Weekend Open Thread:

DV by Dolce Vita Archer Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

Ok, ok, I’ll bite: I’ve seen these $69 sandals proclaims as “THE” sandal of the summer by various blogs — and having actually seen them on actual feet over the week, I have to say: they’re pretty hot. I think it’s the gold touches that make the sandal so awesome: the shiny bit beneath your toes, and the gold bar on your vamp… It doesn’t hurt that the sandals come in a ton of gorgeous colors, including basics (black, beige, gold), “fun” colors (snakeprints in teal, gold, and red) and “of the moment” colors (like neon pink and yellow, mint, and cobalt (pictured)). They’re $59-$69 at Zappos, and Endless has some colors as low as $44. DV by Dolce Vita – Archer (Bright Blue) – Footwear

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  1. These sandals would be cute…if it was ever “summer” in Seattle. It’s been in the 50s all this week and rain predicted for the weekend- so depressing. Although it is sunny today…happy Friday!

    • That’s my kind of summer. I should move to Seattle.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        Ditto for me!

      • Speaking of Seattle, has anyone heard from Ruby, the pregnant Seattle resident? I think her baby is due any day now and I am hoping she’s ok. Does anyone have her email from the meet-up?

    • girl in the stix :

      It was 36 degrees this morning in the mountains east of Seattle. We have had such a cold and miserable spring.

    • Friday, Friday :

      50’s instead of 80 with 90 percent humidity? That sounds AMAZING.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I miss humidity that came solely in the form of rain.

        • Merabella :

          I know right. I think I live in the only place where it can only get hotter from rain, not cooled off.

          • Depends – do you live where I live? Because here it gets like a sauna after it rains.

          • Merabella :

            Nope a little more north than you. But I’m originally from CA – where my family still lives… I’m always shocked when I visit and rain actually cools everything off.

  2. I just spent my lunch break surfing Sephora’s website and saw their new gelshine nail system. I admit, I’m intrigued. I like gel manicures for their long-lasting and non-smudging qualities, but can’t justify the unnecessary UV exposure. Sephora’s uses LED lights, which is a big plus for me. So I was wondering – has anyone bought (or is planning to buy) this system? If so, what do you think?

    • Anonymous :

      Sensationail gel system at CVS uses LED light and costs a third of the price.

      I’m in love with it – lasts just as long as salon gel nails, easy to apply and looks great.

      • Confessions :

        I just tried the salon effects (Sally Hansen brand) sticker like nail polish and it was super easy to apply and I loved the zero dry time!!! However, we’ll see how long it lasts. How much was the system at CVS? And does it come with the LED light, if not, where do you buy it? I like the Shellac manicures but I just cannot make it to the salon that often. Also, how do you remove the CVS gel nail polish?

        • I used the Sally Hansen nail stickers too, loved themmmm. Mine lasted about 2 weeks without a whole lot of chipping. I have heard better things about a different brand of nail stickers, Kiss I think? Bought them but haven’t tried them yet.

        • I’ve used Sensationail and really like it but it can be a pita to remove. You are supposed to use pure acetone. What works best for me is to wait as close to two weeks as I can (there are no chips but there is growth at the base of the nail) and then peel the gel polish off. One can also buff remnants off with a file.

          I’ve looked at the Sephora system online (but haven’t tried it) and like that system’s color selection better than Senstionail’s (though there are ways around color selection, including layering regular polish between 2 coats of clear gel). However, generally any polish that cures with LED can be used with the Sensationail LED light. I’m thinking of buying a Sephora polish to test out.

          • Be careful peeling that polish off – my nails became incredibly thin and brittle as a result of this. The polish takes off the top layer of your nail when you peel it off. I can’t use the gels because of my habit to peel and pick once they start to grow. I end up with nails the thickness of tissue paper.

    • Gel Question :

      I’m thinking of getting a gel manicure at a salon this weekend for the first time, but I don’t have time to regularly maintain it. I have a couple of questions for you experienced gel manicurees:
      (1) is salon gel polish harder to remove or can I peel it off as suggested by the commenter below?
      (2) will gel polish destroy my nails?

      • 1.). It IS harder to remove. I’ve done it myself (acetone on cotton, put on nail, wrap foil around for a few minutes, then push off with an orange wood stick.). Sometimes it is at least partially peelable. Usually have to finish off with filing a few places where it gets stuck. Seriously, this is why I usually end up going back to the salon, having them remove it and the get another gel manicure. I did take it off myself last time, filed my nails very short, and have been keeping them short with a very pale pink regular polish. (doesn’t show chips) I think I may stick with this approach for a while.

        2.). No. Don’t let the salon do a lot of filing or grinding on your nails to prepare them. It’s not necessary and over time that will make the nail weak.

  3. I have these sandals in the nude color and I love them! Cute and they go with everything. Warning – the soles are not padded. I would wear them all day.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      These are cute. You would wear yours all day, even though the soles are not padded? Are they still comfortable? Does the metal part get hot in the sun?

      • I kind of assumed that would was meant to be a wouldn’t.

      • One of the reasons I have to be so careful with flat sandals is that unpadded flat shoes kill my knees. These do have a sliver wedge and a good sole, so maybe they’d be okay?

      • Yes, typo! I wouldn’t wear them all day long. They are not snug so I had to get used to them moving around slightly but they are comfortable for a few hours. The metal didn’t get hot in the sun.

    • I’m so jealous of everybody wearing cute sandals and flats. At least for the near future, I’m stuck in sensible heels with arch support.

      • Always a NYer :

        Any recs for sensible heels with arch support? I have ridiculously high arches, like you can see my arch above the side of the shoe sometimes. Thanks!

        • I’d like the same recommendation. I’m wearing a pair of flats that shows my super, super high arch today.

          • WriterKate :

            Mostly lurk, but I love AGL and Anyi Lu for sensible heels with arch support that are also incredibly comfy. Not cheap though.

          • Thanks! I don’t mind pricey – I’d rather have fewer pairs of heels that won’t kill my feet.

    • Anyone else can’t wear thong sandals? I get blisters between toes immediately.

      • Marie Curie :

        Here! I mean, I haven’t recently tried again, but when I was younger my toes got rubbed up so badly I could hardly walk. Since then I’ve avoided all kinds of thong sandals.

      • I get little blisters for the first week or so of wearing flip-flops. Then my feet get used to them.

  4. Research, Not Law :

    Men’s professional clothing? My stay-at-home husband’s returning to the workforce and desperately needs to refresh his wardrobe. He won’t need a suit, but will need slacks, dress shirts, and ties. He’s stocky: large neck, short arms. We’ll be shopping with a baby and toddler in tow, so need to be efficient. Suggestions on where to go?

    • My husband bought an entire new wardrobe at Macy’s and is built much the same way. So — might be worth hitting them up. You can also check out JC Penneys for similar one stop shopping.

    • My husband is 17/32 in shirts and he likes Brooks Brothers no iron for button-downs, he’ll wear the outlet version but they tend to be 32/33 sleeves instead of 32. Costco’s Kirkland brand dress shirts fit him too and are much cheaper. He also find slacks and golf shirts at Stein-Mart and Dillards. Not sure where he gets ties but all of the above are likely places. If you happen to be in the South, Belks has some nice mens clothes.

      • Oh yeah, my husband also owns probably 5-10 Kirkland mens shirts. He’s fond of them.

        • Research, Not Law :

          Oooh, good to know. We need to make a costco run this weekend anyway.

          Thanks for the Macy’s rec, too. I hate Macy’s, but I could s*ck it up for him.

      • SAlit-a-gator :

        Second or third Costco for dress shirts. Their Kirkland brand is wrinkle free, $17.99 and comes in a variety of good patterns and solids. My husband swears by them! As for dress pants, if you live by an outlet I would ckeck out the Banana Republic men’s section or possibly Nordstrom Rack.

    • My bf wears a similar wardrobe to work, and he buys everything at Macy’s. If you have a good Macy’s nearby, their men’s department is huge and should have everything you need.

    • We recently took my husband to Nordstrom and used a personal shopper/stylist (a free service) which really helped us navigate the men’s department. As a mother of 4, I recommend getting a babysitter to leave the baby and toddler home. You’ll be much less stressed, get more done, and perhaps actually enjoy the time together. Trust me, I know what this means, I pumped in the Nordstrom ladies lounge while we were there. But shopping with those kids in tow is not a good idea for anyone.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Trust me, I’m not excited about it. But – and this is horrible – we don’t have a sitter! Not for short-notice on a weekend, anyway. We might be able to drop the toddler off, though, which would help substantially.

        Using a Nordstrom’s personal shopper just occurred to me, too. It might be perfect.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Nordie’s Men’s Half Yearly Sale started today. Call ahead to speak with a personal shopper (free!), tell the shopper your husband’s sizes and needs and budget, and they will have a dressing room ready for you with all of their ideas when you get there.

    • Anonsensical :

      Nordstrom is running their big men’s sale right now, and I’ve been really happy with them lately. Great customer service, free shipping and free returns, and easy price adjustments. My husband loves the non-iron shirts from Banana Republic (unlike some “non-iron” shirts, they really don’t need to be ironed!). They’re expensive, but we grab them when BR runs a 30% or 40% off promo. And for dress pants, well, Kohl’s has surprisingly decent ones that are washable. Also, I know you said he doesn’t need suits, but Macy’s often has killer deals on them if he wants some.

    • Kontraktor :

      I like the outlet malls for things like this. We always go there when my husband needs a few clothes at once. We like to go to the Brooks Brothers, Banana, J Crew, and Kenneth Cole outlet/factory stores. Lots of good deals and prices. But, if your husband doesn’t really know what he wants and you just want to go to one place, I think Macy’s is a good bet. Lots of different options and price points. I think they are having a large sale this weekend too.

    • Cole haan for shoes- my significant other got some nice loafers from nordstrom at a good discount.

    • lawsuited :

      Consider Land’s End – they do nice business casual clothing for men and have a huge range of sizes. You can be super-efficient by buying a range of sizes online (no need to drag your baby and toddler anywhere!) and returning whatever doesn’t fit. Their return policy is extremely good, and they are having a 30-50% off sale right now.

  5. Sydney Bristow :

    Does anyone volunteer for Dress for Success or the ASPCA? I’ve sent my information to both organizations and the ASPCA lets you say how many hours a month you can volunteer, but I didn’t see any information like that for Dress for Success. I’m interested in helping with special events and fundraisers for Dress for Success and admin, cat habitat, and dog habitat work with the ASPCA. Is there anything I should know about volunteering with either one?

    • I volunteered for the SPCA for three years. I walked dogs and socialized cats, so I’m not sure exactly what you have in mind with habitat stuff, but I loved it! Go you!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        That’s what I meant by the habitat stuff. I think that is how they referred to it on the application. Did you go in for normal shifts that were scheduled in advance or was it something you could just drop in for? I’m a little concerned about my schedule being less flexible than it is right now and not sure what to expect.

    • I am on the board of a Dress for Success affiliate. We utilize our volunteers for everything from suitings to fundraising and special events. I am pretty sure most DFS locations operate in the same manner. If you are referring to DFS worldwide (NYC), I do know that they are much more particular than we are. I love working with DFS and I hope you will too!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Thanks Latina. I am talking about DFS worldwide and they have different contacts for different volunteer opportunities. I’m glad to hear you love working with them! I hope it works out as well for me!

  6. Diana Barry :

    Hey hive,

    Just got word that a friend of mine is in the hospital on bedrest for preeclampsia. What should I bring her? Would a bunch of trashy books (hunger games etc) for her to borrow from me be too down-market? DVDs or itunes???

    • kerrycontrary :

      I think books and a dvd would be really nice. I’m sure she would also appreciate someone just spending time with her so she’s not bored out of her mind or staring at her significant other all the time. Assuming she’s not in the hospital you could also volunteer to clean up around her house, make some meals that can be frozen, or watch her children (if she has other children).

    • Books are great, dvds (as long as she has a laptop or mobile dvd player that can play them) are probably better — for me, when I’m in the hospital, I have trouble focusing on reading. But, magazines are great — friends brought me everything from Lucky to Cosmo to Time to the Economist and all were appreciated.

      Other ideas — comfy neck pillows, a nice blanket or robe, maybe slippers. Also, visitors are great. I’m assuming she’s not on significant pain meds or anything (being pregnant and all) so I’m sure she’s getting really sick of tv. :-P

    • Sydney Bristow :

      One of the commenters here did a post recently about what to bring someone who is in the hospital. She had some good ideas that I hadn’t thought of before. http://www.allthosedetails.com/hospital-stay-gift-bag/

    • If she does not have an iPad and you do, a loan of the iPad would be ideal. And a NetFlix subscription she could use on it (her own, or access to yours, or a one-month free trial).

      I had a friend on extended bed rest, and I would stop by every couple weeks with a new haul of “things to keep her company” — one week, I did a bunch of magazines ranging from trashy to intellectual, the next time I took a whole backpack of my favorite books, the third time I brought my entire DVD collection … I think she appreciated the diversions. As long as you’re just taking things out of your own house so it’s not costing you anything, the more variety the better I say.

    • Francie Nolan :

      What about a learning to Knit Kit, with yarn, needles, a book, and a blanket pattern.

    • When I was on bedrest, a visitor was the most exciting thing I got. If you can spare some time, just hang out with her.

    • Some good food, a visit if you are able and some movies. My sister had a baby last week and her room had a DVD player, so maybe that is an option.

    • anon prof :

      I had to do this for a few weeks for the same reason. It’s tough because you have to lie on your left side, so it’s hard to read. An ipad or like is great because the screen changes orientation. But the things I was most desperate for was for someone to clean my house, take care of my older child and spouse, and someone to talk to. It’s really rough.

    • She won’t be in pain or feeling really ill, so entertainment will be key. Her diet is likely to be controlled, so no food treats (except for the nurses, so they like her better :-)). If you’re close enough to know what she likes (reading, craft, music..) great, if not go for quantity, as lots will be required.

  7. Seeking advice re informational interviews: I’m a BigLaw 8th-year associate in NYC in a specialty practice. After having a baby a year ago my husband and I are ready to leave the city and are targeting a decent-sized city farther west. I am flying out for a Tuesday callback and my recruiter has set up three informational interviews with other firms for Monday — coffee, a lunch and then a meeting at the third firm. I’ve never done these “informational interviews” and could use some advice — Do I come with lots of questions about the firm? About the practice? About the legal scene in the new city? How much do I try to sell myself? What are some good questions and/or tactics? I’m used to only interviewing for open positions so am a little lost. Thanks!

    • You’ll probably be pretty prepared to sell yourself since you are in interview mode. I would do some research on these other firms and figure out what you want to know about them (remember, information flows both ways). They may not have an open position that they are actively recruiting, but they may be open to identifying future fits and scoping new talent and don’t want to get a deluge of resumes/set up a search right this moment. If they were totally against it, they wouldn’t have set something up with your recruiter. Plus, they get to interview you at no cost to them. I would just get to know each other so to speak and go from there.

    • A Litigator. :

      Ugh, started typing and lost it. I’ll try again, but it’ll be shorter… In any event, I’ve done lots of these lately from the other side (upper level associate already in a decent-sized, by my estimation, city). Please (please!) ask lots of questions about the legal community, other firms, and practicing in general in that city. And please be an active participant in the conversation. I have done one of those, in particular, lately where the person did not ask a single follow up or try to engage me at all, which rubbed me the wrong way. Also, I don’t know exactly what you mean by “decent sized,” but please know that unlike NYC, most of the the rest of the country does not actively recruit someone with your level of experience unless they have a niche practice (which it sounds like you do) or they have some book of business. It might not be fair, and I’m not trying to be harsh, but it’s true. As an 8th year, even if they dock you a year or two for being a lateral, you’re still really expensive to come in and just work other people’s cases.

      • Not harsh at all, I totally get it. Luckily I do have a pretty specialized practice so I think that’s why some firms are interested, but I am aware that I am pretty senior at this point and therefore expensive. Thanks for the advice!

        • A Litigator. :

          A little more specific, one question that another person asked, that I liked, was: Who else should I contact/meet? The person on the ground may know of other people who are hiring or just others in the community to whom you should reach out.

          • This, definitely. Plus:
            Are there local bar associations focused on this practice area or other specialty-practice specific groups in the area?

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I wish I had asked this question a week ago, it would have been helpful. Replying to subscribe to the answers.

    • Richard Bolles’ “What Color Is Your Parachute?” has a great, detailed section on informational interviewing, complete with a suggested general approach and lots of suggested questions to ask. If you don’t have a copy, maybe check your local library (or buy it on Kindle)? You don’t have to have the most updated edition; his section on informational interviewing is carried over between editions without much change that I can see.

  8. I assume some people read the WSJ article Kat posted earlier – I can’t believe Marisa Mayer works 90 hours a week. Fits in well with the discussion from this morning. Americans place too much emphasis on quatity of work and not enough on quality of life…

    Just stating my shock. If that is what it takes to be successful in the private sector, I am not interested.

    • Word. I’m wondering if the tide will turn once the boomers retire and the younger generations are in more leadership positions. I am interested in leadership roles and think I’d be good at them, but at 31, my mindset is shifting to no way, no how, not worth it, if it means following the current norms for getting there. Better to stay in my specialized role and be happy than rise to the top and not have a life.

    • This happened in marketing a long time ago, and finally seemed to curtail a little bit. Basically, it was a race to the bottom: Who could drop their price the lowest? Who could stay open the longest? Since customers didn’t actually need these features, or the companies couldn’t make a profit, they returned to normal pricing and “normal” hours (except for like, 24-hour fast food or Wal-Marts). Hopefully the same will happen with jobs. We really don’t need people working 70-100 hours a week, and the pay to sell your soul like that will eventually make it so that companies can’t pay THAT many people to do it. Then you’ll end up with just the 1%, like Kontraktor mentioned, and the rest of us can have better hours at reasonable pay. HOPEFULLY that will happen anyways, but my generation is definitely not up for being chained to a desk until we’re 65-70, and we’re definitely more about product than face-time. If I finish my work in less than 8 hours a day, I should be allowed to go home. Or, complete all my work for the week in 40 hours in 4 days, then I get a 3-day weekend. Either way, the old manufacturing-style scheduling is pretty silly in jobs that don’t require you to be in the office to be productive.

