Wednesday’s TPS Report: Keyhole Neck Knit Shift Dress

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

Eliza J Keyhole Neck Knit Shift DressOne of the classic looks for the office: the shift dress. I usually think of these as being a bit boxier and looser than a sheath, and if you’re looking for sleeves these very often have them. For the office, obviously, you have to watch the dress length — too short is inappropriate. This one hits just a little bit too short on the model for my taste, but considering that she’s probably 6’2, I suspect it’ll be fine for most of us mere humans. I’d wear it with opaque black tights and low black pumps for the office, perhaps with an interesting cocktail ring. It’s $118 at Nordstrom. Eliza J Keyhole Neck Knit Shift Dress

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Comments

  1. Kitten Heeled :

    Sorry for the early TJ…

    My husband works for a mid-size government contracting company and they are having a small holiday party today. I’ll be meeting the president of the company and his wife. I am terrible at small talk. Any suggestions for topics I can discuss with either to break the ice? I work in BigLaw, not in govt contracting.

    • Honestly, the last thing most people want to talk about at the holiday party is work. So you hopefully won’t be subject to hours of conversation regarding goverment contracting. You can always ask about their holiday plans, recent movies, the weather, etc. The president likely has a number of people who want to speak to him. I wouldn’t anticipate you will spend lots of time talking to him. Just smile, introduce yourself, firm handshake, say something nice about the party and you are fine.

    • Holiday plans? Do they have kids? Everyone loves to talk about their kids.

      • long time lurker :

        Asking about any recent or planned vacations is good too and may develop into a dialogue especially if you have been to those or similar places. It’s my standard line when I am stuck with someone I don’t know and there is awkward silence.

        • I agree on the travel question — it’s also a great way to get ideas and tips for future potential vacations!

      • Always a NYer :

        This. I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve gotten to know better after asking about their kids. Not only do people seem happy to talk about their children, they appreciate that you thought to ask.

        • Whenever there’s an awkward silence with someone I know has kids, I ask about what they’re up to. Most parents like to talk about their kids – there’s no shortage of stories :)

          Otherwise, travel, food, and current events are all good broad topics. I agree with mascot, you probably won’t have a long conversation, so being polite and commenting on how lovely the party is will go a long way!

      • People love talking about themselves too (where are they from, how did they end up working with this organization, where did they go to school).

    • Find out beforehand if they have kids and if they do – ask about them. After that, possible variations would be lack of sleep/developmental milestones with babies, overscheduling with kids in school, costs etc. with college students.
      Holiday/vacation plans – another neutral topic.
      In DC area, commute is a pain shared by all… if relevant for your area, go for it.

    • Holiday plans, kids (do they have them, how many, ages, where do they go to school/do for work), upcoming vacations, how long have they lived in the area (government contracting + biglaw = DC area couple –> did I guess right?), where did they live before, how do they like where they currently live (compare notes on the area — is there a particular shop or restaurant in their neighborhood you like or have wanted to try? how is the commute from that area? is there a lovely park nearby you can compliment?), pets (do they have them, what kind, how many, share stories on your pets), weather (it’s been crazy warm — isn’t it weird putting up holiday decorations in 70 degree weather?), the president’s wife is wearing a lovely dress/sweater/shoes, it can be so hard to find fashionable clothes in DC — where does she shop?, congratulations to the president on the new [blank] contract — it sounds like the company is doing really well and what does he think of the current contracting market (trends in using contractors for x, y, and z type of tasks, etc. — this one is flattering to him but can be tricky since you don’t want to say anything to suggest the market isn’t booming)

    • Are they from the area? Then ask about what’s changed
      They probably aren’t, so you can ask their first impressions and what they think of it now.

    • What is the company’s plan to mitigate the effects of the “fiscal cliff?” Probably don’t want to go there…..haha.

  2. I finally bought my first pair of Cole Haans yesterday (hooray sales!) and they are so comfortable. Total convert. The wisdom of the Hive never ceases to amaze me :)

    • I don’t know if anyone else found this, but my Cole Haans were really comfortable at first. I wore them constantly. And now (about a year later), they are so freaking uncomfortable. I don’t know if I maybe wore out the padding but it just feels like there’s no longer any support or shock being absorbed under my foot.

  3. Paging VTBound :

    This is the Vermont-based Anon. I did some early A.M. catching up on this site and saw your comment from yesterday. I’m happy to chat. Feel free to email me at vt r e tt e (at) gmail (no spaces) and I’ll write back tonight. Have an awesome start to your day everyone!!

  4. Ooh, this is pretty. Definitely with tights and heels, there is something about it bare legged that reads a bit beach coverup to me, maybe the tie neck?

    TJ: I am late to the peplum party but found the most fantastic dress today, I feel like I walked out of a French film. It has a notched collar and peplum at the waist. Tissue weight tee in a contrasting color okay for underneath? Interviewing politicians and dont love sleeveless for workwear.

    PSA: Hobbs 50% off sale starts today. I am sadly in the middle of their 12-14 UK sizes so nothing for me until I lose a few more pounds but some really lovely stuff when I popped in the other day.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      IMO, the “tee underneath sleeveless” thing is hard to do perfectly – and if it’s not done perfectly, it always reads to me as “awkward teenager.” Would a cropped cardigan or jacket work, maybe?

    • Tissue weight tee could work underneath, as long as it’s not too boxy. I have a couple long-sleeved body suits I use for that sort of thing.

    • Oh my goodness, don’t talk to me about the Hobbs sale! Every time I order from there I get hit with massive duty and delivery charges. And yet I am on their e-mail list and love looking at what they have on offer. I am very sad that I am going to have to wait until my next trip to the UK for my next Hobbs fix. Either that, or I wish they would fix their North American delivery system. :-(

  5. kerrycontrary :

    I love this dress! Great pick.

  6. I always feel weird if I try to wear a black dress or skirt with black tights and black shoes. I find that dark grey tights work better for some reason.

    • Agreed, I have these amazing heathered ones that are sadly reaching the end of their life cycle (3 years?) but they are perfect when breaking up black. It also makes a colored shoe seem less stark.

      • The Spanx tight end tights in charcoal are a great dark grey color.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I love those tights. I did manage to get a hole in the toe, but it hasn’t run and isn’t visible when I’m wearing shoes, so I’m not going to replace yet.

    • All my tights are black, and I end up neglecting my black dresses in winter for this reason. This is a great idea!

    • changing handle so as not to out myself... :

      …But this combo is basically what I am wearing today and when I looked in the mirror (for the first time) when I got to work, I thought something looked a little off. Perhaps too “blah” and like I am going to an ultra conservative funeral. Will need to invest in charcoal tights – that might help.

    • I find that all the grey tights I’ve tried make my legs look like corpse legs (I’m very pale to begin with).
      Too bad, as all-black outfits looks off to me too.

    • Also changing handle so as not to out myself... :

      Black patterned tights are the answer! I live in them.

      • lucy stone :

        I’m probably outed anyway if any coworkers read, so whatever. I wear patterned tights a lot. Today I have on a really subtle striped pattern and I also have a few pairs of cable-knits. I second whoever mentioned the Tight End Tights Charcoal Gray, they are a great color.

      • Kontraktor :

        I saw some bloggers recently wearing black polka dot tights and they were so cute. What about a black dress, patterned tights, and a jewel tone shoe, like a deep maroon, dark purple, forest green, etc. That seems like a nice way to wear a darker outfit without looking ‘weird all black’

      • Thoughts on patterned tights on “fatted calves”?

        • All the better to showcase the pattern!

        • I think it depends on the pattern. Some of them look great on me. Some look like they are way too stretched out. Herringbone looks great. Diamond patterns tend to look odd.

  7. We may have discussed this before. My brother and I are both married but my sister is not. So she gets gifts for both of her siblings as well as her spouse, while we get a gift just for her. Do you think we are obligated (I know it’s a gift, so there’s no real obligation) to spend more on her than we would my brother’s wife, for example? Since there’s just one of her?

    Also, when we go in on a gift for our parents, should we split it 50/50 between my sister and me (although my husband won’t be getting my parents anything separately), or should we pay more because there are two of us?

    • I think you should base this more on your general financial situations relative to each other than any exact dollar number. For instance, if you’re much better off financially than your sister and the gift would strain her budget, I can see offering to pay a bit more.

    • I’m in a situation similar to your sister’s, except I just have one kid and my married sisters each have 2. I quit buying things for my BiLs years ago, partially because of the money thing, but mainly because I don’t know one of them at all. One of my sisters spends more on my kid than I spend on either of hers; the other holds tight to her kid spending limit. I do notice, especially since I used to spend way over that limit for the one with the limit. I’ve made it known in comments to other family members that it’s fine with me if they spend a little extra on my one kiddo.
      Besides the numbers/$$ thing, there’s also the fact that she’s your sister, not your SiL, so there’s another reason you might want to give her a little more.

    • 1. To avoid sis-in-law vs. sister jealousy, I would spend roughly the same amount per person rather than going on a “household” basis. This will also make it easier if/when she marries – you wouldn’t need to decrease her budget to account for her spouse.

      2. 50/50. Your sister only has one set of parents to gift, while you and your husband have two sets. So it’s not like you have double the “parent gift” money as compared to her – you have both double the gifters and double the parent giftees.

      • Y’all have all made good points. Thanks for your help! There are financial considerations as well, so I tend to want to spend more than she does.

    • Neither my brother nor my sister is married, and I am. When we go in on a gift for one of our parents, we split it 3 ways. But, we always pick a gift where the 3-way split results in a manageable amount for each sibling (normally $20-$35). If my husband and I really want to get something for one of my parents that is outside that range, we either just gift it from the two of us, or pick up more of the tab.

      In terms of gifts for each other, I haven’t thought much about how it all compares, but I would say we (my husband and I) probably spend roughly the same amount on gifts for for each sibling as they spend on each one of us (so strictly speaking, I guess treating my husband as another sibling in the gift exchange). But frequently, they will go in on a joint gift for each of us (so each spend on the two of us what they would otherwise spend on one person, since they are dividing the cost of the two gifts), and sometimes they go in on a joint gift for the two of us together (and spend on the two of us what they would otherwise spend on one person).

    • No – we spend a ton on our siblings kids and they don’t spend extra on us (sans kids). We do get a bit stressed each year on how many children we need to buy for but I’d feel really weird if they spent more on us to compensate.

      • Word. I am the only single person in my family and this idea of gift $ imbalance never occurred to me and I am guessing it hasn’t to your sister either b23. Life is long and these sorts of imbalances ebb and flow in families.

    • I spend more on my siblings than on my sister in law. But I don’t go out with the mindset that I am giving a $X gift. I have an upper range, but I look for something I think they would like. If it’s within the range, great. If it’s way above, I would say it’s for 2 events (for example, one larger gift that covers Hannukah and the recipient’s next birthday). If it’s way below, I’ll supplement with another smaller gift or some homemade treats.

      As for parent gifts, unless it’s a really big gift, my siblings and I (or my husband’s brother and us) don’t pay each other back, we just take turns with who buys. I think the financial situation of each person contributing matters more than whether or not it is coming from one person versus a couple. If you feel bad about contributing evenly, you can offer to send flowers or Edible Arrangements from all of you that you just pay for, on occasion.

