Thursday’s TPS Report: Paintbox floral cardigan

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

Paintbox floral cardiganAh, spring — where it’s 70 degrees one day, and 45 the next.  The key to schizophrenic weather is to dress in layers, which for me has always meant lots of cardigans (sometimes even under blazers, buttoned like a regular sweater!).  Today I’m liking this unusual merino floral cardigan from J.Crew — I think the large print is unusual, as well as the edgy mix of blue and orange.  It’s $88 at J.Crew.  Paintbox floral cardigan


Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. Reading the newest cosmo mag yesterday (guilty pleasure, don’t judge) and almost spit out my wine when I read a suggestion to paint one of your fingernails sparkly blue. Thought of the hive, obviously.

    • Hahahaaaaa! So that girl was just extremely fashion-forward.

    • Either that or one of the editors is a fan of corporette and has a fantastic sense of humor.

      • I was just thinking — maybe this is a guerrilla marketing test to see if we’d bite. Now they’ll start slipping messages to us on the pages of Cosmo!

    • Anonsensical :

      I actually like this idea! I love blue nail polish but never can find a shade that looks good enough with my skin tone to wear on all my nails at once.

    • …I was not aware that Cosmo was (or purported to be) a publication dedicated to advice regarding _professional_ dressing. But that’s just me.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        That is why it is funny. Were you around for the interviewee with the one blue nail discussion? It has turned into an ongoing joke here.

        • Oh, I wasn’t… someone point me to the original thread, please?!

          • I can’t point you to the original discussion. But I believe the context was someone asking for advice for job interviewing and someone saying “Someone came in and interviewed with one nail painted sparkly blue” and we all found that funny. I believe it was the same thread that spawned the hair band on the wrist joke. :-P

    • Well, they may not be sparkly blue but last night I painted my nails green for the first time ever, and am loving it. Colour is OPI’s “Thanks a Windmillion” from their new Holland collection. I’ve gotten two compliments already this morning.

      • Ooh…my toes are a bright orangish red from that same collection! I’m loving it (though I miss the turquoise and caicos i took off to replace it with).

  2. I like the cardigan how it is paired with the blue denim shirt – that looks nice. Not sure if I would purchase it – it has the ability to quickly turn “Grandma-looking Florida Retiree” with the wrong thing!

    • PharmaGirl :

      I like it too but the denim shirt uunbuttoned all the way down to the model’s navel is positively scandalous! (And again with the only the front tucked in.)

      • I’m re-watching old episodes of West Wing, and CJ Craig used to wear her silk button down shirts under her suits unbuttoned half-way down (with a tank underneath of course) — so I guess it was once a thing. Of course hers were tucked in!

        • I love that look on CJ but have never been able to incorporate it into my wardrobe.

          Basically, I love CJ.

          • Precisely, its such a power look on her — but I can’t rock it. Nope…can’t do it.

          • Love CJ, too, and I have essentially her body. I never thought about dressing like her, so thanks! I’m going to review some episodes and incorporate some CJ in my wardrobe.

          • I love the way they dressed CJ. Sadly, we have very different body types, so I can’t take too much from it.

        • PharmaGirl :

          I have no problem with unbuttoning if there is a tank. I zoomed in on the model and there is no tank to be found, just a whole lotta skin.

        • I remember this too (West Wing 4-eva), and dearly wish that I could do it. I think what made it work on CJ was that she has those amazing shoulders and a relatively flat chest, so it looked intentional. On me (and lots of others, I’ll bet), it would look like I did it because I couldn’t find a button-down shirt to fit over my chest. (Which is pretty true.)

          On another CJ note, remember the Jackal?? :)

          • Oh my gosh, that was the best thing ever. I love that show.

          • And they called me….

            The Jackal…..

            (Of course I remember the Jackal…second best CJ moment ever. Favorite moment is when she yelled “Why do you think I wouldn’t make a scene where there are people LEO” when he hired Ainsley.)

          • Oh and speaking of Leo, my SO and I often use the line, “I’m just saying, there’s a way to be a person.” Appropriate for so much bad behavior!

          • Or the prank war with her and Charlie? Loved it.

          • just Karen :

            Love the West Wing more than any other tv show or movie – might have to start watching from the beginning (yet again). I think you’re right on CJ’s shape and those shirts – I don’t have her height, but have similar shoulders/prominent collarbones/flat chest and can pull off the look okay (not as well as her, but okay). My softer variation that I love is a cardigan buttoned halfway with a tank underneath and a pencil skirt.

          • PittsburghAnon :

            just Karen – same body type here, and that is my Standard Outfit 3 seasons a year (and the 4th when I’m in a warm climate).

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            I clearly love C.J. (username is a reference to her fish).

            Remember the blue ball gown she wears in a couple of episodes (the symphony at the Kennedy Center and I think again in one with Yo Yo Ma)–I think it was a Vera Wang? I lust after that dress.

          • That dress was ballin’ (pun fully intended).

          • “I. Love. Dry Rub!” gets shouted in my house basically anytime there is barbecue.

          • Okay…the scene where Toby, Donna, and Josh realize that there has been a time change in between counties and they have missed the plane out of Iowa is one of my favorite scenes from any episode ever.

        • SoCal Gator :

          I miss the West Wing! I have not felt that way about a tv series since then. I loved the way they dressed CJ. She looked great in her suits and she always wore an interesting piece of jewelry. Loved it also when they had a state dinner or other black tie affair and everyone dressed up. Remember the episode when Donna wore a new dress that she left the tag on and planned to return?

          • I loved Donna — but that woman got into more hijinx then any 10 people combined.

        • I am watching old West Wings too! IT takes me back to a very specific period in my life and I cry in the same spots I remember crying the first time around. So silly. It really holds up well, though some of the fashion in the early days has a slight veneer of late 90s to it.

      • I think they did the unbuttoned shirt because deep down, the person styling the shoot hates the cardigan and believes it’s frumpy, and is therefore trying too hard to offset that.

    • I love that look, too! I think it would be pretty easy to steer away from Florida Retiree, with skinny jeans and cool flats or sandals, so basically like the model is styled. But then I’m a sucker for bold florals.

    • Fun fact: you can follow most major characters of WW on twitter.

  3. Cute sweater!

    I have a threadjack that is going to betray my OCD. I am really sensitive to wasting water. I grew up in an area of the country where there were also droughts, and, as y’all know, Texas had such bad droughts everywhere last year that we’re still having issues. So . . . . yesterday I was in the restroom, and this secretary was brushing her teeth. She literally (and, really, I mean literally) left the water on full blast for five minutes — the entire time while she brushed her teeth, while she wiped down the counter (which wasn’t dirty), and while we had a conversation. I was just cringing the whole time; it kills me, particularly because we’re still in a drought!

    Anyway, my question is whether there is ever a way to suggest kindly that someone may be wasting water. I mean, I thought that turning the water off while you brush your teeth is taught in Good Citizen 101, but apparently not!

    • Anonsensical :

      This would make me crazy. I would probably be unable to resist reaching over and turning it off myself.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I grew up with droughts too, like bucket in the shower to catch grey water for the garden. I’d reach over and turn it off without hesitation. If the secretary gave me side-eye, the response is “why waste water? it only takes a second to turn off the tap.” Frankly, I don’t care if I come across as a b!tch when it comes to this. It’s NOT THAT HARD to turn off the d(*@ tap!

    • a passion for fashion :

      I’d probably just turn it off. If she looked at me funny, I’d be like: “oh sorry. Im just used to doing that for my kids. i didnt even think about it.”

    • I’m right there with you. Still living in Texas, I call people on blatant water wasting in the politest way possible. Granted, since we are still in drought mode, I can just ask “Do you mind turning the water off? We are at Level 3 water restrictions…” Not sure how to handle this issue in non-drought areas, but I think good water habits should be universal!

    • ah hate that. But no, in general you can’t teach peers to be good citizens. I just think as nice as you say it, it is going to come off as condescending.

    • We had a thread about this somewhere a while back. And I think the take-away was — if you live in a NON-drought zone — making people “save water” in Seattle isn’t going to get water to Houston. So if you live in a wet-zone let it go.

      But if you live in a dry zone and someone is doing it, then you can politely mention the fact of the drought, I think.

      • Yeah, I remember that one, but there it was the woman’s husband. And I do live in a drought zone. (Although, to be fair, we never were until recently, so I remember thinking during that thread that you can never be sure you’re area won’t be drought-stricken later.)

        • Well, I turn my husband’s tap off for him if I’m in the bathroom with him while he’s brushing his teeth (non-drought area) because it bugs me.

          But if a co-worker did it to me, I’d think it was weird. But then again, I also think its a little weird when people brush their teeth in the work bathroom…so…yeah. :-)

        • Yep, that was me! Great memory! After a couple of talks, my husband is much more mindful about his loong showers now.

      • Romans et al. :

        Thanks for reminding everyone about the droughts and for mention Houston, which is slowly but surely greening up again. Wow. The parks now look so empty after the city removed all the dead trees. Sigh. 5″ of rain on the weekend really has got the weeds and pollen going…trees are overloading on pollen, showing how weak they got from last summer’s heat and drought. Oh mother nature is working hard. Huzzah to ‘rettes who are wise with resources.

    • I have to differ from the others here. I would be incredibly annoyed if you said anything to me about it. Yes, it’s excessive to leave the faucet on during the wiping and conversation, but I t hink people’s bathroom habits are personal and not anyone else’s business – even those habits that occur at the sink. I would be really annoyed if you turned the water off for me. What’s next, monitoring to see if I waste paper when I wipe?
      (note: I am not located in a drought area, if that makes any difference)

      • I agree. You are right that it is wasteful and I see why it is annoying, but it just not your place to say anything (except maybe if she were your friend).

        If you can’t resist, I would say in the nicest way possible something like “would you mind turning the water off while you brush?” and then explain (1) that you grew up in an area with a lot of droughts and (2) are super-sensitive about it.

        Alternatively, is there like a department newsletter or something like that where you could suggest adding a reminder about water restrictions due to the drought? The applicable state agency might also have some sort of flyer you could post in the bathrooms (but resist the urge to compose your own passive aggressive note).

      • Me too. An in-law did this to me once, with a total smirk as she did it – like, “aren’t I the eco-conscious one,” and I almost decked her.

      • Shrug – if you are going to do you bathroom habits in the public restroom, you are opening them up to comment. I’d probably be turning off the water myself too – or at least pointly asking “what’s with the water?”