    • If working 90 hours a week was all it took to be as wildly successful as Marissa Mayer, I’d do it in a heartbeat and retire at 40.

      • Always a NYer :

        This x100.

      • I’ve done it, and I regret to tell you it hardly ever leads to retiring at 40. If only because people who keep it up long enough are not the type to retire at all :-). Think heart attack at 50 instead.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      100% agree and can’t help but feel lazy because of it. I’m not sure if this is an American thing, or a first generation college person thing, or just a general type A over achiever thing, but lately my desire to “work hard” has been sorely lacking, and my desire to live well has taken over. And when I read articles like this, or spend time with my Biglaw friends, I feel like the laziest bum who ever lived. But maybe that’s my hang up to get over, and I should start waiting on the world to change…

    • I was mulling this issue over this afternoon myself. There has to be more to life than just sacrificing your entire life to your job, right? Otherwise, what’s the point?

      Of course, I feel lazy and like I am doomed never to make anything of myself if I don’t adjust my attitude. Perhaps I am feeling especially fatalistic today.

      • More to the point with regard to Marissa Mayer, I know myself well enough to know that a week off every six months would not be enough for me to sustain that kind of pace (and, as she says, remain civil to her co-workers). I often find I become ill when I try to ramp things up too much. So, maybe some of us just aren’t cut out for the high-achiever lifestyle. Kanye shrug?

        • Kanye shrug for sure. I also have found that, the higher up in “management” you go, the less time you actually do doing your job. The more time you spend in meetings. The managing partner of my old firm barely practiced law anymore.

          I think this is one of those things that sort of comes with the new-wave feminism as well. When my mom’s generation was coming through the ranks, they thought absolutely they could have it all. They’d work and take over the world and have families and make it work. And as she told me, a lot of them hit a wall. I think as the daughter of that experience, I feel like I need to at least think about balance early on. Both for my physical and mental health. And I think a lot of people my age think so too.

          Its a rare breed that can carry on 90 hour work weeks for extensive periods. They tend to be surgical residents/attendings, CEOs/CFOs/COOs, or managing partners/high earning partners at big firms. I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m not likely to be any of those. And I think I’m okay with that.

          • I did it for 5 years as a resident. It was extremely hard on my marriage and my mental health (not to mention I wasn’t making much money, so was less able to outsource some things). For me, the pay off of 5 years was worth it — I now do a job I love, work 4 days a week, make way more than then average American and feel really grateful. I couldn’t have done it unless there was a firm, fixed, bright light at the end of the tunnel.

          • This!

          • I was seconding TCFKAG, not EC MD, here :)

    • PTOOEY!

    • I’d be interested to hear more from others who’ve done this kind of load before (thank you EC MD). What motivates you ? How do you make it work ?

      For myself and my contemporaries who work at this pace, the primary motivation is usually a sense of achievement rather than money. It’s worked for me because my husband is in a related area – his support and interest are a big source of energy for me, and more practically, we often mix client and social stuff to spend time together.

  9. Idea for a question for the hive: Please share your best/favorite/most amazing trick related to fashion, clothes, shopping, etc. I’ll share mine which I used this morning: To remove deodorant marks from clothing use a balled up pair of panty hose. Just wipe the marks with the hose. The fabric does wonders, easily and quickly removing pesky white marks.

    What’s your trick?

    • Research, Not Law :

      I store sheet sets folded and put inside one pillowcase. That way they are all together when I need them and are easier to stack neatly.

      • Every time I read about storing sheet sets, I marvel at the fact that people own more than one set per bed. We have 2 bedrooms and each bed has one set of sheets – remove, wash, remake bed. No storage. Maybe I am not nearly as grown up as I thought I was….

        • I’m the same way. I have 2 sets for the master bedroom only because I was gifted a nice set and couldn’t bear the thought of it sitting on a shelf for years. But really, it was just fine when I had only one.

        • I don’t have time to do laundry on weekdays, and our laundry room closes at 10pm. If I only had one set, I’d be screwed whenever the cat decides to puke on the bed, shark week begins unexpectedly, I fall asleep with lipstick on, etc.

          • This. We send laundry out and so having just one set would be impossible.
            And I do the same thing with my sheets.

            For deodorant stains, rubbing the fabric against itself also works.

          • Oh, and baby wipes remove deodorant stains like a charm. It’s magic.

        • Anoneymouse :

          I have two -but one’s flannel, fantastic for my freezing cold feet in winter.

        • I have two and swap them when I change the bed. Honestly, it’s so hard to find the color of sheets that I like in my bedroom (periwinkle) that I always buy two when I find them.

        • Research, Not Law :

          We have four sets for our bed (two sateen, two flannel), two sets for toddler bed, and two sheets for crib. We also have a set for the futon for guests and a set for the camper. Even without the spares, we’d still be storing those most of the time. We’d also have the out-of-season sheets to store.

          I used to think having spare sheets was frivolous, too, but it’s simply easier with two kids. It’s easy to have them occupied long enough to strip and remake the bed. But getting the chance to strip, process them through laundry, and then remake – in order! – in the same day takes dedication, focus, and good deal of luck. Nothing’s more sad than working a full day, getting dinner on the table while simultaneously having some degree of quality time with everyone, putting the kids to bed, doing the dishes and prepping the next day, only to finally be able to crawl into bed… and realizing your sheets are still in the washer and you can’t run the dryer without waking the kids. And then there’s the nights when one kid wets the bed or mornings the baby has a poo explosion on your bed 5 minutes before you all have to be out the door.

          LOL, so yeah, I suppose it is a measure of grown-up-ness ;)

          • Anoneymouse :

            Oh absolutely. My friends have just started having kids, and I’m constantly struck by how DIRTY the little darlings are! When I babysit, I end up changing their clothes at least once, and I usually go straight home and take a shower. How did people keep babies even remotely clean before washing machines??

          • Research, Not Law :

            Oh my gosh, so true. I wonder that, too! There was a period of time with baby#2 was a newborn when we were literally creating dirty laundry faster than we could wash it.

        • Marie Curie :

          I have about a million sheet sets, none of which I bought myself. (Got them from my mother and grandmother when they moved out and didn’t need them. Apparently my family likes buying sheet sets because I bet there are several that have never been used.) I like being able to rotate and having back-up in case I get some stains on the ones currently in use. My boyfriend, then again, only has one.

        • I have a favorite sheet set. I’d love to use them all the time, but I don’t want them to wear out (elastic)! So we rotate so the “good” set lasts.

        • Sometimes you have unexpected guests, and no time to do the laundry in front of them. Two sets at least.

    • Newspaper for wiping down greasy kitchen surfaces. I discovered this a few weeks ago when my hubby made one of his rare incursions into the kitchen, left frying oil splattered all over but then cleaned up after himself with this neat trick learnt from his mechanic.

    • If your shoes get wet….stuff them full of newspaper and leave overnight. They will be completely dry in the morning.

      This works especially well for running shoes which would otherwise take forever to drive.

    • Merabella :

      This isn’t clothing related… But I was so excited when I found this out. You can make bacon in the oven. You put it in a cold oven, turn the heat up to 400 degrees and set a timer for 12-20 minutes depending on the amount and presto perfectly crispy bacon. This has saved me on Sunday mornings when I’m making pancakes – the bacon is finished almost exactly when I am finished flipping all the pancakes. I am sad I didn’t know about this years ago.

  10. Looking for a new work bag in the range of $150-250. Suggestions? I’m having trouble finding something I am excited about. Thanks!

    • What style do you want? A traditional tote? Something more fun?

      For traditional totes I will, for (I admit) the millionth time, recommend Jack Georges. But for something more fun, we’ll probably need more guidance.

      • For something more fun, I love this lemon color for summer.


      • Maybe something more fun? I am not in a super conservative environment, so that is not a concern. I tend to like nylon bags because leather can be so heavy. Doesn’t need to be a traditional tote – just big enough to carry folders/notebook for meetings. Am looking at Jack Georges now…

        • Is this Dooney & Burke big enough. Because its certainly fun!


        • I also like this Fossil one, which comes in all sorts of fun colors, and is on the lower end of your budget.


      • There’s also a red version of the same bag. Bit more expensive though.


    • I adore my Lo and Sons bag, I think Kat recommended/reviewed them ages ago.

      • I’ve been looking at those! Glad to hear you like them.

        • Yes, 1 bag that can fit computer, shoes, lunch/snacks, random electronics, and purse essentials all in seperate pockets, and still be organized and not weigh a ton (which I think happens with leather bags, personal opinion) has my devotion.

          • Anoneymouse :

            Which bag did you get? I’m looking at the O.M.G. in Cobalt Blue -gorgeous! I used to be a firmly leather bag gal, but I have a bad habit of carrying a book, notebook, laptop, lunch, and two chargers, and my shoulders have been scolding me like a Jewish babushka who really only wants what’s best for me. It helps that I’m seeing a lot nicer looking nylon bags than the dowdy ones my mom used to carry.

          • Charmed Girl :

            I have the OMG and really like it. I’m only 5’2″ and it doesn’t overwhelm me, yet carries all my assorted stuff.

          • I have the OMG in black. I’m 5’8″, so being overwhelmed isn’t really a problem for me. Just make sure you check which size laptop will fit, anything over 15″ is probably a no-go with the OMG

  11. Does anyone have recommendations for cleaning cloths for the kitchen? I’ve bought several different types, but all of them seem to lack any absorbency and just mush liquid around rather than lifting it up. I don’t currently have any old clothes to turn into rags.

    • You could try buying a package of micro cloths. I have tons of them for dusting, washing the car, whatever. I can imagine they’d be good for the kitchen, too.

      • What brands have worked for you? I have some that are terrible.

        • They are ProForce from Sam’s. I think the first pack I had were better, but these are fine. I didn’t buy them. My SO loves to shop at Sam’s.

        • @zora – how’s work going? Any better?

          • oops. don’t know how that ended up here.

          • omg, NOLA you are the sweetest ever!! ive been so busy but ive been wanting to post all week just to thank you for all of your sympathy and advice last week, and then this!? wow, it is so nice to have an internet stranger looking out for me, i can’t even tell you how much I appreciate it.

            And things have still been completely crazy and i am still really stressed, thus the barely having time to visit the C-r e t t e, but everyone’s advice last week did help a little. And I have been sleeping better this week, so that has helped lessen the panic a little bit. But just thinking through my panic and thinking about what was going on in answer to some of your questions have helped me step away from it a little. And I think I am giving myself a little bit of a break, like you suggested…. Not a lot of one, b/c I am a crazy perfectionist, but a little bit of one…

            so, I’m getting thru the week, but I am trying to get more focused on finding another job so I can get out of here. So, thank you again NOLA, and everyone else who replied to me last week, and basically the whole hive for letting me vent here, and taking time to make me feel better. You are incredible.

          • It sounds like you’ve made a lot of progress! Sleeping is a great step. It’s also good to have an active personal life so you can completely get your head out of work when you come home. I was worried about you and hadn’t seen you post much recently, so I’m glad to hear from you.

    • Look in the auto section at Target or Costco – they have great ones that hold up!

    • Anon 3L - GRADUATED! :

      Are you using fabric softener when you wash them? If so, this might be the problem. Try washing the towels with detergent and a small cup of vinegar and see if the towels work better.

      • I’ve never used fabric softner in my life, but I use a shared washer in my building so I wonder if there is buildup. I’ll try the vinegar next time, maybe it’ll help.

        Thanks everyone!

        • Flylady! Don’t own any so perhaps I’ve been swayed by the hype, but based on her idea I switched to microfibre which works way better IMHO.
          Also, I soak mine overnight in detergent before the standard wash.
          Hope that helps!

  12. you all know who I am anyway :

    Sending out the ‘R e t t e bat-symbol:

    I work at a small law firm (approximate a dozen attys, me + another female associate + female partner, all others male). I’ve been here six months. Female associate (I’ll call her “Nina”) is just over 5 months pregnant, we’ve all known she was pregnant since about 12 weeks, and everybody has said nothing but “congratulations!”.
    Yesterday at lunch several blocks from my office I see Nina in her car crying – not in the work parking lot. Today, turns out the story is that she met with managing partner, other partner and female partner to present her plan for when she is out on maternity leave/in case something happens and she leaves earlier, the managing partner, in this perfectly friendly tone, but like he’s surprised she would even ask, says “we don’t offer maternity leave. You have 13 days of leave right now, so by the time you give birth you should have just over three weeks saved up.” Nina is in shock, other partners totally back her up, she says something about not physically being able to return to work, disability leave, and partners say “We don’t offer disability leave to anyone, so we’re not offering it to you.” Basically the meeting ends with them saying, we’re so happy you’re having a baby, we’ll fire you if you’re out more than three weeks. There was implication that there are plenty of people looking for work who will not take two months off. State law seems to support proposition that so long as small employer treats everyone the same, including giving disability leave to no one, than they are not required to provide disability leave for pregnancy, either.

    I’m sort of in shock. This firm has always seemed very family-friendly, and while the lesson here would be to negotiate for maternity leave before accepting a position, we can’t unspill that milk. I have no idea how Nina is at her desk today (except that God forbid she’s going to take a day off).
    And second, I’m 6 weeks pregnant. And nobody at work knows.

    • Holy crap on a cracker! What are you going to do?

    • In order, my thoughts are:

      1) That s*cks, and I’m sorry (for Nina and for you).

      2) Start looking for a new job.

      3) I hope this doesn’t make me a terrible person, but did she just assume that she was going to get maternity leave/disability leave? If that wasn’t explicitly in the benefits package (which, again, s*cks), then I’m not sure why she expected it? My understanding has always been that if your workplace isn’t covered by FMLA, then your employer can give you as much or as little maternity leave as it wants to, which can include zero.

      • This was my first thought. It is so, so naive to go into a meeting to discuss matenity leave without knowing what the maternity leave is. Its so naive that it makes me wonder if there isn’t more to the story. Like let’s say you did have maternity leave, 8 weeks. Like she going to walk in and start talking about being out for 11 weeks? I don’t understand having that big of a disconnect to not ask about the maternity leave, before discussing your plans for maternity.

        but second, that’s awful. I kind of think the other partners might try to talk him about of it. because its so bad, and allow her to have unpaid leave

        • Its a bit naive. But its also a total DOOSH move on the part of the firm. I don’t understand why they won’t even work with her on unpaid leave, unless they really don’t value her at all as an employee.

          • Word. Unpaid leave + contract helpers = problem solved. Sounds to me like they don’t care.

        • It may be naive, but a lot of things that shouldn’t be secret are secret in SmallLaw. So it’s understandable.

          • Im finding the meeting part naive, not as much the not knowing the policy. The calling a meeting about maternity leave, and then finding out about the no maternity leave, is what is so weird to me.

          • But a lot of small firms don’t even have policies. It’s all laissez faire.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Some places, particularly small firms have this front that “you will get whatever you need, we have no formal policies” procedure where someone might not demand to know maternity leave in writing. My firm gives me 4 weeks vaca and sick whenever I’m sick but I never asked about maternity. I know we don’t have short term disability but we do have long term. Not sure if maternity would fall under “sick” since those are essentially unlimited, again “so long as not abused” aka, at the employer’s discretion.

        We are finally creating a staff policy manual for leave (for assistants and paras) and I’m going to suggest they include a maternity leave provision in it. Then I’ll at least get an idea where there head is if I ever need it.

        • I agree with both Anon and Blonde Lawyer. Yes, she should have known that a company that small doesn’t need to comply with FMLA and negotiated for maternity leave, BUT… I don’t know if it would have crossed my mind to negotiate for it because I would have just assumed ‘of course I can take maternity leave!’, especially if a small firm holds itself out as a really flexible place to work.

      • I don’t think she (or myself) assumed we were getting 12 weeks of paid leave like BigLaw, but she went in with the plan of requesting 6-8 weeks unpaid leave, assuming everything went right.

        I think maybe part of this is working for a small firm, in a very small city, that doesn’t have a separate HR department. But also, when I interviewed with this firm a year ago, I had no plans to get pregnant any time soon and it just didn’t occur to me to negotiate for maternity leave years before I might need it. (Life changed in a big way in the interim.) That’s it. It just didn’t occur to me. Like how the importance of health insurance did register in my brain in college, but now we pick jobs based on health insurance.
        And it was apparent that the firm was family-friendly in other ways, and since the female partner joined this firm from another past her child-bearing years, and so Nina is basically the first pregnancy the firm’s had in the past decade.

        • Yeah, I did the same thing. Joined a small “family friendly” firm as a single girl with no family plans in mind, never even once thinking about maternity leave. 2 years in, find myself married and unexpectedly pregnant, and was in the awkward position of walking into the partner’s office and asking what kind of maternity policy they planned to make up on the spot. In retrospect, yes, naive. At the time, I had no option. Partners need to know, though, that when they’re making up their new “policy” on the spot, other employees are watching. Morale matters. (Not that law partners usually have much sense about HR matters…)

          • When I interviewed at the firm I am with now, there was an associate who was ~6 months pregnant. She was the first pregnant attorney the firm had ever had (it’s only been around ~10 years). So, the partners were at a loss as to what to do. They knew that secured leave in our state is only 3 weeks, but obviously, that’s not acceptable. The staff goes out on Short Term Disability, and they get 8 weeks of having their job held open for them. But, they didn’t know what to do with attorneys, who still have active case loads, etc. They ended up offering her a flex leave option, and she came back after 12 weeks.

            So, the partners I was interviewing with used this as a way to tell me 1) The other attorney has already been the guinea pig for maternity leave and 2) We really are going to work something out that’s fair for everyone, even if it’s a new thing for us.

            So yes, the other people in the firm are watching, and it does make a difference.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Wow, won’t she have to wind up taking some of her leave way before the baby comes for doctor appointments and stuff like that?

      I don’t have any advice for you, but I’m so sorry you are going to have to deal with the same thing.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Wow. Seriously??? I’m sorry for you and Nina. That’s incredible. I have no words other than its despicable. Or naive? I don’t even know how they could reasonably expect someone with a 3-wk old to come back to work.

