Coffee Break – Air Lainey Ballet Wedge

Cole Haan - Air Lainey Ballet Wedge 55 (Nougat Patent) - FootwearI feel like the Lainey wedge has been around, in one iteration or another, for a while — but right now it just looks like the perfect wedge pump for the summer. Zappos has it in “nougat patent” (pictured) as well as black (lots of sizes) for $198. Do note that some lucky sizes are available at better prices, though — at Neiman it comes down to $135 with code SPRINGFS, and Endless has a purple croc print for $147. Cole Haan – Air Lainey Ballet Wedge 55 (Nougat Patent) – Footwear

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  1. Loves Photos, Hates Photoshop :

    I am an amateur photographer (in all my free time…) and I love taking photos of my kids. I’m finding myself with a backlog of photos because I don’t enjoy the photo editing process, so now I have a bunch of digital files that need editing. I’d love, Love, LOVE to outsource this but all the editing companies seem to accept only professional photogs as clients. Does anyone know of a company or person who does this work for amateur photographers?

    • Midwest Attorney :

      A student from your local college’s art or photography department may be willing to do this work for you for a small amount of pay to gain experience.

    • A friend of mine does this kind of work for a yearbook company. I can see someone like her being willing to do it freelance as well.

    • Not much help here because I was going to suggest one of those companies – how lame for them only to take professionals (though I do have an account with a “pro” lab – they did not require a business name or a business license to apply for an account, as some of the other labs do), but I was going to suggest asking on a forum like Clickin Moms. For me, once I got in the groove of using Lightroom, it became really easy to do the initial cut on my pictures and then just edit the (much smaller number of) pictures I actually liked. But if you’re on Corporette, you might not have that time, even!

      • I’d second the suggestion to join Clickin’ Moms. Not only are they incredibly helpful in creating easy post-processing, but my photography in general has improved greatly as a result of the forums.

    • is great for this sort of thing! Scout around and look for a contractor you’re comfortable with. I hired Lianny Kusuma (she’s in Indonesia).

    • Yes! It is a company called Meridian Pro ( and I think they are in Kansas, but they ship anywhere. Their prices are phenomenal and I have been using them for years, and they have an in house retouching service and even a more heavy duty editing service. They are great!

  2. TJ- can any DC ‘ettes recommend an eye doctor? I have the federal government’s VSP plan and my opthalmologist doesn’t take VSP. I need to get my eyes checked and probably new glasses/contacts. Bonus for something close to downtown/Farragut/metro accessible.

    • Focus Eyecare at 17th and G – I see Dr. Garr but her partner is good too.

    • I just went to Hour Eyes at 18th and K and they were very nice.

    • I’d avoid My Eye Dr. The doctor at 18th and I last year insisted that I switch to a new brand of (fancier) contacts- she asked about it during the exam, I said, “well I have used x brand for 15 years and am perfectly happy.” When I was handed off to a salesperson to pay for my visit, she had written the prescription for the new brand. He explained the supposed benefits and I gave them a shot as I would not be able to see the doctor for quite some time.

      This year I went to the location on 18th and M, who immediately understood (after looking at my eyes) why I wanted to switch back to my old brand. Apparently my eyes are shaped in a way where they are best accomodated by a lense that comes in a certain size, which the pricier brand did not. So, he gets points for that but loses points for his multiple comments on my fiance being drawn to be by my “big, beautiful eyes.” Borderline creepy.

      What really got to me is when I was checking out this year, they wanted me to use my insurance for the contacts (which they wanted to charge almost $300 for), and have me pay for new glasses lenses out of pocket, another $130 or so). Well, when I suggested doing it the opposite way, I got the lenses for $20 and found my contacts online for less than a $100. After I made SEVERAL attempts to get a copy of my prescription (they will price match, and really wanted me to order through them, I was trying to save myself the extra trip back to thier office).

      Sorry for the rant, I was really frustrated by my experience though!

    • Go see my cousins, Dr. Nancy Ross & Dr. Rick Simon at Four Eyes. Ok, so maybe I am totally biased, but this husband/wife duo is just wonderful (I go to them when I’m home!) The store/office is located at 2021 L street, which is on L in between 20th and 21st. I think this is only a few blocks from the Farragut metro stop.

    • Pie in the sky :

      Start with seeing who is on the plan. I’ve found the fed plans super limited. Also, I’m the only one in my family that wears contacts and glasses so we pay more in premiums than we get out of it. Not worth it for me.

    • Not in DC proper, but Timothy Malone in Great Falls is awesome. I’ve been going to him for years.

  3. when you play the game of thrones.. :

    I always like wedges but never actually buy them.

    There has been a lot of talk about marriage penalties lately so I wanted to throw some things out there. I’m a 25 year old lawyer, on IBR. Engaged and our wedding is about a year and a half away. Some people have mentioned marriage penalties and IBR penalties, but when I used a calculator for both of them with “married filing seperately” the result was pretty much the same as filing single. I realize I lose out on deductions (like mortgage) but if I am not taking those deductions now and wont for a long time, is there any change that will happen when I file married filing seperately? thank you!

    • It all depends on your income levels.

      • when you play the game of thrones.. :

        but in those calculators they don’t ask for my spouse’s income level

        • Try this one – it walks you through the married/joint/separate thing. It looks if you file a joint return, than IBR wants your combined income levels, but if you file separate returns then you only consider your income.

          • when you play the game of thrones.. :

            Right that is the one I have been using – so you think its reasonably safe to assume that my tax and ibr status will not really change going from single to married seperate?

          • Anonymous :

            If you file separately, it won’t change under the new IBR calculations.

    • So much of this depends on your individual circumstances that it’s best to consult with a professional if you have questions.

      Also – if you do file Married, Seperate, you can later amend to Married, Joint, but once you file Married, Joint, you are stuck with that status for the tax year. You can change your Married, Seperate/Joint status from tax year to tax year.