    • the better question is, what would you so if it was the boss/partner instead of a secretary? would your response be different?

      • Right I think you need to make the question what is more important, helping her save water (and realize it might not do anything, she might ignore) or staying on good terms with her.

        If someone ever reached over and shut the water off for me, I would be pissed. Its really condescending (even if I should know better).

    • That would drive me crazy too. My DH used to leave the shower on forever while he picked out his clothing. After years of nagging, he finally stopped doing that.

    • There’s a woman at my office who spends a lot of time at the sink in our pantry area and pretty much leaves the tap on the whole time. The whole thing is rather weird – most of us dash in and out, and use the sink to dump out our coffee cups and rinse them. But she monopolizes the sink for a good 15 minutes and does not yield, slooooowwwwly washing her cup, her spoon, her thermos, whatever.

      I honestly think she does it for negative attention (she is seriously strange) and enjoys aggravating the rest of us. So I don’t think anyone says anything because we don’t want to engage her.

      But yeah, if it were someone I had a chatty relationship with, I’d just say, “Hey, may I suggest you turn off that tap? It’s a waste of water.”

    • Maybe you could refer her to one of my personal favorite Sesame Street songs of all time: “Are you a Waste-a-roo?” After watching those poor, wasted water drops fall down the drain, I learned my lesson about turning off the sink. (I can make no promises about the effect that this cartoon might have on someone over 7 years of age.)

    • I don’t think there is a way to say something about this to a person that doesn’t carry the risk of that person feeling condescended to. I completely sympathize with your feelings, though (fellow Texan here). The problem is that you can’t know before the fact whether it will be received well. I think in this case you have to assume the worst case scenario–the person takes it badly, badmouths you to their colleagues, and they are all disinclined in the future to do you any favors or provide you with their most efficient work. I’m not saying this particular person or anyone else definitely would do this, but since it’s a possibility, if you were to choose to say something, it needs to be with an awareness of all the potential consequences.

    • Anonymous :

      I think the appropriate thing to do (as you are now in a NEW drought zone) would be to check in with whomever handles facilities issues (whether that’s facilities or the office manager depending on the size of your company) and suggest getting laminated note cards that remind people not to waste water and then put them up on the mirrors of the bathroom.

      For us(ex) desert rats it’s easy to remember, but for most people it takes time to learn a new habit. And even if you DON’T live in a drought area, you should turn off your water since all water that goes through the sewers will have to be cleaned which requires electricity and costs taxpayer dollars. So don’t waste water!

  4. Anon Today :

    I need reassurance that I am doing the right thing. I was expecting a bonus. It appears that it was paid twice. I just happened to notice it this morning when I checked my account balance. What do I do? Do I tell my boss? Is it stupid to hold out hope in thinking that they will let me keep it due to my honesty?

    I am only hesitating in telling because we are in the process of buying a new house and could use the boost. Ugh.

    • I’d tell now — rather than have them notice later in the house buying process and then have your account balance change suddenly and have the loan company say “what’s up” and then have to do more paperwork.


    • Anonymous :

      If it was actually paid out twice and isn’t just your bonus plus your normal salary… you’ve gotta come clean.

      Hopefully your boss will appreciate your honesty, but you’re not going to get to keep it…

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      First off, well done on getting bonus.

      Second, yes, yes, a hundred times yes.

      If you don’t tell, best that you can hope for is nobody notices until they do the accounts and then they let it go, and the rest of the time you are stressing about the worst case scenario.

      Worst that can happen is you get fired, get disbarred if you are an attorney and go to jail for theft.

      I wish I could tell you otherwise, but you have to tell. There are court cases on this stuff and it is, unfortunately, downright theft (*in England, suspect not that different in US, don’t think you want to test it).

    • Absolutely tell your boss. Keeping it is dishonest and not worth the negative repercussions on your career and the firm questioning your credibility and integrity. Accounting WILL realize the mistake so you should tell your boss before they do.

    • If you really think it was paid twice (and not just bigger than you expected), I think you’re obligated to say something. At some point someone is going to figure it out and your reputation, integrity, etc. will suffer.

      On the other hand, being upfront about the error in your favor is the right thing to do and good for your career. It will confirm that you are an honest, trustworthy person. I have to believe that it will leave a favorable impression if you you are straightforward about it and don’t act like you’re doing your employer a favor.

      I’m sorry this happened! I can imagine how it would feel to have a false boost in your financial situation, only to have to give it back!

      • I agree, you must tell. If it turns out that they really do want to give you a 2X bonus, they aren’t going to take it away if you ask if it was a mistake. If it was a mistake, you show you have integrity. If it wasn’t, it gives you a chance to thank your employer for valuing your work and tell them how much you appreciate working at an office that values their employees’ efforts. Win-win.

    • If you think they are going to take the money back when they find out, then don’t spend it and tell them ASAP. In my experience (as a federal employee, so it might be different in your situation), they WILL find their mistake, they WILL dock your future pay if you can’t pay the money back to them immediately, and it WILL suck for you even though it was their mistake, not yours.

    • Definitely don’t spend it. They will likely reverse the deposit once they figure out the error (and they will likely figure it out whether you say something or not).

    • Baby DC Attorney :

      I’ve had something like that happen, and one of the pending “deposits” never actually fully deposited into my account.

      • This has happened to me, too. If one or both of the deposits is still “pending,” wait to make sure they actually both deposit. If they both do, then I absolutely agree with the rest; you definitely have tell, as a matter of honesty and as a matter of practicality, since someone in accounting will notice sooner or later.

    • Is it pending? Or fully in there. If pending I would wait a few days (but do not spend it) before mentioning it.

      But yes don’t keep it. No matter how big it was, its not worth losing your reputation for taking something you haven’t earned.

      • My weird company (large global bureaucracy) deposits money to us without telling us. Not that I’m complaining, but a few times I’ve been like “why do I have this several hundred dollars” or whatever. If you get an award, or such, they just post money to your account- the manager doesn’t mention it, there is no other notation often. So strange! And it’s the same account reimbursements come from. Hard to keep track of.
        Point is- it isn’t impossible that you are getting the money on purpose.

    • I would tell him the amount was higher than you expected, but I wouldn’t tell him you think you were paid twice. Just say something like “$X was deposited into my account, which was higher than I expected. Can you confirm whether this was correct?” No need to go into this with the assumption that the amount was wrong.

      • Anon Today :

        Thanks, all! I really needed the reassurance. I told my boss, and she said that if it was up to her that she would let me keep it. I am waiting to hear back from finance about what happened. The money has already been deposited in my account, so I am not sure how the situation will be rectified.

    • This happened to me few weeks ago because I didn’t know where the money came from. I called my banker and they removed the sum with no explanation.
      Up to this day I am thinking what if that banker scammed me?
      In short, just tell your boss.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      In college, my then boyfriend now husband’s bank accidentally deposited someone with the same name’s check into his account. His parent’s had joint access to the account and would randomly give him money so he thought it was from them. Bank figured out the mistake a few weeks later and withdrew the money from his account with no notice. This put his account into the negative and they charged him a bunch of penalties. I went with him to figure it out and after a lot of arguing they took away the penalties but it was overall an awful situation for him. Always look into weird money in your account.

    • Wait until it actually clears your account; if your company realizes the error, they might reverse it themselves before then. Once it clears and you’re certain you got paid your bonus twice, you absolutely must come clean about it. Failure to do so raises a huge red ethical flag, and I would fire you if I, as your employer, discovered it and your cover-up later.

    • “hey Boss, I noticed that I received two deposits. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a mistake. If it wasn’t, I am so grateful. Thank you!”

      • My DH works for a payroll company and this happens all the time. Company sent out a file to all banks paying the employees, but after file was sent Company realized that they forgot one employee or miscalculated someone’s hours. Sometimes DH can stop it before money goes to the bank or into the employees account. But other times, Company needs to send out a second corrected payroll file to all banks, and also delete the bad file. Banks work on different schedules so an employee may see the file hit their account twice – and then one disappears, or the money go in and then come out, or never see anything.

    • Former banker :

      (Assuming you have direct deposit)
      The deposit will probably be reversed whether or not you inform your HR department, because the payroll company will do an internal audit and find the mistake. It might be tomorrow or it might be a year from now. I think a quick email to HR will suffice to inform them of the error, but in the meantime do NOT spend the money because you will run the risk of overdrawing your account once the deposit is reversed. I hope you have an interest-bearing account so you can earn a whopping 0.25% on it in the meantime.

    • A similar situation was told to me by a friend who works in HR. The employee who did not report the mistake was fired after the company discovered the mistake and the coverup. Your company will find out and they will want the money back. Don’t risk the consequences, especially if you are buying a new house now!

    • This happened to a friend, except that she did not notice it b/c she never balances her checkbook, just checks online (and I guess not too regularly). When they discovered and wanted it back, she was in a real bind. In fact, at first she was sure that they were wrong, but they were correct.

      Yes, it is not realistic to hold out hope that they will let you keep it due to your honesty. People may very occasionally work that way; employers/corporations do not.

  5. Anonymous :

    Holy unbuttoned shirt, batman!

  6. fish out of water :

    First, let me say, I love JCrew cardigans. They fit me perfectly and last for years. Meaning I don’t really need any more now, unfortunately.

    Now, threadjack:
    I’ve decided to take up lap swimming again, which I haven’t done since college, at my local Y. The lap swim time that works for me is 5:30-6:30PM and so probably 2 days per week I’ll leave work around 5:20, swim for around 45 minutes, then return to work for 1-2 hours.

    My question is, what to wear when I return to work? I work in a small firm and there will (1) definitely not be any clients and (2) probably 15% of the time my supervising partner will still be there, along with 1-2 other attorneys. The daytime dress code is suits or dresses or skirt and jacket. Most evenings by 6:30PM everyone will have left. I don’t want to get re-dressed in my business suit – my hair is longish and my goal is to rinse off, hopefully not fully shower if I can get away with it, and condition and braid it. (My hair is very curly and long, and the shower/blow-dry combo takes too long and I’d rather do it at home in the morning). I’m thinking some sort of black yoga pant with a nicer top or sweater – something where I’m not in jeans or actual workout clothes, but where I don’t look like a fool with wet hair in a business suit. Also, I’m pretty okay with wearing the same 2-3 evening outfits in a rotation, since I don’t expect to see others that often.