    • Equity's Darling :

      My jaw is open with shock. And I feel super bad for you.

      The US really needs to reform their parental leave system.

    • That is awful. I think I’d be looking for new work, immediately.

    • Two cents :

      This is insane. I’m sorry that you and Nina have to work for a firm that evidently has policies that are in the dark ages. Yes, I know that no firm is obligated to give you maternity leave (which is also ridiculous) but 13 days??? I mean, come on. I don’t have kids yet but even I know that there is no way that someone can possibly come back to work 2 weeks after giving birth and attempt to be productive.

      Can she have a talk with one of the more sympathetic partners and see if anything can be done? What about the option of taking leave even if unpaid, with the security of having a job when she returns? I also echo other comments that you need to look for another job. Posts like this make me feel sad that I live in the US sometimes!!

    • I think it would be actually impossible to go back to work two weeks after having a baby. Like, physically impossible. I can’t believe that there are no anti-discrimination laws that cover not firing someone for being physically unable to work, but I’ll take your word for it.

      My gut reaction is that you and Nina need to find new jobs, stat.

      Beyond that, it seems like the partner has no f-ing clue what giving birth entails and is a sexist old b-stard. I think you and Nina should go to the woman partner and speak to her. Assuming she has kids, she’ll understand the predicament right away; even if she doesn’t, she probably doesn’t want to lose all of the women associates. Hopefully she’ll have a come to Jesus with the partner who wants to fire you. If not, then my gut reaction advice goes double.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        You wouldn’t believe the discrimination places can get away with if they don’t fall under the definition of “employer” by state or federal standards. It is defined by number of employees and lots of places deliberately stay one employee below the cut off for just that reason.

        • I seriously did a little happy dance when my firm decided to hire a second paralegal, putting us under the umbrella of at least the state and city discrimination laws. Still no FMLA or Title VII, but I’ll take what I can get.

      • Word. I’m with E.

    • So rereading it again, it sounds like Nina totally sprung this meeting on them right? like I said I do think its crazy to call a meeting, start discussing something that you should not assume you have. So I actually think the partner, who is a doosh, just said how he felt. From a public relations/liability standpoint, I think all the partners will convice him to offer unpaid leave for 8 weeks. its awful but I think there is a chance it will work out.

      in the meantime, yes id start looking for another job stat, or get nina in your corner and start researching lawsuit stuff. Cuz the partner is saying that people would not get to come back if they got cancer, a bad car accident, etc and I got to believe everyone is feeling that it is awful

      • I want to clarify – she definitely did not spring this meeting on them. When the general pregnancy announcement was made a few months ago, it was stated openly that she’d meet with them when it became closer and projects were more materialized to handle delegation, etc. This was definitely a planned, on the calendar, Wednesday at 10AM meeting.

        So it’s more like they researched and covered their bases? Maybe I’m just feeling the shock and anger as well right now.

        Also, Blonde Lawyer above is right – being a small employer exempts you from 99% of the discrimination laws.

    • anon here :

      My small office is currently pulling something similar for a pregnant coworker. It didn’t help that she was an inefficient worker pre-pregnancy and so even before her pregnancy, people were not inclined to be generous with her and there were already rumblings in senior management of “why was this person hired?” She negotiated mat leave before she started (firm did not have a mat leave policy in place) and it was reasonably generous.

      Now she is pregnant and had some issues re: pain. She took several days/half days off for appointments and senior management told her she would need to go on short term disability if she was going to take so many days. She has not been into work (told she should not come back) but her doctor is hesitating on signing off on disability so the firm has decided if the doc doesn’t sign off, they will stop paying her as she has used all her vacation days thus far so cannot take more time off without financial penalty (she is the sole earner – her husband is unemployed). Additionally, she will not be able to use these vacation days for mat leave (since she has used them in pregnancy) so the negotiated mat leave will be 4 weeks of disability at 1/2 pay, rather than 8 weeks of vacation + disability at full pay.

      …sucks. I echo the suggestions to look for a new job, if you are able.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        The firm or the doctor said don’t come back to work? If the firm, sounds like they are trying to get out of their contract w/ her which might give her a cause of action even if they are small.

        • anon here :

          Firm said you’re missing too much work, you can’t come back (I have no idea if she had the days or was just taking days and hoping no one was keeping track, though) — I agree she may have a case but don’t know if she will pursue it. The whole thing makes me glad I will be out of here by the time I’m ready for kids.

          Granted, I don’t think they would be acting this way if she had been a valued employee pre-pregnancy. But it’s still incredibly DOOSHY and I don’t like watching it happen.

      • Anonymous :

        I hate to be blunt, and this part is not helpful to you now (but may be for others who are not yet pregnant) but you and Nina should have come to a clear understanding as to maternity leave before trying to get pregnant (if you were trying). As others have pointed out, you can never assume you will receive certain optional benefits, especially ones that can greatly affect the revenue of a small firm. Is the firm insensitive? Yes. But, every woman intending to have children needs to address the temporal and financial considerations before you get pregnant.

        Now for the potentially helpful part: I worked for a small firm who essentially did not offer maternity leave. The partner wanted me back in 4 weeks, UNPAID. We evetually came to an agreed arrangement where I would work from home and earn some paid leave. I think you can still negotiate, especially over time. Let the idea sink in, and work with your firm to come to a compromise (keeping in mind they are not required to provide you with any leave, paid or unpaid). But, if you are a good employee who adds value to the firm, especially long term, you have some leverage. Try to be creative to come up with a resolution you both can live with (i.e. working from home, half hours, having a position to come back to, etc.) . If they don’t want to negotiate, you and Nina need to find another job anyway.

        • I kind of disagree; if you go through life expecting people who have shown no signs of being evil to suddenly do evil things, it’s going to be pretty difficult for you. (If they show a propensity to this kind of abhorrent behavior then you have to adjust, but . . . .)

          • “Evil”? It’s not evil to enforce a policy evenly. Does it suck for people who choose to have children at this firm? You bet. But it’s not evil.

        • I disagree. If the firm doesn’t have a policy, are you really going to ask the partners what the policy is before trying to conceive? I’m guessing a small firm like this doesn’t have HR or similar.

    • I agree. Alot of men are such shovineists sometimes. This COULD be a legal violation. I sugest she go to LEGAL AID OR THE FEDERAL guy’s, and ask them if they know anything about the MATERNITY leave benefit’s.

      I would ALSO tell the firm that you will make all of this PUBLIC if they do NOT let her have LEAVE and benefit’s.

      FOOEY on men who do NOT give us benefit’s but who want us to have their babie’s for them. FOOEY!

      If I have a baby, the manageing partner had darn better give me leave and benefit’s, after all I DO for the firm.

      • “FOOEY on men who do NOT give us benefit’s but who want us to have their babie’s for them.”

        Rarely do I agree with Ellen, but I have to say, hear, hear!

    • Cheap bastards. I work at a small firm with no maternity policy and they are essentially offering the same accomodations that larger firms offer, and I know of other small firms that are the same way. It was not even an issue. Nina is in a tough place – if she has finances to cover the gap, she should look for a job now that will start in a few months and just quit the firm. She can’t go back after getting screwed like that. If I were you I would try to do the same – maybe apply for a clerkship or something (assuming you’re only a couple years out of law school) that would start after a few months after your baby is due. It’s still early for you to make hard plans (I’m the paranoid type that refused to shop for baby clothes until my little fetus was viable), but make plans to quit this job, have your baby and some time off, and then start a new one. And get the word out about that firm so others don’t end up in the same situation. You are a salaried professional – it is a fair assumption that you would get maternity leave as part of a benefits package. It’s not yours (or Nina’s) fault that you girls are in this situation.

      • On further thought, does your state have disability leave? If you have any type of complicated birth, it may kick in, requiring your employer to give you time off. In my state, C-sections and episiotomies and the like are considered complications – just need your doctor to give you a note. Then the firm would be forced to at least give you (or Nina) that bit of extra time off.

        And if you’re friendly with the clients that you work with, when you tell them that you are leaving the firm, tell them that it’s because the firm offers no maternity leave and you have no other choice, and that you’re sad to not be helping them with their case/business/etc. anymore. Your firm deserves to have that be part of their reputation.

        • c-sections and episiotomies and the like”? I beg your pardon, but having had a couple episiotomies in my day, never a c-section, but laparoscopic surgery touted as much less invasive than the old way, I do not believe a c-section is “like” an episiotomy in any way other than that a sharp instrument is used.

          • Kontraktor :

            I think “and the like” was meant to note “and other birth related medical issues that can require longer healing times like c-sections and tears.” I don’t think this comment was meant to say they were the same? Just that some states have laws classifying *birth related complications* (such as tears and c-sections and other issues) as medical conditions that make a person elligible for certain disability classifications.

      • She definitely should NOT quit while pregnant if her insurance is through her employer. Even if she found a new job, she might not become covered by their policy immediately. She could use COBRA, but it’s normally pretty expensive.

        • Agreed – that’s important if she doesn’t have a partner’s health insurance that she can get on. I also like the idea below of making them fire you instead so you can get unemployment (not sure how that works, but sounds worth checking out).

    • I currently work at a small firm and I really feel for you and Nina. You can’t exactly ask about maternity leave before accepting an offer at a small firm because you run the risk of them pulling your offer if they think you’re going to get pregnant soon. And often small firms don’t even have policies (because they’ve never had to deal with it) or basically are like “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.” Good luck to you both! While your employer certainly doesn’t have to give you maternity leave and you’re not eligible for FMLA leave, I am wondering if you would be covered by ADA? I can’t remember if pregnancy is a disability for which they have to grant accommodations or not…

      • I was the first (and last) attorney at my old firm (15 attys give or take) to ever go on maternity leave. They had no vacation or time off policy for the attorneys. The only thing I had to go on was the office manual for the staff that stated they got 6 weeks unpaid. Luckily, I sort of had them over a barrell in that I was not easily replaced at that point and they let me have have 8 weeks paid (6 weeks of maternity leave and 2 weeks of phantom vacation time since I had not taken any time off that year). Otherwise, it could very well have gone the way it did at the OP’s firm because they too were just that Dooshy and cared not for their reputation. I do think that if you asked about maternity leave up front during interviews or hiring at most firms that size, they would just move on to the next candidate (at least my old firm would have).

    • Did they explicitly say she couldn’t use any unpaid leave? If I were her, I’d float the idea of using her 3 weeks paid plus 3 weeks unpaid. If they still say no, I’d be looking for another job (both of you).

      minor math question- 3 weeks leave is really 15 days. If she has 13 now, you’re saying she’s only going to earn 2 more days in 4 months? As in you earn 6 vacation days a year and no specific sick leave? That’s awful.

      For those saying she’s naive… I could see someone reasonably not knowing FMLA wouldn’t apply, assuming they don’t read this blog or practice employment law. It’s easy to overlook the small business exception.

      • It’s accrued at the rate of a day per month, so just over 3 weeks.

        And yes, they explicitly said they would not offer an unpaid leave option.

        • You get 12 days of sick/vacation time a year? combined? or is it 12 and 12? this all sounds terrible!

          • That’s how it is at my firm too except you don’t accrue any vacation until you’ve been here for 6 months and sick leave is approved at the boss’ discretion. He gave a male associate who has been here for 5 years crap for taking 3 days of his accrued vacation at Christmas. The associate is a machine when he’s here. My boss just thinks we are here to work for him and he’s paying us to work, not take vacation. But I knew this going in which is why I’ve been looking for a new job the entire time I’ve had this one…

          • 12 days is more than I’ll get at my job for the foreseeable future.

    • Anon in ATX :

      OMG My heart almost stopped for you when I read the end of your post! I would second the advice to approach the female partner. Maybe you can use Nina to feel out her thoughts on the topic. Also, job hunting ASAP seems perfectly reasonable. On a similar note, we had a JP court judge here make the paper recently for forcing a solo attorney to bring her newborn infant to court b/c he would not grant her a continuance based on the fact that she was on maternity leave! (of course, the judge was a man) What is wrong with this world!! Sorry, no real advice, but I’m sending lots of sympathy and good vibes your way.

      • meh…I heard about that newborn/no continuance thing, and there’s a lot more to that story.

    • Kontraktor :

      This makes me sick. I am so, so sorry. I 100% agree with everybody’s suggestions for both of you (look for a new job ASAP and see if there is any way unpaid leave could be negotiated).

      This makes me feel SO much better I rejected an offer at a small boutique firm that didn’t really have a formal maternity leave policy and all other leave (in addition to losing anything usused at the end of the year without compensation) could only be taken if “business needs allowed.” Well WTH does that mean? Apparently it means things like this can and do happen. I have zero plans to have children any time soon but like the OP, I was thinking about it in a broader, what if scenario.

      I just want to give you both a hug and pick you new job fruit from the magical new job tree.

    • I am as surprised as everyone that she is not allowed some unpaid leave (say, 6-8 weeks). I think if she expected paid leave, I would say that was naive of her. This isn’t France or Canada.

      I can’t help but think that there is something more to this story. It really doesn’t strike me as credible that an employee of an otherwise pleasant-to-work-for firm went in to a planned meeting to discuss something like this and they basically said, nope, you can’t stay home on your own dime for 2 months, it will be cheaper for us to hire a replacement and then to train that replacement to figure out all your cases. It just seems off.

      But what I would do in that case, if I were her, is stay on as long as possible, take my 13 days or whatever it is, and let them fire me if unpaid leave was unacceptable. Then I would see if I could file for unemployment. Not sure how that would work exactly, but I would at least look into it. I would also look into short term disability insurance. I think Lyssa had some helpful info on that point in an earlier discussion. And, yes, I would look for another job at some point, too.

      • AIMS this is what I was thinking to. It just seems so weird to go into the meeting about maternity leave, and then find out there isn’t any leave, even unpaid. It is so weird that I feel something must be missing, or that the other partners living on planet earth will talk to the managing partner.

      • That’s why she/we are so blindsided – everybody has acted like her being pregnant was great, everyone is happy.

        Evidently in the meeting they acted like she’d asked for her own unicorn transport system rather than unpaid leave. We work at at a firm that talks up family all the time, lets people go to doctor’s appts, their existing kids’ awards program at school, etc without so much as a second look, so it really was surprising when this happened.
        Also, it was her + 3 partners, and the partners were all in agreement.

        Maybe she’s gone crazy, but she’s always been a good attorney and a reliable person before this. I can’t think of any issues with her work performance – and believe me, I’ve been trying to all day.

        • Not saying she is crazy, but is there any chance she is leaving something out of the story, perhaps even unintentionally? If your firm is otherwise flexible with these things, I just don’t see how they anticipated that she would only take 13 days off.

        • Kontraktor :

          Does her husband have a job? Is she the sole earner in the family? For this I will assume her husband is working/she is not the sole earner. My thoughts would change otherwise.

          If there is truly zero chance of unpaid leave and it really is going to be after 3 weeks she is fired, I would do a couple of things.
          1) See if insurance coverage can be moved to her husband before the baby is born. Sometimes you can do this, sometimes not. If no, usually insurance will allow you to make changes to your policy at a qualifying life event like the birth of a baby. But I would start researching what his insurance policies are and how and when she and the baby might be able to transfer to that insurance. I agree that she shouldn’t quit before the baby is born if there is no way of getting insurance to cover the rest of the pregnancy and birth.
          2) Research whether or not she can get unemployment benefits if she is fired. At this point, I would say assuming that the baby is healthy, the best bet is to take the days of paid leave and then get ‘fired’ because of not coming back, but probably this would only be moderately okay if she could get unemployment benefits in case it takes awhile for her to find a job.
          3) If she cannot get unemployment if she is fired, I would tell her to start super super saving up and stockpile as much as possible for when the baby comes. Then, I would tell her to start going on mad job hunts now, basically with a target start date of 6 weeks/whatever time after the baby is born. This way, she has at least started networking and planning to essentially lose this job.
          4) Research state disability laws to see what protections she might have if there are complications related to the birth. I wonder if she might even be able to have a consultation with a lawyer who specializes in employment law to just bounce ideas of/see if there are any legal protections available to her here.

          Some other ideas on how to help with this situation if she can’t really consider getting fired
          -any way to ask for work from home time for a couple of weeks? or even 75% time coming back after 3 weeks?
          -could she bring up (one commenter’s) point about it being inefficient to train somebody totally new in only 6 weeks? could she try to talk to one of the partners who might seem a smidge more sympathetic and revisit the issue?
          -any way she could negotiate to not have to take vacation time for doctor’s appointments or pregnancy related sick days? I might try to harp on this one. If they are essentially forcing her to bank 100% of her leave, surely they might be accomodating and let her use free/discretionary leave to take care of appointments and minor health ailments until the baby is born? you suggest your firm allows this contingency leave for other children related things

        • Are you sure they don’t just want to get rid of Nina? Maybe she sucks at her job… because it seems so weird otherwise, based on your description of the place.

      • The problems I see with this is that in most states that would be considered job abandonment, and thus she would be ineligible for unemployment. If it was viewed as her being unable to return to work because of the proximity to giving birth, then she is unable to work and thus ineligible for unemployment. It’s a shame but UI rules are NOT friendly to pregnant/new mothers. Some states (i.e. New York) do mandate short term disability insurance though.

        • Makeup Junkie :

          Yep – stealth layoff and if she is fired for job abandonment, the firm can get out of paying unemployment.
          I agree with the other poster that said to find a new job and tell clients that you’re leaving because the firm doesn’t offer any maternity leave.

    • Oh, honey. Damn. That sounds really awful.

    • OP, that is such a hard situation both for you and Nina.

      It does sound like they want to get rid of Nina and if it’s not her performance, could it be that the firm needs to reduce staff due to lack of earnings or business problems? They might need to reduce staff and are taking a weird or easy way out. Or perhaps they were burned before by giving someone leave who didn’t return, and don’t want to go through that again? Not that I agree with their methods. Just some possibilities. Is there an office manager or long-term paralegal who might know the history?

    • With the caveat that this is not legal advice ;) . . .

