. To each her own.

      • This.

      • Anonymous :

        Same here.

      • Me too.

        I’ve actually been doing it since I was 13 (long before I knew it was a thing and ages before I became sexually active). . . getting hair down there just skeeved me out.

      • Another anon :

        Same- hairless. I did it one time for a boyfriend because that was his preference and I just kept doing it. I like it that way. Never had an issue with itchy stubble. Now I think it’s weird to have hair there and feel dirty when it gets too long (four day grow out). I’ve tried fun little patterns but I have no skill so for me bald is easier.

    • I recently started getting a Brazilian done(meaning completely bare). I am very happy with it and will continue doing it. I think the pain/discomfort in getting a bikini wax vs Brazilian is the same..the additional fear is just psychological. So, my advice would be to give it a shot if you want to and if you do not like it, just go back to trimming.

    • Anon for this :

      I lasered it all off. Hubby likes it that way and I like the cool, bare feeling. I did waxing for awhile, but that hurt and it seemed like I was getting waxed all the time. It’s fair for us because the hubby also entertained requests that I had regarding his grooming. We’re game for whatever keeps things lively years into the marriage. :)

    • anon for this :

      No, I’m completely hairless. My SO joked about it so much in our first year together that I surprised him that Christmas. His reaction was so worth it! It’s so much more comfortable for me that I’ve kept it that way for 5 years. I shave every day. Just takes a couple minutes. Yes, regrowth causes itching, which is why I don’t wax.

      For what it’s worth, my SO decided to start shaving/trimming this year and we both find it very comfortable. We’ve talked about the prepubescent thing but neither of us particularly care about what it implies. We just like it and find it more comfortable.

    • Tired Squared :

      (1-2) I do have hair, where it would not be visible if I were wearing a bikini. That hair is trimmed and “short but still soft.”
      (3) I don’t think removal is weird–to each their own–but the waxing experience was definitely painful for me. If you do decide to do it, go to a reputable salon and ask for the “hard wax” … it was less painful for me than the hot wax.
      (4) Regrowth itches … unbelievably so. The stubble is so not particularly pleasant for you or your partner.

      I think that the decision is completely up to you, and you shouldn’t have to do anything that you’re uncomfortable with. As for the BF saying that he would like it, then tell him you’d like him to go clean too.* If he’s not willing to do that, then he can’t ask you to do it either!

      *My last boyfriend actually kept himself clean-shaven (all of it!) most of the time, and while it was nice, I wouldn’t ASK for that. He always said it was for the “visual,” but I always wondered what would happen if he nicked the b*lls.

    • 1. I go through phases. Right now, yes, but I have done the totally bare thing before. I like it, just sometimes I get too lazy to make the waxing appointment.

      2. As mentioned above, have done the totally bare thing. Sometimes I leave a “strip.” Sometimes, just shave the bikini line

      3. Painful… yes, but only very temporarily, and the pain is minimal if a.) you get waxed regularly and b.) your technician knows what she’s doing–there are even topical numbing sprays they can use to further minimize pain. I’m partial to waxing, and I can’t do it myself. Check yelp to find a good waxer in your area. I have only been to one salon that made me feel uncomfortable (that’s relative… it’s always a little weird to have someone closely examining that part of your body), and never went back to that woman. I have one I use consistently now and love her.

      4. Sometimes it causes itching, but not to the point you’ll be scratching in public. And the itchiness only lasts a day or two. I’ve found itching after shaving is much worse than itching after waxing.

    • (1) yes
      (2) Um. A bit, evenly spread? I trim and completely remove a horizontal strip on the side near my stomach (I don’t know how to put this, I hope you get what I mean) so it doesn’t peek out of my panties when I look down.
      (3), (4) N/A (I tried shaving once when I was younger and curious. Re-growth itched like h*ll, so it was a one-time experience.)

      I don’t think I’d ever get it all removed at the request of a partner. Too much hassle for me. (Likewise, I would never try out any of the “fashions” I recently saw an ad for in a teen magazine — cutting it into a heart shape or adorning it with gem stones? really?) I’m in my early twenties.

    • Research, Not Law :

      (1) I vacillate between no hair and trimmed-but-natural. If I’m natural, I only remove from the bikini area if I’m going to be swimming.
      (2) When I have hair, I try to keep it between about 1/2 to 1 inch. It’s not too short to be itchy, but not too long to be gross.
      (3) It’s awkward at first, but waxers are professional and you soon get used to it. Waxing does hurt, particularly the first two times. After that, it’s really not a big deal. With something like Veet, there’s no pain at all.
      (4) With waxing, not too bad because the hair grows in softer and thinner. With other methods, yes, but the phase passes.

      If you are going to wax, *absolutely* get recommendations *specifically* for Brazilian waxes. I cannot stress that enough. It’s a unique technique to other waxing. If possible, go to someone who specializes in Brazilians. It makes a world of a difference. My first wax was a horror, but then I did my research and found someone who specializes in it. She’s amazing!

      I typically use Veet to remove my hair. I loved waxing, particularly because the hair grows back thinner and softer, but we needed to save money from our budget. I’m very happy with Veet; it works better for me than Nair. Usually my husband does it for me (which he loooves), which makes it easier. I absolutely never take a razor to the area. It just causes stubble and in-grown hairs, not to mention the risk of nicks.

      FWIW, I got Brazilian as a one-time thing by husband’s request – but then I fell in love with it. I like the clean feeling.

      • Anon4This :

        I go mostly hairless and swear by Veet. Am too self-conscious to get waxed in a salon, and shaving IMO is awful. Itchy, tough to do, easy to nick. Veet or similar depiliatory is easy, quick and not itchy when the hair grows back.

    • I’m interested to hear what others say about this too. I feel like a lot of young people feel pressure to be totally bare down there. I’ve been waxed a few times, and I liked the results, but they don’t last long, and ultimately, I refuse to pay that much every month to be hairless. I would only be doing it to wow my boyfriend, and I think I can wow him just the way I am now.

      This is the comparison that always comes up in my mind when I think about getting waxed: Would I rather pay $60 to have someone painfully strip all the hair away from my most sensitive regions or would I like to pay the same amount for an hour-long massage and experience absolute bliss?

      I used to wax myself, but that was problematic. So now I trim and shave the parts that don’t react badly with razor burn.

    • 1/2) Lasered off part that goes outside of bikini (so jealous that doesn’t happen to everyone mine went like mid thigh!!), then I wax the rest. My waxer whom I’ve used for years once waxed it all off by accident (well she never asked and I never asked her to put it back once I saw what happened). I used to always leave a landing strip. But I liked it. I don’t always do it but now, I just never say anything and leave it up to the waxer. It’s always a surprise for me and the husband!

      3) When I lasered they asked how much and it seemed normal to ask anywhere from outside the bikini to all of it.

      4) Definitely is itchy, you just have to get some stuff. TendSkin is good for ingrowns in the blue bottle. “Coochy” shave cream from pure romance dot com prevents a lot of the itching. Then just moisturize and exfoliate to prevent itching!

      • How much does it cost to get lasered outside of bikini area? I’ve always imagined this would be overly expensive, but it seems like a lot of people on here have done this.

    • I think you should do what you feel good doing. To each her own. But I can say that I do resent the idea that it’s becoming the new norm. I had a waxer tell me that most women (in NYC) go bare because they like to be clean, which pissed me off because having pubic hair is not unclean. It’s there to protect your skin–it’s also there, I learned on a podcast, to broadcast your, er, scent to potential mates. So think of how sexy you’re actually coming across to men when you have it–and they don’t even know.

      To answer your questions, though: 1) yes, 2) a little more than what you’ve got–I just go in about two inches more from the bikini line. Sometimes waxing myself, sometimes getting it done. 3) from when they’ve gone further than I wanted, it’s been more painful the further you go in.

      If your bf asked you in a douchy way and not in a “hey, you know what I’m curious about” sort of way, I’d dump him. But that’s just me. FWIW, my bf told me (unsolicited) the first time he saw down there that he loved the way I had it. :)

    • i have extremely sensitive skin, I do not do any hair removal, shaving, waxing, any of it. I am so much more comfortable leaving my hair and skin alone completely. And I do not feel weird or abnormal.

      Don’t decide what to do based on what is perceived of as ‘normal’ or ‘weird’ or what your bf thinks. Do what works for your body and makes you feel comfortable. It’s your body.

    • Anon for this :

      I have been shaving it all off for about 10 years. I used to trim and shave the bikini until one day I “messed it up” and decided to remove all of it. I haven’t looked back. I prefer it and feel strange when I go even a week without shaving. I don’t get itchy or ingrowns because I shave with the growth and not against it. I plan on getting it all lasered off when I finish with other areas.

      I’ve gotten a Brazilian twice. I didn’t find the experience to be all that terrible. But I did get some ingrowns in the bikini line (only). I stopped doing it because it was too expensive and there aren’t that many places that do it where I live.

      • Diana Barry :

        I’ve gotten brazilians (leaving a patch in the middle) for about 9 years. Now I have very little hair – about 1/8 to 1/2 inch in between each hair (less on the outer edges). So I don’t get it waxed very often – maybe about every 8-12 weeks, or whenever I get annoyed by it. No itch (shaving itches). And I do it because I like it, not bc DH requested it. :)

    • Magdeline :

      I remove everything. My fiance prefers it that way, and I suppose that I like the clean look/feel. I use an epilator, which Iove and would highly recommend. (I used to shave every time I shaved my legs, and that way okay, but this is way better.)

      • I am intrigued by the epilator. Does this actually remove all of the hair, does it hurt, and how does it do on sensitive skin?

        • I’m also curious about this.
          -Does it remove all hair?
          -How long does it last?
          -Is it painful/does it leave bumps? I’ve seen some reviews saying it can.
          -How does the cleaning of it work?

          • Sorry for the slow response. I’ve been trying to stay away from Corporette this weekend due to finals.

            -It removes all the hair. You can easily move the epilators in different directions to make sure that you get everything. I actually think that it does a more thorough job than waxing does.

            -It lasts about two weeks for me. At that point, hairs start to grow back. One of the best parts of epilating is that, unlike waxing, you don’t have to wait for much regrowth. Once it starts growing back, I give it about a day, and then I epilate it off. That means that, unlike waxing, I am completely smooth almost all of the time.

            -To be honest, it hurts like h*ll the first time you do it. It takes a long time (about an hour), you aren’t used to it, and you are ripping a lot of hair from the roots at once (like waxing). I drank a glass of wine and gritted my teeth. (I have read that if you either get waxed first or only epilate a portion at a time, it isn’t as bad. I am incredibly stubborn and impatient, though.) For the subsequent times, it hurts less and less. I think that your hair gets finer and you aren’t removing as much at once, so it is much better. I’m really not bothered by it at all now.

            -For me, it does not leave bumps. (I’ve never gotten them from waxing either, but I have from shaving.) I usually exfoliate with a loofah and use Amlactin lotion to be sure that no razor bumps form. The area was red after the first time I did it, but it has not caused any redness or irritation during subsequent epilations.

            -My epilator came with a little brush that you can use to remove any hairs that fall under the tweezer like things. Some of the pieces come off (but it doesn’t come completely apart), so I take those off and use the brush. I also spray it with alcohol. It seems clean to me.

            If anyone is considering an epilator, I would make sure that it has both a light and a cord. The light sounds stupid, but unless you have extremely bright lights in your bathroom, it is actually very helpful for the bikini area. The cord is necessary because the last thing you want is to have the battery die while your bikini area is half-epilated!

        • Re. sensitive skin:

          My skin is mildly sensitive (when I shaved, I would often get bumps, etc.; sorry for TMI, but I suppose that is necessary given the subject), and other than redness after the first time I epilated, which lasted a day or two, I have not encountered any problems. If your skin is very sensitive or has problems after waxing, I would be cautious about using an epilator.

      • Tired Squared :

        Magdeline, I am impressed! I use my epilator for underarms and legs, but I wouldn’t have the courage to remove everything with it!

      • Anonymous :

        Epilators are great. It hurts, but epilators don’t rip off my skin like waxes do. I usually have to go over the same areas several times to catch all the hairs. I’ve considered lasering, but am concerned about skin discoloration. And I’d hate to pay thousands of dollars just to reduce the amount of hair 9 I have. I’ve heard with laser, it just grows back finer and fewer in quantity.

    • Aside from Corporette, I frequent another commenters-have-formed-a-community blog. It’s nothing like Corporette, but it does have a lot of unusual, quirky, and sometimes fictional (like Ellen) characters. One of the regulars manages to turn just about every one of his comments (I’m talking about on a daily basis) into a lament about how modern women just don’t have hair down there.

      It’s weird.

    • I really think it depends on the guys age and how much porn he watches. Seriously. I have heard everything from – I have a daughter, I want my gf to look like a woman – to (when I had an unexpected date mid – winter when I was being uber lazy) that huge untamed bush is the hottest thing ever (and he meant it & wanted me to keep it!) to my current bf whose last few gf’s all had no hair and he prefers that. I don’t like it – not to be gross – but I find it very messy to go potty (sorry for the tmi – and I the only one that has this issue?!?). So I lasered the area outside the bikini (and a few inches inside and the top) – I am a huge baby – but I took 4 advil – used ice and found it less painful then waxing. I keep the rest trimmed short with nail scissors in the shower and that’s that. Bikini ready year round. Bf gets his wish on special occasions.

    • BF is a douche. Your hair — your hair style. Doesn’t matter where that hair is on your body.

      And personally, I got a brazillian wax and the biggest problem wasn’t itch — it was sweat. Hair is hollow and absorbent, so if there is nothing absorbing all that sweat (and seriously, clothes weren’t cutting it)…ick.

      Also, there was no sex during the post wax pain period and no sex during the stubbly grow out period so really what was the point?!

      • I’d temper this response by saying that the bf isn’t a douche for mentioning that he’d like it (he’s just expressing on opinion about what he wants in his s*x life – and frankly, I’d rather know that than not know that). It moves into douche territory if he insists on you doing it, or tries to make you feel like you are weird if you don’t do it. If you want to give it a try, that is perfectly fine (in case you need an anonymous online person to tell you that) as long as YOU are comfortable doing it.

        • anon for this :

          Totally agree. When my SO brought it up, he always said it was something he would never ask me to do because of the maintenance. But he was clearly intrigued and that’s why I decided to do it initially. It has turned out that the maintenance (shaving) hasn’t been a big deal at all. Since he started shaving/trimming, too, he has also said it’s no big deal and he wishes he had done it years ago!

    • I suspect bald is less the new normal than magazines/tv/porn would have you believe.

      I still have all my hair. I trim it with a beard trimmer, but I get nasty ingrown hairs from shaving it and waxing if far more than I’m willing to spend on it. Besides, I’d feel weird without hair. I’m not judging women who do shave it, but for me personally as a bisexual woman, when either myself or another woman has no pubic hair, it removes some of that excitement that comes from seeing and touching someone naked. I don’t actually know what my current boyfriend prefers. I’ve never asked.

      I’d be careful asking your boyfriend to do it first unless you’d actually like that. I’ve had a boyfriend shave all of his chest and pubic hair off and it was a bit horrifying. And if you’re using “you first” as an excuse, you kind of have to go through with it if he does and then you’ll both be scratchy and stubbly together.