    Anyone else swim, or leave work, sweat a lot, and then return to work? Any suggestions for comfortable pant/top combinations that could work in this situation?

    • I think your plan is fine. Of course, you might mention casually to your boss sometime that you’ll be swimming during that time. I don’t think they’ll mind, but I always figure that you might as well tell them about things like this.

    • I think the yoga-type pants with a cute top sounds like a good call. When I was preparing for trial and working a lot of late nights, I would change into a similar outfit (with black Pumas–please! let me out of my dress shoes!) around 6:30 and then work for another 4 hours or so. It seemed perfectly approrpriate to me.

      Congrats on getting back into the pool. I started swimming again in December and my arms look SO much better. And I find the pool is a great place to let my mind rest. Hope you enjoy your workouts!

    • i think your plan is fine, but i want to advocate for black wide leg denim instead of yoga pants. i recently found the perfect pair (and sized one size up to give it even more of a trouser vibe) and i wear them to work anyday of the week when i know i just need to get my work done and focus.

      Read more:

    • Maybe I’m not getting the right idea, but jeans sound better than yoga pants to me. And, not to state the obvious, but yoga pants are workout clothes. If it were me, I would change back into what I wore that day and replace the blazer with a cardigan. As it gets warmer outside, you could go for a comfy cotton dress with a light cardigan if necessary (my buidling turns the air off at night, so it’d just be the cotton dress for me).

      Things might be different if you were going to stay until 10:30 or 11 like SunnyD, but I’m still not convinced.

    • I’m apparently in the minority, but I would totally just pull on yoga pants and go back to work. I regularly go back to the office wearing gym clothes after my 6:15 spin class.

    • I have no idea about your shape but I know that for my body type, yoga pants are a no-go.
      I am better off wearing jeans than Yoga pants. The latter might be too form fitting so this is something to take into consideration.

    • fish out of water :

      I have tried at least 8 times to post the link to the pants I’m talking about, and it disappears (not posting too much, not moderation – just disappears).

      They would be cotton, thicker/more structured, not stretchy or clingy, and come in bootcut or wide leg. I’d probably pair it with a short or 3/4 sleeve simple solid-colored sweater.

      Maybe I’m weird – but it always feels really uncomfortable to put on jeans after swimming laps, and cotton pants is the way to go for me. I used to pull on sweatpants after swimming, but that look would definitely not fly.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I do this a lot. I always put on jeans and either the shirt I wore to work that day or a comparable shirt. This is because I don’t like wearing yoga pants in public. If you are good with some yoga pants (preferably ones that are still the original black color and that aren’t generally worn out), then your outfit sounds just fine.

  7. Half marathoners:

    I have two bibs (my brother’s and mine) for the Dallas Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon on Sunday, March 25 that I’ve decided to sell due to some recent injuries. We registered early and paid $70 each (including processing fees). While I’m going to post them on Criagslist, I was hoping someone here might want to run and not have registered yet. If you’re interested, please post here and I’ll figure out a way to get the info to you.

    Anyone else who is running, I hope you have a great race! It’s a wonderful route and I’m disappointed I can run this year.

    • This may be more difficult than just selling on Craigslist unless you go and pick up the bibs – in my experience, the Rock ‘n Roll races require ID to pick up race packets.

  8. workaround :

    Does anyone have a coworker they have to work around? I have one coworker who is regularly sent to meetings and is asked to get involved in some discussions/scenarios where she has no practical experience. Typically the advice she gives either doesn’t make any sense or is flat-out wrong. Of course we’ll usually keep documentation when she gives this advice, but it’s not like anyone has decided just yet to get her out of these tasks. Any advice?

  9. Woods-comma-Elle :

    You know those women you see who just always look perfect, not a hair out of place, all their clothes are clean and well-pressed even at hour 17 of a closing meeting.

    If you are one of these women, please share your secret! I feel like no matter what I do, I never just look ‘polished’ for more than an hour in the morning. Before long, I just look like I have been dragged through a bush backwards.

    I appreciate that to an objective third party I always look the same, but geez, I wish I were one of those women who just look effortlessly put together at all times.

    • Times I look put-together (let along effortlessly)….almost never! Haha. Or at least, I never think I do.

      We see our own flaws much more than we see others (generally…) I’m sure you look great, you just FEEL awful, because those meetings are like emotional h*ll.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        I wish my problem was only 17-hour closing meetings. It’s just every day in general, I fear!

        But I cannot deny that my last 14-hour closing meeting (which started at 2am) didn’t result in me just looking ill.

    • I don’t think I really fit that description, but I will tell you that I think a swipe of bright lipstick makes a *big* difference.

      Also, I recommend eye shadow primer, if you don’t already use it. Your eye shadow will stay perfect throughout that 17-hour meeting, without creasing. And while we’re on eye shadow, I read somewhere that the trick to looking awake is not to put on more of your regular eye shadow, but to do a wash of a light, sort of sparkly neutral, all the way to the brow bown, and in the inside corners of your eyes. I do that now every day I’m not feeling well, I was out too late the night before, or I have a long day ahead of me. It seems to really help. Specifically, I like Lancome eye shadow in Mannequin (not sure if I’m spelling that right).

      • It’s Filigree, actually. Mannequin is the brown color that I use. It basically has just the right amount of sparkle to look professional still.

      • Does the eyeshadow primer help with eyeliner, too? My shadow usually stays OK, but my eyeliner get ugly fast.

        • Yes, my eyeliner stays all day. Seriously, primer has changed my life. I always thought it was one of those silly things that wouldn’t be worth it, but I changed my mind the first day I used it. Even my husband commented on how good my eye makeup looked at the end of the day. I love it.

        • I had the same problem. Primer helped me and I switched to Make Up Forever stay put liner. That stuff doesn’t go anywhere!

        • Yeah, it helps but also change your eyeliner. Revlon Colorstay is AWESOME.

          • I had problems in this climate with my eyeliner not ending up under my eyes by the end of the day. I switched to Prescriptives deluxe eyeliner and haven’t had problems since. I have had problems with this eyeliner getting cakey or getting contaminated, though, and it happened right before my last trip so I bought some Almay intense icolor Kohl liner and it’s working really well. I have very sensitive eyes and it’s not causing me any problems at all and stays put (although admittedly it’s not summer yet, although humid and 80 degrees).

          • I used pencil eyeliners in the past but usually had to refresh at midday. Now I use gel eyeliner and it lasts until bedtime.

        • MaggieLizer :

          Laura Mercier tightline cakes + a good mascara. It stays on even when the rest of my makeup has long since worn off and makes me look somewhat alive and alert even when I don’t feel it. I’m very pale, especially with no lipstick/blush/etc, so I do what I can to prevent my coworkers from running for their zombie apocalypse preparedness kits. This liner has probably saved my life.

          • Nice to know I’m not the only one with a zombie apocalypse preparedness kit.

        • Always a NYer :

          I love MAC paint pots. Painterly blends with my skin well and also works as a concealer of sorts to cover a bright blue vein above my left eye (I’m very, very white, don’t judge). Let it set for a minute or two and then your eyeshadow and liner should be set for the day =)

          • I love MAC in general.
            For now I still didn’t buy a paintpot so I am using my concealer (yep) as primer.
            Usually when I do the under eye area I also go on my lids and voilà.
            The concealer is studio sculpt and comes in a jar.

    • PharmaGirl :

      No clue. My pants are usually all creased in the crotch before I even get to the office.

      • Maybe your pants are the wrong type of fabric? Are they usually cotton? I might try a wool blend or a synthetic. I know people here hate synthetic, but they don’t wrinkle. I’m no fabric expert, but most of my pants don’t wrinkle, and the ones that do are cotton.

        Also, to the OP, buy a Brooks Brothers wrinkle free shirt!

        • I always stay away from synthetics because I remember my teenage years where mom would tell me that synthetics “smell” after wearing.
          I somehow never got over it as an adult.

      • Starch. Although like b23 said, this depends on fabric. I know the hive hates polyester, but a poly blend goes a long way in preventing wrinkles.

        • I wear Gap Modern Boot pants almost exclusively (with some Perfect Trousers thrown in there). Some of the colors must be different blends of fabric because the wrinkling is far worse with the lighter grey pair. I save this pair for days when the others are in the wash or on the drying rack.

      • Ugh, the dreaded crotch crease. I have a few pairs polyester pants that look presentable but I’m always on the lookout for more. My favorite non-cheap-looking polyester pant was discontinued a while ago. Any suggestions for new ones?

        • Limited has wool-poly machine washable “travel collection” suits. If I could wear wool, I would have so many of those. They also have tons of synthetic stuff too.

    • The keratin treatment for my hair has done wonders for my feeling more polished. I live in an area of very high humidity, and even after spending 45 minutes styling it, my hair used to get frizzy before I even got to work. Now I spend about 8-10 minutes on my hair in the morning, which means I get to sleep in later AND eat breakfast, and I think I still look polished by the end of the day.

      • Diana Barry :

        3 things:
        – hairspray actually does make your hair stay looking nice for a while (no comment on 14 hr days, though!). I use bumble and bumble thickening hairspray in conjunction with a curling iron (sometimes) and it looks great and STAYS.
        – NARS lipstick. I have the red in Red Lizard. I put on 2 coats (blot in between) and it stays until I eat.
        – Sephora has this “jumbo waterproof” eyeliner in a big chubby stick. It is kind of an eyeliner-shadow hybrid since the stick is chubby. It stays FOREVER (all day, makeup remover and I am still washing it off in the morning).

        • I agree with hairspray. I never thought I needed it because I just wear my hair straight, and my hair is naturally pretty straight. But it has made a huge difference.

      • Which keratin treatment do you recommend? Any tips?

      • SC – Is this a professional treatment or something you can do at home?

        • The keratin treatment, aka “Brazilian blowout,” is a professional hair-straightening treatment. The formula is formaldehyde-based, which has led to a lot of controversy over long-term effects on health. Many hair professionals do not do the treatment anymore or limit the number of times they will do them per month since they’re exposed to it a lot more than an individual customer. Given the health concerns, I would recommend NOT doing this at home. (And while I’m a little concerned about doing it at all, my hair just looks so much better I can’t give it up.)

          I have no idea which formula my hairdresser uses. It costs about $300 each time (but she includes the cut), and it takes about 3 hours to her to apply, set, wash, cut, and dry my hair. Also, it requires you to go 72 hours without washing your hair or putting it up afterwards (eewww). For me, it lasts about 5 months.

