Weekend Open Thread

Cable Swing TunicSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Boden has a lot to like in the clearance section — given the frigid weather in NYC this weekend, a huge comfy sweater sounds about right. This one was $148, but is now marked $59.20-$74 — it’s available in three colors and sizes 2-18. (Pro tip: sign up for the email newsletter because they do occasionally offer free shipping and free returns through offers there.)  Cable Swing Tunic

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Comments

  1. Earlier this week (or maybe late last week?) someone commented on dropping Weight Watchers and using two free programs to lose weight with success. Can you comment further? (Or if someone remembers, point me to which thread it was on?) I think I’m ready to drop WW. Thanks!

    • Ugh, I just signed up with WW again and am now remembering why I hate the new system so much. In the past, I’ve tried the Livestrong app and myfitnesspal. Both have online and mobile app options. I like Livestrong because it breaks down your daily food intake by macronutrients in a handy pie chart. The down side is that the food database appears to be largely crowdsourced and so you can get some wonky differences between values for the same food.

      • What’s the new system? Did they make changes in 2013

      • What don’t you like about the new system? I just signed back up last week, and previously used the old points system.

        • I don’t know about TBK, but I feel kind of…hamstrung with the WW 360. I lost weight on PointsPlus in 2011, but it seems like I now have less points to play with AND food costs more points. The end result was that I was grumpy and hungry everyday.

        • When I say “new,” I mean PointsPlus vs Points (I think the change is from 2010). I lost about 25lbs post-law school/post-first year of BigLaw life back in 2005. I was never hungry. I drank a glass of wine most nights (and more on weekends since I was still a single girl in her 20s). I ate pizza most Friday nights (I LOVE pizza and being able to eat pizza while still losing weight — and I mean really eat, not like eat a salad then pick at one measly veggie-loaded slice, I mean like eat 3 slices of pepperoni — was a godsend). I lost 0.5-2.0 pounds consistently with only one or two weeks of gaining a pound or two. And then I kept the weight off for three years without really feeling deprived in any way (using their maintenance program). It was amazing. When I met my husband in 2009, I got sloppy about tracking and about eating (I was eating a lot more “boy” food like burgers and fries) and put back on about 10lbs. In 2011, I signed up for WW again since it had worked so well for me in the past. Well, all I did after following it to the letter was gain another 4 lbs. I went on some of their message boards to see what was up and people were saying things like “well, yes, fruit is ‘free’ but you should use common sense.” As another poster on that thread said “if using common sense in figuring out what to eat worked for me, I wouldn’t need to pay a company like WW to tell me what to eat!” Which is about how I feel. But I find the whole calorie thing to be way too confusing. I’m 5’9″ and online calculators typically tell me I can eat something like 2,400 cal./day (without only a little exercise) and maintain my weight. Um, no. If I ate that, I’d be a hippo. I’m just tired of religiously following a plan (like calculating calories) and then not having my weight budge. So I figured I’d give WW another shot. I’m skeptical, though, because when I put my food from yesterday (which exactly hit my daily points target) into the Livestrong app, it only came to 995 calories. I can tell you that 995 calories for anyone, and especially for tall girl like me, is not a healthy amount. But for now I’ll keep fidgeting with the system and see if I can figure out what works for me. (Btw, I don’t go to the meetings. I don’t see the point. I don’t have the time. And I just am not a meetings type of person. That’s what I loved about when I first did it in 2005 – pre-iPhones and mobile apps — was the online tracking.)

          • should be “with only a little exercise”

          • I just love the community on this blog so much! Everyone is so friendly, encouraging, and helpful-no mean or hate comments. As a recent college grad, it is so inspiring (and incredibly useful) reading about all these successful women.

          • I agree – I hated the whole no points for fruits and veggies bit. Those things have calories! Sometimes a substantial amount! Try Lose It – you can access it online and on most phones and it’s all free. Calorie counting, goal setting, the whole nutrient breakdown, being able to create recipes and favorite foods – it’s all there.

