Coffee Break – Wrap Around Gemstone Ring

Kara Ross Hello: great statement ring for the office. I think statement rings can be totally appropriate for the office — but the trick is to wear ones without too much bling. This sterling silver ring with black mother of pearl and sapphires is perfect — interesting and bold without being in your face. It’s $670 at Endless. Kara Ross “Nugget” Black Mother of Pearl & Sapphires Wrap Around Gemstone Ring

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Comments

  1. Anonymous :

    Love love love this ring!

    Treadjack: Does anyone have any insight into staff attorney jobs in BigLaw? Salary, work expectations, etc? TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      OP – meant to write “threadjack” -oops.

    • I don’t, but I feel like this has been discussed fairly recently. You might try a Google search (site:c o r p o r e t t e [dot] com “staff attorney”).

      • Anonymous :

        OP – I looked through, and didn’t see what I wanted. I’m truly curious about salary. I’m 4 years out. 100k would be a bit of a pay cut (not much, but definitely a cut). I’m hoping that’s the baseline for newly minted attorneys?

        • I remember doing a long term contract position at big law Boston firm after law school when the economy was (like now) in the toilet and there were no jobs- we were treated like we were dumb – the actual lawyers of that firm would say to me “but you went to a real law school, why are you doing this?” like it was so beneath me and contemptible. Also the woman running the project had been working for the firm as a staff attorney for many years (maybe 20) and the associates weren’t particularly respectful – I am not sure of her salary. However, at the end of this project they hired one of the lawyers as a full time staff attorney and paid her $60,000. SIXTY!!!! The upside – it was 9-5, downside – no real potential for salary increase. This was doc review, not ‘real lawyering’ (now I sound like them – and maybe that pays more) but even in 2002 the first year associates were making close to 100k more. I myself got a job at the Attorney General and made the same as her, ha.

    • It varies radically from firm to firm. At some firms, staff attorneys are essentially career associates working in specialized areas of the law, but valued for their expertise. At others, they are considered basically permanent contract workers and aren’t treated particularly well at all. So I think it really depends on the where and the whats of the position.

    • Don’t know too much but from what I recall based on a friend fwding a want ad – staff attny salary in at least one NYC Big Law office was $100K to start. Not sure how benefits/promotions factor in. From the same friend, an associate at said Big Law office I also recall a someone dismissive attitude towards the staff attorneys. Kinda like, “well of course they would screw it up….” Not sure that’s the same everywhere but just offering what li’l I know.

    • Take it if you need to money, but beware that you will be treated like garbage, particularly in biglaw.

      • I’m curious, how, exactly, can they treat staff attorneys worse than they treat associates? Other than paying them less?

        • At many firms there is an attitude that staff attorneys are second-class citizens and not “real” attorneys like associates.

        • Staff attorneys here have no professional development budget, except for state required CLEs (and they are pushed to do them in house). They aren’t treated like attorneys. They pretty much have to show up set hours. Their work is overseen by associates. They have no mentorship. They aren’t really invited to meetings or other events. There is no upwards trajectory – they are assigned to certain projects and teams, and if those contracts go, they’re likely to go with it. Minimal benefits.

  2. This ring definitely makes me wish I did not have short, fat fingers. I can’t pull off anything but dainty rings. Which aren’t really my style…

  3. I can’t figure out exactly what I don’t like about this ring, but I definitely don’t like it. Which is weird, because I usually love statement rings.

    • Merabella :

      It kind of resembles a piece of the crag from Global Guts… Which oddly makes me like it more.

      • Hahahahaha. Ohhhh Global Guts. Thanks for the blast from the past ;)

      • Love this. I always wanted to be on Guts and/or Global Guts. Or that hidden temple of Olmec show! Ahh. I will be youtubing these when I get home

        • Tired Squared :

          YES Legends of the Hidden Temple! I always wanted to be a Blue Barracuda.

        • Legends of the Hidden Temple was my jam. I was all about the Red Jaguars. I would set up fake courses for myself in my house. I was a cool kid.

          • Merabella :

            Um, why weren’t we friends as children? That sounds AMAZING! I was also a fan of the Red Jaguars – we could have been teammates on that crazy see-saw thing…

          • also loved red jaguars. Used to daydream about playing with my 5th grade crush. I would save him from the temple guards.

        • It was a my *dream* to be on that show- the winners got to go to *space* camp!
          Purple Parrots all the way!

        • I watched a filming of Global Guts one time. I know, that makes me special.

        • phillygirlruns :

          ah yes. husband and i were the orange iguanas for halloween this year.

          • Anonymous :

            In college I was a blue barracuda for Halloween… A lovely young man proceeded to tell me he had a silver snake in his room… He really did mean just the tshirt but that went down in infamy

      • Agreed! That makes me like it more as well.

    • it looks like a deflated soccer ball

      • I recently told a slightly older friend (35) that a building reminded me of Legends of the Hidden Temple and he just looked at me like I was crazy and said, “What’s that?” How can you not know that??

        • I’m almost 33 and the only reason I know about that show is because my younger sibs would watch it (I harken from the Double Dare era – how much did I want to compete in that obstacle course???). My sibs and I often encounter cultural references points that make it seem like we are generations apart, even though that’s not really the case.

          • Merabella :

            I also loved that show. I’m realizing from this post that I watched WAY too much TV as a child.

          • I, too, so wanted to be on Double Dare! I loved that show!

          • My sibs and I have this issue too. Me and middle child are VERY close in age and LOVED Double Dare, You Can’t Do That on Television, etc. The baby is only a few years younger than we are and it seems to create a big cultural reference gap somehow. I think the funniest was when she was like “I mean, what did Michael Jackson even sing?” when he died and the middle child and I were like “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY????”

          • Sometimes I still wish I had an option to take the Physical Challenge.

          • Dude!! Double Dare! Ack, I had COMPLETELY forgotten… thank you all for the flashbacks ;o)

          • ohmigod, and I just remembered: please don’t tell me I am the only person who lurved Hey, Dude! and had the hyooogest crush on Ted and watched it religiously every week…. unless I am the only person, in which case: I win the dorkatude contest ;o)

          • Zora, I loved Hey Dude! And Salute Your Shorts :-) I’m pretty sure that at one point one came on right after the other.

          • Hee! Thanks, SC, Nerds Unite!!

          • Oh man I LOVED Double Dare. I wanted to win a pair of BK Knights and a set of electric drums so hard. Also, I thought the idea of sliding through a nose into goop for a flag was excellent.

            True strory: I once convinced myself that I could construct a pie coaster in my parents’ basement after one too many episodes of What Would You Do.

          • Finally, someone else who loved ‘Hey, Dude’! I actually have never found anyone else who even remembered thst show!!

        • Merabella :

          I had a similar moment to this when I talked to my husband about Boy Meets World. He had no idea who FEENY was! I was baffled.

  4. I am ambivalent about this ring. I simultaneously love and hate it, and can’t explain why about either of those feelings.

    • PharmaGirl :

      Same here. I don’t know what it is. For some reason I want to love it but simultaneously think it’s hideous. The silver almost looks like clear plastic to my eye.

    • Jane Fairfax :

      Could it be because it is reminiscent of the gold nugget rings that were popular with men in the late 80’s/early 90’s? The rings that I am thinking of were yellow gold without any stones and I remember thinking at the time that they were ugly, but the dad of every family I baby sat for seemed to have one. Given that association, I’m really surprised that I actually like this ring. I don’t $670 like it because I’m not in the financial position to drop that kind of money on a fashion ring, but this ring makes me wish I was.

    • I think the extreme close-up makes the ring look a little odd. I like the way it looks on the fake model hand. I need to wear my statement rings more. I wear my wedding rings on the left hand and the same ring on my silver hand all the time.

      • I’m not married (anymore) so I wear an antique diamond on my left hand middle finger and a pink pearl ring from my SO on my right ring finger. If I’m doing to substitute a statement ring, I either wear it on my right middle finger or substitute it for the diamond. I have long fingers so I love the way a big ring looks!

  5. Holy crap, I love that ring! Anyone know where I can find it’s (cheaper) twin sister? For, let’s say, a tenth of the price?

  6. My organization has just started some major layoffs and reorgs. I seem to be safe, my projects are doing very well even, but a lot of people around me are not. Tips on being an understanding co-worker?

    • Can't Wait to Quit :

      Don’t act like you are in a panic to extract as much work from them as possible before they leave. Sensing they are on the chopping block may rob them of their motivation to go the extra mile, and that’s OK.

    • I’d also say this in the nicest way (having just dealt with it) — don’t assume that you are safe. These decisions are often made on factors other than merit, as my DH found out the hard way a couple months ago.

  7. SoCal Gator :

    I don’t do rings other than my wedding rings so this is not on my radar screen.

    What I am looking for is a recommendation for a good basic everyday cottony/stretch camisole to wear under tops. I have gotten used to wearing them and now want to buy a bunch in white mostly and don’t want to pay a fortune since I want to get a few. No shelf bra — just a basic camisole with adjustable thin straps. What do you ladies like?

    • Haven’t bought any recently, but I have quite a few from Ann Taylor (not Loft) that fit your description perfectly. They have (or at least had) thin, adjustable straps, a long enought body to stay tucked in, and a good variety of colors.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Yep, I wear one almost every day.

      • I used to love the ones from AT but now they’ve added a sheer trim at the top. Why can’t designers leave basics basic?

      • Ann Taylor seconded. About the only thing I’ve purchased from Ann Taylor in the past couple of years that (a) fits properly, and (b) has stood up decently to frequent washing and drying.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Ann Taylor, Limited, BP at Nordie’s, and I’ve heard good things about the durability of WHBM camis but they’re a little hot for my preference.

    • For layering under v-necks, I like Ann Taylor’s the best. Wide-set straps and nice neckline. Yes, they are expensive (and always sold out in my size) but they are the best and often on sale.