      Your employer is probably well within its rights to do this, but it’s still a dooshy thing to do. Like other posters have suggested, there might be something else going on and they just don’t want Nina. While it may be true that there are plenty of hungry grads willing to work for nothing, new grads can be expensive to train. If she has years of experience, it doesn’t make sense that your partners would let a resource they have paid for go to waste by not letting her come back. Certainly, being business people, they understand the whole concept of ROI in human capital. And because I assume that business people know this, the fact that they are willing to let her not come back means, IME, they don’t want her, for whatever reason. Perhaps a legitimate reason, but they don’t feel comfortable terming her right now because she is pregnant.

      So, what I would do is this: I would scrutinize every employee absence over the past say, 5+ years and find comparators. Surely, someone has had to be out of the office for a medical reason (not for pregnancy, but a medical reason) when they did not have enough leave to cover it. Surely, someone has had a medical issue since the time this firm began??

      Also, are you sure that the partners really left it this way? Maybe they were trying to get her to realize that she was acting entitled to something and that she gave them no room to be generous?

    • Holy f* ck Batgirl! That’s bats*it crazy!

      A suggestion I don’t believe has been mentioned yet–pooled leave/vacation time. Would that be permitted, and are there enough people to contribute?

      As far as physically not being able to return to work: that’s not necessarily the case. I had NO maternity leave when DS was born, planned to take a week or two off and then get back in the classroom. When we came home from the hospital, I went straight to the computer. 5 days later, I was feeling, well, overwhelmed by the total responsibility that is motherhood, but physically ok. My mother noticed that the babe was looking yellow. I took him in to be checked out. He had jaundice, we had to check back into the hospital where he rested under a special light and every. two. hours. around the clock for a couple days they woke us up to nurse. When we got home, he had a special “blanket” with lights in it that he needed to be wrapped in. Long story short, I wound up being out for nearly 3 weeks. When I returned, my students gave me a round of applause. And I made it through the semester and the next, even taught summer school. Europeans have told me it’s “barbaric” that I was back to work so soon, but we made it. After the following year, though, I quit because I had to finish my diss and I wanted to get to know my kid.

      Parenting is hard. I suppose that if you’ve done menial labor before, that part would be easier, but that isn’t really the hardest thing. What really hits me is 1) there is no time off. If my child needs me, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing–working, having sex (HA! I’m a single mom & this doesn’t happen), grocery shopping –I’m on call. When I was a thousand miles away and he threw a fit, the babysitter called me. I rustled up a neighbor who could help and notified all the adults he’d deal with until I was home the next day. 2) you have full decision-making power for someone else’s life. What should you put in the diaper bag? Should you let him play peewee football? Take dance lessons? Who should care for him/her when you’re gone? What if that person doesn’t stick to part of the routine you’ve decided on? What do you clean up first: the sheets or the kid who just horked on them? It’s easy (for me, anyway) to let your mind run with the possible outcomes of each tiny decision. I say all this here to get to the point that parenting is always hard. You get used to it, but that doesn’t make it easier, and you can’t ever phone it in. It’s lousy not to have more time in the beginning, but you wouldn’t ease into it anyway. It will hit you like BAM! and be hard no matter what you do. Sorry, but that’s the truth. From my perspective any way.

      Good luck to you and Nina both! Share notes with each other, and maybe you’ll get a great friendship out of this.

    • This is awful. No advice, but just good luck!

      The US must be the only first world country with such rotten maternity leave policies. In Asia 12-16 weeks are pretty much standard, plus we have easy and cheap access to in-home Amahs or nannies…..

    • Could you pull the female partner aside to speak to her about this? Perhaps say something to the effect of: “Husband and I would like to have children in the foreseeable future. Nina told me the firm’s maternity policy is X. I’m concerned I may need to look elsewhere for employment if the maternity leave is so limited.” Don’t tell her you are pregnant, but let her know you have an interest in the maternity policy and consider the treatment of Nina unreasonable. As others have stated, it seems the firm does not care about keeping Nina as an employee, but it may be unrelated to her pregnancy. Perhaps the female partner (or a paralegal or legal assistant) can give you some insight.

      Also, for those of you that are shocked that small firms don’t have a maternity policy: my 60+ attorney firm doesn’t have a written maternity policy. I’ve been told the policy is we get 1 month paid leave per year we’ve been with the firm, but I don’t have that in writing. My husband and I will probably start TTC in the next six months and it is unnerving. My firm touts itself as family friendly, but is very male-dominated and most partners have wives who stay at home, which makes them out of touch with reality when it comes to single moms or homes where both parents work.

  13. I am buzzing because I just had a good interview with the exec director of a firm where I would love to work. I am supposed to come back next week to meet with some attys to see if I’d be a good fit. Assuming it goes well, does anyone have any tips on salary negotiation? I’m a junior lit associate coming from biglaw to a midsized firm (85 attys). If they offer me something that I can live with, should I still counter? TIA!!

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I offered up a salary negotiation packet on last weekend’s open thread (and I think there were a couple people who asked but I haven’t sent it yet, promise to get around to that). Give me your email and I’ll send it to you.

      • Thanks ChocCityB&R! Send it to SFMK330930 AT yahoo DOT com

      • Could you also send to els c p r ette AT gmail DOT com? (And eliminate spaces – I’m just trying to avoid moderation)

      • Could you also send to jessicah1004 @ yahoo .com (without spaces). I am hoping to be in this situation after my interview next week. Fingers crossed. Thank you!

      • Can you please also send it to CountChocula1244 at gmail dot com?? Many thanks!

    • RussiaRepeat :

      Yes you should counter–not countering is how women end up getting paid less than men. They probably aren’t going to open with the number that’s the highest they’d be willing to pay you. If they say it is the highest they can go (if they’re lockstep), negotiate perks like extra vacation, getting a full bonus even though you’ll only be working for them half the year, etc.

  14. I am reposting because it looks like my last post has disappeared into the ether. I’m saying this just in case it shows up later and I’ve posted the same thing twice.

    It looks like there are lots of services with regular employment law updates. What service do the employment lawyers out there use? I’m trying to figure out which to try to sign up for.

    • CA L&E atty :

      We subscribe to state and federal updates from HRlaws.com.

    • My firm practicss exclusively labor and employment law. We read BNA updates, and a lot of attorneys have westlaw email them updates.

  15. Two cents :

    Had my swearing in ceremony today for the bar. Attractive woman in front of me was wearing a SHORT SUIT. To the swearing in ceremony. Moreover, there were short shorts. :(
    Several of the speakers talked about how many folks are struggling to get jobs but that we should keep the faith, don’t lose hope, etc. When I see someone dressed so inappropriately to a courthouse event, I just wonder if she isn’t wearing something similar to an interview and if so, that would certainly explain why she was having a rough time. In a way I feel infuriated at her for not having common sense, and in a way I feel sad for her that she genuinely does not know better.

    • In the elevator in my building we have tv screens so people can stare at something other than each other. This week one of the fashion recommendations was to wear a shorts suit because it’s professional but will keep you cool and comfortable in the summer. Kid you not.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I think I may have seen this woman on the BART this morning. I don’t want to give out too many details to confirm or deny…but did she have long curly blonde hair? She was gorgeous, but I was simply shocked to see someone actually wearing a short suit in real life.

    • An unemployed former extern of my firm contacted hiring partner to see if he could work a year post grad as a law clerk. He knows we can’t hire another attorney right now but wants any job and hopes maybe in a year we could take him on as an attorney. Hiring partner agrees. Hiring partner schedules a lunch for him w/ some of the firm attorneys for today. He shows up in shorts, a t-shirt, backwards baseball cap and those preppy boat shoe things, shoe laces untied, dragging on the ground. We went to a fancy restaurant and had a fancy lunch, all in suits, and him. I just wanted to shake him. He worked here. He knows it is a suit up firm!

    • Choc – Nope, this wasn’t in the Bay Area.

      Re: the fashion recommendation, this is what genuinely worries me – that there are young women in their mid 20s who maybe have never worked in a professional environment and genuinely believe that a short suit with short shorts is appropriate for work because that is what the fashion blogs, magazines, TV shows recommend. However, the fact that every other person in that room was wearing a skirt suit or pants suit tells me that most of them have figured out, so why not her?

      Interestingly, my husband, who never notices what women wear, said to me aftewards – “why the heck was that girl wearing shorts to court?”

      • I just want to stick up for the mid-20s women, some of us do know better! I agree that it is unfortunate that the fashion mags recommend short suits, but surely someone who is smart enough to work in a professional environment can figure out that fashion magazines probably aren’t the best inspiration. Sigh, maybe I’m in the minority, but if nothing else, my mother would tell me that I didn’t look professional if I came out in a short suit for my first day of work! (married now, and husband would definitely be confused if I came out wearing any type of shorts for the office, even he knows that’s weird!)

        • Right, the fact that everyone else in the room wore the right suit (many of whom were in their mid 20s) means that we can’t blame her age. But, I see that the women who makes these mistakes all tend to be young women in their 20s, which makes me wonder if they just haven’t worked in a professional environment before.

    • I saw my first IRL short suit yesterday. It was complete with a platinum pouf of giant hair and an Elle Woods pink plasticy zebra stripe-y purse. I was dumbfounded.

    • Eh, is this really a big deal? I remember getting sworn in & it was a zoo, no one of consequence there & I only wore a suit because I was going back to the office that day. I remember seeing everything there — it was just an easy way to get all the paperwork done at once. On a Friday, if she wasn’t going back to work (or if she was, even in a casual office), who really cares . . .

      • Anonymous NYer :

        In my state, a swearing in ceremony is an official session of the 2nd highest court in the state, and suits are absolutely expected. In fact, both states I’m admitted in are that way. It may be more ceremonial, but it’s still an official session with presiding justices of the court, and someone has to make a motion to admit the class of soon-to-be-attorneys. You show up to that as you would to any formal hearing of the court in front of justices.

        I saw a bright coral colored suit in one of my ceremonies, but it was appropriate in every other way, and looked kinda kicky. Shorts? never appropriate as a suit, especially in a formal court session.

        • In my state I went to a tiny office downtown and the woman who worked at the front desk swore me in (I couldn’t make the actual ceremony). It was pretty anti-climactic.

  16. Francie Nolan :

    Ok Ladies I have a strange one for you,

    My Ex – Husband recently moved and I goggled his name and email to find out if he has a new phone number (we have a daughter together).

    There were a few posts about how I use his child support for vacations and home improvements. That ticked me off but is par for the course, then I stumbled upon something strange…there is a site created to get a car donated to him, but it says he is a single homeless woman with two kids and needs a car donated. It doesn’t list his name, just his email, I guess it would be possible that someone else has the same email, should I leave it or report it to the site?

    Seeing these things make me so made at my younger self for being so naive.

    • Weird. Also, I feel like I saw a website like this linked to facebook or something recently. Would have been really weird if that was secretly your ex-husband.

      All I can say is document, document, document in case there is ever an issue in court as to custody.

      • Francie Nolan :

        That would be strange, although even though I am in NYC he is in New England, so not entirely impossible. Over the years, I have documented this kind of crazy stuff, but this takes the cake. I will report it to the site.

        ACK! And reading my earlier post, made = mad

        • TCFKAG is in new england too! oh my gosh ahah what if she did see it!

          • You know, it might have been on Craigslist when I was looking at used car listings. But its gone now ( maybe got flagged?) That makes me giggle.

          • Francie Nolan :

            It would not really surprise me, the world is a small place

    • Report it; nobody else can have the same e-mail. They may be using his e-mail without permission, but either way, it should be reported to the site.

      • What do you mean by “the site”?
        The site that manages his email? The site the ad appears on?
        If it’s craigslist, then yes go ahead, they’ll take this one down. But likely the email site won’t do anything, and he’ll just advertise elsewhere.
        If you really mean to report it, it’s the police you should be reporting him to.
        But think again if a child is involved, he’s likely to find out who reported him, and he sounds insane and potentially dangerous (let’s not mention incompetent at covering his tracks minimally, that’s another issue).

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Does your name appear in the posts about how you use the child support money? If a potential employer were to Google you, would that come up? I’d be concerned about that as well.

      And yes, you should report it to the site as well. Nobody can have the same email, so it is either him, a typo, or someone hacked his email.

      • Francie Nolan :

        Good points Sydney….

        Thank goodness, he did not name me in the child support stuff. It just really makes me mad, I worked hard to get from where I was when I divorced him to the life I have now. It is cold comfort that only people that know him will know it is me he is spewing hate about me

        I knew that two of the same emails cannot exist, it was a sarcasm font fail.

    • No one could have the same email at the same domain (i.e., if he’s john.smith at yahoo, someone else might by jon.smith at yahoo or johnsmith at gmail, but no one else could be john.smith at yahoo). I’m not sure who you report this type of potential fraud to, though. The company hosting the site is probably a good place to start, like you suggested. And yes, document, like TCFKAG said.

    • Whoa, that’s some major Google stalking, if you ask me.

      • Which seems to have been a really good idea, if half of what she found out is true.. The ex may well have a good idea of what a jerk may be up to, and if they have a child and she can’t entirely write him off staying informed isn’t a bad idea.
        OP: document!

  17. Kontraktor :

    I love these. I wish I could get them but I just spent $120 on fun new summer things between Old Navy and Kohls. I guess they are a little high for my budget too for a pair of non-work shoes. If I could I would buy all the colors though.

    • Merabella :

      Target has a knockoff version of these I saw the other day while browsing their site. You could start there.

  18. Thanks to everyone for your car-buying advice yesterday! Much appreciated and you all gave me some great points to consider.

    On a totally unrelated note: what phrasing do you use for emails when you are introducing two people in a networking context? Both know the intro is coming but I always feel at a loss – do I give a brief background on each? I know I am overthinking this but can’t come up with something that sounds natural. I am also younger than the two women if that makes a difference (not sure why it would, but mentioning it just in case). Thanks!

    • subject : Introduction


      Dear Jane and John,

      Jane, as promised, I’m putting you touch with John, my law school classmate and CEO of a company in your field. John, Jane is the ex-colleague I mentioned to you who’s looking to break into your field. Thanks for agreeing to chat with her!

      Laura #2

  19. So my older sister has apparently fractured her right shoulder :(
    Very sad for her but glad it was not something worse. I have been lucky that I’ve never broken anything but it puts me at a loss on how to help. We’re about 1.5 hrs. apart, so my ability to visit on a daily basis is limited. She’s also out in the burbs so she is kind of stuck in the house since she cannot drive with her arm in a sling. She is going to be out of commission for 4-8 weeks, minimum. Any ideas on how to make her feel better or just how to help? Right now she is just super bummed to be in this state. FWIW, cooking is not a problem because she has someone to help with that. Oh, and I don’t really drive so going to drive her around isn’t an option.

    • Kontraktor :

      If she isn’t going to be working during this time, could she come stay with you for 1 or 1.5 weeks?

      • She won’t be working, but staying with me isn’t an option either. I am going to make a concerted effort to visit once a week, minimum, but am trying to think of other things to cheer her up.

        • Well — all the things for the lady above on bedrest seem to apply. DVDs of her favorite shows, maybe DVDs of a new show you think she’d like, maybe some books on tape or even a kindle (presuming holding a regular book would be hard). Also, periodic e-mails and calls and texts, just because.

          Finally, why not make a gift basket full of some of her favorite treats from Trader Joes or something and send it her way, she’ll probably appreciate that.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I also broke my right shoulder but it was a hairline fracture so it doesn’t sound as severe. I could still drive, just not stick shift.

      One of my big issues was caring for my hair. My hair only looks nice if blow dried straight and then straightened. Only recently could I wear it curly. If I just leave it and do nothing it looks awful.

      My husband was kind enough to wash and attempt to blow dry it for me. Blow drying w/ my left hand just didn’t work. But, I would have LOVED if someone took me to get it professionally washed and blown out once/week.

      In the beginning I couldn’t even put my hair in a ponytail. I finally figured out I could kind of get it out of my face w/ clips w/ one hand.

      The other thing I needed was to swap my standard car w/ my parents automatic.

      • I was going to recommend hair help, too. It’s one of those things that is so much easier with two arms/hands. I’ve had a few surgeries and broken bones, and after a few days/first week, I was able to adjust and get into a groove. I hope she has a similar experience and makes a full recovery.

    • Seattleite :

      It would be a real kindness to shave her legs for her.

  20. Of course the week I’m swamped with work, there’s an awesome Pittsburgh thread.
    I can’t believe you guys all know about La Gourmandie- I thought it was this secret gem!
    (and they open at 9:30am on Saturdays)

    If you also frequent Over the Bar or Pho Minh, then it’s time for me to throw in my hipster restaurant towel.

    • MissJackson :

      You can keep at least half of your hipster towel — I happened on La Gourmandie on accident (on my way to the Sears Outlet — aka “scratch and ding”), and I think everyone knows about OTB (I’m lamely mostly friends with attorneys, and OTB shows up on my fb newsfeed pretty frequently), but I haven’t been to Pho Minh. But since you seem to have excellent taste, I’m thinking I bet get there stat!

  21. My assistant now thinks I’m crazy because I just did a ridiculous happy dance at my desk because our client FINALLY after 57893154 emails provided the document I need for trial next week.
    Too much trial prep – is it 5:30 yet???

  22. Threadjack – going to Paris on vacation for a week in July and have never been there before. I know the Hive has been there plenty! Anyone out there got recommendations for don’t-miss things to do, places to go, restaurants to try….?

    • St. Chapelle
      Catacombs (get there .5 hrs before it opens, the lines are insane)
      Notre Dame, of course
      A flea market or two
      Louvre, Pompidou and Musee D’Orsay (the latter being my favorite)

    • Anne Shirley :

      David Leibovitzs blog. It’s amazing for food tips.

    • Kontraktor :

      I totally think going up the Eiffel Tower is worth it. For the record, it is huge. Like, legit huge. Not sure why I thought it would be thisbig, but it is way bigger than thisbig and really really tall. We went at night and that was totally 100% amazing. Would definitely recommend. The only thing we did on the Champs Elyeese was walk (the park area is really romantic) and walk up all the stairs at the Arc de Triumph. It is a long walk up but again I think work it. You can take fun, iconic photos of the street from very up high!

