Coffee Break – Collection Lara calf hair peep-toe heels

Collection Lara calf hair peep-toe heelsJ.Crew has a number of really cute heels marked down. (They call them “midheels” but do note, they’re all higher than 2.5,” which to me is in the beginning of the “high” category.) Anyway: love the calf hair, love the animal print, and love the ankle strap. These were $350, but are now marked to $240. Collection Lara calf hair peep-toe heels

N.B. Peep toes are not appropriate at every office — know your own office!




  1. Mystery rash

  2. There’s just something so uncool to me about kitten heels that I’ll never be able to get over. The Valentino kitten heels with studs were close to being called “great shoes” by me but in general I go for flats or high heels.
    It’s just me and my taste…


  3. Boston Legal Eagle :

    Hmm, not sure how I feel about the ankle strap – I feel like the shoe would look better without it.

    Mild-TJ: Are peep-toe shoes in general a know-your-office situation or are most people here anti-peep toe shoes at the office? I’ve got a pair that are really really comfortable, and I actually wore them at the office last summer without any comments so I think they’re ok. Would these kinds of shoes be appropriate for meetings with clients?

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      In case anyone is curious, it’s these in a beige color. So comfy!

    • Maddie Ross :

      I am wearing peep toes today. And I wore a different pair yesterday. If wearing them is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    • I wear peep-toe shoes to my biglaw job in Houston all. the. time. I know people say it’s a know your office thing, but I honestly can’t imagine an office that would have a no-peep-toes-ever rule. That would be insane to me. I can see if they were hot pink, satin, peep toe, five inches, etc., but I think peep toe by itself really can’t be a deal breaker. (I would still wear hot pink four inch peep toes, though. But I can see how those wouldn’t work in every office.)

      All that to say, I would totally wear your shoes without giving it a second thought.

      • When I was a summer associate at a firm in Boston, we had a special seminar on “what not to wear at the office” and peep toes were among the banned items, as were sling-backs.

        • Did people actually follow that rule?

          Was it a big firm?

          • Yes and yes. It was an AmLaw 100. I don’t think I ever saw anyone with bare legs there, either. (Once I moved to DC after law school, I gave up stockings in summertime. Ugh! On days like today I can’t imagine.)

          • That is nuts. I’ve worked at a couple of AmLaw firms and a federal circuit court and never had anyone say no peep-toe shoes. And there are still firms requiring hose????

          • I meant AmLaw 100. Oops.

          • I’ve been at a firm with a no peep-toe rule, though it was loosely followed.

            I personally don’t wear peep toes, but that’s personal choice. Lets not start that sh*t show again. :-)

          • I guess I wasn’t here for that debate, but clearly I was trying to start something again.

          • If you really want to start something b23, I suggest discussing whether peep toe shoes should be worn without pedicures. That always gets ‘em rolling in the aisles.


        • Things have definitely changed since you were in Boston. I work at an AmLaw 100 firm in Boston. Peep toes are totally fine, women wear them all the time, from junior associates to senior partners. Bare legs in the summer totally fine too.

          • This is firm by firm, not a boston thing. The firm I work at currently (also AmLaw 100) has a no peep toe rule.

        • I worked at Lehman Brothers back in the day and we were required to wear hose (London only–NY office did not have this rule), no open toed anything (including peep toes). We were in a analyst training in NYC and they sent home an analyst classmate that had the audacity to wear strappy summer sandals. We were allowed to wear slingbacks though.

      • My undergrad degree was in finance and a lot of my friends who worked in accounting or finance out of college worked for large companies that had dress codes requiring closed toed shoes. This is on the east coast though.

      • Peeptoes were definitely not allowed when I clerked for a judge, even in chambers.

    • Diana Barry :

      I feel like there was a huge peep-toe vs no-peep-toe brouhaha a few years ago (a la the intern with Birkin post) so that’s why Kat always adds the disclaimer at the bottom. I think those shoes are fine! :) (I am in Boston too)

    • I’d say that it is generally a know your office, or maybe even know your geographic location’s culture, but, personally, I wear peep-toes to the office (which is very casual) and to court on a regular basis. At least in the summer, virtually all of the female attorneys that I see in court are wearing peeptoes or even full out sandals. (mid-South, state court)

    • I made up my own fashion rule and wear them Memorial Day to Labor Day only.

    • Oh wow – I love those!

      • Migraine Sufferer :

        I am not a shoe person (I own 5 pairs, maybe) and these shoes registered an “Oh wow- I love those!” with me too.

        • Boston Legal Eagle :

          I was tempted to get another pair in black but alas they are out of my size! Probably for the best while I wait to start work.

          Thanks everyone for the insight on peep-toes and your offices. I think that these would work for my office on a day-to-day basis, but maybe I’ll hold off on wearing them to client meetings.

    • I wear peep-toes every day I’m in the office, not for court, depos or client meetings, though.

    • I wore peep toes to court today and didn’t even think about it.

      • One of the partners in my firm told me not to wear open toe shoes to court, so I don’t, but I see other women wearing them. I don’t think it matters, especially when it’s over 100 degrees, like it is today. Some of the smaller counties in my state have it written into their local court rules that no jackets are required from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I like that attitude.

