Thursday’s TPS Report: Draped Zebra-Print Top

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

Robbi & Nikki Draped Zebra-Print TopOooh, a new brand to me: Robbi & Nikki, which “Robert Rodriguez created … as a more youthful translation of his signature style.” Well then! I actually think this minty zebra-print charmeuse is quite sophisticated for what it is, and I love that deep cowl. (I’m not a fan of the drawstrings hanging from the shoulders — they just look like hanger straps to me — but those can be tucked away.) The blouse was $165, but is now marked to $74 at CUSP by Neiman Marcus. Robbi & Nikki Draped Zebra-Print Top

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  1. I’ll be in NYC on Saturday and am in need of a few recommendations.  The area I’ll be around is the UES and near Penn Station. 

    Where can I go for a bra fitting and buy a new bra for under $100? 

    Where can I find a new purse with a budget of $200? 

    Any good shoe store I can get great, budget-friendly flats that can’t be returned? 

    Thanks and looking forward to your comments!!! Ooh, any places you love for breakfast and lunch? 

    • For a great bra fitting there are several places on the UES (just look on Yelp). I personally have had good luck at Town Shop, which is on broadway and easily accessible from Penn Station (2/3 to 72 and walk up, or you can transfer to the 1 local) to 79th.

      There are also a couple of shoe stores on Broadway that are good for flats that are pretty close to Town Shop (just walk south along Broadway). Depending on how far up on the UES you are Bloomingdales may not be a bad place to look for flats, though they can be returned. The flagship Macys is blocks from Penn Station and you can definitely get a purse and flat shoes there (along with almost anything else you may need).

    • Linda the Bra Lady – there is a store on 63rd and Lex and 36th and 3rd (I get all my bra’s here).

    • Intimacy is a good place for bras. They have one location near Bloomingdales and Linda’s (recommended below) on Third Avenue around East 62nd or 63rd, and one on Madison and East 90th. If you go that route, try and make an appointment for a fitting so you don’t have to wait.

      For breakfast/lunch, try the Smith at Second Ave and 52nd.

    • For bras, Linda the Bra Lady and Intimacy are both good options and are near each other.
      Do make an appointment.

      For new purse, depends on what you are looking for. There’s Daffy on East 57th btwn Lex and Park, but it can be very hit or miss. That said, I have gotten fantastic italian leather bags there for $150 and under. It also can’t hurt to pop into Bloomingdales, esp. if they are having a sale. If you’re in the area, you may also want to pop into Delfino, on 3rd and 77th. And, of course, if you just want to try your luck at a non-only-in-NY store, there’s a TJ Maxx on 59th and 1st with a pretty great bag selection. And if you do venture to the upper west side (easy to do either directly from Penn Station or by cross town bus on E 72nd St.), I highly recommend Lohmann’s.

      For flats, not sure how budget friendly we’re talking, but I would recommend French Sole on Lexington in the low 70s. There’s the regular store and also the outlet – you should check out both, b/c sometimes the store also has great sales. They’re within spitting distance of each other. Outlet is 976 Lexingston; Flagship is 985; there’s also a comfort shop at no. 972. If you do end up going to Daffy’s (see above), also check out their shoes. Again, hit or miss, but I have found gems. Same with Lohmanns, if you go cross town (which you should because it’s a 15 min bus ride, or better yet you can walk across the park).

      For breakfast/lunch, Le Pain Quotidien is great, there are several locations. Also, Sarabeth’s on Madison in the low 90s, Orsay (French & gorgeous) has a great lunch prix fix (75th and Lex, you should sit outside), Luke’s Lobster on E 82nd, Shake Shack on E86th for a burger, or go to Lexington Avenue Candy Shop for a one of a kind old fashioned experience (burgers, jelly omelettes, egg creams, lime rickies and soda from actual syrup – fantastic).

    • D Train South :

      Huh . . . I had no idea you could get a bra for OVER $100.

    • new york associate :

      BraTenders is close to Penn Station and a great place for a fitting. You must make an appointment.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      For weekend brunch, I love Whym and Eatery (owned by the same people)–they’re on 9th avenue in I think the upper 40s/low 50s, so not exactly near either Penn Station or UES, but sort of halfway in between, so I count it:-)

      • Yay, Gail! I ate brunch at Whym a few summers ago on a trip to NYC and loved it. I was trying to think of its name so I’m very excited to see your post. I need to schedule a return visit.

  2. I love this top but I’ve had problems with figuring out how to wear the cowl neck sleeveless because it feels like there’s too much bulk that sticks out from a jacket or cardigan. I have an Anthro dress that has a cowl neck and it’s beautiful but I can’t wear it to work because work is too cold for sleeveless without a sweater or jacket. Maybe it’s just because I’m busty?

    • Anonsensical :

      Can you wear something under it instead? I’ve had good luck layering tissue-thin long- or 3/4-sleeved tops under some of my sleeveless tops. Looks better with some than with others, of course.

    • Kontraktor :

      I actually like cowel necks for under jackets and cardigans! I like how they give an interesting detail around the neckline and sometimes, depending on the jacket and style of the cowel neck, they make it like you’re wearing a nice drapey scarf underneath your jacket vs. a blouse. Maybe try looking for a jacket or sweater to go with that dress specifically? I find that jackets look best with my cowel neck tops if they button just a bit below where the cowel/drapey part of the top ends.

      • This. My favorite tops to wear under jackets have cowl necks (higher than this one) that poof out a little bit just above the top button of my jacket. I feel like I get the effect and sophistication of a scarf without the effort (since I am scarf-impaired). I am pretty flat-chested, so ymmv.

    • What about a neutral open cardigan that is loose and longer in the back? That’s what I do in the office with my cowl neck sleeveless. I tried a structured sweater cardigan and it was too structured looking with the drapping cowlneck. Same story with a blazer I tried with it. I don’t think I would layer below it because I walk outside and it’s so hot then come inside where it’s 70 and the air vent blows on me so I need to be able to easily remove it. Good idea for winter time though…

      • I love the look of a cowl neck under a blazer. Unfortunately, (and maybe it’s the ones that I own, but they’re all Ann Taylor and the like), I often find myself dangerously near exposure when I lean over.

      • That would work with a top like this, but not with my dress, which is fitted on top with a fuller skirt. It would look weird with a cardigan hanging over the skirt.

        • Kontraktor :

          I think you should look into a more ‘shrunken’ or slightly cropped style blazer that sort of ends right where the fuller part of the skirt begins. I think a more fitted, cropped jacket can look so cute/a bit vintage with a fuller skirt.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I have this very problem with sleeveless cowl necks, and have stuck to only those with sleeves since. Also, the little strings poking from this shirt make me thing she has unintentionally allowed the hanger strings to come out of the shirt.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I’m busty and love cowl necks with an open cardigan. Not all cardigans are equal for this, though. I have a silk v-neck that works the best. It’s heavy enough to hang straight down and the v-neck doesn’t get involved with the cowl neck.

  3. Can anyone recommend a Couch to 5k app for Android? I don’t like to run outside with headphones and music, so I would ideally like something I can have open on my phone that will just tell me when it’s time to switch jogging/walking. Thank you!

    • I have “C25K Lite,” which was free. It beeps at you when it’s time to switch, and you can set it to let you know when you’re half-way through longer time periods, when you have 1 minute left, etc. I picked this one, because it has pretty good reviews. It doesn’t have music, but if you decide that you feel like music one day, you can run Pandora in the back ground, and the beeping will sound through the music.

  4. Associette :

    Ahh – I love Robert Rodriguez! He is my favorite designer, and I am so excited to see his brand on Corporette. Fabu!

  5. I just bought a new top yesterday that is a forest green wool with origami pleats at the neckline. To stay out of moderation I didn’t put in a link, so just g00gle “elie tahari Andie blouse” if you want to check it out. I’m having a bit of trouble imagining how to style it though, because I don’t know if I could layer it under a cardigan since it’s wool, and I’m not comfortable going sleeveless in the office. Would it be the kind of thing I could wear a long-sleeve T under?

    • What a beautiful top!
      You’ll have to see if it works with an underlayer, but I have trouble imagining it.
      Just like with the cowl-neck styling above, I think an open or unbuttoned cardi is your best bet.

    • Or what about a cotton blazer? In the winter it will look lovely with a tweed blazer.

    • Just bought this – thanks for asking about it so that I could discover it!!

      • Thanks for your suggestions! I wouldn’t have thought to put it with tweed. I don’t have a cotton blazer. Maybe I just need to take it shopping with me to find some pieces that it works with.

        Also-glad you picked it up! I love mine, and once I figure out how to wear it, I think it will be a wardrobe staple.

      • Ahhhhh love it. Only place I can find selling it has it in medium and nothing else. Where did people find this?

    • You could maybe do a very thin black t in a nicer fabric under it to give it a vest look. I would stay away from anything white or undershirt looking. But I would try a structured blazer or even a structured sweater jacket- just make sure you have enough room. I actually would not recommend cotton over wool- the weights of the fabric would be off (thinner over heavier).

      Gorgeous top! Would love to see it with a black pencil skirt or skinny pants. I would go for a higher waisted pant than the one shown in the picture (or at least the one shown in the pic that I saw.) I HATE low rise pants under shirts belted at the natural waist. It looks awful! You only have one waist, not two!

