Thursday’s TPS Report: 3/4 Sleeve Jersey Dress

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

Ellen Tracy - 3/4 Sleeve Jersey Dress (Navy/Green) - ApparelIt bugs me that this dress is described as having “3/4 sleeves” since the sleeves pretty clearly don’t go past the model’s elbows. I would call these “ballet sleeves,” but hey. Either way: I like this navy dress, with pops of lime green throughout and a flattering vertical pattern.  I’m normally opposed to pockets on dresses (I just don’t find them to be very flattering or functional), but these actually look cute. The dress was $118, but is now marked to $74.99 at 6pm (still available in sizes 2-16). Ellen Tracy – 3/4 Sleeve Jersey Dress (Navy/Green) – Apparel

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Update: Just saw this in my inbox — Neiman Marcus has a 40% off sale on all Cole Haan shoes and bags today only — fyi!

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  1. I dunno, it looks kind of unflattering on the model. Would be a disaster on an apple shape like me.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I think it would be cute on someone more pear- or hourglass-shaped.

    • PharmaGirl :

      Same. The modle is a 32A bust which means this would look horrific on my 36DDs! The top skews a little bathrobe-shaped to my eye.

      Like the sleeve length though.

    • I’m obviously in the minority but I love it – I ordered it right away. Love sleeves, love pockets, love a waist, love the price, and like having things that aren’t solid black!

  2. I received my Anne Klein dress that was featured last week. It unfortunately runs really big, so back it goes. I couldn’t tell if the neckline would really be too low on me or if it was just because I was swimming in the dress. So if you’re still thinking about it, size down. The fabric and quality did seem good, though.

  3. I also think this would not be flattering on me at all. Nice price, though.

    Early threadjack:
    I am looking for a black leather large tote or feminine briefcase/ laptop bag which has a detachable shoulder strap with padding. I have found that this padding really saves my shoulders when carrying a heavy load. I am looking for something designer preferably. Any ideas?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Tumi! I looked literally everywhere for months and months for a feminine but functional briefcase/laptop bag, and ultimately, the only great options were at Tumi. It was the only store that had actually functional bags that didn’t look like man bags, and cute bags that weren’t totally impractical. I looked at designer bags too, but really got the sense that the designers weren’t actually thinking of what a busy working woman needed out of a bag. They were just going for looks, and the business features were a total afterthought. It really started to annoy me – why do no designers think women work and need bags with the same features as men??? Argh!!!

      Tumi actually recognized that women need actual business bags. I ended up with the Tumi Lago brief, which is coated canvas (purportedly like some of Louis V’s bags, but I have no familiarity with LV), which makes it lighter than leather but still very durable. It’s absolutely fabulous, and even opens flat for airport security to avoid having to use another bin for my laptop. They also have leather briefs and leather or nylon totes that have lots of thoughtful features. All the designs have padded, removable straps, carry handles, lots of useful pockets and sleeves, laptop padding, and the sleeve to slide it on your rolling luggage. Love. It.

      • Longchamp has some nice briefcases.

      • Thanks for such a detailed response! I have looked at Tumi but wanted something a bit more feminine (after years of carrying practical, boring bags).

    • Not to beat a dead horse (feel like I give the same advice on this every time) but I love my Jacques Georges bag, and the quality has been really impressive.

      One suggestion, I did a search on Amazon, and it looks like you can purchase just the detachable padded shoulder strap. So if you found a bag you really like, but didn’t like the strap, you could switch it out with one you liked (or just switch it out on days you needed the extra padding). Just a thought.

      • Hmm…I searched before and didn’t find anything. Obviously I didn’t search as well as you! Thanks!

      • Ok, now I found them. Genius!! Now I can make any handbag comfortable! Great for travelling too!

  4. Diana Barry :

    Sorry, I think this is hideous. Also, the green looks yellow on my monitor – anyone else?

  5. a passion for fashion :

    Im not wild about this print or the placement of the pockets on this dress, but unlike Kat, I generlaly think pockets on dresses are fabulous. In fact, it makes me instantly happy to have pockets on a dress.

    And speaking of pockets on dresses, I have to recommend the dress linked below from Limited. It is very, very comfortable and wears really well. Its also cotton, so it is great on a hot afternoon (an outside graduation maybe). I also always feel effortlessly put together in a dress this style. and as a plus, it has pockets!

    • a passion for fashion :
      • So cute until I looked at the back and saw the exposed zipper!

        • a passion for fashion :

          I know that might be a response. I dont really have an issue with an exposed zipper, but that said, this one is barely noticable in real life. You can see it a lot more in that picture, but in reality, it kinda blends into the fabric. I was also able to get the dress with 30% off, so it was totally worth it for me. I wore it last weekend and felt as good about an outfit as I have in a long, long time.

          • i usually agree re exposed zippers, but this is super cute and i agree, it doesn’t look noticeable.

      • I like it! To me, the exposed zipper isn’t a problem unless (1) it is in a place where the unzip would be provocative (front slit of skirt, v-neck on top) or (2) the clothing is meant to be very formal.

    • I love that you said pockets on a dress make you instantly happy. My thoughts exactly!

    • The dressy-dress that I wore to my sister’s wedding had pockets. Supreme happiness! I felt so chic.

      • I love the brides on Say Yes to the Dress who get wedding dresses with pockets. They always seem so happy. I wish my wedding dress had had pockets (I loved everything else about it, but it didn’t have a full enough skirt to accommodate pockets.)

    • Anonsensical :

      I love this! I have no problem with exposed zippers, so long as they’re not really obvious and placed on the back of a pencil skirt or something. And pockets on dresses rock.

    • just Karen :

      Pockets on dresses make me instantly happy too!