    • When I worked for a high net worth wealth management firm our dress code barred bare legs (without hose), exposed toes, skirts above the knee, and bare shoulders. It made the summer miserable. Most women arrived carrying their jackets and wore pumps all year round. Ugh.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Some people in my office wear them (BigLaw, London), but for me the thing is that I can’t imagine why I would want someone to see my feet in the office, somehow that seems to me worse than baring my legs/wearing a short skirt.

    • darjeeling :

      I’m anti personally but others in my NY biglaw office rock it. I wear slingbacks all the time though.

  4. Anon for this :

    I love these shoes!

    Weird body threadjack – over the past month or so I’ve felt like my body was changing shape. Like, my stomach is getting bigger or puffier. I am in my early 30’s, haven’t changed my exercise routine, have no food allergies/IBD issues, and mostly haven’t changed my diet. The only thing that I can think of that I’ve started earlier cereal with skim milk in the mornings (versus oatmeal in the winter). Is it possible that the increased dairy is causing this change? Or am I just getting old (I know, relative term!) and have to deal with it?

    • Anon for this :

      “earlier cereal” should be “eating cereal”!

    • Next time on “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”…

      But seriously – have you been drinking less water by any chance? When it’s hot outside and I don’t drink enough water, I retain a *ton* and get puffy.

    • locomotive :

      does your body like dairy? I realized I bloat a bit when I drink milk because I’m very mildly lactose intolerant (and this just results in ..erm..a bit of gassiness and bloat)

      • Anon for this :

        I’d never thought that I was lactose intolerant – but perhaps there is a mild intolerance. My sister is lactose intolerant, so I guess it wouldn’t be a complete shock.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I’m all over this thread today… (obviously avoiding work). I am also in my early 30s and I will admit, my body shape has changed over the last 5 years, even though I am exactly the same weight. It’s not so noticeable that clothes don’t fit, they just don’t always fit like they used to. For me, my mid-section has just become a bit “thicker.” Could it just be the general shape-shifting of age?

      • A friend and I used to joke about becoming more “barrel-shaped” as we age. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s a joke. I think women do start depositing more fat around the midsection as we age. Fat distribution is controlled at least to some extent by estrogen – gives you hips, thighs, and some back-of-the-arm fat) so as estrogen levels fall, fat distribution changes.

        • I’ve been lifting weights for a year – my arms and legs have gotten toned and muscular while all of the fat has moved to my middle. As if I needed more there!

        • This really didn’t hit me until age 50, and now at age 52, I have completely transformed from a pear to an apple. Kind of depressing.

          • Yep, I’m 47 and seeing the beginning of this shift. I used to be disproportionately small in the waist so I had that waistband gap on almost everything, but now I have a couple of items that are a tad tight in the waist but fit in the hips…. sad. :(

      • This is absolutely–and mournfully–also happening to me, too, and I’m in the same age range. Sigh.

      • Oh me too. I’m in mourning for the narrow waist I had in my late twenties, even at 30, when I always had bigger hips but felt they were balanced by a slimmer torso. No more! It’s taking me some time and effort to adjust to/accept this new body shape… unless anyone has any suggestions?

      • I’ve definitely shape-shifted when I compare my late teens/early 20s self to my mid 30s self.

        I’m getting flattened (!) My waist measurement hasn’t changed, but I’m getting flattened such that if you look at me (front view), I look like I have a very wide waist (it hardly tapers in). From the side, I look very narrow, almost 2-dimensional.

        I must have gotten steamrolled back when I did IB and just blotted out the memory. Otherwise, I can’t explain why this change has happened. (No dietary changes, no allergies, no kids, no surgeries, no fitness routine changes.)

    • How does the fiber in your cereal w/milk compare to the fiber in your oatmeal? If there’s a big difference there, that could be an issue. I would also think that the heat (if you’re in a particularly hot area right now) could be to blame.

    • What you describe is my body’s reaction to wheat. I don’t have an allergy, I don’t have celiac, but I am apparently intolerant. And I just woke up one day and there it was.

    • Not to frighten you, but check out symptoms of ovarian cancer and primary peritoneal cancer, and be sure you do not have any other symtoms. It is probably just bloating and/or getting a little older. Everyone’s body changes over time, but better safe than sorry.

  5. TJ – Going to an “admissions breakfast” for a fancy grad program on a weekend morning. Do I need to break out the black suit? I think I would feel silly because its early on a Saturday morning in August. Last time I was at an admissions event for this the person I met with was wearing a really cute boden maternity patterned wrap dress, colored tights and funky heels.

    Could I wear a really nice wool sheath dress in a fun color and a blazer? Or maybe a pencil skirt, cute blouse, and non-matching jacket?

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Is there an interview portion to this admissions day that will help with your application? If so, I would probably err on the side of more professional. If it’s just an event to get more information, a suit is probably not necessary.

      In law, we didn’t have interviews prior to being admitted so I don’t have much first-hand experience. Our “admissions” events were all after we were accepted and I don’t think anyone cared much at that point.

    • Its going to be a breakfast with admissions people. I started the application for this program last year but withdrew part of the way through. They invited me to this breakfast to get more of my admissions questions answered. I am hoping that this means that I am considered a promising candidate. The grad program is not in law.