    • So, my advice as the single for many years sister to married sibs, I don’t keep track of who does what/how much is spent, but the holidays can be pretty rough on the unmarried siblings — I’d suggest just doing what you can to make that a little easier. If it’s making her feel a little more special by giving her a little more, do it. If it’s putting a little more toward the family gift or taking the burden off her by going to buy it/wrap it, etc., do that too.

    • Do the SiLs get you presents?

    • a passion for fashion :

      this is very much a family to family thing, and a your own personal money situation thing, but for us, we spend roughly the same for all — but it depends on the gift. That is, I go shopping with a general idea in mind (say $100 or $150) to spend for each, but if i find something i think one of them will really like and its more expensive, i get it. if its less expensive, i get too, though i may or may not add something. For the kids, all bets are off — i go way overboard.

      FWIW, i have 1 brother who is married with 1 child (another on the way); i’m married w/ 2 kids, and my husband’s sister is not married yet.

    • Couples in my family get “couple” gifts (1 thing that they can both enjoy – bottle of wine, something for the kitchen, game, etc) and I spend the same amount on non-couples.

    • The true answer is probably it depends. In my family, some of the siblings are better off than others, and some are far better off than others. For the parents gift, we jointly decide what we think they’d enjoy. Less well off contribute what they can afford and the rest make up the difference. We gave up on the sibling gifts years ago and just buy now for the kids. I go into with an idea of what the upper limit of what I’d like to spend is and try to keep the amounts roughly equal. But things the big kids would like and enjoy usually have a bigger price tag than things for the little kids. If what I get for the littlest ones is significantly less than for the big kids, I’d probably try to add something else to it, but normly don’t worry too much about exact $$ amounts . I just try to get each kid something he’ll enjoy.

  8. Threadjack – thoughts on post-partum weight loss? I’ll be having a c-section on Monday, so exercise will be limited to some degree. I’ve always been pretty small, but I’m not much of a work-out person. I normally do a little bit of cardio in short spurts, lift some hand weights every now and then, and sometimes do yoga. I could consider buying DVDs or an inexpensive peice of equipment, but won’t use a gym. Otherwise, I cook and generally try to eat well, small portions, lots of veggies, but not really avoiding anything. I haven’t gained a ton for the pregnancy, seems to be right at 30 lbs, mostly in my belly and bottom. I plan to B-feed, but probably only for the first 5-6 weeks. I had a decently tight tummy before this, and would certainly like to get that back by swimsuit time, plus maybe shape up my tush (which needed work before pregnancy, I’ll admit). I definitely want my old clothes back asap!

    Should I just kind of sit back and sort of let it melt off, or do I need a plan? What has worked for you?

    • I wouldn’t do much in the beginning. Your body needs to heal, a c-section is significant abdominal surgery. PLus, if you are nursing you need to drink tons of water and eat enough. Don’t be surprised if you come home from the hospital weighing the same or a bit more as when you went in (they pump you full of fluids). I found that say 2/3 of the weight just falls off that first month or two, from nursing and just your body getting rid of fluid. As for the rest, well it took you nine months to get to where you are so it could take just as long to get back to where you were. Remember that pre-pregnancy weight does not mean pre-pregnancy body shape. So you may have to work a bit more on getting your abdomen back to where it was.

    • Diana Barry :

      I nurse for a long time, so YMMV. I don’t work out much for the first few months, except for walking with the baby. Nothing for the first 6 weeks. (C-section means nothing for 8 weeks.) I also don’t restrict my eating at all until baby is 1, since my milk is their primary food until then.

      When I start exercising after baby, I start with some cardio (walking, as above, and elliptical) and yoga, but nothing high impact bc it hurts my b**bs. After that, WEIGHTS will be your best friend for muscle tone. No lightweight stuff – you need to get a TRX or powerblocks, or join a gym.

      For abs, you want to be careful not to do situps lest you aggravate a diastasis. The book “lose your mummy tummy” is helpful for how to start back doing ab exercises.

      Also, it may take a while for your hips and ribcage to move back into position. You may have a different body after pregnancy than before, even if you fit into the same size. This is totally normal, so if you find you don’t look the “same”, don’t stress about it. :)

    • I got back to regular routines after baby was born, lost most of the weight, then moved when he was 2.5, and a few times since then, each time getting further from a workout routine. Now he’s 10 and I weigh about what I did preggo, and am finding it much harder to start loosing weight–it’s like my body has lost the ability to go hard. I did not know that this happens to people. My suggestion is to take care of yourself by resting properly when you should, and by working out when you’re ready.

    • [insert clever name here] :

      In my opinion, it’s too early to worry, or even think about it now. Ask again in a month or two once your body has time to heal and you’ve had a chance to revel in your new baby.

    • anon for this :

      I was lucky and was able to wear my normal clothes a week after delivery. But now, 14 months later, I am still unhappy with my body. I nursed for a year and had major supply problems, so I didn’t restrict my eating during that time, though I generally eat a healthy vegetarian diet with lots of fruits and veggies. I started walking the day I got out of the hospital, partially because I suffered from PPD and the combination of endorphins and getting fresh air helped, and partially because I just could not sit in the house alone with a baby for the fifteen hours a day my husband was at work without losing my mind. At about six weeks, I was back to running, and at eight weeks I went back to the gym and started lifting. However, I wasn’t happy with the results until I started doing Crossfit about two months ago. I’m finally starting to see evidence of the six-pack I had before pregnancy. Honestly, I have been surprised at how hard it has been for me to get back into the shape I was in before I was pregnant, even with a high metabolism, good eating habits, maintaining my exercise regime while pregnant and being in great shape pre-baby.

      • anon for this :

        I should note that I didn’t have a C-section, so you will definitely need to rest more than I did! I have a friend who is a compulsive exerciser and she tried to start working out too early but promptly realized that even pushing the baby in the stroller was too much until about a month after delivery.

    • I have had three kids. I bounced back quickly after the first two. After the third, the weight stayed on. It could be simply because I was older or because, heck, it was my third kid. But I think it was also because my husband took a month off of work after the third and basically waited on me hand and foot and cooked me lots of yummy, decadent meals. While this was wonderful, it did nothing for losing weight! (I nursed all three for two years each, though I do think nursing helped the weight come off particularly with my second child.) But my point is that while you should defintely rest and relax after the baby is born, it is also good to be cognizant of what you are eating, how much, etc. and there is nothing wrong with taking the baby out for a short walk every day, or going by yourself if you need a bit of a break. (Since it is winter, maybe walk somewhere indoors.)

    • You need to be flexible in terms of your expectations. Also, I can’t stress this enough: be kind to yourself! A C-section is a major surgery and infants are a lot of work. So if the weight doesn’t come off uber-quickly, deep breaths.

      I nursed for about 9 months and agree with the poster above who said 2/3 of the weight came off on its own and the last third needed work — that was also my experience.

      In the beginning (once you’re cleared to do so), I would just try to get out and walk with the baby as much as possible. It’s something you can do with your child, it’s super low impact, and it’ll give you the mental boost of getting out of the house. As that starts to feel better you can incorporate other stuff.

      As for food, try to eat healthy but don’t limit your intake — not only are you serving as a food source for another human being, but you also need to be nice to yourself (see my earlier comment!). So while I wouldn’t recommend eating a dozen cookies in a sitting, just try to be gentle with yourself and your expectations.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Lyssa, I haven’t had kids yet but am due in February, and this is something that I have been thinking about too. I’m pretty small as well and have gained about 25 pounds so far and am hoping that the weight will come off, but let’s see. What I plan to do is some physical activity on a regular basis, mostly just walking in the beginning and introducing some weights a few weeks in. Once I am healed, I am going to start back to jumproping, which have found is the BEST way for me to keep a trim figure. I have a feeling that I won’t enjoy being cooped up at home all day, so going outside for a walk will likely be good for me and for my body.

      My experience with my weight (pre-pregnancy) is that the key for my weight control is just to do something regularly and incorporate it as part of your life, so I’m sticking to that plan post-baby to the extent possible. But bottom line, be kind to yourself and to your body, you’re going through major surgery and you need to rest first! Good luck with your delivery and congrats!

    • SugarMagnolia :

      Since I had a baby 8 weeks ago (not C-section) I can chime in.

      I gained 43 pounds during pregnancy, and I was NOT small beforehand. I had already lost 30 pounds of it when I weighed myself at 4 weeks. At my 7 weeks postpartum checkup, I had lost a total of 35 pounds. I have a feeling that the remaining 8 pounds is going to be a problem, but even worse is that the remaining weight is all in my abdomen and backside it seems. I am BFing, so that certainly helps.

      I am at 8 weeks PP, and am just now able to consider how a real exercise routine will fit into my schedule. It is hard to fathom with my recent return to work, but I know I need to.

      I am also a first time mom, and I can tell you that the first couple months will be spent recovering from the birth, bonding with the baby, and just trying to get enough sleep to function and feed everyone. Don’t worry about the weight until you have settled in and are healed from childbirth.

    • Lyssa, congratuations on the new baby! I bet you can’t wait for Monday!

      I also had a c-section for #1 (#2 also) and lost almost all the weight before returning to work at 12 weeks – mainly because I was too stressed and busy to snack or eat too much. I think that the nursing helped too. I don’t suggest working out during the baby’s naps or anything like that. Instead I suggest long walks with the baby in a stroller or front/back-pack …working up from 20 minutes to 2 hours. Doing body weight exercises (push-ups, tri-dips, lunges and squats) and crunches should round out the at-home portion of the program. But overall, enjoy the baby phase!

  9. Diana Barry :

    Hive, you all are so helpful, I thought I would ask another question: what to wear to my office holiday party? I usually try to look more ‘professional’ than the wives and other young female attorneys (2) – they usually wear c*tail dresses, often sleeveless/strapless. Last year I was pregnant and so wore a ruffled black wrap dress.

    option 1 – mad men floral dress, not sure what tights/shoes.
    http://theprettylibrarian.com/wp/2011/09/look-of-the-day-retro-floral-dress/

    option 2 – super old french connection fuchsia skirt, straight knee length, with pink and purple sequins on it, black BR modal top with sleeves, black tights and sequin black pumps. Nice skirt but it is slightly too big.

    option 3 – super old pencil skirt, red lining, black lace overlay, same rest of outfit as #2.

    • I think the floral dress is a little too summery for a holiday party (it’s super cute though!). Option 2 sounds a little more unique and fun than 3, but if the bigness is very noticable/not fixable with a belt, 3 sounds perfectly lovely as well.

      • Link’s not working for French Connection skirt, but I agree with roses.

    • I vote #2.

    • I have that dress in the blue colour — the fabric is not very summery at all, I tend to save it for fall/winter. I typically belt it and wear a cardigan over it (usually wear it to synagogue so don’t go in short sleeves, although the cardigan ruins the line of the dress somewhat). I alternate between dark tights and sheer hose. With that colour, and for a party, I’d go with sheer hose.

      Option 2 sounds lovely as well :)

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      #2 sounds great. #1 looks like what one of the younger wives would wear.

  10. I like this dress, but I agree it is to short! The manageing partner and Frank love to look at my leg’s and tush, and I do NOT want to give them this oportunity.

    My dad is starteing to SOUR on the partnership offer that the manageing partner is pusheing. He think’s something is wrong if I have to invest $100,000 JUST to get in! He sugests we get an acountant to look at the book’s first.