  6. Those strings kinda look like her hanger strings are hanging out.

    • I was prepared to be, like, what the h*ll are you talking about it. Then I clicked over to get a closer look…and you’re RIGHT. haha. Maybe it wouldn’t look quite so much like that in person, because otherwise its cute.

      • That always happens to me. I swear I am going to hang something up and that those things won’t hang out and they pretty much always hang out. I would still get this though…

  7. at least I already have a skinny wardrobe... :

    There have been a couple threads about different weight-loss plans lately, and it seemed like a lot of the Weight Watchers people lost 5-15 pounds to get to their goals weight.

    I need to lose about 65 pounds. As someone who was at a healthy weight most of my life, and have only in the past few years had a rather quick weight gain, this is a little new to me. We’ve checked it out with the doctor and there isn’t any medical condition, at least presently existing, that explains it, so I just need to suck it up, and diet and exercise to lose it. Does anyone who has experience losing a larger amount of weight have a program that they recommend? Is Weight Watchers still the best recommendation?

    • I think you could have great success with Weight Watchers. My dad lost 55 lbs on it (of course he’s gained it all back since, but that’s another story). I’ve used it off and on for about 12 years. I actually prefer the old program, because I found that the new program didn’t work for me when I only had 10 lbs to lose, but I think it would work great with larger weight loss goal (it’s my opinion that the new program is allowing me too many calories, and I figured why fix what ain’t broke and went back to the old points).

      • This. I was trying to lose the 5-10 lbs I put on post-wedding (aka the newlywed nine — so true!) I had used the old version post-law school and had 25 lbs come off almost without effort. The new version though, ugh. Did not work at all. But I think it would probably be good for a larger weight loss and I do really like the app and points approach. (Never went to a meeting. Really did not appeal to me.)

    • I’ve lost 107 lbs and counting on WW (it’s taken almost 4 years, so slow and steady, but it does work.) My sister has lost about 80 lbs now, also on WW — she works out much more than I do, so her weight loss has been faster (I think it’s taken almost 2 years.)

      This is the best program for me, because I love food, and I love to cook. I’m not willing to spend the rest of my life eating fake food. There are people on WW who rely on packaged meals, but that’s really a decision that’s up to you.

      Good Luck!

    • I’d especially recommend it for someone looking to lose a larger amount of weight. It’s all about making the life changes that lead to healthier weight. It’ll be a more gradual weight loss, so don’t expect to lose the weight immediately.
      Also, I know a woman who’s lost over 100 pounds on WW. I kid you not. She needs to be on one of their commercials.

    • Getting older = metabolism changes = unfair, but there you go…

      If you can afford it, I strongly recommend (1) meeting with a nutritionist; and (2) hiring a personal trainer, at least to get you started. I lost a significant amount of weight (almost 20% of my body weight) this way. It was very important to me to have personalized guidance. I came to learn that there is no such thing as an effective “diet” (in the sense of a temporary way to lose weight. Rather, there needs to be a lifestyle change, which includes primarily a change of diet (in the sense of what you eat). I needed to understand how to make healthy choices for the rest of my life, without that seeming daunting. Also, I was a total gym novice, so I needed somebody to show me how to use the equipment (and when, in what order, for what purpose, etc). Any good trainer will tell you that weight loss is 90-something percent about the diet, not the exercise. But overall health and fitness would also require exercise, of course.

      For my trainer, I use Focus Integrated Fitness (Meaghan, in particular). They’re not cheap, but I have found every penny worth it. I’ve been with them for 5 years now, and really feel like a completely different person. They come to you, or you can go to them. For the nutritionist, all I did was meet once with a nutritionist (then affiliated also with Focus, but she left the state). At my request, we met at a nice restaurant so we could discuss, in real time, the types of choices that are good and bad at places like that. This was important because my work requires me to go out and eat with regularity. It was also great to learn that healthy does not necessarily mean bland or boring or even feeling deprived (except sometimes, haha). I also kept a log of everything I ate for about two weeks prior to the meeting, so she could look it over and let me know where I could make improvements and suggest alternatives.

    • I need/want to lose 35 or 40 pounds and am considering WW. To those of you who use it and like it, can you get the same benefits by using the online program that you get from the program with meetings?

      • I find that I need to meetings to keep me focused and accoutable. I tried the online program my first time through WW (about 10 years ago), and I felt very much like I was all alone, without a whole lot of guidance. For me at least, the online program worked for a while, but when I hit a plateau (which I now know will happen to almost everyone), I didn’t have anyone to walk me through it, so I fell off the program completely.

        That said, I know others who have had success using the online program, so it really depends on you. You can check out a meeting for free, so I’d encourage you to do that, so you can get a feel for them. The success of a meeting also has A LOT to do with the meeting leader. I have a really great one, but some of them aren’t very good at focusing the discussion and staying on topic.

    • Lost a Bunch :

      I would highly recommend your locating a medically supervised weight loss program using HMR products. Last year I lost 73 pounds and went from a size 16 to a size 2. I have kept the weight off now for 7 months and still attend a weekly maintenance class. It took about seven months to lose the weight. It’s a fantastic program, a very healthy approach to weight loss, very supportive and highly successful. I eliminated high blood pressure and cholesterol problems. I feel 10 years younger. Just do an Internet search for HMR. Weight loss a d you will find their website with links to search for a program near you. It has changed my life!

    • try to find a good exercise plan that you like — classes you like etc. I found the Bar Method (there are other variations of this too) that i really love. The fact that i had to schedule/sign up for each class before hand, and pay for the classes makes me go.

    • SV in House :

      How timely! I have ~40 to lose and am going to my first WW meeting tomorrow. I know I need accountability, which hopefully the meetings will provide.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I lost nearly 60 lbs in the last 10 months using a completely free app called myfitnesspal. I can’t speak to weight watchers because I’ve never tried it, but if you want to try a free option first we can be friends on the site and encourage each other!

      • Mom Associate :

        Love myfitnesspal. Great app! I lost 50 lbs using a differerent program, Calorie King. I switched to myfitnesspal when I got my iPhone, and use it for maintenance.

    • I lost over 45 pounds, and it worked really well. Once I got the hang of the program, it was easy.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      I lost 30 lbs on WW and found the meetings to be really helpful. It’s a good place to ask questions about the program, get encouragement and learn what tricks work for others in your shoes. If you start WW, please make sure you get a food scale and a cup measurer and weigh / measure everything – the beginning instructions don’t really stress that but just tell you to write everything down – which is true, but just how much of it did you have? I thought it was an excellent program, I made lifetime, and I’ve kept all the lbs off nearly 4 years later!

    • Mom Associate :

      I lost 50 pounds doing calorie counting. WW is essentially the same, except you count points. The key is to eat less than you need, and exercise. There’s really no magic plan. All you need is determination and perserverance. Don’t give up, and don’t get discouraged. Keep going, even when you have a slight gain or no loss for a few weeks. Just keep at it, and the weight will come off.

    • Another plug for SparkPeople! We have a group over there for fans of this website and it’s been great for support when you can’t really schedule meetings. There are also groups for anyone else under the sun, running, weight lifting, zumba-ing, etc…, tons of exercise videos that are fun at varying lengths, from 5 minutes up to 50! Plus, there are more articles than you could ever read on nutrition, fitness, and inspiration.

      You also just have to read some of the success stories. One woman from Indiana was so ill and overweight (460# with fibromyalgia, herniated discs, etc) that her workouts started as standing up from her wheelchair and taking one step away, one step back. She’s lost over 200 pounds without surgery.

      So anyway, check it out!

  8. Well the new boyfriend leaves the toilet seat up everytime in both my bathroom and the guest bathroom, technically my roommate’s bathroom. Just noticed it yesterday when admiring that I had no pet peeves about him after the hilarious feed on pet peeves. Gonna get a cover for the lid and be completely passive aggressive about it. I like to sit on the seat and put lotion on after my shower so I have to keep it on there. What.

    • Why be passive agressive? Why not just tell him it bothers you?

      • Leslie Knope :

        Also, I don’t understand how the lid cover prevents him from leaving the seat up.

  9. Warning…rant alert! I just bought two gorgeous. Lafayette 148 dresses from SAKS two weeks ago , only to find out they’re now significantly marked down. I live outside the US, so returning them and re ordering at the lower prices is very expensive. SAKS refused to do a price adjustment. Huh!!!

    FOOEY on SAKS.

    Saving grace is that the dresses are gorgeous, work appropriate and fit perfectly!

    • Ooh, which ones? In need of a shopping pick-me-up.

      • The emanuelle dress in red and the ‘assymetrical pleat front’ dress in grey.

        I would advise that you size down in the former to get a non-boxy fit. I can get mine taken in easily and cheaply where I live so it’s ok.

        • MissJackson :

          I find that I need to size down (2 full sizes from my usual “high end” designer size, 1 size from my Banana Republic/J Crew size, etc size) for almost everything at Lafayette 148. Love their stuff, though! If you sign up for emails on their website, the clearance/sale selection is often quite good.

    • Oooh, I love Lafayette148. I just received their catalogue and would seriously wear almost anything in it, if I could even afford anything from it. Did you ask to speak to a customer service manager who might have more authority?

      • I did, no luck. Oh well!

        And yes, L148 is spendy but I’ve seen that I wear their stuff all.the.time.
        So that is how I justify the $$$…..!!