    • anonforthis :

      (1) yep, (2) I shave the outside edges (top and sides) to the skin) to keep it neat for bikini purposes, and trim the middle so it is short. I use a bikini trimmer (like a beard trimmer) to trim the hair in the very middle over the most delicate parts. (3) don’t know, never waxed it all, (5) regrowth from shaving all the bare can be a little itchy, but not bad if you keep it moisturized (I find a salicylic acid lotion- the kind meant for your face- is really helpful)

      I have never waxed it because (1) I’m a baby about pain, (2) it seems unnatural, and (3) I don’t have time for it, I barely manage to get my other hair cut on a regular basis.

      My husband may have suggested it once or twice, but never in a demanding way. He has shaved him self down to the skin just for kicks once or twice. I thought it was disturbing, freaky looking, and decidedly unsexy. The regrowth process was very itchy for him.

      I honestly don’t find it sexy when ladies are completely bare, and it wouldn’t make me feel sexy. It reminds me of fake, silicone-filled porn stars and young pre-pubescent girls. The hair also serves a function– to capture sweat and other things that may run down there, protecting your delicate area. So, it’s not for me. If you like it, go for it. Many women do, I’ve heard (and it seems to be true, from the comments). I will note that I don’t find a full natural bush very comfortable either, whatever the biological benefits. So for me the happy medium is to trim.

    • I recently started waxing EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING) off. It is not very painful and I really, really like it. I feel much cleaner. I haven’t had any problems with ingrown hairs or itching.

    • Whaaaaat? Clearly I lead a sheltered life because I had no idea that bald nether regions was a common thing. Maybe because I’m too old (mid-thirties) and have never watched porn? Anyway I’m au natural except for bikini line shaving during swimsuit season. My husband has never said anything. I’m pretty sure he also has no idea it’s a thing. It just never occurred to me that going bald would have a benefit or be worth the time and ingrown hairs. Like it has never occurred to me that I should shave my arms or eyebrows. I’m obviously very much out of the loop.

      • You and me both. Mid-thirties, I do some trimming/shaving during swimsuit season, but otherwise let things be as they are. Never had any complaints, and consider my sex life to be somewhat adventurous.

        • Eh. Mid 30s here and I shave it all off. DH shaves too and I like the clean look on both of us.

    • Oh.so.tired :

      I am bare down there. It is the new normal. I don’t see why understand some of the comments regarding looking like a prepubescent girls. Most of us shave our legs and our underarms, and the only people hairless in those places are prepubescent girls, too. Not sure why this is any different.

      Fwiw, I’m in my early 20s and almost all my friends (that I know of) go bare down there, have always maintained it that way, and consider it the norm. Its probably another thing that can be chalked up to generational differences.

      • anon for this :

        Totally agree with these sentiments.

        You’re right that it’s the new normal for people in their 20s. My SO and I have talked about that a lot, given our decision to shave. I am in my mid 40s and he is in his early 60s. We like it better and that’s all that matters. It is not something I would ever have even considered if he hadn’t brought it up and now it’s the new normal for me.

      • I’m in my early 20s and would not consider this standard. Plenty of my girlfriends shave or wax, but a larger number do not, for all of the reasons other people have mentioned.

    • This cultural phenomenon is so weird to me. Vag fashion inspired by pornography? Ewww no thanks.

      • Yeah, I’ll probably get flamed for saying it but the trend seems decidedly un-feminist to me.

    • 1. Yes
      2. I trim the bikini line
      3. removing it all would be weird for me, but I know a lot of people do it.
      4. Yes, regrowth itches.

      I think the important question is: Are you comfortable doing this for your BF? If you are, then try it. If not, then tell him that.

      I think this is a common issue. I believe it is important to ask your partner what he likes/wants, but it is also important for you to tell him what you want/like/are comfortable with. My current partner says he doesn’t care. He just likes the sex. It sure is nice to be with a man who just says “do what you feel best doing, I am just happy to be with you”. I once dated a guy who was a hair phobe and wanted it all gone – along with his. I thought that was just weird and I wasn’t comfortable doing that for him – but I guess that says something about how I really felt about him.

    • I do very little trimming in that area. I want laser removal on my bikini line someday. If it matters I’ve been married 15+ years, and dh says he doesn’t really care either way, although the other week he mentioned a full wax might be interesting, this was the first time he’s ever said something like that.

      I like the ‘you first’ line. I think it’s more common now days to have very little, if any, hair. I read something somewhere once talking about how our society is becoming more & more hairless. It was interesting.

  3. I’m a law student, and I’m in the process of trying to switch to a more “grown up” wardrobe. I think I’ve done a pretty good job with business and business casual clothes, but my weekend stuff still screams teenager. Based on recommendations here I picked up some dark wash Seven jeans when they were on Gilt sale a few weeks ago to replace my worn Levis.

    I’m not sure if they don’t fit my correctly, or I’m just not used to a more adult fit. The rise is higher than I am used to, and they are more structured and so they don’t really hug my legs like my other jeans do. I ordered the size that would fit my waist, had them hemmed to be the right length, but they still feel a little boxy, and to me have a slight “mom jean” vibe. They fit like I would expect wool trousers or something to fit, but with denim, and since it’s stiffer, I feel like it makes my backside and hips look larger than they do in my previous pairs of jeans.

    Ultimate question: is this how they are supposed to be (meaning I should just get used to them and stop trying to dress like I’m 17), or do I need to find a different brand that works better for my body? (FWIW, I’m on the smaller side – 5’4″, 100 lbs, got the 26″ waist size and like how it fits at my waist, but they seem too big for my legs).

    Thanks!

    • found a peanut :

      It seems to me that you got the wrong size (too big). I’m 5’6″, 130 lbs and I wear a 27 or a 28. Is there a store nearby to try on a few pairs of jeans to see if a smaller size would fit you better?

    • Anonylawyer :

      It depends on the cut. Sounds like they might be more of a straight leg, which hugs the thigh less compared to a skinny or boot cut? For jeans, your best off shopping in person. Nordstrom is great for jeans. Go to the Savvy section and try a bunch on to figure out what you life. I personally love the Paige Sykline style.

      I personally like a slightly higher rise in my jeans to avoid muffin top and whale tail.

    • Do you know which Seven jeans you got? The Roxanne, Biancha, Dojo, Bootcut, etc.?

      There’s a guide at www dot 7forallmankind dot com/fitguide/womens/index dot html?ICID=womens_shopournewfitguide

      I have several pairs and although I love most of them, the Roxanne High Rise fits me a little “mom-like” how you described – it’s a high rise and the back pockets make my butt look a little longer/flatter than I’m used to. But I (also) bought them on Gilt combined with a previous return for $11 and kept them for wearing at home (super-stretchy and comfy blend).

      From your post, maybe you bought the Dojo? Which is more like a trouser jean.

    • Emma Woodhouse :

      Those sound like trouser jeans, in which case the fit is correct – they should fit like pants you’d wear to work.

    • Why dress like a grown-up on weekends? I wear suits and whatnot all week, the weekend is when I get to dress my (young) age.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree. Although, I’m about to turn 30 (but am Asian and often mistaken to be much younger before I start to talk) and I know there’s a not insignificant chance that I’ll run into a firm client at a grocery store or restaurant on the weekends, so I’m feeling pressure to dress “like a professional”.

    • It’s a bootcut, and the fit isn’t that different, but enough different that it feels weird. I like them enough I will keep wearing them, but will go try on a few more at Nordstrom’s in case I want to buy another pair. I would just order the next size down, but I got the smallest size they sold, so if that’s my problem I will probably just need to find another brand.

      • whoops, I’m the OP and forgot to change my name from another post

      • What rise are you used to? If it’s say, an inch below your navel and you’re used to super-duper-ultra-crazy-low rise, it will feel like mom jeans. :) As an official “grown up” (over 30, married, have a kid) it’s also the quality of your clothes and how you do your hair and makeup that makes a difference.

  4. Tired Squared :

    I love this! Unfortunately (or fortunately for my checkbook) I don’t have a holiday party to wear it to…

  5. a nonny miss :

    ‘Rettes, I applied yesterday for a few jobs in a midwest city where I have a small network of friends that I plan to visit around New Years. I figured it would take a few days to get called, if I got called at all but lo and behold, I just got contacted about setting up an interview next week. With work commitments here in the East, I don’t feel like I can swing it. Is it out of line to ask if a phone interview is possible?

    I would have no issues/face no obstacles moving to the city if the job was offered. My friends have already advised that they have an extra room I could take until I decided to get a place of my own. Overall, I feel very stagnant where I am right now, working in a job with no mobility whatsoever and not using my degree. This job would be a huge step forward in putting my degree to use and also a huge jump in salary, so I really don’t want to let the opportunity slip away.

    • I’d ask for a phone interview or, in the alternative, an in-person interview over new years when you’ll be in town. It’s not that far away, so I don’t think it’s out of line.

      • Seattle Lawyer Mom :

        What? You applied for a job, got called right away for an interview, and you don’t want to do it? Hmm, if I were the interviewer I would immediately put you in the “no” pile. If you actually want this job, you should immediately respond, thank them for their interest, and you could — if you have to — say “I’ll be in X city on the dates of __ to __ already, so I wanted to find out if it was possible to schedule my interview then? No worries if it isn’t, I’d be happy to come out this week if that works better for your schedule, but just thought I’d ask.” Under NO circumstances should you ask for a phone interview. A phone interview screams out to the interviewer that you really aren’t that interested in the job and don’t intend to relocate. Now, even if you do the approach above of asking to put off until New Years and they say yes, you may find that by then they’ve interviewed someone else local whom they liked and are offering the job too. Bottom line, if you want the job, you should probably just suck it up and get out their to the interview.

  6. Sydney Bristow :

    Since I realized that library lending is available for the Kindle now, I’ve been wanting to make a list of books to read. What business or law books would you recommend for someone early in their career? I’m thinking along the lines of the baby shark book that was recommended here before.

    • Someone on this site recommended “The No A$$hole Rule” to me. I read it on my Kindle. Can’t help with the lawyer books, though.

      I am reading my first library book via my Kindle now, though.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Sweet thanks Bunkster. I’m totally open to things outside the legal field and just general career advice books as well.

        • Barrister in the Bayou :

          Well since you’re open to books outside of the legal field… I would recommend the Hunger Games! I know its YA, but I loved the series and can’t wait for the movie to come out in March.

          • +1 for the Hunger Games! I started the first one on a plane, bought the next one at the next airport during a layover, and made my dad drive me to the local B&N as soon as I arrived.

            The movie is going to be so great!

          • I loved The Hunger Games. Might as well buy all three right away though, because it’s as addictive as crack and you will fly through the whole trilogy in no time. I wasn’t a big fan of the ending, but I won’t say more at the risk of spoiling it. It just felt like a lot of things were unresolved.

          • Anonymous :

            I read the series in one workweek, taking lunch breaks to read and staying up past 1 am every night during the week just so I could read it. =/

        • I recommended the No A$$hole Rule! Glad you’re recommending it, Bunkster! I’d second a vote for that one.

    • Just finished Bleak House. It was a good read but long. Made me cry, which a book hasn’t done in a long time. Great food for thought about the process of law, the impact on your clients, and what your goal is as a lawyer.

      The ABA put this list out and I have most of them on my “to read” list. (I think I ignored Gloria Allred’s suggestion because I can’t stand her but that’s about it.)
      http://www.abajournal.com/gallery/30lawyers30books

    • Absolutely: Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office by Lois Frankel. I like hers on personal finance, too, Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich.

      • Backgrounder :

        NGDGTCO (it’s on my list too)…also keep in mind that the Kindle Lending Lib is only avail to Amazon Prime members and only allows you to borrow one book per calendar month. I took a look at the selection of books available for borrowing- it’s okay – sort of limited IMO. I was excited when I first heard about it but bummed about the one book per month rule.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I wasn’t even thinking about the amazon lending. My local library has kindle books available now.

          • Backgrounder :

            Oh, oops, ok got it. I’m sure your library has a better selection of e-books > amazon lending anyways.

    • Anonabus (allergies) :

      This is what I have on my list that I LOVED so far and I have never tried to get them on my kindle but:
      – Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
      – Biographies of famous lawyers (Lincoln, Clarence Darrow, Ralph Nader, Thurgood Marshall, Brandeis, Gandhi, Nelson Mandella, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Thomas More, Morris Dee)
      – Anything by David Maister, but especially “True Professionalism” and “Managing a Professional Service Firm.”
      – Time Management for Dummies (not sure of the author) and Getting Things Done by David Allen
      – The Michigan Constitution (yeah I know but I don’t practice there and it was insightful)
      – Francis Wellman’s Cross Examination
      – Plato’s dialogues, especially the Apology (great source for cross examination technique)
      – Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky
      – Daniel Pertocelli’s Triumph of Justice
      – Foonberg’s writings on generating business
      – McElhaney’s Trial Notebook

    • Can I subthread-hijack and ask if anyone has suggestions in business/management consulting-related related topics? NGDGTCO is already on my list (below The McKinsey Way), but I’d be curious to hear other ideas!

    • I really, really loved Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates by Ross Guberman. Specific tips for good legal writing, with examples drawn from really brilliantly-written briefs.

    • Anonymous :

      This book isn’t on the Kindle, but The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law by Mark Herrmann (published by the ABA) is a quick and good read. I realized I had been making some mistakes that no one told me about.

  7. I’ve been waiting all week to post 2 related questions.

    The 1st: Does anyone have any recommendations for a good tailor/alteration-er (or warnings to stay away from bad ones) in NYC? I work in the Financial District and commute from NJ through Port Authority Bus Terminal so anywhere between midtown and super-downtown work for me (as they are on the way).

    The 2nd: Does anyone have any recommendations for a good leather/shoe repair shop (or warnings to stay away from bad ones) in NYC?

    Many TIA!!!!

    P.S. For anyone who gave advice on what to wear to my swearing in ceremony – Thanks! Check my linked blog on Monday to see what I wore!

    • I know a few in the Port Authority area:
      – In Port Authority, go to the side between 41st and 42nd and ask at the info booth for directions
      – Don’t know the name but there’s one on 39th st on the east side of 8th Ave

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      I usually take my shoes to the shoe repair guy in the basement of the Chase building on William and I think it’s Gold? You go in the doors on the lower level (like below the plaza), turn left to go down the stairs to the subway, and he’s through the revolving doors at the bottom. And they have a punch card. X # of heels repairs, get one free (I don’t remember the exact #). They seem fine. I usually just go to whatever shoe guy is close to my work at the time. I’ve never had anyone screw up a repair, but I’m usually just getting heel tips replaced or sturdier soles put on over leather soles. I don’t trust them to clean my good purses, though, and am still looking for a sort of purse cleaning specialist for that.

      • Backgrounder :

        I liked Dino’s Shoes in midtown near Columbus Cir. They did a good job of resoling a pair of leather sandals and boots for me. They also offer free pick up and delivery I think depending on where you are.

        • I take my shoes to Luz’s Shoe Repair on 23rd St near 5th Ave. My office used to be nearby, but even now that I work near Grand Central, I still take my shoes there because they do such a good job. FWIW, I trust them with some fairly expensive shoes.

          With regards to a tailor, I’ve been most satisfied with the work from Stanton Tailor in the LES. However, they get extremely busy, so I always call before I go, and confirm how long it will take them to tailor an item. They’ve been known to pull down the gate in front of their shop to make it seem like it is closed (even when it is open), so if you get there and the gate is down, just give them a call. This probably sounds like too much of a hassle – and it is if all I need is a pair of pants to be hemmed – but for tricker items (like dresses or suit jackets), I’ve always been very satisfied with them.