          For all the reasons not to do it, it really has made such a huge difference in my daily life – sleep! and breakfast! – it’s totally worth it to me.

          • There are apparently Keratin treatments that are not formaldehyde-based. I’m not familiar with them, having never done one, but I’ve seen several salons advertising their non-formaldehyde Brazilians blow-outs. Worth looking into.

          • Herbie – Thanks for the info. My hairdresser told me to use the “real” (i.e. formaldehyde-based) Keratin treatments because she thinks they work better.

            I did some research on this before I had the treatment done, and many – but probably not all – of the treatments that do not contain formaldehyde actually contain closely related compouds that present the same risks. So, if you are more concerned than I am about the potential health risks, please research the specific product you plan to use and don’t rely on labels like “formaldehyde free”!

          • I seem to remember reading/hearing/watching on TV something about how many salons advertise “formaldehyde-free” when this is, in fact, not true. I want to say that some news organization did an undercover reporting piece about this – however, I’m blanking on most of the details, so I wouldn’t make your decision for/against the treatment based on me.

    • I don’t think this applies to me but here are some improvements that I made over the years:

      I agree with the eye primer suggestion. I put it under my eyes too so that my concealer stays put.
      I have changed hair products to something like Bumble and Bumble Sumo to keep my hair in place all day. I had to teach myself to stop playing with my hair and keep my hands off my face (to not rub makeup off) too!
      I stopped buying any clothing for the office that wrinkles easily. I now only buy non-iron shirts too. Always keep a lint roller in your office and use it.

      Women that stay looking polished all day I would assume are touching up during the day too!

      • Is the Sumo something that would be good for shoulder length, fine, wavy hair? My hair is thick, but very fine, and when it’s humid, like today, it just looks awful. Also, my bangs and the top of my head tend to have little hairs sticking out everywhere, no matter how much conditioner, smoothing gel or hairspray I use. I usually blow dry my hair straight, then curl the ends and curl my bangs under, and I’d just like it to stay curled under and smooth looking, but not sure what product to use. I currently use Aveda Smooth Infusion, but it’s not working well for me.

        • I think we have the same hair. I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but using basically any heat-protector spray before blow-drying makes a lot of difference for me — my hair is smoother, straighter, and it usually seems a little thicker, too. It doesn’t make my hair 100% humidity-proof, but I think it helps it a lot.

        • B&B makes 2 “Sumo” products – Sumowax and Sumotech. The former is a hard wax, the latter is a wax/paste/cream combo. I used the wax when I had short (read: cropped) hair to achieve a spiky-without-being-crunchy look. I would not recommend it for longer (even medium length) hair.

          I think you could probably use Sumotech on longer hair, for example to smooth fly-aways. I would just be careful to use a very small amount and build up if you need more – I know for me (also fine hair) that too much product is a fast-track ticket to greasy-ville.

    • Er, as someone who is one of those people according to third parties…I don’t know. With that said, things that I think help:
      -Having an idiot-proof wardrobe. I know that if I choose one thing from Part A of my closet (pants/skirts), one thing from Part B (button-downs, cardigans, jackets), and one thing from Part C (knitwear), depending on choice from Part B, I will look professional and put-together. Maybe not creative and dazzling, but put-together.
      -Go-to accessories. If I put on diamond studs and my grandmother’s signet ring, they will go with everything in my wardrobe, and I will look like I thought about accessories.
      -Having hairstyles that work. Mine is long, wavy, and cooperative, which is a bonus, but on bad days I know I can put it in a bun, shellack it with hairspray, and it will look fine until I leave my office.
      -Keeping a compact in my desk. If I get oily, I touch up.
      -Lipstick. Easiest makeup ever. Makes me look way more put-together, especially if I got lazy on eye makeup.
      -Posture. Sit or stand up straight, shoulders back. No slouching.

      But honestly, I think the biggest thing is intangible. Not meaning to come across like a braggart or anything, but I know that I have good style. Having that confidence, and projecting it, makes people overlook the fact that my pencil skirt has wrinkles in it from the fact that I’ve been sitting at my desk all day. Believe in yourself, Woods-comma-Elle!

      • Oh, a couple more things: I make sure I get enough sleep, exercise, water, and healthy food. If I feel better, I present myself better.

      • i agree with this advice. i really have a pretty fussy style — i love patterns and colors and accessories which makes getting dressed complicated, but when i have a day of tough meetings or business travel, i know that simple streamlined and structured will get me through the day. here’s my personal two cents:
        – dress suits (dress and jacket combos) will do wonders to get you through a long day, they stay put together and bonus points that they require no effort whatsoever in the morning
        – non-fussy simple classic accessories. mine are diamond studs, pearl studs, a nice watch, and a few simple pendant/pearl/long beaded necklaces that i know go with those dress suits
        – comfortable shoes! i always wear heels at the office, but only very comfortable ones. i guess the fact that im in heels makes me look more polished that those who are not. female partners and senior associates comment on this all the time, on these rough days i’ve often seen them in their beat up black commuting flats.
        – simple hair style – i have super curly hair and go with a ponytail obviously, this needs some work and i envy girls with polished hairstyles. but at least im not playing with my hair or adjusting it through the day.
        – a good attitude goes a long way

      • And blotting papers. Those + lip gloss = my life savers.

      • please come to my house, look in my closet, go to the store and pick out the things I should own and categorize them into a/b/c… I need this in my life! Signed, Only Half Kidding

    • Wear a structured outfit (blazer instead of cardigan, pencil skirt or tailored trousers instead of a-line), wear shoes that look nice but are really comfy so you’re not hobbling at the end of the day, touch up your makeup after lunch, blot the oil from your face a few times a day, check your teeth every time you go to the bathroom, wear undereye concealer on long days, and wear lipstick always. For hair, it’s hard for me to give advice because I have coarse, curly hair that stays exactly where I put it all day. But I usually do something like a French twist using the Goody simple style tool or a sock bun with the ends pinned. And don’t touch your hair during the day; touching it causes frizz.

      • Also, in the bigger picture, I think women who usually look polished tend to have more of a simple, elegant style and put a lot of thought, energy, and money into their wardrobe. They wear well-made garments with clean lines, solid colors or subtle patterns, and simple jewelry. There’s a lot more room for error when you’re wearing oversized garments, trendy styles, bright patterns, etc. A small percentage of women pull off a quirky/fashion forward look very well, but most do much better with a classically elegant style.

        • Second this. I can get pretty (umm, very) bold in my off-duty wear, but for work, I go for simple and classic. (A lot of my button-downs are actually hand-me-downs from my mom, when she started teaching in the ’60s–classic cuts, in good colors, with timeless patterns. And way better quality fabric than anything you will find today!)

          Most everything in my work wardrobe will also go with everything else. It’s more work on the front end, in terms of selecting pieces while shopping, but it makes it so. much. easier. in the morning when I know that I don’t have to think about it. I won’t buy anything for work unless I can, on the spot, create 2-3 outfits using things I already own.

          • Third, I will add that very few of these women seem to wear anything that could get rumpled (including button down shirts).

    • On this note- anyone have a good everyday lipstick recommendation for someone with cool-toned fair skin and medium-brown hair? I tend to use a lot of sheer glosses because I have trouble finding a reliably good full-on lipstick color for me, but the sheer varieties don’t have the staying power or look as “pulled together.”

      Also, one thing that helps me: I pick out my weekly wardrobe on Sunday nights, based on my calendar that week and the weather (as predicted at that time). I am incredibly slow in the morning, so this helps me looked pulled together more often without being late. I used to waste 2o minutes in the morning staring at my closet in a sleepy haze, trying to remember whether I just wore this top a few days ago.

      • I have similar coloring to you. Try Clinique High Impact in Rosette (slightly shimmery rose, great on cool tones) or MAC Plumful (blueish-toned plum).

      • I am very fair (the whitest white girl) and I have medium brown hair. I find that lipsticks called rosy beige end up looking redder and more appropriate on me. I use MAC Spice and I put Beaux lipgloss on top of it. The lipgloss wears off faster, but the regular lipstick stays put.

      • Always a NYer :

        I am very fair with cool undertones and dark brown hair. My current favorites are Clinique Long Last Lipsticks in Silvery Moon (ice-blue pink) and Bamboo Pink (more of a dusty rose), MAC Lipsticks in Plumful (pinky-plum) and Syrup (dusty/muddy rose), and NARS Lipstick in Flamenco (true-for-me bluish red).

      • Anonymous :

        Clinique Black Honey

    • I hate the “posting too quickly” error! Is there any way to fix that?

      Anyway, solutions:
      1) Estee Lauder Doublewear Eyeliner. That stuff looks polished and does not move, but is still easy to get on.
      2) brush-hair-swipe-lipstick before leaving the office, when you go to the bathroom, etc. Just make it a habit.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Thanks for all the tips, I absolutely concur that probably one of my biggest problems is touching my hair/face during the course of the day.

      I’m all over the face primer (think I will need to try eyeshadow primer again, I tried Urban Decay before but it didn’t work for me and got clumpy) and hair spray, but even when I spray my hair, e.g. on non-working day buns, my hair just gets weird and frizzy especially the really short ones near my face. I might give Bumble & Bumble a try… watch this space!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      This is the most hated advice in the world but smile and attitude effect your appearance too. I’ve noticed those that are happier/smiley/joke around look more “together” and less stressed than the person that looks ready to pull out there hair or crawl into bed. Smiling makes your eyes look brighter, your cheeks look fuller, and you overall just look more awake. Don’t walk around 24/7 like the Cheshire cat but try to remember to act happy to be there at hour 17 even if you really aren’t!

    • My dear, you are asking for a mythical creature to manifest. I believe it may be easier to find a unicorn! :-)

    • These are all such great tips! I agree about make-up (even something simple, lipstick and mascara) and I, too, am inconsistent about putting/keeping it on.

      I have two things to add. When I have a weekly manicure, I feel much more polished. Something about looking down and seeing short, neutral glossy nails makes me feel sharp. Also: I am not all that creative in the hair department, and my hair is fine so often falls out of buns, etc. I try to identify what works and run with it. For me, this includes a simple style and a fabulous color. I had a kind of dramatic red at a corporate job in the past and I was able to wear extremely simple clothing (boring black slacks and a sweater, for instance) and a more or less wash-and-wear hairstyle. The color added polish (I think just because it looked like it took some effort) and style (same reason).