  6. Thredjack: I need help. I dated a guy last year whom my bestfriend /roomate introduced. We dated casually on/off until early his year. They remained friends and a bit close I must say which never bothered me. I got the shock of my life when I found out that they started dating about two weeks ago. My friend ‘casually’ mentioned about how happy she is and how amazing the guy is to her. I am very confused. Is it possible that she has forgotten about us dating? I reacted like usual pretending it did not hurt or confuse me. I don’t want them to think I am bitter. Have we got no boundaries now? Am I overreacting? I feel a wee bit awkward everytime I would see her now. She knows I like this guy even though it did not work out. I am so confused.

    • I do find it odd that she hasn’t acknowledged your history with him in any way, or asked you how you’d feel if she were to date him (preferably before the fact). I guess she is putting her own desires ahead of yours. The level of her transgression here would depend on how close you are with her, and how much she knew of your feelings toward him (and how well or how poorly things ended between you and him).

      • I agree with all of this. I also think time is a factor – you say things finally ended earlier this year. Like, January? Or the end of April? The earlier in the year, the less “bad” I think it is.

        A boy that I dated in high school (ah, two week long high school relationships) dumped me for my best friend. Things got a little awkward with my friend after that. While I don’t think I could/would date someone that my best friend dated in the not-so-distant past, I think there are potentially circumstances in which it would be ok. If you’re really upset about it, I think taking a bit of a breather from your friend might be a good idea. This doesn’t sound like it should be friendship-ending.

    • I’m sorry you’re in this situation. I think what you’re feeling is valid and I’d suggest you have a discussion with her just to let her know how you feel, even if it’s unrealistic to expect that she would stop seeing him because of it. I had a friend in high school who dated every.single.guy. I went out with. I wasn’t serious about any of them, and she started dating them all months after I broke up with them, but it still bothered me. I didn’t say anything until years later, but my festering feelings definitely damaged our friendship. We’re still friendly, but more like distant friends than the inseparable friends we were in high school. Some of that is simply growing apart as we grew up, but a large part of it was the boyfriend thing.

    • Did you invest a lot of emotion into this guy? Did you plan a future with him? Were you married/engaged/living together? Did he break your heart when it ended, with high decibels of pillow sobbing and midnight pints of ice cream and Dirty Dancing on repeat?

      If not, I’d say swallow the possessive wildcat that women tend to bring out when exes are involved, and be happy for your friend, who might actually have a chance at real, lasting happiness with this guy.

      I know I have a bit of a strange view on this, but if you’re not dating now, then I think the guy is fair game. _Especially_ if you only dated casually on/off. If a friend sleeps with your boyfriend, that’s horrible and you should drop her. If a friend dates your ex a week after you’ve broken up, she’s a bit of a sl*t and probably not a fantastic friend, but you did relinquish your claim. If she dates your ex a few months after the quiet end of a casual relationship, she probably gets along with him for the same reasons you got along with him. You are friends, after all.

      I’ve been on both sides of this situation, both as a person whose ex was “stolen,” and a person who’s currently dating her friend’s ex, in a much happier relationship than they ever had. It doesn’t feel great to be the person left behind, but it’s better to feel that twinge of jealousy than to know two people who could’ve been happy are still alone and unhappy because of your hangups. Particularly since she’s not parading him in front of you, or springing the surprise on you at a crowded party.

      I’d say cut your friend some slack. And sign up for an online dating site, pronto. Once you find someone to be happy with, you won’t care who your ex dates, and until then, you get guys falling over themselves to impress you.

      • I just want to say that, while I agree with most of your points, I think your use of the word “sl*t” was a uncalled for in this context. You were right on the money with “not a fantastic friend,” so why use the nasty word?

        • Oh gosh, I forget that it’s a lot more pejorative of a word for most people than it is for me. The idea is that she’s willing to jump into bed with a guy without being in any kind of relationship with him-I’ve done that before, and owned up to the word, and I don’t find the idea or the practice reprehensible, it’s still not the most stellar of qualities. I do apologize to anyone who was hurt. I did not mean it in the nasty way.

          • Hun…seriously. I understand that you don’t use the word as a “pejorative”, but if you’re throwing it around in everyday conversation, you’re going to offend a lot of people. Also, sl*t-shaming is really not the most stellar of qualities either. So…yeah.

        • Jane, you ignorant sl*t.

      • Completely, totally agree. Why deny someone the chance for lasting happiness, because of a bit of jealousy over someone you casually dated? Life’s too short. Move on and be happy for your friend.

        • PharmaGirl :

          It’s easier to move on when you’re not blindsided. The friend should have said something.

          • I agree with this. She should have said something to the OP before she started dating him. I am not saying that it is inappropriate that she is in a relationship with him, especially since they were friends before the OP was in a relationship with him…However, the lack of a heads up is not cool. She should have had more respect and concern for how her best friend would feel.

          • Agreed that the blindsiding is the problem.

            But I don’t understand the possessiveness. It’s not like he’s cattle that you’ve branded that you want to keep on the ranch forever. If you don’t want him enough to keep him, then why can’t others have him?

      • This. This. This. And I forget that sl*t is a bad word in some circles too. I read your post according to the Dan Savage definition.

        I wouldn’t say the OP was blind-sided with the information because the OP didn’t need to grant permission to these two people to date each other. In all relationships, there is a judgement call made about when/how to announce the relationship to other people.

        Perhaps she’s being insensitive by talking about how wonderful he is but all newly-coupled people are annoying like that. Change the subject and move on.

    • Anon for this :

      I was in this situation and it ended the friendship. Obviously, people can date whoever they want, but I just couldn’t remain close friends with someone who would knowingly hurt me that way.

      I have to admit, I took a small amount of pleasure in watching the relationship implode, in the exact manner I predicted, a couple of years later.

    • I think you are perfectly fine to do whatever you need to do to protect your feelings, including letting you know it hurts your feelings.

