Coffee Break – Exotic Leather Skinny Belt

Exotic Leather Skinny BeltPurty…. I like this textured snakeskin belt in hues of blue, green, and black. I can see it being a really distinctive but versatile piece — wear it with all black, navy, teal, or possibly get creative and try it with dark purple. Lovely. It’s $34 at Ann Taylor (use code MONDAY to get an additional 40% off). Exotic Leather Skinny Belt




  1. Almost There :

    I like that belt, I would wear it over a lot of colors of cardigans.

    I’m still looking for my Broadway dress… do you think this looks, um, slutty?

  2. Body Image -- random question :

    I seem to have a disconnect between how I look and how I think I look. My current height is just average, but it is as tall as I was as a child (so, too tall for big wheels, never had cute little children’s shoes, and I was taller than a lot of my elementary school teachers). I think I am gigantic still (not in a fat way, but in an Amazonian plays-center-on-the-basketball-team sort of way). Short of just shopping with a personal shopper who gets me, is there a way of weaning my way of thinking that anything short of a large will just look tight and trashy? Somehow, I don’t think see the baggy-ness of things, but I can notice even the first hint of camel-toe.

    And note to JCrew — I do love you, but I fear that your vanity sizing will cost me a fortune in return shipping.

    • There’s a lot of distance between baggy and camel toe. Going to a personal shopper at a place that sells clothes you like (Nordstrom’s?) is a good start. Start by buying one thing that the personal shopper thinks is terrific but is more fitted than you’re used to, and wear it and see how it feels. Even just keeping something on in the dressing room long enough to get used to it may help. This is one time where you really shouldn’t do online shopping but should instead actually go to a store and try things on.

      • Do not pick up things in Target en route to the Diaper aisle thinking, “Oh, how will a Large not fit?”

        It will not fit, in so many different ways. It just won’t be too small or too tight.


    • Yes! I’ve lost weight and realized that most of my clothes (even new ones) are terribly large. Not sure how you change this so anxious to read any suggestions.

    • Body Image -- random question :

      Thanks! I am truly horrible. Thanks to grunge and an extended academic life, I spend my early adult life erring on the size of really oversized sweatshirts (upgraded to really oversized fleeces over time). I guess the tipoff was that I didn’t need maternity clothes until I was halfway through being pregnant, and then it was mainly bottoms. I did OK in a business-formal workplace after law school (the places that sell skirt suits have floor staff), but am foundering now that I am in a business casual workplace (and have places to take my children where black suits seem funereal but gym attire is too much Letting Herself Go, so need to strike a balance and set a good example).

      And I am now spending a fortune altering my clothes, but even the good tailor in town can only do so much.

      And I have daughters now. Who are tall. Need to break the cycle!

    • Lady Harriet :

      Take pictures of yourself in the clothes instead of just looking in the mirror (a la Cher in Clueless.) When I’m more removed from a garment, I find it much easier to objectively assess it. It also helps me to look at similarly-sized people wearing clothes. If something doesn’t look too small on them, it might not look too small on me. Also, make sure the garments fit in all other ways. Even though I’m on the shorter end of average I have a very hard time finding shirts that are long enough (I have a big chest and stomach for them to go over.) No matter how tight or loose a shirt is, I’m always going to feel really uncomfortable if it’s too short. You might have this issue with some aspect of fit that isn’t directly related to size.

      A lot of this also has to do with age and cultural perceptions. I’m in my 20’s and my mom is in her 60’s. She always thinks things are too tight and I always think they’re too low cut. Neither one of us can really see what the other finds so unacceptable. Many people just wear clothes, especially casual ones, tighter than they used to.

      • I was going to suggest something similar but instead of pictures, take video. It’s the best way to break a habit – just watch yourself on screen.

        Agree that habbit is an issue too. You’re used to seeing yourself a certain way so it can be hard to see yourself differently. I used to color in my eyebrows and I would always feel so naked and odd without a dramatic arch, but then I just forced myself to stop for a month and now that I am used to how my brows look naturally, I cannot imagine why I used to prefer myself with Cruella DeVille eyebrows before.

        • Lady Harriet :

          Absolutely! I have the opposite problem–I almost never wear any makeup other than lipstain, so I often feel ridiculous when I do wear it, even though it looks fine on other people in moderation.

    • If you have a JCrew brick and mortar, you can return for free to the store….

  3. Always a NYer :

    How about a fun game of fantasy home design?! I’ve recently been thinking about this as I’m rereading my design books on Gold Coast Long Island mansions. My dream house would include:
    Two-story foyer with black and white tiles and grand staircase
    Library with dark wood paneling, sliding ladder around the room, and the secret room I’ve always wanted
    Custom kitchen with raised black granite countertops (I’m 5’11” and hate hunching when preparing food), cherry wood cabinets, and stainless steel appliances (at least three ovens!)
    Dressing room instead of a closet
    Basement theatre room in Art Deco Style
    Speakeasy bar in basement complete with hidden entrance (password optional)
    Greenhouse behind the house so fresh fruits and veggies were always feet away
    Pool that’s covered by the elements yet still open air

    If money weren’t an option and you could design your ideal dwelling, what would be key to your creation? Have you ever thought about this as much as I have? ;)

    • Your dream house sounds pretty good to me! I would just change the cherry cabinets to white and add big porch and a swimming pool way out in the huge (manicured!) lawn (pool surrounded by grass instead of concrete/stone). This is fun to think about! :)

    • Diana Barry :

      I don’t like two-story foyers at all, unless you are talking about an old house. :) Otherwise they just look mcmansiony to me.