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        I’d probably go with the matching suit with a cute blouse (so, not a button down) and then lose the jacket if that’s the vibe you’re getting. This way you’ll still have that professional look together but can be a bit more casual sans jacket.

        • Thanks! The only cute under suit tops I have are sleeveless (I work in a super biz cas office.) Think that’s ok?

          • Boston Legal Eagle :

            I think it should be fine – and you can always keep the jacket if you feel uncomfortable being sleeveless.

  6. Has anyone used Zicasso (or similar) for trip planning— overseas in particular? I’d love to hear whether it’s useful or scammish (or in between). Time is really scarce for me & my husband these days, so the idea of outsourcing vacation planning is appealing.

  7. Any recommended reading on Chinese culture? Perhaps something along the lines of Watching the English? I know it is hard to generalize a whole country, especially one as diverse and complex as China but I work with a lot of students from mainland China and Taiwan and would love to be a bit more knowledgeable.

    • Legends of China :

      Jung Chang, “Three Daughters of China”

      Reginald Johnston, “Twilight in the Forbidden City”

      • I’ll second “Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China”.

        I read “The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices” in college and found it fascinating, altough it probably wouldn’t be as good as an overview.

        • omg, i was just about to recommend Good Women of China, too! It is so amazing, because it is a collection of stories from different women of different generations, backgrounds, and geographic locations all over China. So, no, it’s not like a cultural survey, but it *really* gives a sense of the massive size and diversity of China, over a few different decades. But it’s short and reads very quickly, too. Love it!

    • I really enjoy Oracle Bones and River Town by Peter Hessler. He’s a westerner who lives in China.

    • Good for you ! Unfortunately there isn’t a lot in English which provides an effective sense of what contemporary Chinese folks think and care about. Some of the suggestions above are not really helpful – Twilight in the Forbidden City is about a China which no longer exists whereas Jung Chang’s book is popular for Western readers but hardly mainstream for Chinese readers as it covers a historical period which is simultaneously too far back for many young people and too painful to be properly acknowledged and internalised by the current political regime.

      My best suggestion would be to try some films – Zhang Yi Mou’s ones set in contemporary China are good, a bit kitschy in parts but true to the sense of rapid change particularly in the cities (Happy Times, Not One Less, The Road Home, Not One Less) and Ang Lee’s Taiwanese ones (Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet).

      And if you do want to read, Leslie Chang’s Factory Girls is a close-up look at the lives of young migrant workers in Dongguan (these will be your students’ contemporaries but from an entirely different strata of Chinese society), Richard McGregor’s The Party is good on how the Communist Party maintains control today and for a proper historical overview, you’re best off with Jonathan Spence’s authoritative Search for Modern China.

    • Ada Doom Starkadder :

      First of all, please do not confuse Chinese and Taiwanese culture. This will get you evil looks from both groups. :-)

      The wikipedia entry on Taiwan should give you some highlights as to why you’ll get some evil looks.

  8. lawsuited :

    I am so furious and have to vent. I was just on a telephone call with an older, male accountant who told me I sounded “to young to be a lawyer” and called me “kiddo” at least 10 times during our short conversation. I am so sick to death of being insulted because of my age by men who are older than I. My favourite was when opposing counsel dismissed my arguments as “cute” in front of the court. I know I’m supposed to let it go and not take it personally, but it’s garbage and it makes me angry.

    • Awful. If it is within your power to destroy him in some fashion, do it.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Sorry to hear that. It sounds like opposing counsel was just trying to tear you down without having any substantive arguments, so your motion/argument must have been that great! Not sure why the accountant felt the need to comment when you’re supposed to be working together. And I bet he would have been offended if you had responded with something like, “thanks Grandpa, time for you to get back to your nap” so this double standard is quite annoying.

    • Call him old man and make a dementia joke?

    • Revenge is a Dish Best Eaten Cold :

      aka You Reap What You Sow

      aka What Goes Around Comes Around

      Ignore him. He is just trying to distract you from representing your client to your best abilities. (And I say this, at 46, after having spent about 9 hours being yelled at, literally, by an a**hol*** older male attorney, throughout an entire day’s deposition when I was 32, including calling me “Young Lady” and, after consulting my dob in the hard copy of Martindale during lunch, telling me that he had been the Chair of his firm’s litigation department since before I was born. I literally ignored him and accomplished all my goals inthe depo. We won the case and the National Law Journal profiled it as a case of the year that year.)

      However, keep in mind that you never know when your knowledge of his true character will come in handy. Case in point: an attorney colleague who consistently and for years bullied me and treated me in ways that I now realize were actionable, told a friend of mine, who is currently opposing counsel in a case to the bully, that she (the bully) does not have a direct dial line and my friend must go through the main line and leave messages, which never get returned. Well, yes, it appears the bully still has the same direct dial line that she had years ago. And yes my friend is now using it.

    • I’m so sick and tired of these vents. SPEAK UP to the person you feel is insulting you.

      Also honestly, people get mad about what opposing counsel thinks? They are opposing counsel! they do the exact same thing to men, younger people, and older people. the A*holes go into litigation people. Its great when you get someone who is not, but the worst people in your law school class go into litigation. Can we stop being shocked by this?