      • I know – I used it to lose 30 lbs pre-wedding back in ’06, but I guess I’m sort of over it now. Just looking to try something new. After 2 babies I’m looking to lose about 15 lbs.

      • Houston Attny :

        That was me – I just pay every month and had no idea there were free apps that do the same thing. What?! But Consumer Reports ranked MyFitnessPal very high, and I’ve also read MyNetDiary is good. Both are free and have apps. I opened a MyFitnessPal to compare to WW, and my first comment is they have every food known to humans in the database. Good luck!

        • I tried the oft-recommended “Lose It” app, but found they didn’t have nearly as many already-entered foods as MyNetDiary, so I went back to using that. Um, when I remember to use one.

          For calories burned, I’ve found my fitbit to be very helpful–I can see that some days I’m walking all over and it thinks I’ve burned 2300 calories…and other days closer to 1600, if I”m sitting all day.

        • I started using MyFitnessPal recently, and it’s been really easy to use. As Houston Attny mentioned, almost every food I eat is already in the database. For me, it also helps that my sister and best friend are using it too, so there’s a bit of social support/accountability to keep up with things.

    • Free WW alternatives are fitday dot com and myfitnesspal dot com.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Spark People is another good one for tracking, if you know your calorie range (or can figure it out). They don’t do points, but you do list all your food out and they keep a tally for you. very easy. And free.

      • I love SparkPeople. WW assumes you want to lose 10% of your body weight in 12 weeks, and that’s what their progam is geared towards. With Spark People you can tell it how much you weigh, how much you want to weigh, how active you are, and how long you want to take to lose the weight, and it gives you a custom calorie range. I have been able to consistently lose 1/2 lb per week comfortably, while WW 2 lb per week was just too much.

    • I love My Food Diary. It’s $9/mo (and as been for as long as I can remember). It’s calorie counting, but you can set how much you want to lose per week (max is around 2 lbs I think), it’s very easy to create your own recipes and set the portion size, it has a good database of food but you can always manually enter nutritional information, etc.

      • that sounds exactly like my fitness pal, which is free. I’ve used my fitness pal to lose 30lbs & I’m a calorie counting person too — I find it a lot easier because it’s something I’ve thought about for years v. a point system that would be all new.

        • It probably is very similar. I think I tried using my fitness pal and didn’t like the user interface, so I’ve stuck with My Food Diary.

        • viclawstudent :

          Lost 15 pounds with myfitnesspal, am now using it to maintain that weight, and have recommended it (with good results) to a bunch of other people. I have the app on my iPad and on my smartphone and love how many foods it has on it. I cannot believe it is free, for how awesome it is.

    • I do a lot of cooking from online recipes that rarely have calorie or nutrition information, and I have found that Calorie Count has the best recipe input system. You can copy and paste the whole ingredient list in, while on other websites I had to input ingredients one by one. Its a crowd-sourced site too and its database is lacking a bit compared to Spark People, but the interface is much more convenient for the way I eat.

    • big dipper :

      I used WW successfully after graduating from college (lost about 25 pounds). I subsequently gained it back (blah, stress eating during law school). I tried going back last year, but I’ve switched to myfitnesspal. And I love it.

      Myfitnesspal has a few features I am obsessed with:
      – Barcode scan on the smartphone app, you can scan whatever it is your eating and it automatically adds it for you. Amazing.
      – An easy to use recipe builder (I eat a few basic recipes)
      – You can copy meals and fitness activities over
      – Daily nutrition reports (you can figure out if you’re over/under carbs/fat/protein AND whether you’re getting the daily recommended vitamins)
      – Set weight loss to your own pace
      – Easy fitness tracking

      I like counting calories over WW because honestly, I feel like counting calories gives you the most flexibility. Sometimes I want to eat foods with a low nutritional value and not have it consume my entire daily points allowance (not all the time, just occasionally). Ultimately, diet tools are about what works for you, your eating habits and your lifestyle.