      • I go to leather spa for my shoes in midtown Manhattan. Pricey, but worth it, especially if your shoes are expensive or dear to you. I refuse to go anywhere else, and even mail my shoes to them when I’m not in NYC.

    • Senil tailor on 28 (or 29?) just east of 3rd Ave is incredible — that woman can do anything. There’s also an amazing cobbler on the north side of 31st, between Lex and Park. Not sure either is convenient, but they are great.

  8. I could wear this dress to work. And red’s my favorite color, but I’m not buying anything for myself until after xmas. Maybe it’ll be on a deeper sale then.

    And SFBA, it’s a week late, but I promise to post about my office holiday party tonight, while I’m babysitting.

  9. I liked the post from the ‘are lawyers happy’ thread that said you can have 2 of 3 (top pay, responsibility, and flexiblity). It reminded me of some advice I once got about being a working mom. Thought I would post it here since that comment from the other week about the mama with the 2 month old/daycare/commute situation clearly resonated with a lot of people.

    The advice was that you can be a mom, a wife, and a career woman, but at any given moment you can only do two of those three roles well. It won’t always be the same two roles, but you aren’t going to be rocking all three of them at the same time. Curious from those in the trenches if they’ve found this to be true…

    P.S. I LOVE this dress. Would definitely wear it to work.

    • Diana Barry :

      Agreed. I think I am a great wife, a good mom, and only OK in my career right now. I just spied a friend of mine at the OB’s office today (she didn’t see me) and she is super high-powered (16 hr days, etc.) and I wonder what will happen when she has the baby.

    • I’m not sure how my experience fits in with the 2 out of 3 at a time “rule”. Maybe it’s because while I’m a hard worker and dedicated to my job, I don’t dream of climbing any ladders. That said, I have a masters degree in a sought-after field within the sciences, and I work in that field, so maybe I’ve been lucky because I’m desirable. Anyhow, my first job out of grad school had pretty good work-life balance, mostly because it was a government job. Then I got pregnant and decided I’d be an adjunct instructor and teach part time because I didn’t want to make an hour and a half commute with an infant in daycare. Then my husband and I moved to a different state when our son was 3 weeks old, and I decided to stay home until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Then when I was ready to go back to work, I found a full time job in consulting. I made a condition of my employment no more travel than one week per quarter, and my boss stuck to that. I now work part-time for another consulting firm.

      I have no idea where I fall on the continuum, but I love my job, and I feel I have very good work-life balance. I would hope that my husband would say that I’m a good wife. :) Maybe it’s because my firm is different, but I don’t fell I’m penalized for working part time. Other women who are more high-powered than me work part time, so it’s actually the norm in my company.

      • This is obnoxious and unhelpful, I think. You just seem like you’re bragging, EM.

      • are you serious a? she’s not saying “omg my life is so great blah blah….” She talked about real conditions that she put on her job to achieve work-life balance. Many women don’t want to work part time or move, or they dream of moving up the ladder. I think this shows that if you’re OK with not doing that, at least in EM’s field, you can have that balance. Sheesh.

        • Anonymous :

          EM has placed her family above working insane hours. How is that obnoxious?

    • I totally agree and, unfortunately, I’ve only managed to be a mom and a career woman in the first year of having a child. My marriage has seriously suffered and I’m having a really difficult time getting it back to where it should be.

    • I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I guess it depends on how you qualify being a good mom/wife. If the definition is being home to cook dinner every single night or picking up the kids after school every day at 3:45, then no, you can’t have all three at once. If it is being able to chaperone a couple field trips a semester, and being home for dinner more nights than you aren’t, then I think it’s totally possible. I think the key is having excellent communication and shared priorities with your partner–it all flows from there. (Two exceptions to the rule: 1. When you have an infant and are back to work, you will have moments when you feel terrible at everything. Gets easier as the baby gets bigger. 2. When you are on trial, all bets are off. But usually that’s shorter-term….)

      • Seventh Sister :

        I’m with anon on this one. I try to ask myself, “would my husband feel guilty over xyz?”. The answer is usually, no, he’d win Beehive Father of the Year for organizing a raffle at preschool and working full time. Women can be way too hard on themselves.

    • I’ve also heard this, and I think it’s true. Especially for women in law, other careers may vary. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a way of reminding yourself to be realistic about what you can accomplish and prioritize accordingly. If you insist on pursuing all three, full speed ahead, at the same time, it is very likely that one of them (at least) will suffer and you just won’t actively choose which one it is. Or, you’ll end up doing all three mediocrely and none of them well, which is ok- sometimes, that is all you can manage.

      Right now I’m only attempting two (career and wife). I want to get career in a good enough place to let it coast a little when I start to attempt the third (mom).

    • Interesting that what is left out here is ‘good to self.’ eg time for self to eat well, see friends, relax, exercise, whatever YOU like. I have cut back on those things and think it’s a challenge- but equally important as the other roles. Let’s not forget ourselves.

  10. This is embarrassing, but – have any of you had problems with break outs on your back? Any idea how to get rid of them? I use one of those asian exfoliating washcloths but that doesn’t seem to help. Thanks…

    • I use my facewash and toner on my upper back just like it’s my face. The toner really helps. I also have the Neutrogena body spray, but the smell and drying time of that is just too intense for me to use it often.

    • I had crazy back breakouts a few years ago. The doctor prescribed me ‘erythromycin’ cream/gel. Took about a month or so to go away and scars faded slower. So, if it looks/feels like acne, definitely see a doc.

    • Elizabeth :

      My best solution? Birth control. I started taking the stuff a month before my wedding, and my pimply back was blemish-free by the big day. It’s the best side effect ever, but it’s not worth taking the pill if avoiding breakouts are your only/primary motivation (obviously).
      Otherwise, you can spot treat with a product heavy in salicylic acid. If clears up whiteheads in a jiffy. Clinique has one – it’s a gel that comes in an applicator similar to an eyedropper – but it’s something almost every makeup line carries. You’ll need to be flexible or have an accomplice to apply it.

    • Yes, when I came off bc, my back started breaking out pretty horribly. I use Pink Grapefruit Acne Bodywash, and it has almost entirely cleared up. At first, it got worse, because it caused whatever was underlying in the skin to come to the surface, but then it’s been good for the past 3 weeks, and all of the marks have almost completely faded.

    • I noticed that Proactiv has a body wash. I haven’t used it myself (maybe others have?), but their face wash has done wonders for me, so I would definitely give it a try if I started breaking out on my back.

    • Anonymous :

      There is a comment below (off this string) recommending Original Head and Shoulders shampoo because it apparently has zinc. This makes total sense. Zinc is a major ingredient in ProActiv’s face mask, which has done wonders for my face and chest. I am definitely going to try the H&S trick. The low price tag is a big bonus.

    • I shower right away after getting back from the gym using a mesh puff and some OTC medicated face wash – anything with at least 2% salicylic acid. FWIW – the neutrogena face wash has the same active ingredients as the body wash and was a lot cheaper. That seemed to do the trick for me. You can also try spot treating with a benzoyl peroxide cream before bed if you don’t mind some potential pj discoloration (bleaching).

    • Have you considered whether your hair conditioner is the culprit? Try applying your conditioner and rinsing it all with your head flipped over (as if you were washing your hair in the sink) and see if it gets better after a couple of weeks.

      • Always a NYer :

        That was something that I never thought about until my esthetician mentioned it. Rinsing all the conditioner out of my hair before washing my back has really helped. I also use a back brush with a tea tree body wash from The Body Shop as well as my Clarisonic three times a week.

        • Neutrogena Body Scrub (it has salicylic acid in it). Not too drying, but it really helps. The other thing I’ve used is the Clinique back spray since I can’t always reach the parts of my back that are breaking out.

      • I keep a butterfly clip in the shower and clip my hair up while it is ‘conditioning’, for this very reason.

    • OP here – thanks all! I’m going to try the conditioner trick for now and pick up some of the recommended products next time I’m at tar-jay.

      • One other thing not mentioned — I find that anything with lauryl/laureth sulfate breaks me out. I pretty much stopped getting breakouts when I switched to a sulfate-free face wash and body wash. Don’t know how much of that is the cosmetics and how much of it is just getting older, but it’s probably worth a try.

    • locomotive :

      soap with salicylic acid in it – clinique makes a bath bar that’s helped my shoulders and back clear up.you gotta be flexible to reach back there though!

  11. Does anyone have any good advice about avoiding typos/spelling mistakes? My job involes writing and responding to many emails. I made two mistakes today, one a typo, and the second using 2011 instead of 2012. Obviously I use spell check, but that isn’t enough. Tips?

    • AnonInfinity :

      Proofread like crazy!

    • If you can’t print, I’ve found that publishing the document to pdf and reading it as a pdf somehow helps me read it more carefully. I catch errors that way all the time.

      • I find that changing the format in any way before proofing helps a bit. Change the size of the window, change the font, cut and paste it into a different program, if you’re in word, change it from the “normal view” to the “print view”, or something like that.

    • Not sure if this will make sense but I purposely keep my last name out of the spell checker’s dictionary (but in my signature block) so that the spell checker picks up every single email I send (spell checker kicks in after hitting send). Then I take a second to read over the email before hitting “ignore.” I find that this extra step really helps me notice typos.

    • Print out the document and proofread on paper. For some reason, it’s so easy to miss the typos on screen.

    • Emma Woodhouse :

      For bigger things, I like to print them out and proofread them slowly while making check marks in pencil over every word and punctuation mark. Forces me to slow down and look at every word. I do the same with emails before I send them but mentally.

      • Middle Coast :

        Print it out and read it backwards from the end to the start, that way are you focusing on the indivduals words rather than the content. Also helps you to slow down and not unconsciously skip words.

    • Absolutely, 100%, read everything over before you send it.

      Including comments on Corporette.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I do better if I write in Word and then copy over. I have no explanation.

      And I always read through my response at least once, more if it’s important.

      • Do you all have any tips on improving your writing style? Books, online classes, etc?

        • AnonInfinity :

          If you’re in law — I’ve found “Point Made” to be very helpful, and I’m trying to work my way through “Writing a Winning Brief” (something like that) by Bryan Garner. It’s also pretty good and came highly recommended by someone in my firm.

        • Simple and Direct by Jacques Barzun is great.

        • OutaWork Editor :

          Hire me! : ) I don’t know “lawyer writing,” but good writing is good writing.

    • Proofread from the bottom up! Sounds crazy, but if you read from the bottom up, you will actually look at each word / sentence, instead of letting your brain read the “meaning” without reading the words.

      Also, you can try using a ruler to read. Again, it’s about breaking the words out from the meaning of the paragraph.

      • Yep, my high school english teacher taught us to proofread this way. It takes time, but it is crazy effective.

    • A classic proofreading tip is to read the document backwards. Start with the last sentence, then the 2nd to last sentence, and so on. This ensures that your brain does not “insert” words or the intended language when it is rereading material that you just wrote.

  12. Lockstep/Target question :

    Posted this earlier today but am going to post again here to see if I can get any more responses –

    For everyone in lockstep firms – what happens if you don’t meet your target (hours) that year? Do you still bump up to the next step in pay? Are there any ramifications for not making your target?

    I’m interested in working for a firm who has a compensation model which involves lockstep but if you don’t hit target you don’t step up for the next year.

    • There are 2 ramifications for not making your target, (1) generally you will not get the bonus and (2) you’ll be first in line for layoffs. If you survive (2), you will probably still get advanced in years (and salary). I’ve also heard that some firms will take a shortfall into consideration for your next year hours. E.g., if you fall short by 200 hours, they tack that on for your billable requirement for the subsequent year. Yeah, it sucks.

      And yes, (2) absolutely happens. I know 2 attorneys who were just laid off this month for not making hours.

    • Depends on the firm. Some will freeze your salary – no bonus, no raise. Others will cut your salary. Others do deferred comp– they’ll cut your salary for the upcoming year, let’s say by $20k. If you meet your hours for the upcoming year, you get your $20k back. If you don’t meet your hours, you don’t get it back.

      And, as the poster above noted, some may just fire you.

  13. I feel so embarrassed about this even though I knoooow I shouldn’t. I’ve been feeling totally down/depressed lately (months?) and I’ve been doing all I can think of to perk up… forced socializing, getting proper rest, eating insanely healthy, vitamins.. you name it, I am doing it, but nothing is giving. I really do not have the time to seek therapy nor am I interested. Anyone have suggestions or advice? Is this something I can see my regular doc about? I’m very cautious about taking meds. I don’t even know what I would say to the doc. Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom!

    • Talk therapy? For a momentary pick me up, the current article on hyperboleandahalf dot com is about the author’s experiece with depression. It might help you at least feel not alone.

      It’s not something you can really snap out of. Are you open to natural remedies?

      • Yep, very open to natural remedies. Thanks for the link.

        • St. John’s Wort worked for me, for a while. It’s not a permanent solution, but if you just need something to get you over a bad time, it might work.

          • Just an FYI – St John’s Wort can negatively interact with some prescriptions, including certain types of hormonal birth control pills. Just something to mention to your doctor if you do start to take herbal remedies!

        • My MD recommends high fish oil doses (3-4 g of EPA/DHA a day) for people who are depressed. I’ve found Nordic Naturals to be a decent brand.

          • Equity's Darling :

            NutraSea is (according to my naturopath), the best brand for omega 3s. I find it does help my mood.

    • If you really don’t have time for therapy, it might mean you are too busy and you are getting burned out? Maybe you just need an extra couple hours to yourself each week to just chill and not do anything productive at all. It sounds like you are approaching your emotional wellness like a project and doing all the right things (eating right, etc) but maybe in a way the goal-oriented-“projectness” of it is exhausting you even more? Hope you feel better soon!

    • Has it been the past few months?

      I know I often get sad around this time of year. A therapeutic light really helps me.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Get tested for anemia. I found out by chance that I’m anemic and taking iron supplements made a huge difference in my mood and energy. If I skip them for a couple of days, I experience depression symptoms. After a week, I could easily be diagnosed.

    • Exercise, sunlamp (for vitamin D/seasonal depression)?

    • How are your iron levels? A lot of women have low iron and apparently depression and fatigue can be side effects. Also, are you getting exercise? I find I’m infinitely happier if I’m exercising (and outside is better than inside, especially this time of year).

      I had depression problems when I was at BigLaw. After years of trying to deal with it, finally went to a psych and got meds. I was only on them for about 6 months, but they helped a lot. My regular doc (not GYN or internist) wouldn’t prescribe anti-depressants, but a lot of women have told me that their doctors would so it’s worth asking.

      Good luck! Hope you can do something to lift your spirits this weekend. Many of us here understand what it’s like to feel like you’re living in a dark hole. I promise, you will emerge.

      • I second all of these suggestions. If you go see your primary care provider, you could ask to be tested for thyroid stimulating hormone levels in addition to your iron status, since an underactive thyroid can also cause depression-like symptoms. He/she could also lay out your options for you anti-depressant wise, even if you’re not interested in taking them yet.