      • Love all these ideas. My grandmother was this kind of lady. So are a few of my friends and the lady down the hall from my office. This is a constant – if not always successful – quest for me, too.

        What I would add from my own observations:
        — eyebrows: when I have mine professionally done I love way more polished. Not sure why but even with no make up washing my face at night, I notice it.
        — taking good care of my skin. even if it’s never perfect when my pores are clear and my skin is properly hydrated, everything on top – makeup, etc., looks better.
        — hair: I haven’t mastered this but I think it’s the most important. Every woman who has managed to seem always perfectly put together knows what to do with her hair. I don’t dye my hair but I think dye or even just a gloss helps in this instance.
        — and agree on keeping everything simple. E.g., I tried to do weekly manicures but even if I commit the time, my nails don’t look great within 3 days. So now, I just keep my nails short and apply a clear nail polish – they look “taken care of” and I just go to the nail salon every few weeks as needed.
        In sum, I think it’s just a matter of effort and consistency, and keeping it all very simple as others have said above.

    • In russian and some other slavic languages, the equivalent word to “polished” literally transalates as something like “taken care of.” I think the women who manage to pull this off spend more time taking care of themselves and building that foundation, whether it’s shopping of clothes that fit them just so, making sure everything is tailored just right, styling their hair to be a certain way, taking the time to get regular facials and to always reapply their makeup. It’s easy to not make these things a priority when you’re busy at work, but aside from finding the time to do all these things I don’t think there is any magic solution.

      • I love that! One, I’m an etymology geek. Two, it’s so true. It takes a lot of effort to look effortlessly polished, and there’s something to taking such good care of oneself.

    • I asked this once to a woman who was just one of those types. Here were her tips:

      -invest time in frequent haircuts. The haircuts made sense for her hair style, as it was short – but she said she usually got it cut about a week before she really had to. Her stylist loved her, obviously.
      -weekly manicures.
      -a foolproof makeup regimen, i.e. focus on products that last and last (I see that has come up below)
      -refuse to buy any clothes that wrinkle quickly. Come to think of it, I never saw her in linen suits.

      Something she did not say, but which in hindsight was part of looking so put together – she did a lot of all-black or all dark grey outfits with nice jewelry. Lots of sheath dresses with jackets.

  10. Husband and I were watching Idol last night, when I admired how one girl had some very cute red (red-red, not red-hair-red) streaks in her blond hair. The exchange:

    Me: I’d like to have red streaks like that.

    Him: Well, get them.

    Me: I’m a lawyer, I don’t think they’d let me.

    Him: Of course you can, what are they going to do to you?

    Me: I’m pretty sure that if a lawyer walked into court with unnaturally colored hair, the judge would say something.

    Him: Yeah, they’d say “Your hair looks nice.” What, just because you’re a lawyer you can’t be fashionable? Isn’t that what that site that you’re always reading, Corporette, all about?

    Me: Umm, we have arguments about whether peep-toed shoes are OK there.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      This made me happy.

    • Hahaha…please DO die your hair unnatural red and then go to court. I want to find out if you’ll be “called out” on here — and then we can have another argument. Because those are SO MUCH fun. :-P

      But seriously, I’m not sure most judges would actually say anything about aggressively died hair if you had it neatly styled, but I’m not sure it would make the best impression. Especially in front of a jury of old ladies or something. :-P Or on old man partners. They’re the real sticks in the mud of lawyerdom.

    • What is your natural hair color? Maybe on a redhead it would be subtle enough. I don’t think it would exactly inspire confidence and project authority, though.

      (And I’m wearing peep toes. With bare legs.)

      • Bluejay, you slattern! Peep toes and bare legs, what will be next? A shirt with cut-outs exposing your upper arm?

        In other words, I have bare legs (although my toes are covered; one must maintain a certain sense of decorum) for the first time this year too, and it feels great :)

        • Ah, then you are only a strumpet (bare legs, covered toes = strumpet. Bare legs, exposed toes = slattern).

          • thank you for that all important clarification!

          • Can I be a strollop instead?

          • a. — you would be a strollop if you were wearing hose with one leg cut off.


          • Fiddlesticks! I don’t even own a pair of hose to sacrifice.

          • Its a hard life a., but somebody has to live it.

          • I’m team strumpet today. It’s 80 degrees here (high is usually mid 50s in March) and I spent all morning at the doctor’s office. By the time I actually got dressed for work, I didn’t give a d@*&, though I’ve gotten a few compliments on what I pulled out of the closet. Of course, that only highlights the fact that I was too exhausted to put on makeup.

      • hussy!

    • Accountress :

      Get a few streaks in the lower half of your hair- you know, so it doesn’t show if you wear your hair down or pulled into a low pony, but does show if you wear a high pony or pull the top half up or something.

      • Ditto – I got purple and red streaks in the underneath part of my hair in law school. I have dark brown hair, so it was subtle, but the placement was key. I could play up the color on the weekends and play it down at school and work.

    • I’d be scared to do it because of how clients/partners might react. But I’ve seen other associates with unnatural hair colors, visible tats and less common piercings (nose, 4+ per ear) in court, so red streaks doesn’t seem particularly outrageous on the broad spectrum. I’ll only go as far as peep-toes, bare legs, and bright color splashes – so tame, I know.

    • I actually did this (with curly brown hair–not sure if it stood out less or more due to the brown, but the curly made it hide a little more) when I was about 23. I was really surprised at how all the older ladies (there were a number of 50ish women) all thought it was just adorable! Others didn’t as much notice or care, but it was not a law job. Oddly, the friend that did it with me had hers come out after a few weeks (bleached then Manic Panic’d) and mine stayed in for two months until I re-bleached them (and did the whole thing in brown to cover it up)

  11. Threading threadjack, no pun intended! My question is–to thread or not to thread? I’ve heard great things, obviously, but my concerns are:
    1) I’ve heard horror stories about pain/red welts/infections of a threading gone wrong
    2) Once you start, you can never stop. In my already overscheduled life, do I really need to add another “thing” to my to-do list, especially when it’s not reversible?
    3) I’ve heard some women complain that after years of threading, their eyebrows have gotten sparse and even have some bare spots. This scares me!

    Are my concerns warranted? Is threading worth it? Thanks!

    • I threaded semi-regularly for two years in DC and when I moved away I stopped and went back to waxing, so I guess I’m a middle of the roader.

      Pluses: If you are thick-of-brow, the shaping afforded by threading is more precise (and frankly I think women who do the threading are just more friendly towards thick brows) so I liked that. It also maybe lasts a bit longer.

      Minuses: It hurts, not a TON for everyone, but definitely enough to notice. And unlike waxing where its a quick rip and you’re done, its a more prolonged process (though not as prolonged as plucking…which I can’t tolerate). But, the more you do it, the more you get used to it.

      So those are my two cents. It was fine for me, but not life changing.

      • You are so right on the minus. I have never experienced pain like eyebrow-threading pain. The first time I got it done the woman who did it thought I was weird because I cried during the threading and finally relaxed during the brazilian wax I got afterward. I did end up getting my eyebrows threaded a few more times after that, though, because it did look nice.

      • I barely feel when they work on my eyebrows. Pain when threading the upper lip is a lot worse brings out tears.

    • you’re over thinking it. probably because it’s so “foreign” in the US, but i’m south asian so i guess it’s not so odd to me.
      I’ve been threading my eyebrows on and off for about 10 years now. during the “off” times i either was waxing them because i didn’t have a threading place nearby or self-maintaining. during those off times, i missed threading.
      1) threading does NOT cause pain or welts when it’s done properly. search on yelp or google reviews to find a respectable place. any half decent place will likely have a line of girls waiting, so that’s a good sign. i have had a few mishaps but no pain or welts. not to worry you, but the mishaps were silly, 1 single eyelash pulled out because they are long and got in the way, tiny papercut-like cut because of a bad angle that lasted a nanosecond. these things have happened literally 2-3 times over the course of 10 years. all that said, it hurts pretty bad the first few times. your skin will adjust, i have super ridiculously sensitive skin and thick coarse hair, im pretty much the worse candidate for hair removal pain– my skin always turns bright red afterwards, but i am fine within 10-15 minutes. threading is actually better for your skin than waxing or other hair removal techniques, it does not pull on your skin (no future droopy skin!), only focuses on the hair.

      2) you can totally stop. but you wont want to because the results are amazing.

      3) i have been doing it for 10 years and, like waxing, its an effective hair removal technique, so wherever i’ve removed hair, it has come back finer and lighter over time. this is a good thing- because i do not need to go back as frequently as i used to. you just want to be careful not to over shape because in the event you’re unhappy with the shape and kept it for years and years, you may not be able to go back.

      i think when you go initially ask for a basic “clean up” and no serious shaping, over time see what you like.

      i had seriously bushy eyebrows once upon a time and used feel the need to thread after about 10 days and would realistically go in for an appointment after 2-3 weeks. now i feel the need to thread after about 3 weeks and realistically go in for an appointment once a month.

      • What qwerty said. I find that a big part of how people feel about threading is how noticeable their eyebrows are. If you are very fair skinned with blond hair, its probably not that big of a deal. For me, the precise shaping that threading offers makes a big difference re:framing my eyes. Give it a try!

      • Ditto qwerty (except that I am not South Asian and have light brown hair). I have always had “healthy” eyebrows and only plucked until last year, when I started threading. The first time did hurt, but the results were so worth it and I find it hurts less every time I go. I still have to maintain by plucking in between, but I will never go back to my pre-threading days.

        And as someone with pale skin that turns bright red after threading, if the attendant offers you lotion, say yes. I know this from experience. It helps.

    • I’ve been threading for about 10 years also, as have all of my friends. Threading is totally worth it.
      1. Have never heard of infections regarding threading. You get brand new thread to remove hair! Any area that’s sensitive while plucking/waxing will feel sensitive while threading.
      2. Not true. Not reversible? What??? Your hair grows back, that’s pretty reversible to me!
      3. Bare spots can happen when some of your hairs are too long and they get caught in the thread. Keep up with regular trimming and stay away from anorexic klingon brows and you won’t get sparse brows.