  10. TJ….

    How long did it take those of you who’ve had kids to regain your pre preg weight? My daughter is two months today and I’m almost back to my old weight but it seems like it has settled in different parts of my body:(

    Any tips? Especially as I need to lose another 6-8 kilos….

    And yes, I’m still b-feeding but nit sure that it is helping me lose weight.

    Thanks in advance.

    • I did not lose weight until I stopped nursing.

      • Ditto. I hung on to the last 5-10 lbs until I had completely, stopped nursing. Also, things shifted permanently for me, even when I got to the same weight.

    • No advice, just sympathy. My kiddo is 4 months and I’m a few pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight but my body is very different now. The baby is still exclusively eating bre@stmilk, so that might have something to do with it. Right now, I’m a firm believer in 9 months on/9 months off, but that doesn’t help when I’m getting ready for work in the morning and throwing pencil skirts around.

    • With my first two I got back down pretty quickly, but it did settle in different places. After my third, I have had a hard time losing the weight. Also some people say that while breastfeeding your body sometimes holds on to that last bit of weight. So that’s what I say has happened to me…. But 2 months is no time at all! Cut yourself some slack and just focus on healthy eating for breastfeeding purposes and taking the baby out for walks just to get fresh air at this point.

      • Thanks, ladies. I am trying to get an hour of walking each evening with baby. Diet is always my big issue, as I’m vegetarian and tend to overdose on carbs. But not trying to diet per se as I’m still nursing.

        I have 10 more weeks of leave so hoping some weight at least will come off in that time!

        • I agree that you need to give yourself a bit of grace in this situation! It took me about four months to lose the weight, but most of my old clothes still didn’t fit. About 13 months after DS was born, I noticed that I finally had a waistline again. :) That’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but I just want to reiterate that it is 100% COMPLETELY OKAY to look the way you look and weigh what you weigh. You were pregnant for nine months and are now nursing. Those bodily changes are significant and life-altering, and should be respected as such.

        • I was also a vegetarian until I started breastfeeding. I found I could not eat enough protein without adding in some fish and chicken every now and then. I too was eating a ton of carbs, which made me feel sluggish. I also did drop some weight when I stopped relying so heavily on carbs to keep me full. So my unsolicited advice is to try and get more protein and good fats from whatever sources you are comfortable with.

          • Beans! Field roast! Morningstar farms!

          • I eat a lot of “meat metaphors” — seitan, soy-based or some combination — for quick protein. Morningstar Farms is good (riblets!); at our house we also like the veg. pulled chik’n from Trader Joe’s and the various items from Lightlife (Smart Menu, I think). I throw a package of the Smart Menu pseudo-chicken in stir-fries, curries, spaghetti sauce, etc., to boost the protein. Morningstar Farms buffalo “wings” are really great cooked until crispy (the microwave will do this) and put on top a salad. And I think it’s Barilla that makes a higher-protein but still tasty pasta.

        • You’re a happy mama.

          All the wise women in my family are happy mama-shaped. You won’t ever be the same woman as you were before your great kid. Why would you want to be?

    • Never been pregnant, but from observing my female friends and coworkers, it can take people anywhere from 2 weeks to “never again” to get back to their pre-pregnancy size (I’m saying size/shape here because I obviously don’t make them step on a scale so can’t comment on weight!). I’m thinking average was 4-6 months to look pre-preg again.

    • 9 months on, 9 months off. Gentle on yourself. Gentle on your kid, too: my doctor said no intentional weight loss until weaning (20 or so falling right off is natural with the kid and the water retention, etc.). If you diet when nursing, the kid diets when nursing = no good. You created a life and began a new one for yourself. Enjoy them both.

    • Agree with previous posters that you need to cut yourself some slack. It took me about 5 months to get back down to my pre-preggo weight, but I’m still not back to my pre-preggo shape (my son is 14 months old). All of my old clothes started fitting me again starting at around 5 months, but I have a little belly pooch that I never had before, and I can’t figure out how to get rid of it. I am very petite and have always been very slim, so I think the belly pooch is more noticeable to me. But, I admit I haven’t made much effort to go to the gym (how can you find the time when getting back to work FT with a baby??) and have not been actively dieting – just trying to eat healthy, well balanced meals, but not restricting myself too much. Also, I’m still nursing a couple of times a day, so I don’t know if that’s helping or hurting the weight loss.

      Everybody’s different and I’ve heard so many variations of getting the baby weight off – some lose it all while b-feeding, some say they hold on to 5 or 10 lbs until they’re done b-feeding, some say nine months on, nine months off. You are probably being your own harshest critic. Just focus on being healthy if you can, and try not to compare yourself to other people. 2 months is not a very long time at all to lose the baby weight. I think when my son was 2 months old I was still getting comments from people asking when I was due with my baby (hello, when you see someone with an infant, don’t assume that they’re expecting another baby – maybe they just haven’t been able to lose the baby weight – not very helpful for the self esteem). You’re body has been going through so many changes, and you’re still b-feeding. I’ve found it helpful to just wear clothes that flatter the body that I have now to make me feel good about how I look.

    • I took me about 7 months – I was nursing until then. I’ve since stopped nursing and the weight loss has plateaued – I really need to lose another 10. I know I need to work out, but like others have said, when the hell do I do that working FT with 2 kids?

      • When people say that even after the weight came off, it was distributed differently, what do you mean? (Not pregnant yet, but hoping soon.)

        • I posted above. I weigh about the same as I did pre-pregnancy (maybe 2 pounds less than I weighed pre-pregnancy), but I have a stubborn belly pooch – can’t tell if its just extra skin or fat that I need to try to eliminate. Basically, I had flat abs before. Now I’m slim, but have muffin top with tighter fitting pants. I carried all of my baby weight in my belly though, so maybe it just depends on how you carry. I also feel like my rib cage is a little wider – I’m petite so it had to expand to make room for the baby, and it hasn’t quite gone all the way back. Some say that their hips got wider, but I have not had that experience.

        • My hips are wider, my lower stomach has a little pouch that will.not.go.away (grrr…) and my butt is flatter for some reason. Also my bo*bs have dramatically changed shape.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I’ve never been pregnant, but everyone keeps talking about a stomach pooch. I have never had a completely flat stomach, even at my thinnest. I didn’t realize there were women who existed (beyond celebrities and models) who did not already have a stomach pooch. Then I started thinking, wait what if my definition of pooch is different from their definition of pooch? What exactly do you ladies mean by pooch? Links to photo representations would be helpful.

  11. TCFKAG – check your e-mail when you have a chance. Thanks :)

  12. SF Bay Associate :

    Ugh. Mini-rant. Background: I wear flats to drive, which protects my heels from driving damage and is safer because less likely to slip when not balanced on a small heel. I carry my heels to and from my car in their respective shoeboxes, which is how they live in my closet.

    Last night, getting home after 8pm from work, I was carrying my briefcase, purse, and shoebox from my car. A neighbor sees me and says “Somebody went shopping today!” I thought I misheard him, so I said, “Pardon?” and he repeated himself. I told him I wear flats to drive and he looked stunned and said, “oh…. that makes sense.” I guess I’m overreacting but I was pretty offended. Who are you to stereotype me, as a woman, into “a ditz with a credit card,” as Cher would say?? And then who are you to comment on it?! UGH.

    • Midwesterner :

      He was probably just trying to be friendly and that was the only thing he could think to say.

      • downstream :

        I have to agree. My dad gets set off by this kind of stuff all the time. People try to make small talk to be friendly, and people are sometimes clueless and annoying, so they say clueless and annoying things to make chitchat. It’s innocent and harmless, and there is really no use getting all worked up about it.

    • This.

      I do think that there’s a practice among middle-aged men (no idea what age your neighbor is) of expecting women to have light, pleasant small-talk with them as though it is one of our functions in life. Perhaps they were socialized in an era where that *was* one of the functions of women. I was not. So he might have meant well enough, but you’re perfectly reasonable to be irritated .

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Interesting point, Lucy. He was middle aged, 40-60.

        • I love that you carry your shoes in their shoebox and keep them in their shoebox. I should do this. Instead, they sorta live in a shoe mountain. *sigh*

      • I don’t think this is a gender issue at all. I think that neighbors who expect light, pleasant small-talk expect it from all neighbors — male or female.

        I also don’t see a suggestion that you’ve gone shopping as something that would require a defensive response. I’d probably just answer with an airy (and meaningless) “retail therapy is always nice!” and go about my business.

        • You would? That makes me sad. That would be a great response if it were true. We don’t have to be so light and unoffendably accomdating as to lie!

          • Anonymous :

            I would if I had been shopping. If I hadn’t been, then I would probably say something along the lines of “no time today!” or “nope, but it would have been nice to have had free time today!”

            I would much rather live in a neighborhood of occassional idle chit-chat than one where you wouldn’t be able to recognize a neighbor, let alone know their name. Not everyone needs to know me well enough to know whether or not carrying a shoebox means I like shopping (or carrying a bag of groceries means I like cooking, or carrying a piece of sports equipment actually means I play/like that sport) for me to interact with them.

            It is perfectly logical for a person to assume that someone carrying a shoebox had just gotten back from shopping.