      • when you play the game of thrones.. :

        I guess I’m asking whether those calculators are mostly correct then. When I select married filing seperately they don’t even ask for spouse’s income. Is the marriage penalty always when you get married, or just filing joint?

        • When you file married/separate you are only filing for yourself – your spouse then has to file their own married/separate return. So a married/separate return doesn’t even look at the spouse’s income, which is kind of the point. And if you file married/separate, you lose out on deductions that would be able to take as married/joint, or as single.

          Here is the wikipedia page on the marriage tax penalty –

          • when you play the game of thrones.. :

            ok so the downside to filing married/seperate is not being able to take deductions. I don’t take any right now, so as long as my IBR and tax situation stay the same I’ll be happy, I just wanted to make sure I’m prepared in case there was a penalty in the future.

          • it really is best to speak with a professional about your specific situation and numbers, but i just wanted to point out that filing your taxes as ‘married filing separately’ is not exactly the same as if you were legally single and filing that way, at least from the perspective of how much you’ll owe the IRS (or how much they’ll owe you). if only it were that easy to avoid the marriage penalty …

            i have no idea how things work for the IBR question, but from a policy standpoint i would imagine there is a similar logic, so i would be careful.

          • Basically – no one here wants to be accused of giving tax advice and end up in a comment like the poster from the morning thread. :)

            Basically – if you’ve run the numbers and read what the IRS has (their website is decent for finding information) on the differences in filing status and apply the numbers from your situation and still have questions – you need to talk with a tax professional who can sit down with your numbers.

    • Important question. Does your FH also have federal student loans and is he also on IBR? If so, IBR takes the cumulative debt load into account, so that you end up paying roughly the same as if you were married filing separately. This is a fairly recent (2010) update to the original legislation creating the IBR program. is a great resource for sussing out all the details.

      An IBR gov’t attorney about to marry another IBR gov’t attorney

      • when you play the game of thrones.. :

        He does not, he has almost no student loans (smart man!) So filing jointly isn’t even really on the radar, I am almost def going to file marry but single, just wondering what changes. Amy I’ve run the numbers quickly and it seems to be coming out the same for single and married/seperate, which is why I guess I have questions! Seems like most people would want to file married/seperate if they are getting hit with that penalty.

        • it may not make a difference, totally depends on the incomes involved. the tax brackets for income are different for single people compared with people who are married but filing separately. so if a single person makes $80k, they’re in the 25% bracket but if someone makes $80k and is married filing separately, then that person is in the 28% bracket. just wanted to point that out since i know i was in for an unwelcome surprise when i realized married filing separately wasn’t identical to filing single.

          (and yes — this is not tax advice!)

          • when you play the game of thrones.. :

            thanks amy and all. I will def talk to a professional, maybe sooner rather than later

        • dancinglonghorn :

          You can’t avoid the penalty by filing married filing separately. The IRS has specifically designed the rules to prevent people from doing that. Married filing separately takes away a lot of the deductions that married or single people get, effectively penalizing couples. Its really only meant to be used when spouses are estranged (there are criteria about when you last saw your spouse, etc.) I would recommend caution about filing separately if you are living in the bounds of a “normal” marriage. (ie, no imprisonment, no ongoing back taxes/legal issues, etc.)

          Please speak to a CPA. I have included some links to help:

    • Alan is an acountant, and he wanted to file jointly with me after we were married. I did NOT marry him, but he must have known what to do.

    • Are you in a community property state? If so, *definitely* check with a professional. It sounds like the calculators you’re referring to don’t work properly at all for CP states.

    • dancinglonghorn :

      I used to work in tax practice for years, and depending on the situation, there can be huge penalties for married filing separately. The only time I ever used it was (1) if a client was in prison (when I did volunteer work for low-income individuals), (2) if a client was worried about legal consequences from their spouse’s back-taxes. I recommend if you are going to use married filing separately, speak to a CPA, as you will lose a ton of deductions.

    • Do you do your taxes with TurboTax, TaxCut etc? You can fill out the information as if your were married and it will let you know what your tax burden would be. This is free as long as you don’t try to file the return.

    • lucy stone :

      1) Love your username.
      2) Am trying to figure this out for us – I am a govt IBR attorney and he is in private practice making more money with much lower loans. I think we’re going to get hosed.

  4. New attorney :

    Just found out that I passed the bar :) :) :) :)

  5. I feel the urge to get out of town but unfortunately can’t get away for more than a long weekend. Any thoughts for getaways driving distance from D.C. other than New York?

    • Any of these sound interesting?

      Colonial Williamsburg/Virginia Beach. Charlottesville. Greenbriar. Lancaster County. Pittsburgh. Eastern Shore.

      • There is train service from DC that takes you to the Greenbrier’s door. They have a spring special for limited dates in April (1-12, 22-25) where the first night is $249, second is $149 and third is free.

      • I will plug Charlottesville for the second time in two days :) You can also take the train if you don’t feel like driving.

        • Anonymous :

          Yep, and hit Monticello. It’s beautiful.

          • And King family vineyards. And Veritas. And (my personal favorite) Barboursville. And every other vineyard on 29.

          • Barboursville is the besssssttttttttttt. Along with every other vineyard on 29 ;) We also have a bunch of breweries and cideries (? have no idea if that’s right) as well.

          • a. – I hoarded all of the remaining bottles of b-ville 2010 sauvignon blanc because (surprise) you can’t get that sh. up here in nyc. I’m down to my last bottle. sob.

    • PharmaGirl :

      Do you need a warm and beachy getaway or do cities fit the bill? Philly is perfect for a weekend away in a city.

      • Yup, I was just in Philly this weekend and planned the whole trip around the Rettes’ recommendations. I left fat and happy. :)

        • Yup, I was just in Philly this weekend and planned the whole trip around the Rettes’ recommendations. I left f a t and h a p p y. :)

          • Yup, I was just in Philly this weekend and planned the whole trip around the R e t t e s’ recommendations. I left fat and happy. :)

            I don’t know why this is getting stuck, so apologies for the re-post.