      Dream house – about 10 bedrooms. Bigger kitchen with my current stove/cabinet setup (I have raised counters, they are awesome!) and more pantry space, fancier fridge, and a dishwasher/scullery maid. His and hers offices, plus parent media room and kid tv room/playroom. At least 20 acres. In VT or NH. Pool, with a glass/steel enclosure, kitchen/bath attached, and fancy oxygen filter (no chlorine!). And my husband needs a bat cave.

    • My in-laws (6’6″ and 6’1″) have raised countertops. They are awesome, and I am only 5’9″!

    • Penthouse with large wrap around terrace. At least one room converted into my “dressing room” and closet. Lots of oriental rugs. At least one hidden secret room. Big open kitchen with lots of window seats. A staircase that leads nowhere. Built-ins everywhere.

    • manomanon :

      Dream house- old, old, old stone cottage with a slate roof (thatch just doesn’t cut it these days), lots of windows, and good size yards with an English garden, that someone else takes care of since I kill things. Slate patio in the back with more gardens and a pool tucked out of sight from the house with a little set up around it. (pool shed, marble/stone bar, fire pit)
      Inside- hardwood floors with wide planks, furniture that looks nice but also inviting with big cushions etc. so that you want to curl up in it. Modern kitchen appliances in a large kitchen with a farmhouse style wooden table and granite island in the middle.
      Finished basement for media, large flat screen, comfortable rug, lots of coffee tables and seating and a bar with a mini fridge, sink, a bit of storage and a microwave as well. Beautifully decorated bedrooms rounds it out for me!

    • 1912 Arts and Crafts house with a big, wide, wrap-around verandah. In the living room, an original tiled fireplace with an inglenook, and original stained-glass windows. Built-in cabinetry in the dining room – and none of the woodwork has ever been painted so it is all original. Big kitchen with cork floors, lots of natural light and a separate pantry. Exposed beams everywhere. Apart from the kitchen and bathrooms, original inlaid hardwood floors. Designated library with built-in floor-to-ceiling shelving, a circular staircase going up to a mezzanine level, and a secret tower room. Master bathroom with a stand-alone tub in front of big windows looking out onto the garden. Family room on the back of the house that can open up in the summer to be an indoor/outdoor room, perhaps with slate floor. The entire house set in a mature, West Coast English-style garden, overlooking the sea. Ah, yes, that’s my first $5 million gone.

      • Oh hey, my first floor is your first floor. Except for the cork floors. No circular staircase, though, and in 1912 (mine is 1909) they really didn’t understand master suites.

    • Big farmhouse in Montana. Lots of room for horses. Good heating. And a hot tub.

    • Tiny old house with just enough room for 5 and a 10 car garage with 2 lifts and a big machine shop.

      …and a hot tub.

    • old Victorian style house with wrap around porch and a tower. Library. Plus, office for Mr. gov anon. Craft room for me. Walk in closet for me. Giant kitchen with lots of cabinets and a large island. Hardwood throughout. Pool in the perfectly landscaped back yard, which of course somebody else takes care of.

  4. I unfortunateley will need a new belt soon. My waistline has gone up a full INCH since the summer, and the holiday’s have NOT realy even kicked in yet. FOOEY!

    But There is one good thing hapening! I told the manageing partner about NOT wanting to go back to Saint Louis b/c I am way to busy, and he said he would ask Madeline today if she would want to learn Anti-Trust and do diliegience law, and then get back to the general council at Jim’s firm if yes.

    I do NOT know if this is such a good idea, b/c Madeline has been out of law school so many years — I think since the 1970’s, and she has alway’s been just doeing PI defense here, which is not at all like the very complex Anti-Trust and do diliegence I learned, which is STRICTELY corporate in nature.

    I have had alot of different expereiences here at the firm thank’s to the manageing partner, both in litiegeation as well as in corporate, and I also am not sure Madeline would realy click with Jim b/c she is alot older and less tolerant of stupeidity then I am.

    I am to go tomorrow with the manageing partner to sample the restaurant’s food choices for our big holiday affair. My dad warned me not to eat to much between now and the holiday’s — unless I wanted to fund an entire new wardrobe. FOOEY on that. Instead, I am goeing to excercise alot on the weekends and work my tush off I told him.

    My dad also is rebalanceing the investements in my 401(k) for me NOW, based on the fiskill cliff, whatever that is. He say’s that I need to make sure to be DEEP in investement’s that do NOT have alot of downside risks, and he know’s alot about risky investements. Yay!

  5. Regular poster/commenter, but anon for this and super in need of hive some hive-wisdom.

    How do you know when it’s the right time to leave a job?