      For layering under sheer things when I don’t care as much how the top lies I just bought a bunch of Old Navy “seamless stretch” tanks. (not to be confused with the lounge tanks, which have a shelf bra.) The ON are tighter than the AT ones, and have a bit of a v-neckline so aren’t as good for cleavage cover but are a great base layer under anything else. And currently 9 bucks.

    • I just saw a bunch of these at Old Navy with and without a shelf bra.

    • I wear the old navy with the shelf bra, with another bra, but it helps keep the girls in place. Haven’t tried the non-shelf bra. I have had good luck at the Cdn equivalent to TJMaxx – winners.

    • Kirkland brand at Costco. They come in two-packs. Durable, comfortable, and long enough to stay tucked in or be a layer.

    • Merabella :

      I think these are the ones they are talking about from Old Navy. They also have ones with wider straps that look comfy. And as always, wait for a sale, they happen every 2 days it seems.

      http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=72244&vid=1&pid=810162&scid=810162212

    • Maddie Ross :

      I have a bunch from Target — with and without the shelf bra (I personally prefer the bra). They are about $6.99 each I think. Maybe not the greatest quality, but I just wear ’til they’re dead and throw them away.

      • just Karen :

        I second the recommendation for the Target cami’s, but I prefer the ones without the shelf bra. I think they’re Merona brand? Cheap enough for me to not feel bad tossing them when they inevitably get yellow under the arms and dingy allover (I apparently suck at laundry. or am just gross in general. equally possible.)

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      If you want really cheap and reasonably long (no shelf bra), Wet Seal has them. The quality isn’t great, but they cost about $5 each, the straps are adjustable and they do a surprisingly good job of covering my cleavage while not coming up TOO high.

    • I have a bunch from American Eagle.
      Juniors sizing may or may not be your thing, but sometimes women forget that’s an option for most bodytypes.
      I like that they come in both Straight and V-neck styles (and no shelf bras!). They always have 2/$15 type of deals and I snap up 4 or 5.

    • SoCal Gator :

      Thanks for all the great suggestions! Lots of options that I will check out.

    • I just bought 3 at Nordstrom Rack made by Caslon — love them and they’re $9.00 each.

    • I love the tank tops like this from Zara if you live near one.

  8. he Melitta :

    Looove it

  9. Let me preface this with I LOVE MY NEW JOB.

    But my god I am not liking getting adjusted to a new workplace! At my last firm I did all my own work, no supervisor ever reviewed anything I drafted unless it was the first time or it was going to the Appellate court. Since I’m new I expected that kind of scrutiny but it definitely gets old especially when the boss makes all these changes and then I feel like an idiot! Even when it’s just style things!! When they’re legitimate oopsies it’s even worse! But I already feel like I take too long on projects, I can’t review and revise yet again.

    Today, I drafted a simple motion, another attorney reviewed it, I made changes, the boss reviewed it and just as I hand it to her I realize I missed something really basic. But demmit so did the other attorney! I fixed it and then boss handed it back with a million corrections. It’s so frustrating and depressing!

    I just don’t feel trusted, and having some of my old clients contact me and complain about the service they’re getting at my old firm since I’ve left (I can’t take them with me, completely different types of law) and express how much they value me just makes me feel worse. My old firm was a hellhole, my new job is 1,000x better in every way including the fact that it’s two hours away from city-my-old-job was in and IS in city-I-want-to-live-in.

    Grr, argh.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Can you recommend another firm to your old clients who does do that work? If they aren’t happy with the service they are receiving now, perhaps there’s a good former co-counsel that you can recommend?

      • It’s a pretty small world, my former clients know about their options and may exercise them. I know it’s really just me taking on their burdens, but I feel guilty about being the “cause” of their unhappiness. I know I’m not really the cause, but that hasn’t seemed to effect my feelings.

        • Damn, wish we could edit our comments, “affect my feelings!”

          • I constantly struggle with effect/affect and don’t think I will ever get it right.

          • It’s one of those annoying ones like principal/principle when you’re talking about your loan principal. I had that one wrong on so many of my loan “principal only” payments I’m sure my loan services thinks I’m a moron.

            I usually need to see it or stop and think about it for a second and I clearly didn’t do that! :-)

          • Anonymous NYer :

            I often have to say it out loud in the sentence and then figure out what part of speech it is to get it right. I still don’t get who/whom right. ohhhhh well. One of those things I can’t let bother me.

            your/you’re on the other hand – drives me bananas when people get it wrong #firstworldproblems

          • my cross to bear is capital/capitol. Just cannot ever remember which is which. And they’re words I don’t have to type very frequently, like affect and effect or principle and principal, so they never seemed to penetrate my thick skull.

            also, Kat, I think it would be really fantastic if we could get accounts so we could edit comments. just sayin’.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m wondering if you work at my firm! Are you doing commercial litigation? :)

    • Maybe they’re just feeling you out and will back off once they trust you more.

      • That’s my feeling/hope. Also, I know my old firm was abnormal in the low amount of supervision they gave new attorneys. I was a wee baby attorney when I started with them (actually, not yet an attorney!) and they basically said “oh, you’re good to take client meetings/handle cases/draft pleadings with little to no review or assistance.”

        I’ve only been here 3 months and at first it was really slow because my boss is just SO busy. But I also feel like she hired me to make her less busy (i.e. before I ever started I spoke to her once via telephone and she said she was going to a meeting that I should really be covering) so why doesn’t she turn me loose a bit more to handle these things!?!?

        A lot of this is also because a specific former client that I’m very fond of called today and was very sweet about how great I was when I worked there and how unhappy he is with the firm now that I’ve left. Also, someone who is in one of the unions I used to represent died today. It’s a small union, I was very fond of them as well, and I can only think of about 20 people it could be and I know at least 15 of them! I’m watching the news waiting to hear who it was, but can’t help but think that if I were still at that firm I would already know AND I would be involved in helping make it better.

        Finally, the motion thing today. AND my secretary/assistant who I absolutely adore is out sick so I’m trying to get assistance on the motion from one of the other two and they’re both busy and kind of looking at me like I have 3 heads when I ask them to do something. Yet my boss has a huge pet peeve about “attorneys doing secretary work.” So it’s kind of a perfect storm.

        • I’m sorry. That would make me extremely frustrated too. I went through a similar issue when I started my job. My boss would spot all kinds of corrections and go through them with me, and it would make me feel embarrassed and defensive at the same time. Looking back though, I wish I had taken it less personally and had a better attitude about it. There were things I needed to learn, and I let my emotions get in the way of that process. Style matters – consistency matters. Mostly though, you want your superiors to know they can come to you with corrections. Otherwise, future projects may be given to someone else. I know it’s hard though. I hope it gets better soon.

    • I have worked at 4 different firms, and I definitely have noticed that some firms have more of a mark-it-up regardless of how good it is vibe…. So, it could just be the firm. Other firms, they carefully check or mark-up your work for a year or so, and then they let you alone. Regardless, it can be demoralizing to have red all over a page that you have spent a lot of time drafting.

    • I work in government, and that sounds like a blissfully low level of supervision to me! I often have to get edits from 5 or 6 different levels of bosses. It’s especially infuriating when one boss makes all sorts of style changes, and then the next boss changes them back. I’ve had to learn to detach myself from my written work a bit.

      • This. We have a weird editing process at my job, and it hasn’t gotten better the longer I’ve been here, it’s just the process. It is Extremely Not The Way I Would Do Editing, but i’ve learned to detach myself from my work (that’s a great way to put it, DC Jenny), and from the process, and just accept that this is the way it is. And, I’ve learned to enjoy and be more invested in different things.

        • You two have some great points. And also, 5-6 different levels! Ack! You’re right about distancing, I just want it to be right and I want to be great and I feel like every single tiny mistake I make is showing that I’m not great and they probably should have hired someone else/should fire me and hire someone else.

          I need to take a longer view I think. This is training me to do things the way this office does them. Also, it’s just writing. I could have had a good day or a bad day, it’s not my life blood.

          • I’ve worked in both kinds of review atmospheres. you get used to whichever one you are working in- try to not get wrapped up in it as it is a cultural organizational thing that comes with the job.

        • Quick question: Do the attorneys out there think it’s okay to abbreviate codes? i.e. Gov. or Gov’t. Code for Government Code? That’s one of the things I’m getting down. My boss says absolutely not. I was always taught 100% yes.

          Don’t worry, I’m not going to argue with her! I’m just wondering if this is “a thing.”

          • Along the same lines, is there a preference out there for using “section” or “§”?

          • SF Bay Associate :

            You can use abbreviations in the citation, but not in the substantive part of the document. Only full, real words in your document’s body sentences.

            Plaintiff’s brief refers to Government Code section 1725. See [in italics] Cal. Gov.’t Code S [section symbol] 1725.2.

          • Jeez, really? That makes a lot of sense, though I still think it breaks up the flow but I’ve had three attorneys review my work (including the one who taught me to do this, so I guess really only two) and that’s always been the way it’s done!

            Good to know. Thank you very much, I hate feeling dumb but I would rather feel dumb “anonymously” than in front of my boss!

          • Senior Attorney :

            The answer to all these questions and more (at least for California state courts) can be found in the California Style Manual, which is published by West and available at Amazon for $16.95. Most attorneys don’t use it, but that’s what the California Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court use, and if you do any state appellate work at all, it’s a really good idea to get into the habit of following its rules.

          • Senior Attorney: thanks! Purchased! I wonder if it’s because I went to LS in a different (far) state. I genuinely do not recall ever being told this in LS and my LRW professor only practiced before the Supreme Court.

            Of course, it’s also possible that I was taught this in LS but have gotten lazy in the past three years and reverted to my original teachings. I have really only practiced before administrative judges and arbitrators in the past three years with very few lapses into court (and I’m sure if I looked back at those documents I would cringe!).

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yay! Good deed for the day: check! ;)

          • this is also in the bluebook.