        Exercise and therapy have made the biggest difference to my mood. I’m not sure why you’re uninterested in therapy, but cognitive behavioral therapy was a good fit for me. It’s very present-oriented and goal-oriented (no endless hours talking about your childhood!), and tools that they use (like filling out thought logs and situations that trigger mood changes) were right up my type-A alley. I enjoyed collecting “data” on myself and then troubleshooting my unproductive habits :)

    • been there done that :

      I have no idea how one gets over depression generally, but here is what worked for me:

      I was extremely cautious about taking meds. I went to a naturopathic doctor who prescribed some natural “meds” that didn’t have any of the side effects/chemical dependency issues I was worried about. I think it helped.

      I made a list of all the things in the world that made me happy (even simple things like drinking coffee and breathing fresh air) and I tried to indulge myself whenever I felt I needed it.

      I started drawing. My drawings were/are all crap from an artistic standpoint, but expressing myself through art was more positive than other things I was doing.

      One more thing… when I was depressed I couldn’t handle even the smallest obstacles (like not finding a parking spot) because my brain would spiral the slightest bit of negativity into a tunnel of doom/death. It sounds so stupid when I put words to it. Anyway, depression actually trained my brain to make those connections so part of healing was re-training my brain. I had to consciously tell myself not to spiral when faced with obstacles, and eventually I think I did re-train my brain (though it is a long term process with occasional relapses– the benefit now is that the spiral is not the only thing my brain knows how to do, so emerging is easier).

      Hope you feel better soon. It DOES get better. Also, if you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself, PLEASE call a crisis hotline. They are trained to help.

      • I love that you included drawing as one of your positive activities. For years, I kept a journal, but it didn’t really make me feel better because I was just focusing so much attention on the negative situations in my life. I started art journaling recently, which has been very uplifting for me. I basically cut out inspiring/beautiful pictures from magazines, make a collage, and write a few lines to go along with the theme. It’s really nice to get creative in a positive way! And since it’s a private activity, I don’t have to worry if I make something “good.”

        • I read somewhere recently too that a person should make a list (mentally, in writing, through drawing, etc.) every day of 3-5 things s/he is grateful for. There truly is research that backs up how acknowledging them helps us to be happier.

          And for the times you can’t think of things, instead ask yourself, “what did I appreciate enough today?”

      • I had similar spirals, and one thing that worked for me was to repeat over and over the same good things (e.g. You’re a great person!). The whole time I did it, a part of my mind was going “No! Liar! You really suck!” But I think consistently doing that over several months had a huge impact on pulling me out of a several year long depressive period.

      • anon for this :

        Writing things down and list-making can be very helpful. I’ve been anxious and depressed lately, and my mind starts spinning and makes a small situation into a huge deal (thank you, anxiety), then I beat myself up over the huge deal I just created (thank you, depression). For example, this morning I was stressing about an event I went to last night, and getting myself very upset over it. I sat down and made myself a chart with categories for “good,” “bad,” “inconsequential,” and “not sure,” then every time my mind started spinning on some aspect of the event, I wrote it down under one of the categories. So under “good” I have things like “Talked to nice people,” “Found great dress on sale,” and “Didn’t buy expensive bracelet to go with dress.” Under “bad” I have “Could have lived without expensive makeup purchase yesterday,” “Was very late,” and “Possibly danced like an idiot” (which was really fun so it might get recategorized later). And so on. This was one of the most constructive things I’ve ever done to address my anxiety and depression and I think it worked well – writing things down really helped to contain and defuse them, and helped me put the whole thing in perspective.

        • anon for this :

          I should add that seeing the list is very comforting for me – instead of a stressed-out swirling mess in my mind, I have a handful of bullet points that, when I read through them, don’t seem like a big deal at all.

    • if you change your mind, I’m a licensed therapist and can work by way of skype or phone on your schedule :)

    • In House Snark :

      I can completely understand where you’re at because I’ve been (am?) there. You can go to your doctor and they can prescribe something light like effexor. Exercise if you don’t – it definitely helps. Also just getting outside for 10 minutes if it’s sunny can help.

      If you don’t understand why you’re depressed, then it could just be seasonal affective. If you’ve had bouts of depression in the past, then you might need therapy – which honestly I think EVERYONE should do.

      And if there’s something that’s happened recently (and I’m sorry if there is) then just give yourself a break. Sometimes you need to stop being so hard on yourself! :-)

      Feel better soon!!

      • In House Snark :

        And I forgot… it WILL get better. And do NOT feel embarrased (- I’m sure I spelled that wrong but eh, whatev)!!! There is NOTHING to be ashamed of! The stigma of depression is the worst.

        And I agree with the above commenter… if you ever feel as though you’re heading down the slippery slope and contemplating suicide PLEASE get help immediately!

      • I was also going to suggest exercise, preferably outside, even if the weather is icky!

    • don’t be embarrassed. millions of people have these feelings at least at some point in their lives. there is nothing wrong with you!

      If you have good insurance/money, you might try seeing a Naturopath or an MD who is also a naturopath? They are great about helping with diet, checking your levels of things like iron, your thyroid, your hormone levels on birth control, etc and helping to balance those out with medication or diet/supplements. And because they are more about holistic health, they actually want to know about emotional/psychological issues, as opposed to regular MDs who might not be as comfortable talking about it.

      • Please do be careful with naturopaths – some are quacks, straight up. So be sure you do your research. I don’t like taking meds either, but sometimes they are necessary.

    • Y’know, the placebo effect can last for up to two years. Throw some baby asprin in a bottle marked “anti-depressant” and see if that works. (I’m so not kidding.)

      But if you can’t go in to your GP and say, “I’m feeling very depressed right now, can I get an evaluation?” then you actually need a therapist. And if you don’t believe you have enough time for your mental health then you either REALLY need a therapist because it is crazy to put your mental health last, or you REALLY need to see a therapist because that is a sign of major depression, or you REALLY need to see a therapist because it sounds like you don’t like yourself very much.

      I know who’ve gotten mental health meds from their GPs: one had little to no reduction in symptoms the other had major side effects. One went off the meds cold turkey and had withdrawal symptoms and the other is still on the ineffective meds and is checking to make sure she doesn’t have a heart condition. I know people who’ve gotten meds through psychopharmacologists and even when they have side-effects their doses are adjusted quickly, or they cross-fade into a new med or their dr has a really good idea of how long the side effect will last before it tones down. So even if you just want to never talk to anyone and just be doped up — get a psychopharmacologist to write your Rx.

      • You’ve gotten some great advice above, and just wanted to add that the embarrassment can be part of the depression (e.g. “I shouldn’t feel this way, I should have been able to fix it myself, Other people don’t feel this way, etc.”). Exercise, checking thyroid, iron, Vitamin D, can all be worth trying, but it also sounds like you’ve tried doing a lot of things already and are feeling frustrated that you’re still not feeling better.

        “Therapy” can mean a lot of different things. I’m a psychologist and have found that many people expect therapy to be a long-term commitment of time & money. For the sort of depression you seem to be talking about, a short round (6-12 sessions) of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could really make a lasting difference. Google abct.org to find CBT therapists in your area if you want to consider this route.

    • cardio helped me during a similar time. learning salsa dancing in particular- the physical release and focus, the crowd of new friendly faces (seattle.. not so much in nyc/miami…) the way you can show up alone when other friends are busy not/interested and yet have fun and a ‘Cheers’ like atmosphere where everyone knows you, after you are a regular.. the warmth in winter, the uplifting music, and dressing up/in a way that is more feminine etc than the workweek. This really changed things for me in a hugely positive way and cascaded to other things.

      On a related note, pregnant so not dancing lately… and miss it dearly, feeling slumpy myself! Need to find an alternative that is less physically risky/taxing that helps in similar ways.

      Meds are okay for a while if you need them, too. I met with a MSW guy a few times and it was helpful just mainly to hear him say i wasn’t nuts or depressed, just needed to take some steps to manage anxiety better.

      • also, I ordered books online on cognitive behavior therapy and worked through some of those- but my tolerance for that was rather limited. when saturday finally comes, the last thing you want to do is FOCUS on the bad feelings and do ‘work.’ but, those were interesting to parce out some internal things.

  14. Original Head and Shoulders shampoo — put on one of those mesh body poofs, lather up, and let the suds sit on your skin for 30 seconds or more (if you can). Back when I had “bacne” this worked far better for me than the acne-oriented body washes (Neutrogena makes one, so do a few other brands, and I know some friends have had success with these, but the H&S worked soooo much better for me). Key is to get the “Original” because of whatever the zinc-something-or-other it has, without some of the other ingredients other versions have.

    Also, have you recently changed laundry detergents? I find certain detergents can break me out — especially if I’m working out frequently (and thus sweating in clothes that have been washed in the detergent). I only use unscented, neutral detergents these days, and I don’t use fabric softener (which can also be an irritant, especially if you use it with your bath towels).

    • Argh! This was supposed to be a response to pimply, but after getting “you’re posting too fast” a few times, apparently it dropped it down here!

    • karenpadi :

      I’ll second the laundry detergent tip. Also, make sure to use only the recommended amount or less than the recommended amount in each laundry load. I break out if I use too much detergent so I only use half the recommended amount per load.

  15. A mid-level manager in my office continuously SENDS out office-wide e-mails with ODD emphasis… EVERY time I read them I think I’m on CORPORETTE reading ELLEN!!!

  16. Shopping guilt :

    What do you say when people ask how much you paid for a piece of clothing?
    I’m going to buy myself a really expensive pair of shoes I’ve been coveting for months as a christmas present and I just know my mother is going to ask how much they were. If I tell her the truth, she will likely judge me as she’s the type who thinks no pair of clothing is ever worth more than $100. I don’t really want to lie either. (FWIW, I’m not putting myself in debt or anything, I’ve actually been putting away money for the shoes for quite a while now.)

    • You’re a grown up. It’s your money. And haters gonna hate, judgers gonna judge.

      Either tell the truth or tell them it’s none of their g*dd*mn business. Even if it’s your mom. (That’s what I do. Ok, maybe a bit more politely than that.)

    • “I don’t remember” If they push I might say “I’ll see if I can find the receipt” and if they’re truly persistent, I keep forgetting until they get the message.

      Or if I really don’t want to run someone around, and they’re someone close to me (usually the two go together) I’ll tell them and then say it was a splurge a treat to reward myself for xyz accomplishment.

    • the only person who ever asks is my mother, and i always either knock 50% off the price or say something outrageous like “$15!” or “it was free! incredible!” and she gets the idea. frankly it’s no one’s business, not even your mother’s – whose (who’s?) concept What Everything Should Cost may be calibrated to 1986 or Wichita, KS.

      No offense to Wichita or 1986!

    • “Enough to make it worth it” – or something equally vague?

      Or, “Don’t worry, Mom, we’ll still have enough for the nursing home?” Frankly, its none of her business, so my goal would be to find a nice way to deflect the question.

    • Anonymous :

      I would probably lie. Other options are to (a) answer her question with a question, like “Why do you ask?” or “How much do you think they cost?”, “Aren’t they fantastic?” and then not respond to the original question, or (b) ask her not to comment before telling her. If you are independent and working and have saved up for shoes, even your mother shouldn’t be asking how much you paid for something (unless it’s in a jealous, i-might-go-buy-it-myself context).

      • Agreed. I’d probably lie. It’s very rude to ask. I might also say, “Well, that’s rude. It was worth the value.” and give her a look.

    • Anonymous :

      You could say what I say in response to questions about how many sexual partners I’ve had: “Less (fewer) than you might think, more than you’d want to know.”

      • I can’t believe you’re getting this question in the first place. Fooey. (The lower case letters and period convey my nonchalance).

      • i am stealing this forever. because it is awesome.

    • “I got a fabulous deal!”

    • Do what politicians do and avoid the question. I would say something like “Oh they were more than I usually spend, but that is why I was saving up for months to purchase them.”

    • Oh.so.tired :

      My mom asks me this question anytime I buy any piece of clothing. If it’s something I know she thinks is too much, I just laugh and say “completely free, can you believe it?” My mom and I have a great relationship, so I don’t mind her asking and usually tell her but she doesn’t mind when I don’t want to reveal how much I paid (mostly because she and I both know she’ll go into sticker shock).

    • Speaking from experience with my nosy grandmother who goes into fits if anyone spends anything more than the bare minimum… lie. Your sanity will thank you.

  17. You could always say, “enough to know you wouldn’t approve – and I love them!” If she asks any more questions or pushes it further, I think I’d nicely tell her you’re not going to discuss that with her, but you are able to afford them and have plenty of $ saved up as well.

  18. I had my last day of law school today :)

  19. hey…is the model for this dress the one that won America’s Next Top Model a few years ago? Danielle? Just curious. :D

    • AnonInfinity :

      It so is!!!! She is one of my favs.

      …..Not that I ever watched that show…..

  20. Okay ladies, I’ve been getting increasingly upset at how sloblike I look whenever I go out in public and see that other women manage to look put together when they go to the grocery store. The problem? I’m unemployed, and I’ve never really had nice things, so I can’t shop my wardrobe. I have a decent number of nice shirts, and a nice wool coat, but the only bottoms I own are jeans with frayed hems, and I don’t own any accessories. My shoes consist of practical boots, one pair of black flats, and sneakers.

    So, if you were in my position and only had $50-$100 to spend to spruce up your wardrobe, what would you buy? Fwiw, I’m pear shaped, 5’6″, 135 lbs, and can’t really wear high heels.

    • This may not be what you were expecting, but I would suggest a nice bag that goes with everything and works for any occasion. For me, my bag is the only item in my entire wardrobe that I use every day, all the time, throughout the year. (Unless you count hair!) You don’t think about it as clothes, but it really is a huge part of your wardrobe. You might also like to carry a nice bag to job interviews!

    • I’m in the same category… unemployed, basic wardrobe, same body type too though a couple inches shorter… I’ve found it better not to worry about others’ wardrobes and just try to have decent hair and a great attitude and no one much pays attention as they’re all thinking about their own stuff anyway. sending love, feel free to email me if you wanna chat with someone in the same boat!

    • Check out the sales going on right now (and anticipate that a lot of stores will have post-holiday sales as well). I just picked up a pair of black work pants from The Limited for about $35. Other places like LOFT have been having huge sales online. This is actually the best time of year to get items on sale so you may be able to do more with your budget than you would otherwise think. I’d recommend a pair of black pants – they instantly take outfits up a notch.

    • I’d get a pair of dark wash jeans that fit you perfectly, assuming you have time to shop all stores and try many on, and then a pair of ballet flats with a patent leather toe or a nice pair of feminine loafers. You will look very put-together if you pair these with your beautiful coat and nice shirts.

    • Assuming you have the clothing you would need for an interview in your field and have $50-100 to spend on casual/grocery store clothing, I’d buy one pair of jeans that make you feel fabulous and one pair of cute flats in a color that would go with brown or black clothing. If you shop at stores like Marshall’s, TJ Max, or Target and/or stalk sales, you should be able to get those two items for under $100.

    • Jacqueline :

      I agree about a nice bag — even when I’m full-on casual, carrying my favorite leather bag really elevates the rest of the outfit. Also, if you’re in a colder climate (I assume you are because you mentioned a wool coat and boots), I would invest in another pair of nice flat boots. If you already have black, try another color like cognac, dark brown, stone, taupe, or mustard. In the winter, all anyone will see is your winter coat and your bottom half, so it can be nice to have alternative footwear options that are chic and still comfortable. I really like riding boots in black or cognac, and you can definitely find some for under $100 at Nordstrom Rack. Good luck!