    The short version is that my firm is going through some structural changes that I don’t really agree with. Basically, we’ve always prided ourselves on being better than our competition (and according to most clients/vendors we are one of the better offices to deal with) but the changes that we’re adopting make us look/operate more like our less-than-stellar competitors.
    I haven’t been here super long (just shy of two years) and the decision to do this was obviously done by individuals much higher up the food chain than me. As someone in a position where I have to deal with clients/vendors regularly as part of my job, I can’t help but feel that this is a bad, bad idea. Like, why would you want to start copying plays from the losers’ playbooks?
    Obviously, I’m willing to give these changes a chance, but how long of a chance do I give it? And how do I know when, for the sake of my own professional reputation, its time to leave? I do really enjoy the people I work with and the work I do, but I’m just not on board for these changes.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve stayed with a company who’s doing that. I turned down an offer recently to leave, and things are better now, but I won’t lie – the first 12 months after the changes started were really really tough (a view that’s pretty universal among the employees), and I’m not pleased with how territorial I became because of my frustration.

    • karenpadi :

      I would stick around for the changes to take effect and plan on staying another 6 mos-1year after the changes. After that, if you are still unhappy, find a new job.

      I think that leaving before the changes take effect or before they really have time to “sink in” makes a job candidate look flighty and impulsive. But waiting some time demonstrates that the candidate is willing to try new things but is honest about when things aren’t working out.

      BTW, word will get out about the changes among your competitors. You will be asked about the changes by interviewers. If these are industry-wide practices,you might have to accept that this problem won’t solve itself when you change jobs unless you leave the industry.

    • I’d offer up a different opinion and say change quickly if you have the opportunity. The kind of strategic/ structural shift you’re talking about seldom goes to plan – there will need to be tweaks and reversals for at least some parts of the original plan once it actually gets tested in the market place and if you’re already sceptical, your goodwill is strained quickly. As an interviewer, I actually like candidates who can take a commercial view of their existing firm and manage their own career development accordingly, and am fine to look for elements other than tenure at their current job to assess dedication and commitment.

      Good luck, whichever way you go !

  6. Anne Shirley :

    So- $425 million. Do you ever return to your office? Do you spend a year naked in the Maldives wearing only diamonds? Finance the continuation of Downton Abbey in perpetuity? Hire Ryan Gosling to be your platonic companion?

    Or e) all of the above

    • Return to office until money is in my hot little hands.

      Claim the money anonymously because we can in my state. That might mean a delay in claiming because I’d need to get everything setup first.

      Leave on good terms with as smooth a transition as I could make it.

      Spend some money for immediate needs (college tuition bills) and wants (pay off house, house renovations, new cars), reserve some money for future annual income, then see about giving away most of the rest of it.

      • Lady Harriet :

        I just realized that aside from buying a bunch of really fabulous, comfortable shoes for me and houses for my parents, there’s not a whole lot I really want that money can buy me. :) I don’t think I’d quit working without some sort of other activity to consistently take up a lot of my time, since every time I have more than a short period of time with nothing to do, it ends up being miserable and boring rather than fun. I’d love to get married and have a bunch of kids, but money isn’t going to make that happen any sooner, it would only make things materially easier afterwards. It’s rather freeing to realize that most of the things I care about can’t be bought, actually.

      • Anonymous :

        This is perfect for me too.

    • I’d bring Firefly back on the air. I could do that, right? Or the next movie, at least. Malcolm would need to get back to his fighting weight, though.

    • Jacqueline :

      Love all your ideas, Anne Shirley!

    • Diana Barry :

      “Return to office until money is in my hot little hands”. YES.

      Then, quit in a hot second, and hire a better nanny so I can catch up on my sleep, and then move to the country.

    • I return to the office. But definitely go to the Maldives first. Maybe with Ryan Gosling.

    • Move to Vermont and write novels about a Corgi who helps solve crimes. Don’t steal my idea, guys. I will hunt you down.

    • Merabella :

      Agreed with going back to the office until I had the money in hand. Then I would probably go down to part time, and spend the rest of my time traveling/actually doing all those things I said I would do if I had more money. I would also do the obvious things like pay down debts. And I would never tell anyone, and if I could get away with it, I wouldn’t tell my husband – because he would tell everyone.

      • Ha! I am also in the “tell no one” camp. I could probably safely tell my SO, but my mom is no good with keeping such things quiet (I say that endearingly).

        I’d likely return to work, pay off all debt, buy a nice purse, and then stash the rest away for slightly upgraded versions of future purchases (ie. slightly nicer vacations, normal sized house with dream kitchen, tuition for future children).

    • Anonymous :

      I’d take a year to travel the world with my family and homeschool my children that year. So we could do cool stuff like “Oh, you’re studying space exploration? Let’s go to NASA in Florida.” or “Oh, you’re studying Australia? Let’s go there!” etc. Maybe it would take 2 years. :)

      Eventually I’d go back to work, though. I think I’d get bored leading a life of leisure.

    • I’ll play!

      Return to office until said money appears.

      Remember that it’s only like $200 million after taxes/NPV. Ha, ONLY.

      Can’t claim anon in my state, unfort.

      Find good investor, estate planning attorney.

      Get a personal trainer, travel, start a farm on Maui. Host big dinners in new kitchen in new house with produce from said farm.

      Good bye student loans!

    • I used to think I’d keep my job but endow everything so we’d never have to worry about the budget. Now I’m not so sure because I’m certain someone else would swoop in to take credit for all of the new endowments. Then again, if I didn’t go to work, where would I wear all of the fabulous shoes I could afford? But I would buy a house, maybe a pied a terre in New York, too, and I would travel. And I would endow things at work and at church.

