Coffee Break: A Monthly Box of Healthy Snacks

LollihopI don’t know about you, but I love trying new foods — particularly snack foods. It’s like I never grew out of that phase where your mom buys you something in the checkout line at the grocery store as a prize for being well behaved during the shopping trip. A new flavor of chips? Sign me up. A new candy bar? Oooh. (When I travel internationally, forget about it — every bodega is like Christmas!) In more recent years I’ve tried to make it healthier snacks, at least — which is why I jumped at the chance to try Lollihop. Lollihop is a monthly “subscription” where they send you a box of healthy snacks, once a month. While not low-calorie per se, my box contained lots of healthier options than the usual candy bar or bag of chips — I particularly loved the amazing popcorn from 479° Popcorn, and I wonder why I’ve refused to try Lärabars for so long — delicious.

A 12-month subscription is $18.95 per month, promising 8 snacks per box, nutritionist approved snacks in single serving sizes. Yum. Since it’s the holidays, the folks at Lollihop are offering a 20% discount to the first 50 readers who sign up for gift subscriptions.  Just go to  https://lollihop.com/gift_subscription/ and input the promotion code CORPORETTE20 to get 20% off the entire Gift Subscription amount. (And yes, you can “gift” one to yourself.)

Readers, do you share my snack obsession?  What are your favorite tasty and healthy treats?

Please note that all reviews are subject to The Corporette Review Policy.

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Comments

  1. I am dying to tell everyone about my new work bag. After reading about Lo & Sons on here, I decided to order their 15 inch laptop bag. I love it. It’s lightweight, but sturdy nylon, comes with a shoulder strap and has tons of pockets. Best of all, it has a slim sillouette that isn’t too bulky for squeezing onto a crowded Metro car. I think the bag is as nice as a Kate Spade nylon bag, but it was only $150. I’ll leave a link in the reply. This was a great product recommendation from Kat because I never would have known about Lo&Sons if I hadn’t seen it on here, so thank you!

  2. Feeling stupid–just had lunch with my boss and was very much expecting that lunch would include a conversation about the promised-six-months-ago-during-a-campus-wide-salary-freeze raise. It didn’t.

    Sigh.

    It’s fine, I know. I had already been planning on bringing it up with him in early January, after the holiday/conference madness ends, and by then I’ll have accomplished even more good things, so that’ll just add weight to the conversation. Still, I was looking forward to having this settled now, and I was looking forward to not having to remind him.

  3. Alan used to give me chocolate SCONES every day, b/c he wanted to fatten me up so that other men would NOT be interested in me. FOOEY on HIM.

    But I figured this out EARLY and did NOT let him fatten me up!

    FOOEY ON HIM! I am NOT fat and Still look good even though I do NOT have a boyfriend now.

  4. Still dealing with my gym bag theft. Apparently, you can’t file an incident report over the phone (even though the Boston Police website says you can). So either I go to the police station, which is over a mile away so I’d have to take a cab. Or I call 911 and the police come to me so I can file the report.

    I don’t necessarily want the police to come to my office. I’m thinking maybe I’ll go to the bar I like and have a drink while I wait for them to show up. But I don’t want the bar owners/patrons to have to worry about the police showing up. I’m hoping that maybe I can talk to the police outside the bar.

    I don’t live in Boston so I can’t have them come to my home.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Bunkster, call the police (they should have a non-emergency line you can call) and make them meet you at your gym. (a) If the thief if a regular, hopefully this will scare them into stopping their practices; (b) Hopefully it will show your gym you mean business. Perhaps having the cops show up at your gym will even prompt people to come forward.

      • Gooseberry :

        Maddie Ross — this is a GREAT idea! It may also prompt the gym to throw Bunkster some cash, or at least a month off her membership, because of how clearly serious she is about pursuing this.

      • Apparently, they don’t have a non-emergency line so I’d have to call 911. But I like your thinking. The gym has actually been pretty helpful and concerned. They called the police, but were told I’d have to do it since it’s my property.

        • What about the BPD’s Customer Service Desk? It seems really odd that they would make you tie up the emergency line for a non-emergency. (per City of Boston website)

          • I’ll see. I called the Incident Report line, per the website. And the very unhelpful woman told me that incidents could only be reported at a station. So then I called the nearest station and the guy there told me I could come in to the station or call 911.

            I told him that I didn’t want to spend taxpayer money to have a car come out, but he told me that’s how it works. They’ll be there regardless.

        • You should not be calling 911 I dont know why they would tell you that! Google brought this up http://www.bostoncentral.com/towns/boston/quickinfo.php

          • That non-emergency number is the one I called. The very unhelpful woman I mentioned above answered the call and told me I had to go to the police station.

            The BPD is working very hard to discourage me from filing a report. When I called 911, they said I would have a very looonnnnggg wait.

            I’m thinking if we still do the Third Thursday Boston meet-up, I could spend the hours between the end of my workday and the meet-up at the station. Maybe I should look into drinking establishments near the precinct…

        • In Chicago, if you call the nonemergency number for anything that would require a squad car, they’ll send you to 911. It’s the number they use for all dispatches. Or so they’ve told me. It does seem weird to call 911 for something nonemergency-related – and even weirder when you call 911 and an automated system answers!! What if I were being attacked?!

          • another anon :

            I think this is pretty common. When I have called the cops in my small town (to report some vandalism on my property), they told me I had to call 911 to have someone come take a report. This has also been the case when I have gotten into minor accidents where no one was hurt and there really was no emergency. I have just called 911 and said that I don’t have an emergency, but that I called X number and they instructed me to call 911 because ______. I have never had an issue with this, although I agree that it is odd that they route all this stuff through 911.

    • Anonymous :

      Actually, I am in Atlanta, and until very recently, there was no non-emergency line. Incidents had to be reported through 911, regardless of their nature. This was for a variety of reasons, apparently, the most important being data management for statistical reporting. Even now we are encouraged to continue to report all incidents through 911 so they can monitor trends and deploy appropriate resources, though I understand they have opened a non-emergency line.