    He also says b/c I have alot of my own busness, so my dad think’s they should not even charge me to become a partner! He now think’s the partnership may need cash and they want my 401K money. Does the hive think this is RIGHT?

    Myrna does not know, but even Roberta was skeptecal. She said if I went out on my own, she would go with me, and that is geting to be alot of case’s! She said I should NOT jump to fast here, as my 401K is my onley protection when I retire, unless I get married to a guy with his OWN 401k. With the holiday party comeing up next week, I hope the manageing partner will NOT bring this up with my dad.

  11. I’d been trying to get pregnant for about six months, and now I’m about two months into my pregnancy. I thought I would be overjoyed, but I’m actually thinking I’m a little depressed. I’m tired all the time, can barely convince myself to do anything at night after work, feel like crying all the time, and just generally don’t feel like myself. The house is a mess and I can’t even convince myself to unload the dishwasher. I haven’t been very nice to my husband.

    Could this be depression, or maybe just hormones? Should I just wait it out?

    I am happy to be pregnant in theory but haven’t really felt that glow yet. I keep waiting for it to hit me. Any thoughts?

    • First trimester is brutal. Your hormones are a wreck, you are exhausted, possibly sick, you don’t feel/look pregnant, etc. Just getting through the work day exhausted me and I was generally crashed out on the couch by 7:30, leaving DH to exist on snippy comments and cereal. It got better. If you are really worried or have a history of depression, certainly mention it to your OB. Hopefully, you’ll get some energy back in a few months. Also, some people love being pregnant, some people find it very uncomfortable and don’t enjoy it much at all. It has no bearing on how much you will love your child and how good a parent you will be.

      • Diana Barry :

        Ditto. Go to bed at 7 every night if you need to, nap on the office floor, etc. You will be OK. Certainly talk to your OB if you think you may need more support, though.

        Also, if you are sick, ZOFRAN. It is a miracle.

      • Agreed. If you have a history of depression, I’d ask your doctor. But, otherwise, you sound like a perfectly normal woman in her 1st trimester. It was otherwordly how tired I was those first 3-4 months. I was often in bed before 7:30 or 8:00 at night. I constantly (and I mean constantly) felt like I needed a nap. And I rarely made it to the office before 9:30 or 10:00 in the morning because getting up, showered, and dressed in the morning was too much for me. (for reference, pre-pregnancy I was normally in the office by 7:30 at the latest)

        I also once cried through an entire dinner at a nice restaurant for no apparent reason. Made several trips to the bathroom to calm myself down only to sit back down at the table to break into tears again.

        • Thanks so much. You’ve all made me feel a lot better. I don’t have a history of depression, so it’s probably just a symptom of the first trimester. I have cried from feeling sick a few times, just out of frustration, and I cry for no reason sometimes. And I feel like I could cry pretty much all the time, although I manage to hold it together for the most part.

          I do feel sick all the time. And people I tell (family members), are like, “Are you so excited????” And I’m like, “Mostly I want to puke.” I just feel like there’s something wrong with me, but y’all have made me feel better. Thanks!

    • There was a thread a while ago in which a shocking number of people (myself included) mentioned that they had laid down on the office floor to nap during their first trimester. You’re doing better than we did! If you need to talk to someone, then do, but my guess is that since you can’t “see” much happening and don’t feel anything other than crappy, pregnancy isn’t as exciting as pictured. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and hubby should be nice to you, even if you aren’t able to return it right now.

    • I hear you :

      I was super super emotional and actually quite depressed the first trimester. So much so that my doctor and I decided that I would go (back) on a low dose anti-depressant as suicidal tendencies are obviously quite bad for the fetus as well. Hopefully you aren’t quite that bad – if you are, please see a specialist. Otherwise, my advice – don’t ignore your feelings or try to supress them, but also know that they will probably largely pass in another month or two.

      I highly (highly!) recommend “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Christine Northrum, M.D. which discusses this mind/body connection in a non floofy sort of way.

    • I’m 1.5 months ahead of you with my first (or, rather, first pregnancy to make is this far). I’m exhausted, completely unmotivated at work and at home and generally a mess. Things have gotten better in the past few weeks, but they’re definitely not good. From everything I’ve heard and read, first trimester is just survival mode and the other posters here seem to agree. Even now, I am in charge of getting myself dressed, to/from work, feeding myself whatever I can manage to eat and sleeping. DH is in charge of everything else. So far he has assured me he has it under control but if it gets too much for him we’ve agreed to hire help. I do occasionally help him around the house if I happen to have enough energy one day. Can you get your husband to unload the dishwasher and convince yourself that it’s okay to let less important things slide? Can you get him a book or other resource to help him – and you – understand what you’re going through right now? Both DH and I read The Expectant Father (got the recommendation from this site) and liked it.

      As for the crying, what are you crying at? I’m crying a lot too, but at sad songs/commercials, when I’m completely exhausted or feeling particularly sick/uncomfortable, etc. I’ve decided this is all fine. If I start sitting around all day crying out of hopelessness, I’ll get myself help ASAP. If you’re worried about yourself, bring it up with your doctor at your next appointment or sooner if necessary. If you just want reassurance that what you’re experiencing is normal, I think it’s 100% normal.

    • Hormones are CRAZY in your 1st tri! I think I remember reading somewhere when I was pg that more hormones go through a woman’s body in one hour during the first tri than go through a non-pg woman’s body in a year. Or something crazy like that.

      Give yourself a break. The pregnant ‘glow’ is usually in the second tri, when you get some energy back, and you get past that “Is she pg or just fat” stage, and before you get so huge you are really awkward and uncomfortable. And some women just don’t enjoy pregnancy. Some do, but many just tolerate it, imo.

      Hang in there! Sleep as much as you can, and I’d definitely talk to your dr about the depression. It doesn’t hurt to mention it.

      • I totally second what everyone on this whole thread said — hang in there and be good to yourself. I went to bed at 7 and let my husband fend for himself for most of my first tri in both of my pregnancies. It’s a really brutal time, compounded by the fact that most people typically don’t “tell” for awhile so you can’t rely on the sympathy of friends and family. Big hug!

    • Second what others have said on this thread. First trimester is hard, and it’s definitely better when you’re through that period. At the risk of being a Debbie Downer, I would also say that sometime you never get that “glow,” no matter what the trimester–and that’s okay.

      Pregnancy is really hard, and it’s harder for some than others. I think it’s bananas that there’s this cult around the happy, glowing, expectant mother. If that’s you, more power to ya. If it’s not, that’s fine too. Pregnancy is 10 months, which is good, because eventually it’s over and you can move on to the next phase of parenting. I find myself looking at all this fetishizing of pregnancy in our culture and thinking that it does parents, and mothers especially, a great disservice by putting pressure on expecting moms to be a certain way when they are pregnant and taking away attention from the bigger and more important issue of getting ready to parent a child.

      Stepping off my soapbox, I will also mention that prenatal depression is a real thing that has been receiving more attention lately. Jessica Grose had a series of article on this in Slate recently that might be helpful for some context and information:
      http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/features/2012/why_isn_t_anyone_talking_about_prenatal_depression_/pregnancy_and_prenatal_depression_why_didn_t_anyone_warn_me_i_would_feel_so_bad_.html

      • Anastasia :

        Thank you. I’m five months pregnant with my first and still waiting for the glow. Instead, I’m calling it good that I don’t resent this child for giving me terrible skin and 5 lbs of ambiguous weight gain in the general waist area, and basically making me look like an uglier version of myself for several months (yes, I apparently have body image issues).

        I’m a big fan of the everyone-experiences-it-differently idea. It made me feel about a billion times better when I talked to a friend with 3 kids who told me, “I hate being pregnant. I don’t feel like myself, and I hate having something growing inside me and not being able to look or live my life the way I otherwise would for the better part of a year. But I love my kids, so it’s worth it.”

        But to the OP, congratulations! First trimester is no fun. Sleep as much as you need to, and when you’re not in an awful mood, tell your husband you love him and you hope he’s not taking your pregnancy hormone mood swings personally. Then, give yourself a break and don’t feel obligated to smile at your stomach all the time like the cover of a pregnancy magazine…

        • Responding with my own me-too: with both of my kids, I put on about 10-15 pounds in months 1-4 that definitely did not go to my stomach area. Instead it went to my thighs, hips, derriere, and probably (if I’m being honest) my upper arms. When my stomach finally “popped” I was so relieved because I could at last, with a straight face, say that I was pregnant and not just over-indulging.

          But amen to the YMMV approach to pregnancy. First time was easy, second time I felt like I had nothing in the tank (especially since I now had a toddler and was commuting around 3 hours a day), was nauseous most of my first trimester, and for the last trimester repeatedly told my doctor that I was D-O-N-E with being pregnant.

          And for the thread above on post-partum weight loss/etc.: I put on around 50lbs with both pregnancies, didn’t diet, didn’t really exercise other than walking a lot with the kids, and by 10 months post-partum was certainly back to almost my old weight. I think I kept on about 10 extra pounds while BFing. Once I went back to work, I started dropping weight like none other and definitely went below my pre-pregnancy weight (at least 10 lbs less, because when I weighed in for my first visit on pregnancy no. 2 my doctor commented that I was a lot less than before). It’s been my anecdotal experience that mothers who work *do*not* keep on the weight once their back, and many/most end up dropping extra lbs. But yeah, your shape will be different–I’ve lost most of my tush and b**bs.

    • anon for now :

      I’m right there with you. I’m seven weeks out, and I just feel like a disgusting fat blob. I’m nauseous all day so I eat crackers until I’m covered in crumbs, and then crash on the couch as soon as I get home like a slug. I want this baby so much and I’m really excited about the baby itself, but pregnancy feels like something to endure at this point.

      Although funny story: DH is having sympathy symptoms. Is this even a thing? He was too tired to get out of bed this morning, and then once he did, he was nauseous. He’s also “bloated” (his words). The upside is that he’s perfectly happy collapsing into a big pile of pregnancy exhaustion with me when we get home from work.

      • little advice :

        if it makes you feel better…i’m not pregnant and sometimes i still eat crackers until i’m covered with crumbs and then crash on the couch like a slug.

    • I am 9 months pregnant – and at around month 5 or so I gave myself permission to hate pregnancy. Up until that point I was constantly crying, depressed, anxious, waking up with insomnia, and most of it was centered around how much I hated pregnancy.

      I am thrilled I am going to be a Mom, can’t wait to meet my beautiful girl, but I have essentially, in my head, considered her a leech who is ruining my body and my life for these 10 months. You do not have to like pregnancy. Who would enjoy heartburn, swollen feet, bleeding gums, stretch marks, rib pain, back pain, pelvis pain, you name the symptom?

      To those women who do – yeah for them. I am glad they can find the joy in this period. For those women who don’t enjoy it – so be it – there is no mandate you have to “glow.”

      I actually found once I just started admitting to people how much I hated pregnancy – a lot of the crying, depression, etc. went away. Doesn’t mean I began to enjoy it all, but the sadness over “not liking pregnancy” and the anxiety that I was somehow hurting the baby by being sad about being pregnant is gone. I say give yourself permission to “be a hater.” Anytime someone asks me how it’s going I say “I can’t wait to be a Mom but the means to get there is not so fun. I am not a fan of pregnancy.” I’ve gotten very few judgments for it. When I have gotten responses from women who enjoyed their pregnancy and are surprised, I usually say something along the lines of – that’s wonderful for you, pregnancy is such a unique experience – I wish I could have been so lucky. Most people take it as a compliment, and don’t press me any farther.