      • girl in the stix :

        Same here. I love good editing, as it makes me a better writer. Where I am now, bleah. I think I’ve become a worse writer, and certainly less interesting. It has become writing by committee. What can I say, most of the changes are pedantic, pettifogging and designed to gut any semblance of grace or style. I’ve stopped doing my best, since that’s the stuff that gets hacked to pieces.

  10. Family drama, please offer corporette wise counsel (sorry for the length):

    This past Jan., my cousin (who I’m very close to and grew up with, like a sister) got a last minute approval to work on assignment for 4 months in her company’s office in Asia. She was left with just about 2 weeks to get her stuff here in order before leaving. She has 2 cats who are adorable but insanely difficult to care for imo: they SHED and have dander flakes like maniacs (wear only your crappiest clothes around them), are rambunctious and jump all over the place (constantly knock over glass, so hide the ceramic and glassware!), poop like crazy and generally are a big load to handle (she’s crazy about them and is oblivious to any of this, esp since I have now realized she doesn’t seem to notice the fur/scent issues). I am 2 yrs of law school and started a new job in-house at a financial co. where I work 11 hrs a day, at the same time she was leaving. Since I have debt and live with my family, she painted this rosy pic that I can live in her apt for free with my bf as I please and take care of the cats for the 4 mos she’s gone (actually she wanted me to pay a nominal rent but I refused since she’s getting a free apt there, so she said rent-free). I had many hesitations, and against my mom’s warning that I’d end up the bad guy somehow, I really wanted to help her and her apt is 20 mins from my office so I accepted.

    In the beginning it went well enough bcuz I can come and go as I pleased. It’s a lot of work cleaning after the cats but at first I thought it was worth it, despite bf’s mild allergies. That lasted all of 3 wks., at which point my cousin’s mom announced she’d be using the apt also to lessen her commute and would let me know when she was going the day of. Needless to say, this created an awkward situation for both my schedule (of not knowing until the mornign whether to go to the cats or to my house in another neighborhood thats an hour by train or 25mins by car). Her mom comes 2-3x wk unless she has car probs or doesnt feel like it, and Im left as primary caretaker who must go there to ensure they are fed and given water and litter cleaned. Its been HELL, totally messing up my freedom. I work long hrs, try to workout after, and the last thing I need is to go to her apt to vacuum the insane furhouse they create in order to make it livable, clean the obscene amount of litter they use, and clean the glass shards from glass theyve broken due to a wine I glass left on the counter on occassion (I have no clue how she lives there! you even need to take off stove knobs so they dont paw at it and turn on gas). Plus her apt is cluttered and not cozy. And I hate being alone there and my bf comes to help, but we’ve ended up fighting over it cuz he gets irritated from the fur and becomes grumpy whereas I tried to see the bright side, which I’ve now realized there is none.

    I have done it for 3 months until I emailed her that Im calling it quits. Now she’s complaining to my grama and aunt how I ditched her last minute (umm her mom can take care of them, I laid the load off her for 3 mos!) leaving her scrambling (she was scrambling from day 1 and sold me a lemon that I’d be in some paradise apt of my own, which did not turn out to be the case) and that Im a grownup who lives at home and is complainig about cleaning. I am very close to my family so this kind of drama leaves me really guilty and burdened, even tho I dont think Im wrong to back out of this indentured servitude / me-as-doormat-and-free-help situation. And our friendship is at a crossroads. We are now not speaking (skyping) bcuz of this.

    Any words of understanding or is this all SOOOO ridiculous?

    • It does not sound like the ideal situation but I can see why she would freak out if you just all of a sudden called it quits. Perhaps a better first step would be to email her and tell her that the uncertainty has to stop. The deal was that you would be living there, not her mom. If her mom wants to stay over, she has to let you know a week in advance so you can make arrangements. If her mom stays over, she takes care of the cats because you don’t have time to go there solely for that purpose. If her mom changes her mind about coming over on the fly, mom has to check on the cats.

      • It wasnt sudden, I gave her well over a week to find alternate arrangements (which there is nothing to decide, it’s obvious her mom can do it, but she simply doesnt want to cuz she also doesnt like to clean after them and be in that stinky apt more than is convenient for her). Her mom insisted that the best way for her is to let me know on the fly, at most a few days in advance. I’ve been a doormat accepting every nuisance they’ve thrown my way for way longer than I should have, so I figure 3 months out of 4 is a lot better than no help at all. The lesson here is dont offer help to family, from day 1 say no, because then they’ll take your good intentions and send you to hell.

        • Actually, I sent her the email of ‘resignation’ ~10 days ago. Her mom said she can take over Monday, so I said today will be my last day since Im going away for wknd and will leave plenty of food/water. Sorry if I sound cross, I’m letting the anger dissipate by writing on this thread….

    • OK, I’m sorry, but I don’t really have any sympathy for you. I agree that your cousin’s mom should not be dropping by essentially unannounced, and you need to express your concerns to your cousin and get her to sort it out with your aunt. But (a) this is not indentured servitude – your cousin is kindly letting you live in her apartment rent-free, which is not a small thing as she could possibly have sublet it to someone who would happily pay for the privilege, and (b) all you really have to do is look after her two cats and keep the apartment clean, which is really not a big deal and which you would have to do anyway if you were not living at home. Complaining about cleaning out the litterbox and feeding the cats is a little immature. Suck it up and enjoy the apartment for the last month, and don’t leave your cousin in the lurch. She is relying on you.

      • That’s a fair point, but I should add I did not want to go there. She was talking me into it because she knows there’d be no better alternative. Subletting her apt wouldve been a huge inconvenience for her bcuz of all her personal belongings there and that she wanted a family member to care for the cats in her own apt. Her mom could at any point have taken them to her suburban house in a nearby city or come to the apt instead of me. I wouldnt complain if it was me living there, but I have to swap the house with her mom at her convenience (theres only 1 bed), it is not me living there at my leisure. And I literally hate the apt and the mess the cats create – I have a dog and cat but they do not create 1/10 of the odor and furbunnies these cats create. And her mom doesnt clean it when she’s there, so I have to spend at least 30 mins. of walking in there vacuuming and cleaning every time I walk thru the door in order to make it somewhat pleasant. Her mom clearly doesnt like it either, which is why they had a pretty plum situation with me being the primary person over her mom. Had I known her mom would take over the apt at her will, I’d never have accepted in the first place.

        • Seattleite :

          Your feelings about the matter, and her other options, became completely irrelevent once you agreed to do it. Her mother using the apt as a crash pad is a PITA, and you had the right to say, “No, can’t work with that, but if you want to make other arrangements for the cats/mom, fine by me.”

          Please learn how to say no. Saying “yes” but resenting it, and blaming others for it, is not a plan for a happy life.

          “That doesn’t work for me.”
          “I can’t do that, but here’s what I can do: [X]”
          “No.”

          • Exactly! this is the biggest lesson learned for me in this debacle, you articulated it very well. My bf said the same thing. I have realized what a pushover I’ve been, esp since my cousin is a spoiled drama queen (far worse than me, pls believe it) and always gets her way. And I have problems saying ‘no’ to my family which has now been brought to light with the resentment taking over me. Any suggestions on how to alleviate the matter? Her mom said she’ll take over and I’m happy at that, but upset at how it played out of course with the part I played.

          • I think you need to apologize to your cousin and your aunt for agreeing to take care of the place and the cats. Just say something like, “I am sorry I bailed in the middle of what I agreed to do. I should have known it was a big responsibility to watch after the place and the cats, and I also should’ve recognized that I wasn’t up for it. I know it caused you some stress.” I think that if you are indeed close family then that ought to start the process of getting back to normal.

        • Then you should have refused from day 1. Reading your post, the aunt situation is unfortunate, but you should have made it clear back then to your cousin. Now you sound like you are doing her a favourite (you’re not) and that you were suckered into it ( which you weren’t as you knew about the cats). I’m sorry , this is not a nice place to be, but you went into it aware of the issues.

    • Ditto what “umm” said. I sympathize with you, but, if you haven’t already, you need to attempt to clarify and enforce the agreement you had with your cousin instead of just bailing on it. You could also try to work out a schedule with your aunt so things are more predictable and you share the load.

      Also, even assuming you’re completely right and your cousin and her mother are completely wrong, stick it out for a few more weeks. If she is really like a sister to you and you value her friendship, suck it up. You’ve put up with all this for three months, but nobody’s going to credit you for that if you bail suddenly in the last three weeks.

      Finally, it might not matter since it’s only a few more weeks, but consider explaining some of the problems to your cousin and ask for help. Maybe she could pay for the cats to be professionally groomed and/or for a one-time house cleaning service to make you more comfortable there?

    • Sorry, you are in the wrong here. Your cousin is relying on you to watch her cats and live in her apartment for free. You can just decide to back out while she is in Asia and has no way to fix the situation. As you said, her mom doesn’t want to go out of her way to go by there on a daily basis either. You get to live there, on your own, not with your parents, with your boyfriend, for free.

      I honestly just can’t believe that two cats can make that much of a mess and smell that badly unless you are a total neat freak and notice every little stray hair or you just really hate cats and everything they do grates on your nerves.

      If the latter is the case, you shouldn’t have taken your cousin up on her offer. You made a commitment, you need to stick it out. Would you want to ruin a wonderful relationship with someone you consider a sister to get out of ONE MONTH of cleaning? And honestly, you don’t need to clean half as much as you do. Tell boyfriend to get some Claritin or to go back to staying at his own place until the month is up.

      I know you are just venting but you are coming off sounding very entitled and selfish.

      • *can’t.

      • I can see how I sound juvenile, but I really didn’t want to do it in the first place, she is in marketing and boy did she drum up some pretty picture of how it’d be. At this point, I’m so fed up I wouldn’t do it if I was paid to. I work too long and don’t want to be spending my nights in a completely unpleasant environment. This wasn’t a 2 wk vacation, it’s 4 mos. of my free time which I’d rather spend elsewhere (yes even at home with my pets and family, where I’ll be moving out of soon enough). I’d never even ask someone for a favor like that.