      But that being said, you say yourself it didn’t bother you that they remained close. Which may have led her to believe you wouldn’t be bothered by them dating. So in that respect I would cut her some slack.

      I agree with a lot of CommsGal’s comments on the matter.

    • This almost hapened to me in law school! This guy, Bill, started dateing my roomate, and then started nuzzeleing around me, b/c alot of the 2nd year guys who did not hook up with anyone when they were first year’s, saw us as the fresh new faces they could “advice” on the law school experieince.

      But I was SMART. I knew that my roomate would be VERY mad if I even hinted to Bill that I was dateable by him, and I told him to STOP nuzzeleing around me. Even after he broke up with my roomate, I would NOT date him. There were alot of other guys who I liked better anyways!

    • AnonFourThis :

      She may feel awkward about it and didn’t know how to bring up the topic with you, and put off talking about it until now it’s become the elephant in the room.

      Nope, not speaking from personal experience AT ALL…

  7. Finance novice :

    Sorry Kat, I hate this dress. Love most of your other picks though!

    Finance threadjack – anyone read Extra Petite’s blog post on her detailed breakdown of her own monthly clothing/shoes expenditures?

    After reading her post, I felt inclined to do the same because I never, ever have done a clothing budget. It was an eye opening experience, and I plan on doing this for all purchases going forward. Here is what I discovered:

    1. I don’t spend as much money on clothes/shoes/accessories as I
    thought I did. Since January 1, I have spent $560, for a monthly
    average expenditure of $112. On my Big Law salary with zero law
    school debt, I feel that’s a pretty reasonable amount.

    2. 90% of my purchases are from Nordstrom. No big surprise there, as
    I love their customer service, great sales, and free shipping/returns.

    3. I return a LOT of my purchases – probably around 80%. For
    example, in January, I did not keep any of the clothes I bought, and
    ended up returning $682 worth of clothing. I always pay my bill on
    time and in full, but is it a problem from a financial point of view
    to return so much every month?

    4. I love buying dresses. I do not like buying bags or shoes. I
    have only bought 1 pair of shoes since Jan. 1, and no bags.

    I’d love to hear any thoughts, as well as if anyone else has done
    something similar and if so, what you learned about your spending.

    • I can’t comment on your spending really. I don’t keep as close track as you do, although I try to stay out of debt and live within my means.

      My only concern about your post is your dislike of buying bags or shoes. What’s wrong???

      • Ha ha, I know! In honesty, my bag has seen better days so I do need a replacement. But it’s never something I have enjoyed shopping for. Same goes with shoes. But dresses, blouses, skirts – I can’t get enough.

        Here’s the blog post. I did exactly the same set up that she did here – an excel spreadsheet of all purchases, including keeps and returns and an explanation for why I kept/returned each item. I highly recommend this approach. It really helped to see everything on paper.

        • I think this is a great way of tracking expenditures, especially if you tend to return a lot. I don’t but my best girlfriend does. I probably should! I always think I’m going to wear something then I end up giving it away if I don’t. I also don’t order clothes online a lot, other than when I’m ordering a different color of something I already own. Although, since I started being a regular reader here, I find myself ordering from Nordstrom since we don’t have it here. So far, so good!

        • Thanks for posting this! I just started the spreadsheet and already logged my May purchases. I am thinking about going back and doing through the beginning of the year. I really want to be diligent about this. I especially like the “comments” section saying why you returned something or why you kept it.

          • b23 – that’s exactly what I did, I started with May and then I found it so helpful I just did it for the entire year since January.

      • Re: shoes — Zappos is your friend. You can order as many pairs of the same shoe as you need to make sure you get the one that fits you properly (7 regular, 7 narrow, 7 1/2 regular, 7 1/2 narrow) and return the others. Hassle free. Cost free.

      • PharmaGirl :

        Seriously, bags and shoes are my favorite! They always fit!

        • Shhh…if she doesn’t like bags or shoes, that’s okay. That just leaves more for the rest of us poor souls. :-) But seriously, bags and shoes are the only thing I can get behind. Clothes depress me because its so hard to find things that flatter.

          • Exactly. I almost never buy clothes online for this reason. I have on occasion and probably have returned 50-75%. But shoes/bags/accessories?? NOW we’re talking!

    • Could you link to the blog post? This sounds like something I’d benefit from.

      • And I think $112 on big law salary is really impressive. Wish I could say mine was around the same amount.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I return a lot of stuff as well. If you are putting it on your credit card and then paying the balance before any interest is charged, then I think it is ok financially. If you wound up paying interest on the things your return, that would be an issue in my book. The other thing I’d consider is where that money would be otherwise. What I mean is that would the $682 be sitting in a savings account earning interest? If it would be, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it would be a problem because the amount is small enough and interest rates are minuscule, but it’s something that jumped into my head.

      I have a line item on my budget for “new purchases” that mostly consist of clothing, but also includes things like Kindle books or other things that aren’t really staple items that I buy every month or so. If there is any leftover in that category at the end of the month, it rolls over to the next and if I return something then that money goes right back into the category. I should probably follow this in the opposite direction and deduct whatever I go over from the next month, but I’m trying to rebuild my wardrobe in a smaller size right now and I’ve only gone over twice so I haven’t done that yet.

      I think that what you are doing seems totally reasonable if it is within your means to do so and you aren’t adding debt (which it doesnt sound like you are).

    • Haven’t read the blog post — would love a link — but I am about in line with you. My purchases tend to be bunched more than yours because I don’t shop for months, but then will have an intense couple weeks before retreating again for months. I have the same experience you do with returns.