    • long time lurker :

      I would return to work tie up loose ends and not leave my clients in the lurch because I care about them (yes even in biglaw). I would then leave and do some serious traveling but not fancy, just see the world type stuff. I would buy my mom a vintage townhouse with all the architectural details and a maid. Then I would buy a sailboat and live on that for a few years. Eventually I would get bored ish and settle down somewhere and open a bed and breakfast (somewhere in new england maybe?). I’d also do some sort of legal aid work to keep my mind active and help people. But I would keep my caseload light so I could have plenty of time to enjoy life. Of course I’d have excellent financial advisors and mostly live on the interest.

      Yes I’ve thought about this way too much!

    • manomanon :

      Return to the office… investigate claiming anonymously if not go right before closing on a Wednesday and thank my lucky stars that I live in the middle of nowhere with only a weekly paper to tell

      Split the money in half, form a foundation with one half and find someone to run it for me. Or run it myself because I wouldn’t want to start working.. hmm
      Pay off all of my loans, pay off all of my parents loans/mortgage and whatever is left/coming for college for my siblings.
      Buy my parents new cars since theirs are dying.
      Buy a house in my current locale and an apartment someplace fabulous to use for vacation homebases.
      Take a really fabulous vacation
      Invest the rest so it’s there when I need it down the road for a house with extra stuff , college for my kids/nieces & nephews a really rainy day

    • Kontraktor :

      Would first settle all debts- student loan, car loan, parents’ mortgage (guess I’d probably have to settle my in laws’ mortgages as well), brother’s college, repaying to parents the money they paid for college tuition.

      Then I would probably find an investment manager and find out how I could invest to live off interest. I would take out a small bit of fun money. I would make sure assets were accessible such that I would have access to money for future kids and things like that.

      Would take the fun money (maybe a few million) and do a combination of travel/bum arond the world for a couple of years, probably buy a small condo in one or two places around the world (maybe in Hawaii)and would build/furnish a nice, but modest house, in a home-base location of my choosing. Would spend time living off interest money, traveling to various homes, shopping a bit, doing volunteer work, and not really keeping any sort of schedule.

    • Once the funds are in my hot little hands and I have hired a lawyer and financial planner to set my affairs in order, I would quit my job in a hot second because I have enough hobbies and other things I enjoy doing that I could easily fill my days and keep my mind busy. Travel for a year, obviously. Probably buy property in France, as well as my dream house (see above). After I have spent some time travelling, I’d probably get involved in some useful charity work and settle down (perhaps in Cornwall, or in a small backwater in the Darjeeling Hills) to write my Nobel Prize-winning novel.

    • Return to work until I have the money, but accelerate getting the money as fast as I can. Then quit & dance down hall. Get money to our families, donate to the local food bank and animal shelters, and buy an expensive handbag. Never, ever, ever wake up before 6:00 am again.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’ve had my career and raised my family, so I would quit my job in the proverbial red hot second (but only after the money was firmly in hand). I would travel the world in capital-S Style as long as my health held out. I would get some great advice and figure out a way to contribute a significant amount to a cause that would be meaningful and practical. I would buy a nicer house in my current hometown and also a fab pied a terre in Manhattan. Big fun, man. Big fun.

    • Return to the office? Only until I have the cash in hand. Then I make sure the family is taken care of, and it is off to see the rest of the world. Eventually, I’ll come back and do some volunteer work.

  7. anon anon anon :

    I’m experiencing anxiety about what kind of birth control to use, and I’m hoping the hive can weigh in.

    Pill: Pros — feeling of security. Cons — no s*x drive. Bloated feeling. Possible weight gain and hair/skin side effects.
    C*nd*m: Pros — no hormones. Cons — not as reliable.

    Ideally, I would use both (and always have), but I went off the pill for a few months and actually loved how great I felt off it — more energetic, my hair and skin glowed, and I lost five pounds without even trying. Now I am dreading going back on it, but I am terrified to go c*nd*m only. Quite a few of my friends do, though, and they say I’m being overly cautious and should just not use the pill. Any advice?

    • anonforthis :

      Personally I would not feel comfortable using just one method, especially if that method is a condom. There are just so many things that can go wrong- and another person is thrown in the mix who can mess it up too, so you don’t have total control over its efficacy.
      What about an IUD? Could you try a different type of HBC? Is it possible to use both a male and female condom at the same time? Just thoughts.

      Read more:

    • anonforthis :

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Personally I would not feel comfortable using just one method, especially if that method is a condom. There are just so many things that can go wrong- and another person is thrown in the mix who can mess it up too, so you don’t have total control over its efficacy.
      What about an IUD? Could you try a different type of HBC? Is it possible to use both a male and female condom at the same time? Just thoughts.

    • There are definitely other options besides the pill/condoms — some of which I know have been discussed on this site before, like the IUD (available in hormonal and nonhormonal options). Other options include the NuvaRing (which has hormones), the diaphragm (which I think requires you to plan for having sex so cuts down on some of the spontaneity, but is nonhormonal), the contraceptive sponge, hormonal implant or the fertility awareness method (very effective if employed correctly, but difficult to employ correctly), etc.

      Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable using only condoms. Even if used correctly, they can break or fall off or what have you and I found the morning after pill to be a really awful experience. Because I’m not at all sure that I (personally, would never deem to suggest this should apply to anyone but me) could have an abortion, I try to be extra vigilant about pregnancy protection so that I (hopefully) never need to make that decision.

    • Well – have you tried different formulations of the pill? They aren’t all the same, and could result is a different experience if you do something different from last time.

      The other thing I’d want to know is what is the context of your BC use? Are you in a situation where getting pregnant with this person is just not an option at all? Then I’d go with double protection (both of you use something). If you are in a situation where you’d prefer not to be pregnant right now, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you were? Then I’d skip the BCP and use condoms.

      There other option to explore is what your non-BCP options are – Mirena/shots/etc.

      • I was going to ask the same thing about what pill you were on. I would not assume that you would have the same reaction to all of them. In fact, I reacted differently to two different generics of supposedly the same pill.

        • anon anon anon :

          I am on a generic called Necon .5/35. I actually had a decent experience with it for the most part, but I just don’t like the idea of hormones in my body.

          For those of you that have switched pills, do you just switch to a new brand when you start your next pack, or do you have to go completely off (like a cycle or two in between) before starting a new one?

          • I just switched to something new on my next pack. I recently talked with my doctor about going off altogether but she feels like it evens things out for me hormonally. I recently switched back to the brand name of my pill because I felt better on it. It’s a whole lot more expensive but worth it if I feel better.

    • Merabella :

      I have the non-hormonal IUD. I have had it for 3 years and I LOVE it! I know a lot of people on here have Mirena and have had some problems, but I have never had an issue with my Paragard. It has no hormones, so I didn’t have to worry about all those issues (spotting, acne, what have you).

      I did have slightly heavier periods for about 3-4 months after insertion, but other than that it has been pretty smooth sailing.

      I am a huge advocate of the IUD, and if you have any questions about it there is a post on this site from a few months ago about Mirena specifically, but the comments section is a great place to look for other people’s experiences.

      • Merabella :

        I forgot to mention, which is somewhat relevant:

        I have no kids, and had no issues with insertion. Get a doctor/NP/PA that has done several insertions before, and don’t let them tell you that you can’t get it because you have never had kids.

        • anon anon anon :

          That is exactly what they told me — that it wasn’t a good option for people without kids — which is why I didn’t mention it in my original post. Maybe I should get a second opinion.

          • Another S :

            I don’t have an IUD nor have I ever asked my doctor about one. That said, the majority of my friends who have IUDs do not have kids. They tell me doctors used to refuse to prescribe them to women who had not been pregnant but that that’s an outdated practice in the medical community these days. So, based on what my friends have told me, I would definitely suggest a second opinion.

    • anon for this :

      I’m one of those that does c-ndom only … but with a twist. I am regular like clockwork and we just avoid the most fertile time period (1 week) (or do other things…) and use cndoms the rest of the time. It doesn’t work for everyone but does for me.

    • Research, Not Law :

      We do condom only. I love not being on pills any more. It’s been reliable for us. Our two children were planned – and conceived with one try, so I think we’d be the first to have a problem. I suspect that our success is because we don’t mess around without one. Period. Effectiveness is based on average usage, which I think may have some playing around included. Seems like a lot of the people I know who use condoms “use” them inconsistently. We use the ultra-think Kimonos and Durex (prefer Kimonos).

    • I realize you might not ALWAYS know when a c*ndom fails, but when you do know you can get Plan B over the counter. My understanding is it is unpleasant to take (nausea, etc.) but you could do it. You could get one to keep around so you could take it immediately. That + the Rhythm/ Natural Family Planning idea to avoid a few specific days might be almost as effective as your average pill user.

    • I also do c*ndom only.

      Like someone else said, the efficacy rates for c*ndoms are based on average use. With perfect use, it goes up to 98%. It takes some diligence, and it helps that I have a SO who is on board with this being the only method. I would prefer a higher efficacy rate, but I am really opposed to taking the pill or something else that is going to mess with my body chemistry, so the tradeoff works for me.

      Also, I have taken the morning after pill a couple of times (over the last decade, so not a frequent occurence) when the c*ndom has torn (almost inevitable that this will happen occasionally), and did not have any negative side effects.

  8. Wait a minute ... :

    Never return to your office, and e), all of the above. Wait a minute, platonic? ;-)

  9. East Coaster :

    Who already has family holiday craziness going on? So far the guilt trips for not spending holidays with the family are off the charts. Shockingly, these do not make me want to spend the holidays there next year either.

    • Charlotte :

      Yes, sadly, although I feel pretty justified in not going. Just to clarify, my immediate family lives in town with me, but an extended family member in trying to guilty the rest of the extended family into traveling about 500 miles to a much colder, snowier part of the country to see her and her family. Since her sister is not going, though, I don’t feel as if I have to go.

    • My brother skipped the family Thanksgiving festivities this year. Poor guy has no idea how many times my mom will invoke this in future conversations….

      • East Coaster :

        Yes, I feel like I’m living in crazy town with Mom repeating that we are not seeing each other for the holidays. Yes, it is a fact on the record. Repeating it over and over will not make it more or less true.