        At this point, her mom is taking over this Monday. If I am in the wrong, is there even a point in coming back to her and saying “Oh nevermind, I’ll take care of them!” Seems like the damage is done anyhow.

        • Oh.so.tired :

          I really don’t see what she said that wasn’t true: ” If you promise to take care of my cats for four months then you can live rent-free at my place.” You aren’t really a martyr here- it is a sweet deal (no rent!!) and plus much more convenient for you from your workplace. The only legitimate gripe you have is her mother showing up randomly. I’m not sure whether you spoke to your Cousin about this- but you should have done so as soon as it started happening instead of suffering and then leaving her high-and-dry. Communication is so important particularly when she’s on the other side of the world. Sorry if this sounds harsh.

      • I disagree about the cat thing, Blonde Lawyer. I am a huge cat lover and have lived with cats a million times, and usually just love it. But I also took a sublet once with cats that turned out to be very badly behaved, and destroyed my things and furniture all the time, and made the place very dirty and smelly. I’m not sure why, but my theory is that they were ‘doing their bizness’ outside of the litter box/all over the important. I would find their p@@p all over the place, so i’m assuming they were doing the other one, too. And the apt did smell. It was a huge surprise to me, since i had never experienced that with cats before, but it does happen.

    • I disagree with my lovely fellow commenters. I think you’re right. The fact is that if her mom is using the apartment as a crash pad, it’s not really your apartment. You’ve worked hard to help your cousin out for three months, and it’s not working — largely because of her mom. You gave her notice, and her mom can clearly handle the situation. I think you’re fully entitled to back out of the situation now. Stand your ground!

      • I agree! You probably should have said no in the first place, or maybe tried to reach a solution once you figured out it wasn’t working, but at this point I think you’re okay cancelling.

      • I have to agree – having someone stop in unexpectedly would be a total dealbreaker. Did you know before hand that the aunt would be doing this? And as long as there was someone to pick up cat-duty (which it sounds like there is) I don’t see this as leaving Cousin horribly in the lurch.

        Also, for some of us, it doesn’t take much cat hair/dander to cause significant allergy problems. I actually kind of like cats, and always wanted one when I was a kid, but I developed allergies and now spending the evening at the house of my friend who has cats can be difficult, and she is pretty diligent about cleaning up before I come over. I used to think allergies were no big deal, until I got them. Itchy eyes, constant sneezing, and the inability to draw a deep breath. Oh, and the fatigue that comes from not really being able to breathe properly!

        I will say, it does sound like you need to learn how to say “no.” And sometimes all you need to say is “no” – you don’t need to give any reasons. “That won’t work for me” is good, too, if you feel you must say something.

      • I agree. you agreed to a deal and the terms of the deal changed.

        Can you change the locks? Or stand up to the mom and tell her she is no longer welcome in your apartment?

    • Well — I’ll say this. Either way, what’s done is done. Now all that you can do is heal the relationship. And at this point, nothing can probably happen until she comes home from wherever she is. And then you can offer to bring her out to dinner and offer a sincere apology (even if you’re not sorry — and I would leave out all the stuff about her apartment, her cats, and her mom!)

      Also…if it helps, I’d say that you’re completely right that its ridiculous that you’re basically being evicted 2-3 nights a week with no notice. That’s the part that would probably be the breaking point for me, regardless of the quality of the apartment or the behavior of the cats. She made an implicit deal, cat sitting for apartment. Then she essentially changed the deal; requiring that you cat sit on demand, but not providing the apartment full-time. Personally that would be a problem for me. (Though I’m not sure I understand why you and the Aunt can’t be there simultaneously…is it a studio?)

      • Ha. Just realized that sincere apology and the following sentence don’t really jibe. What I mean is this — you should apologize for inconveniencing her and for agreeing and then backing out. And then leave it at that. Don’t go into all of your reasons for why, because at that point, you’ll just be starting an unnecessary fight!

        Sometimes, for family and friends, we have to swallow our pride and be all right with “losing” in order to win in the long run.

      • Echo TCFKAG, I don’t necessarily think you’re in the wrong, after reading your clarifications. Her mom is in the wrong for evicting you 2-3 times per week with no notice. It sounds to me that if her mom was not doing that you would be fine finishing the 4 months.

        Anyway, all you can do is meet with her when she comes back, offer a sincere apology that it didn’t work out, hopefully she will respond with a sincere apology that her mother was such a PITA, and everything will be fine.

        • Glad some supporters stepped in, I thought I was looking at it all wrong for a moment. I agree I should’ve said no, but I so badly wanted to help since she had only 2 weeks to figure everything out, and was really selling me hard on it (there was no mom on the horizon at the time of agreement at all, other than her mom in the background trying to get her to get me to pay some rent on top of taking care of cats, which was ridic and NOT happening. I said no to that just fine lol.). Then 3 wks in, her mom all of a sudden encroaches on the apt my bf and I were in and insists on notifying me at her leisure (she says I can stay with her there, which means same bed and no bf, meh Im good thanks). Thats too awkward for me, since I agreed only because I could live there to spend time w/ my bf. Some of the other points of contention Ive had to deal with: One time her mom drank a bottle of expensive booze my bf left there unopened for us, and my aunt ignored an email I sent her asking for it to be replaced. And she doesnt change the bedsheets even after my bf and I sleep there…how weird is that?

          These little things, plus the fact that I started my new job at the same time cousin left and I didnt know how long my hours would turn out to be and all these added inconveniences, on my aunt’s schedule, to care for and clean for her these very messy pets. (I am not a neat freak since my cousin claims Im messy too, but if Im messy then shes a bona fide slob as it turns out.) She also wrote to me, after she saw in photos I sent her of her cats, complaining that I moved around her furniture (in an attempt to make it cozier and less cluttered, silly me!).

          • Thank you all for indulging me and my silly problem. I know I sound ridiculous and yet here you all are, respectfully offering sound words of advice! Really an amazing forum here, so big thanks! =)

          • I didn’t totally get the “Aunt” situation from your first post. I thought you were just choosing not to stay in the apartment if she was there. I didn’t realize she was effectively evicting you with no notice. I would fight that fight with the Aunt. In the long run, I’m sure it will all work out.

  11. For the last week or so I’ve had incredibly dry, flaky and painful lips (may sound silly, but I think it’s from really spicy soup). I’ve been slathering on the Burt’s Bees chapstick and using Clinique’s All About Lips, but neither is really helping since the moment it wears off, they start stinging again. Any other suggestions on a good lip balm or soother?

    • Good old Vaseline has worked better for my chronically dry, flaky lips better than any other fancy stuff. I don’t know if it will help with the stinging, though.

    • Spicy food does the same thing to my lips, and Vaseline seems to work best to relieve it.

    • When my lips are in really bad shape, I swear by the Chapstick in the blue tube. It seems to be much better than anything at soothing them than my Burt’s Bees or regular chapstick.

    • The Body Shop has a two part thing. One is an exfoliating lip stick you put on and then brush off and the second is essentially a super moisturizing nude lipstick meant to be worn as primer under regular lipstick. The two work phenomenal.

    • Rosebud Salve. $6 at Sephora and lasts forever. It’s amazing (and stays on a long time).

    • Merabella :

      Aquafor Healing Ointment. It is awesome.

      • Anonymous :

        Ditto on Aquaphor.

      • This. My derm recommeded Aquafor for dry skin around my eyes at night (I have a lot of sensitivities). Since then, I have starteed using a small tube for lips and a big jar for feet. The stuff is amazing. Will actually heal a papercut in a day.

      • I got Aquafor based on a recommendation here a few months ago and it is just as amazing as everyone says.

    • Someone recommended Cortibalm here a few weeks ago. I got some for chronically chapped lips (due to acne meds) and it is a miracle.

    • TurtleWexler :

      Also, make sure you aren’t dehydrated. If I don’t drink enough water, my lips dry out badly, almost immediately, and it takes a couple days of chugging fluids to get them back in shape. If balms aren’t helping, this could be another culprit (besides or in addition to the spicy food).

    • Anonymous Poser :

      Doesn’t Burt’s Bees lipbalm contain mint? That’s drying. I don’t have any specific lip balm recommendations, though I’ve like ones that I have contained shea butter, aside from avoiding ones that contain drying ingredients.

    • PharmaGirl :

      Aquafor is seriously awesome. I’m always stealing it from my baby’s room for my chapped hands and lips!

      • Genuinely wondering… is there a difference between “Aquafor” and “Aquaphor”? I’m familiar with the latter (a product kind of like Vaseline?), but not with the former.

  12. Anon for this :

    So random but:
    How do you handle having a hobby?
    I’m a huge fan of DC (all the Robins!) and am just now coming to terms with the fact that it’s “okay” to be a girl!comic book geek or well, woman!comic book fan.
    San Diego Comic Con is coming up in July and I think I want to go to my first convention!
    But I’m also worried about pictures on the internet, and I don’t think I’m ready to be “that person” to my coworkers. Ugh, I’m way past the age of wanting others to think I’m cool….
    But I do want them to think that I am professional? I feel like comics and superheroes are seen as such an adolescent past time….

    • What do you mean by pictures on the internet? Ones you post or ones they might find randomly? If the former, don’t post any. If the latter, I don’t think anyone surfing the web for comic con pics would judge you for being there.

      I think your question is really how do you handle having a hobby you’re embarrassed of. I think the answer is to stop being embarrassed. I don’t see how it affects your professional reputation at all, unless you talk about comic books all day. Don’t do that. But otherwise, who cares? You aren’t in high school anymore. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about here.

      Besides, being a female comic book geek is pretty cool. This is the age of the geek after all…

    • I don’t think anyone at my office cares what other people’s hobbies are, so long as they don’t interfere with work. As for pictures at conventions, just don’t pose for them, and make sure you’re not wearing a raunchy or inappropriate costume just in case your photo does get snapped. I doubt your coworkers who don’t like comics will be browsing sites for convention photos, anyway.

    • Awesome that you love comics.