      Example: I decided in April that my wardrobe of basics had dissipated to the point of needing to be addressed. I made a list (white jeans, black capris, white capris, a couple solid tops, foundations, a plain black clutch, summer walking sandals), and then the games began. The process took six weeks, I tried on so many pairs of everything that I had to keep notes and drove all over creation to do it (seeing the “perfect pair of X” online says nothing to me until I try it on and see how it fits my shape), spent just over $3,000, brought stuff home, tried it together, culled it down to what worked, returned what didn’t, and ended up spending less than $800 for it all. Amex bills paid in full on time each month. My purchases (a couple of which were bought in duplicates because they are basics: white jeans) will last for years.

      • Posted the link above. Congrats on your successful shopping trip! Awesome that you bought some staples that will last for a long time.

    • I am going to start doing this. One of the things I have been trying to do is stop impulse shopping. I see something I like and buy it without considering where it fits and when I’ll wear it. So, I’ve been trying to keep lists of things that I need/want and working towards only buying those items.

      Online shopping is such a blessing and such a curse. Its a blessing because you can get almost anything. I’m in a small city that has limited options (no Nordstroms, Saks, etc.). We have a pretty good variety of mall stores (Anthropologie, J. Crew, etc.). But, I find that its hard for me to gauge what an item will really look like online. I am often surprised by fabric, quality, fit etc. I also think I overlook things that I may actually like if I saw them in person. Then I receive something and only half-like it but don’t go through the hassle of returning it. I end up with a lot of mediocre stuff. I love my wardrobe and I think I have some great, interesting, versatile and fun pieces of clothing. I have something to wear for almost any occasion or circumstance. But, I would like to weed out the mediocre things.

      • I know what you mean about online shopping being a blessing/curse. In my case, it’s usually a blessing because I’m so busy at work that I never have time to go to the mall. What helps is that I’m pretty fanatical about returns. For any clothing I don’t want, I try to make all returns within a week of receiving it. A huge help for me is that I live in a building with a doorman, so I just leave my return packages with him and he gives it to the mailman. No going to the post office or waiting in line. Obviously, this only works with stores that you give you a free return label, which Nordstrom and ModCloth (another store I love) do.

        • For those few online retailers that still don’t provide return labels, I’ve found it worth my while to learn how to print out UPS or USPS labels at home. It’s easy to do on the UPS or USPS websites. I even invested in a small USPS scale so I can accurately measure the weight of smaller packages. Then I have UPS or the USPS pick up the package(s) at my home. This has greatly increased my rate of returning items that are only so-so, but that I might have kept in the past because returning them was such a hassle.

          By the way, I live in NYC and don’t have a doorman. But since the USPS person has a key to get into the building where our mailboxes are, I can leave packages there to be picked up. You just schedule a pick-up on the USPS website, and unlike UPS (which charges for pick-ups), it’s free.

          • I didn’t know you could schedule USPS pick-ups! This makes my life so much easier. Thanks!

  8. Anon for this :

    Had to send a nasty email to our outside counsel about going over budget. Not fun.

    PSA: Outside counsel – give us a budget with some wiggle room please – there is nothing worse for in-house than having to get extra budget when something is already set. A higher proposal is about 1 billion times better than a lowball because I can’t rehire a firm that goes over their budget.

    • That is frustrating. Have you tried telling them that they should cut their bill to be in line with the budget they provided? Have you tried to negotiate caps instead of just having firms provide a budget. It avoids these types of surprises.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I’m PP in BigLaw and it drives me crazy when partners make lowball offers and then have to go and ask for more money. The logic is to lowball so you get the work and then ask for more later, but if you have to start off pretending you will need to do more work than you know you will have to, it will just annoy your client.


      • This is especially frustrating for junior associates, since inevitably they are the ones whose work ends up being written off to make the impossible bid that the partners made in the first place. Grarr.

      • If my outside counsel presented me with a bill substantially above the original proposal without any justifiable reason (e.g. protracted negotiations, change in deal structure, etc.), I would never hire that firm again.

        • If you get a bill on your desk out of line with expectations, there’s been a communication breakdown. I shouldn’t be surprised when I’m opening bills.

  9. Skincare question :

    This is icky, so sorry up front – I have an enlarged blackhead on the side of my face. Every few months I get a facial and the blackhead gets removed, leaving a small hole in its place. Inevitably, the blackhead returns after a week or so. I was recently told by an aesthetician that the only way I can remove the blackhead entirely and close up the hole is to have it stitched up.

    Anyone else ever have this issue? Is it true that stitching it up would actually work? I really don’t care enough to get that done and luckily it’s on the side of my face near by ear, so not very noticeable – but I was curious if I had another non-invasive option. TIA.

    • Have you seen a dermatologist about it?

    • That sounds like the dumbest thing I ever heard, no offense. If the blackhead is coming back within a week, then they aren’t pulling out the entire plug. Go to a dermatologist. They’ll get it out.

      • Skincare question :

        I think the issue is that when the blackhead is removed the hole is pretty sizeable, so gunk gets in pretty quickly. Anyways, I assume that’s the issue.

        I haven’t found a good dermatologist in Boston – can anyone recommend a doctor?

        • Dr Steven Tang in Wellesley. Saw me through rashes, Accutane, and the time health services told virginal me I had syphillis.

        • I’ve had oh-so-many blackhead, whitehead and cyst issues, I don’t even want to remember. But for blackheads: if the whole plug comes out, then the pore is huge, yes, but a little clear liquid should run out, maybe even a little blood, it’ll scab over and heal. Finis. If the entire plug is not removed, then what you’ve described will happen – it’ll just keep filling up. The only way the plug can ever be removed is through the skin, it’s not going to magically dissolve if you lock it up tight.

          In the NYC area – somebody recommended Dr. Heller’s practice at Columbus Circle – thank you. Great practice.

          • Skincare OP :

            REALLY? It should scab over? That’s never ever happened for me. Huh. Thanks.

            Would rather not trek out to Wellesley – anyone have a recommendation for someone in the city of Boston ?