    • Research, Not Law :

      My mom complained to me non-stop for several days preceding Thanksgiving that she wasn’t going to see enough of her kids and grandkids. We were all going to be together for *only* dinner. After a particularly sad email, I called up my brother to arrange some sort of second day of celebration… then he, very confused, asked when I wanted to do it, since his family would already be staying at my parents’ house Thursday night through Sunday morning. Apparently my mom had told him that I was unavailable (not true) without even mentioning to me.


  10. anonforthis :

    Personally I would not feel comfortable using just one method, especially if that method is a condom. There are just so many things that can go wrong- and another person is thrown in the mix who can mess it up too, so you don’t have total control over its efficacy.

    What about an IUD? Could you try a different type of HBC? Is it possible to use both a male and female condom at the same time? Just thoughts.

  11. mousekeeper :

    Threadjack – how to spark up an ugly brown raincoat. A few years ago I bought a London fog raincoat (not a trench coat – no belt) in what appeared to be “British tan.” I was looking for something that would go with everything. In the years since then, the raincoat just gets browner and browner – actually, it doesn’t really, but to me it just seems uglier and uglier. I can’t afford to spring for a good new raincoat in a brighter color right now, but I’m so tired of the BROWN. What can anyone suggest to make it look less drab?

  12. Question for all the wonderfully rational women here who have planned and been to weddings. I am just starting to get invited to weddings and I know that the trend has been to move away from +1’s (and totally understand, I know how expensive they are). But if the wedding is across the country (NY to CA) and would have to be a weekend affair for me and I don’t know very many ppl there, is it bratty of me to wish I could bring a date?

    • No, not bratty. I think any wedding that requires you to travel overnight is a big commitment, and if you don’t want to go without your S.O. / Platonic Ryan Gosling (especially if you don’t know many of the people there), I don’t think you should feel guilty about not going. Although I would advise you to just send a really nice email with your regrets and buy them a generous gift, rather than to try to convince the hosts to add another guest or forcing yourself to go to the wedding and being unhappy.

    • Definitely not bratty to wish it so – but impolite to suggest or demand it :)

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      It’s not bratty of you to wish it, but I think if you aren’t seeing someone seriously (seriously enough that the bride/groom know about it) then I would probably not invite you with a +1 either. Your serious committed relationship? Sure. But I’ve never seen the sense in inviting someone to your wedding that is not important either in your life OR in the life of your guest. YMMV.

      If you are seeing someone seriously, though, I think it’s a little much to expect you to travel cross country for a weekend solo. Could you bring a (boy)friend for the weekend, especially if the wedding is in a touristy destination? You wouldn’t bring them to the wedding/reception if they aren’t invited, of course, (obviously let them know in advance and maybe get them tickets to do something fun in the locale on your own) but at least that’d give you something to do over the whole weekend, rather than just hanging in your hotel since you don’t know most of the other guests.

    • Merabella :

      If you aren’t that excited about going because you would be alone: I would just reply that you cannot go because of the distance, and then send a really nice gift.

      If it would kill you not to go: then go by yourself and you’ll meet people there.

      • Opposite…I think I am fairly obligated to go, and the fact that I feel like I have no choice is making me dread it, especially alone. But that then makes me feel even brattier…

    • I know it’s the opposite of what a lot of people think, but I think it can be slightly rude not to give a +1 when the guest doesn’t know anyone and when they need to travel a long distance. To me, part of it is about throwing a nice party and making sure everyone is comfortable, particularly when you know they’re shelling out a lot of money to come to your wedding and you know that they will be giving you a nice gift. I know there are constraints on budget/space, but maybe you don’t need to invite as many people.

      • MaggieLizer :

        Yeah I’ve been in this position and I have to agree. Everyone’s situation is different, and I’m probably quite a bit jaded from other things surrounding my experience, but I personally felt like the bride (I was friends with the groom) didn’t really expect me to attend and was just begging a gift by inviting me. All that said, I went to support the groom (who wasn’t permitted to invite any other friends) and had a great time on my solitary weekend adventure and at the wedding.

      • Research, Not Law :

        I agree. I think it’s acceptable to drop +1s for clusters of single friends (we all have budgets), but dropping them for people who have to travel and/or have SOs is inconsiderate and the couple should have adjusted the venue, dinner, or guest list appropriately.

        I like Mpls take: you can definitely wish it, you just can’t say it!

      • Agree. I’m a bit past the wedding phase for my friends, but back in the day, I was always invited with a +1 when I was traveling back to the wedding.

  13. Shopping Woes :

    I have wide shoulders (19″) and a narrower chest (32D) and I cannot find structured tops that fit me without a weird bunching around the shoulders and a ballooning body. I can buy big sizes in button-down shirts and alter them myself, but altering coats and blazers is difficult to do myself and expensive to get done professionally.

    Do you all happen to know of any brands that you’ve found to run huge through the shoulders (or the arm holes)? The only things that have kind of fit in the past have been from the Gap Tall line, and their selection is always so horrible. I know I can wear something else, but I’m on a mission.

    • Altering coats/blazers shouldn’t be too expensive. A good local tailor can probably do some waist seam suppression for ~$30-40. To be honest, that may be your best option. Tailored jackets are meant to be just that: tailored to you, but they are not because everything is RTW. I also have broad shoulders and I always just go for shoulder fit and alter otherwise.