    • Elle Urker :

      What’s wrong with shopping? Your offense only makes sense if shoe shopping is bad or shameful. I understand that patriarchy has taught us to devalue female associated activities and thus shopping is supposed to be something we are ashamed of, but I personally don’t subscribe to that bs women hating narrative.

      Honestly, I don’t think your offense is particularly feminist. Plenty of women shop – are we are ditzes with a credit card (what does that even mean?)

    • I mean, I think you are probably reading in the “ditz with a credit card” part, but it would bother me, too, especially if I was already tired/hot/hungry/etc. I find the phrasing “somebody did ____ today” annoying. Why not just ask, “did you do some shopping today?” rather than making an observation that doesn’t engage the other person. If you don’t want to engage the other person, fine, just say “have a good night.”

      Also, I have gotten comments about keeping shoes in the box (I don’t in fact do this, someone just saw that I had shoes in the box b/c I was going to return them), so he may also have been reacting to that novel practice as well.

      • I’m with rosie. I wouldn’t read too much into that particular statement – he was probably trying to make small talk/be nice/whatever. I would still be annoyed, but that’s because I find foreced small talk kind of irritating.

    • MaggieLizer :

      I hate comments like these. Like, oh you’re getting home late, you can’t possibly have been working because you’re just a cute little young thing with no cares or responsibilities in the world. Blech.

      • But it’s not like she was just walking back with a briefcase and nothing else. OP was holding a shoebox.

        Honestly, I don’t think it’s that offensive or strange because you were carrying a shoebox! I am definitely jealous of how well you take care of your shoes, but when I carry my heels back, they are in my hand and are clearly not new shoes. I don’t know how many people take the care to place their shoes in their box and carry the boxes around for transportation. I would think it is perfectly reasonable to see a shoebox and assume those were new shoes.

        • Totes McGotes :

          I have definitely not heard of that before. Were I your neighbor, I would have said the same and maybe asked for a fashion show (provided I didn’t get a hatestare for asking if you’d been shopping!), but that’s how I roll.

    • I think you’re overreacting/misunderstood. It’s not sexist to think a woman went shopping when she’s carrying a parcel, especially if she’s normally a well-dressed, fashionable woman. It’s not immediately obvious to men that women tend to reuse shopping bags. It’d be stereotyping if he made random comments to you and to other women about how much you must like to shop, when you’d never given him any reason to think you do.

      Frankly, if I saw you carrying a shoebox, I’d probably have squealed “oooh, did you get new shoes?” But since I’m also a woman, I assume you wouldn’t find that sexist?

    • Whatever happened to, “Hi how are you? [Some remark about the weather.]”

      That’s what weather-talk was invented for. Harmless friendly small talk.

      What’s annoying is the presumptuousness. But don’t let the stupidity of others get to you.

    • I probably would have been offended too… but I get offended my people saying things like this when I think they should just be minding their own business.

    • hellskitchen :

      I had a similar experience in my apartment building. I was picking up a few UPS packages from the doorman, including one from Zappos and he remarked “Oh this one has to be for you – it’s shoes.” I decided not to tell him that it contained comfort/support shoes that I had ordered for my dad. I just smiled and said “yes, of course” because I think he was just trying to make friendly conversation

    • Why would shopping be bad, why would shopping and femininity make a woman or person ditzy? Rhetorical ?s directed at your questioner, not you.

    • I always wonder what my neighbors think about me and shopping but nobody has ever said anything to my face. I come in every Saturday with groceries in canvas bags and my big red reusable bags from Target and I never see anyone else do that (hauling in stuff from the car). Then again, I don’t have a driveway and I’m single so I’m making more trips and it’s obvious. I mean, groceries, etc. is no big deal but when I make a big run to Baton Rouge for shopping I come home with lots of bags. Like I said, nobody has said anything but sometimes I wonder if they’re secretly judging me. I’m probably paranoid.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Wow! People must hate me then because I am the queen of small talk and make friends in the grocery check out line. I comment on everything to start a conversation. I’m the type that if someone is checking out w/ 10 cases of beer I’ll say “woah, when’s the party? I’ll bring the chips!” Oh well.

      • I’m like this too. I told a girl on the train yesterday that I liked her mini lunch tote bag and by the end of the train ride was telling her about the best Nordstroms Rack in the area.

        I’m overly friendly. Its a curse.

    • Hive Mind :

      Overreaction for sure!

  13. SF Bay Associate :

    My Facebook blew up last night with posts to an article in the Atlantic called “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” It’s an epically long and incredibly thought-provoking article written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, the first woman Director of Policy Planning at the State Department. Link in reply, but YOU MUST READ THIS and we must discuss.

    • SF Bay Associate :
      • SF Bay Associate :

        Apparently Terri Gross is interviewing the author on Fresh Air today, too.

    • Thanks so much for pointing out this article. Thought provoking indeed. I don’t even know where to start the discussion except to say I agree with many many of the statements/sentiments in the article.

    • My goodness! What a thought-provoking article! I’ve shared it on FB and sent directly to some female and male colleagues. It is very long (and thus can be a problem for the time-challenged!) but definitely worth a read. I will likely read it again when I can think more carefully on it. Thanks so much for posting!!

    • I am not going to read the whole article because I actually don’t find it that thought provaking. At least the first page. Is there anyone who really has been under the impression you can have it all? I don’t think this is even a women issue. You can’t be 100% there for the kid and 100% there for your job. You just make a series of choices and do your best at both.

      • Depends on the definition of 100% there. Men have always been fathers and workers. Fathers are there for their kids. Can you have a job and simultaneously not have one, too? NO. But you can obviously have a job and have a kid simultaneously. I do. And most every man ever also has. You don’t have to be a slave to be an employee or a slave to be a parent. Men know this. Most women know this. The button-pushing press like to ignore the harried but happy reality of most people.

        • working fathers are there for there kids. So are working mothers. but do working parents get to go to every event? of course not. that seems to be what the article writer is saying that people are under the impression they can do. You would need a clone of yourself to do that. I don’t know why people are so impressed with this.

          • It’s an issue because society’s perceptions of working mothers affect their ability to advance in the workplace and often override an individual woman’s actual performance. Men who are also fathers seem to have an easier time getting promotions, title bumps and higher salaries.

      • I agree with cynth and want to add that men also make choices, sacrificing a high-powered career for the sake of family or just more laid-back lifestyle.
        A human can’t have it all, quel surprise.

      • The part that stuck out most to me was the discussion of having control over your own schedule. There’s a very real difference in being able to fit work obligations around your family obligations vs fitting family in around your work obligations – even if you are able to devote a lot of time to each. There’s a lot of lip service given to “family-friendly” offices and teleworking and flexibility, but the reality is that most high-power jobs expect you to be 100% available.

      • ITA. Men can’t have it all, either. Neither can children, or old people, or dogs and cats, or anyone or anything. “It all” is a myth – life always involves trade-offs, and we all do ourselves a disfavor when we pretend it’s otherwise.

        • True, but a man who leaves work early to go to his kid’s soccer game gets patted on the back and admired for being a great dad, and a woman who does the same thing will have her professionalism and commitment to her job questioned. Men can definitely have more of “it all” when it comes to balancing work and family.

      • spacegeek :

        Interesting! I wonder if I’m of a different age as you? I’m 42… because I thought I could have it all, and as the author points out, it appears to be a generationally-biased perception. Just curious–not trying to be offensive but rather put it in context! I was brought up to “do whatever I wanted in my career”. The first time I encountered a different opinion is when a friend told me that she knew her husband’s career would come first, so she chose a more flexible, portable option (HR). And when my husband got stationed in another state, it was with some difficulty that I realized that part of being married was accommodating one’s spouse’s needs! LOL These were the first times I discovered I “couldn’t have everything”. I have twin daughters (age 6), conceived though extensive IVF treatments from (my age) 33-36. It was another wake up call and frustration. And now I still see that I’m expected to go to all of the recitals, soccer games, school plays etc whereas my husband gets a pass. I suppose this is still something I wrestle with. :-)

        • Research, Not Law :

          I just wrote an entire essay, but decided to simplify and just say that yes, there is a generational aspect. There was the generation of women that fought for careers, now there’s the generation that embraces motherhood, but there’s the generation in between that was told they could get it both. But there were also generational shifts in men and upper-management that play a critical role in how working mothers can view themselves, their roles, and their flexibility.

          I was able to accept that as a working mother, I would be neither the ideal worker nor the ideal mother – although I could fake each at different times – because I have the support of my husband and understanding of my employer.

        • Why does your husband get a pass? Who gives him that pass? The kids? Other family members?

    • Kontraktor :

      I feel like I could write an equal amount of pages on thoughts and commentary. It is hard to know where to start. Three initial points though.

      1) I love how Monitor Group had to commission a “study” to find out that working people to death just for the sake of working them to death without reason is not productive or efficient and doesn’t provide any value add. DUH. I love how these are business people/consultants, and they don’t get this. Sorry, I find this horribly amusing and ironic and such a great commentary on what is wrong with work culture at large.