      Best of luck!

    • CleveAnon :

      Oh, sweetheart. (Can I call you sweetheart?) I want to hug you because I was just there.

      I just turned the corner of my first trimester in which I wondered every day if I were depressed or hormonal, and if so, if it meant that I was going to be an unfit mother. I cried all the time for little to no reason. I snapped at my husband, I didn’t want to be touched, I groused about doing things I would normally enjoy and generally acted like I had a gloomy dark stormcloud above my head. Which I did. Which is gone now. I am not exaggerating when I say that this past weekend, a switch flipped and I am suddenly myself again.

      Hang in there, be kind to yourself, your body is doing a lot of work right now and it needs all the slack you can cut it.

  12. I wouldn’t assume that the model is 6’2. Not to nitpick, but most female models are more like 5’11, rather than above 6 feet. Tall is tall, but for work, I feel like 2-3 inches on a skirt can be the difference between appropriate and not at all. More importantly, most catalog models are shorter than that, so that knocks a few inches off as well.

    • I got the sense that the 6’2″ was an exaggeration for comedic effect.

      That said, I agree with you about how 2-3 inches can make or break a skirt in the workplace.

    • When I worked in the industry, most models I saw hired for catalog shoots were around 5’10. So, since I’m that height (but that’s my only similarity to models – sigh), this is too short for me but probably would be great for people 5’3″ – 5’7″ or so.

    • I wish retailers included the model’s height in descriptions. This dress is an inch shorter than yesterday’s and the reviews indicate it is pretty short.

  13. Anon Today :

    Regular poster, but going anon because too many people know who I am and I don’t want this information public yet.

    I’ve been dating a guy for about a month who seems great. I’m exceedingly particular about everything in life (including men) and he both seemed to “get” who I am and fit what I’m looking for. He’s divorced with a young kid; I’ve never been married, have no children, and have no plans to have a child of my own, but am fine with dating guys with kids and am happy to bring those kids into my life. Well, last night he told me that he’d just found out that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant (and, yes, I do believe he’d just found out and he wasn’t withholding this information). He gave me the entire story about that relationship, said the woman plans to raise the child, and said he wants to be involved in this child’s life, as he is very involved in his first child’s life (and I support that—actually, I asked him why he doesn’t give the relationship with the ex-gf another go and then he gave me the history of that relationship). Basically this baby is a result of a post-break-up hook-up.

    And he wants to keep dating me, but in no way was pressuring me to make a decision on what I want to do. So much of me wants to be the woman with the big enough heart who will stay in this relationship, see where it goes, and help raise these two little kids if this relationship can make it—this is the woman I would admire if I knew her. But I also recognize I live a very calm, orderly, regimented life and really like it that way—and having two kids with two other women seems to be the opposite of that.

    The benefit for me is that I’ve only been dating this guy for a month so it’s pretty easy to break up now (although I’m very disappointed with that outcome). The downside is this is the first guy I’ve really really liked and saw a potential future with in several years.

    So, wise hive, any thoughts would be appreciated. Tell me I’m crazy for even considering continuing this relationship. Tell me I’m being selfish to break it off. Tell me to wait another two weeks to see how I feel. Tell me anything else…. Thanks, guys!

    • Anne Shirley :

      Break it off. You’re dating a guy too dumb to use a condom when he hooks up with his ex-girlfriend. Leave now before you care even more.

      • It’s funny that our responses were the exact opposite.

        • Anne Shirley :

          Agreed! Such a great benefit of this site- we don’t lack for opinions.

      • This. I am assuming by your participation on this site that you are a professional, classy woman, and you say you like things neat and tidy. Your boyfriend (based on what you’ve told us) is a booty call baby daddy who can’t stick to his decision to break up with someone. You’re better than this.

        • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

          +1

          This guy is chaos on legs with his personal life. Don’t get pulled into this drama. So. Not. Worth. It. if you like things neat & tidy.

      • co-sign. This man is about to have a child and he has made it clear that his is planning on being part of this child’s life. The relationship between you two will change because this new baby (and the mother) will be his focus. Think long and hard about a future with these two different women and children. Right or wrong, this is a fact. A relationship with him also means having these women and children in your life.

        My personal recommendation would be to let it go. This guy has a lot on his plate right now. Call me selfish but I’ wouldn’t deal with a guy with two baby mommas. One..maybe…but two is asking too much in my book.

        Best of luck.

    • I think you should keep trucking along and see how it goes. If you love him, in my opinion, the kids are not a reason not to keep seeing him. Don’t give up because of your fears.

    • You like things neat; his life is anything but. OTOH, if you don’t mind getting a rep with the exes, you could simply insist that your calendar rules and the kids can only be in your house when you say it’s OK, school schedule be doomed. But you still can’t make them behave.

    • downstream :

      I would not admire the woman who stays in this relationship. I would think she’s insane. You’ve only known this guy for a month, and now his former GF is pregnant. That means that the first several months of your relationship are going to be consumed by someone else’s pregnancy. He says he doesn’t want to get back together, but seeing a woman carrying your child and seeing that child being born is going to be pretty powerful, and who knows how he’ll react. And if he doesn’t get back together with her, the ex-GF is not going to be pleased that her baby daddy is choosing to spend time with you rather than the woman carrying his child, and probably won’t even want you around (I know I wouldn’t). And then once the baby is born, are you envisioning family brunches where the 3 adults sit around and coo over one baby? Or are you envisioning what is actually going to happen, which is that there are more demands for this guy’s time than he can handle, he feels stressed and you and the ex-GF feel neglected and resentful?

      Best case scenario is that everyone handles this situation with grace and the ex-GF understands that sometimes you come before her and the baby she’s carrying and that you understand that sometimes the ex-GF and unborn baby come before you. But holy heck that is a lot of grace.

      Get out now. If he’s still around in a year then re-assess. If it’s meant to be it will be.

      • Off of downstream’s first sentence, I had a huge revealation about “women who stay” about a year ago. I used to think that a divorce was the worst outcome, and it took seeing a close friend with a cheating partner and a miserable marriage who refused to leave him to realize that sometimes staying isn’t really what it’s cracked up to be. She was very sensitive to being the “noble” person and thought that by staying she would be seen as forgiving, loving wife.

        In my opinion, your responsibility is to take care of yourself. Sure, to an outsider you might look like the type of woman you’d “admire,” but at the end of the day, no one knows your life like you do, and you are in charge of taking care of your own happiness. Don’t let people’s judgement affect that.

      • I think the last thought here — if he’s still around in a year then re-assess — is spot on. As others have said, this is about to be a difficult/hectic time for him, and it really seems like it would be best for both of you to let that happen without the additional complication of a burgeoning relationship between the two of you. You’re better off without the uncertainty and headaches, and he’s probably better off if he can establish a healthy relationship (whatever that turns out to be for them) with the baby momma that doesn’t need to include his new girl right away.

        Go ahead with your life. But maybe in a year or so, if things have happened the way he thinks they will, and if you are still interested in him, the timing will be better. Either way, you’ll know you made the right choice today!

    • My two cents – this seems like a lot of baggage and complication but sometimes it’s also very difficult to find someone who gets you. How is the relationship otherwise? Yes it’s only been a month, but do you connect well? Is it “easy”? (IMO – this is a big indicator of relationships. If it being together works and seems effortless, that’s generally very rare and hard to find again).

      So basically my two cents are not that helpful because I’m not really giving you a definitive answer but if you are a tiny bit uncertain, I would leave now because it may not be worth the extra grief and complications.

      • Yeah, this is a good way to put it. I like this answer better than my own.

      • MaggieLizer :

        Yeah, I’m on team wait and see. It sounds like the second child isn’t a dealbreaker for OP, it’s all the potential for chaos. Don’t let your anxiety run away with you. Deal with what you know today and get as many answers as you can for all those unknowns. Just take it really slow with this guy and don’t get too invested too quickly.

        Some things that you haven’t discussed that would be dealbreakers for me: 1) He doesn’t take responsibility for the end of the relationship (i.e., “She’s just crazy”); 2) She isn’t over him or he isn’t over her; 3) The reason for the post-break up hook up was anything other than they were trying again (i.e., “We had one too many drinks and couldn’t help ourselves!”); 4) He hems and haws about getting a custody arrangement established (i.e., “I can trust her, we don’t need anything in writing”); 5) They spend non-essential time together (i.e., other than doctor’s appointments or sit-down talks about parenting or custody). Whatever decision you make is perfectly justified, you just have to be OK with it. Good luck.

        • I think these are excellent points, especially the dealbreakers.

          • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

            Agree, and these are *other* dealbreakers, on top of the initial concerns.

    • I’d bail now before you get any more attached/entangled. I am also pretty particular and regimented, so two kids with two different women would be too much for me to process and deal with. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but I think it’s important to know your limits.

    • Anon Today :

      These are the brutally honest answers I needed. I spent last night awake and kept coming to the answer that I should end this thing now before I get more attached, but just hate that answer because, as TO Lawyer said, everything else about this relationship has been great, he “gets” me, and it’s easy/effortless when we are together. Keeping in mind it’s only been a month and a lot of relationships are great after one month…

      Thank you to all of you. Looks like I will be single by tomorrow.

      • The only thing I will tell you is to go with what you feel is right for you. Don’t worry about whether your decision will be perceived (by you or others) as selfish, insane, or whatever. It’s ok to not want to get into this situation, but it’s also ok to decide to stick with your boyfriend for the time being– and if that’s what you do, it’s ok to reassess in a few months depending on how things go. It’s your life, do what you think, deep down, will make YOU happy. Good luck…

    • A couple of my good friends have been happily married for almost 20 years… his ex-girlfriend was pregnant when they met, and the back story I’ve heard is VERY similar to what you’ve described. They have other children together, but the wife has been a major part of her husband’s oldest son’s life and they’re just a really great family all around.

      Only you know how you will handle this, and I don’t think you know until you try… so if there are no other deal breakers, I think I’d stick it out and see where the relationship goes.

    • Silvercurls :

      After typing a novel (below) I realized that Soleil, above, said the same thing more succinctly. The long post stays, however, because this situation is so convoluted that if you’re seriously considering staying I think it’s important for you to think through as many complications (present or future/potential) as you can. I’m not trying to sound judgmental, or like your mother–I just don’t think that anybody is going to be helped if you rush in blindly and possibly having to suddenly bail out later. I realize that people are human and make mistakes but–yielding to the urge to sound judgmental–this situation is what it is because there’s already been some of this rushing-in-without-fully-thinking-things-through.

      Practical questions here (I think I’m going in this direction because the emotional stuff is just too complicated…which probably means you can put me on Team Seriously Think About Ending It or At Least Significantly Slow Things Down): Does he work steadily enough (solid trade or profession, no drama in the workplace like he seems to get himself into in his personal life) and earn enough to support two children (I’m assuming each mom/mom-to-be is also employed) plus himself? What legal arrangements, if any, are there concerning custody, visiting time, rights re making decisions re each child’s schooling, nonparental child care, health care, mental health care, religious upbringing, relationships with grandparents & family members, etc.? Insert usual disclaimer here: I’m neither a lawyer nor personally experienced with any of these issues; I’ve just lived long enough to observe lots and lots of variations on the above. These issues can be hard to handle even if both parents are *married to each other*. People change over time–sometimes in surprising ways.