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        It’s not so easy to speak up to a much senior person when you’re still new and just trying to do a good job without feeling like you have to defend yourself at every turn. Also, all sorts of people go into litigation, I personally haven’t noticed any specific personality choose lit versus transactional.

        • I guess I’ve just never found it hard. I told a partner he sounded sexist my first month at my firm. I am a direct person though. I’ll try to be more sensitive.

          • Another Zumba Fan :

            Same here. I once told a C-level employee I thought he was disgusting after he talked to me in an insulting way.

            “You’re going to stop calling me kiddo right now. My name is Another Zumba Fan. That is what I answer to.”

          • Late to this but I’m cracking up thinking of you telling him to call you, literally, Another Zumba Fan.

      • Yikes – I’m sorry that my vent isn’t what you wanted to read in the comments section today – I am new to the profession so I’m still surprised by demeaning comments based on my age or gender. I’m really impressed that demeaning comments don’t upset you, but it’s unrealistic to ask that all women as a whole stop being shocked by them.

        In defence of my choice not to confront an older man when they make an off-colour comment, my strategy is not to acknowledge those kind of comments because I don’t want to open myself to criticism that I’m “over-sensitive” or “over-emotional”, and because, in the case of opposing counsel, I don’t want the person to know they’re bothering me.

        Also, I’m in litigation and don’t think I’m an a**hole.

      • Stephanie Plum :

        Oh man … I’m a litigator…

    • Sorry you are dealing with this. However, one thing did jump out to me — how did this person know you were young if you were on the telephone with him?

      Unfortunately, I think a “youthful” voice is actually code for “not professional” and I have heard too many young, professional women who don’t sound the part. I have visibly cringed (something I need to work on) when intelligent women make every single sentence (or even worse, phrase) a question by the inflection of their voice. Or use a cadence that is more appropriate when chatting with a friend than it is for work.

      This is something that can and should be fixed. I know some women have a naturally high register, which can give the impression of youth, but even then there are ways of speaking that can command a conversation in the same way a polished wardrobe can give a young-looking woman more gravitas. (On this point, my young daughter has learned a “phone” voice that has led many people to believe that they are speaking to me — and its definitely not because I sound young.)

      So, don’t let snipes at your youth shake your game, but consider the possibility that you might need to step up on the way you project yourself vocally.

      • Lol, I have noticed a couple of other women in my office using a lower “phone” voice. I do have a naturally high register and have developed a “court” voice which I may well have to start using on the phone too. Thank you :)

      • SaltyDawg :

        Great advice, DealCube. I have been working on this — my voice is naturally lower, however I tend to offer needless apologies when requesting information from other attorneys or using a voice that may be overly friendly in an attempt to disarm the other party …

        • Just curious – are those who say they have experienced this sort of thing from older male attys all in litigation? I’m in a transactional practice and I’ve never really experienced this, even back in the day when I was actually young. Things definitely get heated in deals, but I haven’t heard anyone lob personal insults.

  9. Travel suggestions: I am planning a trip to Miami and am looking for good restaurant suggestions. I’ve been there before, a few years ago, and seem to remember a lot of giant steak + seafood places. Which is nice, but when it’s really hot out maybe you don’t want such heavy food.

    I’m pretty omnivorous – I like meat and I like seafood, but could be equally happy with a really good salad. Pretty places that aren’t too loud are also a plus. We’ll have a car so location isn’t that big of an issue.


    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Oooh I’m interested in this, I am going in a couple of months!

    • Bond Street Sushi :

      Two friends are among the owners of Bond Street Sushi, in the lobby of the Townhouse Hotel on the waterfront in South Beach. We’ve eaten there three times, and the sushi was great. It is too much of a “scene” for me (I am not a 20-something tall thin leggy barely-dressed thing), but I think it is much less of a “scene” than most other places there.

    • FormerPhotog :

      I had a great meal at CVI.CHE 105 the last time I was in Miami….so full of ceviche….

    • I just ate a place called Delores But You Can Call Me Lolita, and while a little loud, the food is AWESOME. Reasonably priced and every entree comes with an appetizer. I had the “gazpacho so good we’ll give you the recipe.” It was REALLY good, and they did in fact give me the recipe.

    • This might be late but you must go to OLA. Of all the meals I’ve ever had in Miami this was hands down the best.

    • I highly recommend Zuma. It’s downtown, not in South Beach, but it’s really delicious.

    • Might reply in this morning’s comments, too, but thanks for all the suggestions! I’m off to make a list.

  10. Am I the only one who finds calf hair shoes completely creepy? There’s something about it that freaks me out.

  11. Trying to look on the bright side :

    Soooo, yesterday I was told by my law firm that I need to start looking for a new position. I’ve been unhappy and casually looking for an opportunity to move on for a while, so once I’m able to look at the upside of basically being fired, I can view this as just the motivation I need to take back control of my life and my career. I want to move to an in house position—this was my goal the whole time, I just went the law firm route to get experience—I just don’t know how to go about seriously looking. I have been given a time frame of 6 months to leave, which seems like a long time, but I am in a pretty specialized and my practice area, biotech patent prosecution, is not particularly sought after right now.