      • In Dallas, if you call the non-emergency line, it automatically kicks you to 911. Don’t even know why they have it.

        • I work for a city that does the same thing. The calls queue differently for 911 operators, so that if you are calling 911 you are a high priority and if you call the non-emergency line you are a lower priority.

  5. Quick Threadjack:

    I’m a 3L who has fortunately found a position for next year, starting in October. It’s a fairly conservative firm dress wise, so I’m trying out all my more vivid nail polish colors and such, now. Something I’ve always wanted to do is to go to a hairdresser and just tell them “do what you think will look good on me,” because I am totally unimaginative in my hair styles (I’m fairly petite but have a TON of hair. The individual strands are fairly fine, but there’s a ton of them. I let it get long, chop it off to shoulder length, let it get long again, and so forth). I figure if it is absolutely awful, it’ll grow out by the time I start work.

    So question is: Is this okay to do? Will the hairdresser hate me if I don’t have any suggestions for her/him? I don’t have a regular person I go to, so I was just going to try and find an experienced hairdresser at some salon around town to see.

    Any advice/suggestions would be awesome!

    • I always tell my hair guy to just do whatever he wants. Just find one whose taste you trust.

    • I don’t think your hairdresser would hate you. Mine is always pushing me to try something more creative.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I’ve done “do what you think will look good” and it’s generally worked out fine when I’ve either set appropriate parameters (“anything you want but it needs to be long enough to go into a ponytail”) or at least given guidance on the feel I’m going for (“nothing too alternative because I need to keep it professional for work”).

      I think parameters are important. My friend gave total free reign to her hairstylist and ended up with an awesome looking faux-hawk — that unfortunately looked ridiculous when styled as anything but a fauxhawk. Luckily, she wasn’t working at the time and could wait for it to grow out but I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with that while starting a new job.

    • I’ve not had such good luck with this tactic with hairdressers that I haven’t patronized previously. In my experience, folks are often afraid they’ll do something you hate and so take a very conservative option. I feel it’s a tactic best used with a hairdresser who has seen you before.

    • karenpadi :

      I personally wouldn’t give a hairdresser free rein until there is a certain level of trust. I think you should use the next 10 months to develop a relationship with a hairdresser.

      My question is, would you want a new client to come in your door and say “here’s my documents from the last 3 years, do whatever on a limited budget”? No, you’d want to know more about the client and what his/her goals are.

      Then the hairdresser will know much more about you like what styling products you like/use, if you can style your own hair, if you use a hairdryer, how often you come in for cuts, etc. Then the hair dresser can really give you something that he/she thinks you would like and would suit your lifestyle. Even for dramatic changes with my regular stylist, I usually bring a few pictures so we can discuss the cut.

      I had a roommate who rarely cut her long hair and didn’t ever bother with styling it into much more than a ponytail. She went to a very high-end salon and told them to do whatever they want. She came home with a gorgeous but very complicated style that required hot rollers, blow-drying, and at least 3 different styling products to maintain.

    • My hair is similar – it’s fine, but there is a ton of it. I would warn you that every time I have told my stylist to “do what you think will look good on me” but keep enough length for a ponytail, I always end up with The Rachel. Which, btw, does not look good on me because it makes my hair look like a mushroom. YMMV.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        This is what happened to me on my last haircut (although I was specific, and brought a picture, I pretty much ended up with the Rachel, which looked nothing like what I brought in). I am waiting for it to grow out because you’re right – it does look like a mushroom.

      • This is a weird comment.

        There is a difference between a layered cut and The Rachel. Neither should look like a mushroom. (I think of a mushroom cut as having shorter layers underneath. The Rachel is the opposite.)

        • This is what happens to me.

          The stylist cuts what she thinks are long, chunky layers, then blows it out with a round brush and lots of product. This looks like an attractive version of The Rachel. Initially, it looks good and I am excited about my new “sassy” look.

          Then, as the day wears on and whenever I try to style it myself (because, not having octopus arms, I am unable to perfect the blow dryer and round brush technique) the true nature of the cut comes out. The chunky layers are just short layers hitting at about my ears and the long layers hit around my collar bone. The short layers bend under and the long layers hit the collar bone and flip out.

          The effect: mushroom.

        • Ahhhh. This makes a lot more sense. I thought by “mushroom” you meant something else.

          But, uh, yeah, that’s kind of what happens when you have a layered cut. Have you tried different products and brushes, etc?

    • I think stylists like to be creative and like to be told they have free reign. But I think it’s more productive if you go to a few appointments with your stylist before you ask that. Then they’ll know you a little more, and you’ll know them.

      Yes, you don’t want a faux hawk.

      And for me, I never want to change my color, so when I say, “Do whatever you think will look good,” I’m not talking about highlights or anything like that.

      You want to make sure you’re on the same page.

    • I actually had a great experience doing this, but I had to break up with my regular stylist to get it done. I had very long, thick hair and wanted something totally different, and when I asked my regular stylist to do it, she basically cut the most boring cut in the world, just shorter. I ended up going to a stranger (after copious research), and said: just freaking cut it, this is boring, and I LOVED the result. Needless to say, this adorable stylist is my new go-to.

    • I did this once for a big chop and it is how I found my favorite stylist that I have kept for several years. Like you I have lots of hair but the individual fibers are quite fine.
      I did give parameters, I wanted something short all over that did have bangs in my face. I wanted somethings where wash and go was an option. I did not want a cut that made me look younger than my age.
      The stylist took it as a personal challenge and gave me a great cut. When could be a better time to take a big chance with your hair than your last year of school?

    • I have done this regularly, but only with a stylist I have been with for a while and who I trust. While I was in school I had all sorts of fun things done to my hair, knowing that I would not be able to once I started working. I only disappointed once and I just scheduled another appointment to “fix” it as soon as possible. In my experience, a stylist will appreciate the opportunity to showcase their skills!

  6. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I think folks are better off packing your own healthy snacks than using a service like this. I suspect that most of what they send will be highly processed stuff (energy bars, etc.) that isn’t good for you anyway. Better off just packing an apple, some nuts, and a Greek yogurt, it takes less than 1 minute.