    • long time lurker :

      1. Never happened to me and I have super sensitive skin (waxing on the other hand gave me welts).
      2. I do it on and off. In between or when I’m too lazy I pluck and trim my eyebrows myself.
      3. Go to a reputable place and make sure to tell them you prefer a fuller eyebrow. I have medium-ish sparse eyebrows anyway, so when I get threaded, it’s mostly between the brows and weir stray hairs under and above.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      1) I’ve been threading for a couple of years now. I go somewhere that is more “upscale” than the super cheap places ($25 with tip for brows and lip), but I’m also more confident in the skill level because the place would be ravaged by unhappy customers on Yelp if there were actual horror stories. I have never had a problem.

      2) I don’t understand. Not reversible? The hair grows back, which is why I have to go back once a month or so.

      3) Not in my experience. I do personally know a person who got one of their eyebrows permanently damaged by too-hot wax at a salon though. It never grew back.

    • Oil in Houston :

      I have been threading for 10 years:
      – one eye still cries, the other one doesn’t feel a thing… just relates to your nerves, but it is entirely bearable
      – ‘you can’t stop’ because you get used to looking so polished – it’s a good thing! also, it only takes 10mn, every 4 weeks, not a huge commitment
      – hair grows back, no issues there! It’s actually a lot more natural that women who wax, there is no stumble or anything like that.
      go for it!

    • Original anon here. You’ve all convinced me. Thanks for the advice!

  12. So apparently we are taking yearbook pictures for the school where I work today… except I work part time and wasn’t in the yearbook last year, so didn’t think I would be this year and now I find out I am.
    I’m wearing an outfit I threw together, no makeup and my hair appointment is this weekend. Of course I walk 20 minutes to work so I can’t run home and change and there is not a mall or anything remotely resembling one anywhere near here
    whyyyy me?

    • I am so, so sorry. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve deliberately done myself up for yearbook/staff photos the last two years, and my pictures have still come out like complete sh*t. I just think it’s just impossible for yearbook photos to look okay. So it’s not you, it’s the wavy green/gray/vomit background, the awkward photographer (last year mine touch my chest to “rearrange my necklace,” aha, excuse me, wtf??), forced smiles, and the crap lighting.

    • Always a NYer :

      Working on yearbook in both high school and college, I know that they do have days scheduled for retakes. If you’re really bothered by it, ask when you get get your photo taken again, with notice. Also, if the advisor says no, go to the student editor in charge. I totally would have let you retake on a different day =)

      • manomanon :

        hmmm worth a shot to ask about retakes- she took about 50 pictures of me- different poses etc. I was very confused as to why she needed so many but hopefully one will look nice
        I just hate having my picture taken- even more so without warning!

  13. Happy Anon :

    Just have to be share… the JCrew cardigan makes this somewhat relevant… my WEDDING SHOES arrived this morning!!! They are so cute. Here they are –

    Now the problem is, I have to hold off on wearing them until the summer!! I’m so excited about them – I think they’re perfect for our sunny, beachy, preppy summer wedding. Funny, because I’d always planned on having a massive splurge on my wedding shoes, but I found nothing “my style” with all the $800+ shoes at bergdorf’s, etc. – I ended up only loving kate spade and jcrew shoes, which would be typical work/life purchases for me. Oh well, guess I’m being consistent in my style for the wedding!!

    Anyway – just wanted to share – I hope you all “approve” of the shoes! I can’t show anyone else and really hope future husband doesn’t spy them hidden away in our closet haha (in the box). Also really hope I’m not tempted to wear them with all this nice spring weather!

    • I am in love with those. And I want to go to your wedding.

    • There is a flat version of those and I want them and nom-nom-nom.

      Seriously, so cute! Sounds like a fun day. :-)

    • I LOVE those!!! Super-approved! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

      • I want the flat (pointed toe, bow) version so bad, too. I visit them every day, having an internal struggle about waiting for them to go on sale versus missing out on them.

        • If you love them so much you visit them everyday, I say buy them. I’m sure you won’t regret it! :)

          • Yes. I’m sure I will end up buying them, but things go on sale so frequently at J. Crew, that it would be great if I could get them for $50 less, plus a 30% off sale promo that they run.

    • Happy Anon :

      Thanks ladies! I’m so excited. I paraded around in them this morning with my suit pants rolled up – my dog thought they looked great!

      b23 – are you single?! I know some very eligible bachelors looking for their +1 :) haha

    • Those are amazing shoes… I’ve never tried any J Crew shoes, but I kind of want all of them now.

      Congrats. :) Based on shoes alone, your wedding looks super fun!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      OMG those are FABULOUS and now I am trying to think of ways to legitimize a purchase.

    • OMG so cute!!!!

    • lucy stone :

      HOORAY! Those shoes are great! I love them and am seriously considering making them my wedding shoes as well. Are the stripes more ivory or white?

      • Happy Anon :

        Oooh you should get them too! They’re amazing, and actually really comfy (small, hidden platform and reasonable heel height!)! The stripe is a bit more ivory in person – my dress is ivory, so I’m figuring they’ll work! You should totally go for it!

        • lucy stone :

          My only tradeoff is I’m not sure they “go” with my dress. I have the Dolly Couture Avila Bay in champagne and I think it might have too much of a retro vibe to go with those shoes – what do you think? Also, you are having the wedding I wanted to have – yay you! I really wanted to get married on First Encounter Beach on Cape Cod but it simply wouldn’t work for our families.

          • Happy Anon :

            Oooh your dress is SO CUTE! Love it, love the short length. I think the shoes would be cute with the dress, but would have to see it all together to know I think. Maybe worth ordering and returning – you might feel it’s a little “much” with the bow and the stripe, it might detract from the super cute dress?

            I’m so lucky that we’re going for the beach wedding we’ve both been dying for!We’ve had quite a few grumbles from some older family members (they don’t want to get sand in their stockings, but really, it’s the middle of summer in on the east coast, LOSE the stockings!), but we’re just so excited.

            When’s your wedding?? Good luck finding the right shoes! So exciting!

          • I like the dress and the shoes separately but do not think they work together. The dress seems more romantic to me while the bold stripes on the shoes are more modern.

          • lucy stone :

            @HappyAnon – Thanks! Want to share your dress? My wedding is 6/2, which is coming up FAST.

            @Bonnie – Thanks. I think I’m going to order them and if they don’t work with my wedding dress, I’ll wear them to the rehearsal dinner. I really like them and would also wear them to work, because when you practice in rural Wisconsin, you can get your peep on. ;)

          • Happy Anon :

            @lucy stone – my dress is amsale coco! I have until july for my wedding but you’re right that time is flying by. Crazy!

            The shoes are definitely worth buying – they’re perfect for a rehearsal dinner too and definitely not a one-time-wear shoe. I hate that about so many of the “wedding shoes” out there – like where else will I wear white satin strappy sandals!?

          • if you switch out the sash for a black one, and then go with more graphic accessories, I think it could work

    • canadian anon :

      Love them! Definite approval.

  14. i think your plan is fine, but i want to advocate for black wide leg denim instead of yoga pants. i recently found the perfect pair (and sized one size up to give it even more of a trouser vibe) and i wear them to work anyday of the week when i know i just need to get my work done and focus.

  15. I love this cardi but I probably wouldn’t spend $88 on it because of the pattern. I’d only spend that much if it was one I could wear to death and not have it be obvious that I wear it all the time! I usually get printed cardis like that at Target or Old Navy for about $20-25.

  16. Advice please!

    I am currently (trying) to study for the GMAT. I have 2.5 months until my test date (3rd attempt) so I think this is enough time to preapre but I am having a hard time organizing my schedule to make time to fit studying in. I work 45 hours a week, have a few commitments here and there in the evenings but the biggest issues are:

    1) I feel absolutely exhausted when I get home from work – my eyes are literally closing on my drive home and I am fighting to stay away. I feel fatigued a lot. Trying to work out, eat healthy but no improvements yet.

    2) My husband. When I get home from work it is already hard enough to stay focused on studying on top of having to make dinner, do the laundry, take care of any other random things. I feel like my husband hasn’t stepped up to take on the extra things to take some pressue off me. His resoning is he “can’t cook” (which is BS because I spend Sunday afternoon cooking – all he needs to do is reheat something from the freezer) or that he wants to spend time with me and that he wants me to go out with him to see friends/family etc. I ocassionally get this “Ugh your doing this again? why?” in reference to taking the GMAT too. So of course the leads to a fight about him not being supportive. In the end I can’t get my studying done w/o feeling guilty that I am not a “good” wife.

    I have tried asking him to take on more at home (which is little as we have no children) but he always has an excuse as to why he can’t. His job is more stressful, he works more hours so he needs to relax, whatever…

    Anyone have any advice? I realize how ridiculous this is but it’s what I am dealing with!

    • Maybe try not coming home after work. Go to the library to study instead?

    • 1. Caffeine. Energy drinks. Vitamins. Good food. Natural sugar in the form of fruits. I do a cup of decaf after lunch – just enough caffeine to keep me going without keeping me awake at night. Also, studying and working out and full time job is impossible to keep up all at once. You can walk during your lunch and work out on weekends and call it good. You can work out more regularly after you take the exam.

      2. Hire help, even if it’s temporary, for cooking/cleaning/etc. You and your husband can both pay. And study outside of the home. Even if you have to stay in your office for an extra hour every day after work, do it. Go the library or a coffee shop on weekends.

      As for your husband’s attitude problem, I’m not gonna touch that. But good luck on your exam. And you have no reason to feel guilty.

    • Can you talk to your husband about specific chores that he might be able to take off your plate? Instead of, “It would help if you’d do more around the house,” say, “I need you to heat up dinner, unload the dishwasher, and clean the bathroom once a week.” Offer to spend one week teaching him how to do these things. My husband used to say he couldn’t do certain things (like cleaning the bathroom), but what he really meant is that he didn’t know how to do these tasks up to my standards and figured I would just end up yelling at him and re-doing the work. I had to build his confidence a bit by “teaching” him how to do these things, and then I had to not pick on him when it wasn’t exactly the way I would have done it. I’m not saying this is you exactly, but maybe your husband has some insecurities as opposed to just being lazy.

      Let go of the idea of a “good” wife, and do what you need to do. Your husband will adjust, and you’ll both be happier.

      Try to get his family on board by telling him how good this will be for you individually and as a family. He may be pressuring you to spend time with them because they’re pressuring him. If that’s not the case, they might back you up if he complains to them about your studying.

      Outsource as many chores as you can without breaking the bank. Hire help, get takeout, or recruit family. (My mother-in-law was a godsend when I was studying for the bar. She helped us move in to our new apartment, got my husband out of the house for hours at a time, and cooked us about one dinner per week.)