    For those of you that have made the move to in house, how did you find your position? Did you use a recruiter? If so, is there anyone that you would recommend? A recruiter that specializes in IP attorneys would be a plus. Most recruiters seem to be geared toward law firm placement, and I don’t want to go down that road right unless I have to.

    • Google association of corporate counsel. They have job postings online. And also tell everyone you know you want to leave private practice and go in house (it’s not like you have to worry about your firm finding out!

      I can’t offer any advice specific to your situation but my law firm gave me 3 months when they found out I had been applying to go in house. Yes it sucked and it moved up my time table for leaving (I didn’t find anything before my three months were up), but honestly, that first month of unemployment was AMAZING. It was so nice to be done with a job I really didn’t like. (In the interest of full disclosure, I ended up back in litigation after not being able to land any in house or gov’t jobs, but I’m still looking!)

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      Go to the HR pages of the websites of any large employer near you and look for jobs directly on the company’s or organization’s site.

      • Former Partner, Now In-House :


        * Ask the partners at your firm for help. Do it. Ask them to ask their clients, ALL of them, if they know of any opportunities.

        * Ask all the influential lawyers in the firms in your town for help. You can control the spin by saying you’ve been thinking about going in house and now is the time.

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      ACC is a great resource. I found my in-house position through a recruiter who had contacted me about a year earlier to see if I wanted to lateral to another firm. I wasn’t interested in that, but asked her to keep me in mind for any in-house opportunities, so you may want to reach out to any recruiters who have contacted you in the last year or so and didn’t give off a used car salesman vibe.

      I’d also start building up your linked in profile and connecting with anyone you think has a good professional impression of you. If you see a job posting that interests you you’ll have a better chance of getting a foot in the door if you can use a personal connection.

    • nonameplease :

      I had a similar experience. Firm layoff, followed by a move in house. For patent prosecution jobs check the patently o website. Check with state biotechnology associations and their job listings. (In Washington state WBBA website.) Recruiters were not helpful and in-house is not likely to want to pay a recruiter fee.

      I am the world’s worst networker and yet I found both my in house positions through networking. Job 1 – Partner at my old firm put me in touch with a client to see if she knew of any open positions. Eight months later the client got in touch with me, when her company was hiring. Job 2 – I’m working with an associate buddy from my old law firm.

      And I like working in house much more than working at a law firm. Hope you do too!

    • ACC’s website. Also goinhouse dot com and indeed dot com.

      Check out all the recruiter listings. Sometimes they have exclusives, sometimes you can figure out who they are recruiting for and apply directly.

      Use the Fortune 500 list (or other relevant lists of companies) to search for companies that might be a good fit for you and then jump on their main web site and look for openings.

      Go back to your college and law school alumni sites and see if they have career resources. Very often there are databases of people who are willing to be contacted for advice. Set up informational interviews with people who do the sort of thing you would like to do. Find out how they got there and what resources they used.

      Talk to people in the firm that you work well with and let them know you are planning on leaving and ask for help. Firms have a self interest in helping associates to land well — you can become a client.

  12. MissJackson :

    J Crew is currently running some sort of weird secret promo sale — 30% sale items — which brings these down to $167. Use code SHOPNOW. Bad news is that everything is “final sale” meaning you can’t return or exchange anything — especially rough with shoes.

  13. PSA: Lots of cute Lafayette 148 stuff on deep discount at Saks Fashion Fix.
    This suit is really cute and I would order it but my size is sold out. If you’re a size 10, 12 or 14, and need a nice basic new suit, it’s a great deal, I wish I could.

  14. I’d like to take an informal poll. I’m 52, in good health, no past health problems, and pay $150 per month for disability ins. That seems high to me, would others who purchase disability insurance care to share their age/premiums with me? I’m thinking of shopping around, but maybe that’s standard for my age. It increased about 35% when I turned 52. I know there are a lot of variables, such as the monthly benefit, but I just want an idea of what other people are paying. I’m thinking of dropping it.

    • Just Looked :

      Just looked at my paystub. I see only an entry for supplemental disability (with a 30 day waiting period, because I have more than 30 sick days saved up). I pay $74.29/month. It appears that my employer — large public university — pays the premium for the standard coverage?

      I am 46 and in good health, but none of my employer-sourced insurance asks for my demographics (age, gender, health, anything) because it is a such a large group plan.

    • Just Looked At My Paystub :

      Just looked at my paystub.

      I see only an entry for supplemental disability (with a 30 day waiting period, because I have more than 30 sick days saved up). I pay $74.29/month. It appears that my employer — large public university — pays the premium for the standard coverage?

      I am 46 and in good health, but none of my employer-sourced insurance asks for my demographics (age, gender, health, anything) because it is a such a large group plan.

  15. TJ: Are there any married readers out there who file separate tax returns? Is there anyone who can give me some bullet points about situations where married people might not want to file joint returns? I’m an attorney, but I have limited knowledge about tax issues, and I have to bring this up in a meeting with non-lawyers next week.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

    • When we first got married, my husband and I looked into this because we just didn’t know what the difference was. What we found said basically married filing separately was for people who were in the midst of a divorce. There may be other reasons to use the status, but this was all we found (granted, we didn’t dig too deeply).