    • I agree, generally. However, I’m traveling internationally soon, any suggestions for packaged food that will last but isn’t too full of icky stuff?

    • Nuts, dried fruit? Trail mix that you make yourself? (Peanuts, M&Ms, craisins, yogurt-covered raisins, etc.)

      • Here in the UK, we have a similar service, graze, which is amazing! I love the weekly snack delivery but it has also nudged me to think about snacks in a more balanced way. They do nuts and dried fruit and a tiny bit of chocolate, or yummy dried fruit, baby crackers and chutney. Deliciousness!

    • So true. It is also far cheaper to buy your own items on sale or in bulk and bring them with you.

  7. Scared Anony :

    Thank God for the Coffee Break post so I can vent to you all… I’m in a bit of a scarey situation and hopefully some of you have been there and can give me some words of advice/calm. I am 30 and have never experienced something like this.

    Sunday I found a lump in my breast. I randomly did a self exam – not something I normally do but for whatever reason I felt like doing one that night. And I found something. BF was no help in determining if I REALLY felt something or if I was just being crazy/hypercondriac-like.

    Yesterday I tried to make an emergency appt w my PCP but she didn’t have openings but they got me in to see a PA who works with her. The PA felt it too and ordered a mammogram and breast ultrasound.

    While waiting in the hall w the admin person to make an appt for the tests, my PCP sees me and is curious since she didn’t think she was seeing me that day. I told her and she spoke with the PA. She told me to take deep breathes and try to not stress. I have a bit of a depression/anxiety problem that she knows about. She also told me she’d be in touch.

    I know I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do but how do I not freak out?

    I took all of yesterday off except for a meeting I needed to be at. Today I took a partial day so that I could have an easy relaxed morning.

    I’m just really scared mostly and hate that I have to wait until NEXT week. Logically I know there are quite a few things it could be – most benign. BUt of course my brain goes right to the big C. Have any of you been through this before??

    • Sorry you are going through this! Had this happen to a couple of friends and the lumps were benign. Yay! Will pray it’s the same for you!

    • I have been through it, and I know it sucks. First, it is very, very unlikely that it’s anything other than a benign cyst or a fatty lump. Remember that. And second, even if it is something worse, you’ve caught it in an early stage and there are lots and lots of treatment steps before you get to the scary land of Mastectomy/Chemo/Radiation. My mom had breast cancer and they tried a lumpectomy before they went to mastectomy, and she never even had to have chemo or radiation. She’s been cancer-free for 10 years, and is fine. So even if the very, very unlikely worst case scenario is true, it don’t mean that your life is over.

      Take some deep breaths and take good care of yourself with some healthy food, plesant exercise, a nice bath, or whatever. Maybe you can try to channel your anxiety into researching anti-cancer nutrition and incorporating some healthy changes into your diet or lifestyle.

      Bottom line: Try not to freak out over bad news you haven’t even gotten yet. I hope that you get your results soon and that everything is fine.

    • MlleCroissant :

      Never been through something like that before myself, but have supported my mom through several similar scares so I have a sense for how stressful and freaky it can be. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. It sounds like you have a good PCP who is looking out for you and will hopefully help you get your test results asap. In the meantime, I know it’s easier said than done, but try not to freak yourself out. There is nothing you can do now to change the results of the test, so try to distract yourself as much as possible – get busy at work, go see movies, read books. In other words, don’t allow your mind any free time to wander, because it WILL wander to the worst case scenario!

      Also, it sounds like your boyfriend might not be sure how to support you while you’re waiting for your results. While I wish those closest to us could read minds, sometime you just have to say what you need. My husband tries hard to be supportive but sometimes misses the mark, which upsets me even more. I’ve learned to think about the most soothing thing he could say to me, and then I tell him what that is (e.g. “Honey, please tell me xxxxx – it will make me feel so much better). And then react as if he came up with it on his own (“thank you so much, that’s exactly what I needed to hear”). This might sound scrazy, but it works for me.

      Hang in there! Whatever happens, you will find the strength to make it through.

      • “I’ve learned to think about the most soothing thing he could say to me, and then I tell him what that is.”

        I have to do this with my husband too. Be vocal about the type of support that you need, whether it’s “I need you to tell me I’m being ridiculous” or “I need you to take this more seriously.” He may not know.

        Otherwise, it does no good to worry over something you don’t know will be bad news. Save the worry for when you need it! In the meantime, distract yourself so that you aren’t giving yourself a lot of time to think on it. Good luck, and please post an update when you hear back. My Mom has a biopsy of a lump in her breast scheduled for Thursday, so I understand how horrible the waiting can be.

    • I’ve had three lumps. All benign. My thirty-year-old friend had one. It was cancer. Stage I, she had surgery, cancer’s all gone, and she’s doing great. Life moves on. It’s probably not cancer, but if it is, your life isn’t over.

    • I’ve been through this before. During law school exams. And my divorce/resulting loss of health insurance. Yikes.

      Like 99% of lumps in this situation, mine was a benign cyst. Just remember the overwhelming odds that yours will be too:)

    • I went through this when I was 24 and my doctor was a huge jerk to me about it–saying the chances of it being something were so slim that it was a waste of her time to have to respond to my call. (Suffice it to say, I got a new doctor.)

      I had an ultrasound of it done and it wasn’t there anymore–they think it was a swollen gland that would flare up with my cycle.

      Good luck to you! Odds are in your favor but I know it’s scary nonetheless. Good to check it out.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Yes, this happened to me when I was 24. The lump was accompanied by milk production (perhaps TMI), which is one of those “CALL YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY IF THIS HAPPENS TO YOU” symptoms on WebMD. My husband is in health care, and it did not help that he also freaked out.