      2) I sort of resent the “superstar” woman commentary that implies so long as you have some stellar credentials or education that you will be able to succeed in grandiose manners. Yeah. If only. Luck and situation play so much into peoples’ successes. I have rare and exceptional educational credentials, and HA, clearly they aren’t helping me much these days . Case in point: being rejected for a government job, the billet number of which I had even filled before, at which I qualified at 105 out of 100 points because my score was not high enough. Is that because I’m stupid and unqualified? No. It’s because there is a “system” in place that is hard to beat regardless of what my resume says. Another example is the recent WSJ article that pointed out the funny story of the computer software rejecting 23 THOUSAND applications for a basic engineering job. I’m sure there were probably genius MITers and CalTechers in that lot. So, sometimes, especially these days, it’s circumstance, luck, and volume that keep people down and they can be very impossible things to beat. In this woman’s younger days, there were no computers to weed out her resume and deny her even the most basic chance. So, this is another variable we have to consider these days, and I kind of feel the article didn’t really touch on this point.

      3). Most importantly. I underscore the point that the dying seem to regret working so much. Probably because ultimately it wasn’t worth it. As I have said in previous commentary, they probably realized ultimately that they sacrificed for nothing. Recognizing the fact that most of us are destined for a pretty average outcome and being okay with that would probably solve a lot of personal, cultural, and work problems, especially if it pushed us to base our successes off what WE want internall (and be okay with those wants) vs. what we think “society” wants us to want. Not only that, but if enough people were content to look at work and their lot in life more matter of factly, maybe over time it would adjust work culture to change from “putting in as much work and time as possible for no point or purpose” to “putting in time that is valuable and efficient, but makes sense given the level and honest needs of the job and the goals of the individual person.”

      But there is also much more to say.

    • Thank you for posting the link. This elaborates so articulately on how I am feeling about my life right now (except I’m not a top government official and I can still feel the pressure looming).

    • new york associate :

      My favorite part: I’m so glad that someone has finally stood up to that “don’t leave before you leave” Sheryl Sandberg speech.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        That was one of my favorite parts as well. Several aunts sent me the Sandberg speech like it was the answer to everything. She had great points too, but it’s more complicated than that.

        • That Sandberg speech f*cking annoys me, as I think I’ve said on this site on several occasions.

      • I thought that speech was appalling. Glad someone agrees.

    • I feel like there’s a bit of a tension between normal jobs that most of us have where our work/life balance is completely out of whack and superstar jobs. Your average middle class professional should be able to make a living while working reasonable hours and have access to good quality childcare, benefits, decent vacation time, etc. We’re really messed up that that’s not the norm.

      On the other hand, a very high level official at the State Department? I don’t know; isn’t that always going to be a very high stress job that eats up your life for whatever amount of time you’re doing it? Someone has to deal with national-level crises. And it’s going to involve sacrifices for the sake of the country, so I’m grateful there are people who are willing to do it and they deserve our respect, but it just seems like one of those things that inherently can’t be balanced well with a personal life. Short tours of duty might be key.

      • Kontraktor :

        This is a good way of saying it. A big problem is that too many jobs consider themselves the superstar jobs. This is true even in government, where lowly officials act like they are the SecDef or something and lump themselves into that category where “somebody needs to sacrifice.” It’s hard to know what things need to happen though to draw the line between regular and superstar and make it more clear. That is a main crux of the issue.

        • THIS. I don’t want to be a superstar! I’m just not that driven. But I honestly don’t know of any professional jobs that are actually 40 hour/week jobs. Where are those??? I’ll take the corresponding pay cut!

    • This article struck me as completely tone deaf. A tenured professor at a top Ivy with two sons and a supportive husband DOES have it all, insofar as anyone can have it all. Yes, having a top-level executive branch position is extremely demanding, but no more so on her (or any woman) than on anyone else in a similar position. The whole idea of entering public service is that you make sacrifices for the greater good of your country. If that means that for two years this extremely privileged woman (whom I respect greatly for her work) didn’t “have it all”, well, cry me a river.

      • Yeah, I think she has good points generally, but that is the kind of job that burns plenty of men out after two years too (and a list of Obama apointees who left after two years will show that). Though the point that there aren’t women to replace them with in the second round of apointees is well-made.

        • Political appointees rarely leave after two years because of burnout. It is usually because they move on to more advanced and/or lucrative positions in the private sector than they held before they took their political appointment.

      • Like! I had a similar reaction to the Sandberg speech. Really? You want to tell me you don’t have it all?

        • Well, I think Sandberg’s speech was more, I have it all and you can too. The problem is, of course, that we didn’t all graduate at the very top of our classes at Harvard, get handpicked for a high-ranking political job right out of school, and marry the perfect guy while at a child-bearing age. So it was tone-deaf, but in a different way.

          The thought of some tenured professor in her ivory tower whining that a critical, high-ranking executive appointment doesn’t give her the flexibility that a darn research professorship does is absurd. And whining about Elizabeth Warren having to hold a baby while she worked – well, my mom used to have to take me to work with her and have me sit in a back room, because we were too poor to afford a babysitter. So boo-f’ing-hoo. You know how many single mothers there are in this country who can’t even get a job?

    • See Jessica Valenti’s slideshow in response. Delish!

      “It all” = life.

      • I am not a high-powered academic, public servant, or practicing attorney, and I still think Slaughter has hit the nail on the head. My favorite part is this:

        “Consider the following proposition: An employer has two equally talented and productive employees. One trains for and runs marathons when he is not working. The other takes care of two children. What assumptions is the employer likely to make about the marathon runner? That he gets up in the dark every day and logs an hour or two running before even coming into the office, or drives himself to get out there even after a long day. That he is ferociously disciplined and willing to push himself through distraction, exhaustion, and days when nothing seems to go right in the service of a goal far in the distance. That he must manage his time exceptionally well to squeeze all of that in. Be honest: Do you think the employer makes those same assumptions about the parent?”

        My husband and I get up at 5:15 every morning. He goes to work out, while I get our daughter ready for school. I have repeatedly lamented the fact that I am out of shape and have no spare time to work out between my job, running the household, and singlehandedly managing our daughter’s education and activities. His response? Get up early and work out like I do. Huh? (I am not trying to make him sound like a meathead, because he really isn’t. He contributes in many ways towards keeping the household running, but his job and his exercise are non-negotiable and come before any household or child care duties.)

        What Slaughter doesn’t mention is the double standard applied to men and women who sacrifice work for family. Although both men and women are expected to put work before family, when a man has to handle an occasional family issue he is usually praised for being a stand-up guy. My husband recently stayed home with our sick daughter so I could present at a conference. He called in to his meetings and told everyone exactly why he wasn’t in the office, reaping tons of bonus credibility points. When I work from home because my daughter is sick (or I am sick because I caught what she had), nobody calls me
        a hero. They just accuse me of not being committed to my job.

        What I like most about the article is how Slaughter asks if we really want leaders who are willing to sacrifice their families for their jobs. I think this is the real root of many of our current economic and political problems. If the only people who can get promoted to leadership positions in financial firms are those willing to sacrifice anything and everything in pursuit of money and power, then of course these people are going to go and invent crazy forms of derivatives that will tank the economy while making themselves boatloads of money. If the system was designed to put people with a strong commitment to *something* of real value besides their jobs, whether that’s family or the environment or helping the poor or rescuing stray dogs, were the ones promoted into positions of power, the world would be a very different place.

        • Beautifully said.

        • I was with you up until your last point. I suppose it might be true that some people who sacrifice time with their families for their jobs may be selfish or greedy, I believe that some of those believe in serving the public or their customers or whoever it is that benefits from their hard work. Does the article actually provide any evidence for the thesis that the people that drove the financial meltdown were also neglectful to their family or is this just rank speculation?

          • This is what the article says:

            “It is not clear to me that this ethical framework makes sense for society. Why should we want leaders who fall short on personal responsibilities? Perhaps leaders who invested time in their own families would be more keenly aware of the toll their public choices—on issues from war to welfare—take on private lives.”

            The extension to the causes of the financial meltdown is my own rank speculation based on the personalities of the few people with whom I am acquainted who have attained high positions in the world of finance.

        • Regarding the marathoner vs. parent, I think she’s actually got it backwards. At least in my experience, having to do something for your kids is the ultimate excuse: “Sorry, I can’t stay late tonight. Daycare closes at 6.” “Sorry, I have to take a long lunch break because I have to pick up Tommy and take him to the dentist.”

          Whereas “I need to take four days off in October because I’ll be traveling to run a marathon” or “I need to arrive late to work because I have to get in an 18-mile run tomorrow” – not bloody likely. No employer I’ve ever worked for would give a flying eff if you were in line to win the Boston marathon, if it meant taking a vacation at an inconvenient time.

          • Ditto.

          • I ran the Boston marathon. I got to take a day off for it, but when I asked if I could work from home the next day (26.2 miler run plus cross-country flight; I knew I’d be feeling badly), the partner I was working for said no. I took a taxi from the finish line, got on a plane, flew cross-country, and was in the office at 7 AM the next day. So yeah, they may think you’re disciplined, but it’s not treated the same way that a family priority would be.

        • Advice you may not want. Feel free to ignore. Next time your husband suggests you get up and work out thank him for offering to sort your child and home and do it the next morning.