      I really liked the Orsay Museum. If you are going with an SO, bring a lock with you! There is a bridge outside the museum where everybody leaves love locks. I think there is a superstition about having good luck if you leave a lock there/like you will always have your relationship or something. Totally would have gotten a lock to bring and leave had I known.

      Really loved Napoleon’s tomb and the WWII museum there was pretty good. If you go to the tomb, you definitely learn to appreciate the full meaning of Napoleon complex.

      The metro system is pretty good so you can easily use it. There used to be some sort of attraction pass and we found that saved money. Lunches tend to be a way better deal than dinners with tons of restaurants offering prix fixe menus at lunch for really reasonable prices.

    • Go to Montmartre and visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica (Basilique du Sacré-Cœur). So beautiful. Lots of good places to eat there, too.
      Try to visit at least one market and get yourself some bread and cheese and just sit in the park. There are great parks everywhere. The Luxembourg Gardens are a nice option.
      If you want to go to Versailles, plan to spend most of your day there. If you make the trip (it’s not far), go past the pallace and wander the grounds. Gorgeous. Visit Marie Antoinette’s pink palace and the cottages. Check schedule – sometimes they do special events in summer.
      In terms of museums, Louvre and Orsay are pretty great. I think you can get tickets online now (?) or at least in advance, do that – lines are soooooo long. For something less known but fabulous, the Rodin museum is really lovely. If you don’t want to pay to do the whole museum, you can just tour the garden (which has lots of sculptures, inc. the Thinker, and really lovely roses) for just a euro.
      Instead of climbing up the Eifel Tower, I’d recommend climbing up to the top of the Notre Dame (unless you really had your heart set on it, of course). The view is fantastic and you get to be among the gargoyles.
      Make sure to have a hot chocolate and a pastry at Angelina. Well worth it the euros and the calories.
      Visit as many bakeries as you can. Time Out has a good free restaurant & other stuff app. that you may want to check out.
      Don’t be afraid to use the metro – it’s the best way to get around so familiarize yourself with a map.
      Take one afternoon to just do nothing, maybe get lost in some lovely neighborhood, sit outside, drink some wine, just enjoy.
      Have the best time!!!!!

      • Love love love the Rodin museum. Possibly my favorite museum ever. Definitely top 2. Also, I’m not really a Picasso fan, but the Picasso museum in Paris is neat.

        • thirding Rodin. Not as crowded as the other museums and the garden is amazing. Getting a Metro day or week pass is definitely worth it.

    • I loved the Museum of Primitive Arts (Quai Branly), it’s big but worth it.

      The “Marché des Enfants Rouges” is nice in the hipster kind of way, plus there are some good restaurants around the market.

      “Merci” (boulevard Beaumarchais) is a big so-called “charity store” with a lot of pretty (although expensive) things from designer clothes and jewelry to stationery and bed linen. The salespersons are very very snobby but it’s all part of the experience.

      “Les deux abeilles” is a small and chic restaurant/tea room not very far from Tour Eiffel. Their pastries are delicious. It’s crowded at noon, so reservation is mandatory. Be prepare to meet some Dior shoes and Prada coats, but the prices are not outrageous and the waiters are relatively nice.

      If you like books, go to “Shakespeare and Co”, it’s an old-fashioned amazing English bookstore with tiny shelfs and floor-to-ceiling piles of books.

      And if you want some quick food shopping, your best bet it the “Grande Epicerie de Paris” (near Bon Marché). The Bon Marché itself is nice, but it’s a department store so nothing earth-shattering.

      As for macarons, you won’t go wrong with Pierre Hermé or Ladurée. People may argue that they are over-hyped, but those are good, nonetheless. Or you can just try every bakery to decide yourself which one has THE best macaron :)

      • Oh, and remember that service is included in France so tipping is not compulsory. But of course waiters will be happy if you leave a big tip !
        No tipping also means that waiters may be downright rude as they don’t rely on the customer’s generosity. Don’t take it personally :)

    • I wish I remembered where exactly it was, but there’s a ferris wheel near the river with views of the Eiffel Tower. We went at night (1am) after a long dinner with lots of wine. It was amazing.

    • Don’t forget the day pass….you get to skip queues.

      Go to the musee d’orsay, les invalides, Eiffel, check out the gardens, etc

      Eat the bread, it is amazing…..

    • Depends on when you’re going, but you might be there for part of the Tour de France, if that’s your thing.

    • agirlfromoz :

      Rodin Museum – near the army museum (where Napolean’s tomb is)

      behind Notre Dame Cathedral is a memorial to the Jewish people of Paris – I don’t think a lot of people know about it, but I really loved it.

      And for the Louvre, it can help to have an idea of what you would like to see, and get a map when you get there – otherwise you’ll wander around aimlessly. Also, rather than go in the main entrance, go in via the entrance from the metro – no/limited queues (certainly when I’ve been there)

      • i was just there! it was my first time, what a lovely city. here are some things that helped us:
        -buying the metro carnet for 10 one-way trips, the metro is super easy to use
        -if you take the metro from CDG into the city, remember that many American credit cards dont work on the metro ticket machine, so try to get some euros (tokens only). otherwise, there are change machines around.
        -if you can, i suggest taking the stairs up the eiffel tour. there was no line for tickets when we went and it only took about 10-15 minutes to get to the top. whereas the line for the elevator was about a 2 hour wait.
        -the eiffel tour sparkles at night on the hour from 9pm to midnight for only five minutes at a time
        -the view from sacre couer is amazing! great way to spend a sunday afternoon people watching
        -hit up a local grocery store for fun french goodies. they do really fun things with their sugars

    • Paris is so wonderful, I am jealous! I third and fourth the recommendations for the Musee D’Orsay and the Rodin museum… both are amazing!

      I love walking around Le Marais and St. Germain des Pres – both are cute, not overly-touristy neighborhoods with great boutiques and cafes.

      When I was there a couple of years ago we ate at KGB (Kitchen Galerie Bis) and it was fantastic. Really cool space that kind of doubles as an art gallery (a bit pricey, though).

      Have a fabulous trip!

    • Guide from “le Routard” series, if you read any French at all..

  23. Asking for advice …

    I had a pretty upsetting experience a few hours ago on the subway : a girl around 20 was involved in a very heated argument with her bf and another male friend, both big and muscular. They were accusing her of cheating on the bf or something and it went up to the point where they grabbed her arm violently and tried to pull her out of the train by force. Two men that were close by prevented them, and that led to insults. Finally, after having blocked the train for a few minutes, the two boys went away without the girl. But they told her that they knew where to find her.

    I didn’t do anything and now I feel like a coward. The girl and I left the train a few stops further, I tried to reach her to ask if she was OK, but she walked away very quickly. What could have I done ? I’m very shy and hate conflict and violence, but I also hate feeling so powerless and keep thinking about this girl, hoping she’ll be all right.

    • I’m not sure what you could have done, other than encourage her to call the police. But I presume she can figure that one out for herself. It sounds like others in the situation were more competent to intervene with the immediate emergency (the threat of physical violence) and since you do not know this girl and she has no reason to trust you, I’m not sure what you could have done after getting off the train.

      Its terrible, but sometimes you can’t do anything.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I agree with TCFKAG and would have done the same thing you did in the situation. Actually I have done the same thing, but some guy friends that I were with did get involved to protect the girl and someone went to alert the MTA guy (conductor?) who came back and got involved as well. It can all happen so fast that there really is nothing you can do and even alerting the MTA person can’t happen quick enough to make a difference.

      • Thank you, I feel a little better …
        There are no conductor on the train and only one security guy per station, so it was up to us, basically.
        I just hope the girl made it home safe.

      • IDK about her figuring that one out for herself–she’s still hanging around with these guys.
        But by trying to reach out to her, you at least let her know that this is not normal, and not OK. Here’s hoping that your little nudge helps her figure out the next step!

        • Well, when I said “figure it out for herself” what I really meant was that a stranger telling her on the street probably wouldn’t cause her to do it if she isn’t already planning on it. Especially one who would have had to chase her down on the street to tell her to.

          But now, of course, I’m worried for this girl too. Grarr.

          • One thing that bothers me is that … well, this girl was young, very pretty, with a short skirt, cleavage and heels – the way pretty young things may dress when it’s sunny and 100° outside.
            And I’ve seen on the faces of some commuters that they thought more or less “she asked for trouble” (that + the cheating thing). And maybe the girl herself thought that. And it’s never OK.

    • Seattleite :

      I feel like there needs to be an index card printed with ‘signs of abuse’ and a toll-free phone number that we can pass out in situations like this.

    • You were a coward. You too could have stepped forward and told the guys firmly to let her go. You don’t need to punch them in the nose, usually just an acknowledgement from a witness is enough to stop a situation from degenerating. At least it’s always worked for me, and believe me I don’t look like I could beat up anyone no matter how “muscular”.
      I wish you luck next time you find yourself in a tight situation. Maybe someone will help you on (their) general principles.

  24. Any recommendations for hotels in San Juan? DH just booked flights for Labor Day weekend.

    Thanks, ladies.

    • Anonymous :

      I liked El Convento, but no beach there so you need a car.

    • We stayed in the Hampton Inn in Carolina right near the airport. Nothing fancy, but clean and comfortable (as most Hampton Inns are) and definitely a nicer Hampton Inn than most. The pool area is much nicer than a typical hotel pool. I think it even has a swim-up bar. The hotel is also walking distance from a nice beach (Isla Verde beach I think?) but I would still recommend a car for sightseeing the rest of the island.

    • What are you looking for? We stayed at the Conrad in Condado. It was alright, but we’re not into the casino scene. The pools were pretty nice (swim-up bar, plus a second pool that was a little quieter), but the beach wasn’t anything special. We should have stayed at a place in Old San Juan so we could easily get to the sights, restaurants, and shopping there (buses were not running b/c of a strike when we were there, and it was about 1.5 miles away–cabs were flat rates, and it was too hot to walk).

      We spent 2 nights in San Juan and 3 nights near Fajardo (highly recommend Ceiba Country Inn), so we were more interested in historic things in San Juan and then outdoors/beachy things in Fajardo.

    • Thanks — I’ll check these places out. We’re thinking this will be a veg on the beach kind of weekend.

    • The Marriott, hilton or the el San Juan.

  25. I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but I went on about 15 interviews for a state level clerkship and just graduated with not job lined up. Needless to say I was very sad and disappointed. However, I just got a call for an interview on Monday so I was wondering if anyone has any last minute tips since I really want this clerkship and it would make my life so much easier for many reasons! I think a reason I haven’t gotten an offer yet could be because I look like a little girl, and I don’t come off very confident, which is hard to be when you keep getting rejections. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    • I think with positions like this, it helps to be really enthusiastic. Judges want to hire people who really want to be there. Not just because it’s a good career step or you haven’t found something else. So think about all the reasons why you really, really, really want this specific job, beyond just “it’s a good learning experience.”
      Also, find out as much as you can about the specific judge and/or the court – maybe they wrote an interesting decision, or had an interesting prior position, etc. – and try to be prepared to work it in and intelligently discuss.
      Come up with 1-3 interesting questions you can ask. I like to include something about the person interviewing me. Don’t just ask the same questions everyone else will ask.
      Be prepared to talk about your goals post-clerkship, even if you don’t have any. Just come up with something, even if it’s as general as “litigation, which is why I am so eager to have this experience and learn the process from behind the bench…”
      Be prepared to talk about yourself outside of your resume. Working in chambers means a lot of day to day interaction. Judges want to hire people they will like working with. That means your personality really counts for a lot more here than your typical job. Make sure you have hobbies and interests you can discuss!
      Be really nice to all the people you meet. Sometimes, a secretary saying, “that girl was really great” makes a huge difference.
      Good luck! You’ve got the interview, you can get this job :)

    • Well, lets start with the little girl thing. What elements cause the “little girldom” do you think? There are lots of articles on-line about “power dressing” for interviews and while I wouldn’t go crazy, I’d make sure whatever you’re wearing is conservative but still has at least a little flair. Looks put together and is complete, as in make sure you have jewelry and your hair is done (if you don’t have jewelry, hit up a Forever 21).

      In terms of the under-confidence issue — I think maybe you need to spend the weekend creating something of a brag-book (like from the post a couple weeks ago.) Not to actually bring to the interview mind you, but to remind yourself that you are a good candidate — list your achievements, your skills, your credentials etc. Be prepared to discuss them confidently. Then, think about smart questions to ask about how the judge’s chambers function. Ask how the clerks work with her or him and together. Ask how cases are assigned. One good question, showing an active thought process, is how the judge reacts if a clerk’s conclusions on how the facts apply to the law are different then her own. That sort of thing.

      Be prepared, be calm, be confident. You’ve been to 15 of these, you’re a pro!

    • I went on interviews for federal clerkships, which may be a little different, but are going to have many of the same characteristics. I think the best thing you can do to feel confident when entering an interview is to be really well prepared.
      – Investigate the judge. Try to see if you have any similarities that might be worth bringing up when you are asked the inevitable question: why this judge? For example, you really admire this judge’s work as a prosecutor because you hope to be a prosecutor some day and you are interested in how that experience shapes this judge’s approach. Or this judge was a volunteer with Big Brother/Big Sister and you were too.
      – Read a few of the judge’s opinions. Try to get a sense of the judge’s style. Maybe have a couple opinions in mind that you were impressed with and a couple opinions you might disagree with and why.
      – Prepare answers (obviously not scripted, but general ideas) to the following questions: why do you want to clerk? why this court? why this judge? what do you want to do in the future?

    • I just graduated and obtained a state level clerkship in March. I think the key is to be convinced that the job is for you. Be ready to sell yourself. It also helps if you have a TON of questions. I have often had problems where my questions get answered, but for this particular interview I had way more than usual ready to ask. One of the important questions I asked was what the judge looks for in a clerk. He was impressed by this question, but it also helped me because I could go back through my experience and demonstrate that I had the qualities he was looking for throughout the rest of the interview. I also can look young, so I try to do my hair in a way that is not very soft, wear enough makeup (but not too much so that it looks completely unnatural), and I shy away from frills and anything girly in terms of shoes and the top I wear under my suit. Remember to make pleasant small talk with the secretary if you have time and that you should have a bunch of questions for the current clerk(s). Finally, I would just say that personality really matters in this context because of the very close working relationship you will have. Hopefully your personality will jive with the judge’s, but sometimes it won’t, and that is not a poor reflection on you.

      Good luck!

    • AnonInfinity :

      Everyone else has given great advice about clerkship interviews. For your “little girl” and low confidence problems, long term, I’d recommend reading Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. The author identifies lots of ways that women don’t show their most confidence selves and then gives concrete steps for fixing it.

    • Thank you all for your advice! I’ve been going over interview questions and possible questions for the judge. I already have NGDGTCO and looked over that this weekend. Hopefully it goes well tomorrow!

      • That’s the attitude :-)!
        I like the advice of the list of accomplishments for boosting self-confidence. Remember too that the key is acting like it, no matter how you really feel.
        But the little-girl thing surely can be improved. Do work on that.

  26. '80s Hair :

    Yippee, I won the 80s dress contest! I was probably not very true to 1982, but I feel like it was a pretty good interpretation from 2012. I have never talked to more people than I have today though, which is pretty awesome. Word got out early in the day to come by my office and see me, but hey, it’s Friday right?

    The partners gave the woman who has worked here 30 years a pearl necklace and earrings and she cried. It was very sweet.

    • this is awesome! that you won and that it sounds like it was a great bonding experience and ice breaker day. sounds like a really great office!

    • Your office sounds amazing! What a nice gift and great way to commemorate this lady’s time at the firm.

      • Thank goodness this went well, because We could not bear to suffer through one more post concerning this darn party.

        • Leslie Knope :

          Wow, “Hive Mind.” Please don’t speak for me.

        • Geesh. The Hive Mind got off on the wrong side of the bed last night (okay, my metaphor fell apart there…but oh well.)

        • Then don’t read, silly.

          I think the pearls is a really nice and thoughtful gift.

  27. I had to pull an all nighter last night unexpectedly. I went home at 7:30 to change my clothes and shower but then went back at the office. Currently I’m doing nothing. This whole week has been a lot of hurry up and wait. I just want to go home and nap, but instead, I get to go to a baseball game with the partners. I’ve had 3 coffees and ate well, but I’m just so tired. How do I make it to the end of the game?

    • To the office. I can’t spell or type anymore. Wrote 30 pages in the last 24 hours.

      • Come up with an emergency and don’t go? Or be straight with them and say you haven’t slept in 36 hours and you need to go home? Are those cheater solutions?

  28. We might be moving–finger crossed!

    Whether we do or not, I could use ‘rettes’ advice on my home office. It’s in a spare bedroom here, will be moving to a similarly-sized (roughly 10×10) bedroom there. I have a desk & chair, reading chair and side table, a little set of shelves with office supplies, bookshelves, and a table with assorted stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else in the house. But it doesn’t look like an office. It doesn’t feel like an office. It is not in any way pulled together, nor does it have any sense of style, not even as much as a dorm room. There is one very cool piece of “art” on the wall–a silk hankie with maps of France and Spain on it, one on each side. My great-uncle carried it when he was a pilot in WWII. I am a geographer and love it. This room does not do it justice, and I don’t really get work done in here.

    Any suggestions? It has gotten so bad that I go to coffeeshops and libraries to work when my kiddo is at school, which makes no sense at all!

    • Actually, crossing requires at least 2 fingers. Sorry bout the typo!

    • 1. paint. Pick a color scheme of ~3 colors that go well together and stick to it for pretty much everything in the room.
      2. is the furniture of the cheap Staples office-furniture variety? Reconsider every piece in the room, and replace what is bugging you. Even Ikea stuff is better because it tends to look more intentional.
      3. get a rug for part or all of the room. get a mat for your rolling chair if necessary.
      4. In offices, surfaces tend to get cluttered. Clear all horizontal surfaces and only put back what you really need. Get a cute vase for your desk for pens. My desk has a lamp, vase for pens, and a letter tray from the Martha collection at Staples. Thats it.
      5. Make sure everything on your bookcases is neat and organized. Get some colorful boxes to store all the random little office supplies and cords. Label them!
      6. Make sure your chair is comfortable.
      7. Reconsider your lighting, both ambient and task.