      But. It was benign. The couple of weeks that passed while waiting to see the doctor and then get the tests done were honestly horrible. I tried to take my mind off of it as much as possible. Just living my life as normal helped. Please be gentle with yourself. I wish I had more words of wisdom, but everyone else has already pointed out what your logical brain knows — it’s very very unlikely to be cancer, and even that is usually treatable. Just try not to let the illogical brain take over for most of the day. I think that’s the best you can do in these types of situations.

      My thoughts are with you, and please keep us updated!

    • Since I have a bit of health related anxiety myself I know exactly how you feel. Until you get the test results back, I think the thing to do is to continually try to challenge your fears with more realistic thoughts such as the ones other people have offered here — ie, that it’s very unlikely that this lump is cancerous, and that even in the extremely likely case that it is cancer it’s not necessarily the case that the outcome will be terrible.

      Also, I’d be happy to do my best to answer any questions you have about breast cancer if you think that would be helpful (I work with a breast cancer clinical trial group as part of my research).

    • Mountain Girl :

      I went through this situation this spring. I would echo what everybody else has said and add that you need to STAY OFF GOOGLE. Seriously. Surfing the web will only make your freak out more. You don’t need that and if you need to consider unplugging for the week you might need to do that.

    • “Survivor” here (I don’t much like the term). Something like 80% of all breast lumps are benign, so the odds are with you. But it’s still scary. Even if it is cancer, it’s not an emergency; yes, you want to act promptly, but you have time to make considered decisions. Good luck, and keep us posted.

      • I freak out over moles, so I can’t imagine what you’re going through. My derm gave me a bit of advice, which maybe will help you…

        If it is the worst case scenario, you’ve caught it and you’re taking medical action. That is the best thing you can do for yourself and puts you ahead of the curve.

        in the mean time, maybe you should talk to your PCP about anti-anxiety meds for a brief duration while you’re waiting for your results. Obviously its natural to be scared/upset, but if you’re unable to function relatively normally, that can only add to your stress levels. Try and take care of yourself the best you can (sleep, eating well, exercise). Sending good vibes your way!!!

    • Surgeon here, who operates on women with breast disease.

      So this is scary. And it’s not going to be not scary (sorry for the convoluted construction) until you get some answers. To echo many other posters:

      1) This is most likely benign, assuming you are not post-menopausal. Like way way way most likely benign.

      2) If it’s not benign: the odds are in your favor that you won’t die of breast cancer. Many many many more women are diagnosed with breast cancer than die of breast cancer. So even if it is breast cancer, it is NOT a death sentence (not to minimize the innumerable ways your life will change if this is cancer).

      You are getting a diagnostic (rather than screening) mammo and ultrasound. The radiologist will be there, looking at your images that day. You will no pretty quickly what the deal is, and whether you need more work-up.

      Every breast image in the US (and internationally) is graded, and there is a standard scoring system. It’s called BI-RADS, FYI. There is a standard 0-6 score your images will get:
      BIRADS 0: need more imaging
      BIRADS 1: normal mammogram
      BIRADS 2: benign lesion
      BIRADS 3: unclear (this is a crap category)
      BIRADS 4: not clearly malignant, but needs biopsy
      BIRADS 5: cancer
      BIRADS 6: known cancer

      Ask your radiologist what your BIRADS category is.

      Until you have imaging, I agree with others to stay off the inter webs. It will only confuse and scare you. Afterwards, if things are 4 or 5, I highly recommend the Susan G Komen website and American Cancer Society website. Both have good scientific information and great support networks.

      Call your PCP if you are having trouble sleeping over this. As a surgeon, I regularly write women for anxiolytics during this period. But honestly, the odds are on your side. You are more likely to die of heart disease than cancer.

    • Scared Anony :

      Thank you all SO much for your responses. I am trying to stay calm and keep busy. Unfortunately I’m already on anti-anxiety/depression and sleep medications so I don’t think they’ll do a bump up for me right now.

      My boyfriend is being very supportive and good. I do appreciate the advice on how to set expectations. That’s something we struggle with in general.

      Work is also being, surprisingly, good about if I need to just not be at work because of this. Not just for the appointments but for me time. I’ve told very few people in my life what’s going on. I can’t tell my parents or sister – they’re not physically/mentally able to handle the worry without info. THe few people I’ve told are amazingly supportive – just like all of you – and it melts my heart – so thank you again. Seriously.

      I promise to update you all when I know more. My appointment is next wednesday morning.

      • I had a similar scare once before, and I’m at very high risk for breast cancer. I’d add the following to the great advice you’ve already received:

        Figure out who will be communicating to you about the results of your mammogram. Tell them in very specific terms how they should communicate the results to you. I say this because my doctor called me and left a voicemail late in the day just saying that she had the results (not saying what those results were) and that I should call her back. By the time I got the message and was able to call back, she had left for the day. So that evening/night was pretty miserable for me. I know doctors are busy, but I think she caused me unnecessary anxiety, and had I known in advance, I would have asked her to tell me the results in the voicemail and ask me to call back to follow up. You might prefer a different approach, but the important thing is to be proactive and communicate what you want.

        Oh, and in case you’ve never had a mammogram before, they can be pretty uncomfortable. Maybe take some pain reliever in advance?

        Good luck!

      • So sorry to you’re going through this scary waiting game. You know the odds are really good that it’s benign, but that doesn’t make it less scary in the waiting-not-knowing phase.

        Two thoughts on the anxiety: You say you’re already on meds, but it may be worth talking to your PCP about your anxiety and asking if there are any short term changes she would suggest in your meds. Besides the meds, remember to breathe, take care of yourself, go for a walk, listen to music, read, etc. — all those good things that help you relax when you don’t have something like this jacking up your worry. Even if those things aren’t as relaxing as they usually are, they can still help make the anxiety more manageable in the meantime.

        ‘Nuff said. Sending you good wishes, virtual moral support, and hoping you have someone (bf? friend? family?) to go in with you to your appointment to keep you company.

  8. $18.95 seemed high to me for roughly 8 snacks, but that’s probably about what I spend anyway on not-as-healthy, “impulse” snacks throughout the month. I think I’ll sign myself up.