    • Get a well-fitting pair of jeans. They don’t have to be designer and you can probably find them at F21, Target or Old Navy. Remember that jeans stretch out so they should feel a little tight in the store. You can get fun and cheap accessories like necklaces, earrings, bracelets and belts, at F21. They won’t last years but start at $3.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Ditto nice jeans (dark wash, flattering) and flats. I’d add mascara and some pomade or hair gel, too. Having a groom appearance goes a long way over nice clothing.

      And make sure the jean length is right so that you don’t fray them.

    • I agree–nice jeans. Try H&M or Express or the Jr. dept at Macys or Dillards for a stylish pair around $40. Also, cute flats. There are some on sale at Payless for 16.99 by American Eagle that would be good with dark wash jeans. Look at the grey ones with a bow. As for accessories, head to a Claires or similar type store in your local mall, you can pick up a pair of big hoop earings for a couple bucks, which will go with anythings. And, if you can swing it, an inexpensive sacarft. I have a couple from H&M that were $5.99. Finally, make sure you go your hair before you leave the house. Its free and will make you feel more pulled together.

    • I’d shop consignment stores and pick up nice jeans or slacks for $5, nice tops for $5 and a blazer or two for casual wear. Goodwills in my area have pretty nice clothing and some still with the tag on. Then take the leftovers and get one nice (new) pair of multipurpose shoes. A good boot with a small heel, or something that looks put together. And one set of accessories to pull the outfit together.

      • Go thrifting! Last week’s prize was a wool Theory sheath dress (yes real Theory!). Exactly my size. Looks like it’s never been worn. Three bucks.

        Had to brag.

    • Tired Squared :

      Since you can’t wear heels, what about finding a fun pair of flats (maybe in a non-black color because you have that already)? Since it’s the holiday season, you’ll be able to find something sparkly and unique, and there are coupons everywhere for stores like Aldo, Express, Limited, Macys, etc … all things that fit into your budget range.

      As for other clothes, I’d suggest a pair of dark-wash jeans. You can dress those up or down depending on if you’re going to the grocery store or going on a date.

      If you have anything left over, consider upgrading your wallet/purse, too!

    • Wow, thank you for all the advice! I forgot to mention it, but I do have a beautiful burgundy purse that I love. You’ve all made me realize that I need to devote the time in the morning to blowing my hair dry and putting on make up, even though I usually don’t have any place to go. I think it will make a huge difference in how I feel about myself. I also have the free time to go out and find a pair of jeans that really fits, instead of just making do the way I have been.

      I really appreciate all of the comments (and links), I love how helpful and supportive this community is!

    • Working Girl :

      I would get balck pants that fit well. I alo would consider buying black heels. Is the issue with heels a comfort one?

      • It’s a comfort issue. I own a couple of pairs of black heels for interviews and work, but I don’t want to look put together enough to endure that pain while running errands.

    • Go to a thrift store. Go to 10. Bonus points if you can go to a thrift store in a nice area of a city (usually a bigger selection of choice merchandise). Try on everything. If the store doesn’t have dressing rooms, wear leggings and a dress to try on pants, and wear a thin tee when trying on blouses, jackets or tops. If the store has a policy against trying things on, leave.

      You won’t find treasure in every store on every trip; it’s a process. But, you mention you’re unemployed so I’m making an assumption (possibly incorrect) that you have time to scour several thrift stores over several weeks.

      Always look closely at the garment before buying to confirm that it doesn’t have any stains or rips or other issues. You’ll be surprised at the price and quality of what you can find for $5 or less.

    • I would buy a great versatile bag and one or two statement necklaces. I have this great necklace I got at a museum shop for less than $20 (with earrings!) that has more than paid for itself in compliments. It’s just really unusual and I have worn it with everything from T-shirts to suits. I also have a couple of inexpensive bags (think Filene’s) that I get complimented on a lot because they are each in a bold and unusual color. You don’t need to spend much money, just find things that are attractive and different, and then no one notices what else you’re wearing. I hope things get better soon!

      • agree, i often wear my fun necklaces on the weekend, and that or a scarf can make a t-shirt and jeans look nice.

    • Oh.so.tired :

      I would buy a pair of nice stylish boots that come midcalf to knee high. Get them in black or Cognac and they literally go with everything and make any outlet look more stylish and hip. I picked some up from Macy’s for under $36 (with sale and coupons) and for under $50 at famous footwear.

      I’d spend the rest on a pair of nice fitting skinny jeans, an infinity scarf in the color that complements your boots, and a big stylish faux-leather bag in black, brown, tan, or cognac (a giant hobo is what I’d look for- the bigger the better). All these can be found for a combined total under $50 if you shop around at h&m, f21, thrift stores, clearance sections at department stores, etc.

      You’ll look instantly more stylish since you can add on these pieces to any and every outfit.

  21. Engagement rings- I have a feeling my boyfriend is going to get me a o.25 carat at tiffanys. Someone please help me come up with a way to pay the remainder so that I can have a carat.

    • If you want a bigger ring, why not go elsewhere? I think he could get a larger stone which is just as beautiful for the same price elsewhere.

      • I’d agree, go elsewhere. Unless you have your heart set on a setting that only tiffany’s carries (which, BTW, every reputable jeweler I’ve ever talked to is quite adept at making replicas of standard tiffany settings) you’re going to overpay for the blue box and not much else.

      • I have limited faith in his ability to buy a ring- tiffanys has an App which is handy. Also quite honestly I have had my heart set on a tiffanys one, I’m
        Not going to sugarcoat this- I like brand name items.

        • Okay, so then decide what’s more important to you, a huge stone, or a fancy brand name? Honestly, unless you constantly spout, “It’s from Tiffany’s!!!” all the time (which, to be quite honest, would sound pretentious and obnoxious to me), people aren’t going to know where it’s from.

        • Use Blue Nile. It walks him through it in baby steps and the prices are much more reasonable.

          • agree, tiffany’s just silly overpriced marketing for diamonds, i find it kind of tacky. blue nile or vintage- that’s what my ring is. has nice character and is beautiful.

        • Well, if the name is really important to you, then you’re going to have to spend a lot for it. I think everyone else has given you plenty of reasons why it makes no logical sense to insist on an expensive name brand, and I agree with them, but sometimes you just want what you want.

          Do you have the cash required to get a bigger stone? If so, I’d be straight up with the bf. Give him the cash, tell him what size you want, at a minimum. There’s no way to do it secretly.

        • Have a friend call him up and walk him through this.

    • Not tiffany’s. They are way overpriced. Find a reputable local jeweler. Also, just tell the boyfriend what to get you (unromantic, yes, but you’re the one who has to wear it every day).

      • I totally picked out my own ring because we went shopping together. :D

        • I did this, too!

          • Salit-a-gator :

            Thirded. We picked out the setting together, he picked the diamond and he surprised me when he proposed (I knew it was going to happen, but it was still special).

          • me too. I picked the ring, he surprised me with the exact time/method of proposal.

            I offered to pick out three rings that I liked and let him choose the one, so it would still be somewhat of a surprise, but he preferred I just pick out the exact ring.

    • Definitely look somewhere else. Their diamonds are way overpriced and I am sure you could get 1 carat elsewhere for the price of .25 at Tiffany’s. You are basically paying thousands extra for the blue box. (And don’t get me wrong, I love the Tiffany blue box!).
      When I thought my now fiance was shopping for a ring, I dropped the hint that I didn’t care where it came from and didn’t need a brand name ring. He ended up getting my ring from a family friend who is a jeweler and I am pretty sure that netted me at least 1 whole extra carat!

    • You should really question why you want a name brand in this situation. Engagement rings aren’t like Ferragamos where the brand and price means they are higher quality than the competition. Diamonds are fungible and you can get a much better price if you do some research and don’t buy retail (especially at Tiffany’s).

      • Maybe he could buy the blue box on ebay and then put a ring from Blue Nile in it. How would OP know the difference?

    • If you desperately want a Tiffany’s setting, fine. Know that you’ll pay a markup for it. But I believe you can buy the setting and put in a loose diamond bought elsewhere that is 1) bigger, and 2) probably less expensive relative to the same carat size diamond from Tiffany’s.

      • I have a stone that I needed a setting for and none of the name brand stores sell stone and setting separate. :(

    • If it’s the Tiffany’s brand you care most about, I can’t think of a tactful way to pay the remainder.

      But when I knew my then fiance was looking for my ring, I went to Tiffany’s to see what the different size solitaires looked like on my hand. Cut and Clarity were super important to me, so I knew he might have to get a smaller size to get a higher quality diamond.

      Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for me, anything less than a carat looked too small on my hand! I let him know the size that looked best, and he found it on Blue Nile.

    • Two Issues :

      I think you have two issues here:

      1. How to communicate to BF what you want. I am a big believer in straightfoward, direct communication. My fiance and I went shopping together for my ring. I love it. He loves it. He loves that I love it. It has been 2 1/2 years, and I still look at it and smile because I love the ring and because I love the man who gave it to me and who was perfectly fine to have endless conversations about the specifications without thinking it was unromantic (whatever that means).

      2. The ring itself. If someone were to hold your ring in her hand and examine it (and if she had a loop or the eyesight I used to have before law school), she would be able to see the Tiffany’s mark or lack thereof. Ditto for your own examination of the ring. If that matters to you, it matters. Then you are back to point 1 re telling BF what you want and that you are prepared to pay the delta. (Another option, if it makes him uncomfortable to go halfsies on your ER, is for you to buy the ER but for him to buy you something special that costs less so that he paid for the whole other thing. That could be the wedding band, or a pair of earrings, or anything.) If the Tiffany’s mark inside the setting isn’t important to you, you should absolutely go to a local jeweler and get what you want made to order. If you are in NYC, I recommend Blauweiss & Berkowitz on 47th and Fifth. They have made most of the rings in my family in the past 25 years. Extremely professional ethics, gorgeous work. My fiance and I used them, and we live on the other side of the country. I would say use my name, but . . . then I’d have to out myself :)

    • If you want a 1ct ring and you are willing to pay the difference then tell him that, go to the store and do so.

      Are you going to let him pick out the baby name while you mutter under your breath that you don’t like it? Are you going to let him pick out the house without your input? Are you going to let him buy you a car that is not what you want /useful to you because you think it’s romantic?

      F’that sh!t.

      Are you a grown-up embarking on a partnership that will exist for the rest of your life or a princess who is unconscious until the wedding? If you want the ring say to the boy: Hey, I know you want to be super old-fashioned, but I want something that you can’t get me by yourself. Since the ring represents our engagement to each other I am willing to partner with you on the price. I want to wear this for a long time, without feeling the desire to “upgrade” in a few years, so I’d like to pay the difference in carat size. Do you want a check or cash, and am I pre-paying or reimbursing you?

      I believe the correct expression is, “grow a pair.”

      • Amen sister!

      • Well said.

        • Anonymous :

          Plus, if you speak up now, he may think you are being shallow and get out of the marriage!

      • Wish I’d had someone to say this to me a few years ago. Definitely second this advice. It took me a lot more awkward dancing around things to get to being a full open partner about what I wanted. Not about the ER, but wedding (and not what you’d think — I didn’t want a three-ring-circus of a wedding, but the ‘traditional’ hoopla meant a lot to him). Looking back I could have saved us both a lot of frustration if I’d been more straight up about what I wanted earlier.

        • SAlit-a-gator :

          I think this echos back to a discussion in this week’s thread about certain women being afraid to express their needs because there’s a stigma with doing so. My perspective has always been that its more important to me that my needs get met than what others think of me – consequently, I have to problem expressing my needs! And if others think less of me for doing so that’s their problem, not mine.

          • “And if others think less of me for doing so that’s their problem, not mine.”

            So much admiration for your chutzpah. I’ve begun to act this way more often, but try to strike a balance so I have the social capital available when I have a request that’s *really* important to me. Sort of a pick-your-battles approach. One things I’ve been really surprised by is that making requests oftentimes results in people wanting to do more for me and thinking better of me. A good personal and professional lesson.

  22. I mentioned a month or so that I’d been terminated from employment due to a coworker who bad mouthed me to make herself look better and hide her lack of ability. Now it’s been over a month and I was shorted approx. $300 in final payment, plus approx. $50 of items were broken or not returned when HR sent back my belongings (which had been kept in a locked door office). We were given no employee manual so there shouldn’t be any “policies” in play here, but 3 weeks of emails/phone calls have gone ignored.

    Should I hire a lawyer to write a letter requesting the money or should I eat the loss? If I should hire someone, what should I expect to pay? (I live just outside NYC, if that matters.) Thanks!

    • If you’re owed wages that your employer shorted you on your final paycheck, that’s illegal (there are some *very* specific exceptions to this under state laws, I’d check out New York). Instead of hiring a lawyer, send a demand letter to the accounting and HR departments of your former employer, certified mail, that lays out in detail what you are owed, why you are owed it, and demanding payment within so many days (make your demand reasonable), or else you will seek further legal action. Be polite and professional in your demand, but do get your point across. That should get the company’s attention.

      I wouldn’t hire an attorney to do this, you can easily write a letter that covers the necessary basics. If the company still doesn’t respond, take it up with New York State Dept of Labor.

      • I sent this to HR and pay roll by email 3 weeks ago, and then to the CEO of the company 1 week ago, figuring email was timestamped as well. Neither were acknowledged.

        I will contact the Labor Dept on Monday, thanks!

        • Send a certified letter. You’re beyond emails. They can always claim they “didn’t get it” even if you have proof that you sent it.

        • Yeah – certified snail mail is way more official than any email, if you ever had to prove you sent the letter/request.

    • You’ll spend more on your lawyer than you’ll get on the missing $350. I’d call it a day and be done with them. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

      • agree, cut losses and move on. you are better off spending energy on moving forward and in positive ways, not this, hard as it is to let it go. (very hard, i know).

    • In House Snark :

      Check to see if your attorney general’s office has a website that would have employee rights on it. In MA (where I am) there is guidance for how to handle these situations. FIrst you have to send a certified letter demand. Then you can go through the AG’s office and they will lean on the employer. See if there’s something similar where you are!

    • Small claims court – annoying but may be worth it.

      • I was thinking small claims court too. In addition to possibly getting the money you’re owed, it could also be cathartic to get up in front of a judge and tell your story about how you were wronged (which, as an extra bonus, could dissuade your employer from doing similar bad things to employees in the future).

    • Working Girl :

      Go to canal street and fill out the form in small claims court. It takes 5 minutes and they will give you a hearing date right there. Bring cash for the filing fee, which I think is under 50 bucks, and request interest on the money they owe you, plus request your filing fee. At the hearing, bring copies of all the unanswere emails.

    • Anonymous :

      Just a note that if it’s wages, in some states you may be entitled to treble damages. I’d look into that at the state resources others have mentioned and if so, include that demand in the letter.

  23. Canadian Anon 1L :

    I hate to write this as my term is wrapping up, but I’m wondering if law school was right for me. I did not do my due diligence before law school. I think I applied just to see and then it all swept me up and here I am.

    What agonizes me more is that I was in a professional degree undergrad program and I love the subject area. While I am considering practicing law in that field (once I get through everything), I wonder why I didn’t just stick in the field instead of taking this huge roundabout route to get back into the field. Furthermore, I’ll be practicing law in that field and not actually be a professional in that field.

    I don’t know why I am here. I’m going to focus on exams now, but I don’t know what to do. I don’t mind law school, mostly indifferent. I am excited to take the upper year elective to study law in that field. I’m so scared that I am feeling this way in my first term.