      Some webcomics are really good, and I think some rival (or better) many more established titles. Use your google-fu to look for “No Pink Ponies,” which is a delightful webcomic about a girl named Jess who’s mad cool, a total comicgeek, and the owner of her comicbook/hobbyshop. Love that one can really follow the trajectory of the characters lives and how the comic (without hitting you on the head) takes racial and gender stereotypes and neatly upends them.

    • Wouldn’t your coworkers have to be frequenting websites related to comics / Comic Con to discover any pictures of you that might be taken? Which would mean that you share the hobby?

      If you think there’s a chance that photos might find their way to the general public, and as you are a big fan, couldn’t you wear some kind of costume that would hide your identity?

    • The first rule of ComicCon is you don’t talk about ComicCon. But seriously, the only way I could foresee you possibly getting pictures of yourself at ComicCon somehow in wide distribution on the internet such that your co-workers could see it is if you wore a really scandalous or crazy outfit. Which could either be awesome or terrible, depending on what the outfit was, I suppose.

      But seriously, go, have fun, and don’t worry so much. If your co-workers found out, they’d probably just think it was either (a) adorkable (ala New Girl) or (b) awesome (and you’d make some new work friends!)

      • Anon for this :

        ahhhh but what if New Girl quirky adorkable is what I’m trying to avoid?
        (I want to be the cactus giving ex-girlfriend!)

        Okay, thanks hive-mind. :) You’re right, no one really cares what I do after work (within reason).
        I went a bit type A over this- I made a pro/con chart for going in a costume vs not going the costume. A mask would hide my identity, but make it more likely for my picture to end up on another fan’s website… Also most superhero(ine)es wear spandex!
        I think I will save the dressing up for my second con.

    • Do you already have Comic-Con tickets? If not, you will have a very hard time getting them at this stage. It is sold out and the only tickets left are those turned in by people who find out they can’t go at the last minute.

    • Also keep in mind that the San Diego Comic Con is so big now that going to it isn’t really “geeky” anymore. It’s been completely taken over by the mainstream media, and there are going to be literally tens of thousands of people there. As long as you don’t go in costume there is no way anyone is going to publish your photo.

      Now, if you were going to Otakon, that would be different.

  13. Lurker #1 :

    Going to NYC next Thursday-Sunday to tag along while my husband is at an academic conference. The conference and our hotel are on the Upper East Side near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Looking for suggestions of things to do during the day Friday and Saturday. I will probably go to the museum one day but I would also like suggestions for “off the beaten track” things to do. This is my third trip to NYC so I’ve seen most of the typical tourist things. I’m comfortable taking the subway to other parts of the city. I’d like to go shopping but I’m still on a grad student budget so I don’t know if I can afford NYC stores!

    Suggestions for not-too-expensive places to eat are appreciated too. Or if anyone can remember keywords from particular threads when we’ve discussed this before so I can search the site – I found a couple but I know there have been New York City suggestion threads many more times than I was able to find.

    Thanks!

    • Maybe take a CoreFusion class? It’s a barre-based workout, so you shouldn’t get too sweaty (and you can kind of adjust it to your fitness level). I did a couple at the Central Park West Exhale Spa when I was in NY and it was a fun way to squeeze in a workout (and I watched it snow through a skylight!). I think they have a price break for first-timers.

    • Have you done the Tenement Museum? I love it and it makes for a great base to explore the Lower East Side. The food down there is great too.

      Are you a theater person? You could go see a matinee on Saturday — that’s what I’d probably do.

      • Senior Attorney :

        There is an amazing Vietnamese restaurant just a couple of doors down from the Tenement Museum. I think it’s called An Choi. Have the pork belly sandwhich. Best thing I ever ate. Seriously.

        • Hey, that’s in my hood! An Choi is great and the pork belly banh mi is definitely the best sandwich on the menu BUT, I encourage you to go deep into chinatown and head to Xi’an on bayard and mott (they have another outpost on st. marks between 1st and 2nd, closer to 1st, also, but it’s smaller with few seats. both locations are cash only!) – get the lamb burger and/or the cold skin noodles.

          • my grammar leaves much to be desired. Anyway. You may also want to wander around the east village (Houston up to 14th, Broadway all the way over to Ave D), there are a ton of cool stores (thrift and retail) and restaurants/cafes. If you feel like doing a lot of walking, head to the west side highway and walk along the hudson (if the weather is warm enough, go to frying pan or boat basin!!!) or go to the east river park and walk along the east river (which isn’t nearly as nasty as it once was, promise). As someone below mentioned, the cloisters is up near columbia and is ah-ma-zing. One last suggestion – take the FDNQ out to coney island and eat some clams on the boardwalk?

    • Okay, first things first, if you’re at the Met and it’s open – go to the roof top bar. You don’t have to drink but the view is lovely. Just ask one of the guards how to get there.

      If you don’t mind the walk, there is the most amazing garden on 5th and 105th. It’s like something straight out of my secret garden.

      There’s a bunch of nice bakeries in the area (le pain quotidien has a few locations) – super yummy. Or stop by the fairway on 86th and grab a picnic lunch to eat in Central Park.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Define “not-too-expensive” for places to eat. Because I can give some super cheap suggestions and I can give soem sort of medium level suggestions. Like what are you wanting to spend on a meal?

      Also, for shopping, check out Uniqlo. Cheap, good basics, and I think they’re only in New York in the US.

    • Neue Galerie is a great place (if you like art) and you can stay for coffee and desert to Cafe Sabarsky (a Viennese-style cafe), which is located at the museum. The Cafe itself is a little pricey, but for a good coffee/dessert, it is totally worth it.

      Not sure what you have in mind when you say “not too expensive,” but two of my favorite restaurants are Mole (Mexican) and Tartine (French). Tartine is BYOB and is very small, so it can sometimes be a hassle to get a table.

      Enjoy your stay!!!

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      I never got to do it before I moved away from the area, but I’ve always wanted to visit The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You would probably have to take a train there (it is separate from the rest of the museum). But I think the weather might be nice enough for a trip there.

    • Chinatown! Take the subway ( 4/5/6) down one of the afternoons. Sooo much cheap food (bubble tea and pork buns!) and cheap stores. Just walking around is fun and it’s something that’s fine to do alone.
      -My SO’s parents did a “gargoyles of Manhatten” tour when they came to visit. They really liked it and it’s on my to-do list. Too touristy?
      -Also the library tour at the NYPL Schwartzman building is great and free. (The main building with the lions by Bryant Park) I’d probably go on a Friday, it’s much better when there are less people. It’s a somewhat touristy thing to do, but not *that* tourist-y.
      -Seriouseats (dot) com has a New York section that’s great for looking up restaurant reviews. They have a list of eateries near landmarks, as well as posts grouped by neighborhood.
      -”Wafels and Dinges”. Google-fu/twitter-track the nearest food truck, and get a liege waffle with speculoos. (SO is addicted)

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        My love for Wafels & Dinges knows no bounds. That is definitely a must. They almost always have a cart somewhere in Central Park, so if the weather is good, you can combine it with a stroll around the park.

  14. On the off chance that the poster who was upset that her husband said her lipstick looked wh0rish and made Pretty Women references when picking her up – I had a revelation for you! I may be totally off base here but is there any chance he has been quoting the movie Anchorman when talking to you and you didn’t realize it? My husband his BFF quote Anchorman CONSTANTLY. At one point I got annoyed at a female friend saying “I miss you so damn much! I miss being with you. I miss being *near* you. I miss your laugh!” to my husband’s friend (they are both married) and then I realized it was part of the whole quoting anchorman constantly thing.

    There is a line where he says “you have a dirty wh0rish mouth.” He also says “go back to your home on wh0re island.” Here is a link to the most referenced quotes. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0357413/quotes If you realize he was just trying to quote the movie back and forth with you and not actually insult you, the proper response back is – with a stoic straight face – “you have bad hair.” Followed by, “I said your hair. . . it looks stupid.”

    In Anchorman world, that was the ultimate insult.

  15. Okay, ignore the fact that I am a grown d*mn woman who took tax law and still doesn’t know this. Can someone please explain to me what business expenses are deductible? I want to do a better job of keeping track of this this year, but I don’t know what counts. My firm takes care of the things that would be obvious (bar dues, etc.), but what about other things? Buying a friend’s lunch? Just going to lunch with a friend from another company/firm? Buying food for your former judge and his chambers?

    • And what about a new home computer I bought primarily for work purposes? And can you think of anything else I might be missing?

      • not a tax lawyer :

        but I am willing to bet that none of those are deductible in your case (not self-employed), and it sounds a little fraudy to want to deduct things like lunches with friends

      • So you can only count business expenses that total in excess of 2% of your gross salary. So if you spend 3% only the 1% gets deducted. At least that’s what my tax person told me (if she’s lying, please tell me!)

        Electronics (estimate the value and % you use for work). Personal phone bill, internet etc. If you have a dedicated office at home you should be able to get a portion of your rent. Any supplies you buy yourself for at home or in the office (chairs, pens, whatever) or resource guides. Hope this helps!

        • Anonymous Poser :

          I thought you couldn’t deduct for a dedicated office (i.e., not office/exercise room, not office/guest room. According to my CPA, it must be apparent what the sole purpose of the room is were someone from the IRS to visit…) unless you own? I could be entirely mistaken, as I’m not an accountant of any flavor and not an attorney, either.

          • My understanding was that you could deduct for the portion of time you used the room as an office. So, if the home office is 1/10 of your house, and your mortgage is $1000 a month, and you use it as an office about 50% of the time that you’re using the room at all, you can deduct $600.00. That might be totally wrong, though.

        • And document, document, document. Have something to support the business-ness of everything.

      • Yeah, def not lunches with friends…

        • That came out worse than I meant it . . . I meant friends who work at other firms or businesses where you are basically trying to keep up the relationship in the hope of maybe getting business someday. My firm always says those are the relationships that lead to business down the road. I was trying to distinguish between buying your friend’s lunch versus just buying your own lunch while going to lunch with the friend.