    Threadjack/question:
    (and yes I am spending far too much time on Corporette today. Having trouble focusing at work…)

    I work at a small law office in a paralegal/research/secretary role. I like it because, in such a small office, I have a lot of responsibility and get to handle cases from start to finish. However, now that I have 25+ cases on my plate (mainly immigration and bankruptcy currently), I need a better project management system. The office doesn’t use a formal workflow/project management system.

    I’ve been getting by with a mix of email, yellow legal pad, stacks of files and notes in Notational Velocity. But little things are falling through the cracks and I’m spending too much time *managing* my projects – re-writing “to-do” lists etc. I need a faster way to keep track of what I’ve done, what deadlines are coming up, and what I have to do next.

    Any suggestions? I have a Mac/iPhone. The office will foot the bill for a small expense but they’re not interested in an office-wide solution. What works for you?

    • Wunderlist?

      But your office should use a practice management system. Their malpractice insurer would appreciate it. :)

    • GTD and Evernote :

      I am a big fan of the “Getting Things Done (GTD)” cult because I worked in a very quick-paced environment with multiple projects and management responsibilities as well. My “to do” lists started to fail me because they would usually be overtaken by events during the day, and somehow I ended up picking up David Allen’s book. I hated not having a clear vision of what I needed to prioritize, and I gotta say that the original Getting Things Done book helped a lot. What I liked about it was the ability to free up your mind from having to think about everything that needs to happen, so you can focus on one task at a time.

      Also, I am a recent addict to Evernote, which syncs between your computers and smart phones so you can put your lists, notes, random thoughts, web sites, whatever in one place and organize as needed. You can set up notebooks by projects and there’s even web articles about integrating Evernote with GTD.

      • I can’t believe I didn’t think of this – I use a modified GTD approach to manage my personal life/second job/volunteering, but never thought to apply it at work. Also must check out Evernote again (used it as an early adopter and didn’t like it, but that was years ago.)

        @Hel-lo, yes, I wish we would adopt a practice management system. I think that would really cut down on the time I spend coordinating what I’ve done/will do with the other attorneys and paralegals. Investigating Wunderlist… I’m really casting around for something.

        • I’m a solo practitioner (i.e., run a small law office). I recommend Clio for practice management. It’s simple to use, and only $50/mo. There are other software packages out there, but this one gets consistently recommended.

        • You might also try WorkFlowy. That was just recommended on an email list I’m on. (Haven’t tried it myself.)

          • I’ll check both of these out. There are so many possibilities I didn’t know where to start. Corporettes are reliable for good leads :-)

    • I like using Tasks in Outlook to keep track of everything and make status updates, etc.

    • I used to have a very similar job. On a normal day, I would work on maybe 15 different cases. It was a huge suck to have to figure where I was on each file every time I picked it up. And, sometimes I would do 19 things on a file but forget the 20th. At the time, I was working to get my project manager certification, and some of the techniques I learned for that role helped me become more efficient at my paralegal job.

      I know you are probably looking for a technological solution, but I recommend something infinitely adaptable and low cost: Checklists. You know, on paper. These are not to-do lists that you make for just one file, but rather forms that you make up for yourself that cover the normal tasks that you have to do on a particular type of file.

      As I worked on files over the course of a few months, I made about 15 different checklists that covered different types of cases and different circumstances. I stored them on my desktop and, as soon as I reviewed a new file for the first time, I printed out the appropriate checklists and slid them in the file folder. Each checklist had about 20 things to do (“Send XYZ-type letter to client and copy to referring attorney”) in the order those tasks would normally occur, as well as about 10 reminders for the types of things that tended to go wrong on that type of file (“Has attorney talked to client about choosing an executor?”). Reviewing the checklist each time I picked up the file provides an instant summary and the “reminders to myself” section helped me head off problems (which my bosses loved).

      I know checking items off a list like this sounds simplistic, but you are essentially formalizing your “best practices.” You are good at your job and you know what needs to be done — that’s why you are the person creating the checklist, which can be as simple or complex as you want. The checklist frees you to use your brain to look for the aspects that makes this case unique. It also makes delegating tasks and training your replacement much easier.

      For anyone interested in increasing efficiency in this manner, I recommend “The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right” by Atul Gawande. He’s a surgeon who writes for The New Yorker. He writes about how even high-level professionals can benefit from using checklists, and cites airline pilots as an example.

      • This is a great idea, and speaks to my need for standardization. I think I’m going to start compiling checklists for the case types I handle. If nothing else, it will make it easier to train my eventual replacement, as you said. And I think there’s real potential here for my workflow. Thanks!

      • When I read the first paragraph of this post, I was going to respond with READ “THE CHECKLIST MANIFESTO”, but then didn’t need to. Read it recently and it is amazing!

  9. Quick thanks to all the ladies who gave advice re iPad purchase yesterday. I decided to go with the 16GB + 3G. Yeah, I know a new one will be out this spring, but I decided I didn’t mind :)

  10. Just got an iPhone!!! :

    Reposting for more responses, please.

    Threadjack – There have been lots of threads on this, not to mention a post, but I still have a question about iPhone apps. Do any of you have one that functions as an address book? I’m still on the fence about whether I’m going to get another paper planner for 2012 or only use the calendar on my phone. However, I would like to digitize my address book. Is there an app for that? I know there is the Contacts feature but I want something for my relatives in Europe whose numbers I don’t keep in my phone.

    Also, what other fun/practical apps would you recommend? TIA.

  11. I’ve been waiting for coffee break so I can ask for help in finding a flat iron! I have decided to purchase a good one to replace my sad cheap-o drugstore straightener. I will be using it primarily for curling, now that I’ve figured out how to do that. This is also why I want a good quality iron, my cheap one just doesn’t curl well.

    Any recommendations? I’m looking for something that heats up quickly, has different temperature settings, will curl well (so, a 1″ iron) and won’t damage my hair too badly (I’ve read that the better irons don’t damage hair as much). I’m willing to spend on a quality product. Your advice is appreciated!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      The CHI is the best I have used for straightening (been straightening my hair for 8-9 years now), and I would also recommend GHD.