      If you find yourself needing alterations a lot, there’s always the possibility of learning to do it yourself. You can already do it on shirts, so coats/blazers is not a huge step up! :)

      • This is what I try but it never works well enough. My shoulders are a size 12 or larger and my body is a 4-6. Taking in the waist is never sufficient, the jacket just looks terrible.

    • Anastasia :

      Darn, I came back to check this today because these are my measurements and I have the same problem with blazers and jackets (which is why I wear cardigans 90% of the time I don’t need to be in a suit). I was really hoping for some new brands to try!

  14. Meg Murry :

    Shopping in Boston TJ-
    I need a dress to wear to the “closing night” of a conference in Boston this weekend. No dress code given (grrrr), but its a conference for elected officials (I am not one, I am the guest) so I’m guessing guys will be in suits and women in everything from suits to c*cktail to evening attire. I have a dress I can take as a backup, but I don’t really like it much, so I’d like to invest in a dress that I can get more than one wear out of. Maybe something along the lines of the Suzi Chin “the dress” ? Or something a little dressier but versitile for future work events? Where would you go to shop for said dress? 10 years ago I would have gone to Filene’s Basement, Filenes & Macys, but now I don’t know Boston shopping areas.
    Criteria: needs to be accessible by T, prefer to get all shopping done in 1-2 afternoons. Plus sized/borderline plus (16-18 probably). Curvy, still carrying postpartum weight – lumpy hourglass shape (or busty, lumpy pear with narrow ribcage, I’ve heard described).

    Where would you go to shop if you were me? Or should I just go crazy ordering everything that might possibly work from Nordstrom now, pay 2 day shipping and then ship back everything I don’t like?

    • RIP Filene’s Basement!

      It sounds like the Copley area is your best bet. There is a Saks, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, and a Lord & Taylor all in the same area. Sadly no Nordstrom over there yet though. It’s T accessible (Green Line) and there are a lot of other stores over there too if you have extra time.

      • Meg Murry :

        Good to know. Back in the day, I would have hit Copley/Prudential (they were connected by a skywalk, is that still the case?) as Plan B, but I wasn’t sure if they were still a good shopping spot or if there was some new place I didn’t know about.

      • God, Filene’s Basement was mecca. I used to run into my grandmother in the shoe department at the Downtown Crossing store at least once a week…

    • Second Copley. In addition to the stores listed above, there is a Marshall’s across the street from where Filene’s Basement used to be that usually has a good selection of dresses.

  15. Gail the Goldfish :

    Most random request ever-does anyone live near or visited Bury St. Edmunds, England? A friend lives there and I want to try to get her a gift certificate (or “gift voucher” if we’re being properly British) to a local restaurant for Christmas, but I have no idea what restaurants are good (because it’s hard to find presents for transatlantic friends with luggage restrictions and all).

    • Yes, I used to live near Bury. Unfortunately, that was …ahem…decades ago. Could you go with a nice High Street place when she might visit London, like LK Bennett? Or, Marks & Spencer, Harrods, or Reiss.

    • I used to live near Bury, too. Are you actually visiting for Christmas? I’m jealous– all those small cities are super cute when decorated for the holidays! If you will be there, I would wait and see what restaurants your friend mentions. If she lives in town, everything is very walkable, so it will be easy for you to just step out for a half hour or so and pick something up. If you are trying to buy from afar– Cambridge is pretty close to Bury, and London is also an easy trip, so I like elz’s suggestion of a gift certificate for a store or restaurant there, which would be easier to find online.

  16. I feel like a wreck right now and I’m trying to figure out what to do about it. Things at work are pretty awful. My boss is making us all miserable and is telling me that I must publicly support him and only disagree with him privately. I have never been the kind of person who constantly challenged my boss in meetings and I don’t like the person I have become, but he is pushing me over the edge. My SO is moving away at the end of next week. He is planning to be back about once a month and, when he’s here, we may actually have more time together. But I can’t figure out how I will deal with the BS at work without having him to take me away from it all. And I have had the flu and felt like it just physically knocked me out. I have always thought of myself as a pretty positive person but I feel like a total sad sack. How can I keep myself from sinking in the mire?

    • So sorry you’re having such a rough day/week. I feel like I only have the usual trite suggestions: get some rest if you can (so you can recover from your illness), get back to working out when you’re up for it, and some of these things will take care of themselves over time – you and SO will adjust to a new routine, for example. For now, just try to take it one day or thing at a time, and focus on the most important, this-has-to-get-done types of things. Thinking of you, and hoping it all looks better soon.

    • Can you find some vacation time right now? It sounds like you might need a break from this guy and work strain.

      Also, you’re in academia, right? My general experience is that the culture in academia is stronger than any one bad boss. I don’t think this guy will last. If I were you, I’d start publicly supporting him (or at least being neutral) and cultivate a relationship with your boss’s boss. Let the boss implode and be there — reliable, wonderful NOLA! — to pick up when he leaves.

      • Agreed! If you can’t take vacation right now, can you start planning one? Even if it’s just a long weekend away with your SO after he gets back to town? Planning and researching an upcoming getaway, even if it’s five or six months away, creates an instant Mental Happy Place for me.