        • Great comment, this is is exactly what pisses me off about this whole work/life men-vs-women outlook. Couldn’t word it better my self. First woman are expected to be martyrs and put kids before every other need/want because it is obviously
          “biology” and be devalued for it professionally.
          Take your husband for example, would he be willing to switch early morning child care duties 2-3 days week with you so you can go to gym? Nope, his “me” time is sacred but not yours. I am still single and this is what I fear the most if I get married. At this point, I think I will hate my life if it turns out like what you describe in your early morning 5:15 routine. I will leave the hubby+kids and run away, I don’t think I could love them so much to go through this. May be I am just not ready for marriage and these articles make me cherish my single life.

        • Have you had a discussion with your husband saying something like, “For the past few years, you and I have both risen at 5:15. You have worked out at the gym and I have gotten Susie ready for school. I’d like to switch. You can get Susie ready and I’ll go to the gym. It’s only fair. You know I have been wanting to work out.”

          I have high regard for the men in my life. They want things to be fair, and women to be empowered. But sometimes they need things explained to them.

    • Anonsensical :

      Amazing piece. Articulates sooooo many things I’ve been thinking and feeling for years. I’ve already backed off from climbing the career ladder AND decided not to have kids because 1) I need time for more in my life than just work and 2) even with the work-life balance I’ve established, I don’t have the time I think it would take for me to be a good mom. I know I have potential to do a lot more career-wise but I’m just not willing to give up my other interests and passions, or spending quality time with my husband, family, and friends. I also think I might enjoy having kids, but there’s no way I can pull it off with my job situation and I don’t want kids badly enough to give up the satisfying little career I do have.

    • SpaceMountain :

      I hate titles like “Have Feminists Sold Young Women a Fiction.” Come on — the author is not pitting “feminists” against “young women.”

    • MaggieLizer :

      Great article. I like that she discussed how work/life balance is increasingly affecting men too. Many men nowadays want to spend more time with their families because they weren’t raised with the assumption that their sole contribution to the family would be money. I can’t count how many of my male friends have said “I don’t want to be a wallet”. I know plenty of male junior/mid-level associates who are starting to suffer backlash from partners for their “lack of commitment to the firm” because they prioritize family responsibilities over work.

      • Exactly. We need more examples of men being good dads. Where are those articles?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m only about 1/3 of the way through it and finding it very interesting. One question though. Does wanting to “have it all” always have to mean wanting kids and a career? I want a great career and don’t want children, but I do want to have some balance in my career and personal life and to be able to spend quality time with my significant other. It seems a little that people like me are being left out of the equation here, although I realize that having children is demanding in a different way than being in a relationship. The things she mentions about having men and women equally represented in government, top level careers, etc obviously would have a big impact on women, including people like me but somehow we aren’t really discussed. Or maybe we are, but it doesn’t seem like it.

      • Yeah, see the WSJ article today about that.

        It’s not just people with kids who need work life balance.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Thanks Herbie. The article is focused on single people, although I’m not sure if that means in an unmarried relationship or no relationship. That could be considered another group of people being left out of the conversation as with married people without kids and people in relationships without kids. There are so many variables to the issue, but the focus is on people with kids generally and sometimes just single mothers and sometimes just married women with children. Work life balance should be a subject of discussion for people in all varieties of life.

    • Thanks so much for posting this! I haven’t read the whole article yet, but what has already jumped out at me already are the generational distinctions discussed on the first page. Those points really resonated with me and were entirely consistent with my experiences at a law firm. I don’t think I could ever have convinced the 60 year old female partner I worked for that I was working as hard as she thought I should be, despite the fact that I was sleeping less than 6 hours a night, never exercising, and my husband was handling well over half of the child and household duties. I don’t pretend to understand the reasons for this disconnect, but the common attitude that younger women just need to “step up and try harder” is patronizing and displays a complete lack of interest in understanding where we’re coming from and what we’re dealing with.

    • Perhaps I’m biased because I don’t want children, but I don’t think you can “have it all”. At some point, sacrifices have to be made, either of your career or your family. My parents ran their own business, but rather than it giving them more flexibility, it made it harder for them to be around and our family life was driven by the needs of their company. I was a latch-key kid with an ever-changing cast of housekeepers and nannies, with parents who missed most of my school functions or sporting events. But due to that sacrifice, my parents had a successful business and were able to pay or help pay for my schooling, which allowed me to focus on my career ambitions without worrying about holding down part-time jobs or wondering how I was going to be able to survive if I got laid off from my Big Law job when the economy collapsed in 2008.

      I hated the work-life balance in law firms, but not because I had a family or wanted kids — I just wanted to be able to enjoy my life. So when I could I moved in-house, which I love, but while my hours may be more regular, there are still crises and emergencies and demands on me that have to come first if I want to succeed at my job. My female boss has two children and I know that when we’re in the middle of a time-consuming crisis (even if my boss is working from home), her kids are paying the price for it, particularly since all of our male colleagues happen to have wives who don’t work. But what is the other option? If my boss didn’t pull her weight when there was a crisis, she’d be doing a disservice to the company, to the management team and to me. And we’d all resent her for that.

      I don’t want kids, but I also don’t see how I could have kids in the career I want for myself. In a couple of years my job will start rotating me through our international offices, which is so exciting to me it’s why I joined this company. But to have that opportunity, I’m aware of the sacrifices I’ll have to make — I fully expect to do those moves alone, since it’s hard to imagine finding a husband or a partner in the next few years (not that I’m even dating anyone now) who wants to give up his own career and just follow me around the world for a few years. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine trying to drag small children around with me, especially since the international positions are notoriously demanding and time-consuming. At the end of the day, I’ve chosen to make those sacrifices because of my career goals. If I wanted a husband or children more, then I could have selected a different career path. Or if I was willing to be a medicore performer in either my job or my personal life, then I could try to do it all, but it’s hard to see how you could try to do it all while still doing it well.

      • Bravo to you on making this choice and knowing what you want. So good to know there are women out there going all in with their career choices !

    • WorkedAbroad :

      I stayed up too late last night reading this article. One additional thing that I would have liked her to comment on is the individual variation in children (and spouses, and health, etc, etc). It’s ridiculous to assume that just because someone else can (or can’t) handle a high powered career with children, you can (can’t). Their 2 year old is not your 2 year old. Maybe you have a kid who’s easy at 2, but need a LOT of attention at 12. Or vice versa. Maybe your mentor has a child whose exceptionally easy. Or difficult. Almost all of us are going to have times when family responsibilities keep us from going all out on our career, and that should be ok in the course of a long career; we don’t always get to choose when those times will be, though, and, the timing can have a huge effect on our long term career direction.

    • Associette :

      So thought provoking, and rings true to me on so many levels. All of the successful female attorneys I know have seriously sacraficed their family life. Conversly, those at my firm who are committed to their families are perceived as having poor work ethic and are not getting ahead, or really holding their own very well.

      As a younger “associette” thinking of having a family, I do not believe that I can have it all, but am not quite sure how to change that fact. Ideally, I would ave a baby, work in the office 3 days per week, work from home 1 day per week, and have 3 days off entirely. When the kid(s) gets older I would like to change from M-F from 9:30 ish to 2:00 so that I can pick up the kid(s) from school and be there to prepare meals /provide homework help /particulate in their extra curriculars. As the kids get older and more independent I would be interested in working more and pursuing partnership more aggressively. I don’t know if this plan makes sense (because I don’t have kids yet) but I know it would not be looked on favorably by partners (mostly male, some female who have sacraficed). If I were allowed such flexibility, I can guarantee I would be viewed differently at the firm and my opportunities for partnership would be different (which is not necessarily a bad thing – but I am not sure really).

      I just really hate the thought of shipping my 3 month old infant off to daycare for 5 days a week for 10 hours a day. What is the point of having a baby if you are not there to raise the baby? I had a poor upbringing because of detached parents (not for career related endeavors) and have every desire to give my kids full, love-filled, childhoolds. My H is fabulous and will contribute, but I am the female and think of myself as the “homemaker” (to the extent that I can be with my long hours), which is something that I want to do and don’t feel that I have to, or that it is an unfair stereotype. I really really struggle with this balance. It’s hard to think of making it all work without giving up litigation completely and moving on to a “mom job” (e.g. teaching).

      What has worked for any of you with kids in striking a balance? Giving up law? Giving up the idea of partnership? Making family sacrafices?

      • “I just really hate the thought of shipping my 3 month old infant off to daycare for 5 days a week for 10 hours a day. What is the point of having a baby if you are not there to raise the baby?”

        As a mom of a small child who does spend his days in daycare and has since he was 3 months old, this type of comment frustrates me. My husband and I raise our child. We are fortunate to have him a great school where he is thriving and developing loving relationships with other adults and children. But we are still the ones who provide love, discipline, clothing, food, healthcare, activities, etc. We are better parents because we have careers that we love and we can pursue those careers in addition to raising a child. There are 168 hours in a week, he’s in the care of another for what, 1/3 of those? We don’t have this attitude that school aged kids are being raised by others.
        stepping off soapbox now.

      • Didn’t mean to come off as too harsh. To answer your question, I take the you can have it all, just not all at once approach. The book “Good Enough is the New Perfect” is a quick read and helped me see that there is no one right answer. You have to make choices that work for you and your family at that point in your lives and be willing to readjust as you get further down the road.

        • Associette :

          Thanks, SAB. I didn’t mean to judge you or your family, and I am sure that you are great parents and have a good childcare situation. I may very well to something very close to what you do, so please don’t take offense to my OP! I just expect it would be really difficult for me.