      • Having been there, I feel your pain! I picked three days a week where I would force myself to leave work at 5:30 (as a consultant wasn’t always easy but I made sure to go in much earlier if I had to) and then went to a coffee shop (easy access to caffeine) and studied until about 8:00. I “forced” my husband to make his own way for dinner those days…Fridays were “us” days so we got that alone time together.

        I also woke up super early on Saturdays and Sundays to get a few hours of studying in before he woke up and went to the coffee shop in the late afternoon some days when he was in his TV-induced comas. It’s just for a few months so figure out which errands you can do without or can be a bit lax with and you’ll hopefully get your life back soon!

        GOOD LUCK!!

    • My sympathy! I too am studying for it, and find it tough. A couple things for me: allowing myself to take a night off, allowing myself to study not from home and buy fun coffee/desserts at will (a treat for me), giving myself downtime after work – up to and including a nap. The naps are wreaking havoc on my sleep schedule, but they do allow me to break up work-work from GMAT-work.

    • fish out of water :

      First, I hope you realize how terrible your husband is being right now. I’m sure he’s a good man, but this is ridiculous.

      Second, I know about ‘good wife’ guilt. It’s something that gets ingrained in us. But you have got to get over it. You are not supposed to be about to work full time, study for the GMAT, and keep the house in order. The only voices in society that suggest you can do that belong to those who actually want you to fail. So opt out.

      Third, outsource whatever you can. Now. Hire someone to come in once a week, do all the laundry, clean the house, whatever it is that you need to do. Or – go buy a bunch of Stouffers and Lean Cuisines. Get those steam in the bag deals. Fix the food you need to eat and be done with trying to please your husband for 2.5 months. Seriously, is he going to go hungry instead of fixing something himself? Probably not for more than a few days. And tell him you can’t afford to go out since you have to spend $80 a week now on someone to do the laundry and clean the house.

      Best case scenario – he steps up to the plate and decides that since he can’t badger you into continuing to do all the cooking and cleaning, and he doesn’t want to eat Stouffer’s for the fourth week in a row, he’ll just do some laundry.
      Worst case scenario – he remains unsupportive, you focus on the GMAT and do what it takes to take care of yourself, and you pass it.
      Intermediate scenarios – you get a permanent house helper out of this and don’t have domestic fights; he learns to cook; you learn to be more assertive; I come over and tell him to straighten up and fly right.

      Good luck.

    • My advice:

      a) Realize that preparing for the test is going to take time, and will take away from your other commitments. It’s not permanent, its for 2-3 months, but you have to make it a priority

      b) Set up your schedule around studying, and go to the library. When I was preparing, I started leaving work at 6:30, had half an hour to eat dinner / drive to library, and was there for about 2 hours. Then back home to check email and catch up on work. Did my boss try to reach me sometimes for those 2 hours when I was unavailable? Yes, but eventually people adjusted.

      c) Consider taking a class (maybe look into Manhattan GMAT). Especially if you’e worried about your score, and about staying on track.

      I’m not sure what to say about your husband. I was fortunate enough that my partner was very supportive, so I’m sorry you are dealing with this. Im guessing your husband will benefit from your future MBA, so you ARE being a good wife by investing in this.

    • I think all the above is good advice — but let me just say this about the husband who “won’t” cook or “won’t” clean. Just don’t do it. Study, do the things you need to do right now, and if he wants to eat, he has to figure it out.

      Seriously, learning how to feed oneself never killed anyone. Everyone can cook — at the very least they can heat up a frozen pizza.

      Maybe I’m mean — but if my husband had looked at me while I was studying for the bar exam and said “but what will I eat” — I would have killed him. He’s a grown *ss man!

      • Anastasia :

        haha my husband had no idea that pizza comes out way better when you heat it in the oven vs. microwave until I “made” grocery store pizza for him one night early in our relationship. I will never forget the look of pure delight and amazement on his face: “OVENS do this?!” That might be why he married me.

      • If your husband isn’t even supportive of you taking the GMAT…. what is his attitude going to be once you’re in grad school? Then, you’ll have to work, go to class, and study, too.

        I have a serious problem with his attitude, and unfortunately, I think it signals a bigger issue.

    • D Train South :

      I don’t have advice on managing your husband, but I will say that getting sufficient sleep during this period is critical to your preparation. I’d confidently argue, as a former test prep teacher, that being well-rested on test day is more important than all that book learning. You may need to make little sacrifices in all areas of life, including your job, to give yourself enough time to both prepare and get rest and get some downtime with your hubby. If you shave off a little time from your workday during this period, and ramp right back up after the test, any frustration from management will probably be forgotten quickly.

    • GMAT advice :

      I would suggest taking a class for the GMAT if you haven’t already. It’ll help to have a dedicated block of time, with a knowledgeable instructor to guide you through and help you focus. My first score was sub-par in the math portion, so I took a one-day intensive course for just the math, which helped tremendously. I would also take a hard look at what you actually need to improve on. For a portion of my study time, I was just doing the “easy” stuff because it made me feel better, but then I actually had to spend more time studying because I was wasting time. Don’t study just to say you studied! If you need to work on the logic section, just spend the evening on that, and don’t feel like you need look at the geometry or reading portions.

      Re: husband issues… is he in the same field as you? I’m in business, and my husband is an engineer, and we’ve had many fights about my MBA, largely because a graduate degree in his field won’t do anything to help his career. I’ve shown him data, research, salary information, job posting, you name it, and it just doesn’t compute that I “need” the MBA (I put it in quotes because I clearly believe I need it, but I know a lot of other business people may not think that, so YMMV). We finally just had to agree to disagree. Sometimes he complains about me being so busy, but for the most part, he’s supportive. And I second the advice to let him fend for himself… he won’t starve :) Our entire apartment hasn’t been clean at the same time in who knows how long. The bathroom gets done one week, the kitchen the next, the laundry the next, and so on. I don’t really care if the whole place is clean and pretty all at once, so let go of the “good wife” guilt!

      • Why on god’s green earth did you condition him to believe that you were responsible for cooking and cleaning? My mom never made it through college, but she taught me a couple of things… the chief one being that if a man knows that you can cook, clean or type, you will wind up being expected to do all of these things, to the EXCLUSION of any/all higher pursuits.

        Thus, I am a domestically disinclined, terrible cook who cannot type. If my fella wants a clean house or a well cooked meal, he either needs to do it himself, pay for it or prepare to feel especially flattered if I attempt (badly) to do either of these things. But I don’t mind living in a mess. Or eating salad.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I too suggest taking a class for the GMAT. Manhattan GMAT is well regarded, as is Princeton Review, and most places offer free practice tests. Don’t bother with any test that is not a computer based adaptive exam – those scores will be off from your true baseline.

      Depending on your target score, there are different resources that may be helpful. If you hope to score somewhere in the mid six hundreds, the best and potentially only resource you need is the OG. The OG is *not* as helpful in getting to 700+ level scores though it is great for making sure your fundamentals are strong.

      beatthegmat (dot) com is a GREAT resource for GMAT study tips and plans.

    • I’m a little passive-aggressive so I’d probably just make a frozen burrito or a sandwich every night for myself and wash my own clothes only and wait for him to get the message that he needs to deal with stuff himself, but I agree with others that the mature and more effective thing to do would be to ask him to do very specific tasks and refrain from making general statements about his unhelpfulness that may just cause him to get his hackles up. As far as cleaning, I agree with the advice to hire someone if you can swing it. I know it’s been discussed here a lot recently but I finally took the plunge and it has made a big difference in quality of life. Good luck on the test!

      • Thank you all for your help! My husband and I are moving to a new place next week so I think it is a great opportunity to change our routine. We have discussed hiring someone to clean so I’ll definitely talk to him about that. As far as cooking – I think I have done my part, and have been very generous, by still finding time to grocery shop AND have homemade frozen meals ready. If he can’t heat them then that’s his problem. He gives me a guilt trip when I say that and then wonders why I tell him he is being unsupportive.

        I am right. Right??

        I think the underlying issue is that he know that getting an MBA will mean my focus is not on him and it’s going to mean I am at school all day and meeting new people while his at work. He denies this but he seems very sensitive about how much time I will be away from him. For what it’s worth my husband is a lawyer and he works long hours and tends to get stressed out easily. I think it sets him off when he comes home to a messy house and there isn’t anything immediately ready for him to put in his mouth. I don’t know why he thinks I have all this extra time to take care of these things as I usually get home only 30 minutes before him.

        Thank you all. I just want to be sure I am not imagining that his behavior is getting in the way of doing what I need to do.

        • You are right. And though we’re only hearing your side, of course, your husband sounds like he’s being a bit of an immature jerk.

          Maybe you need to sit down with him and deal with some of the underlying issues here (trust, support) rather than just fixing the top-line problems (cleaning, food). I know it seems overwhelming, but maybe a few sessions with a counselor or at least reading a book together or something would help.

        • fish out of water :

          You are right.

          And I agree with TCFKAG’s comment – but maybe work on the relationship after the GMAT, and get some cleaning help in the interim.

          And I don’t know that doing only your own cooking is being passive-aggressive. It seems like it is on the surface, but once you’ve discussed something a thousand times and nothing ever changes, sometimes it’s actually the mature thing to do. And it sounds like you’ve discussed these concerns with him before, on multiple occasions, before coming to us here. Sometimes you can only have the same discussion so many times before simply doing the responsible thing.

          Also, depending on where you live, at least in my area, there are a lot of SAHM of school-age children who enjoy an arrangement in which they come over from 1-3PM, 3-4 days a week in the afternoon and clean, put dinner in the oven, then leave and pick up their kids from school. Just a thought.

        • Hearing your side of the story only, you are right.

          I’ll second TCFKAG’s suggestion of working on some of the underlying issues. It sounds like you may both be feeling unsupported. I totally get why you’re feeling unsupported, and it’s more than reasonable. But he’s accustomed to coming home to you having food ready and having things done around the house so he can unwind or have fun with you or his family. You’ve been supporting him and his career by making it easier for him to work long hours, and now you’re removing that support and asking him to fend for himself more. It will take some getting used to on his part.