    Does anyone have advice? Maybe I wrote this out just to vent. Thanks.

    • Maybe it’d help to read what you wrote in the paperwork required to get into law school way back when you applied? If what you wrote then was true about why you wanted to attend, is it not true now or are you just ready for a break?

      (Not a lawyer, just a licensed therapist)

      • Or cut your losses now. Do the best you can on exams, then take a step back on vacation (before you send in the second semester check) and think about things. I really REALLY regret not going back to journalism after my first semester (even though I graduated debt-free.)

        • I know people who had the stones to leave after first semester of 1L. They are happy.

          • Me too. I’m still friends with the one person who dropped out of our 1L class, and I often think of her as the smartest person in our class. She is now a professional photographer, and very happy.

    • I would try to push these thoughts aside until the end of the semester. Get through exams and term papers. Then, during the winter break, spend at least one full week relaxing and doing things that make you happy without thinking about law school at all. When you’re feeling rejuvenated, spend some time reflecting on why you went to law school, your applications, how the semester went, etc.

      Next semester, talk to academic advisers, the professor who teaches the class you’re excited about, etc. to see if there is anything you can do to combine your field of interest with the law – and if that grabs your attention. If you have a particular interest and another law school has a wider range of offerings in that area, consider applying for a transfer.

      Finally, and especially if you’re taking out student loans, consider leaving the law if you would be able to pay back the loans while working in your old profession.

      It may be scary, but if this is more than end-of-the-semester burn-out, it’s GOOD to find out that you don’t want to be a lawyer now – half your classmates will find out in 3-5 years. (I made up “half” and am aware that it’s an exaggeration.)

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      Get through exams. Then consider leaving before you accumulate more debt. And if you drop out and decide it’s the wrong decision, you can always go back. I have a friend that dropped out after 1L year, took about a year off, and eventually came back.

    • For now, just focus on exams. They are stressful enough without trying to make this decision. If possible, talk to professionals in your field both with and without a J.D. and professors in you school to see if they have any advice for you. Be careful about talking to school administrators because they have an incentive to convince you to stay (tuition money). Law school is still a business for them, and you are essentially the customer. That being said, take some time over winter break to really figure out what you want to do and please don’t be afraid to drop out. Don’t feel as though you took the easy way out or couldn’t cut it in law school. I know someone who dropped out this past semester as a 2L. Considering the job market, it is probably something all 1Ls should be considering and consider the financial cost of law school if you had to take out a substantial loan. Reading the post on whether there are happy lawyers may also be of interest to you. My personal opinion is to get out while you can!

    • I went to law school, hated almost every day of it, and *surprise* found that I also hated the practice of law. If you really hate law school, I’d bet you’d probably hate the practice too. I wish I had left law school after the first semester. I made a lot of bad calls in law school. Now, 7 years later, I’m trying to get an alternate career on track that is a better fit for me. The career change and student debt and all the doubts I surround myself with have created a lot turmoil. I think its much harder now than it would have been earlier.

  24. First, I wouldn’t even think about this issue until after you’re done with exams. You have a lot on your plate right now and need to concentrate on doing really well.

    I’m assuming from your post that you won’t be able to be a lawyer specializing in whatever you got your undergrad degree in. Being blah about law school doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be blah about being a lawyer ( see thread earlier this week on this very topic) so you may love being a lawyer.

    But if you really think you want to pursue what you did your undergrad degree in, I’d consider leaving law school since you’re only one semester in and don’t have nearly the kind of debt you will after 2-3 years (I’ll be interested to see what other people have to say on this point). Do as well as you possibly can on your exams this semester–if you decide to leave and you did very well, it will be clear you left because you changed your mind, not because you couldn’t hack it.

  25. a nonny miss :

    Apologies if this comes up twice, my first attempt is stuck in moderation:

    ‘Rettes, I applied yesterday for a few jobs in a midwest city where I have a small network of friends that I plan to visit around New Years. I figured it would take a few days to get called, if I got called, and if I did, then I’d try to see if an interview around New Years was at all possible at all. Lo and behold, I just got contacted about setting up an interview next week. With work commitments where I am now (halfway across the country), I don’t feel like I can swing it. Is it out of line to ask if a phone interview is possible?

    I would have no issues/face no obstacles moving to the city if the job was offered. My friends have already advised that they have an extra room I could take until I decided to get a place of my own. Overall, I feel very stagnant where I am right now, working in a job with no mobility whatsoever and not using my degree. This job would be a huge step forward in putting my degree to use and also a huge jump in salary, so I really don’t want to let the opportunity slip away.

    • Jacqueline :

      I don’t think it’s out of line to ask for a phone interview. You could explain that you will be in town from date X to date Y and you’d love to meet with them in person then if their schedule allows, but otherwise, work commitments at your current position will make it too difficult to get away sooner. That way, you give them a choice (who knows — it may not be a big deal to them at all to move the interview to later in the month, and then you both win) and you also make it clear that you’re serious about your work, since you’re not just willing to blow off your current commitments.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I have a friend going through this now and she was able to do a phone interview first and was in town today for her in person interview (because she was already planning to be here today).

        If they say it’s not possible, you might just have to go ahead and make the trip next week. I think the key for my friend was expressing her intention to move to the city of the interview so they didn’t have a concern about her not being serious.

  26. Barrister in the Bayou :

    Have any of you tried hot rollers? I have long hair that hasn’t held curls well after blowdrying/flatironing, so I’m looking for the “big guns” of hot rollers. I have normally have naturally wavy/curly hair, but I want that tousled, loose and shiny curl look that you can only get from a curling iron or rollers.

    Recommendations? Products to use with rollers? Things to stay away from?

    • I use these every day

      http://www.amazon.com/Conair-CHV14JXR-Extreme-Jumbo-Rollers/dp/B00005A441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323471705&sr=8-1

      I love ’em. I put the big ones on my crown and sides and the smaller ones in back. I start heating them up right when I get out of the shower. I do skin care and makeup, then I blow dry my hair after I put on makeup – and I save a lot of time drying it because I don’t have to use a round brush or anything, just roughly dry it. Then I stick in the rollers and leave them in while I get dressed. Pluck them out, brush my hair and I have body and very loose curls.

      My hair stylist says my hair is relatively undamaged. It was getting more damaged when I was trying to do all of this with a blow dryer and a round brush.

      • How big are your biggest rollers? I use them occasionally too, but I’m feel like I get these really defined ringlets, instead of nice, loose waves – so I’m curious is roller size, or hair placement makes a difference.

        • Hi, I don’t know whether I’m too late to respond. The biggest rollers are about 2″ across, and there are four of them, and the smaller are 1 1/2″ across. I don’t get defined ringlets at all – your hair may take curl better than mine does. I also brush my hair after I take them out, so that makes it more wavy than curly.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      After posting something similar a few weeks ago, I’ve played around with some of the suggestions. What has worked for me is to use mousse while blow drying, then hairspray each little chunk as I go around a curl with a 1 inch curling iron. My problem was that my curls kept falling out and I think part of the reason was that I was using a curling iron with too big a barrel. The curls still fall, but since they look like ringlets when I start they very quickly become loose curls. I’ve also been using the twist and pull curling method after someone suggested looking it up on YouTube.

    • I use them often. For me, it’s about convenience. I shower at night, wake up with dry but messy/wavy/frizzy hair. The hot rollers heat up in like 5 min, take 5-10 min to put in whole head. I leave them in for 5-10 min while I do other stuff, and take em out. I usually hairspray all over, then leave for work. My hair is pretty bouncy wavy at first (almost uncomfortably so, like pageant/newscaster style) but they slowly fall out, leaving my hair just smooth and with more volume than usual. By the end of the day, my hair is mostly straight (but smooth).

      I have the exact same rollers mamabear linked to.

    • Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll probably get these after Christmas and give them as shot.

  27. @KAT– I understand that you bought this dress as a costume, but I must ask: If the dress is so beautiful, and if it were so fitting for a professional woman working in the 1960s, why is it “not office/work-appropriate” now? Is the color too bold? Fit too snug? It certainly isn’t the neckline, hemline, or sleeve length. Frankly, it looks like a dress I’d wear to work (as an attorney at a large, DC law office) any day of the week.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I think it’s probably the fit.

      Also, depending on the rest of the outfit, I think it could look costume-y (though you could easily style it so that it is not).

    • It’s the fit. If it’s a Joan Holloway style dress, that means it’s skin tight from top to bottom.

    • Working Girl :

      It’s tight. I work in BigLaw, and I would not wear this if the effect on me is va-va-voom. I would have to see it on, but I prefer not to draw that kind of attention at work. Although it may have been appropriate on Joan, she WAS trying to draw that kind of attention.

      • Perhaps it’s simply because of our different figures. I’m about a size 4/6 and certainly don’t have Joan’s curves. I often wear somewhat snug, well-tailored dresses without feeling that they draw “that kind” of attention.

  28. Joan Holloway :

    Did you know that American Living at Penney’s is really private label from Ralph Lauren?

    • Hey Joan,
      Do you find the fit is the same as Ralph Lauren’s regular line? I know my size exactly in RL and this makes me wonder whether I can order American Living and know it will fit….

      • Joan Holloway :

        Sorry–I just saw your question, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. Would love to hear what you find out if you do order AL in your RL size.

    • I have a set of king sized sheets. My other set of sheets is Charisma. Compared to the Charisma, they are thicker and, soft, but not quite as soft. They are also really difficult to get on the bed.

  29. Ugh – I feel like such a Grinch. I’m supposed to be at a Christmas party in 30 minutes and I am procrastinating because I don’t want to go. Same people, same location, same activities, almost the same food, for the past 10 years. I’m tired and still have lingering sniffles but I know I’m expected and nobody will understand if I don’t go. And it’s potluck (hard for me this time of year) so I have dutifully made my gingerbread pumpkin trifle and a fresh green bean salad. At least the woman who used to make a wreath out of rice krispie treats with red and green M&Ms stuck to it finally got the point that it was just gross. Sorry for whining! Just needed to say what I can’t say to anybody but my SO…

    • Tired Squared :

      I’m just imagining Rice Krispies treats with M&Ms stuck to them. I think I would be fine eating the treat and/or the M&Ms, but not together!

      • Our hostess actually brought it up tonight! She leaned over to me and said, “We’ve come a long way from the days when L used to bring the rice crispy treat wreath with the M&M’s!” It was nasty. The M&Ms made it so hard you couldn’t cut it and it was so sweet it made your teeth hurt just to look at it.

    • Go. Leave the food and get out after 30-40 minutes. Claim coming down with something. They’ll just be glad you brought food!

      That rice krispie thing sounds scary!

      • don’t go if you have sniffles, no one wants your illness, please! treat yourself to couch time instead:)

  30. What are you ladies wearing to your company holiday parties? Ours is coming up soon and people dress in the full range from straight-from work-suits to serious gowns. I’m in a serious clothing (and post-baby weight) rut so just ordered a pile of dresses from JC Penney (not this one, unfortunately).

    • Sadly, my office no longer has elaborate holiday parties but rather a catered lunch in the lunchroom of our office. (It’s frankly depressing there under the fluorescent lights, and I’d rather they skip it altogether.)

      For this, and a couple of other holiday lunches I’ve had this season, I’ve been wearing a red boiled wool wrap jacket –
      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Marina-Luna-Red-boiled-wool-Jacket-misses-XL-NWT-ruffled-collar-tie-belt-/220897056395?pt=US_CSA_WC_Outerwear&hash=item336e7d968b#ht_500wt_969

      that I bought when I was looking for warmer jackets to wear in my freezing office. (Apparently our heating budget went out with our holiday party budget.)

      I almost never wear red at any other time of the year, and the ruffles are rather dressed-up and girly looking, so I think it sends the appropriate party vibe without being too dressy.

      If you’re saying your office party runs the gamut from suits to serious gowns, what about a dressier jacket? I’ve posted about this before, but I’m a big fan of separates for dressy occasions because you can still look professional, and you can mix and match with your regular work skirts or pants to create multiple looks. Like this

      http://www.amazon.com/Mango-Womens-Sequin-Jacket-Black/dp/B005RR3PNK/ref=sr_1_9?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1323485098&sr=1-9

      (Presuming you currently have bottoms that fit your post-pregnancy bod)

      • I found a dress at Lord and Taylor while the little guy napped in his stroller (thank goodness for small favors). It’s a simple LBD with boat neck and belt. My waist line seems to have shifted/vanished so the belt really helps make it look like I still have a decent figure. The hem-line has a bit of asymmetric detail going on so it’s not too boring. Husband gave the thumbs up so I’m good to go… now for the shoes (and some kind of tummy flattening shapewear).

        Love that second jacket, by the way! I was looking through the holiday separates today and found a gorgeous beaded tank that I almost picked up instead of a dress.

    • I found a miracle dress – I could not believe my luck. It’s called “Soutache Trimmed Long Dress,” and it was 80 bucks at Dress Barn. I didn’t get the bolero shown in the picture on the website. Very, very flattering – made my waist look small and showed just the right amount of skin – and nice fabric. It’s available in regular and plus-sizes and seems to run big – I ended up with a 14W when all of the dresses I was trying on at Nordstrom were 16W and 18W. The sales clerk at Dress Barn told me that this dress is very popular and they make it in slightly different fabrics every season.

    • locomotive :

      We just had ours last night! For context, it was at a nice hotel in DC right next to the White House (the Hay Adams). I wore an Ann Taylor dress (http://www.anntaylor.com/ann/product/AT-Lookbook/AT-SOPHISTICATE/Vintage-Floral-Lace-Dress/271120?colorExplode=false&skuId=10173886&catid=cata000012&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=6600) because it was dressy but not too clingy, and with the sale it was only $110 (women at my company tend to dress really well and it’s a pain in the butt trying to look reasonably good next to them). In my thorough shopping I’d also say department stores have lots of dresses on sale right now (Nordstroms, Lord and Taylors, even Macys). Happy Holidays!

  31. Does anyone have any advice for selecting and working with an architect? We just bought a piece of (fairly remote) property on a lake and are planning to build a small vacation home. We’ve written up a description of our general goals and preferences, and we’ve communicated by email and phone with some architect firms that seem to do work we like. Meetings are scheduled next week with a couple of them, but we’ve never done anything like this before. Any suggestions?

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve never hired an architect before, but I’ve worked for some. Know that you can always walk away. One of my boss’s best jobs was for a house that they already had a complete design for and they scratched it.

      Know also that you only need an architect (and not a building engineer / general contractor) if you want something artistic or complicated. If what you really want is something straight forward or simple (a log cabin with a half loft and galley style kitchen) you can do that yourself. My mom designed her first house in her 20s and my great-grandmother probably designed fifty or sixty houses in her life. Also, if you want something very “classic” (log cabin, bungalow, craftsman style, etc) you might be able to just purchase a preexisting plan. (If you do it yourself remember the fewer hallways the better!)

      But if you want something artistic, unique (and probably modern / hints of modern) go with an architect. Don’t listen to any architect who wants you to throw out your collections or dismisses your needs. Make sure they have a plan /understanding of how the space will be used (the “program”) — you don’t want a chef’s kitchen if you don’t cook and you don’t want a hotplate if your plan is to have big dinner parties.

      What is special to you about the site? Is it just a purchase? Or did you love the trees? Or the proximity to water? Make sure those sorts of things are taken into account. (If it’s just a purchase, then it’s like a plain setting and the house needs to be the jewel — there must be some reason you are going there after all!)