        Also, hugs to you!

      • Good advice, if boss will let you cultivate a relationship with boss’ boss. Mine won’t…

      • Well, honestly, there are already discussions of “no confidence” votes so we’ll see. Not sure about the boss’ boss. I’m on a couple of committees with him that my boss isn’t on but something weird happened at the beginning of the school year and I felt like I got off on the wrong foot with him. He”s also brand new. I had a great relationship with his predecessor but I don’t know about this guy so far.

        At this point in the semester, I can’t take a vacation but I am going to New York for work this week. I’m hoping to be well enough to have fun!

    • NOLA, sorry to hear you’re going through a rough patch. It’s a truism, but this too shall pass. Hang in there.

      • Thanks! SO and I had some quality time together. He is trying so hard to make this move okay for us. He even bought me a card (unusual for him) and hid it under my pillow. He’s so worried about what’s going on for me at work. I just don’t know how to make this right but I have to try.

    • Anon for this :

      NOLA, sorry about the boss – i’m going through something like that now and i feel for you. Sorry about the SO and flu too.

    • What a jerk. “I must support him publicly.” I am all for loyalty and everything, but that is such a controlling statement. I’ll echo that you should be completely neutral or that anything you say should be respectful and diplomatic, like “we are still working on the mechanics of the initiative but agree that the purpose of the initiative meets the strategic goals of university/department/etc.” Let what you’re not saying speak for itself to your boss’s bosses.

      I hope you feel better soon – I blame your boss for that, too.

      Finally, your SO. I don’t have any good advice because I am in a LDR and it is miserable. I wish that you had an end in sight; in the meantime, take advantage of all the opportunities to be with him, you won’t regret it. And watch out for the possibility that your frustrations/missing him could manifest themselves in the form of stupid arguments over the stupidest things that aren’t even about the stupid things but are about missing him.

      • Thanks, eek. This is all so helpful. I will think more about your language for the boss.

        And at this point, I can only appreciate everything my SO is doing to make this ok. It’s really hard because we haven’t spent Christmas apart since we got together and he wasn’t supposed to be back until Jan. 10th but he told me tonight, somewhat sheepishly, that he may have to come back earlier. It’s going to mean a lot of driving for him so I’m going to try to appreciate every minute we have.

    • So sorry to hear this. Do please continue to release steam on this board if it helps minimise the temptation to do something confrontational with the boss that you’ll regret later !

  17. Slippery as a Smurf on a Slip and Slide :

    Ladies, how do you keep from walking out of your heels when you are wearing tights? I need to wear a pair of tights with my dress tomorrow (cold temps+business formal outdoor event) and the only shoes that go with the dress are classic pumps (no ankle strap, no sling back). What is the trick for preventing foot slippage?


    • Ball-of-foot shoe inserts plus the back-of-heel insert. The clear ones are more grippy. Though in all honesty, I think it’s more comfortable to buy boots or heels with a strap instead of modifying your current ones. I always feel like I’m going to fall out of the shoe even with those pads in place.

    • Heel grips. Any drugstore should have them.

  18. Does anyone have suggestions for plus-sized, business-appropriate maternity clothes, especially suits? Am pregnant and going to trial in NYC and I am terrified that my wardrobe isn’t up to the challenge. The internet is incredibly unhelpful and I’m almost resigned to just taking a pattern and a pile of fabric to a seamstress. Please help!

    • Research, Not Law :

      Not a lawyer in NYC, so maybe this is worthless advice, but could you wear a non-maternity jacket unbuttoned? That’s what I did out of cheap-ness. I think that’s what most women do, too. Maybe you could buy a size up and button the top button? I feel like most people make some allowances for pregnant women.

    • Working Girl :

      Maternity suits are overpriced and cheaply made so I would avoid them.

      How far along will you be? I would try to wear your regular suit pants unbuttoned and extended with a bella band and then wear the jacket unbuttoned. That can work for a pretty long time–much longer than you think–and with a longer bouse the bella band won’t show. If you will be past the bella band phase, buy 2 quality suits a coupe of sizes up. It won’t be a huge waste because you’ll be able wear then through post-partum too.

      For general business attire, not suits, I think the GAP modern fit maternity pants are just fine, as are wrap dresses from Target.

    • I was just reading about a former lawyer who opened up a maternity store to fit just this demographic when she couldn’t find quality work clothes for herself. The shop is in Chicago, called Belle’ Up. It sounds like a higher end boutique, so maybe worth looking up to see if they could charge-send you a few things?

  19. Anonforthis :

    Ugh. The last few weeks have been HELLA busy (10 trials scheduled between November 5 and 23; only 1 (!!) went ahead, but I had to prep them all anyways) and now everything has slowed down to the point that I found it extremely hard to do ANYTHING today.

    Why-oh-why can I only be productive when there is pressure??? I’ve been like this as long as I can remember. It always sucks when the s**t hits the fan, and it even sucks when I’m all “waaaaa, I’m bored and time is passing really slowly” when I could actually be preparing to avoid deadline stress. But I always get it done, and so I apparently don’t have enough incentive to change. I’m too old to admit this, but I guess it will take a bigbig mistake before I finally fix this terrible terrible habit.

  20. FRACK. Typo in my resume.

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