      More practical questions: Is this guy sufficiently organized and emotionally mature to be a daddy-without-being-married-to-the-mommy to TWO separate children living in TWO different households? Counting the dad as well, that’s THREE households. What if one of the children develops some kind of special need…?! (Bias here: we have 1 child with Asperger’s and ADHD. In the scheme of things, there are MUCH more challenging special needs, and things are going well now, but I cannot imagine doing this through the filter of a custody arrangement. Maybe that’s just me.)

      Also: do the two moms know about each other? Have they met, or will they meet? Will the kids? Are there any glaring, obvious discrepancies between the two mom’s approaches to life–or the man’s outlook–that may create a lot of friction down the road, especially with kids involved? Who does or does not enjoy spending time together? Will the present & future custody arrangements allow for both kids to spend time with one mom if, say, life happens (the kids like each other, the parents like each other, the custody/handoff/transfer logistics get all fouled up when traffic backs up or somebody gets sick/gets SERIOUSLY sick, as in crisis & hospitalization/has to travel unexpectedly/has to handle a crisis in another part of his or her extended family…)? What happens if one of the other adults gets married or has another child? Are the womenfolk emotionally and financially stable? Ditto for any new partners, if either women has found one…?

      My gut instinct is that if you’re willing to stick around because you love this guy, can’t live without him * as he is, not as you wish he could be* and if you love his children or child & child-to-be, and want to help him hold himself together so he be the best father he can be …well, that would be very noble and you would be doing an enormous good deed if you could contribute to creating a loving, stable, supportive, accepting environment for these two very young children. But you have to go into this knowing that you will be sharing this guy with the rest of his family for the rest of his life. You might want to dial things down but stick around through this holiday season just so you can gather some more information. (Is anyone getting bent out of shape about religion, no religion, insisting on seeing his or her child on any specific day, such as Christmas Day…are any of the grandparents, aunts, or uncles, being especially helpful or remarkably UNhelpful?)

      Bottom line: Sorry for the Ellen caps and sorry, again, for sounding like your mom. I think it’s great that this guy seems to understand your very specific, very organized approach to life but since he doesn’t *quite* seem to have the same approach to his …. I would proceed very carefully, gather lots of information, and be sure not to confuse what you want to be happening with whatever is actually happening.

      Good luck to you. The best part is that your approach to life seems pretty clear-eyed. I think you’ll be fine as long as you don’t get swept up in only seeing what you want to see.

      • This is amazing advice Silvercurls. Great topics for consideration.

      • Anon Today :

        This is simply an amazing post. Thank you.

        I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all of you and your collective wisdom, which is so far beyond my own.

    • Gisele Bundchen :

      Do whatever feels right for you. It can work.

      • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

        Yeah, but you only had to deal with Bridget Moynaham.

        OP’s got the ex-wife AND the baby-mama. So, exponentially more complicated!

    • Give it 2 more weeks if you want. But I think staying in this relationship is INSANE. Of course, I don’t belive in soulmates. There are 3 billion guys in the world, many of whom have 0 ex-wives and baby mommas. Having a relationship is tough, even without the extra challenge of kids from a previous marriage and with another woman. Why spend more time in a relationship with the odds so stacked against it, when you could be finding one of those other “unencumbered” men instead?

  14. Anne Shirley :

    This looks just like yesterday with sleeves to me.

  15. Looking for some advice on doing my taxes this year. I just started a biglaw job, so I have a couple months of a decent salary, but also probably qualify for student loan interest deductions. Otherwise I don’t really have any investments or big deductions. And I’m not married. Does anyone have advice on whether it’s feasible to do my taxes on my own, or should I look into getting an accountant (and if the latter, any recs for ones in DC)? In the past a family friend has done mine along with my family’s for no charge since it was extremely simple (I had minimal income), but now that I’m making a real salary I think I should find a way to handle it without them.

    • When I was in your boat I just did one of the online things (like TurboTax but cheaper). I didn’t get an accountant until the year I (1) got married (to someone who lived in a different state — we had DC, VA, and a third state all to deal with and only I had ever lived in DC and only he had ever lived in VA) (2) bought a house (3) moved cross-country (4) sold a bunch of stock and (5) had a loss from a start-up (my husband’s) all in one year. Even then we tried to TurboTax it but the software basically shut down with all our confusing info. I’d just do it myself if I were you.

    • long time lurker :

      I have done both – used an accountant and done it myself. I would use an accountant if: you worked and lived in different states (i.e. work in NYC live in NJ or you moved from one state to another during the year); or you sold stock or investments and have to figure out basis, cost, etc. It doesn’t sound like you fit these categories so either you or the family friend can probably do them. Most of your income will be your salary, you may have some 1099 income from your bank accounts for regular interest – they will send you a statement if it is over $10.00 in interest and you add it to your taxable income. You may also have dividends if you have investments, the broker/bank should send you a statement. These are relatively easy to handle. That all said if you are a busy biglaw associate maybe you do not want to waste a weekend day filling out forms and figuring this out. I used to go to H&R Block some years when I just did not have the time but had nothing complicated (they are not pricey, I can’t remember what I paid but it is peanuts compared to my current accountant (in NY).

      The student loan deduction rules should be on the IRS’s website, btw.

      • Anonymouse :

        I would never ever send anyone to H & R Block. More than half their staff has only a 2 week course in taxes. If they screw up, it can be a real mess. They are not worth the money (or any money) compared to just figuring it out.

        You are better off using an online service to do them yourself.

        If you are an attorney, you should be able to do your taxes very easily. I have been doing my own since I was 16 and worked at KMart. The only exception is if you have capital gains or owned your own business this year or something complex.

    • I would bet you could do it on your own — perhaps with the help of one of the relatively cheap on-line Turbo Tax like programs. It’s really not that difficult, even with the student loan deduction. The programs take you through step by step.

      I think until you (a) have a house or (b) start having capital gains, you really don’t have to worry about your taxes being all that complicated.

    • You can definitely just do TurboTax (or the like). It doesn’t sound like your taxes are all that complicated. In years where I was a bit confused by my taxes I still would do them on my own using tax software, and if I wasn’t convinced I had done them correctly, I’d go to an accountant (and usually I had gotten them right, but then had to spend around $400 on an accountant).

    • Use one of the free on-line do-it-yourself programs. I think the one I used was through turbo tax. My situation was similar to yours – salary, student loans, and some savings/401K. It was really easy (I am sooooooooooo not finance genius) and walked you through all the steps. As long as you’ve got the paperwork you need (W-2, statements from your lender, etc) you’ll be fine.

      • Just a note – Turbo tax services are only free under certain conditions (under a certain AGI, free for federal return, but not the state), so just be aware that you may end up paying something. It will be cheaper than an accountant, though.

        • Sugar Magnolia :

          I have been doing my own taxes for 20 years. Doing them online through Tax Act cost less than $30 (that’s the regular price) and the software was very easy to use. It asks you about different things that can cause you to have deductions, etc and you just fill in the numbers. Piece of cake. I take the student loan deduction and itemize using that service.

  16. Very cute dress, though I’m not sure it would be flattering on my stumpy self.

    And in case anyone needs some cheering up on this long Wednesday — I give you the recap of Hart of Dixie by the f&g girls. (Now they are admittedly always a couple weeks behind but I swear this is the best thing going on on the internet ever.)

    http://gofugyourself.com/fug-the-show-hart-of-dixie-2-12-2012

    • ..Well, I just ran and added Hart of Dixie to my Neflix queue.

    • It’s so late, but darn this show and its jerking me around! ;o) I am slowly moving back toward Team Wade, but I still reallky like Team George… I think I’m about 50/50 right now, Wade was really p1ssing me off for a while there… I still wish he would grow up and just SAY WHAT HE WANTS, UGH… but being shirtless makes up for that enough to push him to 50%

  17. After some excellent advice from Nonny and a helpful anon yesterday, I’m planning to take the part-time job with the non-profit, at least until I get back on my feet working again. Asking one more time if anyone here has experience with the UN or similar international NGO to make sure that the PT experience will “count” on my resume the same as FT would.

  18. To JessC, re your post yesterday, I hope you are all doing ok!!!

    • Thanks for thinking of us! No one’s talking yet about what exactly happened, but we know that she’s safe and at home with her family.

  19. Cornellian :

    I’m a first year in a firm which has secretary “teams”. Each lawyer works with one secretary, but can ask any of the others to do work for them. My assigned secretary is not awesome, but also not awful. I do, however, tend to use the other secretaries a lot, as the partners I work for usually ask me to use their own assigned secretary to input edits, format their documents, etc. Who do I give a Christmas present to, and what/how much do I give them? I also wonder about other support staff like the guys in the mailroom or word processing. To be honest, I often save work until after hours if it’s not pressing, so I can have word processing do it instead of my secretary. Should I get them something? This whole thing is new to me!

    Thanks for any help.

    • Ask the other associates in your office — the office politics on this can be tricky. You have to get something for your assistant (in my opinion at least) and it has to be unique to her. I think when I was a first year, at the advice of the other associates in my office, I got my assistant a pound of DD coffee and a $25 or $50 gift card to DD (maybe?) because she went there every day. (Note — if I remember correctly, the associates at that office did smaller gifts then other places I’ve heard, and the firm did bonuses as well).

      You could also do smaller things for individuals you work with frequently, like small gift cards, or cookies, or coffee or something. But you really don’t have to and I would definitely not do it instead of something for your assistant, that’s just asking for trouble. Anyway, since this is a very much know your office sort of thing, I’d ask around.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      This is sort of my situation. I share an assistant with another attorney. I also do a ton of work for one partner which requires working with his assistant. I probably work with her as much as I work for my own. A third assistant handles our time entry and billing issues. I try to get a very usable gift on sale (I stalk holiday sales like totes, gloves, hats, blankets at Lands End) for all three and then get an extra gift for the assistant that is actually assigned to me. As I said in a prior post, my office does bonuses for them and the attorneys are not supposed to do cash gifts to them. We also do an office wide yankee swap at the firm party on top of all this.

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      I would just ask someone in HR or another lawyer who has been there a bit longer what is usually done. You don’t want to be the one person who makes everyone else look bad by giving too much, or to be viewed as a tightwad for giving too little or to the wrong people. Better to ask, because this is really firm-specific. At my workplace, we give a group gift of food to the whole support staff and all the lawyers contribute.

  20. anon for this :

    I have been taking BCP on and off for about 8 years and have never missed/skipped/etc. Last night, I was checking my pill pack right before bed–I usually take it around 9, but often check to make sure when I get in bed, just in case–I saw that Wednesday’s pill was gone. I don’t know when I took 2, although it’s likely it was yesterday. I was traveling over the weekend and got overtired. My plan is to shift everything up a day so I don’t skip a pill tonight, and I’ll start my next pill pack earlier. Does this sound like a generally good plan? Words of reassurance?

    • I think you need to take 21 active pills to have full protection. so I would definitely make sure you’re using back-up on the day that’s supposed to be your last active day (but you won’t be taking a pill that day because there won’t be one left). After you get your period and start the new pack you should be back to normal.