          • glad you had a good time! What did you do? I think I may have recommended seeing the Van Gogh exhibit back when someone (you?) asked – by random coincidence I went on Saturday, if you happened to be there too :)

          • oops, obviously intended for b23

          • It was me who asked, and I really enjoyed everything we did! We tried to go to the Van Gogh exhibit yesterday, but it’s closed on Mondays – duh! I don’t know why we didn’t look into that beforehand. But we still ran the steps, and I pretended to care even though I’ve never seen the movie. :) We ate at Garces Trading Company, Whiskey River, Talulah’s Garden, Monk’s, and Sabrina. It was all great. We did the chef’s tasting menu at Garces, and it was a hilariously huge amount of food. We also went to the Mutter Museum, recommended by a few people here, and spent a good bit of time at the Italian Market and Reading Terminal Market.

            I was surprised that Philly doesn’t seem to emphasize its history as much as similar cities. Do you agree? The tour at Independence Hall lasted less than ten minutes!

          • Oh, those are all good picks – glad you enjoyed!! I haven’t done the history stuff since I was pretty young (now in the in-between phase when we’ll see it all again with kids eventually…) but my childhood memories agree with you – we spent the most time places where it was a self-paced tour.

            (I’ve never seen the movie either :) )

          • Well, we’re having issues communicating, Cat, but here’s trying again: Thanks for your great suggestions! I was really impressed with the food scene and the overall vibe. People were very nice.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Annapolis is pretty cute and close-by – depends what you are looking to do really (big city vs quietness). I liked Shenandoah National Park as well.

    • Believe it or not….Downtown Norfolk is small and there are some pretty good restaurants (Freemason Abbey, Tood Jurich’s Bistro, Bodega and many others). The Marriott and Sheraton are both nice, but I think the Marriott is a better location; you can walk to most places, it’s a block from the water, and they have private hot tubs (6 of em, I think) that overlook the water. You can also walk to the MacArthur Mall (Nordstrom), the USS Wisconsin, and a few other sites. Although it’s walkable and tourist-friendly, I wouldn’t stay out too late at night. They have really revitalized that area in the last several years.

    • The Outerbanks can be fabulous this time of year. I went for spring break once and the beach was deserted so I sat in a chair reading and watching the dolphins swim by in blissful peace and quiet.

    • What are you looking for — urban, rural, beachy, spa, nightlife? What’s your budget like? Are you travelling alone, with friends, with SO, kids?

      We frequently do Lancaster County, but with kids, so our focus may be different from yours. Charlottesville could be fun, esp if you add in some wine tasting.

      • I loved Lancaster County (sans kids): antiquing, local and homemade food, lovely countryside, cute shops and quaint B&Bs.

    • Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains, Harper’s Ferry, Virginia Beach, Outer Banks, Charleston.

    • my mom and i always took our girls’ weekends to Berkley Springs, WV. It is byootiful up there, they have a mineral bathhouse that is awesome, and the little town main street is so much fun. Good food, cute shops, etc. Or, there’s Coolfont, WV, they have an amazing spa.

      • Yes and yes. As a resident of the WV Eastern Panhandle, I have to encourage everyone to go to Berkeley Springs at least once. It’s adorable.

    • Skyland resort in GW National Forest is nice. You can get a cool cabin, the restaurant and bar are pretty good, and there are tons of nearby hikes.

      Agree that Charlottesville and some wineries and/or historical sights might be nice.

      Fayetteville/Summerville, WV at the new river for outdoorsy activities and delicious pizza at Pies & Pints.

      Richmond? You could follow the weekend in Richmond article that was in the NYTimes a few years ago.

    • I guess I should have been more specific. I’d love to go to the Caribbean but that’s too far and it’s still too cold for the beach stateside. Ideally I’d like to chill somewhere, take some nice walks, eat some good food… DH is not much of an outdoorsy guy but will walk short trails and around town. I’d prefer to go somewhere we haven’t been yet. I lived in Charlottesville for a while and have done the wedding circuit on the Eastern Shore but have not spent much time in West Virginia so maybe that would work for us.

      • Va native :

        It is going to be 80 degrees in Virginia Beach tomorrow, and I imagine similar in the Outer Banks. We had a very mild winters and it has been plenty warm here to go to the beach and do a lot of other outdoor activities. I would definitely recommend either of these, especially over Norfolk. I find Norfolk to have fairly limited options in terms of things to do (though they do have good restaurants), and it can be dicey at night in some areas.

        VB should be about a 2.5 hour drive from DC and the outer banks about 4.5, both depending on traffic.

      • If you like nice walks and good food, you could do a loop and hit a couple different little towns along the way thru VA and WV. I really love Berkeley Springs, but Berryville is also cute, and Shepherdstown, and you could even go past Berkeley Springs to Cumberland, MD, which is beautiful. There are some amazing restaurants/wineries up in VA on the way out there. And some beautiful hotel/spa places to stay, and just chill. I don’t remember any of the names of restaurants off the top of my head, but i’m sure you could find them with some googlefu.

        • I’d take a short flight hop to somewhere else. Grew up in that area, aren’t too many places I’d want to drive for a whole weekend at. If it’s that warm, beach sounds good though.

    • I am a Pittsburgher and it’s a surprisingly cool destination.

      Another thought: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, PA, about 3 1/2 hours from DC, give or take. Luxury place with really well-regarded restaurants in the middle of an absolutely beautiful area for hiking, kayaking, etc.

  6. junior lawyer :

    TJ–I’m in-house and applying for an in-house job at a young company whose products I adore. I’m super excited that this company is creating a legal department. The job post asks for seven years experience and knowledge of a very broad range of areas. I have only two years of experience, but am otherwise a good fit. However, in two of the requested areas, I have knowledge only because I took law school classes in the area. Given the number of years of experience requested, is it appropriate to write in the cover letter (in more elegant form) “I’ve done a, b, c, d, e, f, and g kind of work and took classes in h and i in law school”? I’m hoping that even if I don’t qualify for this job, they’ll keep my resume around as they scale up the legal department.