          • Well, that’s how Godzilla’s skin works. I’m always willing to defer to other acne warriors on here.

          • I don’t think it will scab over the way in the way a skinned knee would. From my experience, when the whole plug comes out there may be a tiny bit of clear liquid (sometimes not even that), and then that’s it. Obviously everyone is a bit different. If you are concerned about scabs/scarring, you can dab the spot with some neosporin afterwards. I find that usually protects the spot from further inflammation.

          • If you want to shrink the size of the pore, maybe Pixel laser resurfacing? I’ve had success with a few small discolorations, enlarged pores, etc. Since it’s one tiny spot, it should be “cheap” (unfortunately, cheap in the laser aesthetics world means like 50$. Which I don’t truly think of as “cheap”. But better than the 500$+ it would cost to Pixel a whole face – always look on the bright side, right? :) )

          • Blackhead McPoreson :

            I hesitate to ask this, but HOW does one remove the entire plug, precisely? Is it a dermatologist-only procedure?

            I ask because (embarrassingly), I’ve had gross pores across my nose since I hit puberty. Even when I get the acne under control, the blackheads and huge pores on my cheeks remain.

          • Isn’t he great? So glad you took the rec – I love how you can always get an appointment and he is so proactive (about skin cancer AND acne). Daily reminder to go get a skin cancer check from your derm, ladies. I had a very high risk mole (pre-melanoma) removed from my thigh about six months ago (and I’m 27) and it is a great, albeit unsightly, reminder to wear sunscreen!

        • If you’re looking for a dermatologist in Boston, I love Dr. Susan Burgin at BIDMC. Though I think the whole team there is good, if you can’t get in with her.

    • It sounds to me like might not actually be a blackhead, but a small sebaceous cyst.

    • I think what you may have is an ice pick scar from a prior blackhead. As a result, the skin does not fully heal leaving a sort of hole that easy gets clogged up again. My friend had that issue and the dermatologist did the procedure that your aesthetician recommended because it was constantly getting infected. It left a small scar though – but not a big deal for her since it is on her back.

    • Anonymous :

      I love this thread.

  10. Another off the bat threadjack:

    I was recently elected to the board of a NFP. I just found out that the other person coming onto the board at the same time as me is a manager at an accounting firm I really want to work for, though not in the department I would work in. I know this is a great opportunity to network, but I’m not sure how I should go about doing it. Can I tell him that I really want to work for his company? Do I ask him to keep his ears open? Do I take him to coffee?

    • Former MidLevel :

      The best networking advice I ever got is “make friends first.” So I would focus on getting to know this guy at your board meetings/events, since it seems you have a fair amount in common. I think it’s totally fine to mention how much you admire his company, if it comes up naturally, and to ask him about his company – e.g., “oh, you work for Awesome Corp. I’ve heard great things about it – how do you like it?” – but I wouldn’t volunteer your own aspirations, ask him to keep his ears open, etc. right off the bat.

      • karenpadi :

        This. A lot of networking is showing, not telling. By showing that you are a hard worker, reliable, professional, etc. opportunities will come to you via your network. Let him chase you when he has an opening in the department you would work in.

  11. Ann Taylor Whine :

    I ordered a few things on Ann Taylor this morning, and at the end of my purchase, I was given the option to take a survey and be eligible to receive up to $100 [something like that]. I took the stupid survey (I never turn down cash — should have read the fine print), and then at the end, my reward was to sign up for a year’s subscription for up to four magazines, with only a $2 processing fee per magazine (again, something like that, could be a bit off). So no cash back for me, and if I had picked those magazines, I would get a fee, plus I’m sure I would be automatically registered for permanent subscriptions with future years’ costs charged to me. So ugh, ick, and don’t bother taking the AT surveys (by bizrate) if you are only doing so because you expect compensation.

    • It’s not just AT. I had the exact thing happen with Origins.
      The magazine deal is good and legit but only if you are the type of person who remembers to cancel teh auto-renewal subscription this time next year.

      Once I filled out a servey for Bloomie’s and they gave me a $50 credit to use on anything in store. It was awesome! Since then I can’t help but answer surveys and nothing good has ever come of it again.

      • Yes, I can also vouch for these magazine deals being legit. They are the way for me to indulge in my fashion magazines without paying the newstand price. I recall, it’s $2 processing fee for each magazine, and I think $2 for a whole year’s worth of magazines to be pretty good.

        I just put the cancellation info in my calendar, so I know to call their IVR line and cancel them all before I get billed for renewal. I’ve done this for about 8 different magazines before and it’s worked out really well.

        • Ann Taylor Whine :

          Yeah, but (1) I am not a girly magazine person (plus I have a hard enough time getting through Economist and Atlantic each week), and (2) I will not remember to cancel. So for me, no happiness.

          • Ah.. I suppose I binge on magazines. I somehow manage to get through the Economist, New York Magazine, and the New York Review of Books (this one is a biweekly, though), plus all the monthly girly fashion mags.

            If I’m not going out, magazines are my primary source of entertainment. (I watch no TV and probably don’t know what any of the latest music is…)

  12. My fellow ‘rettes, I’m in trouble. I am spending beyond my means and having trouble reining it in. I took a very substantial pay cut last year–from Big Law $180K to non-profit law $70K. I’m doing well enough with automatic retirement contributions and my rent is as low as it can be in NYC, but I’m just spending too much on dinners/drinks out and run-of-the-mill purchases (stuff for my apartment, clothes, etc).

    I know the solution is “spend less!” but any tips for making lasting changes? I bring my lunch to work most days and eat at home most nights, but I still manage to overspend. I was thinking of switching to an all-cash system for a month–taking a certain number out and not going over that for the month–but is that worthwhile?

    Any advice to cut back on frivolous spending would be appreciated. I feel so lame.