    • This seems like a reasonable plan and one I’d probably go with. If I were having s3x in the next couple of days, I’d probably use a backup method as well.

      I am not a doctor or any other kind of medical professional.

    • I’d call your doctor, to be sure. I’m sure they get those quetsions all the time.

    • Keep taking it every night at the right time, but you’ll run out a day early (duh). I think it’s OK to let there be an extra day before you start your next pack. You can call a pharmacist to check.

    • Anecdotally, I did exactly what you propose doing a few times in the decade I was on the pill and everything was fine. The insert that comes with your pill should tell you what to do when you miss a pill and at what point you need a backup method (or at least the brand I was on did). If you don’t have the insert, you can probably find one online. If it were me, I’d probably use a back up method regardless.

    • You don’t need a back up now because you took more than what was required, not less.
      I think your plan sounds fine, but if you’re the nervous sort or a pg. now would be truly not okay, maybe use a back up for that last day or two before you get your period (not sure about yours, but I usually don’t get mine till about 3 days into the placebo week).
      I have done this without any issues.

      • I would say either (a) don’t take the next one until Thursday because at some point you took an extra pill and therefore have “extra” horomones in your body that should protect you fine until Thursday or (b) when you’re in your placebo period, just wait an extra day before you start a new pack. I wouldn’t freak out about it too much as you’re in pretty minimal risk of pregnancy (with my pills, at least, you have to miss 3 days before you need to start using a back up method).
        Your best bet though, call your doctor or pharmacist and ask what’s recommended.

        • I think skipping one would be the worst course of action. Please don’t do that without consulting a doctor. Proceed as usual and you should be okay.

          • Yes, that’s what the general interwebs have been telling me. I’m definitely not skipping a day. I just hope I did not inadvertently skip a day somehow, because I do not know for sure which day I took 2.

    • Thanks, all. A pregnancy would not be terrible right now (married, both want kids, just not trying right now and timing would not be great). Part of it is just that I have never messed up taking BCP, I feel really off, and I don’t have a doctor I want to call right now, I am still searching for someone I click with.

      • Try calling your pharmacy and ask to speak to the pharmacist (really, you could call any pharmacy, but if you call yours then they can look at what you’re taking which may effect the answer). He or she should be able to answer.

      • You can always call your pharmacy or Planned Parenthood or your BCP’s manufacturer. Definitely don’t skip a pill. Why don’t you see if you can pick up your next pack a bit earlier and then instead of being on a sunday to sunday schedule you start on saturday or whatever.

    • Anon in ATX :

      I once lost a pill down the drain & called the doctor to ask what to do. They said just continue taking each pill as per usual, including the placebo pills, until its time to start a new pack. Basically, I just shortened my cycle by 1 day b/c I lost 1 pill. I think the same would apply to you. Of course, take this with a grain of salt :)

  21. Thoughts on the amount if time before I can remove someone’s clothes from communal washers? We have an electronic system that tells you the time since done. Never okay? 15 minutes? 30 min? Does it make a difference that 4 washers are shared between 300 people?

    • If there are no other washers available, remove at your convenience. I sometimes wait just because it (irrationally) sort of creeps me out to handle other people’s laundry.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        The thought of someone else handling my laundry totally (irrationally) creeps me out, so in-unit laundry is my dealbreaker. I pay a lot more rent than I would without it, but it’s totally worth it to me. That and an experience in the dorms of using a washer after someone had bleached something in the previous load, ruining my clothes.

      • Cornellian :

        I agree. Don’t throw it on the floor, but putting it on top of the machine 10 minutes later seems reasonable to me.

        • I don’t think anyone is considering the floor as a possibilities. Most communal laundromats have carts and baskets for this very purpose.

    • Assuming there’s a clean spot to put it (an open dryer or a communal counter that looks mostly clean or that I could spread a clean garbage bag over to make sure nothing got on the clothes), I would give it 5 minutes or less.

      When I used communal washing machines, I would set an alarm so I knew when I needed to transfer my stuff. My laundry gets done faster, and I am a good neighbor and user of a shared resource.

      • 5 minutes or less? That’s a little bit extreme.

        I’m with Herbie though, it creeps me out to touch other people’s stuff or to have other people touch my stuff (I’ve had people take my laundry out of the dryer under 5 minutes after it was done, when it was still wet and I was planning on running a second cycle…grr). I think it’s legit if it’s 20 minutes later though. Seriously, just come back downstairs and check again. No one will die if you don’t get laundry done THIS MINUTE. And I always keep an eye on the time and am down before it’s done or just after. I just think it’s entitled and inconsiderate to not give people a few minutes of leeway (and yes, equally entitled and inconsiderate to clog up the machines forever, or use all 5 machines at once).

        • Also, just saw that it’s 300 people and 4 machines. You may want to see if you can convince some fellow tenants to write letters to the property management company requesting that they add 2 more washing machines.

        • I usually send out laundry because it is such a pain in my building, but coming back to check is not always a viable option. For me, for instance, I have to come down five flights of stairs with my own laundry and walk to the opposite end of our building to reach the laundry room. So if I come down, and there are no free machines and one is done, I usually will take out the clothes that are done, put them in the baskets meant for this purpose and use the machine. If I come down and they are still spinning and then are done, I will wait a few minutes for someone to come down to get them but not more than that. The way I see it there is a code to doing laundry in laundramats and if you don’t want strangers to touch your laundry, you need to come down a minute or two before it’s ready to be taken out. Me, I don’t care if someone touches my laundry so I don’t worry about the clock as much as I would if I did.

          • Fair enough — we’re in an elevator building so it’s mildly annoying to go up and down, not actually difficult in any way.

      • I’d be really (and, admittedly, irrationally) upset if someone took my laundry out less than about 10 minutes after it finished. It just feels really passive aggressive to me. I don’t know how long I personally would wait around (probably forever…), but I feel like a 10 minute window is an appropriate buffer. Again, I know that’s totally irrational, and if I ever have to share a machine again, I will try to be more like you ladies who think nothing of it!

        • I think this is at the heart of the reactions: people who share machines routinely have gotten used to the “system” by which a stranger touches your clothes. Everyone I know who uses communal laundry and has an issue with this usually ends up either waiting in the laundry room with a magazine or coming down a few minutes early to avoid the situation. The rest of us make a calculated decision that we’ll risk the alternative.

        • How is it passive aggressive to take laundry out? What other options are there besides just waiting around? Also, I have never seen a machine that says how long ago the cycle finished, like Cb said, so unless I saw a machine actually finish, I have never known how long the stuff had been left since the end of the cycle.

          In college, I took out a load of stuff from the dryer, and it was still damp and had someone else’s stuff mixed in with it (an occasional sock). I concluded that someone threw her stuff in with mine for part of the cycle and then removed it so I wouldn’t know, but left a few things behind. After that, I got over laundry-touching issues pretty quickly (and now laundry in-unit is really important to me).

          • Hey, I said it was irrational! :)

            I think it’s that I can’t imagine just indefinitely leaving my stuff in the machine taking up space, so if my stuff *was* in a machine after it was done, it would be because I screwed up (and I would know that). So I’d want to be given a couple of minutes breathing room before someone “told” me I had screwed up by grabbing all of my stuff and tossing it on the counter/into a basket.

            Having said all of that, I was assuming we are in a world like Cb described, where the machines are telling you how long it’s been. I totally understand that most places, you can’t know that. And, objectively, I know that taking someone’s stuff out so that you can do your laundry is a perfectly reasonable response. It’s just the irrational part of me that would be upset if I came down, say, 5 minutes after the machine ran out, and someone had already moved my stuff (again, I’m sort of assuming that I knew when it was done, so I know it’s only been a couple of minutes). It’s not that they would be wrong and I would be right — it would just bother me anyway! :)

    • you can take it out when it’s done, especially if 300 people are sharing 4. does that make me rude that it’s never occurred to me to wait around?

    • This happens to me all the time. There is one washer and dryer shared among the four apartments in our building. One neighbor will leave laundry in the dryer for hours on the weekend, tying up the dryer. It drives me crazy, but I can never bring myself to remove it.

    • Normally, I would say 20-30 minutes. But considering there’s only 4 machines for 300 people, I’d say 5 mins max. I lived in an apartment complex with probably about the same number of people and I’m pretty sure we had 8-10 washer/dryer sets.
      Also agree with Marilla about talking to other tenants about all complaining to managment. That’s kind of ridiculous.

      • Guilty Laundress :

        +1 re Marilla’s suggestion.

        Reassurance about touching somebody else’s wash: It’s just laundry. Everybody has clothes that sit around clean but wet (or clean and dry, but not folded). I try to be careful if I move someone else’s stuff and–figuring that other people are the same way–I never mind if somebody moves mine. I’m one of those awful people who WILL leave her laundry for a long time, but I tend to do this at non-peak times and I don’t monopolize all or even most of the available machines. Sometimes life happens, especially if you are balancing work and family. No disrespect towards people without kids, but it’s not always possible to run downstairs as soon as the time is up. (Despite this rationalizing I’m now trying to be a better neighbor.) My present building has 12 washer/dryer sets for an estimated 300 people; there are many times, including nights and weekends, when the laundry room sits empty and silent.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I hate laundry with a passion, but at the laundromat if there are no open machines and one finishes while I’m standing there, I give it a minute or 2 and then remove it if the laundromat person hasn’t done it himself. It’s busy and crowded so someone is going to do it pretty quickly where I am. Most of the time there is also someone else waiting for a machine to open up, so if I don’t do it they will jump in front of me to do it.

      In a residential building, I might wait a few minutes, especially if nobody else is waiting, but not any longer than that.

      I have my laundry sent out now though because it is completely worth the (surpsisingly few) extra dollars to me to not have to deal with the entire process.

      • Thanks for the feedback everyone. I didn’t end up moving but helpful to know for the future. I normally get up at 7 and throw it in one the weekends, doing a punctuated workout (walk 20 minutes away from my house and then 20 minutes back for the wash, 25 minutes each way for the dry).

    • I got yelled at by a neighbor one time for taking her laundry out of the machine. I was like, “Seriously? It’s SATURDAY, the busiest laundry day of the week. Some people leave their stuff sitting for hours, how was I supposed to know you aren’t one of them?” Sheesh. Gotta keep the flow moving!

      Fortunately I now live in a much smaller building and it’s seldom an issue.

  22. You guise, don’t be like me: I’m wearing a LE Canvas “washable silk” shirt under a sweater today. The sweater has only 3/4 length sleeves, and the shirt has full length, so I unbuttoned the cuffs and turned them up over the sleeves. Cute, right? It would be, except I have ripped the shirt at both elbows this morning (not even along seams! just straight through the fabric) with normal bent-arm movements like applying makeup and drinking coffee. *sigh* Sad, because this shirt was perfect for wearing BY ITSELF in the sweltering DC summers… now it is for under-sleeves only, if I don’t just throw it away.

    • Call LE Canvas customer service. How old is the shirt? B/c I’ll bet they’ll replace it for you.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        They will one hundred percent replace it for you or give you a refund. Even if it’s really old (and it can’t be older than 2010ish anyway, since Canvas has only been available for that long). Just call them up!

      • I’m thinking of doing that — checking the website right now to see if they have a similar item… I pulled up the receipt in my e-mail, and it turns out I bought it last January. I thought it was newer than that, but the fact that it’s a year old and was only $40 makes me slightly less indignant.