      Also, make sure that if they’re really avant garde that whatever they do meets the local building code. (I’ve always wanted the three story house from Japan that was open on two sides and covered with canvas that could be rolled up and down, but there aren’t a whole lot of places in America you could do that.)

      I hope some other Corporette’s can offer you better hiring advice, but just remember an architect does certain things (artistic) otherwise you don’t want one.

      • Thanks for the helpful advice, Anonymous! We are looking for something special/modern / artistic, so we have decided it makes sense to go the architect route. We really love the site and are looking for a vacation home that really integrates with the surroundings. Both of the architects we’re looking at have experience building in the area, so they’ll be familiar with local building codes.

        • In a situation like yours, a good architect (full disclosure: I’m an architect) is important for two reasons. 1, to make something that is beautiful and personal and suits your needs, and 2, to act as your representative when it comes to dealing with contractors, code officials, etc. For an architect to fulfill that first requirement, they should communicate well with you and have a body of work that you find compelling. Anonymous above covered this pretty well. For an architect to fulfill that second requirement, they should have established relationships with contractors and any applicable craftspeople. Ask your architect how she selects (or advises her clients to select) contractors for a job (using what criteria and at what stage in the design process), and how she handles problems/conflicts that arise during construction (“change orders”). And finally, since the site/surroundings for this project sound very important to you, ask your architects if they have ever worked with landscape architects on projects, what their attitudes are towards outdoor spaces and site planning issues, and how their work stacks up in terms of sustainability. Good luck, and have fun!

    • Longtime Jew :

      I have an architect recommendation. Would you be interested?

      • Thanks for the offer, LJ! We are far from any major markets and really work best face to face – if your recommendation is in northern flyover land, please share!

  32. Anonymous :

    I wore a red dress like that when I quit my job. I felt awesome.

  33. Long time lurker, first time commenter…
    Just found out I was accepted to law school! I am beyond excited, it’s my first choice and a T14 school. My parents have generously offered to pay for it (love them!) but I’m feeling kind of guilty knowing how crazy tuition is, plus I have siblings still in school. Is it worth it to pass up this opportunity to go to a lower ranked school in order to get some scholarship money? Or are there resources outisde the school that I can look into for merit scholarships? TIA!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I think the advice in this current job market is that if you are going to go to law school to go to the best one you can afford. If your parents are willing and able to pay for you to go to a T-14, I think you should go for it. There should be a bunch of outside resources that you can look to for scholarships. A Google search is probably the best way to start that search, but also contact the financial aid department at the school to find out if they have a list.

      Congratulations and good luck!

    • I think you know the answer – you’re going to the T14 school and taking your parents’ money. It’s a great option to have – be appreciative and make them proud.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I think it totally depends on your region. The only law schools in my state are public and not in the T14. I had no problem getting a job from my local, third-tier law school. But, I networked my a** off and was top of my class.

      Congratulations!!!

    • Why is it your first choice?

      My thought is, if it’s top 5 or so, go. But, if it were HYS, I don’t think you’d even be asking. If it’s lower, Top 14 (Gtown, Texas, Cornell, et al.), then is it in the regional area you want to practice? If so, go. If not, is there a top tier state school in that area where you were offered a significant scholarship and/or in-state tuition? If so, look at that first. If not, then go to the T14 school. That’s my flowchart in paragraph form.

      But really, since you will be debt-free either way, it’s hard to make a poor choice here. Remember, you don’t have to decide until March or whenever the seat deposit is due. And congrats!

      • Oh and, honestly, there are not a lot of resources outside of the school that you can look for merit scholarships. Local bar associations offer some scholarships to law students, and there might be other local organizations that offer scholarships generally (credit unions, churches, etc). You can always work from now until you start to save up some money to put towards the tuition, and work during your summers, to relieve some of the burden for your parents.

        • Agreed – the assumption is that you will take loans to pay for school, and therefore there’s not a lot of merit aid. What there is often pales next to the total bill. $1500 awards are only a drop in the bucket if tuition alone is $35,000.

          I should also point out that if you’re considering accepting a merit scholarship from a lower-ranked school, read the fine print carefully. They often require that you maintain a very high GPA, and even if you’re extremely smart that’s a dicey proposition given the mandatory curves imposed on first-year grades by most law schools. Typically, if you lose the scholarship by dropping below the GPA threshold, you can never get it back even if you meet all the requirements in subsequent semesters. I have a friend who ended up stuck at a lower tier school without a scholarship due to getting a B in one class and losing her scholarship, even though the rest of her grades were A minuses.

      • To piggyback on this law is a lot more regional than I realized when I started law school. It’s really impossible to overemphasize how regional it is. If you know you’re going to want to end up in a particular geographic area it makes the most sense to go there. If you don’t, then it makes the most sense to go to the highest ranked school you can get into.

  34. Question for Clarasonic owners. I have had a standard size for a couple of years now, which I generally use once a day.

    What, if anything do you do to keep your Clarasonic clean? I switch brushes every three months or thereabouts, and rinse the visible parts underneath the brush head when I’m switching it out. But the other day, for the first time, I let it run two or three cycles under running water, with the brush head removed. I was amazed and disgusted by the gunk that came out of it. In particular, there are two little holes on the handle, underneath the brush area, and a bunch of the stuff seemed concentrated here. I have no idea where it’s coming from — I suppose its a couple of years of skin and makeup and facewash that somehow evaded the regular rinses I had been doing. Gross.

    Thinking about soaking the whole thing in a bowl of water, with the brush head removed, to see what comes out. Anyone done this, or have any other suggestions?

    • Emma Woodhouse :

      Gross! I usually just wash the brush with soap once or twice a week, but never thought to wash under the brush. I’ll have to take a look at mine tonight, though it’s only a few months old…

    • I don’t think they recommend immersing the whole thing in water. Sounds like you could just have some mildew; try to dry the whole thing (and run the brush against a towel for a few seconds) after you use it.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I periodically clean under the brush with Q-tip and alcohol and then let dry completely.

  35. Ballerina Girl :

    Okay so maybe this is too late in the chain to get a response, but I’m looking for some skinny jeans that have lots of give in the waist area (without being jeggings). Even though I’m relatively slim, I carry most of my weight in the belly and I hate the way jeans digging into my belly looks and feels. I feel like a bit of stretch there would be helpful, but I can’t seem to find a good fit. I’m also on the petite side so it’s hard to find jeans that aren’t too high rise for me.

    Any suggestions?

    • I like the Rail Straight jeans at Madewell.

      • I don’t have much of a waist and carry my weight in my belly too. I like KUT skinny jeans. They’re at Nordstrom’s. Having a higher rise helps too.

    • I like these:
      http://tinyurl.com/6on7hbo

      I’ve been wearing them nonstop since I got them in October

      • Me too! I’m really close to ordering a second pair because I love them so much. They’re a little too baggy in the ankle area for me to tuck into boots comfortably, so I also got the super-skinny (which I will only wear with something covering my a**).

        • @Bunkster & Coco: I’m staring at htese but can’t pull the trigger bc the 27s will be slightly small and the 30s way too big. According to the size chart, I’m basically a 28 exactly. do I go for the 27s? So cute, such a great price….Thanks!

          • I have found that mine do stretch a little throughout the day, so you could probably get the 27s and be good. And if they don’t fit, you can just return them to Sears and not worry about return shipping!

    • Oh.so.tired :

      My bodyshape is similar to yours. My waist is wide compared to the rest of my body. Although I’m slim, it makes it hard to find skinny jeans that are tight enough around the legs and ankles but fit at the waist. I found 2 from express that work really great- I would check there if I were you. They aren’t baggy in the legs and fit nice around the waist.

      Good luck!

    • I have 2 pairs that I love: Joe’s High Waisted Visionaire Geraldine Skinny Jeans and Blue Gwenevere High Waisted Skinny Jeans by 7 for all Mankind… both were kind of expensive. I’m 5′ 7″ though, so high waisted is good for me… it sounds like it might not work for you. But they’re both stretchy and comfortable.

  36. Home Maintenance Help :

    ‘Rettes,

    I just stripped my bed, removing the bedskirt and mattress pad, and flipped the mattress. All linens are now in the wash.

    Between the mattress and the box spring, I found a half dozen “creatures” that I cannot identify. They were all motionless (or dead, if they ever were alive). About the size of a grain of rice. Brown. Kind of fuzzy, like the outside of a kiwi. They might be dead bugs, or they might be the discarded cocoon of a bug?

    I instantly thought “weevil” (no idea why that word came to mind), but when I Googled weevil, the picture was not the same. (I have seen photos of bedbugs, and these are not bedbugs.)

    Any advice about:

    1. What these are?
    2. What, if anything, I need to do about them?

    Signed,

    Maybe some amount of HomeEc in school wouldn’t be a bad thing (but don’t tell anyone that a feminist thinks so)

    • If you’re sure that they are not bed bugs, then I’m at a loss.

      http://www.whatsthatbug.com/ does a good job of identifying critters if you send them a picture. It might take a while, but I would give that a shot. Do you see any legs? You could put them in the freezer for several hours to make sure that they are dead.

    • Marie Curie :

      Bed bugs would have been my first guess, too. Perhaps you can find something on pest control websites? Or call a local pest control hotline or something? Googling led me to carpet beetle larvae which are fuzzy, though they are sometimes striped.

    • Carpet beetle larvae, maybe. I saw some of these in my old apartment, left behind from previous tenants. The larvae are these hairy looking things and the beetles look like little black ladybugs. Harmless I think to people but will eat your clothes.

  37. AnonInfinity :

    Is it wise to ask for things at work that you know you almost certainly won’t get in order to how that you’re interested? Example — Working on a project with a couple of VIP partners, and there are no midlevels (so, just partners and very junior me). There’s a convention in another state for the industry the client is in. I know the partners are planning to go, and it’s highly unlikely that they will let me tag along. I really want to go, so is it a bad idea to ask anyway?

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      What’s the worst that can happen? They say no. What have you lost? Nothing. They are not going to think bad of you for asking – they will see that you take initiative and have chutzpah. Go for it!

      • AnonInfinity :

        I am mostly afraid they’ll think, “Ummm.. clearly you’re not going, who do you think you are?!” or that they’ll think I don’t understand the office culture.

        Ultimately, I think you’re probably right SAlit-a-gator…

    • Perhaps ask in a way that doesn’t sound like you think you’re entitled to go. If you’re relatively new, you can say something like, “I don’t know what the typical protocol is on who goes to conferences like this, but if there’s budget for one more, I’d love to go.”

    • Ask! By not asking, you assure that you won’t go. Just say, “Hey, I’d really like to go to XYZ convention–it could really help me learn about blah blah blah. Is there any way to make that happen?” Also, are you willing to pony up some or all of the $$ to go? That would help show you’re invested in your career.

    • Another Sarah :

      People don’t know what you want unless you ask for it. So you might as well! :-)

  38. any Corporettes who are in Junior League? Been contemplating this for a while as a way to have more focused community service (right now I only serve maybe 15 hours/year working with a local legal aid clinic). I’m in the SF Bay Area, so I realize it might be different here as opposed to, say, the South, but would love to hear any thoughts.

    • When I lived in Providence, I joined Junior League because I didn’t know anyone. I made 2 very good friends through it. I think it’s a great way to meet people, but the requirements can be tough and the dues can be high. JLRI (Junior League Rhode Island) was awesome. But then I moved back to Boston and I didn’t join up because they had many requirements that were tough to meet and the dues were expensive. Also, I already knew a lot of people in the area.

      They have information sessions periodically. You should go to one. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet some great people. I sure did.

  39. I work in a position providing very substantive support to attorneys at a mid-size firm, and I am stuck working with several difficult attorneys, but in particular one notoriously b!tchy attorney. She is rude, mean bordering on cruel, constantly screaming, and extraordinarily unreasonable, demanding and stubborn. She is primarily this way to females (unless you’re one of her very few and rare favorites), and is usually extremely simpering to males, especially the male partners. I just can’t put up with her any more. I want to quit, but can’t until I have another job lined up that pays enough for my financial needs (I have some inflexible payments that I am stuck with, not due to any fiscal irresponsibility), and I don’t anticipate that happening any time soon in this economy. But I am so completely burnt out and sick of her BS and abuse and yelling and the fact that the firm refuses to do anything about it, that I just want to quit on Monday. At this point I manage to get by on a daily basis by comforting myself with fantasies about her getting killed in terrible ways. Otherwise I just feel like killing myself. I feel so stuck and don’t know what to do. I am so close to just quitting and saying to hell with it, but what would I do to pay the bills… Help me, help me, help me.

    And by the way, to the female attorneys who frequent corporette: you may all be genuinely wonderful people, and maybe I just work for unsusually horrible people, but just in case, take a minute and please reassess how “aggressive” and “demanding” you are, and think of whether you treat your female and male support staff and/or colleagues the same. I say this because every single one of the female attorneys I work with are really, really awful to the female support staff, and have male favorites who they dote on. The male attorneys are much more reasonable and easier to work with. It makes me wonder whether women have it so hard in male-dominated professions in good part because all the women clawing their way to the top are so insecure and b!tchy to the other females lower on the totem pole.

    • @blah – what makes the men “much more reasonable and easier to work with”? Curious.

    • I’m sorry you’re dealing with such a horrible person. She sounds like a real piece of work. However, maybe you need to reassess your relationships with all these other women you have a problem with, without a single exception in your working life. In general, when people complain that “All members of [huge, disparate group of people] I’ve ever had a relationship with suck” it says more about that person than than group of people. Afterall, the most common denominator in all of those relationships is you. See also: “All my ex-boyfriends are crazy” and “I don’t have female friends, all women are backstabbing b!tches”

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        In this vein, I read an excellent article about how at one point it might have been cool to have been the girl that said “omg, all the girls hate me…all my friends are boys…” but that is the kind of attitude that doesn’t get you any friends at work, and helps bring other women down. Check out thisrecording (dot com), article called “in which we tell you to be a woman in any boys club”, I’m putting the link in a reply.

        • Alanna of Trebond :
          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Great article. I unfortunately fell in the “what if I like being the only girl in the boys club” group for a very long time and I am sure it has hindered me making more women friends. I have been trying to change that mind set the last couple years.

            I remember posting once in the early Corporette days on a post about friends about why I had more male friends than female friends. I had said something like “I just have more in common and share more interests with the guys than the gals.” A commenter here called me out for being sexist for assuming that other women also didn’t prefer what I prefer and like the “men’s stuff” that I liked. That article you linked made me think how my prior mind set was actually just very conceited – it was essentially thinking – “but there just can’t be another girl as awesome as me!”

            I have worked in extreme boys clubs (corrections) and succeeded by proving I was “different than other women.” But working to be accepted probably left me with a warped view of what “other women” are actually like.

            I’ll admit, the only time I have met a group of women that I immediately felt like I had stuff in common with and could be friends with right off the bat was a Corporette meet up! Before that I probably made negative assumptions about women I met that were the same negative assumptions I wouldn’t want men to make about me. I guess I just needed to meet other over achieving chics to snap me out of it and realize how many other awesome women are out there!

          • Alanna of Trebond :

            @ Blonde Lawyer– that’s a great story, and I hope that the above poster can learn from your experiences. You’ve also made me a bit jealous since the New York Meetup hasn’t happened yet!