          • I’m definitely not trying to be “fraudy.”

          • “Meals and entertainment” for business generation purposes can be deductible as business expenses if you meet certain tests — actually conducting business during the lunch meeting, etc., *but* they are limited. You can deduct only 50% of the total. (There is a different rule for meals eaten while on business travel.)
            More info:
            http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=167363,00.html.

            If you are an employee of a company, then this 50% of meals and entertainment figure gets added to your other non-reimbursed business expenses, and that total must exceed the 2% of AGI floor others have referenced before you get to deduct anything.

            If you are self-employed, then the rules are different. (Business expenses become an above-the-line deduction on Schedule C, and there is no 2% floor.)

      • Not a lot of help, but for me the big thing was mileage. My former firm paid the actual cost of our gas and a $300/month “car allowance” which, when I calculated the actual mileage driven was not at all even close to the IRS reimbursement rate. I only kept track for one of the three years that I worked there (found out about the tax break during year two) and it was like a $3k difference in my taxes. I believe you can also deduct some of your mileage for straight commuting.

        But listen to what everyone else has to say as they all seem to know much more!

        • You can’t deduct for straight commuting (at least, that’s what our tax advisor told us). You can deduct if you prove that you do substantive business in a home office, then drive in to work. And I think that’s only if you’re self employed (I was getting tax advice for our situation, so I don’t know how global this advice is).

          The example our CPA used was that I sit in my home office, and on a land line, call my practice lead and go over my schedule for the day. Then commuting becomes deductible. Of note, I am provided office space by the outpatient hospital department I contract with.

          You should probably sit down with a tax professional and go over this stuff, though I don’t know how realistic that is this time of year.

        • If you are an employee, you *cannot* deduct as a business expense straight commuting costs — i.e., costs incurred in traveling between your home and the office that your employer provides for you.

          Also, my understanding is that even if you are self-employed, you cannot deduct commuting expenses for travel between your home (even if you have and use a home office for some of your work) and an office you rent elsewhere.

          The home office rules have been seriously tightened up in the last few years. I have also heard (so take this with a grain of salt, but still) that taking a home office deduction is a red flag for getting audited because it’s been such an area of abuse in the past. If you are even thinking about taking any deduction for use of a home office (even a partial deduction — and even if you are self-employed and have no other office space), please please please consult with a tax professional before doing so!

          • P.S. I meant to give an example of an acceptable deduction for commuting/mileage. So, hypothetical:
            Say I am employed by a law firm in BigCity, and I work in that law firm’s downtown offices. I also live in BigCity, and I commute from my apt. to my firm office every day by car. (This commute is not deductible.)

            One of my litigation matters is venued in a town in the next county over (30 mile drive away). I have a motion hearing at 1:30 pm in NextCountyTown. I drive my car from my BigCity law firm office garage to the hearing 30 miles away, participate in the hearing and then drive back to my BigCity law firm office. I have 60 miles in legitimate commuting expenses. The IRS has a mileage reimbursement rate (that changes from time to time) that’s currently $.555 (55.5 cents) per mile. That is deductible as a business expense if not reimbursed by my employer (so long as I meet the 2% of AGI floor) or if I am self-employed (in which case there is no floor requirement).

          • Interesting. I didn’t take any deductions for straight commuting (i.e. home to office and back) but I thought from the software I used that I could have if I’d kept track. I hadn’t and my commute was so negligible it didn’t matter. Good thing!

    • I deducted lots of stuff this year, but I’m “self-employed” so the rules are a little different.

      According to this article: http://www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/2007/01/employeetaxopedia.html
      an employee can only deduct business expenses if they exceed two percent of their AGI. So I guess it depends how much you’ve made and how much you’ve spent.

    • Also – have you looked at the IRS website? They’ve got publications that explain a lot of these questions and it is pretty decent for a government website.

  16. MaggieLizer :

    I’m starting a pottery class today and I’m super excited about it. I’ve been stressing all day about the things I “need” to do tonight that I will be putting off, but I’ve decided to just let go of the anxiety and have a great time doing something I’ve really really been looking forward to. Hooray for Me Time!

  17. I just upgraded my pc operating system. Corporette now takes forever to load. All other sites are fine. I now have to go to corporette then do something else for a bit and come back to read it. Anyone else have those issues?

  18. Ladies – Long time lurker, recent poster here in need of some advice. One of my dearest friends from college – she was my Maid of Honor – is engaged. I assumed I’d be asked to be a bridesmaid, (definitely not MOH as she has a sister), but alas, she has chosen to have only family as bridesmaids, so she is having her sis as MOH and two cousins and groom’s sister as bridesmaids. And then she is having a house party to include all of her friends who aren’t bridesmaids so that we are still part of the wedding. So there will be six of us in the house party (which isn’t an actual party – think of it as a term like bridal party). Has anyone ever heard of this before or know what I should expect? She told me when she asked me to be in the house party that we would all wear black cocktail dresses and process up the aisle carrying mini bouquets. But I have no clue what my roles and responsibilities are otherwise as a member of the house party. I have received no communication about any of the typical events – bachelorette party, etc. The wedding will be a nice affair and is in October, so not far off. I ran into the bride recently and she mentioned that one of her cousins that is a bridesmaid is planning the bachelorette party but her tone almost made it seem like I wouldn’t even be invited. She didn’t mention a date or anything. I’d like to offer to help out but it seems like she only wants the bridesmaids handling things. And I have to admit that I am a little sad and hurt not to be a full bridesmaid. Any advice on how to handle? Am I being petty?

    • You should thank your lucky stars! House party means you’re going to be put to work doing favors and stuff lik ethat.

    • Merabella :

      My sister did something like this because she had so many girlfriends that if she asked all of them to be part of the wedding it would be chaotic. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love you, it just means she didn’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings for singling out some friends and not others. Don’t take it personally.

      Your responsibilities are to ask her when she needs help with things, and what she would like you to do, and to show up and do them when you can.

  19. Ladies – Long time lurker, recent poster here in need of some advice. One of my dearest friends from college – she was my Maid of Honor – is engaged. I assumed I’d be asked to be a bridesmaid, (definitely not MOH as she has a sister), but alas, she has chosen to have only family as bridesmaids, so she is having her sis as MOH and two cousins and groom’s sister as bridesmaids. And then she is having a house party to include all of her friends who aren’t bridesmaids so that we are still part of the wedding. So there will be six of us in the house party (which isn’t an actual party – think of it as a term like bridal party). Has anyone ever heard of this before or know what I should expect? She told me when she asked me to be in the house party that we would all wear black c*cktail dresses and process up the aisle carrying mini bouquets. But I have no clue what my roles and responsibilities are otherwise as a member of the house party. I have received no communication about any of the typical events – bachelorette party, etc. The wedding will be a nice affair and is in October, so not far off. I ran into the bride recently and she mentioned that one of her cousins that is a bridesmaid is planning the bachelorette party but her tone almost made it seem like I wouldn’t even be invited. She didn’t mention a date or anything. I’d like to offer to help out but it seems like she only wants the bridesmaids handling things. And I have to admit that I am a little sad and hurt not to be a full bridesmaid. Any advice on how to handle? Am I being petty?

    Read more: http://corporette.com/2012/04/12/coffee-break-wrap-around-gemstone-ring/#ixzz1rrd5L1LV

    • Okay. I had never heard of this until a friend at my old firm mentioned having been in one (I think). I think it might be a southern thing, not sure. Its basically like an extra team of bridesmaids, or second-string bridesmaids or something. Depending on the wedding, on the actual day, I think the house party kind of helps out at the wedding, sort of the same stuff bridesmaids do. But I’m sure it varies wedding to wedding and bride to bride.

      I’d go with my mantra when it comes to these things, when in doubt, e-mail the bride (especially when she’s one of your dearest friends). And be happy that you get to wear a nice black c*cktail dress of your choice instead of a possibly hideous satin number not of your choice! :-P And try to also remember that sometimes brides hands are tied when they are making these sorts of decisions (frequently there is family politics or whatever involved) and its probably not really about what she thinks about your friendship at all. Just try to make sure your friendship survives this whole wedding and comes out the other side unscathed!

    • I have been in a house party before – I think it is a Southern thing. In my case, the bride basically saw us as the bridesmaids who had a special role at the reception, while the regular bridesmaids had a special role at the ceremony. We wore matching dresses and did things like (wo)man the gift table and guest book, get people out on the dance floor, helped decorate, etc. I also planned the bachelorette party, while the maid of honor planned the bridal shower.

      I’d never heard of a house party before this wedding either, and it turned out to be both a way for the bride to honor her friends (since not everyone can be a bridesmaid) and a way for her to get help with the wedding and reception planning. If you google “wedding house party” you’ll find some info.

      As for not getting an invitation to a shower or bachelorette yet – the wedding is SIX MONTHS away. Yes, you’re being petty. Your friend is trying to honor your friendship by inviting you to have a role in your wedding, and you need to step back and let her plan it the way she wants to.

    • I don’t know about this whole house party deal, I’m guessing it is a southern thing.

      BUT I will say that you absolutely cannot “estimate” (not quite the right word, judge?”) a friendship based on a wedding. God only knows what happens behind the scenes/with family/etc… My own bff didn’t even invite me to hers for several different reasons. I probably couldn’t have made it anyway, but I really wish she had invited me and let me be the judge.

      The only thing I think you have a legit beef on is that she was your MOH and you’re kind of not even in the wedding? That seems weird to me. But maybe you guys were in different places in your lives back then, closer, some other limitation you don’t know about?

      Anyway, it’s her wedding, her day, etc…any hurt feelings that you cultivate are only going to hurt YOU in the end. I advise you to let it go. Try to remind yourself that you are bffs every time you feel the hurt and anger rising up, and that you had great times together and will again. This just isn’t one of them.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      There was a discussion of a house party at some point on a thread long ago. I remember only because I had never heard of them and I’m Southern. I believe the conclusion that was reached was it’s not so much as Southern thing, but a Texas thing (which is generally considered separate from the South by Southerns. We also won’t claim most of Florida, except the lower Alabama part.). So try googling the comments for house party and Texas and see if the old discussion comes up. I don’t remember the conclusions as to actual duties and expectations.