        • Take it to a tailor and have it made into a short sleeve shirt? Sleeveless if the rip is too high?

        • IF they don’t have a similar item, they will issue you a refund for price paid, as long as you know your order #. They have phenomenal customer service.

    • Silvercurls :

      Can you transform the remains of the shirt into a sleeveless blouse to wear with cardigan or jacket in office (wear alone when sweltering on the sidewalk, or during other non-office time)?

    • Lands’ End will totally do right by you.

  23. It might be too late in the morning to get responses (in which case I’ll repost in the afternoon) but to continue the mom questions: people who have nursed your babies, what are/were your favorite nursing tanks? I need to stock up before the end of January.

    Also, because I’m having complete newborn insomnia (this is probably some sort of biological function so that I wouldn’t remember how hard those first few months were and therefore felt compelled to have a second kid): what other stuff should I stock up on before Baby arrives? So far I’ve remembered to get a couple of replacement pump parts and a new tube of lanolin…

    • I bought a couple of nursing tops, but found the fumbling with fabric too much. What worked for me was to wear non-fitted T-shirts. There was enough fabric to fall on his face gently; everything was covered up. Probably helped that I had a guy with no nursing issues. If your baby is popping off every few minutes or takes forever to get started, then it’s more difficult in public. Whatever you do, don’t wear a blouse–it exposes your whole breast!

    • Target (Gillian & OMalley?) worked fine for around the house and to sleep in, but aren’t especially supportive for anything beyond gently walking around if you are full figured. I have a Bravado one that I got 5+ years ago that was really nice, but I don’t know if they still sell them on their own now that they’ve partnered with Target. I’ve heard good things about Glamormom tanks since they offer special sizes like extra long or full bust but I don’t own any myself.

      Things to stock up on: nursing pads, menstral pads for postpartum, household consumables like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies; toiletries like shampoo & razor blades – basically anything that will keep so you don’t have to run to the store when you run out, especially if you are picky about a certain brand etc. Also granola bars or other foods that are easy to eat one handed between nursing sessions are good to have on hand. If you have room in your freezer, now is a good time to start doubling your dinner recipes and freezing half so you’ll have some real food to pull out when you’re too exhausted to cook.

      • Second the Target ones. I wore them in lieu of bras (but with nursing pads) under shirts in the day time (so shirt was lose enough to pull up but no bare torso issues) and at night. I found that the “full sling” ones v/ “side sling” ones easier to use, but I had both. There would have been major show through issues, plus I’m modest, so I never wore then solo outside of my house, even with one of my children who was born in the summer.

      • Target tanks all the way. Lansinoh lanolin cream for sore n*ps and nursing pads. Comfy pj pants.

        And build up your DVR/Netflix queue/etc. I use TV to time nursing (especially in the middle of the night) by this highly scientific formula: sitcoms on DVD are about 21 minutes long, which is the perfect time for nursing one side. I burned through all seasons of 30 Rock and Arrested Development with my first kid, and it was awesome. At 4am, I’ll take any levity I can get, and it made me dread those nursing sessions so much less because I got my Bluth fix in.

    • anon in Canada :

      I lived in Bravado nursing tanks for the first couple of months. They come in different cup/band sizes so they actually provide decent bra like support. I found a Bravado tank + Leggings or yoga pants + long cardigan was easy to nurse in and comfy enough that I could have a nap whenever the baby slept and yet was also actual clothes (vs pyjamas) so that I could go outside the house in for a walk or look decent in if someone stopped by unexpectedly. Congrats and good luck with a newborn – those first months so special –

      • Research, Not Law :

        Another vote for Bravado. They are the only ones in my size (small band, big cup), but I would really love them anyway.

        You’ll also need pads and a freezer stocked with ready-to-eat meals. You may want stool softeners, pain relief spray, and a water bottle to spray perineal area when you use the bathroom.

        • Sugar Magnolia :

          They should give you the water bottle to spray your bottom with water while you are at the hospital. Since you (or your insurance) pay for everything in your hospital room and they can’t reuse the items on a new patient, take EVERYTHING in there home with you, but especially the perineal squirt bottle, pain relief spray, and sitz bath/donut to sit on. I second the recommendation for stool softener (Colace is what they gave me in the hospital).

          I also invested in a double walled water bottle that I can open with one hand, that sits on the table next to where I would nurse my little one. You need to drink a lot and will be exceedingly thirsty!

          Also, line up a visitor for about every 4 days once you return home, who will hold your baby and comfort him or her while you shower or nap. This is invaluable. Too many visitors is not good, but you will want some company and ability to have a small amount of “me” time.

    • I liked the Target ones and the ones available at Motherhood Maternity (I’m not sure on the brand.) I also liked using a long sleeve button up pajama shirt (for around the house obviously) over a nursing tank, but leaving the shirt unbuttoned so that my arms and back were covered and I only had to undo the tank top, rather than lifting up my entire shirt to nurse. That probably made no sense, but when I tried the sleep nursing bras with a regular shirt over, I found my back got cold from having to lift my shirt.

      I would stock up on snacks for me (veggies and hummus, fruit, granola bars, etc.), and the storage bags for breatmilk if you plan on pumping any to save. And diapers and wipes, of course.

    • I much preferred the motherlove n*pple cream over lanolin – it was more emollient which meant easier to spread.
      I never used a nursing tank, I wear my camisoles slight looser anyway, so I just slipped one shoulder off, unsnapped my nursing bra, and did it that way. Plus this way I didn’t have to buy another wardrobe full of pregnancy/nursing gear.

    • I preferred cheap stretchy non-maternity tanks I could just yank down – old navy and target work.

    • Diana Barry :

      Nursing tanks – I like the Glamourmom long length ones, but beware of using them too soon after birth – wearing a too-tight tank, I got mastitis. I like the Gap crossover nursing tops, v soft and nice, and Anita nursing bras, ditto.
      I like the lansinoh pads, I buy the big box from amazon.

      • Diana Barry :

        Oh, and I am fairly full-busted, so I need bra plus shirt, always, or a substantial tank. Also get cold easily and am tall, so I always used nursing shirts that expose the b**b rather than pulling up a regular shirt all the way (brr!).

    • I lived in the Glamourmom nursing tanks. They were a little snug at first, but after a month or so fit perfectly. I also would wear a thin tank under any non-nursing top, and then just lift the top, pull down the neckline of the tank, and nurse. Shimera tanks were perfect for this. Things you might want to purchase: hydrogel pads (I got some from the hospital and they were lifesavers in the first few weeks when nursing was extremely painful), a nursing pillow, a nursing cover. I also suggest getting a few nice nursing bras. I went to nordstrom and ordered a couple right before I had my son. I think they were elle mcpherson nursing bras, and they held up really well.

  24. Salsa of the Month Club :

    For whoever was looking for the salsa of the month club yesterday: http://www.amazingclubs.com/salsa.html It’s supposed to be hot!

    For anyone who likes chocolate chip cookie dough: Torani makes a chocolate chip cookie dough syrup! I had no idea this deliciousness existed!

  25. Holiday gift question, new associate (sworn in weeks ago) who was my law clerk, do I give him a gift?
    I am a second year associate at a small firm (2 other lawyers). Previously, I have given $ to the staff who have helped me (paralegal, secretary and law clerk), this year I will do the same. Do I give the attorney a gift? I was leaning towards no–it would be weird, right? My DH disagrees. TIA!

    • Agree with you. It would be weird!

    • Cornellian :

      I probably wouldn’t get him anything for the holidays. Maybe a “congrats on being sworn in!” present, though.

    • If such gifts are normally reserved for support staff, I would say no. Even if he’s filling that role for you right now, he is still more of “peer” in the sense he is an attorney and member of the bar. If I were him, I would be slightly offended. But maybe thats because I’m the young attorney at the office often mistaken for support staff for the simple fact of being female…

      • In the past I have only given them to support staff, but its complicated by the fact that last year, he was my law clerk, so he did get a gift. Now he’s an attorney and his role hasn’t changed much, but he’s (naturally) very proud and quick to correct anyone about being an attorney, so I don’t want to insult him, but I don’t want him to feel slighted either. I think I will give him a book and give my intern and assistant cash.

        (Also as a young female attorney I get mistaken for support staff all the time.)

  26. Can anyone recommend a good recipe book for slowcookers? Something on the healthier side, if possible.

    • America’s Test Kitchen has a good slow cooker book: Slow Cooker Revolution. It doesn’t focus on health, but the recipes do come out well (although it can be a bit more complex than other slow cooker cookbooks I have seen).

      • I like this book too. I use it a lot, and I like their scientific approach.

      • I just got this one from the library and started flipping through it, and I agree, it looks great and much more useful than a lot of other ones I’ve seen. Haven’t tried anything yet though.
        I also got the “American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook”, which has a lot of recipes and is well laid-out, but the recipes are not as much my style or required more prep (or shorter cooking time, when I need the crockpot to be on for 8-10 hours).

      • Research, Not Law :

        We love Slow Cooker Revolution. There are super easy “dump and turn on” recipes and more involved recipes that we like to do on the weekends. The results are genuinely appropriate for company.

    • Job Huntress :

      I like “not your mother’s slow cooker.”

      • Thanks, y’all! The cookbook is for my mother, so not sure I can do the “Not Your Mother’s …” ;-)

        I will look into the ATK, I generally have had good luck with ’em so it’s great idea.

    • The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla is good.

  27. Ladies I need help finishing up my xmas shopping. I’m thinking of buying my mom a purse organizer (bag in bag by invite L), some sort of cosmetic/toiletry travel case, or jewelry travel case. She travels a lot for fun on weekend trips and wants something that looks stylish. Right now she ends up toting like 4 bags. Any recommendations?

    • Check West Elm’s collaboration with Sarah Campbell (on the homepage go to Collaborations -> Sarah Campbell). There’s a set of cosmetic bags and zipper pouches that are really cute. You can also get them monogrammed if your mom’s the sort that would like that.

    • Merabella :

      West Elm has some cute bags, and you can have them monogrammed.

  28. Just realized in 4 minutes it will be 12:12 on 12/12/12. Wooh!

  29. Theory Suits... :

    …I’ve been holding out for a Theory suit for almost a year but I never seem to find them on sale for more than 20%. Should I just go ahead and order with the 20% off or is there another time when I can get a better sale (NAS)?

    Sadly no Theory outlet by me, my best option is online retailers.

    • Have you tried a Loehmans? They have tons on Theory suits at the one by me.

      • No loehmans near me either! I live in a rural area.

        Any takers? Can I do better than 20% for Theory suiting??

    • Ooh, perfect timing – there’s a 50% off “private sale” going on at the Theory website right now – privatesale dot theory dot com!

  30. Thank you all for your good wishes for my grandmother yesterday. An update: all is well. When my mom went in to see her, she was saying how hungry she was and how it was a much better experience than last time! I am so relieved. Now just hoping her recovery goes well!

  31. Ugh, have to vent: It’s freaking middle of December and I just killed a (bloody, so it’s just bitten me) mosquito in my Boston apartment. :( What sucks more is that I’m horribly sensitive to the bites so I’ll be grotesquely swollen in an hour. And yes, I am a mosquito magnet.