    • I agree with Jas. If it’s every single female attorney at your firm, I think there must be some underlying issue. We have one assistant who is very cold to all the female attorneys in the department and much nicer to the males. It’s hard for me to be warm and friendly to a person who acts with such obvious disdain toward me. When we had a new female attorney start earlier this year who couldn’t be sweeter, it didn’t take more than a couple of weeks for this assistant to start being rude to her. A male attorney started at the same time and the attitude was the complete opposite.

      • Anon for this one. :

        This.

        The corresponding generalisation would be that many support staff treat male attorneys better to start with and accept criticism (otherwise known as “feedback”) from said male attorneys without complaint or protest. When a female attorney points out clear mistakes, well, what a b!tch.

        That is about the point where I stop trying to be understanding and cordial and do what the male attorneys are doing anyway – give instructions and expect them to be followed. To the letter.

        • karenpadi :

          This. And if you don’t hug the male attorneys, don’t expect a hug from me. Even if you are a woman who is old enough to be my mother, don’t try to act motherly around me (especially in front of other attorneys).

          I treat incompetent male support staff the same way I treat incompetent female support staff. The more professional men and women don’t take it personally and don’t call me to talk about how their kids are sick and their in-laws were visiting and blah, blah, blah.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Are you sure that these women who are “aggressive” and “demanding” are significantly different then the men who are “assertive” or any other adjective that is admirable when applied to male attorneys but negative when applied to women? What is wrong with a woman who is demanding in the work place? You are getting paid to work, not hang out, right? I don’t mean to be harsh, but I don’t think we’ve moved past the requirement of being better just to be somewhat equal. I also think that many support staff expect female attorneys to be their friends, and have a difficult time managing up the relationship.

      What are you doing to make the relationship work? Are the favorites favored because they are male, or because they get the work done, on time or early, without complaining that the boss is too demanding? Its hard to determine if you have an awful boss, though, because you haven’t owned any responsibility in the relationship….

      • I guess I feel like the OP’s workplace is likely not large and she may not be making a generalization about more than a few female attorneys. These responses seemed to blame her without asking for more information (or I guess they do ask her for more details, but they assume that if all the female attorneys are difficult, then she is the problem). I guess I’m disappointed that there isn’t more sympathy. This woman said she wants to kill herself sometimes. Think of the sympathy we’ve given others when they have abusive bosses. I wish we’d expressed more sympathy here.

        • I agree with this. While I do find the side discussion interesting, I don’t like the blaming the victim that seems to be happening here. OP have you complained about this woman’s behavior to HR? Is there an HR mechanism at your firm? I’m sorry she’s making your life miserable. I worked with a woman like that once, when I was a paralegal at a big name NY firm before law school. And yes, many of the women at that firm were like that. Raised voice screaming was not only not unusual, it was so common that I heard it happening in the hallways. It doesn’t make me a woman-hater. It just means the culture there seemed to breed and accept that kind of behavior. I don’t really have too much advice here, just know that others have been through what you’re going through and come out on the other side. I’m actually VERY grateful to have had that experience because I know how much worse things could be, and I know how I will never, ever treat people.

        • I was thinking the same thing. Of course, I don’t know anything about the workplace, but haven’t we all known women (and men) who really do confuse “assertive” with “bitchy”? (If you haven’t, haven’t you at least seen a reality TV show?)

          OP, I completely get that you can’t just leave your job (and I support that), but can you take some time off? If you can take a week’s vaca, try that, but if you can’t, visit a doctor and explain your problem – you should be able to get a note for at least a few days off to recoup.

          Use that time to a) job hunt, b) examine your financial situation and see if there’s anything that you can do to get along with a lower paying job if necessary (including more drastic changes, like moving), c) think carefully about your relationships and how you can deal with people (when I have to deal with unpleasant people, I like to make it a game- how super sugary sweet can I be to them? That way, it’s almost fun.) and how you can limit your exposure to the most unpleasant one (what does she need? Can you be ready for any request that she might have right away, so that you severely limit any exposure to her? Can you arrange to communicate with her via email instead of in person?) and 4) write a detailed letter to your boss about the problems that you are having. Don’t send it, just write it! Then think about how you can explain this problem in a way that might be more effective and helpful.

          Good luck and I hope that helps.

        • I agree with stc and others who have pointed out that earlier comments have distracted from the OP’s cry for help. Clearly the OP hit on a sore spot, and it would definitely be an interesting discussion for another day.

          To the OP: You know this situation needs to end, so focus on that. If you know for sure you want to leave, try to disconnect mentally from the place (I know it’s hard to do) and start planning your exit. If you want to improve the situation at your current place, consider talking to someone whom you trust and who may be able to help you. You may want to do both, so that at least things are better while you’re still there.

          Also, I find your comments about a death wish alarming. You may want to talk to a doctor and / or a therapist but at least talk to someone about these feelings. Please, take this seriously and seek the help you need and deserve.

          In the short term, treat yourself to something fun and resolve not to talk about work for a full day. Go out on a day trip with someone you love, read a book, buy something beautiful for yourself, exercise, do whatever it is that you think may help you drive your thoughts about work to the background for a day.

          Hang in there, and take good care of yourself.

        • I’d agree with you, were it not for the blanket admonishment to the readers at the end of OP’s post that asks if maybe we female attorneys are part of her problem.

          While I don’t doubt that she has had difficulties at work, that kind of comment speaks to a larger problem to me. Sure, her boss may be unreasonable. But really, what attorney isn’t from time to time? Male attorneys act this way and are labeled “assertive.”

          I have a hard time believing that, even if her boss is particularly heinous (and I have worked for some heinous women) that she isn’t also projecting gender normative behavior onto her boss. I.e. “nice women don’t do X.” Well, nice women also don’t make partner or get sh*t done.

        • Anon for this one. :

          I left a rather negative comment earlier, and on reflection I *am* sorry that I didn’t express more sympathy.

          I – and might I say many of us? Even us aggressive female attorneys? – know how it feels to wish that I didn’t wake up in the morning to go to work. It seems that there’s no solution but to get out, and I know that some have dealt with the problem by reminding themselves that there was an end-point and light at the end of the tunnel. Having “resignation” as an actual item on their to do list, or somewhere that they could look at often, helped.

          Apart from that, no job is worth as much as your life. No bills are worth your life either.

    • I have no idea if any of this applies to you, but sometimes the person who seems bitchy is dealing with things you may not know about. One of the female partners in our firm can be pretty harsh with the staff, but she is also dealing with a physical problem that leaves her in constant pain, she travels several days a week, and she bills more than anyone else in the firm. All of this makes her very intolerant of even minor mistakes. I know that’s not an excuse, but I try to cut her some slack (granted I’m not staff, so don’t get the brunt of it). Maybe just try not to take things personally, and consider there may be things she is dealing with that you don’t know about? Even if it’s not true, it might make it easier for you to deal with. Anyway, it sounds like a crappy place to work, and I wish you luck on finding a better job.

  40. My husband likes port (as in, the alcoholic beverage). Does anyone know of a good place where they do some sort of port-of the-month type thing? I know there are a million wine-of-the-month clubs, but I’m interested specifically in port. Would love for him to try a few unusual kinds – would be a great Christmas gift. Thanks in advance for any ideas!

    • Trentedue Winery in Alexander Valley has a port club: wwwDOTtrentadueDOTcom/wine-clubs/port.asp

      We’re members and love it!

  41. For the ‘Rette who was looking for flat wedding shoes!

    Check out the Cole Haan Air Bacara Ballet flat. If those had been around four months ago when I was buying my wedding shoes, I would have had serious competition for my shoes!

  42. Okay, I’m way into this dress. But friends! I have a getting-a-raise question with which only you can help.

    I work at a large university in a non-professorial capacity. I was hired two years ago for an entry-level job, and this summer I was given a promotion complete with a new title and a significantly expanded list of responsibilities. The new title was created for me; I work in an industry that doesn’t have many middle positions–there’s an awful lot of entry-level assistants and an awful lot of been-there-for-decades senior people, but not much room in between. When I was told about the promotion in July, I was promised that there would be money forthcoming this winter, as the university had instituted a salary freeze over the summer.

    I’ve been doing lots of really good work lately, and my boss has been explicit about how deeply he appreciates it. He’s hinted that we’ll be meeting this week to discuss the raise that was promised over the summer, so here’s my quandary: would it be appropriate to ask if the raise could be instituted retroactively, such that I receive a lump sum bonus for the past five months in addition to the higher salary going forward?

    I have no idea what the etiquette is here, especially at a university where salaries are very carefully controlled. I will be unsurprised if the answer to the above question is no, but I think I should at least ask if you ladies deem it appropriate.

    • I used to work at a public university and am now at a private one. I totally get the budget issue, especially given the former experience. However, I do think it is appropriate to ask. I’m not going to say “the worst that could happen is they say no!” because we both know that dynamics at work are more complex than that. However, this raise was promised a significantly long time ago, and I do think you should ask. Choose the words carefully, and do not call it a “lump sum bonus.” First of all, it wouldn’t be a “bonus”–it would be the raise to your salary that was promised, based on your promotion. Second, it doesn’t necessarily need to come in a lump sum. Sometimes payroll has to do these things in installments, and you don’t want to rule that out by saying “lump sum” when that isn’t really what you’re asking for. You just want the raise to be retroactive, however that can be worked out.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, you should ask. If you don’t, you have zero chance of getting it. That said, I agree with Monday. Ask if it can be retroactive, but don’t be so specific about how it gets paid out. While a lump sum would be nice, it will be just as nice to get it in installments. Good luck!

    • lawpryncess :

      Yes, you should ask. If you don’t, you have zero chance of getting it. That said, I agree with Monday. Ask if it can be retroactive, but don’t be so specific about how it gets paid out. While a lump sum would be nice, it will be just as nice to get it in installments. Good luck!

  43. new poster :

    This is late in the weekend, but hopefully someone will see it. I’ve been reading posts here for a long time, but it is my first time posting. I know I’ve seen people writing about student loan questions, so I hope someone can point me in the right direction.

    I just graduated from law school in May. I have a bunch of loans with Great Lakes, which seems to do a good job with notifying me about due dates, etc. And then I have one loan that somehow got sold to Sallie Mae, which is a whole different ballgame.

    Sallie keeps sending me these notices that I have a payment due…on 3/8/13. I don’t get it. Should I pay it as if the notice said 3/8/12? Should I pay it as of 12/20/11, which is the due date on every other loan I have with Great Lakes, and seems about right, based on a May graduation date?

    Thanks for any advice!

    • Do they have a number you can call and ask? I would just call to make sure it’s not a typo.

    • Did you pre-pay any of that loan? I know sometimes when I made larger than normal payments, the loan company (which was neither GL or Sallie) would change the due date to be like 1 year away. But the automatically debited payments would proceed as usual. Otherwise, they might have your graduation date wrong.

      Are you going to consolidate with the federal gov Direct Loan program? If your loans qualify, it might be a good idea. At a minimum, you have fewer due dates to track and only one customer service system to fight with.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My grace period with Sallie Mae was weird too. I’d call to confirm the first payment date as well as what the estimated payment is. Keep track of when you call and who you speak with just in case something becomes an issue.

      Sadly this is nothing. Wait until they start calling you every 3 days to alert you that your first payment is coming due. Even after you’ve already paid it. I’m sorry your loan got sold to them. They’ve been the worst of all my student loan companies to deal with.

      • new poster :

        Thanks for the replies–I did try to call, but they are closed Sundays–I knew someone here would have info for me in the meantime.

        KK, I would never have thought of that, but I bet that is what happened. I paid off the accrued interest in one big payment back in October so that it wouldn’t get capitalized. I haven’t signed up for auto-pay yet, so maybe they just advanced it?

        I have been putting off consolidating until I make the first few payments and see how annoying it is. Is there any benefit to consolidating besides just making one payment vs. 8 small ones? I was sort of hoping that if I didn’t consolidate, the government would soon come up with some kind of interest rate relief for student loans for which I would be eligible :) Wishful thinking…

    • Definitely call. They sent me a notice once that I had a loan due before I even graduated law school. Whoops.

      Also, if they do the irritating call reminder thing someone mentioned above, tell them you only want written or e-mail correspondence.

      I chose not to consolidate so that I can pay off my 8.5% loans before my 6% ones. I did a lot of research and talking to my finaid office before I graduated, and unless you are going to do IBR, it doesn’t really make a difference whether or not you consolidate unless you just can’t stand making those payments to different servicers every month.

  44. I’m wondering how much money biglaw first years need to give assistants at the holidays. I have heard $100 thrown out quite a few times, but I’ve been at the firm for only a little over a month and am not eligible for a bonus this year. Before I got hired, I was unemployed for a very long time, so despite my now-large salary and my relatively frugal lifestyle, I have almost no savings and massive amounts of (loan) debt. $100 would really eat into my monthly budget. Is it ok to give around $25 in cash/gift card and maybe something else nice like flowers? I don’t want to be seen as a cheapskate but I really can’t afford more.

    • Give what you can afford. I think assistants are just happy to be acknowledged. You could personalize it by baking cookies or something – much more thoughtful than just throwing a couple hundred in a card and being done with it (not that there’s anything wrong with that approach, since that’s my plan this year LOL!)

    • Not in your field, and agree you don’t need to give more than you can afford — but a holiday gift to an assistant (whose helpfulness or lack thereof can really impact your worklife) may be a very good investment. Doesn’t have to just be about the $ amount, but conveying appreciation.

    • Anonymous :

      I would write them (whichever them it is) a thank you note that spells out how thankful you are for their help in the last month. That should make it clear that you are really not on the hook for the whole year.

      But as someone who really appreciates / needs holiday tips and works with others who do, be careful that you don’t get labeled as being bad at tipping. We definitely remember. (One person who ought to tip me always arranges to go on vacation right at the end of the semester. Every year. So obnoxious!)

      If you do go with gift cards, try to make them at least a little bit personalized: Android marketplace for smartphone users who don’t have iPhones instead of App Store cards, for instance. One person I work for picks up her Bliss beauty gift sets for her assistants for the holidays — it’s super nice, but cash would go to my student loans.

      But people should understand this once since you haven’t been there long.

    • lawpryncess :

      I’d say give the $25 plus whatever you would send on flowers as cash in a card with a nice, handwritten note of appreciation. Assistants in my office make or break us. Granted we are in court on20 cases a day so that is very different than you do, but I have found that a nice note of appreciation goes a very long way towards making sure I get excellent support.

      • Anonymous :

        My apologies or the horrid grammar. I should not post from my phone. Lesson learned.

    • Former MidLevel :

      Ask senior associates in your practice group (or even better, someone who shares your secretary) what the firm’s norms are. The rule of thumb at my firm was something like $50 per year of experience, so first years give $50, second years give $100, and so on.

      • Anon for this :

        What about spreading it out? I would feel much more appreciated if I wasn’t only thanked once per year. Just saying. And agree with the note and something thoughtful if you can’t do the $$$.

  45. As a former biglaw attorney, I’d say consider giving what other first years give, especially if you have a good working relationship with your assistant (if he / she is not doing much for you or giving you attitude, then I’d say go with 50% of the amount that’s the standard for first years who started earlier). I get that you are nervous about digging yourself out of your debt but your income is still substantially higher than your assistant’s.

    And congrats on getting the job! Take a deep breath, you’re employed now, and if you stick it out for a few years and live somewhat frugally you will pay down your debt substantially.