      Thats all I can think of off the top of my head without seeing the space. Good luck! Having a nice place to work is important.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      There is a blog called Unclutterer that does a post about great offices nice a week. I think there is a Flickr photo pool as well that might help with some inspiration.

  29. You guys, FOOEY FOOEY FOOEY.


    • "Allergies" PSA :

      Godzilla, I am on day 3 of 6 on the steroids. How are you doing?

      • That’s part of the FOOEY – I messed up the dosages so I need to start the course again. How are you feeling?

        • "Allergies" PSA :

          Today (Sunday) is my two-pill day. So tomorrow is my last day for oral steroids (I still have two-plus weeks of oral antibiotics, Nasonex and Ocean Complete saline rinsing).

          On the plus side, Friday evening I smelled the candles we lit, Saturday I smelled our fancy hand soap when I washed my hands and this morning a smelled the beautiful fresh nectarines in the fruit bowl in the kitchen. So I am hopeful that I will regain my sense of smell, which I will never again take for granted.

          On the down side, my whole body feels as if it is “shimmering” or buzzing right now. And I am pretty cranky, but controlling it well because I was told to expect it.

          I can’t believe you have to start again! What a terrible pain. I feel for you, really, and will be thinking of you and hoping it all works out for you.

        • "Allergies" PSA :

          PS: while I was using Nasonex, I had my annual bloodwork done. My hormone results came back showing that I am hypothyroid, the symptoms of which would be lethargy, depression, dry and pallid skin — none of which I have. I was confounded. Then I found online that that corticosteroids can affect thyroid test results. So I will retest when this whole episode is over. FYI.

          • OMG WHAT? THAT IS OUTRAGE. Sigh, I feel like such an old person balancing out my meds throughout the day. But I’m so glad to hear that you’ve regained your sense of smell!!!! I have the whole physical and mental lethargy but that’s all due to allergies. Thankfully, my blood test results came out a-ok. Here’s to Day 1 of 6….

  30. Bay Area 'rette :

    Hi ladies, any suggestions on finding long-term volunteering gigs that also double as exercise? I’ve contacted the Humane Society but would love to hear the collective Hive wisdom.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Habitat for Humanity? I was never as tired and sore as the day I helped clear out a debris and trash filled yard and filled it with sod.

    • There are some orgs that encourage girls to participate in athletics – Girls on the Move might be one. (iirc.) That’s got to involve some running for the adult mentors.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Special Olympics? A former coworker was a volunteer coach.

  31. Shopping Dilemma :

    Ladies, I was looking for a trench coat and went to Century 21 today. I really liked a black Ivanka Trump one and a dark teal London Fog one. Anyone have thoughts about the relative quality? Thanks!

    • hellskitchen :

      go with the london fog one. It’s a classic, well-made brand and dark teal sounds so much better than black

    • My London Fog one is awesome and it’s held up great for over 5 years. Go with that.

    • No clue about Ivanka Trump, but I brought my London Fog trench coat to a tailor who specifically remarked about the quality construction/fabric/etc.. I’ve been very happy with it.

    • I thought of London Fog as classic and great quality and bought a trench from them last year, and was so disappointed. Very cheap construction. Buttons were falling off within a week, seams unraveling, etc. I actually got it replaced from the store (Macy’s) but the second one wasn’t much better.

  32. I could use some shopping help…I’ve had to replace most of my work pants over the last several months because I lost some weight, and I’m having trouble finding what I need. I feel like every few weeks, I go crazy shopping online because I don’t have time to actually GO shopping, and then I end up returning almost everything.

    As far as fit, the pants that seem to fit me best off the rack are AT Curvy, but I think I own every color they currently have out, and I’m still looking for new navy, dark brown, and cream/off-white pants. Any suggestions? TIA!

    • Being pear-shaped, I wear AT Curvy and BR Jackson fit almost exclusively. Few BR stores seem to carry Jackson, unfortunately, so you may have to order online. Also, you may have trouble finding dark brown this time of year.

      Randomly, I always hear Janet Jackson saying, “Miss Jackson if you’re nasty” when I check out the BR website…

      • Thanks, NYNY. I ordered a couple of pairs of Jackson from BR…and now I also have that song in my head!

  33. Barrister in the Bayou :

    So excited! Awkward Black Girl is back! Does anyone else watch?

    • naijamodel :

      YES MA’AM!! I posted it on my facebook and got like 15 responses lol.

      I wanna know what Fred did to his hair? Not cool at all! Oh, and that front desk lady? LOL!

    • Yes – I love ABG! Watched the first episode of the new season yesterday – it was great.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      I can’t wait to see what the season has in store… So much awkwardness to look forward to!

    • gently, but ... :

      YES! Love. It. They did a really cute interview at Google, which you can watch on YouTube.

  34. Roadtrip Ideas? :

    Anyone have suggestions for a super cheap 3-5 day trip out of New England? Looking to drive somewhere not too far but see something new, which pretty much requires getting out of New England/Mid-Atlantic. 2-3 people. Something like a mini roadtrip would be great, but a great location would work just as well (especially since it’d be a roadtrip to get there and back)! Canada is a fine choice, too, but not New Brunswick/PEI.


    • Have you been to Pittsburgh before? PA is technically mid-atlantic, but if you’ve never been, Pgh is a cheap and has lots of fun things to do.

      • Roadtrip Ideas? :

        Not since I was a child. I hadn’t even thought of that – definitely on the list now!

        • There’s a good thread on Tuesday’s coffee break post about things to do in Pittsburgh that could help you get started with your planning.

    • How about Montreal and Quebec. Or just Montreal even, you could do it by driving through Vermont for a pretty drive up to Montreal and then coming back down through Maine (and while I’m sure you’ve seen Maine — have you seen the wilds of Maine….)

      If its 3 days I’d just do Montreal (depending on where you’re coming from especially) — with 5 you might be able to do both. Or just stay in Montreal and explore the surroundings.

      • Totally second that ;-). I’ve caught myself missing weekends in Vermont lately..

  35. Graduate student help :

    So I’ve been posting lately but: blindsided by serious boyfriend right before grad school exams. An update.

    I finished and I think my exams went okay! Not great, but good enough. So now the healing process really begins. Any advice? It’s now been 10 days, and I wake up every morning and think “how could you have done this to me?”

    • Senior Attorney :

      So happy your exams went okay!

      I think the best you can expect at this point is just to live through it. Wake up every morning, think “how could you have done this to me?” and check off one more day on the calendar when you have to wake up and think that. The only way out, sucky as it is, is through. Maybe tell yourself “This time next year I will be over this, and won’t that be great?”

      Big hugs to you in the meantime!! Be gentle with yourself and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Be sure to eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise if that’s your bag.

      • Graduate student help :

        Thank you! Knowing there are people otu there thinking of me means the world to me.

      • Research, Not Law :

        This is great advice. Just take your time. One day, you’ll realize that you don’t think about it anymore, I promise.

        Good work with your exams!

    • Thanks for the update. Kudos to you for staying sane in an insane situation. Hugs. So proud of you for that. Honestly.
      May be little comfort now, I’m sure, but years later you’ll look back on this time, look at what’s up ahead, and think; ‘if I got through that, I sure as h*ll can get through this’!

    • Peace in the other side of war :

      The others are correct: you have to get through it, you can’t go around it. The good news is that once you get through it honestly, by just barreling through, you will be healthy for. Oth yourself and your next partner. I recall being totally blindsided when it happened to me in 1996. For years, I processed and worked like a dog. Years later, I met my now husband and I strongly believe I wouldn’t be able to have the relationship we do if I hadn’t dealt with all my stuff at the time.

      I am certain it will work for you, too. Please keep us current. We are thinking of you.

    • I was blind-sided in January of this year and was in the same place you are. It has been about five months and I have now had more days than I can keep track of where I don’t ask “how could you do this to me.” It takes time and is not easy, but you do start to move on. Just be aware of the little signs that show you are making progress! Hang in there!!!!

    • Mmm. How about “because I know you’re vulnerable right now, and I thought it’d be a great kick to make you flunk as well?”. Don’t waste too many brain cells trying to understand a psycho. It you truly did, you’d have further cause for worry :-).
      No, seriously, you may want to hit “why does he do that” by Lundy Bancroft, and you’ll not only understand schmuckface better, but maybe feel lucky instead?

  36. We might be moving–fingers crossed!

    Whether we do or not, I could use advice on my home office. It’s in a spare bedroom here, will be moving to a similarly-sized (roughly 10×10) bedroom there. I have a desk & chair, reading chair and side table, a little set of shelves with office supplies, bookshelves, and a table with assorted stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else in the house. But it doesn’t look like an office. It doesn’t feel like an office. It is not in any way pulled together, nor does it have any sense of style, not even as much as a dorm room. There is one very cool piece of “art” on the wall–a silk hankie with maps of France and Spain on it, one on each side. My great-uncle carried it when he was a pilot in WWII. I am a geographer and love it. This room does not do it justice, and I don’t really get work done in here. It is so bad that I go to coffeeshops and libraries to work when my kiddo is at school, which makes no sense at all!

    Any suggestions?

    • Paint? My husband has a older cloth Everquest map he likes to hang in our home office, so I took it to Home Depot and matched a dark green and red from the map for the wall and trim colors. Maybe you could do something similar with your hankie?

    • What about the coffee shops and libraries appeal to you as work spaces? Are they airy? Are you the type of person who likes having background noise while you work? When you look at other rooms, what makes them feel more put-together? I think offices are some of the toughest – it usually ends up being the stuff that didn’t work in the rest of the place, so maybe considering updating some of it?

      Could you stain any of the furniture to match itself? Get other art or frame nice paper or fabric (I recommend the frames at Ikea and Target)? Put doors on the shelving? HGTV is pretty good for getting ideas for this stuff – some of the home buying/renting shows are better at showing not crazy custom (and often weird) designs.

    • Good ideas–thanks!

  37. Since this is an open thread for the weekend thought I’d share the following:

    Went to see Snow White and the Huntsman tonight, and it was approximately 5-10x better than I expected. Actually worth the time and money, which is a tough sell these days.

    Also, I missed the summer reading thread from earlier this week, but for the fantasy/sci fi ladies on here, I’m reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter right now and its actually really good. Well worth it for low-key junk summer reading.

    • I watched Inception and I think I need to watch it again because I didn’t quite catch everything. Too busy thinking about cookie butter, I s’pose or I just can’t handle a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream.

    • Yeah but I was really hoping for more emotive acting from KStew. The entire movie/cast revolved around her and almost made you forget she’s really kind of a zombie on-screen. It’s so weird to see how animated she is in interviews. Or am I the only one that feels this way?

      • I thought she was more emotive in this than in Twilight (which is sort of like saying, more emotive than a wood block.) So there’s that. :-)

        • “The newest badass fantasy flick to hit theaters is Snow White and the Huntsman, out today, and I believe it proves my theory that Kristen Stewart is the Keanu Reeves of her generation.”


      • Is she really animated in interviews? I have never seen her in a movie but I saw her on Live with Kelly during my vacation and I thought she seemed awkward and uncomfortable and twitchy. Didn’t exactly make her likeable!

      • All of her acting was various on heavy/less heavy breathing. But I thought it was worth it for Charlize Theron.

    • god I almost walked out of it. I couldnt even enjoy it in a summer flick way I thought it was so bad. i just cant with kstew

      • I can’t either.

      • AnonInfinity :

        Same here. I almost asked my husband if he wouldn’t mind leaving in the middle, but then I just kept my mouth shut since it was the first movie we went to in a while. Frustrating.

    • TCFKAG, did you see Dark Shadows? The screenplay was written by the author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunger. I tried to read it and just couldn’t get into it – does it get better? He just doesn’t do enough character development for me.

    • I wanted to like it, but when the fairy rode by on a fluffy bunny, I was done. It was like a goth Keebler Elf commercial.

      That said, I would not throw The Hemsworth out of bed for eating crackers.

      • “It was like a goth Keebler Elf commercial.” This is so awesome.

      • Here were the parts I found confusing: what *world* were they in. It was clearly a world populated by magic and fairies and the like. (And for the records, I thought the fairies were kind of cute). But then at the beginning Snow White said the Our Father, suggesting it was a world with Catholicism or at least Christianity. A kind of odd cross-over, if you ask me.

        And The Hems should stay more scruffy, its a good look for him.

  38. Hey zora – thinking about you and the work anxiety. Are things any better?

  39. This made me giggle because I am reading Team of Rivals (about the 1860 election) and I’m at the part where Abraham is melancholy and depressed and broke off his engagement with Mary Todd. Slaying a vampire would really cheer him up!

  40. Threadjack/call for advice:

    I’m 26 and I’ve have been dating a really great 30-year-old guy for almost 4 months. I’m in law, he’s an engineer, we seem to have compatible personalities, we share a lot of the same interests, enjoy spending time together, he supports me in my work and understands its demands (which has been a problem in previous relationships), and my family members that have met him (my dad, sister and BIL) think that he’s a great match for me. I’m hopeful about potentially having a future with my beau, but I’m starting to stress over when I need to make my intentions about what I would like to have in the future with him clear.

    I understand that 4 months into a relationship is very much still part of the “honeymoon” phase, but I do think that it is better to approach things with the end in mind.At what point should I bring up a serious discussion about a marriage partnership? Four months definitely feels like it is too soon, but I don’t want to get complacent in our relationship and have several months or years pass by without having a direction and knowing where things are headed. I’ve already had a couple of previous long-term relationships that aimlessly wandered for some time before causally bringing up marriage and I want to do things differently this time around.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to be married, and I feel like my boyfriend is someone that I could be married to. I just don’t know when it is an appropriate time to raise the issue, or to make it clear that I don’t just want to be in a relationship to date someone, that I want to be working towards a potential marriage. I understand that sometimes things should happen “organically”, but I think that there’s no good reason why I shouldn’t take charge of my love life and start working towards the life that I want to have in my thirties now (e.g. marriage, kids).

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this issue?

    • Kontraktor :

      I don’t think it’s too soon to necessarily begin discussing how you each feel about each other and relationship so far. I presume you have told each other you love one another if you are already thinking you could be married to this person. I think it’s worth discussing over a nice evening at home together/in an intimate moment. Use that time to tell your boyfriend that you love him and have really enjoyed the months you’ve spent together so far. You could tell him that you are starting to seriously envision the thought of you two together in the longer term and does he feel like this could be a serious relationship too? I think it’s a good place to start to see if you are at least on the same page regarding your enthusiasm for one another and the relationship. If it seems like you are, it could be a segway to start discussing the future a little more concretely over the next couple of months. If you’re not, it’s probably a signal to start talking about the reasons why you aren’t on the same page, what your goals are regarding this relationships and relationships in general, etc. so that if it turns out it’s not the right match, you can move on to something else.

      The way I phrased it to my husband (and he shared my sentiments luckily), actually right when we began dating, is very similar to what you said. I basically told him that in my life I hoped to date only to find partners I would be willing to marry. So, I wouldn’t date somebody without the presumption that they *could* end up being my spouse. It’s not to say that I would glom on to any person I dated and just 100% assume that would be my husband- just that I was going to be evaluating that person over the course of our dating relationship for their spouse potential with the ultimate goal being marriage. I brought it up very matter of factly and told him that I wanted to date him and be with him because I saw so many great and wonderful qualities in him that made me feel like we could be very predisposed to a long term partnership and this is what I was hoping for. He agreed and we just discussed it very clearly as such. If your boyfriend seems like he would be receptive to a conversation like this, once you sort of test the waters and get the discussion going, I think it’s very possible to just sort of say what you said in a positive but matter of fact way and let him know that you hope he shares that goal as well.

      • Great advice! Would just add one more tweak: I would add that I know I’m looking to get married over the next x years and understand that some people don’t have the same kind of timeline or desire in mind, and you want to respect what he wants as you pursue what you want.

    • Tread lightly. Four months isn’t long enough to evaluate a specific person for marriage.* But I think you can and should bring up marriage generally and probe his thoughts on that, children, work/life balance (i.e. Do you see yourself getting married? instead of, Do you see yourself marrying me?). The conversation may naturally evolve into the specifics of you two, or it may not, but will at least open up the topic generally. I think that’s the most progress you can reasonably hope for 4 months in.

      *Some relationships do move faster, but you can’t really force that. Has to happen organically, as you say.

    • Honestly, I think your putting the horse before the cart (or some sort of analogy but that might not be the right one) You seem really focused on the marriage part of the equation, and not the guy part. I truly feel this is one of the reasons people get into bad marriages. You should be looking for the partner that makes your life, not the guy you “could “marry. I think most people get married right? So its safe to say the most people are not just in a relationship to date someone. I think around the 2 year mark we started talking about marriage but we were younger, so I guess I’d say around the year mark would be appropriate. But again I have to say it really sounds like you are trying to force the issue. This guy very well may be the guy you marry, but it really sounds like your kind of ready to make him the guy you marry come hell or high water. You didn’t even say you love him, you talk about compatibility and that he’s a good match. (I see a little of my sister, who I love, in your post. But when you say take charge of your love life, I can kinda tell your a super successful person (right?) and are thinking about marriage in terms like a promotion)

    • Anonymous :

      I agree that you should tread carefully. What do you really expect to get out of this conversation? Confirmation that he isn’t just killing time by dating you? That he wants to get married someday? Those things can be figured out without some big talk about where the relationship is going.

      I’m big on the leap of faith approach to dating. If you are with someone you can see a future with, then enjoy the moment and trust that with the appropriate care and nurturing, the future will move in the right direction. Address potential issues as they come up. Don’t work off of the theory you can change someone, but don’t feel like you have to pin down the future. Jumping into the “where is this going” conversation too early seems to either betray self-doubt, or a sense that the status of the relationship is more important than the substance of the relationship.