      However, the very best one I’ve seen for curling is this iron: http://www.amazon.com/HSI-CERAMIC-TOURMALINE-STRAIGHTENER-Treatment/dp/B001MA0QY2/ref=cm_srch_res_rtr_10

      which is reasonably inexpensive as flat irons go. Obviously always use a heat protectant spray or serum before using any flat iron to minimize damage to your hair.

      • I have and use the HSI (though I wish I’d found it as cheap as it is on amazon!) and I think it does a pretty fabulous job of straightening, though I can’t say I’ve ever used it to curl my hair. I’ve got pretty naturally curly/wavy hair that is very thick, and this iron does an excellent job of getting it straight quickly and easily.

    • I’ve been happy with my H2Pro. Ironing is always damaging, but I do think paying more will get you something relatively easier on your hair. When I got this one, it was an upgrade from a previous cheaper one, and I did notice the difference.

    • Love love love my GHD iron.

      It automatically adjusts temperature for your hair, and heats up in literally ~8 seconds. Really long cord that swivels where it attaches.

      Also, folica.com is 20% off through tonight with code DEC20, for whatever you decide to get.

    • I think Sedu are the best.

    • Anonymous :

      I just went through this same hunt!

      I had been using Chi for 7+ years. My sister, friend, and I all started having this problem that they would die within one year (which, to us, wasn’t cutting it based on the price). This happened with all different models/prices we tried and consistently for all three of us for several years. We had just resigned ourselves to the fact that we were hooked on these straighteners, as they worked better for us than any others at that price point, and we’d have to just keep replacing them.

      Luckily, I mentioned this sad cycle to my hair dresser last week, as I was asking for a new one for Christmas. She told me that about four years ago, Chi was sold and that ever since a lot of people started having the problem that they would die quickly (after all, how would they make any money if they lasted forever?). She said the same person who started/invented Chi started a new company–FHI–and that’s what she and the other stylists in the salon switched to. She has one of the more expensive ($400+) models and said it has lasted her 5-6 years, using it constantly.

      I was so excited to learn this tip that I just bought one on Amazon for about $70, received it Saturday, and have LOVED it so far. You don’t get the 1-year warranty if you buy it on Amazon, but at that price I figured I’d risk it. I haven’t tried curling with it, but it heats up quickly, has the swivel cord, and is ceramic so is less damaging as far as straighteners go. Hope this helps!

      • I used to have the burning-out problem within a year too, with several different brands, until my stylist pointed out two possible problems: 1) wrapping the cord around the straightener itself, and 2) straightening while hair was still damp. Have avoided these since I bought my last Chi, and it’s lasted me 3 years now!

  12. I LOVE LARABARS.

    I just discovered them a few months ago (I know, I’m behind the curve) and I’m in love. They’re a bit too caloric for me to eat them as a snack but I love having one with a banana as a pre long run fuel. The Cherry Pie flavor is out of this world.

  13. Oh.so.tired :

    Does anyone have experience ordering from figleaves? I ordered two bras on cyber-Monday and they haven’t shown up yet. Today is the 10th business day since the order shipped. There’s no update on the order other than it has shipped and I should expect it within 5-10 business days.

    I don’t want to have to call an international number to speak with customer service rep :-/

    • Did they happen ship it via SmartPost? That always takes substantially longer for my things to arrive. In fact, I received yesterday an order from Gap/Old Navy that I made on Black Friday because it was shipped through SmartPost.

      • MeliaraofTlanth :

        I’ve had the same issue with SmartPost. And there’s one other service some companies use that’s the same concept (they get it somewhere, then it goes through the regular post office) that I can’t remember the name, but they both can take forever. My black friday order from Gap/Banana republic also just got here.

      • fly a way :

        this. Same thing with something from talbots ordered on the same day as JJ. Actually, Fed Ex sent an email saying it was delivered last Thursday. There was nothing Th and nothing F and nothing S. Nothing from FedEx and nothing in my usps mail.

        No email response from talbots…I finally called them on Sat; waited 20 mins. on the phone to be told I had to “call the post office.” Oh, I could ask my neighbors if they had it. Really? and I had used a $25 appreciation certificate.

        Suddenly, it shows up in yesterday’s mail. Craziness.

        I wish I knew ahead of time if someone was going to use Smart Post, I’d cancel my order!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I hate smart post. My cyber Monday purchase arrived at my post office on Dec 3rd, but I had to call ups to find that out since online tracking said destination scan in my city and phone tracking said the package was “on it’s way to me.”. The post office supposedly tried to deliver it the following Thursday but nobody was home and never left me a package slip. I finally just went to the post office on Saturday and luckily they were able to find it. Totally a pain though.

          Honestly the 1 requirement I have for my next apartment is to have a doorman so that I can finally stop stressing about package deliveries.

          • Equity's Darling :

            Ship to your office, that solved my no-doorman problem. And then I also don’t have to worry about recycling the boxes, I just give them back to central services and they deal with it. Amazing.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I really wish that I could. I’m a document attorney though and I haven’t been able to do that at any of my projects. Yet another reason I want to find a permanent job.

    • I’ve ordered from them before and my order took a LONG time to show up (about a month, IIRC). I did call them and they were only kind of helpful — they blamed US customs (most of their stuff seems to ship from the UK), but they did offer me a refund if I wanted one. Since I really wanted the bra I opted to wait, and it did show up eventually.

    • hellskitchen :

      i have ordered multiple times from them – it takes a while but they are a reliable company, good with returns etc. I actually think their returns go to some place in NJ and not Uk which makes it easy to return something if you want

  14. I ordered something on 12/6 and it hasn’t showed up. There’s no tracking number, which is super-annoying. I don’t need the item immediately, so I have been to lazy to see if there’s a customer service chat line or email.

  15. Clea dress :

    Just made an impulse buy and bought the Jcrew Clea dress in both the teal and charcoal colors. With the current promotion, the dress was $140. Any one else buy the dress and if so, what are your thoughts? I’m somewhat pear shaped and am hoping that it will look flattering in the hip area.