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      From what I understand, there are few if any tax benefits and people only use it when they can’t get on the same page with a return, usually because one or the other is doing something fishy. So, for example, if your spouse won’t declare all his/her income and you don’t want to be guilty of any wrongdoing associated with that filing, you file your returns separately and absolve yourself of liability from the wrongdoing spouse’s filings. It is also a way to file a return when a spouse refuses to file a return.

    • I can think of two reasons :

      1. One of you works for a government agency with public disclosure rules and the other one doesn’t want to be subject to the disclosure.

      2. One of you has an insane and irrationally aggressive former spouse — divorce is over, but she keeps looking for opportunities to f*ck with her former husband and his new partner.

      We’ve just decided to wait to get married until the kids graduate college.

    • I’ve been a tax accountant for 5 years and I have never seen anyone actually file separately, but I don’t do that many individual returns. Another reason (other than upcoming divorce) would be if you didn’t want to be responsible for what your spouse was reporting on his return, like if he was underreporting income and you didn’t want to sign it. I remember once reading about how Marc Anthony owed taxes and it was implied that he and Jennifer Lopez filed separate returns (back when they were married), so it’s almost possible that when both people are basically brands that they file separately to keep their finances separate also. I’ve only worked on one return where I would consider both spouses brands though and they filed together, so I’m not sure how common that is.

      • Now that I think of it, I’m actually working on a return that’s married filing separately! It’s from a foreigner though that earned money performing in the US and his wife doesn’t come here, so there’s no reason to involve her. There was only one response when I started typing out my response from before and the other posters have come up with some good responses, but I’d say that it’s pretty rare.

        Also, if you live in a community property state, there are some pretty crazy rules for how to file separately. Had to do this once with a couple married for California purposes, not for federal purposes once. It was a nightmare.

      • It’s not always for bad news reasons – it can be beneficial when one spouse has high deductible expenses (e.g. medical expenses) and lower income.

        • I feel like there is an online calculator that can help you decide. I have heard that it may be useful if the parties have wildly different income brackets and filing separately reduces tax liability.

          • Yes, I’ve used TaxAct online and it allows you to see what would happen if you file together or apart. I run the analysis each year. You can compare the final result to see which would be more advantageous. I’m pretty sure TurboTax and the like would have the same feature.

    • Mr. East and I have always filed separately so far; the $ savings were pretty significant for us.

      I’ve asked for technical/substantive guidelines from accountants I know, but they all just say, “I usually input all the information into Turbo Tax and then see whether filing separately or jointly is cheaper.”

  16. Hey! I’m starting to have SOME ideas of what to do with my tumblr (though its still rather random). But I could still use some help. I’ve been spending a little less time on here for a variety of reasons, but if you’d like some personal shopping help, you COULD use the “ask me a question” feature on my tumblr and I could do a post…that’d be fun. :-) By the way…before anyone wonders…I am in no way getting anything out of this. Its just a hobby. A fairly sad hobby, but a hobby all the same.

    I’d probably answer other questions, but…my other advice is pretty crappy.

    • Here’s a dumb question – do we have to have a tumblr to ask a question? It’s not working for me, but I’m blog illiterate.

      • Okay, I might be blog illiterate too. Let me check my settings, I thought anyone could ask.

      • Okay, I *think* I fixed it. But if I start getting a lot of terrible questions I’ll have to disable to feature that allows non-tumblr users to ask questions. :-P Want to try again?

        • Wahoo! I hope I asked the right way. I gave you two – I’m excited to see what you come up with and afraid for my wallet :)

          • It worked! I answered, but tried to keep the options limited. You can send another message if you don’t like the options.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      TCFKAG – you SHOULD charge for your services. It could make a great little side business and doesn’t really conflict with what Kat does here. My husband found a great site where you can post what you would do for $5. It is a way to sell unique services/items, for $5. People put some silly things on there like “for five dollars, I will make a wish for whatever you wish for next time I see a shooting star.” You could sell your services through that site.

      Link in reply

  17. mintberrycrunch :

    I know we’ve talked about this before but… ipad app suggestions? Just got one as a gift and I’m so excited to play with it this weekend!!

    • If you don’t want to get anything else done this weekend, download Fruit Ninja. And Flight Control.

      You have been warned.

    • Right now I’m loving NBC Olympics Live – you can watch anything live, as it’s happening so you are not caught with the time-delay for broadcast. Plus there’s re-runs of the highlights.

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        I’ve been watching the gymnastics events live – love it! They tend to show more of the athletes and their routines than NBC’s primetime show too.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      The apps I use all the time are Yelp, Facebook, Evernote, Netflix, Kindle, Overdrive, my banking institutions, Spotify, Pandora, iPhoto (worth every penny), and Goodreads.

      I really like the game Hooked On Words. Flipboard is awesome too, but I find I don’t use it that much. Someone here recommended NextIssue for magazines and it’s great but I’m too cheap to pay for it so I’ll drop it once my free month trial is up.