    • I generally do put applicable coursework in the cover letter to at least show interest in the subject matter, if not also some background and academic experience.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I wouldn’t mention law school classes – it’s just a reminder of how junior you are. Although I am normally of a proponent of applying for jobs even if you don’t meet all the “requirements” (because they are usually more like a “wish list”), your experience is vastly different from what they are looking for. I’m not saying “don’t apply,” but do go in with open eyes.

      • junior lawyer :

        I agree that this job is a huge reach. I’d like to reach for it, but I’d also like to make a good impression so that I have a shot if they need a junior lawyer further down the line.

    • more info? :

      What’s the general theme of the products? What’s the general geographic area? I’m just thinking if it’s an area without a bunch of lawyers (e.g, rural Nevada rather than Boston) and if by “new” company you mean young, entrepreneurial types, then I think the chances are better and the pitch is definitely different. Can you give us a bit more info?

      • junior lawyer :

        It’s SF Bay Area, but a young, entrepreneurial high tech company. The GC is about 15 years out of law school and first had a big in-house role (at a different company) with not much more experience than I have now. The leaders of the company are mostly just a few years older than I am and don’t have traditional backgrounds for running a high tech company.

    • As someone who works with a lot of later-stage startups and does a significant amount of private company work, the reason that they want broad knowledge is because private companies are trying to save cash (and insource ALL of their legal, from trademark to employment to corporate to lit). So, while I definitely think it’s great that you are applying, (and you should!), know that these firms really do want a “jack-of-all-trades” because if their legal department is small or nonexistent, you’re it. As an aside, trying to “train” a company that’s never really had legal that they need to “follow the rules” and put processes in place can be really painful. Fruitful if it works, but painful because you get a lot of “but we’ve always done it the other way before” type comments from sales and marketing and HR folks.

      • junior lawyer :

        Thank you for the insight. If I get to the interview stage, I’ll try to figure out how much “training” the company needs. The job could be pretty terrible if I can’t get buy-in for following the law. There will be at least two other lawyers, thank goodness.

      • I wouldn’t say it’s a desire to skirt the law, but rather when the full regulatory/compliance burden that a lawyer would deem prudent is imposed on a company that hasn’t had such constraints before, they don’t really see “the point” of the red tape of “doing things the right way” when “the old way” has always worked before. So it’s not general lawlessness, but more, “why you gotta throw a wrench in things?” if that makes sense. It’s the old “seeing things from the business perspective” vs. the attorney trying to tamp things down push-pull that you see a lot when you go in house, so hopefully you’ve already dealt a bit with that where you work.

        • and there’s a real business balance- i’ve been on both sides (was in house, now on business side, having lawyers tell us their views)- i have worked with many counsel that follow a cya policy at all costs, are 100% risk averse, terrified of court, and overall just do not get that we are running a profitable business with decisions that must be made balancing risk, including legal. not talking about breaking laws- but when the law isn’t clear, sometimes you have to go for it. and frankly there is nothing worse than getting the written opinion of the lawyers saying ‘don’t do it!’ to cover their own behinds, based on nothing more than their conservative preferences, which then puts the real decision makers in a crap position when they need to do what’s best for the business. stick to informing them about facts, options, and weigh for them the options they are considering from a legal view- don’t overstate things. seriously it is annoying and even as a non-lawyer lawyer, I (and other nonpracticing lawyers) routinely ignore the legal department’s over the top inputs. Same with reviewing our documents- mark up legal issues- this isn’t your opportunity to opine and wordsmith to your heart’s delight on everything under the sun- you are just creating work for me to delete your gratuitous comments/edits. We are asking only for your legal issues scan/spotting.

          I have also seen places where GC office is used as ethical scapegoat- not common hopefully, but you don’t want to be that person. ‘the attorney said i could..’ or.. you have to tell them not to and risk getting fired.

    • junior lawyer :

      Thank you, all. Your advice is very helpful to me.

  7. So I’ve got some Gap rewards and am inclined to buy some shoes at Piperlime. Am thinking about trying the Cole Haan Air line, particularly something more casual as I rarely wear pumps these days. Does anyone have the Air Camila espadrille? Thoughts? I love the idea, just wish it came in more interesting colors. Other alternative would be the Air Bacara flat, though I’m less excited about a flat right now.

    And yes, peep toes/espadrilles are fine in my current job.

    • I have the Air Talia (closed toe) in many colors. It’s my everyday work shoe. It’s a low wedge. I find it very comfortable, and I walk all the time and have fussy feet.

      FOOEY, however, on patent-covered wedge areas as are seen on this shoe featured. Extra fooey for the light color. They scuff/tear almost immediately, and especially when it isn’t a standard material it’s very hard to get a cobbler to make them look new again. Even if you can, it will be undone just as quickly. I recommend wooden-type wedge parts instead (which the Air Talia has in most of its current colors).

      • Wrapped Heels :

        I totally agree. The shoes are great but the wrapped heel is sure to be torn up very quickly.

      • Good to know. I was going to buy these because I’m in the market for some neutral spring shoes. I think I’m going to pass based on your comments – these shoes would take a beating on NYC’s rough and dirty streets.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i have the air bacara flat – i like it and find it much more supportive and comfortable, foot-bed-wise, than, say, tory burch. the one thing i dislike is that the elasticized design means that the back digs into my heels after a few hours of wear, but that’s not a cole haan issue – just an elasticized-back issue. while i’ve never seen those espadrilles, i do have several pairs of cole haan heels from the nike air line, and i’m a big fan.

    • I can’t comment on their wedges, but I wear the Cole Haan Air Talia pumps to work every single day. They are soooooooooo comfortable.