    • I also bought both, and returned both. Very disappointed.

      For reference, I’m 5-8 and a size 4, slim and muscular. I don’t mean this in a #humblebrag way – just trying to give a reference point.

      Anyway –

      – It hit me about 4 inches above my knee, mid-thigh when sitting.
      – Very big in the hips.
      – Very tight in the chest. If it is tight for me, anything B+ would probably have trouble fitting into it.
      – Other than the tight chest, I felt like it looked like a sack. A short, unhappy sack.

      And the fabric was rough.

      • Thanks for the review, too bad it didn’t work out. Based on your review, it sounds like it actually might work for me since I have a small bust and larger hips. I’m a size 4 as well, but only 5’5 so hopefully the length isn’t a problem. I’ll report back!

    • I bought it in teal and love it! I’m wearing it today actually :)

      For reference, I am 5-2 and a size 10 (working on losing weight, but that’s another story). Off the rack, the dress looks like it’s going to be a sack, and it might be if you have a straight figure. On my curvy figure, it looks great. It hits me right above my knee. No problems in the chest for me (D cups), but that is probably due to the larger size. The fabric is rough, but the dress is fully lined, so no itchiness problems for me.

  16. On the healthy snack train, I have to say how awesome the MOJO bars from Clif Bar are – every flavor is delicious. They are somewhat “lighter” tasting than regular cliff bars – they are less dense, it seems.

  17. Help! I need a gift for my sister in law. She’s a stay-at-home mom, and has requested long-ish shirts that cover her post-baby belly. Should be casual enough for running around with the kids, but a little fun to make it gift-like. I’d like to buy something off the internet and avoid real shopping, but can’t seem to find something that looks suitable. You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but I’m feeling sort of mystified. Any tips or recommendations? She’s probably a medium. Would like to spend under $50.

    • Gap seems to have a bunch of tops on its website that are longer and a little blousy – one or more of them might fit the bill.

    • The shirts aren’t really fun, but I swear by American Apparel’s unisex t-shirts. They aren’t clingy around the tummy and the colors are great. I have had them for about three years and they don’t look any different after all the washings.

    • Mountain Girl :

      I was going to recommend GAP as well. Their shirts seem to be longer than any other in the industry.

    • My sister falls in this demo graphic and loves Athleta. Everything is machine washable there too.

    • Not sure of your price point, but I’ve been lusting after the shirts on www dot rikshawdesign dot com [avoiding moderation]. The shirts are adorable, unique, and would totally fit your SIL’s fit requirements.

    • Post baby I bought a pile of t shirts from Old Navy that fit the bill… look for the women’s ruched v neck t. Definitely need to wear a camisole underneath but I wear one under everything now, thanks to the flabby tummy.

    • The Target Brand Merona has some t-shirts that are v-neck and have gathering at the neck that help disguise a tummy from motherhood (ask me now I know ;) ) And, if she was a medium pre-baby, she may be a large post-baby. I’m a fairly small person (short, well-proportioned, blah de blah), and normally wear a medium in Merona, but I wore large shirts for probably a year and a half after I had my son.

    • Boden has a lot of tunics as well.

  18. Anon for sensitive question :

    What do you all make of this? A paralegal in my office has posted the poem below on the tack board in her office. For backgroud, I work in a small government office. All the support staff are black women. The boss is a black man. The attorneys are an equal mix of black and white, men and women. The paralegal in question is not well liked by anyone at any level or of any race because she is extremely difficult to communicate and work with. When I say difficult to communicate with, I mean that she comes in and just starts talking about something out of nowhere and you literally have no idea what she’s talking about. I have to stop her and say, ‘What case are you talking about? What file are you referring to, etc.” It is difficult to have a simple conversation with her. She also makes a lot of really basic errors, so her work has be checked and rechecked and she’ll make errors on the corrections you give her. Here’s the poem:

    Being Black in the Work Place

    They take my kindness for weakness.

    They take my silence for speechless.

    They consider my uniqueness strange.

    They call my language slang.

    They see my confidence as conceit.

    They see my mistakes as defeat.

    They consider my success accidental.

    They minimize my intelligence to “potential”.

    My questions mean “I’m unaware”.

    My advancement is somehow unfair.

    Any praise is preferential treatment.

    To voice concern is discontentment.

    If I stand up for myself, I’m too defensive.

    If I don’t trust them, I’m too apprehensive.

    I’m defiant ! if I separate.

    I’m fake if I assimilate.

    Yet, constantly I am faced with work place hate.

    My character is constantly under attack.

    Pride for my race makes me, “TOO BLACK”.

    Yet, I can only be me. And, who am I you ask?

    I am that Strong Black Person…

    Who stands on the backs of my ancestor’s achievements, with an
    erect spine pointing to the stars with pride, dignity and respect
    which lets the work place in America know, that I not only possess
    the ability to play by the rules, but I can make them as well!
    Black History 365

    ~ Arthur Unknown ~

    • I don’t have much to say about it (I think people can put up whatever they want, within reason, in their own offices) but I really hope that the version she tacked up does not say “Arthur Unknown”

    • If it’s in her office, then I agree with AEK in that she can post what she wants, within reason. I think this is within reason. However, she should realize the affect that something like this might have on her career and how others perceive her. I don’t think it’s something that she *should* hang in her office, but I wouldn’t request she take it down.

      And what a wonderful name, Arthur Unknown.

    • Anon for sensitive question :

      I googled the poem and then copy and pasted from the website. Not sure if the printout in her office has that typo but agree that it’s pretty funny.

    • here’s my take: depending on context, the sentiment of the poem could be an inspiring call for strength and perseverance in spite of an unjust world. in another context, it could be seen as reasons to play victim and look for slights and offenses when there aren’t any.

      either way, i wouldn’t hang it on my office wall. nor would i comment on it to the employee in question or anyone else.