          I am in a similar position to your husband. I’m an attorney, my husband works less than me, and he does more of the housework. He cleans the house and 2-3 times per week he cooks dinner. It is heaven to come home to a clean house and a prepared meal. When dinner is not ready when I walk in the door, I insist on having a snack (which he hates because dinner is “almost” ready). We’ve had times when both of us were working 60-80 hour weeks, and this is much better for me. All this to say… stand up for yourself and don’t give in to his insecurities/ selfishness, but recognize that change is difficult for everyone and he may be experiencing feelings of abandonment or resentment because you’re not taking care of him as much.

          For the top-level issues (cooking, cleaning), I would have a conversation with him that assumes you will be studying for the GMAT and getting an MBA – “I’m going to be unavailable between 6pm and 8pm for the next few months, which means that I’ll no longer be doing X, Y, and Z. You can take on more, we can outsource some things (which will cost us $X/month), and we can let some chores go a little bit for the next few months. How do you want to handle it?”

        • dancinglonghorn :

          FWIW: I think that maybe you and your husband would benefit from couples counseling. You do not want him dragging his feet during the entire MBA process. And you should be aware that it is really, really hard for someone who signed up for one “type” of spouse to suddenly be expected to adjust to a different “type” of spouse. I might not be the most supportive person either in his shoes! Also, the way you are handling the studying issue now does not suggest that you are helping him be involved. When does he want you to study? Would he prefer you study outside the house? Maybe you could get him involved in the plan.

          When I was in a PhD program, the deal with my husband was “You help me do this stressful 80+ hour a week program and when I’m done, you can quit your job and do startups as long as you like. ” It helped motivate him to help me.

          So maybe with the help of lots of outsourced help plus some counseling, you guys can work out a plan to help get him on track with your choices as well.

    • I took the GMATs and just did the Princeton Review book. Caveat, I took them about 20 years ago.

      I did very well so I think the book is a good option.

      • These are all great suggestions. I am going to spend some time thinking about EXACTLY what I need from him and have a discussion with him. SC I think you made a good point – when we were first got married I hadn’t started working yet and since I do enjoy cooking I always had dinner on the table right when he walked in the door, the house clean, and the laundry done. I tried to take care of everything around the house so I felt like I was doing my share since he was working a lot. Now that has changed and I know my husband is very slow to accept change. Thanks for helping me to recognize this!

        I will report back on how it goes!

    • You might consider studying early in the morning before you go to work; e.g., from 5 am to 7 am. I did this when I studied for the bar exam and I really liked it – my mind was fresh and nobody was likely to bother me during those hours. Then you can come home after work and just fall into bed. Good luck!

  17. TJ – Need help from the hive. I’m a new stepmom of a wonderful 11 year old girl. Her mom has primary physical custody but we have her with us about 25% of the time. I have no kids of my own and her dad and I are both very young to have an 11 year old so most of our friends are pregnant or have babies and toddlers. Can anyone recommend any good blogs or websites where there is a community like this where I could ask my stupid parenting questions (both about the basics and about parenting tween/middle school girls specifically)? Thanks in advance!

    • Been There :

      KLG, I met my SD (now 16) when she was 11. I do not have my own children, so she and her brother were the first kids in my life. There are many, many blogs. Most of them are written by women who are complaining (seemingly legitimately so) about relationships with difficult SDs and their mothers. You will find them by Googling, but you won’t find productive help on those blogs.

      I would recommend instead the following (all of which helped me immensely):

      1. Take an “Active Parenting” class. Michael Popkin developed the theory of active parenting and has written numerous books about it. Classes based on his books are offered all over the place. My fiance and I took “Active Parenting of Teens” when his kids were 13 and 18 through the local recreation department. I might have preferred “Active Parenting of Stepkids,” but it wasn’t being offered.

      2. Read Wednesday Martin’s, “Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do.”

      3. Read Susan Wisdom’s, “Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family.”

      4. Find a really good therapist with a lot of experience with blended family issues.

      4. Read Stepmom Magazine online. www DOT stepmommag DOT com.

      6. Talk to you husband about making sure he and his daughter get enough time alone without you during each visit AND that the three of you do something together during each visit. Be transparent with your SD about the fact that you are vacating yourself from her “special alone time with dad.”

      7. Read Louise Oxhorn and Lynne Oxhorn-Ringwood, “Stepwives: Ten Steps to Help Ex-Wives and Step-Mothers End the Struggle and Put the Kids First.”

      8. Ask your husband to read one of these books and discuss it with you. None of this works without his help.

      I will say that I think the single greatest determinant of the quality of your relationship with your SD is the mental health of her mother. If her mom is healthy, your SD will understand from her mom that you are another adult in her life who is there to support her, and she will be open to you. If her mom is not healthy, she will understand from her mom that you are trying to replace mom and she will be placed in a loyalty bind, which you will experience as your SD being very cold to you no matter what you do.

      Being a stepmom has been a rich experience that I never expected to have. I was 40 and childless when I met my fiance and my stepkids, and it was been an adventure. I hope you enjoy all the positive aspects that I have and none of the mental-illness inspired bad ones. I am a regular reader here and a frequent commenter if you have more questions.

      • Anon for this one :

        I take huge offense to you saying that the single greatest determinant of the quality of the relationship with stepkids is the health of the mother. Sometimes stepmother-stepchild relationships have nothing to do the mental health of the mother. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, meaning the mother’s mental health will affect the stepmother-child relationship. Oftentimes they have to do with the attitude of the stepmother, and oftentimes the father’s attitude and relationship with both child and stepmother will be an overwhelming factor. But to say that it is the biological mother’s FAULT that the stepmother-stepchild relationship goes badly…that is extremely untrue and extremely offensive to all biological mothers and all children from blended families, imo.

    • I haven’t been there in a long time, but try the message boards on ivillage. I used their boards a lot when my kids were newborn and they had a lot of specific parenting groups last I looked.

    • Have you tried looking at the forums on thenest DOT come? I believe they have a message board for blended families.

    • SpaceMountain :

      For what it’s worth, there was a dramatic change in my daughter between 11 and 12. Suddenly the teen moodiness kicked in, she fights with me all the time, cries over all sorts of real and perceived drama, and such. So, if things don’t go so well over the next year, it could be due to the emerging teenager and not anything you are doing. I’m just trying to hang in there and give her lots of hugs and support.

      • Thanks for all the suggestions! They are much appreciated and I will definitely look into them!

        SpaceMountain, your issue is really the one for which I was seeking resources. SD and I actually get along very well (lots of shared interests which helps us to do things together easily). But, she has definitely hit the teen moodiness that you so perfectly describe. For the most part, Mom, Dad, and I are working well together and Mom has been very supportive of me to the child. I just think we could all use a little help/support/advice from a hivemind about successfully raising your tween since none of us really have friends with similarly-aged children.

    • My daughter is 11. I highly recommend the book “queen Bees and Wannabes” – the updated version. It has really helped me understand the social pressures my daughter faces at school and in her group of friends.

  18. Did anyone else notice that FLOTUS seated herself next to George Clooney at last night’s state dinner? (I’m just going to go ahead and assume she made this particular seating decision. Smart lady.)

    I don’t know, though. If I were her, I’d have seated myself next to Idris Elba (last photo in the slideshow). Daaaaam

  19. Fashion help, please: I picked up a lovely navy blue tweed open-front Classiques Entier blazer from Nordstrom Rack yesterday (will post link in reply). I don’t have any tweed clothes (or even many blue clothes), so I thought I’d try something new. But I need some advice on what to wear the blazer with. Thoughts from the hive?

    • Here is the link to the blazer:

      It is a bit boxy in the front, and longer on petite me than the model, but mostly fitted. Still available in S to XL for anyone who is interested!

      • That’s lovely. Depending on what you’re comfortable in — something like that would look great with a contrasting colored or black pencil skirt and just a simple silk shell underneath. Or the same but with pants.

        You could also pair it with a green or a pink or something to liven it up in the spring, which would look pretty.

      • MaggieLizer :

        I saw that blazer in the store and loved it, but sadly it just didn’t fit my broad shoulders right. I’ve been loving navy with coral and lime green, or maybe a lilac. In the store they showed that jacket with a light gray pencil skirt and a beige and gray print top, which is classic but could probably be brightened up with accessories.

      • I’m super tempted to buy this. I’m in the market for blazers, and this is gorgeous. I do have wide shoulders though. Do you think it be too boxy if I sized up?

      • hellskitchen :

        I love this! I have a similar deep navy tweed jacket. Because it’s tweed, I try to wear it with non patterned items in different textures so that the focus is on the tweed. I like pairing navy with warmer shades so I wear mine with chocolate brown boots, silk tops in tangerine/orange/fuschia/ivory, skinny pants in black or navy etc. Ann Taylor has a huge sale on silky tops and shells in bright colors that I think will go well with this jacket.

    • Navy pencil skirt, navy or ivory shell, nude pumps. Totally classic and professional.

      I’m still not down with wearing navy with black, intentional or otherwise.

  20. What to do? :


    My boss was removed from the position this week. She is still with the company and she doesn’t stop getting involved with stuff that I think is no longer her concern. She also sends e-mails to us letting us all look bad, telling us all the things we do wrong. One of them was an honest mistake and it was good that she told us about it, even if I didn’t appreciate the tone of the e-mail, other things had nothing to do with anyone on the recipient list.
    I understand that she is upset and that it will probably blow over, but what am I supposed to do in the mean time? She has the habit of blind copying everybody she thinks should know about it on her negative feedback e-mails and I know that the higher ups have no clue what is really going on in our department. Should I just hope that nobody was BCCed on her latest e-mails or should I take measures?
    I really don’t want to hit “reply all” and tell her my side of the story, I think it would be a silly back and forth and might just escalate the situation.
    Should I ask the acting boss how to handle that, or her boss or should I just ask whoever is above all of them?
    Man, how is it only Thursday?

    • I don’t have any advice on the root of your problem, but replying to all wouldn’t resolve your issue. If you use outlook, you will only copy the people who are visible in the “to” and “cc” line. the “bcc” people will not be copied.

    • Is your current manager aware of this? Have a meeting with current manager and potentially HR to figure out how to handle bitter ex-manager. Chances are any higher ups who were blind copied are already aware that the person is a problem.

    • I think the fact that your boss was removed from her position says it all. I think the recipients of the emails are probably thinking that the company made the right call, given the lack of professionalism displayed by these types of vindictive emails. I’d just lay low and let her boss handle it. No need to respond unless someone specifically asks you about it.

Add a comment.

Questions? Check out our commenting policy. Tech problems? Please report it to the tech team.