    I hate global warming. This didn’t happen two years ago when there was a proper winter, but last year and this year, the random 60 degree + rain days in the middle of winter seem to wake up these bugs. Last year I woke up with bites 0n my face (I looked like someone had punched me) in late November. ARRRRRGGGGG!!!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      That sucks. The warm weather is causing similar problems with ticks and fleas according to my vet contacts.

      • Definitely is. My housemate’s cats are still bringing them in. It ought to be abating by now, but no.

  32. Anyone have suggestions for running socks that are (a) thick (otherwise my heel slips too much) and (b) won’t give me blisters?

    • I started using a sock that I got at Target, though I can’t remember the brand…it has two layers, and somehow that prevents blisters…I don’t know that it’d be thick enough for you, but they are in the sock dept of Target (shocking) ankle cut, they have a gold line at the hem of the toe. Sorry I can’t be more specific, but they do work!

    • SmartWool makes some good workout socks.

    • Anastasia :

      Thorlos! I love them. They have extra thickness on the bottoms and in the heels, so they’re comfy and don’t slip (at least for me), but the top is thin so your feet stay a little cooler.

      • Sugar Magnolia :

        I got a bunch of Thorlos from TJ Maxx which had slight imperfections in the sewing, but worked perfectly. I love them!

    • Darn Tough merino wool cushion socks.

    • Smartwool. They are thick, wick away moisture, and are the only work out socks I buy now.

    • Balega Enduro (Women’s)– these are “no-shows” but they also make others with different cuff heights. Also, these are medium thickness– they also make thinner and thicker ones.

    • I like biking socks. They are not thick, but they are tight and don’t slip. Favorite brand is deFeet. They are my favorite socks not just for biking, but for running and all working out. No blisters ever.

  33. Visiting in-laws / manners Q :

    We will soon be vising the in-laws. An adult sibling-in-law (“SIL”) lives with the in-laws. SIL used to work, but hasn’t since a series of unfortunate life events several years ago. SIL plays online games (the sort that involve role-playing, not shooting things) at all hours, with a portable computer and a headset (I’m not sure if they speak to other people or it’s just in case a call comes in) throughout the day and overnight and often in the main sitting / living room. SIL doesn’t talk to people when SIL is on the computer, not sure much deliberately ignoring them as just really wrapped up in what SIL is doing. SIL’s schedule generally means that SIL is always in pajamas and is unkempt and SIL doesn’t really leave the house.

    My question is really a manners question: my older child is the sort who is old enough to answer all sorts of questions (previously, “why are you so fat;” you can imagine the possibilities during an extended visit) without having any sense of why we don’t ask questions like that (said child had previously been coached repeatedly that we do not talk about people’s sizes, whether thin or fat or tall or short; it is not kind and it can hurt their feelings). And both of my children love computers, so will try to watch SIL’s role-playing (which I sense is not always G rated).

    To me, SIL has some issues that are not mine to fix or even comment on; but what to do about my filter-free children on what they will no doubt see as very different and comment upon freely?

    • Silvercurls :

      I admire your ability to talk about “issues that are not mine to fix or even comment on.” Can you just matter-of-factly (if that wasn’t a word before, it is now) tell your filter-free kids that one of the people at their destination will be SIL, and SIL is this way, meaning SIL spends most of his/her time at home, plays lots of computer games, usually stays in PJs, etc.? The idea is to convey that the situation exists–so kids aren’t surprised–and to keep it sufficiently low-key that the kids don’t pick up on any grown-up angst re why SIL is in this situation; whether it’s good or bad; and what if anything needs to be done (or not done) by anybody regarding changing or not changing, accepting or not accepting, the situation. That way if little voices start piping up with awkward questions you can just remind the speakers that this is just the way things are. You’re also free to say that although the role-playing looks interesting it’s really a game just for grownups and then redirect your kids’ attention (or leave the room, hopefully without distressing anybody). Good luck. Again, I admire your ability to be so nonjudgmental. I still struggle with this one.

      • Visiting in-laws / manners Q :

        So, if we get another “why are you so fat” question directed at SIL when SIL is in the room, do I wait for SIL to answer (while trying not to do the Death Stare at Asking Child)? It is my instinct to at least give SIL the chance to answer and then try to talk to Asking Child if SIL is tuning us out (although that can tend to result in Asking Child asking again, just lounder and perhaps with jumping around).

        • If a child asked me that question, or another one that was so clearly inappropriate, I’d feel pretty embarrassed– but much more so if the parents didn’t jump in with “Timmy, what have I told you about talking about people’s weight?” sort of response, and instead waited to hear my response.

          A more borderline question, like “Why don’t you go to work?” or “Why do you wear pajamas all day?” might be okay to let SIL try to answer. It’s hard to hold these kinds of things against kids, but it’s much easier to hold them against parents who *appear* to not be doing anything about them.

          • Visiting in-laws / manners Q :

            I think of it like “why are you in a wheelchair” — if I speak up instead of letting the person in the wheelchair answer, I have really marginalized the person to whom the question was addressed. [Different if I were asked why someone was in a wheelchair — I can answer for myself, but don’t want to speak for others if they can speak for themselves.]

            The “why are you fat” is generally gets a quick “ASKING CHILD” with a tone of admonishment. “Why do you have freckles” = let the freckled person have first bite at the apple.

    • Face of BOE :

      I’ve been various degrees of seriously addicted to MMORPGs over the past few years (what else should an unemployed lawyer do)? My 5 and 7 year old kids obviously saw me gaming, and after awhile, I let them watch – although these games tend to be gory, it is generally very obviously fake gore, and the kids were reasonably ok with watching (no nightmares, no confusion with real life). My guess is that they will be so engrossed by what is going on in the game, this will actually detract from SILs situation itself. If your SIL is up to it, your kids will probably mostly want to know about what is going on in the game, why his character is doing what it is doing, etc… Also, many of the MMORPGs also have item builds (you put together what you wear, you can form weapons, minions etc…) which is great fun for kids to actually participate in.

    • How old is your SIL? She sounds *just* like my BIL (down to the joblessness, the pajamas, the anti-social behavior at family events, and the gaming), and I think we should hook them up. Sigh.

      Seriously, though, I agree with BOE that the game itself is probably not going to be an issue. The content of those games is usually more fantasy than violence or sex (ridiculously proportioned female characters aside), and not much different than watching, say, Sleeping Beauty. The real risk is the other people your SIL is playing with, who may type or say (if she’s not using a headset) inappropriate things. I don’t have kids, so take my advice with a big grain of salt, but I honestly wouldn’t worry too much about that unless and until it’s actually an issue. If your kids are old enough to read what’s being typed, maybe you could ask SIL if it’s okay for them to read over her shoulder, “Hey, SIL, KidOne is really interested in your game, is it safe for him to be reading the chat?” Otherwise (or if he’s not likely to be reading such things), it’s probably not worth worrying about.

      Also, it’s really nice of you to be worried about what your kids might say. Aside from what you’ve already tried to do (i.e., make clear to your kids what is not okay to ask about), maybe you could just let them ask? It seems to me that the worst-case scenario (aside from “Why are you so fat?”, which there’s not much you can do to prevent) is “Mommy said Aunt SIL ___________ [Insert Awkward Statement That May or May Not Accurately Reflect What You Said].” I’d think that might be a risk if you make too big a deal about SIL before you get to their house, and I don’t know how you could bring it up ahead of time without signalling that it is a big deal (although, again, I don’t have kids, so I could be wrong!). Maybe it would be better handled after they’ve hung out for a day or so in the house, if they have questions? Or maybe a general talk along the lines of, “We’re visiting someone else’s house, and they may do things differently than we do at home. It’s okay to ask questions, but sometimes it’s polite to wait to talk about the things that are different, so Mommy may tell you that we need to wait to talk about it.” Or some other age-appropriate talk along those lines?

      • Oh, I read SIL as sister-in-law, not sibling-in-law. Ignore the gendered comments if they happen to be wrong, please (and, uh, based on my own experience, they probably are). :) On the other hand, if the sibling is female– seriously, we should hook them up.

        • Visiting in-laws / manners Q :

          I’m going to plead the 5th re gender. :)

          If SIL had, say, a drinking or drug problem, I wouldn’t want my children around. But this strikes me as the borderline between life style choice (albeit not one I would have chosen) and untreated mental illness. It must be heart-breaking for the in-laws, to see a child slowly unraveling like this every day (yet it is not like other problems, where there are safety concerns and more reasons to put a foot down — SIL may be an internet addict, but it’s not like SIL is going to OD). It’s no fun being a silent witness. I am hoping that my children are not imprinting on SIL’s situation just another way that one can be as a grownup.

          • Yeah, it’s definitely been hard on my DH’s family mentally, emotionally, and financially — I completely understand your concerns.

            FWIW, I think a lot of us had “crazy uncle” types growing up, and it wasn’t hard to figure out that their behavior was not something to aspire to. I suspect your kids will ultimately have very little trouble knowing that something is amiss (kids are usually very good at it!), but in the meantime it can be difficult to explain to them why Aunt/Uncle SIL gets to do XYZ that they can’t (i.e., play video games all day/night). You won’t be living with them long-term, right? I think there’s very little chance of them believing that this is an okay way for an adult to live, given that it’s just one adult in their lives, and they won’t see them all that often. Again, if anything, you might try talking to them after your trip. If they’re old enough, maybe you can start the conversation by asking them questions about what they saw and heard?

      • Visiting in-laws / manners Q :

        SIL is close to 50.

        • Silvercurls :

          Ouch. I was afraid that untreated mental illness might be lurking in the background. Sorry that your family & in-laws are dealing with that. NAMI seems like a pretty good resource to me, but then I’m pretty comfortable with therapy, support groups, & so forth. YMMV re willingness of in-laws or SIL to explore this organization. The local branch where I live offers workshops, family-to-family training, and conference calls. (It also runs an awesome thrift shop–good for making both purchases and donations.) See www (dot) nami (dot) org for more info.

    • I would just tell your kids in no uncertain terms that they cannot say anything like that to SIL. If they’re old enough to ask questions like that, they are old enough to be told that they cannot do so. Promise them a reward if you have to.

    • I’m sorry, but my first thought upon reading this was “Why are your children so ill-behaved?” If your child is old enough to demand of a someone why they are so fat (in those terms), that child is old enough to be taught proper manners and discipline.

      Are these children terrorizing/bullying other children with similar taunts and questions on the playground at school? Sheesh.

      • Visiting in-laws / manners Q :

        Perhaps you could think of this as the curiosity of the innocent?

        They mean no harm.

        They are small children, too young for school, and are still learning about how the world works ideally, never mind how imperfect the world is.

        • I’ve seen a lot of kids ask these questions. One family I know of has very well-behaved children and each one asked their aunt about her weight. She responded “There’s more of me to love!” I thought that was a classy response.

  34. Visiting in-laws / manners Q :

    Dealing with 3 and 5 year olds. And a track record: “Why are you so fat?” And this involves nuance.

  35. saacnmama :

    How old are the filter-free kids? My DS amazed me when he was 7 with his ability to see exactly what was going on with his deadbeat dad when the guy plied him with sweets and gifts. It did not win him over one bit. Might your kids be ready to discuss life choices and mental illness? I’m not saying to discuss this in front of SiL, but over the course of the visit, in out of room conversations, you might be able to lead considerable understanding (with the side benefit of them seeing why you limit their screen time at home, if you do)