    • Would it work for you to go to an envelope / cash-only system? By this I mean, on the day after each paycheck, withdraw your total spending-money budget in cash, and then put $x for entertainment, $y for clothes, etc. , each amount in its own envelope. Then, spend until your envelope is empty. Empty clothing envelope = no new shoes this week for Batgirl.

      Or, if you’re a different kind of person: figure out each expense, annualized. Include everything — rent, food, clothes, gifts, travel, happy hours, MetroCards, etc. Divide annual amounts by # of paychecks per year. You’ll probably have to do some adjusting to get all categories to fit in your take-home amount. Adjust according to your own priorities, but this will make it crystal-clear how much you have available to you.

    • HereThere :

      Something my mother always suggested is to put the amount of money that you need to pay your credit card in one envelope (so add to it every single time you make a cc purchase), another envelope for rent, etc. If you do this, you’ll be able to see how much money is going out. Plus, though this wasn’t her reasoning, you’ll still have the convenience of the cc and get points, which can be a big deal depending on your cc. You might want to just take out the maximum amount you can afford to spend for the month, put a little in your pocket (whatever you typically need), and the rest to divvy this way. I think it would make a bigger impact than just an all cash system, since you see where everything is going rather than suddenly running out of money (mysteriously)!

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Sometimes it’s the people you hang out with. If you have big spender friends, try cutting back the amount of time you spend with them and cultivating some new non-profit people as friends. Also, try to plan activities and events that are low cost/free (hiking, going for a run, etc.) as big group activities so that you can get together with the spendy friends without being spendy.

      In terms of the home/clothing purchases, if it’s online, delete your credit card information from the websites you frequent and then store your credit cards somewhere inconvenient. If it’s in person, try filling your free time with other activities that are not shopping. Take a class, go to the gym, become a big sister, teach a class, read a book, etc. Be sure to PLAN your free time rather than just casually say, “oh I’ll do something new and not shop on Saturday.” Put things in your calendar, and then stick to them. Join a community center, and if your activity is reading a book, don’t do it at a Barnes and Noble, do it at the library or the park.

      The only real advice I can give is to go cold turkey. It will hurt, but after a few weeks of cooking at home, you will get used to it and it becomes habit.

      I hope that’s helpful.

    • Start a gaming addiction. My discretionary purchases go down drastically for about a month after I buy a new game (about $60) because I spend so much friggin’ time gaming I don’t have time to do anything else.

    • Seattleite :

      Absolutely switch to cash. My discretionary spending dropped drastically once I did that. I use the envelope system, and the only things I don’t pay in cash are 1) rent & utilities; 2) gas; 3) debt; 4) large pre-budgeted expenses such as clothes (once per season), gifts, etc.

      The great thing about envelopes is they help me keep each category in check. Otherwise, I’d probably spend way too much on eating out, and forget to keep cash for nail appts., etc.

      I started out just using small notecard envelopes, but that was cumbersome. Now I use an envelope system wallet that I bought from daveramsey [dot] com.

      • Seattlelite, you buy clothes once a season? Do you make a list of things you need? Or do you just set aside a certain amount per season but spend throughout? I’m curious.

        • Seattleite :

          I *hate* to shop, so I buy clothes in a marathon weekend about 3X per year. (In Seattle, that translates to “once a season.” We have “sunny,” “rainy,” and “shoulder” seasons.)

          I may occasionally fill in with an odd blouse or pair of shoes, but that is rare, and I almost never pay full price. That will either come out of my leftover ‘fun’ money or I can debit card it without crashing my budget.

        • I do this too – I binge-shop twice a year (May and November, generally) and buy few if any clothes the rest of the year.

    • The cash-only system should help (people tend to spend more when they’re using debit or credit cards). Also writing down everything that you spend money on can help you figure out where your money’s going.

      Maybe try the LearnVest bootcamp? Haven’t tried it myself, but learned about the site from Kat’s posts.

    • I am so with you. I finished grad school two years ago. Back then I covered all of my expenses on my student stipend, and while I didn’t manage to save money, I also didn’t go into any debt. Now that I make more than double that stipend, I am somehow managing to spend beyond my means! Like you retirement saving is not a problem for me, but there’s really no excuse for my habit of overspending on going out, shopping, and even really ridiculous things like afternoon frozen yogurt breaks. There is no reason why I shouldn’t have a good emergency fund and be saving for a vacation or something worthwhile.

      • LadyEnginerd :

        Me too! Finished grad school and now am making much more, even as a postdoc and feeling equally if not more broke. I wish my problem were discretionary spending- for me, it’s medical bills (bills upon bills, let me tell you). And I moved cross-country And I didn’t have dental for 2 years and now that I do, cavities galore! My car decided it wanted to join the bill party too, just to add to the fun.

        I just hate making a budget and yet again having some large mandatory bill that will drain my hard-won emergency fund. I can do austerity when I control my splurges like with the envelope technique, but not being able to control my finances month after month is exhausting.

    • Puppy Love :

      Have you moved since your drop in pay? If not, might be a good idea to move to an apartment with a significantly lower rent. Cutting smaller expenses like lunch is great, but permanently slashing a bigger expense helps you save much more (and give you wiggle rom everywhere else if you still want to grab a $14 cocktail with your biglaw friends once in a while).

      Before I went to law school, I worked at a non-profit for peanuts. Loved the job, not so much the pay. I opted to live in a less glamorous neighborhood to keep my rent low, and that allowed me to save more and still have some wiggle room when friends wanted to do something a little extravagant going out.

    • This is minor, but when you go out to eat, drink water instead of sodas or juices – it saves a lot. And limit coffee drinks at starbucks-type places to once a week (make coffee at home or work instead). Small $3 purchases add up very quickly if you make them daily!