    • CPA to be :

      I’m in a house party for a wedding (also in Texas, also this fall) for the first time. I have been a bridesmaid a bunch of times, and honestly it is a GIANT relief that the bride “just” wants me to be in the house party. The way she described it was that since I live so far away she didn’t want me to stress about being there and doing all the bridesmaid-y things and that I was completely welcome at anything I can fly out there to attend, but basically she didn’t want to stress me out or financially inconvenience me.

      She is one of my best friends, she was one of my bridesmaids, we’ve had so many important life talks and been there for each other through some serious stuff…. but long story short, being a bridesmaid is kinda a PITA once you’ve done it more than once or twice, and I’m relieved that I just have to buy a navy blue cocktail dress and show up. I will admit that when she mentioned me being in the house party rather than a bridesmaid I was initially a little surprised/sad, but relief took over quickly.

      As for the events, bachelorette party etc, I doubt she would have mentioned them to you if you were not going to be invited to them eventually. I think you get the best of both worlds– you get to be formally recognized as someone important in her life, but you don’t have to do all the bridesmaid stuff.

  20. Attention starved :

    I feel kind of lame posting this, but here goes. I have a family reunion coming up. Problem is, I have two sisters, one of whom just got engaged (with a massive ring) and one of whom has a new baby. I just know everyone will be fawning all over them. My achievements are more scholarly/professional (graduate degree, awesome job), but my blue collar family can’t relate. I’m so frustrated after working so hard ans getting no appreciation, while one of my sisters gets knocked up by a loser and the other finds a rich man and they get all the praise. Any tips on how to stay positive for the weekend and not get sulky and jealous? (more than I already am…)

    • SpaceMountain :

      Make up your own Bingo card. I do this at some dreadful family gatherings. You know the type — write in each box something stupid or insulting you think various family members will do or say, and check it off when they do it. Then it’s like a little victory every time someone makes a joke or insult at your expense, as you are on your way to winning your Bingo game.

      • Also, give yourself a gift for being so “good” and not getting sulky and jealous afterwards. That way you can be thinking to yourself “this sucks, but if I just keep smiling for 2 more hours I get that fabulous bag/scarf/pair of shoes!

        Also, although I see your point, a couple things:
        1) Nobody’s life on the inside is the way it looks on the outside. It is entirely possible that one or both of your sisters is far more jealous of you for your achievements. It is also entirely possible that they believe you get more respect/praise etc…from your family for your achievements than they do regardless of the actual objective amount.
        2) Nothing in the world is going to be perfectly even-handed and fair. If you want to find a flaw you will be able to do so. I.e. that person’s praise was more gushy/heartfelt than my praise.
        3) This is your family we’re talking about here, remember to be happy for them! Regardless of who “knocked her up” (and I hope you’re using language to express your frustration and not your true thoughts) your sister loves her baby and you should recognize that and react to her as you would if the father were someone you approved of. Most people love their nieces and nephews (not necessarily in my family, but I have heard this to be true) don’t penalize the child, love her for her.
        4) Remember that no matter how much praise they get now, you don’t want their lives. You want your life and you get far more satisfaction our of your life than you would out of living theirs.

        Drink. A lot. But not too much. :-P

    • CA lawyer :

      If possible, tell someone sympathetic in your family that you wish your accomplishments were celebrated too (without denigrating your sisters’ choices). Maybe that person could be your advocate/cheerleader.

      Otherwise, try to plan to do something you can enjoy because of your degree and awesome job (in which you earn your own money) for sometime around the reunion. You could buy tickets to a kickass lecture or event for people in your field, or awesome clothing or jewelry, or stay in a fancy hotel.

    • karenpadi :

      I am in the same situation with my mom’s side of the family. Honestly, I try to forget that I’m a professional and that I so do not fit in.

      I drink (a lot) and practice my networking skills. Because, hey, I might as well use the time wisely and it is a challenge to network with people so different than me. I really try to talk all about them and how they are doing without contempt or disdain. I fawn over the baby that I don’t know why my 17 year-old unemployed, unmarried cousin didn’t prevent or give up. I am in awe over the academic achievements my other cousin who is going to the technical college barely getting Cs. I let my other cousin convince me that learning a new programming language is really like a whole new language like learning French or Russian or Japanese. I tell my evangelizing aunt that Jesus is wonderful. It’s kind of a lot of fun.

      When they ask about me, I tell them three pre-selected things and turn the conversation back to them. I tell them about my commute or working crazy hours or my flight home.

      My mom thinks I genuinely get along with her family and really appreciates the time I spend with them. So I think I’m convincing. They seem honestly pleased to see me again each time I see them.

      • karenpadi :

        Oh, and forget about your own accomplishments. They don’t understand and never will. Just try to be happy for everyone else. If they try to get to me (and they have in years past), I shrug and accept it.

        For example “don’t you hate living in the Land of Fruits and Nuts”. Me: “It’s not too bad, the fruits and sweet and the nuts are crunchy.”

        “Oh, Fancy Lawyer Karenpadi, who’d you screw over this year?” Me: “Oh just some corporation that screwing you over too.”

        “Karenpadi, my unethical attorney is screwing me over, can you give me some free legal advice?” “No, it’d be unethical because I’m not licensed in this state.”

        “Oh, Karenpadi went to college. She’s too good for us.” “Have you tasted this ham? It’s so good. They didn’t teach me how to cook in school, that’s for sure.”

        • This is awesome. It’s like Family Reunion Performance Art.

          I will admit that sometimes I do the same thing when I have to be with a group of people I’m not necessarily excited to be hanging out with. Practice my acting and small talk skills. And drink.

          • Family Reunion Performance Art – what an awesome concept. Hope you don’t mind if I change it for me to In Law Performance Art and assign myself the task of becoming a master. ; )

      • Hey. Learning a programming language is like learning Russian, or at least that’s what I say in interviews when they ask me why I became a programmer after majoring in Soviet Studies…

        It worked yesterday.

      • I come from a similar background and can relate. Two things:
        1. Karenpadi is a genius and pretty much nailed how to handle these gatherings. I personally like to tap into my natural love of gossip and find out what’s going on in everyone’s lives. I really enjoy it because there is often some really crazy sh*t.

        2. This used to bother me more when I was younger and going to college and then grad school,while my little brother got married and had a kid and my sister had 3 accidental pregnancies. Now I’m older, and perhaps a bit wiser, and it doesn’t bother me at all anymore. It is very important to realize that it’s likely they don’t talk about and celebrate your achievements because they can’t really relate. Most people can relate to babies and marriage, so it’s easy to talk about those things and get excited about them. It’s sort of the lowest common denominator of conversation topics. They might not know what to ask about your school or career and feel like they don’t have much to relate to. Try not to take yourself so seriously- it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They might be more intimidated by you than you think, so make an effort to be friendly, open, and accessible.

        I actually really enjoy my family because it’s a refreshing break from my competitive, ambitious, type A school friends. It’s a reminder that there are an infinite number of paths to happiness and it’s not a big deal when something does not go as planned in my life.

      • another anon :

        I like the practicing your networking skills idea.

        And I can totally relate to this. I went to a large family gathering a while back where a number of very distant cousins that I hardly ever see were in attendance. Several people congratulated me, and at first I assumed they were congratulating me on graduating law school or getting a job, both of which were fairly recent occurrences. Nope, they were congratulating me on getting married. Which had happened about 5 years prior to that.

    • PharmaGirl :

      I’m not sure why you expect your family to appreciate you for your work accomplishments. Weddings and pregnancies are rare occurrences in life and deserve to be celebrated. Was there no celebration for you various graduations? If that is the case, I get it. But if they did recognize those accomplishments, why not join in on the celebration of your siblings?

      • My family really celebrated my high school graduation. My grandparents (but no aunts, uncles or cousins) acknowledged (no parties, no gifts) my college graduation. Only my parents and one aunt (I had traveled to her son’s wedding a year earlier) noticed that I had graduated from law school until they realized I might be a source of free legal advice.

        I think the families we are talking about are like this. They really have no idea. A high school diploma is the only academic achievement they relate to. It’s really disheartening to know my grandmother values the oops baby more than she values my successful career.

        • MissJackson :

          I come from a family (and also married into a family) full of academic snobs. And I gotta tell ya, my mother in law (and my mom, I think, although no grandchildren for her to test out the theory on yet) still totally values a grandchild (an opps baby is still a grandchild) more than she values anyone’s successful career. I think you’d find this to be true of most folks and I don’t necessary think it’s backwards.

          Families not recognizing your accomplishments would be frustrating, but that’s sort of a separate issue. But I think it would be very rare, indeed, to find a grandma who is equally excited about her daughter’s promotion and her daughter’s pregnancy! A grandchild will likely bring a lot of joy to a grandmother’s life, whereas my promotion brings *me* joy, but not necessarily my mom.

          (I say this as someone with a successful career and no children — and not even sure if I’m ever going to have children. So I’m not a “OMG, babies are the best thing in the whole world and nothing could compete!” person. )

          • anonforthis :

            I do think there is a difference in some families. I come from a family of academic snobs and there is no way a 17 year old’s oops baby would be celebrated like my law school graduation was. My parents are REALLY excited about grandkids now but the day they dropped me off at college my dad told me not to bother coming home if I got pregnant before I got a degree. They wanted their kids to establish a career before having kids and my mom loves to brag on careers as much as grandkids (“This is my lawyer daughter’s baby!”).

            I married into a blue collar family where no one went to college and it’s very different. They really do only relate to high school diplomas and there are comments about my housekeeping/cooking/etc. where it is not acknowledged that I am the breadwinner and therefore not at home during the day. I do love them to death though and think it must be much harder on Attention Starved and karenpadi and those for whom this treatment is from their own families.