    • AnotherLadyLawyer :

      The Air Bacara is my go-to walk to work/lazy day don’t feel like wearing heels shoe. They’re great! Also love the CH wedges.

    • What about the Air Tali Lace Ballet? I recently purchased in gunsmoke/gunmetal combo and find them to be comfortable and versatile. There are other color combos as well.

  8. WANT.

    • Me too.

      Can almost justify…

    • This is my most-worn shoe ever, the air Lainey. I have had no problems with the wrapped heel as mentioned above and I thi k I wear them at least 3 times a week in the warmer months.

  9. for PharmaGirl :

    Hi, this is Comeuppance. You had asked what prompted the discussion with my supervisor. I wasn’t flat-out told that I was under-performing but I knew I was. I was dealing with health and family issues and never really got back into my groove at work. I guess I was being told subtly, with tons of follow-up emails, more frequent status meetings and constant questions about my workload. I felt over-managed and very frustrated, which caused my work to suffer more.

    Eventually, I had come to a point where I couldn’t tolerate it anymore and set up a private meeting with my boss in a conference room far away from our working area. I pointed out each and every thing I knew I was messing up and addressed how I would work to improve on it. I gave specific examples on how he could support me when it was appropriate and I made sure to keep it professional, although I did talk about feelings a lot. He really appreciated it and it improved our working relationship.

    • PharmaGirl :

      Aw, thanks for the followup call-out! I can definitely see how an increase in management oversight could ultimately do the opposite of what is intended for. Glad to hear you had a positive conversation with your boss and things are looking up!

  10. I love wedges, they are my go-to work shoes. I’ve been drooling over the Martina wedges from J.Crew, which are at the same price point. I wonder how the two compare? The one pair of Cole Haan peep toes I have did not live up to the hype.

    • I have the martina wedges (in suede, not patent leather) and I really like them. They are quite comfortable and I’ve worn them almost every day since October and they’ve held up pretty well. I’ve seen plenty of “knock-offs” for cheaper, but I am not displeased with the way these fit and the way they’ve held up, so I have to say, the price per wear is getting to be pretty close to worth it. I’ll likely put them away for summer and break them out again next fall.

      • anon prosecutor :

        I tried the Jcrew wedges and found them too narrow at the point where my toes attach to my foot, if that makes sense. They hit right at the joint, and were excruciatingly painful even in the store. Sad, they are super cute. Also, I think it probably really depends on the shape of your foot. I bought a pair of calvin klein wedges (“saxon” I think) and have had good luck with those. They come in lots of colors, including cute metallics, and range from $60-100, depending on size/color.

  11. I love the way those wedges look, but I generally dislike that color on my darker skin.

    Does anyone have any good pointers for finding nude-for-me work pumps for ladies of African descent? (Or for anyone with medium-brown skin?)

    • I was at DSW this weekend and saw some nice options in medium brown colors. Sorry, I don’t remember the brands. But if you have a DSW nearby, it might be worth taking a look.

    • Jcrew patent wedges. The color is a “warm” beige that I think, while it wouldn’t match dark skin exactly, would complement it very nicely.

  12. Diana Barry :

    Hey ladies – I posted on the other thread but I think it was too late.

    Where would everyone recommend getting a zip leather portfolio? This is for my husband. He has one but it is getting grubby. He likes the zip around, black leather, fits 8.5×11 notepad in one side, and then you can slide in your ipad, business cards, etc., on the other side.

    I looked at Coach but their regular-looking zip portfolio is $200 – yikes!!! Anything cheaper that would still be nice quality?

    Read more:

    • Always a NYer :

      I love anything from Levenger. Their quality is great and their packaging is really good. Everything comes in green boxes wrapped in cloth. I have countless wallets and a leather binder from them. When I finish my grad thesis, I’m gifting myself with their Ambi Folio in red =)

      Will post link to avoid moderation

    • If you like the Coach portfolio, check the outlet if you can. I got a lovely brown portfolio at the outlet for less than half of the retail cost and I can’t see any difference in quality.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I actually found one at Barnes and Noble a couple of years ago. Plain black leather, zip around. It was perfect. I’m not sure they had it online, so you may want to check in their stores. It was in the gift/journal section of the store.

  13. Thoughts on wearing wedges for formal work events, such as appearing in federal court?

    • Midwest Attorney :

      I would probably not wear them for federal court appearances. I have no reason to explain why I wouldn’t. But I would certainly wear them for client meetings and would probably wear them for local court appearances as well.

      • Why not? How are they not professional? They are comfortable and professional. They give height and lift my legs so they don’t look stubby in a skirt and they aren’t pumps, so my feet don’t get tired when standing. This is silly.

    • I find wedges cute, but unprofessional. I have heard the same from clerks of female federal judges (who I think are more apt to notice than male judges). Even though I like them, I cannot justify buying wedges for work when I spend so much time in suits — it is like a mullet in outfit form.

  14. random question, and a tall order: anyone from detroit who can recommend a dog walker or dog day care? a friend is moving there for a clerkship around the royal oaks area. i told him i’d ask corporette to see if anybody had a rec. :) thanks!

    • If he doesn’t get any recommendations, I would suggest going to a dog park near his house and asking the other dog owners.

  15. As a follow-up to an earlier discussion –

    If you get professional help with your taxes, at what life stage/income level do you do that?

    I’m just wondering when, if ever, it’s time to take the jump…and whether I know just enough to be dangerous, being an attorney who sets up small businesses and has done my own taxes since the beginning of time. My husband is self-employed, also, and has significant dividend/investment income, so there’s definitely more to it than just our W2’s and deductions. I’ve been doing our taxes the past few years because I feel like it gives me a good handle on where we are, but sometimes the sheer amount of time it takes has put me on the edge towards hiring this service out.

    • I outsourced for the first time this year, because I have never done a married filing jointly tax return and I just flat didn’t want to deal with it because of all the deductions we have, the side business my husband owns… it was just too much of a headache and I was afraid I would screw something up. It was definitely worth the two hundred some-odd bucks not to have to deal with it.