      Also, limit yourself to a finite amount per month on discretionary purchases (clothing/apartment items). Avoid flash sale sites like Gilt because these will cause you to make more purchases than you otherwise would because of the time pressure. Many of the things they sell can be obtained for the same or lower prices during department store sales anyway.

  13. Ended up buying a few things at the Nordstrom sale. Here is what I bought:

    1. 510754 – Halogen cap sleeved blouse. I’ve had my eye on this for some time. Looks very springy and fresh.

    2. 501311 – Halogen crop jacket. I need a jacket to wear over sheath dresses and I look better in cropped styles.

    3. Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique cap sleeved sheath dress in royal blue – looks like it is now sold out so I can’t post the item number. Love the color and am hoping it works out.

  14. I’m eyeing a new work bag and so far like the kate spade cobble hill kori shape. anyone have this bag? thoughts? what about the “wedgewood” color — is it more blue or more gray? any thoughts would be helpful, thank you ladies!

  15. I have suddenly developed a very dry upper lip. Only the upper lip and only the top part of it. Any thoughts about what to do about it? I’ve never had dry lips, but this past winter, I had cracking in the corner of my lips (only one corner). I occasionally use a Nivea lip balm but it hasn’t been helping this latest dryness (sp?). Maybe I just to try a new lip balm? I generally wear MAC lipstick with gloss over it every day but right now I’m on vacation (staying at home) so I may not wear lipstick as much unless we go out.

    • Aquaphor!

      • I second this. My dermatologist recommends it and I love that stuff. I can’t use anything with a beeswax base b/c of severe hayfever, so Aquaphor saved my life.

      • Is Aquaphor a drugstore thing? I’ve never used it so I don’t even know where to look. I’m worried that this is an allergy or something.

        You ladies are all responsible for nearly killing me at the gym. Reading comments while on leg and back extension machines made me lose count of my sets. I’m sure I did waaaay more than I planned!

        • Yep, it’s at any drug store in the lotion section next to the Eucerin. It comes in giant tubs and also convenient tiny tubes and is great for lips, cuticles, feet, knees, elbows, and some times I even use a tiny bit to de-frizz my hair.

    • Maine Associate :

      I use Carmex in the yellow tube when my lips get really dry. Usually clears up in a couple of days.

    • Bag Balm. But it has no SPF, so I wear it only while I sleep.

    • Seattleite :

      Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm. Although, since it’s great for Accutane lips, it may be overkill for you.

  16. Blonde Lawyer :

    K in Transition – I checked out the Ohio BMV site because I was pretty sure someone was giving you bad advice that you can’t get a driver’s license in the state unless you are employed. It seems that the reason you have to show a pay stub is to prove residency. There are a bunch of different things on the list you can use to prove residency and some of them are really easy to do.

    You can change your credit card bill, bank statement or insurance policy to your new address and use your next statement or new insurance policy (usually they send updated cards when you change your address) to prove your residency. You shouldn’t need “proof” that you moved to change your credit card billing address or bank statement mailing address.

    Also, if you transferred your professional licenses, that is also proof of residency.

    Link to follow

    • Blonde Lawyer :
    • Ohio lawyer :

      Someone said you can’t get a DL in Ohio without a job? If that were the case, I know a lot of people who wouldn’t be driving around here!

    • I saw that last night. Also wanted to add that you do not need a license to get an ohio library card. You can even do it online. Is there a specific library that you think has that policy?

      • There is no way this was true. She said you can’t get past the door without a library card. Sorry, but I’ve never been to a library in America where this was the case. And I always go to libraries when I travel because they are great places to kill time, read and access wireless without having to spend money on unwanted coffee or food.

        • Ohio lawyer :

          Agreed. Obviously you can’t check anything out without a library card, but I’ve never had anyone at any library anywhere ask me for a card to get in the door.

        • River Song :

          The only library I’ve ever been to where that was the case was the Stanford University Library. You had to scan your student ID card to get through the door. But public libraries are for the public! Get thee to a library (and the DMV–they’re usually not that scary or mean in Ohio).

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          You do need a card at my hometown’s local library to use the computers or to access the wifi network, for whatever it’s worth.

        • I studied in many random Cleve libraries during law school, never had a card and never had a problem. :)

    • I just e-mailed her this thread, just in case she didn’t have time to read this (what with her limited internet time and all.)

  17. On tall women, dresses like these always seem to be a good idea- but they waistband hits at an awkward ribcage point, and just makes her look wider- not flattering at all.

  18. LA Restaurant? :

    LA ‘rettes, any suggestions?

    Dinner this Sunday.

    * West LA.
    * Can’t sit down until 8 and may last until 11 (3 grade school friends who haven’t seen each other in decades and their spouses).
    * Nothing heavy (no French, no Italian).
    * Preferably something clean (fish, Asian, mediterranean).
    * Not sushi because it is a Sunday and there are no fish deliveries on Sunday.
    * Something quiet for conversation ((3 grade school friends who haven’t seen each other in decades and their spouses).
    * Preferably not more than $100 – $125/couple.

    I have been all over zagat and yelp and am coming up empty. E.g., all the Moroccan places look great for food but have “shows” and will be too loud. Except Tagine in BH, which is too expensive. Many places (including one favorite, Sunnin on Westwood and Santa Monica) close at 9, which is too early. Places that are open later seem to be French (too saucy and too much butter) or Italian (no one wants pasta).


  19. LA Restaurant? :

    LA ‘rettes, any suggestions?

    Dinner this Sunday.

    * West LA.
    * Can’t sit down until 8 and may last until 11 (3 grade school friends who haven’t seen each other in decades and their spouses).
    * Nothing heavy (no French, no Italian).
    * Preferably something clean (fish, Asian, mediterranean).
    * Not sushi because it is a Sunday and there are no fish deliveries on Sunday.
    * Something quiet for conversation ((3 grade school friends who haven’t seen each other in decades and their spouses).
    * Preferably not more than $100 – $125/couple.