          • Oh, we are completely at peace with our decision so no worries about feeling judged. I was really just trying to give you a version of how we got to that peace. Point being, there are so many ways to do it and you just do what works for you. For me, it was moving to a firm that has more partners (male and female) who are parents to younger kids and the firm’s partnership path doesn’t penalize that. Good luck.

      • How about a part-time husband who works your ideal 9:30-2:00 hours? That’s what I would like.

  14. salary help :

    anyone know where I can find the NALP chart (or something similar) that breaks down average salaries by class year and firm size? Looks like the NALP version is suddenly password protected. I found it a few weeks ago — wish I had printed it. I’d really like to have it for my review (which is possibly today — it’s like “pop review” around here — you never know when it’s coming).


    • salary help :

      found it — never mind.

      for anyone who’s interested:

      I am vastly underpaid.

      • Unrelated to your actual question, but I find it interesting how much Houston (and to the same extent Dallas) is ignored in things like this. Our big-firm salaries and clerkship bonuses are higher than those listed in the article for New York, Chicago, LA, etc. And, particularly if you’re in litigation, Houston is a fantastic place to practice law. It’s the fourth biggest city, for crying out loud, and we have tons of Fortune 500 companies – I seem to recall that we have as many as any other city besides New York.

        And I still remember a couple of months ago when someone on here said Dallas has a “surprisingly sophisticated legal market.” Why would that be surprising??

        This is just my personal pet peeve; it has nothing to do with you, salary help. :)

        • You mention clerkship bonuses, which the NALP article doesn’t detail that closely. Does anyone know the market rate for federal appeals court law clerk bonuses? Outside of NY, but still in a big city market, where starting salaries after clerkships at the firm are 105k plus.

      • I graduated in 2006 and make $118K. I am as well.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        me too.

    • In House 17-Year Lawyer :

      Here’s what I don’t understand about that chart: it stops after 8th year lawyers. While some go on to make partner (and would thus be on the partner chart), many do not. Where is their chart?

  15. First Time Poster :

    Here’s my threadjack question. I am not a fan of beer, at all. I much prefer drinking wine in social settings (not a huge fan of hard liquor either, though I can tolerate in small doses). But I often find myself in these happy hour type settings with (mostly male) colleagues where beer is really the drink that makes sense (i.e., a divey bar, sports bar, Irish pub, or some similar bar). Usually they offer wine, but you look like a fool drinking it, especially with your male colleagues who are all drinking beer. In this situation I tend to order the beer I can sort of tolerate, which is Corona. But I am wondering if there are other beers that are tolerable besides Corona that I can order (ie, light, not too strong, but also fairly mainstream and easy to order in most places). Is anyone like me in this respect, and if so, what do you do?

    • Jacqueline :

      I am exactly like this, and I’ve found that Blue Moon is a good option. It’s one of the few beers I not only tolerate, but actually enjoy.

      • I am a big fan of Blue Moon. Other options would be Shocktop and Sam Summer–both light, wheat beers. I also like fruity wheat beers, and second the suggestion for hard cider.

        • I have this same problem with not liking beer and wine being out of place at similar places, and I order Blue Moon.

      • downstream :

        I second Blue Moon. Actually, all wheat beers (Blue Moon is a wheat beer), are good girl-beer options. Also, I don’t necessarily think you look silly ordering wine at the types of places you mentioned…I do it all the time. I’m in NYC though so maybe if you’re in other areas it’s different.

        • Okay, I know this is an off-hand comment and I understand what you meant, but “girl-beer”? Really? As a craft beer loving woman who attends many beer events with other women, we’re beyond referring to light beers as “girl-beers.”. I think the CEO of New Belgium would agree.

        • Also love beer. And hate Blue Moon. But if you’re not a fan of beer, it might be a good choice.

          Ditto for Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite, etc.

          MGD = Champagne of Beers.

    • What about hard cider?

      • Ditto. It comes in a beer bottle shape. I recently tried the Michelob “Ultra” cider, and I really like it because it’s light and doesn’t have a very high alcohol content compared to other adult beverages.

      • Yeah, I go for cider when wine would be too stuffy and liquor would be too…drunky.

    • Have you considered cider?

    • WOODCHUCK!!! (anything but the green apple)

    • Have you ever tried other kinds of beer, like the really dark stuff – stout, porter, etc? My entire life I was just like you – not a big fan of beer at all, never even tried Guinness because I was sure I wouldn’t like it. Then last summer, I went on a craft brewery tour at the suggestion, and with a group of, friends. At the end, you get to sample the various kinds of beer. I was shocked to find that my favorite beer was the stout. I was also shocked to learn that beer is a LOT like wine, in that there are so many different kinds, made with different ingredients, that go with different kinds of foods, etc. Some are fruity, some are bitter, and everything in between, plus there are seasonal brews – really just like wine. It was really a whole new world in that sense. Sometime when you’re not in a work setting, I suggest trying out different kinds (even better if you get to know a bit of the history, etc, of the particular brewery).

      • Equity's Darling :

        Same here.

      • MaggieLizer :

        Second all of this. I used to think I didn’t like beer, too, because I hated (and still hate) all that cr*p that people brought to college parties/get in pitchers at bars for $2. Now I’m a bit of a beer snob and it always makes me really sad when someone says she doesn’t like beer but hasn’t tried GOOD beer. There’s a whole world of wonderfulness out there that you’re missing!

        • Exactly. Once you get past the cheap stuff and start trying microbrews and different varieties and flavor components (hello, there is such a thing as a chocolate stout), you will be amazed at what beer really tastes like (i.e. not like Natty Lite).

      • I just wanted to say that I’ve tried every kind of craft, dark, light, hoppy, homebrew, microbrew, fruity, etc., etc., beer I’ve ever come into contact with, and I still don’t like beer (some of them are more tolerable than others, but I’ve never found one I’d order and drink a whole pint of). A lot of people assume/insist that I just need to acquire the taste, but I know it’s not going to happen for me and beer. I have acquired the taste for wine, unsweetened tea, and loads of foods through persistent re-trying, but beer and I just aren’t meant to be. Lots of people have learned to enjoy beer, but that doesn’t mean everyone will. It can be more than a little frustrating when people tell me (or imply) that I just haven’t worked hard enough at it.

        Not that these comments are doing that– I just want the OP to know that it’s okay if you still just don’t like beer. :)

        • Going off of this comment, I thought, “order a half pint” then you can just drink as much as is tolerable.

      • Yep, I hated beer until I tried Michelob Dark.

        I like many beers now. Blue Moon is very refreshing in the summer, but I have to say I don’t like most other wheat beers. There is a beer called Old Chub Scottish Ale that I like very much, it’s smooth and much less bitter than the average beer, it’s probably about average to slightly dark.

        I don’t even know if I should admit this, but at one hot street fair I had the lime-flavored beer that comes in a metal bottle, it could be some version of Budweiser. I’m sure it’s terribly uncool, but on a hot day, it was nice, not terribly alcoholic and not too sweet like most sodas, it was just a very light beer with a lime flavor. I’d drink it again, but then I already know I’m pretty uncool so don’t really worry about what others think of my drinking habits.

    • Ditto on the Blue Moon and also, Stella Artois is a pretty light lager.

    • I hate beer. I do know what you mean about wine in a beer crowd, though. My solution is to go with hard alcohol, or something that looks like hard alcohol (depending on my mood). A vodka/whiskey sour or tonic and lime that is served in an old-fashion generally fits in pretty well.

    • If you describe what you don’t like about beer (that you’ve tried) it may be easier to make recommendations. I’m not a fan of blue moon/shocktop, etc. but most people love it. Try and find a category you like (weat, lager, ale, porter, etc.) and then experiment within that category. Also, if you’re not trying the good stuff because you don’t like beer, you’ll probably never like beer. I’m a big fan of beer but I can barely drink a miller/bud/mich light.

      • Second this. I hated beer, but that was because my only exposure to it was the awful Bud/Coors/Miller/Natty Ice that you’d see at college parties. Once I started trying better beer I began to enjoy it, especially at those occasions that just fit better with beer, like you’re talking about. I still love and generally prefer wine, but a cold Sam Summer at a barbecue is pretty great.

    • Do you like hard cider? Just order a pint of cider and you’ll fit right in with the beer drinkers.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Blue Moon (as others mentioned), Shocktop, Allagash White, Magic Hat #9, Bud Light Golden Wheat (although I think it’s discontinued now), Chimay, and a lot of Belgian beers are good but watch the alcohol content as some can be quite high – any saison (DuPont Saison is my favorite so far), any witbier, any champagne beer, some blonde ales are really smooth but some can be hoppy.

    • Don’t force yourself to drink beer if you don’t like it. I can’t drink beer and don’t think anybody cares that I order wine or vodka sodas.

    • What about like hard cider or whatever. They have it on draft a lot of places and at least it looks like beer.

    • Strongbow > Woodchuck, IMHO, but it might not be as commonly found.

      • I’ve gotten hooked on a new one called The Angry Orchard. They served it at the bar at the lodge at Sunapee. I had one for lunch every day during my vacation.