    • Diana Barry :

      For me it was when the time involved got to be too much. I do T+E and see trust income tax returns and estate tax returns all the time, but my H has several business entities now (self-employed, plus he was ALSO an employee for a while, so quite complicated) and trades our equities frequently enough to make it a PITA to do our own taxes. Plus we have a nanny, so that’s another added schedule.

      We now outsource and get a CPA to do them – costs about $800/year and is TOTALLY WORTH IT. :) He figures out all our estimated taxes, SEP contributions, etc. etc. It is such a relief not to have to spend 50 hours on our tax prep (if not more) every year.

    • A friend of mine offered a solution for me that I’ll throw out FWIW. He does his taxes on Turbo Tax or Quicken or whatever and then delivers it to a CPA, who reviews it and usually saves him enough to justify using the CPA. The CPA gets into the nitty-gritty details. I like this and will copy it next year, as I too feel like I know just enough to be dangerous.

      • I’ve done this too. It allows you to fill in the easy (for you) details that might take a CPA time just to understand, but they can find the mistakes or changes in law that would take you too long to try to understand yourself. Highly recommend.

      • Make sure your CPA doesn’t mind this. When I was in public practice, if our clients had done their taxes first on Quicken (or whatever) we wouldn’t even look at what they’d prepared – we’d just do their taxes. It takes longer to review something like this than it does to prepare it from scratch simply because tax preparers have their own system and routine, and checking over someone else’s varies from that routine and takes more time. If someone asked us to review the return they prepared we’d flat out tell them no.

        Unless, of course, you just prepare it with one of those programs for your own information and don’t give it to your CPA and then compare the results.

    • I first used a CPA when I was going to have to file with the IRS plus two state governments. The idea of doing three sets of taxes was two too many. Now I live in Texas and only file federal (and don’t even get any deductions) and still have the CPA do my taxes because I always have to file and extension or amend due to K-1’s that come in after April 15.

    • We did our taxes last night, so I’m still in the very frustrated mode. We only had about 10k in income all told last year, so it didn’t make sense to pay someone to do our taxes, but… I worked 4 jobs, one of which gave me a 1099, my husband worked for a small business and part of his unstated compensation included our rent and utilities for two months, and we moved to another state in the middle of the year. We finished it and turned it in, but I have absolutely no confidence that it’s right, and I’m terrified of being audited (they don’t audit people with that small of income, right?). I’m really fed up with a system that is so obscenely complicated you have to be a professional to understand it, but that everyone has to deal with on their own, and if you get it wrong you can go to jail. I have no problem with paying my fair share in taxes. I just wish I could figure out what it is.

      • If it makes you feel better, you have to get it REALLY wrong in order to go jail. That’s not the first line response. And they only have 3 years from the date of filing in which to audit you.

      • There might be a TaxAid in your area. Non-profit that gives free advice on how to fill out tax returns.

    • Rose in Bloom :

      I volunteer with the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and so know how to do our taxes, but I still outsource it because I’d rather have everything be right (or at least be able to meet the reasonable basis standards) and husband has a few things that would require a lot of work for me to do each year.

    • I’ve done my own taxes forever, including DH’s and mine since we’ve been married. This year (for tax year 2011) I paid someone else to prepare them for the first time, because it was the first year we didn’t have very straightforward income and deductions. I was an employee for a small part of the year, and then self-employed the rest of the year, so needed help with self-employment taxes as well as income taxes. DH had a stock option exercise. Paying a professional preparer was completely and totally worth the money (~$350 all in). I think back to my prep of our prior year’s taxes — which were far less complicated — and it just took up *SO* much time!

      Several of my colleagues took the leap when they made partner and had to deal with K-1’s, etc. I think that makes complete sense too.

    • layered bob :

      I did my taxes for three years in high school and got help. I always, always vote for getting professional help whenever it’s available. Most ‘rettes probably *could* do their own taxes, but I just don’t think it’s worth our time and stress when there are people who do it for a living.

      • I use turbotax for ours but it isn’t too complex- usual own home, some deductions. if our investments got complicated i’d try someone else. but i don’t want to give up the ease of efficiency of how tt reloads so much automatically- it would take me more work to transfer that info to another person/program frankly than to just do it at this point!

    • Kontraktor :

      We decided to have somebody else do the taxes this year, despite being fairly young. We had income from 3 separate states, including one which required some weird aspects to file if you are resident of that state but your spouse is not (our case). Plus, we had a good portion of our income end up tax free due to military deployments, along with some school/loan money to consider. Just too many random little things to deal with in trying to do it ourselves.

      Our accountant is a business associate of my dad’s, so he basically did the taxes for free, but it would have been worth it to pay somebody to do it anyway since the taxes were so complicated and (due mostly to the military deployment) our return was extremely high.

  16. Jane Fairfax :

    I really like these! Although, half of the reason that I am attracted to them is the orange lining that will never be seen when the shoe is in use.
    I have become a huge fan of wedges. I try to wear wedges any time I have to navigate the city. (Most days are parking garage to desk and back.) I have ruined too many pairs of heels by getting the heel trapped in the joint between side walk segments. Grates I can pretty much avoid, but the sidewalk joints get me every time. I haven’t face planted yet, but I am sure it is only a matter of time. Am I the only one with this problem?

  17. soon to be hitched :

    I have these and wear them all the time. Bought them full price, too!

    Another fabulous Nordstrom customer service anecdote. I ordered a corset to wear underneath my wedding dress, and it never arrived. I checked the delivery status, and discovered it had been delivered to my old address in another city. I guess that, even though I updated my billing address, I didn’t update shipping. Anyway, I called and they offered to send me the same merchandise, free of charge, to my current address (even though they apparently have no way of getting the other stuff back). I told them I needed it for this weekend, in ANOTHER city where my wedding is. So they are shipping the corset overnight to the wedding destination, free of charge! Incredible.