    I am coming up empty. E.g., all the Moroccan places look great for food but have “shows” and will be too loud. Except Tagine in BH, which is too expensive. Many places (including one favorite, Sunnin on Westwood and Santa Monica) close at 9, which is too early. Places that are open later seem to be French (too saucy and too much butter) or Italian (no one wants pasta).


    • Seventh Sister :

      Akasha or Lukshon? It’s probably farther east than you want to drive, but both are fantastic.

    • Try True Food Kitchen, in Santa Monica Place. Sonoma Wine Garden (also in Santa Monica Place) is another good option.

      • Check out Bandera in Brentwood or Nook in West L.A. Not mediterranean but each has a varied menu. You probably need reservations either way. (Also, don’t be put off by Nook’s strip mall location. It’s a great atmosphere inside.)

        • Westsidebee :

          I was just going to write to recommend Bandera in Brentwood. Good menu, not too expensive, and good atmosphere inside. Booths where you can talk, and no rush to get you out.

  20. Mousekeeper :

    Threadjack – need career advice. My husband and I are lawyers. He is in a small personal injury defense firm, and I work in a government law office. A few months ago, his partner (it’s a 2 -person office) told him he was leaving to take a position at another firm). I am eligible in both age and years of service to retire with a full pension, which unfortunately is a little more than half my current salary. So if I retired, I would need to find another job to be able to help pay our bills. My H. wants me to come work for him as a “partner.” He really needs the help, as now it’s just him and a secretary. He doesn’t deal with frustration well (he gets loud) . I sometimes think that one of the reasons we get along at all is that we are NOT together all the time. If I worked for him, he would do all the trials and I would handle all the in-office stuff (discovery, motions, briefs) plus depositions and court conferences. I would certainly make enough money to make up what I lose by retiring. I have qualms about working for him, but even more qualms about having to look for a new legal job at my age (60).
    Any advice? I haven’t had to go job-hunting in decades.

    • Why on earth would you do this? Why doesn’t your husband hire a young-ish 4 or 5 year lawyer and groom him or her to buy his practice some day?

    • Not my industry, obviously, but do you have to retire? If you’re happy where you are now, I agree with the post below. For the sake of your husband’s practice, your own self-respect, and your marriage.

    • I’m confused – are you going to retire regardless?

      If you are, then I suppose I understand why you’re considering this job with your husband. However, like the poster above, I don’t understand why he wants or needs you specifically in that role. I’ve worked with my husband before, and … well, it was not pretty.

      Is it really not an option to stay in your current job?

    • Don’t do it, especially since you are concerned that it would affect your marriage. Agree with Why? that your husband should hire a more junior (experienced) attorney to groom.

      • Mousekeeper :

        To respond to everyone, no, I don’t have to retire, although I am at will so I can be let go any time. I wasn’t planning to leave until younger child goes off to college, which is 2013. At my current job, I’m 15 minutes away from the high school (yes, I still get calls to come pick her up because of a gym injury or illness or whatever). But if I worked for DH, I’d be an hour away. So he’s aware that I’m not going anywhere until at least 9/13, Gives me lots of time to think about it. I wouldn’t mind doing something different. If I didn’t need to make money, I’d go work for the nearest Legal Aid office. Or do tutoring at a city high school.

        • I strongly advise you to tread carefully. Are there long-standing issues and conflicts between you and Mr. Mousekeeper in terms of how you handle problems and conflict? Does one of you have a greater sense of urgency to fix stuff, vs. letting it lie till later? All of these are potential hotbuttons. There are more, potentially.

          Here’s my data point:
          My parents had a great marriage, until my father started his own business and my mother went to work with him. All of the issues in their marriage were magnified by working together. There were just that many more decisions to fight over. My mother has better business judgment and character-judgment in general. My father is more creative problem solver. My mother was resentful that my father seemed to be sloppy with the details, relegating the scutwork to her, “the help,” and my father resented that she seemed to second-guess his decision.

          It didn’t help that they live together, drive to work together, sit in the same small office together, and drive home together. They talked about work all the time, even when they weren’t at the office.

          Their marriage, before they started the business was excellent. 6 yrs into it, they were on the verge of separation/divorce. Things are slightly less toxic now, but there’s been irreparable damage done. I still worry about them all the time.

    • I’d be very very careful about doing this. If nothing else, you’d be committing your families entire income to a single practice. If the worst happen and the practice went under, you’d have to survive, both of you, on just the pension. Plus, then you’d both be on the job market at 60, together.

      I think it sounds like the better bet is to bring in a good, hungry mid-level associate who he can groom to some day take over/buy-out the practice when he is ready to retire. And you can stay at your awesome government job until you’re good and ready to leave. I think that would be better for both of your careers AND your marriage. But, that’s just MHO.

    • You should not be working “for” your husband! At the very least, with your experience you should be running your own practice. If he needs someone to assist him, I’m sure he can find someone.

      • I agree with this. Stay in your government job and then worry about post-retirement later!

    • I wouldn’t do it. I worked with my significant other, but we were both employees (granted, he was far senior, but although we worked together I didn’t work “for” him). My parents once thought about opening a practice together, and my mom was against it, but my dad talked her into it. Lasted a week. My mom still does all of the financials, she is essentially his business manager, but she works from home and he goes into an office so they have separate time. But even that causes tension. I can say with 99.9% certainty that if they worked together in an office at any time during their marriage they would be divorced now.

      There are so many things that are different about them, working styles, my mom is the better business mind, but my dad is more the “personality” neither values the contributions the other makes as much as the other values their own contributions, it would just be a disaster.

      I would think long and hard about this, what’s in it for you? Agreed with those who say he should hire a young attorney and groom him/her to take over the business when he decides to retire. That’s what my dad is doing now and he’s very happy with the setup.