    • It’s not offensive and contains no profanity. If it’s in her personal office, I see no reason why her choice in wall decor would be any of your business, or why you would feel the need to comment on it to her, or to anyone else for that matter. (Unless it does, in fact, contain the typo “Arthur Unknown,” because that’s just harmlessly funny.)

      I also have no clue what her work performance has to do with the fact that she posted this poem in her office, or why you would bring that up.

      • I fail at attempting to be anonymous.

      • I’m just guessing here, but in my workplace (also govt), I have encountered some employees (no one answers to me, but many are in positions that collaborate with mine) who put forth poor effort and produce poor work product and at the same time perceive corrections from their supervisors as insulting slights.

        It’s pretty much a given that some of these employees will view any feedback that is less than glowing as racially-motivated workplace discrimination. I would imagine the OP’s concern is that her colleague who posted the poem views herself as a victim of race-based workplace slights. After all, that’s what the poem says.

        If I were the OP, I’d say nothing. Not about the poem, not about the person’s performance, not about corrections that need to be made to the paralegal’s work product… Nothing. Stay far away is the lesson I’d take from having seen this.

    • I think if I were her boss, I’d ask her about it. If it’s an indication of her feeling victimized in the office, then that’s an issue I’d need to deal with.

      If I weren’t her boss, then it would be none of my business. And if it inspired her to be better at work to show how strong she was in the face of adversity, then more power to her.

    • Maybe she finds it inspiring? You don’t have to answer here in order to stay anonymous, but are you in the South? I’m a Yankee that lived in Texas for 7 years, now living in a western state, and boy, race relations are different in the South (yeah, yeah, Texas isn’t technically “The South”; it’s like a ‘whole ‘nother country’). I used to work for a major City, and my department was largely black. It was weird, because there was all kinds of reverse racism resentments among the white people, who communicated their frustrations to me, assuming I’d agree. I usually just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh well.”

      I guess I’m trying to say in a roundabout way, she may find it inspiring, or she may be feeling suppressed. I’d just try to go out of my way to be extra nice to her, honestly. It goes a long way to grease the wheels, especially in the south. If you aren’t black, I wouldn’t ask about the poem.

  19. Mountain Girl :

    Help me out here. I know many of you gals were skirts with tights in the winter. Basic question – how do you keep your feet from sliding around in your shoes when you wear tights with them? Do you wear different shoes than you wear with no stockings?

    I always wear a jacket or cardigan and would like to be able to wear some long wool skirts in the winter but when I wear tights with my pumps my feet slide around and my shoes feel like they are going to fall off. For 3 seasons of the year I wear my pumps and dress shoes barefoot so the sliding problem is eliminated. I know I could wear boots with skirts – and sometimes do – but don’t always want to wear boots.

    • Inserts.

    • S in Chicago :

      You may be wearing shoes that are a bit too loose. Not all of my shoes do this–but it tends to happen most in those that are leather that have stretched quite a bit since purchasing. Putting an insert in usually helps. Something with a higher heel also seems to work better, too.

    • I wear tights and skirts a lot in the winter.

      But I hardly ever wear any shoes barefoot ever (except flip-flops) so I’m not sure I can help.

      If you’re wearing tights and boots, you can wear socks on top of the tights. They won’t show under boots.

    • I don’t have this problem, but I never wear my pumps barefoot or with socks, only ever with tights or hose or trouser socks, so maybe I do purchase them to fit with tights and only tights without realizing it. Also, the shoes and boots that I wear with socks I pretty much always wear with socks – even if I also have tights on (b/c if I’m wearing boots and tights in the winter that’s an opportunity for an extra layer of warmth with socks, and if I’m wearing boots in the cooler summer weather I wear sock b/c it’s uncomfortable to wear boots with bare feet).

    • I have this same problem. In the shoes that are the worst offenders I use a thin insert (I like Dr. Scholl’s). I have some shoes that are too tight to wear barefoot so they are “tights only” shoes.

  20. Hey DC ladies – I’ll be going to DC on Saturday with my family. We’re taking a departure from our usual Christmas activities and going on vacation together. My brother and I are trying to decide between the bus that stops at various monuments and allows you to get on and off at will (for Sunday) or just using public transportation. I think Sunday will be our monument/Arlington day because the weather will be cold (for me!) but no rain. There will be 7 of us, including two teenage boys (my nephews) and my Dad and stepmother.

    I went and bought some new Smart Touch gloves for the trip today. My gloves were completely inadequate for winter in the north. I’m nervous that most of my shoes are heels and all of my boots are suede and I don’t have real coats or a hat but I’m trying not to panic. After all, this is a casual family trip. I can wear sneakers. Last year, on our second day together my Dad said “You’re wearing different shoes today than you were yesterday.” I wanted to say “Hello! Do you know me?”

    • Keep an eye on the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang blog – they’re great with predicting the weather, and actually, we’ve had a lot of dry, sunny days lately so you might be okay!

    • I would do the hop on, hop off tour bus. Public transport often has annoying delays on the weekends in DC, and you might end up spending half your day waiting around. Enjoy your trip!

      PSA: On your trip, be a good tourist citizen and stand right, walk left on the Metro escalators. You will help prevent stress-related ulcers and muscle twitches in DC residents.

      • Thanks! This will be an odd trip for me. I’m the only one in the family who has gone to DC regularly (and I lived there for 3 months several years ago). When I’m there, it’s almost always in the summer and I stay in Foggy Bottom, ride the Metro everywhere (being a good citizen), visit my friends and shop til I can’t fit any more in my suitcase. This will be a family trip – my nephews have never been so it’ll be all museums and monuments and no shopping for me :(

    • I hope you see this, but check Metro’s website (WMATA dot com) and see if there’s scheduled track work. I think this weekend is the last weekend for it, but it has made using metro on weekends annoying at best. If you’re trying to accomplish a lot in a short time frame, I’d consider the bus, if they’re doing work.

      • Got it! Thanks so much. That never occurred to me. We were planning on taking the Metro from the airport so I’ll definitely check. And I’ll let my brother know that we should probably plan on the bus. We’re all in pretty good shape although my stepmother has had a knee replacement.

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