      The “when” for this sort of conversation, I do think should be organic. When the two of you find it equally awkward to discuss a future without the other in it as you do with the other, then I think the “where is this going” convo is due.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My boyfriend and I salted talking about moving in together, which was when I brought up the topic of marriage because I truly see living together as a step towards marriage and want to live with my future spouse before marriage. It was an organic time to talk about it with him because the subject was about our future, although it originally wasn’t about that far into our future. Luckily he was on the same page as me. A caveat to all of this though is that both of us are very rational, talk things out kind of people who say what we want. We actually talked religion, politics, and about the fact that neither of us wants to have kids on our first date. It’s working for us, but only you know how your relationship works and what kind of person he is when it comes to serious conversations like that.

      • The NerdWearsSkirts :

        Huh, I guess I’m weird because I think I told my now boyfriend on the 3rd day that I knew him that I hoped to get married and have a family in the future. In a way, I think it’s an easier thing to bring up right at the beginning of getting to know someone, when it’s clearly an “this is who I am, and what’s important to me in my life” topic, rather than a “are you going to be the person who I do this with?” topic. If getting married is something you want in your life, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with checking that your partner also wants that – people are all over the map with what they want. That said, there’s a big big difference between a confident “this is what I would like in my life, if I’m fortunate enough to meet a wonderful partner who I don’t want to live without, because domestic life suits me” and a begging pleading tone. And, as someone above said, it’s HUGE that you think of him as someone that you like being with, and love, and who makes you smile when you see him…not just someone who checks all the compatibility boxes.

        • Just take it one day at a time.... :

          Good gosh, you sound like me when I was 26. Fast forward four years and I’m still with the same guy and love him more than ever. We looked at rings a couple weeks ago and I have a feeling he’s going to pop the question sometime soon. The thing is, I put our relationship through a lot of unnecessary stress and added way too much pressure too soon. I advise you to wait and as you said, let the conversation happen organically.

          I, like you, had the work hard, go getter attitude about everything in life and after graduating law school and meeting my guy, naturally thought that I could apply the same philosophy to my relationship. It didn’t work. It took a lot patience from my boyfriend and therapy on my end to realize what I was doing and back off. Marriage is a big deal and a lot of different factors go into it for both parties. Your relationship is still so young and new. Please don’t feel pressure to keep up with your peers. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Enjoy getting to know your boyfriend on a deeper level, and when it is supposed to happen, it will!

    • Much depends on the other person and his feelings of course. It’d be fine to say that in general you hope to get married someday, in case he wishes to answer that he doesn’t. But to say after four months that you’d like to marry him specifically?!?
      Let’s just say my own timeline would be more like 3 years :-)..

  41. So, I have a great black & cream graphic print silk pencil skirt that I want to wear with a bright colored cardi (my typical work uniform is a skirt, top & cardi). If I wear, say, a mustard colored cardi, or kelly green, or dark purple, what color top should I wear? Does it have to be cream or black? Sometimes I just don’t know about color combos, and you ladies rock at it.

    • No! Mix and match the colours of your tops and cardis please.

      Mustard seems to go with everything. Purple I would rock with teal/turquoise, mustard, orange or pink. Green, maybe a petrol blue or mint. And grey goes with everything!

  42. Found out I got a 4.0 for my 1L year. Also just got an e-mail from my Contracts professor saying I got the highest grade in my section. He11 yeah. I’m on cloud 9 and just had to get it off my chest somewhere. I have two kids and last semester was a struggle.

    • CONGRATS! This is great. Enjoy your summer and good luck rockin’ OCI in the fall!

    • AnonInfinity :

      CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a great accomplishment.

      Enjoy a beer (or 4) this weekend!

    • Congrats! That’s amazing :) I’m very impressed!

    • Not so much of a struggle that you didn’t do great :-)! Very nice of your professor to give you a nice additional note too. Congratulations!

  43. associate rates :

    I am in the process of negotiating an employment agreement with a smallish firm. I worked for a couple years as a government attorney prior to this new job, and do not have a good understanding of what is reasonable. My main question is about the hourly rate I will be paid in relation to my billable rate. The firm is proposing to pay me about one third of my billable rate. Is this reasonable?
    Thanks in advance!

    • I think the general rule is that of your rate, 1/3 is salary, 1/3 is overhead, and 1/3 is profit for the firm.

      • anon for this :

        hmmph, well, in that case, my BigLaw firm is *definitely* underpaying me.

  44. Bra shopping PSA/reviews.

    I know I’m not the only one who needs a small band but has been wearing 32s just because it’s so difficult to find anything lower. I’d been making do with VS 32B–and even that usually has to be bought online–but looseness around the rib cage was bothering me, especially as they stretched out.

    “Little Bra Company” 28c: Good band fit, but cups way too small and hit in weird places! Had to return. I didn’t think getting a D made any sense for me, and anyway I’m not sure they carried it.

    Betsey Johnson 30c: Hooray! (Got at Nordstrom and HerRoom online). B cup would have been too small (they don’t do it in 30 anyway), C is perfect. Band size feels like more than a 2-inch difference, and it seems they will be slower to stretch out than the VS ones.

    Unfortunately, can’t find many fun colors or patterns in small band sizes, but correct fit is more important. Anyone else in my boat, I recommend Betsey Johnson at least to start. If anyone has other brands to recommend, please share. I was amazed by how few options I could find online (at least lower than $50).

    • I am not in your boat (34 band size, which admittedly makes it a bit easier) – but just had to pipe in to say how much luck I have had with Betsey Johnson bras and undies. Also PJs & nighties. And unlike with my blazers, I appreciate the random frilly details in this part of wardrobe.

      • Thanks! I still appreciate your comments because I was wondering about Betsey Johnson bra quality. If you’ve been happy with yours, chances are I won’t have to replace these as soon as the VS ones either.

        • Betsey Johnson stuff is cute. My experience is with proper care they keep their shape and wear well.

    • I recently got an advert from BareNecessities dot com touting their new line of smaller-sized bras. I think it was designed by Bethenny Frankel, which may be a turnoff. But anyway, that might be a good place to look. I’ve also heard good things about the Itty Bitty Bra Company.

    • Joan Holloway :

      You may be interested in the Bra Band Project, which was begun by a group of bloggers to prove that there is a market for 28 bands so that companies will make more of them. Here’s a link to their flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/people/76304212@N06/ Although the emphasis is on D+ cups, they recognize that there is a need for 26-30 bands in all cups–they’ve only begun with larger cup sizes because that is what they wear.

    • Try the 28D. You seem to have the “D=big and I’m not” mental block, but the cup size on the 28D is literally exactly the same as on the 30C that you say fits perfectly.

      • Excellent point PghAnon, I second that.
        Yes, it’s a problem when you figure out that you’re a nonstandard size, but it’s less of a problem than keeping on with ill-fitting bras. Especially if you are a big cup size, as bad fit can lead to back pain. Am appalled that a friend of mine is getting surgery next week because she’s never addressed this properly :-(. And I didn’t notice soon enough :-(.
        Back to topic, sorry: VS is just not good quality. I like Wacoal myself :-), but don’t know if they’d have sizes for you. You’d never put a bra in a dryer, would you??

  45. I’d like flat notecards with my initials on them. ive tried etsy but I have such a hard time searching there. does anyone have suggestions?

    • Crane & Co? You can also check out companies that do wedding invitations – when I used to work at a high-end card store in college, we would get people coming to look for just monogramed cards as well.

    • Crane is a great suggestion – I love their stuff. But if you want to spend a little less, check out www dot expressionery dot com. I have used their flat cards for gifts for new professionals and have a vast array for myself. I think they are think enough to be quality grade but also don’t break the bank.

    • CPA to be :

      Of all surprising places, I recommend Party City. They have a print shop that does wedding invitations, and that sort of thing for very cheap compared to what I’ve found elsewhere. You can get personalized stationery in pretty much any possible design, monogrammed, any color for the lettering (raised lettering too, not just some computer print out cr@p).

    • VistaPrint. Good quality and really affordable.

    • Check out www.finestationery.com. I have had very good luck with them for invites, and they offer both Crane and William Arthur (and others) for personalized stationery.

    • Try American Stationary. I’ve ordered from them for years – great quality and prices.

  46. Ladies, where do you change your watch batteries? I have a “fancy” watch and always go to the “fancy watch store” but is that really necessary? Is it really bad to just get a generic battery from the cobbler? Do I have to go out of my way to go to a store that closes at 6 pm every freaking day?

    • I go to a small local jewelry shop that primarily exists to do repairs.

    • I’ve taken a Gucci watch to Kay Jewelers for battery replacement. They do a good job and the battery replacement is lifetime, ie after they first time you pay, you can get the battery replaced free of charge.

      (Haven’t been there in years though, so I’m not sure it’s still in effect.)

    • Cheapest option available is fine, if your cobbler does it, use him/her.

    • Working Girl :

      The watch counter at Macy’s. They are great. I bet you could do it yourself too but I never bother.

      • Thanks, guys!
        I went to my local cobbler, he did it in about 5 minutes and it cost $10. Victory!
        I had been walking around sans watch for 2 weeks now because I could never make it to the watch store, not sure what I was afraid of…

        • It’s not you, it’s deliberately misleading advertising :-)..
          There, you’re free now.

  47. Anon for this :

    Urgent threadjack: I have to appear with my attorney in court Monday morning for a custody dispute. My ex keeps dragging me in to court. He projects a very intense, “concerned parent” aura and makes all kinds of claims that I’m a bad parent, which some commissioners fall for at first, though (expensive, GAL or parenting evaluator) research has always delivered the win to me in the end. Question: I will stand next to my attorney, facing the commissioner, while my attorney does all the talking. Suggestions for how to stand, where to look, what to wear to counterbalance the apparently favorable he gives? I noticed someone else one time looking down the whole time while his attorney spoke — understandable, because he was uncomfortable and his attorney did the talking. But I think it made him look shifty. Help, please!!!!

    • First off, as to what to wear, I’d wear a suit or something similar. As close as you can get.

      As for where to stand and look, this is something that would really be good to ask your attorney. But I’d presume you should look at the commissioner mostly.

      • anon for this :

        Thanks for taking time to respond, TCFKAG. I will definitely ask my attorney, but can’t (wouldn’t anyway) bug her over the weekend and I am obsessing… Appreciate it! I want to look maternal and unthreatening (he is repeating claims of emotional abuse that were disproven the first time by a parenting evaluator) so picked a pastel jacket and off-white skirt.

        • Wear glasses if you have em. There’s been a host of studies in the criminal arena that glasses have a non-threatening effect on juries, so maybe it will translate. Good luck.

        • Pretend you’re on a job interview instead. Same clothes, same demeanor. Don’t let the bastard put you off balance. And good luck!

  48. Woods-comma-Elle :

    You guise. I think I need to detox. I know I won’t be able to do it for long, but a couple of days really couldn’t hurt. Any tips for a quick and easy(ish) detox? I was reading some stuff about drinking water with lemon before breakfast and only eating fruit and yoghurt, but i think I need a bit more structure than that…

    • I just finished reading People magazine on the treadmill and there’s a whole page on Dr. Oz’s 2-day cleanse. Breakfast is millet with pears, the between meal snack is Dr. Oz’s detox drink (juice made of greens and citrus), lunch is a fresh fruit rejuvenating smoothie, and dinner is vegetable soup. All of the recipes are in the magazine. I know you’re in London, so I searched their website and it didn’t come up but when I googled Dr. Oz two day cleanse, a slightly different version popped up. Anyway it looks pretty do-able and the recipes are fairly simple other than having a ton of ingredients.

    • I really recommend just making sure to eat whole (“real” and non-processed) food in reasonable amounts for the time you would have allotted to the cleanse. Our bodies do not need to be detoxified in the “cleanse” manner because our bodies are naturally self-“cleaning” machines. (Machines. He he.)

      I understand the psychological raw of “cleanses” and I think this could be accomplished in a physically healthier – and fun! – way: making sure to eat only non-processed foods during a certain period of time can really be fun as you try all new kinds of foods and recipes. :) :)

    • Best detox ever:

      * as much plant matter (veggies or fruit) as you want in as unprocessed a state as you can eat it (raw or steamed, no or very little sauce — balsamic vinegar or lemon juice with a tiny bit of olive oil).

      * eggs and lean protein (fish, chicken) cooked plainly — eggs scrambled, fish or chicken steamed.

      * no caffeine (decaf green tea instead).

      * no alcohol.

      * no dairy.

      * no processed foods.

      After 2-4 weeks, you will feel amazing.

  49. Any suggestions for people taking the bar in a second state? I have been practicing for four years (oh how I wish it was five), and passed the bar in my first state on the first try. I took BarBri the first time, but did not feel it necessary this time. I am not working at the moment, so I can study on the same general schedule as the classes. I bought used BarBri books and downloaded the schedule from their website and am following the subjects. I also have purchased an MBE book that comes highly recommended. My plan is to study about 5 – 6 hours a day. I have been doing multiple choice questions after I finish each subject matter.

    I’m not freaking out because I think I will pass it, but I also don’t want to become complacent. A lot of the MBE topics are coming back to me just fine, but I am concerned about learning the VA stuff. Should I focus more on the VA stuff than the MBE?? Any tips are greatly appreciated.

    • Your plan sounds fine; I’ve taken a couple of different bar exams, and for one of those I did essentially what you are describing, although I was working, so it didn’t get 5-6 hours a day! Honestly, I think it depends on the state, but if it were me (and it won’t be, because I’m never taking another bar exam!) I might focus first on the MBE topics, then work on the VA specifics. If the MBC topics are coming back to you easily, then maybe a quick refresher will suffice and you can spend more time on the new VA topics which will be fresher in your mind for the bar.

      Good luck!

    • Licensed in VA (and having taken the VA barzam more than once), I would say it would depend on how far away from VA law your original state was. There’s VA-specific vocab and concepts that you can’t fudge your way through by saying, “In Virginia, [thing that’s true everywhere else].” I think it would also depend on how well you do with the MBE stuff.

      Also, IME, don’t listen to what BarBri tells you the essays that will be on the exam. Learned that the hard way. But otherwise you don’t have to know everything cold, but at least know all the VA-specific points cold.

  50. Anne Bronte :

    I’m not really Anne Bronte. I just wanted to ask you ladies if you had ever had an extended period of time when you felt you could not get control. I don’t feel that I have control over my eating, or my wine-drinking, or the ants in my apartment, or much of anything. I have a husband I love but he’s had s*xual function problems for years. Either he’s just depressed, or it’s me. I’m overweight, have been to one degree or another all my life, and have gotten even too fat for last summer’s clothes. I have a good job (not law) in a rapidly declining industry that, at 42, I am aging out of. I’m already on antidepressants!

    I just wanted to ask you women, of whom I have come to be fond, if you ever had a period in your life when you couldn’t get your crap together and despaired that you ever would. I’m not really looking for help with my whining, I am just wondering if there are other people out there who are looking around and thinking, WTF.

    • Wow, you could have been describing my life 7 or 8 years ago. I’m sorry you’re going through this. About your husband – I doubt if it’s you. If it’s psychological and not physical, it’s something in his own head that he needs to deal with. Don’t blame yourself. My ex (my husband at the time) was unemployed and had ongoing dysfunction problems, I was stressed beyond belief in my job, losing my hair, seriously overweight, and had high blood pressure. I went away to a conference and, over that weekend, I realized that I needed to start eating better and that I was eating too much and eating when I wasn’t hungry. I started eating better and eating less, cut out alcohol, ate dessert sparingly, and started exercising (walking a lot at first). My ex and I would actually go for long walks together – in retrospect, I’m not sure that was helpful. I lost 90 pounds, Katrina hit, and my husband left. But that’s me. You need to do some things for yourself. Exercise will probably do wonders for you – it’ll help you lose weight and the endorphins will help you feel better. For me strength training (weights) has made me feel very powerful and in control. Are you in therapy in addition to the antidepressants? That might not be a bad idea. It will get better.

    • Yes, I’ve felt like this before. You know what helped? A psychiatrist. Don’t be embarrassed. Modern medicine works. You deserve to feel better, so don’t hesitate to ask for the help you need.

    • Anon and also out of control :

      I wish I couldn’t relate to you, but I do! I look around at all my to do lists, all the things I want to accomplish, and I don’t see myself getting there. Like you, I’m on antidepressants, and I see a therapist regularly. I think it’s just a phase, but I’m wondering when I will snap out of it. I think NOLA’s advice about food and exercise has a lot to do with it, but I keep falling short in the self-discipline department right now.

    • One more thought on this. You might want to step back and think about what you *need* to have control over. There are things I’m very self-disciplined about (working out, my productivity at work, alcohol) and other things I’m not (chocolate, cleaning my house). You might need to pick your battles so you don’t feel completely overwhelmed. Also, years ago, a friend of mine told me that she was working on being more comfortable with “not knowing.” Basically, not obsessing about how things will come out in the future. You can be a good person and do good things, but you can’t control the world around you or the people. I take a long-term optimistic view of my life because when I have let go of having to know and just focus on my own choices and try to be a good person, things have come out great.

      • Anne Bronte :

        Thanks, all of you — I greatly appreciate it. I haven’t been in therapy for a good long while and have been thinking it might be time to go back. NOLA, picking your battles makes complete sense. (I think there have been studies that show willpower literally is like a muscle and gets exhausted.) And I hear you on the not-knowing. The funny thing is that when I’ve been able to do this in the past, things really have pretty much worked out. But for some reason that hasn’t cured my need to obsess.

        Anyway, again, many thanks for the hive wisdom. I knew it wouldn’t fail me!

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          For working out, half the battle is retraining your will power to just get to the gym. Does your gym have anything that is fun like a massage chair or red light machine? I started by going to the gym after work, using the red light machine, and going home. When I decided I wanted to work out in the morning, I gave myself the easiest to accomplish task like “ride bike leisurely and read magazine.” It wasn’t much of a workout but I accomplished getting out of bed, getting there, and getting in the habit of getting ready for work from the gym. From there I kept increasing my exercise until I was actually really working out. Baby steps.

        • It took me a long time and a lot of practice to get over the anxiety of wanting to know how things were going to be in the future. I took a cue from my friend and approached it mindfully. When you start to obsess, remind yourself over and over that you don’t need to know and things will be fine. As things got better in my life it got easier to look back and realize that I didn’t have to know.