    • That is quite the customer service. Congrats on your wedding, and enjoy!

    • Congrats! How is the fit on these?

      • soon to be hitched :

        I think I did a half size up per the normal recommendation for Cole Haan Air. Not positive, though, because they’re not with me at the moment!

  18. Anon for This :

    Please pardon the repost, but I think I am too far down in an older thread to get any responses so here goes:

    I would appreciate any insights you all may have concerning what is an increasingly frustrating situation with my associate. I am a litigation partner (35 years out — yes I am older than the hills) at a mid-size firm’s smaller office. There are only two litigation partners here with one class of 2005 associate, who was hired laterally not quite a year ago. He is a very nice guy, eager and seems serious about succeeding. But he continually makes incredibly basic mistakes in the work he gives me. This is not an occasional event. It has happened continuously since he joined us. I give him feedback on everything he does. I revise his work with redlines and then sit down and go over what I changed and why. But the simple and fundamental mistakes keep occurring. I don’t think it’s because he is not bright enough because I have seen some good work from him. But he makes sloppy mistakes over and over.

    For example, yesterday, on a federal case where we are just local counsel since it is about to settle, he was asked to prepare a simple Stipulation to extend the time to file an answer. He told me that the local rules allowed a stipulation to be filed without the need for any motion or ex parte if the continuance was less than 30 days. When he sent me the draft Stipulation, it did not reference the local rules, so I looked it up and that rule dictates a particular format on the title page with specified information — none of which was on his draft. When I showed him the rule, he said he had seen that but “forgot” to add it. Today, after he e-filed it, I asked him if a hard copy had to be sent to the chambers. He said no. I doublechecked the rules and the answer is yes. Then I realized he had the case number wrong because it did not include the judge’s initials, as is required in every federal court case. So now we have to file a notice of errata and I look like an idiot. And I have spent half my day on things that I cannot bill to a client and which I would expect a seventh year associate to get right.

    Other examples include the fact that despite repeated requests, including written ones, he sends and receives emails on my cases but forgets to copy me on them. So the client calls up and asks me a question about an email I have never seen.

    My question is this – what can be causing this? He is an intelligent guy. But over and over again I have to flyspeck his work for things so fundamental that a new associate should not get them wrong. I have told him to slow down. Urged him to add another layer of review to his work. Told him why it is so important to get things right every time. He earnestly apologizes every time, promises it will never happen again and then makes another mistake a few days later. Is this completely hopeless or is there something I can do to get that switch in his brain to turn on so he pays attention 100% of the time?

    I know I sound extremely frustrated but that’s because I am and I don’t want to be. I really want to make this work. Any ideas?

    • It sounds like he is lazy or just a bad worker. I would make sure you are not spending half your day doing the unbillables, but have him redo every mistake. When you ask question like do we need to send a hard copy and he says no, say great just send me the rule to confirm that. Make him double check all his stuff. Make sure your not fixing his mistakes in the drafts.

      • Former MidLevel :

        Seconded. It sounds like you have been *beyond* generous in providing feedback, but he just doesn’t get the basic attention to detail that is required for sound legal practice. I mean, reading and obeying Local Rules is really basic stuff. Sorry you’re going through this.

        • On top of all that, sounds to me like he is not interested in what he is doing. If he were really interested in being a good litigator, he would get this basic stuff right. This is beyond sloppiness – at his level, it is sheer disinterest. Are you sure he isn’t marking time while looking in-house somewhere?

    • If you’ve talked to him several times and nothing’s changing, it sounds like he’s not registering that you mean business. Maybe it’s time for a written performance plan with regular check-ins.

      Yes, there could be something wrong that he’s not paying attention. ADHD? Personal problems? But after this many times, he sure as heck should be taking things more seriously. Or if there is a serious issue, then he should have discussed it with you by now. Frankly, his mistakes could well end in malpractice, so he needs to get that this is serious.

    • Can't Wait to Quit :

      Can you embarrass him into paying attention by getting him an ace secretary or paralegal helper who will point out his mistakes to him? Perhaps being corrected by someone “junior” to him will bring his concentration around to the right place. Or, at the very least, you won’t be the one to have to check for fundamental things like correct case numbers. Total up your wasted hours vs. the cost of a helper and it might work out to be quite economical.

    • Based on what you’ve said, it doesn’t sound intentional. So he’s either just careless/lazy/expects someone else to do the work or there is a medical issue. I don’t know what the medical issue would be, but it sounds like some coaching, a dr appointment, and constant use of a pad of paper/reminder list would help him.

    • D. Ct. Clerk :

      On the judge’s name issue: I don’t know about your local court or practice customs, but adding the judge’s name/initials is not a general federal court requirement. (I am a huge rules nerd, for what it’s worth.) When judges look up cases in CM-ECF, for example, they use just the number. So that one is more of a venial sin – if a sin at all.

    • I posted this on the original thread, but I’d have a come to Jesus talk with him, tell him he’s on probation, and if he hasn’t improved exponentially in 6 months I’d fire him. It sounds like he’s bored/depressed/lazy/whatever, but you can’t keep someone like this around forever. Give him an opportunity to improve, and if he doesn’t take it, you’ve got to protect your firm’s reputation and more importantly your clients.

      • Former MidLevel :

        Yes, this.

      • Agree, but give him 60-90 days — not 6 months. I’ve been in similar situations and they were irreparable every time.

        • I just suggested a longer timeframe because there may be some deeper cause of his issues that can’t be addressed that quickly, such as clinical depression, distraction due to a family crisis, etc.

    • Anon for this :

      Does he submit this level of sloppy work to other partners in your office or just you? If it’s just to you, then my answer would differ.