      The Weather Channel app and Kayak are also great to have.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      For news, Slate, WSJ and CNN all have good iPad-version apps. I agree on the weather channel, it’s so pretty on the iPad!

    • Check your subscriptions to any magazines that you get — many of them now have a feature that you can get an electronic version on your iPad for no additional charge. I love reading Travel and Leisure on my iPad, because it makes the colors so bright and vivid. And my hubby reads Sports Illustrated on the iPad too.

    • Oh dude, Hanging with Friends. Obsessed.

    • Xfinity TV, Overdrive, Pandora, TED, Yelp, Find Friends, ABC Player, Skype, Netflix, Kindle, Flipboard, Notability, Dropbox, PS Express, Fandango, Find iPhone, Finesse, Google Earth, Zite, PBS Player, Scan, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, BeejiveIM, NightStand (no alarm clock on iPad), Nordstrom, The Weather Channel, Bank of America, CVS, Hilton, Skype Wifi (I have non-wifi ipad), LinkedIn, Next Issue, NPR, Stumble Upon.

      I just downloaded something called Pocket (I think it’s Read it Later or something like that).

      Also, apparently Amazon Prime subscribers can, as of today, stream video to iPad.

  18. Here’s a random question: I came into my current job 2.5 years ago and one of my (many) tasks was to evaluate and professionalize the depts I oversee. As part of this process, I gave a raise and promotion to a woman who works for me. Her new position is a great fit for her AND for our org; she’s a very hard worker and this new gig was in many ways a reward for her great service.

    “Jen’s” new job is a salaried position; prior to this time she was an hourly employee. I suspect she was an hourly employee her entire life, because I see her havig a hard time adjusting to what I’d call salaried culture (i.e. feel free to schedule a doc appt during the day without taking PTO, but work until the work gets done). I’ve set a pretty easygoing office culture, but I feel as though she’s very “nickel and dime” as far as her hours are concerned.

    We don’t work in a cutthroat org or industry (far from) but I need her to understand that increased flexibility AND expectations are a part of this new position, which she’s now had for about a year. Any thoughts on how to explain salaried vs hourly culture to someone like this? Thanks!

    • lawsuited :

      I found the transition from waged employee to salaried employee weird for the reasons you cite above. I think the way you’ve explained it above (salaried employees have the freedom to organize their work outside of 9-5 hours, which means leaving the office during 9-5 for an appointment or to pick up your sick kid AND working before or after 9-5 when the workload demands it) is a great way to explain it to her. If she’s a hard worker, then she’ll be happier to know what your expectations are and meet them.

    • Yes, I think the real difference is that you are now paying her to produce a specified product rather than paying for a specified number of hours of her time.

    • I think this is a pretty clear explanation. Do you mean she “nickel and dimes” her hours to her detriment, or does she not do the work when needed? If she’s a very hard worker as you say, then it sounds like she’s already meeting the expectations of her new job? If she’s not and you need to encourage her to put in more time, then maybe emphasize the flexibility she now has to manage her work hours (the doc appt example you mentioned) that would balance the higher expectations? Presumably when she was an hourly employee she would get overtime pay or time in lieu, and now she doesn’t, and that may be a bit of a mental sticking point, so that would be one way of showing pros vs cons?

      • Nickel and diming = if she works late at an event, persay, she will make CERTAIN she leaves the corresponding number of hours early the following Friday — no more no less. Or on her last day in the office before a long weekend (5 days out of office), she dropped a fairly large project on me. I ended up working late on it; when I confronted her (nicely) about it this week, she said she’d “already stayed 2 hours past her time.”

        I do not want to come across as though I think she should live to work — and I agree, foregoing overtime pay is one sucky part of being salaried. But the perks just so outweigh the bad parts that I’m having a hard time seeing why this is so challenging for her. Good advice here though — thanks ladies.

  19. Any Brown alums? My sister is a high school senior, small high school and will most like be valedictorian. Brown is her dream school – she is awesome IMHO :), but I would love advice on helping her make sure her application shine. (and I know we have lots of Ivy grads on here, so please feel free to share).
    Thanks ladies!

  20. Hey, STFU Corpor e t t e, since I can’t figure out how to post a comment on your stupid, catty blog and I’m sure you’re reading this.

    Past tense: backslid or backslidden.

    • Lol!

    • Ha ha. I love it. I made it the other day too. By the way, I’m pretty sure STFU C o r p = Mouse.

      • By the way, I just went back and read the comments on that blog. I don’t understand why someone says I only have my opinion because I haven’t traveled a lot (code language for you are ignorant), I say that people have a tendency to say those who disagree with them just don’t know any better, and I am the one who gets flamed.

        That whole conversation was really frustrating to me. At first I thought it was wonderfully thought provoking and great to see others’ points of views, but it devolved quickly. It’s making me consider giving up this site, actually. Those conversations are why I like this site, but I don’t want to be villified for them.

        I’m sure this will get me on STFU again.

        • Perhaps this should just become your new goal. :-)

        • Just wanted to say I appreciate your thoughts/comments. Also stfu gets offended by everything. they dont want to post the snarky comments on here and have everyone go your so mean! so they do it secret. I didnt realize ru, kayne, and tcfkag were commenting about commentators over on stfu. I like them a lot on here but that seems very mean girl-ish.