        • Anne Shirley :

          For me the best way to deal with the willpower muscle is to set life up so I don’t need it as much. So, if food is a problem, try and automate things, step by step. Like maybe start by identifying a healthy breakfast (for me, oatmeal and blueberries) and then making sure everything you need for that (fresh milk, clean bowls and spoons) is ready to go Sunday night. And then that week- that’s your thing. Doesn’t matter if the rest of the stuff you eat is the usual crap and the house is a mess, you are taking control of one little thing at a time.

          But I also thing therapy would be a good start, to help you develop new patterns and habits.

    • Yes, from time to time I do feel overwhelmed like this. Luckily it has passed pretty quickly in the past. Some things that help, in addition to the things already mentioned:

      Focus on the things that you are grateful for/happy with. I also tend to think of specific people who I know are much worse off than myself and are managing to get through (a childhood friend who has lymphoma, in her early 20s, and has been struggling with the treatments for 2+ years now; people I encounter at the social services agency where I work). Its sort of a trite thing, but it makes my problems seem more manageable.

      Secondly, do you spend a lot of time watching tv/on the computer when you get home? When I go through periods where I just can’t get control over my apartment/life, I make a conscious effort to limit internet and TV time. I won’t even turn on my laptop when I get home, and I’ll only watch TV if I’m also doing something else (treadmill, ironing, etc). It is amazing how much more I get done when I’m not spending hours on the internet.

    • There are a couple bloggers, particularly ZenHabits, that discuss this. My favorite advice is to start small: 5 minutes a day toward a goal. For example with the ants, day 1 5 minutes could be picking up a can of Raid. Day 2 5 minutes could be cleaning one cupboard, the one closest to where the ants are coming in. Day 3, one more cupboard. It doesn’t really matter what you do, but the point is pick just one goal, and just put 5 minutes toward it. If you miss a day it doesn’t matter, just do the best you can.

      After you have some semblance of control over one goal, in say a month, move on to the next. By doing things one at a time, and just 5 minutes, you can get a little confidence boost and feel just a little bit more in control over your life and your decisions, without ever getting overwhelmed.

      www (dot) nomeatathlete (dot) com / limitless /

      wrote an article about this system, its worth reading in my opinion.

    • Consider that the anti-depressants could be at least part of the problem. Definitely the husband problems, and the weight, at least. Besides, it makes no sense to be on them without proper therapy.

  51. Does anyone have an IUD?

    If so, how much does it hurt when it’s inserted? I can’t use hormonal birth control, and an IUD seems so much more effective than a diaphragm. But I’ve also heard it can be painful. For those of you who have it, are you happy with it?

    • Hey Bluejay — if you search google [this site] Mirena you will find lots of threads about IUDs.

      Brief summary, I have a Mirena because I can’t take hormonal birth control of any kind. Because I had never had children and for other reasons, it hurt like an absolute b* going in. If you can get a doctor to prescribe some kind of anti-anxiety or muscle relaxant first, that might help. BUT, since then — I’ve loved mine — five years, no worry birth control, and I don’t get my period at all.

      But, others have reported serious cramping problems with the IUD as well as other issues. So I’d do the search to see what the variety of thoughts were.

      • Um, mirena includes hormonal birth control. Just FYI.

        • That is true, but the amount of hormones is much lower and the type of hormones cause less of a risk of blood clots, which is my specific issue. But there is info in those threads about the completely non-hormonal IUDs as well, which have more side effects. Which is why I was recommending she search there.

      • Thanks. Yeah, I actually should have been more clear – I’m thinking of the traditional IUD, not Mirena, because Mirena uses progesterone. But the pain level is probably the same with both. I need to discuss with my gyno, of course, but sometimes doctors aren’t entirely accurate (to put it mildly) in their description of how something is going to feel.

      • It doesn’t freak you out 100% to not get your period? I feel I would be so paranoid every month I was pregnant! That’s the only reason I use the dummy pills in my packs, just so I have some indication I’m not pregnant.

        • The first couple months maybe it worries you — but then you kind of move on. Or at least I did. :-)

        • i still get my cycle some months. Now being 3 years out from getting my IUD, they are very light, but I sometimes still get them. So, it doesn’t freak me out.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I have the non-hormonal IUD (hormones make me nuts!) and loved it. I got pregnant with my first while on diaphragm. I have had slightly heavier periods, but without cramping, so I’ve spent the last nine years having to keep track, because I’ve been surprised more in the last two years than previous 18!!! They said it would pinch upon insertion, but as I’d just had two non-medicated deliveries within 16 months, I don’t think I actually noticed – lol. Alas, the baby is approaching 10, so I am now starting to try to convince my husband to get a vasectomy so we don’t have to worry about b/c this has to come out soon…. But I don’t think about b/c at all….

      • Thanks – this is encouraging. I don’t want to use the diaphragm for exactly the reason you mention – relatively high “failure” rate (not that I consider babies a failure; just that I don’t want one). I’m in a monogamous relationship, and it would be great not to have to think about BC at all.

        • I also have the copper (non-hormone) one – Paraguard. It hurts quite a bit for me going in (I’m on my second one – got it after an intervening pregnancy). I learned my lesson after the first and took 600mg ibuprofen before the second insertion. Still painful, but no real residual cramping with the ibuprofen. When I say “painful” though, we’re not even talking on the same spectrum as childbirth. I love it – I never have to think about birth control.

    • I haven’t had an IUD (contraindicated because I’ve had a previous ectopic), but I have had a uterine biopsy and I would imagine the discomfort being very similar. I got some great advice to take a Percocet before the procedure (happened to have some lying around from a m/c I’d had a few months before). The biopsy didn’t bother me at all, and the doctor was shocked I was so calm. :-) So if you can get your hands on the good stuff, I’d advise it.

      • Thanks! I’m going to the gyno on Monday, but as I understand it I’ll have to make a follow-up appointment for IUD insertion if we decide to go that route. I will just ask her if she’ll write me an Rx for some strong painkillers – if that’s a possibility it will make the process a lot more palatable to me. I can always get a taxi home and sleep for the rest of the day.

        • I am the hugest baby about pain, seriously, I do actually faint when getting shots sometimes, it’s pathetic. And my IUD insertion (the Mirena) was really not as bad as I was building it up to be. I definitely felt it, but it was fast, and once it was over, I had forgotten about it in a couple of days. You should definitely talk to your doc ahead of time, I did and explained that I was a big baby, and she gave me lots of advice and took things really slowly through the whole process, setting the appt and everything, and made it as calm and comfortable for me as possible. So, you are on the right track, talk to your doc, take something before the appt, and have someone drive you so you can go home and relax the rest of the day.

          The first few months were sometimes uncomfortable, but that all passed quickly, and now i am sooo glad that i have it. It makes things so easy, and i don’t have the reactions from the hormones in the pill, and i almost never have to think about it. I highly recommend.

    • Love my IUD :

      I have used copper IUDs since 1984, when I was 18. First I used Copper 7. Then Copper T. Now I have a Paraguard. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them.

      If they are inserted by an experienced MD, the insertion itself is like a bad Pap smear and the cramps after are just a bad period for a day or so. Ask for muscle relaxants to take a couple hours before your appointment. The MD also will have you take antibiotics the day before and day of just to make sure.

      It is a little bit more painful to have it removed. You cough while the MD tugs gently.

      I’ve had five of them now (I think. Maybe six.) I would never use anything else.

    • I read these, but wanted to add my two cents –

      The insertion of my Mirena was the most painful female event I have ever experienced. I had not had children beforehand. It hurt, I cried, then I drove home, and by the time I got home I was basically crawling into the house the cramps were so strong and painful. I called my husband who was 4 hours away at a conference and said he had to come home immediately, it was an emergency….called the doctor, who said it must be expelling itself, and to take a bunch of advil and if it got worse, to come in, but otherwise it should be expelled in a day or so. Laid on the floor in the bathroom because the cramps were so strong that I’d vomit at the same time. Finally husband came home via doctor who had pain medication…I slept on and off the next 24 hours.

      Turns out it did not expel itself, had it in for the next four years, and after that it was great…but I don’t think I can ever have another one put in.

    • It can hurt so badly that my mother (mild-mannered 5’2″) actually kicked the doctor in the stomach to make him stop. Hopefully it won’t be your experience, but be prepared for real pain, and get some drugs if you can.
      An IUD is not hormones, which you know can be really good for many of us (DES daughter here). And it’s as good as menopause in terms of low-maintenance :-).

  52. London hotel? :

    Hoping the hive can help with recommendations for a hotel in London. Will be there in July (before Olympics) and have 3 days to see the sights (it’s been years since I’ve been and DH’s first trip). Would like to be in an area near tourist sites, good restaurants, nightlife. Hope to spend under $400 per night if possible (I know it’s expensive). TIA!! (any recs for restaurants, etc also much appreciated)

    • Graduate student help :

      I live in Shoreditch, and there are some nice hotels over here. It’s technically East London, but not very far east and the main sights are maybe a 15 minute ride on the tube away. Check out The Hoxton for a cheaper hotel (I have friends who paid $150 a night to stay there).

      Food: Tayyabs in Whitechapel is the best (cheap) Indian food in London. Song Que on Kingsland Road is the best Vietnamese. Hakkasan is amazing, but expensive. What kind of nightlife are you looking for?

    • airbnb

    • I highly recommend the Firmdale hotel group — I had a great experience at their Knightsbridge Hotel in April 2011. I believe they just opened a new hotel in Marylebone. The Soho would probably the best location to pick to be near nightlife. No. Sixteen is slightly less expensive as it’s the farthest out — but it’s right near the South Kensington Tube station so you can get anywhere quickly, and it’s right near the V&A Museum and lots of great restaurants.

      • And if you do stay at one of their hotels, definitely have the breakfast and afternoon tea at least once! I’m a foodie who lives in SF and yet I am *still* reminiscing about those breakfasts and afternoon tea one year later.

        Didn’t do any high-end restaurants during my trip b/c I was traveling solo but I had a great time wandering around and eating at Borough Market (esp. loved the Ginger Pig). I love Paul (the Parisian bakery) for lemon tarts and other pastries. Peyton & Byrne is a local bakery/cafe chain that is also excellent. Other favorite takeaways/cafes: Ottolenghi (several locations); La Bottega (ditto); Monmouth Coffee Co.; Maoz; Le Pain Quoditien; Cyprus Mangal (near Victoria Station). Oh — Brindisa, in South Kensington, has wonderful Spanish food.

    • Last summer I got a great deal on Citadines, which is actually a studio, aimed more at business people. Great location in central London, a well-stocked kitchen with housework included, comfortable and modern, the only drawback was the laundromat extortion prices. I highly recommend it..

  53. New Work Wardrobe :

    I’m in a rut and need to get out of the habit of wearing jeans. Suits are not really an option though except on very special days – agency director briefings, special fairs, etc. It’s a government office where the 15s wear Alfred Dunner and dress like my mother. Only the male SES’s wear suits on a regular basis. I’m trying to find something between my previous corporate suit wear and the nonbusiness casual that I’m in.

    Any suggestions on where to start or find something that is dressy/professional but would not look too out of place in my office.

    • I'm Just Me :

      What about suiting trousers, a shell and a cardigan? Or a pencil skirt, shell and cardigan. Or a more casual blazer that coordinates with the trousers or skirts.

      • New Work Wardrobe :

        What you described is considered dressed up where I work. The type of dressed up that starts comments that you are looking for a new job within or outside the agency. That wouldn’t be too bad except most of the supervisors take an employee leaving them, or “wanting” to leave, as a personal affront. There’s a crazy fine line between acceptable and unacceptable dressiness.

        • I kinda think just dress as you wish. It’ll only be odd for a week or two and then it will just become normal.

          • I'm Just Me :

            Agree. And with a few thousand people at your location, it’s hard to imagine that none of them dress that way on a regular basis. I work in a smaller agency and dress ranges from suits to sweats.

            You could incorporate things slowly. Just stop wearing jeans and wear trousers with your same tops, after a few weeks, introduce a pencil skirt now and again. Start changing out your tops a few at a time to a dressier look, then add the “third” piece of a cardi or jacket. Or the opposite, add the nicer tops and cardi or jackets to your jeans, then slowly get rid of the jeans.

        • How about what she said but instead of suiting type pants, a trouser cut jean in a dark wash, and rather than the “professional” pencil skirt, one made of khaki material or a canvas-y material. What colors are the Alfred Dunner Ladies wearing? If they’re colors you can wear, meet the office palette, but with your own sort of outfit – a different way to blend.

    • Sounds like you work at my govt agency. Maybe check out Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, Limited, or even Gap.

      Honestly though, I wear a mixture of nice dark wash jeans and black pant/jeans and tops. Occasionally I wear a dress or pencil skirt. I always wear flats. Even with this casual wardrobe, I’m one of the nicer dressed people I see… pretty sad.

      • New Work Wardrobe :

        That may be possible. There are a few thousand people in our location.

        Where do you find your flats? I’ve looked at all the mall stores, zappos, dsw. It seems like there are plain ballet flats or shoes that have been sequined and baubled within an inch of their life. Work appropriate ones that are a bit fun or interesting are few and far.

        • I love the Cole Haan Maria Sharapova flats. They are a little pricey, but they are really comfortable and hold up better than cheaper flats. If you’re looking for flats at a lower price point, Nine West and Nordstrom’s BP brand have plain flats as well. I usually buy patent leather flats, so of that’s not your style these brands may not have what you’re looking for.

          Happy shopping! It shouldn’t seem difficult, but it’s harder than it seems to dress for this type of work place where you have some people wearing sweats (seriously!?!?) and then SES folks roaming the halls in suits.

        • scientist :

          Another struggling gov’t worker…

          I wear pants (usually gray from AT or BR because they are washable) or dark wash trouser jeans (same stores; good for field work) with tops, cardigans and flats. I get my flats from Ecco outlet near me. They are more, but I find them to be supremely comfortable even when I spend the whole day on my feet. Nordstrom’s also stocks Ecco.

          Wish I could wear a jacket; that would make my life much easier.

          • scientist :

            I have a pair similar to these: http://www.eccousa.com/shoes/womens/casual/kelly-cross-strap/3241/detail.aspx

            I also have a pointy purple pair, but I ca’t seem to find a picture of those.

        • I just came across these and was surprised to see flats in a comfort brand that didn’t have a giant flower or something: http://www.dillards.com/product/Ecco-Women%C2%B4s-Kelly-Flats_301_-1_301_503151368
          I like the little chain detail.

          • scientist :

            Oh, they still have flowers: http://www.dillards.com/product/Ecco-Women%C2%B4s-Genova-Flats_301_-1_301_503145844 and bows if that’s what you’re into. But they have been offering less frou-fy details lately.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      That sounds like my dream job…..lol. I love jeans…. and sad that I can only wear them on Fridays…..

      • I can’t even wear ’em on Fridays :(

        But – if I could, I agree with the nicer dark wash jeans and a blazer or button down suggestion. I also think there are casual-ish dresses that could work well. Maybe something along these lines:
        Or one of those target merona dresses that get recommended here from time to time?

        For flats, I really like french sole. But their sizing can be a bit unorthodox so try on first.

    • OP, you might want to check out some of the posts on “smart casual” or the “mom on the go” capsule outfits/wardrobes on the You Look Fab blog. (You definitely don’t have to be a mom for these to work — I’m not — it’s just the name the blog author/stylist first came up with.)

      • Second. I think she has more practical suggestions than most people.
        Also check out the Vivienne files for similar style, and good ideas to stay grounded in sets that go together easily.

  54. Any suggestions on the cold wax? I just picked some of the Veet ones up, but I was curious about any hints you all might have. I never have waxed at all, fyi.

    • That’s an item I have *never* had success with. Gave up on the stuff years ago, after trying several brands. My sensitive skin problem may have contributed to this, though! Good luck. Let us know if you find something good!

      • Yeah, I haven’t looked back since my sister got me one of those ripper machines :-). The new ones are truly not painful, and it lasts even longer than wax.

  55. Hi! Don’t know if it’s too late in the day for this, but here goes;
    I’m sitting an exam in central London during the Olympics. I’ll have to take the train and then the tube (2.5h) to get there. It’s just a 3h written paper but I’ll only have two days to acclimatise, after life in a tropical city. Generally I’m fine, even at much colder times of the year, and never had problems on trips in the past.
    Would you have any tips for me, in how to dress on the day? Anything goes?
    Thanks in advance!

    • CA lawyer :

      Not dress related, but a caution about counting on the train and tube to both be running smoothly. Is there any way you can stay near the exam site the night before the exam? Or map out alternate transportation that you can take from various points if the train gets delayed (like a bus)? That way if there’s any problem with the train or tube, you’re not late to your exam.

      • HereThere :

        First, I’d suggest layers. That way, you are comfortable and all set no matter what.

        Second, regarding CA lawyer’s suggestion, if you already have your plan/hotel set, perhaps just planning on getting there really, really early. If there is somewhere in the are that you can kill a few hours, I’d probably go that route.

    • Anne Shirley :

      London can be pretty warm that time of year, or cold and damp. You’ll have to wait until just before you get there to check. I’d suggest light layers, and getting a hotel room near the test site. If I’m reading this right, you’re flying in just for the test? So I think it would be worth the cost of a room to make sure you don’t miss it. 2.5 hours on the train and tube = a lot of time for things to go wrong, and its hard to predict what kind of delays the Olympics will cause.

    • So true, sigh…
      Thanks all! It’s already Monday here :(

  56. lawstudent678 :

    New to posting but I’ve been scouring Corporette and it has been so helpful as a new professional. Just wondering if I can get some thoughts on suit color. I’m in a business casual setting now (1L summer), but trying to only buy pieces that will work in a more formal setting as well. I bought a light-taupe colored skirt suit today at a great price and was wondering if this would be acceptable in a formal setting? It’s similar to the “Morning Fog” color at J.Crew (if you look at the Wool Crepe suiting).

    • HereThere :

      The Weekend Thread rather fizzles out on Sundays, so I suggest reposting this in this morning’s thread once it is posted.

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