      Assuming he is across the board sloppy, I had a similar experience a few years ago. I sat the associate down and told him straight out that his work was not living up to expectations and asked him if he wanted to continue working on my cases. He then opened up and told me he was miserable at my firm and biding time until a clerkship came through. Can’t say his explanation did anything to save his reputation in my eyes, but at least it put me on notice to stop giving him work and subjecting myself to torture.

    • Anon for This :

      Thanks all for the feedback. He works principally for me but when he did some work for a partner in another office, they were not happy. We do have an ace secretary that we share and she usually catches these type of things but she is out on disability right now and we have a temp. I do give things back to him to correct but he sometimes botches those too.

      Including the judge’s initials at the end of the case number is actually really important in my district. I was in our district court a number of years ago and heard a federal judge ream a senior litigator from another big firm because he omitted the judge’s initials on the case number on the opposition to an MSJ that had been filed. The judge was really offended and claimed he never read the opposition that was filed becuase it did not have his initials on it (doubtful, but he was very mad). I have never forgotten that.

      I think it’s time for a formal interim performance review and “Come to Jesus” talk. If he does not correct it after that, he will have to go. Sigh.

    • Sooo anon :

      In my (somewhat limited) experience, a lot of youngish male associates behave this way. He is probably used to having a really good paralegal or was able to charm some junior associate into doing the attention-to-detail aspects of his job. If your firm doesn’t have this kind of support for him, he is probably just not going to be able to cut it there. (Also, I disagree that getting a paralegal or someone junior will “shame” him.)

    • Also Old as the Hills :

      Former BigLaw litigation partner here. When associates of his vintage did this at my former firm, we didn’t care why. We showed them how to do it properly and told them that was what we expected. When they failed to comply, they failed to continue to work for us.

      You have spent too much time covering for this guy. He is taking advantage of you.

      • I’m at a new firm, and I am trying my eyeballs out (is that a phrase? I just made it up then!) to do good work for the two partners I work for. I check rules. I cite cases and codes and whatever I can get my hands on to make sure I am doing things right, but sometimes a mistake slips by – for instance in a case I had just started working on, I was asked to write a motion and the case caption in the server hadn’t been updated to reflect that there was a cross-complaint, and the partner caught it. I now have a post-it that says – check all captions, case numbers, and service addresses (a secretary caused the address mistake, not me thank god). I keep a notebook with corrections that have been made, and try and look that over.

        I know it really helps me when they actually red-line the thing and let me change it, instead of just doing it. But it sounds like you are doing that! I’ll take detailed mentoring from an experienced litigator anytime….

    • A couple of years ago, I had a very similar problem to what the OP is describing. One of team members was submitting drafts for my review which were not clearly draft quality because she knew I would double check her work (redlining and catching very basic mistakes).

      Now my approach is to review their first couple of items in detail, and have a conversation about how the expectation when they submit their work to me is that it is a finished product on their end (of course we can discuss substance issues, but there shouldn’t be obvious factual errors). If I start reviewing and it is evident there are sloppy mistakes, I stop and send it back, saying – please send this to me when it is ready for my review. Does it annoy people the first 1-2 times? Yes, but I am respectful about it, and it has worked out rather well.

      • Super suggestion. I have to go through reports written by juniors quite often and was beginning to realise they are submitting below the par work to me, because they know I will catch every little detail. Annoys me no end. Thanks for the tip!

  19. Anonymous :

    It’s that time of year again when I look down at my veiny, chicken-flesh legs, sigh and wonder if there’s any self-tanner out there that doesn’t have that awful self-tanner smell. Any recommendations? I’ve tried the Jergens Natural Glow and L’Oreal products, among others, and couldn’t stand the scent.

    • My favorite was a Sally Hansen brand spray self-tanner, but they have discontinued it, so I’m looking for something new. I’ll be interested to see the responses. Also, the ingredient that actually darkens your skin is what smells so awful, so any self-tanner is going to have some smell. Although the Jergens Natural Glow is especially heinous, imo.

    • If you find something, please post about it!

      The smell of these products was mentioned in a recent thread. Someone reported that they re-formulated them and they smell better now, so I ran out and bought a tube of Jergens. I sniffed it in the store and found that the revitalizing version was stinky but the firming version seemed okay. Of course once I got home and tried it, I discovered that the smell is just like I remember – horrible and lingering. I’m currently debating whether the stench is worth it, considering the ghostly pallor of my legs.

      • Oops, that was me. Sorry. I had heard from others that they did change it.

      • I get a really nice color from the Jergens, but can’t abide the smell. Plus it rubs off on my towels and sheets, even after I have showered. Irritating.

    • Maybe this isn’t exactly what you are looking for, but it sounds like you might get your desired result by using Air Stocking spray-on pantyhose. I use it for when it is too hot to wear tights and I want to camouflage my pale legs. I use the terra cotta color. I like it because (1) it does not have an odor (that I’ve detected, at least), (2) has never run onto my clothes, and (3) has real staying power. I hope it works for you, too!

    • BigLaw Optimist :

      A friend recommended San Tropez, which worked well for me but you MUST follow the instructions and put lotion on your hands because it will turn your palms brown. This stuff is no joke. It worked really really well (instant results!) and the smell was truly minimal.

      Funny side anecdote — my little sister was visiting and grabbed what she thought was mousse and sprayed a ton in her hair while getting ready to go out (she scrunches her hair every day . . . trust me, I’m working on it and have already directed her to this here ladyblog). Definitely not mousse, definitely self-tanner. I thought I was going to break a rib, I was laughing so hard when I found out — I went into the bathroom after her and found the bottle of tanner in the sink. Thankfully, her hair is brown, so there was no damage done, but it may have been the funniest thing she’s ever done.

      • BigLaw Optimist :

        I forgot to add that she definitely had brown palms all night at a very nice restaurant in DC, adding to the hysteria.

      • What’s wrong with scrunching your hair?

        I have naturally wavy hair, and I scrunch mine every day. It doesn’t look like I live in the ’80s – for some of us, it’s the only way to get our hair to behave.