          • I agree. I was getting over it but those comments on the STFU blog hurt my feelings.

          • And thank you for your comment, cfm. :)

          • Oh, I mostly defend the commenters or laugh at the fact that stfu thought it worth it to reblog something. If that helps.

            I don’t want to be a mean girl…I’m not! I promise.

          • I hate that Tumblr too, and I don’t care if I’m featured there. I agree that having to comment here while imagining an incognito peanut gallery is lame-ifying. I really hope no one stops coming to this site because of STFU–sympathy to b23 and others!–and I just think that like anything else obnoxious, you starve the beast by ignoring.

        • Well, b23, FWIW, I thought it was the most interesting conversation we’ve had on here in ages (even though I’m not even American). Thank you for bringing up the topic. Don’t let the haters get to you, and don’t even think about leaving!

        • Okay, b23, I really hope nothing I said on Tumblr hurt your feelings! I was mostly questioning the stfu exercise as well as the comment she was talking about. And if I did, I’m super sorry!

          • Alanna of Trebond :

            I did think that your tone was a bit mean in the comments there, although it may be because it is hard to convey tone on the internet, but I couldn’t find comments by Ru or Kanye. But reading that tumblr made me realize that all the things that I like about this blog are ones that stfu dislikes–I don’t want this blog to be like Jezebel or some other blogs where everyone jumps on others for saying things that are controversial or not politically correct. Everyone on this blog is generally very helpful, and welcoming, even when we ask silly questions or make completely wrong assumptions!

          • You said this about b23 “At least she didn’t start with “I’m not trying to start something”. Since she CLEARLY was. :-P”and it did sound snarky in combination with ru jenny and kayne’s comments. All of them together like that kinda look like the cool kids go over there to make fun of people cuz it looks like they always “like” stfu posts. But i think of you likethe mother hen of us all so tone might be different than it looks

          • I thought the same thing when I saw some of the comments (not there but elsewhere). Like a few of us were going off to snark about everyone else. It made me feel a little bad and a little less of those few.

          • Okay — not to be too technical — I was really just tweaking STFU Corporette there, because she has previously posted that she hates when people post “Not trying to start something…” and then post something inflammatory.

            I guess my tone wasn’t right…I really was trying to be a source of a different voice. Maybe its not worth it.

        • Judging from the posts on STFU, I don’t think it’s worth your energy. Hell, it probably wasn’t worth mine, and it took me less than 30 seconds to post that link.

          • ps – don’t give up the site! There are a lot of conservative/libertarian professionals and we deserve to be better represented here!

        • I actually thought that was a fantastic discussion, and a high percentage of the posts were thoughtful and totally respectful. I think that a few got a little snippy, but honestly, I really don’t think it devolved too badly.

    • Bwa ha! I haven’t even checked that blog in a long time (cause it’s nasty), but I am perversely pleased to see that I caught the blogger’s attention. And yes, I get pretty excited about office supplies, and I don’t really care who knows.

      PS: TCFKAG, I know you’re on Team EllenWatch, and I appreciate your coming to my defense. :)

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Wow, I hadn’t seen that site before. At least I know where Ru went now. She used to be here a lot and then disappeared. Glad to know she’s ok, just no longer a reader. All the best, Ru.

    • Yeah, kinda shitty, tcfkag, ru, Kane, and dc Jenny.

      • Just remember that people get caught up talking sh!t about people on the Internet because they don’t have a real life. Your better than that b23.

      • Judy Jetson :

        What’s the difference between that blog and posting anon here? I don’t think stfu is all that harsh. Internet posting rule 101: Don’t post anything if you can’t handle someone disagreeing with you.
        Also, I think stfu has a point about certain things. I used to really like this blog, but less so since it turned into “the hive.”

        • I think the point is that part of “the hive” is going behind backs and snarking. Agreed that “the hive” can generally be annoying. And I post anon because I rarely post and am too lazy to come up with a screen name.

    • Hey — I’m in moderation, but I really wasn’t trying to support or agree with that tumblr, I was just trying to tweak it or disagree with it. The b23 post specifically was referencing another post where she complained about someone who said “I’m not trying to start something…” and then said something inflammatory, which b23 didn’t do. :-) That was all! Otherwise, I feel like yesterday I spent quite awhile arguing that people went below the belt on b23!

      But…perhaps my tone has been misread over the internet. And perhaps it wasn’t worth my time. I just hate seeing no or passive responses. But meh. I do love you ladies, even the ones I disagree with. I really really don’t want to be a mean girl (and I’ve been all worried about it all night.)

    • I don’t consider myself to be an oversensitive person but one post on STFU is really bothering me, snarkiness in response to a post about miscarriage. This community is very supportive and I feel helps us get through difficult times. To criticize somebody who is trying to give peace of mind to someone in pain just seems wrong.

    • Judy Jetson :

      FWIW, I thought she was applauding your argument, not mocking you.

      • As far as I could tell it was half and half (I think she agreed with my point and took issue with the past tense of backslide), but I don’t really care if she agrees with me because I don’t value the opinion of people who go out of their way to be snarky and mean to others.

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