            Karenpadi, I am going to try and take your networking advice to heart and start making cracks about my cooking, etc. You definitely seemed to have figured this out!

          • Anon for this :

            Well said

        • Of course she does – an oops baby is a PERSON. Sorry, doesn’t really compare to a job.

      • Hmm, weddings and pregnancies may be rare occurrances in ONE persons life, but they are pretty common across the population. Jennifer Lopez has had 3? 4? weddings, I’ve had one PhD.

        I mean, I get it, weddings and babies are things most people can relate to, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting one’s academic and professional accomplishments to be celebrated just as much. I’m lucky, I think my family is just as proud of my degrees and job as they would be if I got married and had a baby. Sure, my mom probably would enjoy playing with a grandbaby more than reading my dissertation, but she’s never made me feel “less” for not going the marriage-and-kids route.

        • Or you could be from my family where 2 PhDs (or an MD/PhD) are very normal, and more than one wedding is beyond unheard of :-)

          They’re different kinds of accomplishments, but weddings and babies are less about the “achievement” and more about the new member of the family — who will in turn be able to grace the family with graduations, degrees, and exemplary careers.

          I joke that in my family I’m the dumb one (I’m a mere JD, no other degrees, everyone else has or is working on at least 1 PhD). I married and had a kids in my 20s (I am Ivy League educated with a biglaw job – plenty of prestige outside my family, but not really within it). A few of my cousins were pissed at the amount of positive attention I got for the wedding and baby versus their PhDs (I will say their PhDs were far more lauded than my JD). Going through it, I don’t think that it was me that the family was excited about, but adding my husband and son to our clan.

      • Ruta Skadi :

        I can’t articulate the exact thoughts I have on this. But my parents always put a lot of pressure on me to succeed and do well academically. This translated to a great job, which I am doing extremely well at. It does, however, take a huge toll on my time and, occasionally, my sanity (big law). Now that I have a great job that I’m doing better at than I ever did at school, they’re always telling me to not to take my job so seriously and focus instead on my upcoming wedding, possibility of starting a family, how it’s unsustainable to have the job I do (that, incidentally, I work so hard at) and have kids. This really irks me, for lack of a better word, because I feel like this implies they value the sole act of getting married and pregnant (which kind of feel like they’ll just be wonderful events that happened to me along the way) more than how well I do at my job (which is something I work endlessly for). That may have something to do with it, although it’s a slightly different topic.

        • My parents talked about the importance of education and college when I was young but then chose not pay anything towards my higher education. Once I got engaged they were happy to pay for me wedding, however.

  21. Parenting Question :

    My husband’s father (now deceased) was not a real parent but more like an adult friend who took him to the movies once a week, from what I have heard. I have known my husband a long time, and he has usually referred to his father by his first name. If I found this odd a long time ago and discussed it then, I have forgotten, but I have grown so used to it, I don’t notice it anymore. Now we have had kids of our own for a while, and although I am sure my husband has regularly referred to his father by his first name in front of them, last night it all of a sudden rubbed me the wrong way. It sounded very disrespectful, and like it was teaching our kids not to respect their parents. So here is the question. Does my husband’s deceased father deserve more respect in front of our children even though he never really earned it while he was alive, or is it o.k. for my husband to continue to call him by his first name, and if so, shouldn’t he come up with a pretty good explanation for why he is doing that? I am interested in what you all have to say.

    • I think the cat’s kind of out of the bag at this point. If you’ve had kids for “a while” and your husband has referred to his father that way already, you’re not going to be able to undo that.

      You can still impress upon your children that they need to respect their parents (and grandparents) without going into all the reasons that you husband doesn’t respect his father.

    • Well, if anything, it teaches them that parent’s are human. And for what its worth, my father frequently referred to his mother by her first name when she wasn’t around, and it never occurred to me that he didn’t respect her or love her, it just seemed like a “quirk” of older people that I didn’t fully understand.

    • Chances are you kids don’t even make the connection – that’s just what they call their paternal grandpa. Just like other people their grandparents Grandpa, Grandma, Nona, Zoma, Memaw, etc. etc.

    • My dad and his brother grew up calling their father by his first name, and it was never meant as a sign of disrespect. I think sometimes families just have odd conventions that grew out of who knows where. I grew up referring to my parent’s friends by their first names and have nothing but the utmost respect for most of them. And the ones I don’t…well, that’s based on experiences and stories and other clues. That’s what your kids will pick up, IMO.

  22. Anonymous :

    Canadian Corporettes, have you heard anything about CRA’s changes regarding per diems? Are they taxing per diems now?

  23. I don’t know what the readership overlap between Deadspin and Corporette is (that would be an interesting Venn diagram), but I wanted to share this piece. It’s a husband’s thought process through an-ultimately premature birth of his son and I think it’s heartfelt and fascinating. It also gave me at least a partial glimpse into what my husband was thinking when I was wheeled in to my unplanned c-section.

    http://deadspin.com/5900973/pain-is-a-gift-and-other-notes-from-a-terrified-father-during-a-seven+week-premature-birth

    • So anonymous :

      Ha! Loved it. “If you’ve never sprinted through a hospital, I highly recommend it. People totally stare at you. It’s awesome.”

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I’m curious about how freaked out he was–given that his child really wasn’t that premature. Is that just how parents are when in that situation? (I am young & naive, don’t have kids).

      • I’d have been freaked out if my child was born 7 weeks early. Full-term is 36 weeks and babies often do ok before then, but premature is freak-out worthy.

      • 7 weeks is pretty damn premature. Just because we now have the medical technology to save premature babies doesn’t mean it’s not truly freak-out worthy. Premature birth can cause a huge number of disabilities of varying severity.

      • Because his worst-case scenaro – no baby, no wife – was a very real possibility. Childbirth isn’t a walk in the park, 7 weeks is pretty darn premature, and from the article the baby could have been a heck of a lot more premature. The NICU, if even for a day, is a terrifying experience.

  24. Threadjack: Had a baby last year and took maternity leave (1 yr unpaid) and have been back at work now for about 6 months on a 3 day a week basis.

    Basically I just don’t feel as on top of things as I used to. It’s like I’ve lost my ability to focus, am easily distracted, and my just doesn’t seem to pull up things as well as it used to do. I was always that persons who could recall what was decided at a meeting six months ago without needing to refer to the minutes.

    I’m sure lack of sleep sometimes is part of it but I’m just frustrated I don’t feel as “sharp” as I used to at a time when I feel under special pressure to perform at my best so my career doesn’t take a bigger hit than it already has.

    Any suggested strategies? Ideas? Has anyone else dealt with this? I’m trying to up my use of to do lists, outlook reminders and so forth but I just wondered if anyone had any other suggestions or had experienced anything similar.

    • So anonymous :

      Sorry, no kids yet, so no advice, but I feel that way without them! I think it’s because I am so unintereted in my job and really just want to be a Sahm. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to do that, so I’m sure I’ll be in your shoes at some point.

    • When I was pregnant recently, with a full time job and a dissertation to finish, I became a fiendish user of Evernote for personal/school stuff and onenote for work. Evernote is nice because it syncs between multiple computers and mobile devices . I also sent any personal appointments as calendar requests to both work outlook and gmail. Basically my goal was to free my mind from as much as possible so I could devote myself to remembering the important things.

    • It took me 4 years to mentally feel fully like myself after having a child. My spouse said it was the same for him after both of his kids. It’s really tiring to deal with a little one, even after they sleep through the night. I made lists constantly to try to make up for my lack of memory and had to work really hard on focusing on what was going on. Try to reduce multitasking as much as you can in order to stay focused. Automating as much as you can (Outlook reminders, etc) is a good idea. Put all your bills on autopay, and outsource as much home production (cleaning, cooking, yard work, etc.) as you can.

      • Thanks ladies – I really appreciate your responses and suggestions. It’s good to know it isn’t just “me” but I hope it doesn’t take as long as that to feel fully “myself” again. Outsourcing isn’t much of an option yet but I certainly will consider it when I return to full time work.

  25. Threadjack from a longtime lurker, thanks in advance!

    I am moving to NYC in September/October because of my husband’s job (and my desire to live in NYC!!) and will need to find a new law job. I am trying to secure a position in a big law firm in NYC. I work in another east coast city and am a second year associate in a well-respected, large regional firm without a presence in NYC.

    2 Questions: Do I need to take the bar exam in July, or should I wait until I have a job and see if it’s required? My practice area is IP, and is primarily federal, not state, law, so I have done quite a bit by being admitted pro hac vice, and I know some of the partners in the NYC offices of firms I am looking at are not even admitted in New York.

    Would anyone recommend using a recruiter? I don’t have many contacts in NYC, and I am now trying to leverage any contacts I have that have connections, however tenuous, but I really won’t have any warm leads.

    I very much appreciate any thoughts you ladies have!

    • If you know that you are already moving, I would go ahead and take the bar exam. It just makes you that much more attractive to a firm. I know of a BigLaw firm that fired an IP litigator for not taking the bar exam for the state where he was located within the allocated timeframe. Also, at least in my state, the Federal Courts require admission to the applicable state court as a pre-req. for admission to their court. I imagine NY has similar rules.

      • I thought that if you are admitted in one federal court, you could seek admission in another. I have a friend who moved from NY to CA and because she does immigration, she never took the CA bar and practices with no problem.

        Even so, I would take the NY Bar. It will make everything easier. And pro hac is a pain. I once watched a judge threaten to revoke an attorney’s pro hac admission mid trial – you don’t want to deal with that kind of crazy.

        And def. try a recruiter – I feel like with your narrow focus, it would be helpful.

    • If you take the NY bar I highly highly recommend Pieper bar review — especially since you’re coming from out of state. All of the classes are taught live and the instructors (John Pieper and his hot, I mean, ahem, uh, friendly sons) seem really invested in getting their students to pass the first go around.

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