        And, OP, I’m agreed. I don’t like beer either and I’m from a family who loves beer. I drink hard cider, if they have it. I can’t watch the Patriots and drink chardonnay. If there’s no cider, I like Stella.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I fell in love with a drink called clara in Spain. It is basically half a glass of spanish beer and half a glass of lemon or orange juice. It is the perfect summer drink and tastes nothing like traditional beer. I like beer, but I don’t like IPAs. Now that I’m gluten free, I love Estrella Darma Daura. I may be spelling this wrong. But it is a Spanish beer w/ gluten removed. My gluten drinking friends actually like it. It is nothing like Redhook or any of the sweet GF beers. Last night I made a clara with orange juice and the Daura and it was amazing. It is served in a typical beer mug/pint glass. If you are in a bar that isn’t too busy you could see if they would make you one.

      • That’s called a shandy in English. Half beer, half lemonade.

      • Equity's Darling :

        It’s called Radler in Germany/Austria (and is the only reason I could get through the 1L beer stein at Hofbrauhaus when I went in Munich).

      • And it’s a “Radler” in German (half beer, half lemon soda).

    • I drink draft or bottled cider (Spire is my favorite).

  16. Anon for this :

    Etiquette question:

    I spent most of last year working on a freelance basis with a PI attorney on a case that went to trial in the spring. We won a fairly substantial verdict, and finally got the money this week. When I got my paycheck it was substantially larger than I expected, about 5x my agreed upon rate. He said it was a bonus when I asked, and I’ve thanked him in person and by email. Should I also write a thank you note?

    (I’m not writing this post to brag, I just really don’t want to mess anything this big up)

  17. Now decided :

    Advice, please?
    I wrote (as “Undecided”) a while back about my debate over accepting a career clerkship. Well, I did, and I’ve been loving it since I started, work-wise. Here’s what’s bugging me: I have two co-clerks, and they are ALWAYS in the office. They’re here before I get in at 8:30, and they are still here when I leave (usually to catch a 6 or 6:30 pm train). They both eat lunch at their desks, whereas I pick up lunch outside with former colleagues or friends in the building.
    Our judge gave us a welcome talk saying we’re all adults, he’s not clock-watching, etc., and face time is not a big deal to him; all he really (REALLY) wants is for the work to be done efficiently.
    SO I don’t think the judge would have any issues with my schedule. But I do feel self- conscious, and I don’t want to be the slacker clerk, especially in the eyes of these whippersnappers I work with. Do you think my being the “career” clerk, with more legal experience than the others, has something to do with why I don’t feel the need to work longer days? One of them is straight out of school and the other has been practicing a few years (to my 8, which includes a prior clerkship). [Final note: my work is getting done, but I’m sure I could do even more, or at a faster pace if I worked later.]
    So— is it me slacking? Is it them overdoing it? Or should I just have the confidence to set my own schedule and not worry about the others?

    • Them staying longer doesn’t mean they’re doing more– or better– work than you.

      If you’re handling the workload and producing quality stuff, then pat yourself on the back for knowing how to manage your schedule.

    • It sounds like the other two are term clerks, right? Having been a term clerk in that situation, I say please do not worry about this. My situation was similar, although the permanent clerk had already worked for the judge for a few years when I started my clerkship, but I never thought anything of the fact that I generally was at my desk for more hours than he was. I had no doubts that he got his work done (and did it well), and I actually appreciated that he wasn’t a stickler for hours. Our judge definitely was not (sounds a lot like your judge in that regard), and my co-clerk’s attitude towards hours and time off made me feel better about taking time off, leaving early if it was beautiful weather and my workload was light, etc.

      Also, I remember you posting about this, so thanks for the update and glad that you are happy with the decision.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I think your schedule is fine. When I clerked, the career clerk worked less than the term clerks, probably because he had been doing it for so long and was way more efficient than we were. The term clerks are probably just trying to make a really good impression (and maybe they’re just people who prefer to work a lot, frankly). I really wouldn’t worry about it, particularly given that your judge doesn’t care about face time. If anything, I feel like your schedule for a career clerk already makes for a pretty long day! A lot of the career clerks I have seen have been out the door by 5 pm.

    • They’re baby lawyers. It takes them an hour to do what you do in 30 minutes. Don’t sweat it. They may also be gunners.

      • Constance Justice :

        This. Having been that baby lawyer, I am guessing they are probably envious of your schedule. I just never could get things done as quickly as the pros, and I was not nearly as comfortable with my work product. :)

    • I used to have this exact worry. One of my co-clerks is always here late, comes in on weekends, etc. and is STILL behind in her work. I work 9-5 and am completely current on my cases. At first I worried the judge would think I wasn’t doing enough work or that she would think I was doing a half-assed job, but it’s not the case. Some people are just more efficient than others.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Some people also waste half their day surfing the net or playing iphone games. You have no idea why they are there longer. Don’t worry about it! I do feel your pain though. My firm hired someone a few months back that works insane hours and I was worried he was raising the bar for expectations at my small firm. On total accident, while running an end of month hours report for myself, I accidentally ran his. We were billing the same amount. Worries alleviated.

    • Now decided :

      I feel better. Thanks for these comments, all.

  18. I discovered a summer beauty tip this morning, ladies. My skin has been really dry because I can’t stand how sticky and goopy lotion feels during the summer, so I’ve been skipping it altogether. Well. I rediscovered an old bottle of Neutrogena sesame body oil and used that instead. My skin feels AMAZING. I never would’ve expected oil to be the answer, but it completely soaked in and didn’t leave a gross residue on my skin.

    • I shave with baby oil instead of shaving cream or gel for this exact reason. The oil protects from shaving, and moisturizes my skin without hanging around on the surface of my skin.

  19. salary negotiations :

    I could use some hive advice – on specifically, how to ask for a higher salary during your annual review. I’m about the have my first annual review at my small firm in a little over a month, and my understanding is that it is rather informal.

    However, I just learned that I am making significantly less than the other two associate attorneys in my office (I make $60K, they each make in the $80Ks. I clerked for a year first, one came a year before me, one started the same time as me but without a clerkship). They initially asked me for the first offer on my salary, and I did my research, and thought I was right on target, but knew something wasn’t quite right when they accepted it without much further push. So…I’m angry about it and don’t want it to continue another year.

    Thoughts on how to bring this up and advocate effectively? And if the other two associates are making $88K and $82K, what is reasonable for me to ask for?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think it’s fine to detail your contributions to the firm, and say “I am paid only X% of the standard salary for this position of this firm, and Y% of the standard salary for this position industry wide. As (my billables/my targets/my clients) prove, I am bringing 100% of the value of my position to the table, and would like my compensation to reflect the standard set by both this firm and the industry.”

      They may balk, and you may have to walk but at least you won’t be taken advantage of.

    • I think you need to simply state that you expect to be paid at the rate that is appropriate given your experience and your work. I would be very upset as well though – even updating my resume upset. I would even consider asking for a make-up bonus.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        How does she do this without sounding like she knows what the others are making? I’d suggest saying something like:

        Upon further research, I’ve discovered I undersold myself when I stated my asking salary was x. For the hours I bill and the years experience I have, I have realized that I am actually worth y.

        I wouldn’t mention the other two associates.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      PS: I’ll be following the responses because I also have a review soon and want to get a pretty substantial raise. I took a pay cut to come to my small firm and was assured it would be a “temporary financial setback” that would be reviewed in one year. I’m billing way more than we discussed as my billable hour goal and have taken on way more responsibility than I think they anticipated when they hired me. I know my boss is planning on giving me a bump, I just really hope we are on the same page on how much that is.

      Anyone do a mix of hourly and contingent? Have you worked out any additional arrangement where you get a % of your contingent cases? I’m thinking of trying that too.

  20. I need to figure out how to give myself a boost today. Didn’t sleep well last night and I’m tired and a bit stressed in general. The weird thing is that I have a lot to look forward to coming up – a couple days of fun plans with friends and I just booked a trip to surprise my nephew for his 16th birthday. I just got a fabulous new gas grill (the one we were stalking finally went on sale) and we assembled it last night. And yet, I’m feeling overwhelmed by the mundane things (in my personal life) that I can’t get to and work is a bit stressful and I feel like time is flying before my SO is moving. Makes me want to sit at my desk and cry but instead I’m writing a letter of recommendation for tenure for one of my wonderful colleagues.

    • So sorry you’re having a crummy day. I guess I’m about to sound like food and booze are the answer to stress, but if I were you, I would stop by Whole Foods or the like and pick up something pre-marinated and ready to grill, and a side and a salad from the deli, and I would pick up my favorite cold libation, and have a relaxing evening. I remember your post about SO leaving and that’s a tough one to deal with. If he’s there this evening, put him to grilling while you quite literally put your feet up and enjoy his company. Try not to think about all the things that need doing, at least for one evening, and try to get a decent night’s sleep. Best wishes for a peaceful evening and a good night’s sleep…

      • Food & booze are pretty good answers to stress in my book.

      • That’s so sweet! Thanks. I have stuff to eat at home, but I’m worried that it’s something I’m eating that’s making me have weird dreams. So it may be a night to eat popcorn or cereal. We can’t grill right now because the new grill is still in the kitchen! We didn’t want to put it on the back porch on the same day that we put out the giant grill box for garbage. I don’t live in a bad neighborhood, but it’s a city and you know how that goes. Anyway, thanks for thinking of me. I’m going to the gym to work out my frustrations. I ran into a kid who I used to see in the weight room all the time and he said some very flattering things about how I look!