    • Related, I just downloaded the Moves app for iOS yesterday. It’s a free app. http://www.moves-app.com/

      Using just your iPhone, it can track the number of steps you’ve taken per day, and where and when you’ve driven or cycled. It automatically determines whether you’re walking, sitting at work, or on transport.

      • And I walked 5,418 steps today, and that was only when I had my phone. I also spent over 4 hours transporting myself – thank goodness it doesn’t track carbon fiber fooprint.

    • I like MyFitnessPal a lot for searching their database and the mobile app. I mostly use Bodybugg, which is an armband that measures your daily caloric burn through all kinds of scientific sensors, and then compares it to your calorie intake via the online tracking system to provide you with your calorie surplus/deficit. Sounds complicated, but it’s not. It actually is a whole lot more certain than using formulas to calculate your metabolic rate. I totally recommend it if you’re willing to invest in the system and $6.95/month subscription. I think when I got mine a year ago it was around $120 and came with a year’s subscription. The only downside is that their database needs more items in it. You can enter custom items, though, so once your typical favorites are in there, you’re good.

  2. Anon for this :

    Have any of you ever had a house built for you? Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have done differently if you could do it over again?

    • If you’re planning on staying there a long time, do all the upgrades you want/can afford. I think a lot of people say “I can do this myself for cheaper,” but it never gets done. Paint before you move all your stuff in – so much easier! We also had to landscape our backyard, not sure if that’s your case but factor in $$ for that.

      We upgraded our floors and cabinets and were pretty happy. But the backyard cost more than we anticipated. Wished we would have upgraded kitchen counters from the basic builder tile.

    • Yes, many years ago. It was great experience because my builder had a documentation system that left little room for errors. We actually had to fill out reams of questions before we broke ground that were as seemingly inane as “where in the bathroom do you want the toilet paper holder?” or “On which side of the fireplace do you want the electrical outlet?” It saved lots of do-overs and costly change orders. When we were exploring different builders, this guy said “There will be more than a million separate pieces and decisions that go into your home. If you don’t trust the person building the house, don’t build the house.”

      The best thing I did in the house? Raise the kitchen counters 3 inches because both my husband and I are tall. Sad I don’t live in that house anymore!

    • Yes, and I would absolutely do it again. After almost two years of looking, we never found a house that both of us fell in love with. Since we knew we wanted to be in our second home for 20 years or more, building made sense for us. The key is finding a builder your trust implicitly, though. Building is stressful enough because of the hundreds of decisions that need to be made and the pressure to meet the builder’s deadlines for all those decisions. The last thing you want is to be surprised by your builder and be surprised by extra costs or shoddy workmanship. I second anon3’s recommendation for finding a builder with an extensive online documentation system. It made things so much easier on everyone.

      • If you decide to build, check out the forums on That Home Site. Those posters seriously know their stuff. I hate to think of what a disaster my kitchen would’ve been without their advice on floor plans.

    • My parents built a few when I was a kid…long story. Anyway, for my “favorite” house, which I spent most of my childhood in, my family also raised the counters because my mom, at 5’7″ is the shortest in the family. We lived in SoCal and this turned out to be a turnoff to certain shorter buyers, but the family that bought loved it. The other things my parents did which were awesome: put in two dishwashers and two ovens in the kitchen–both very handy for entertaining; put in the “fake” fireplace logs and gas fireplaces that you just flip a swtich to turn on (this is more common on the West coast, where we have gas, than East Coast), put in several “nooks” in somewhat random walls which highlighted a few beloved (but inexpensive) art pieces, spoke with a landscape designer and built raised garden beds for vegetable gardening in the most-sun-appropriate portion of the house and variety-appropriate fruit trees; put window seats with built-in toy-box storage underneath to decrease clutter in the kids rooms; put in modular shelving in our garage to decrease clutter. I’ve also heard of soundproofing one room if you have a child that is very musical to allow for practice, which makes a lot of sense to me.

      Hope some of these strike your fancy. My parents have since moved, but I still really miss all of the thoughtful touches of that house!

      • We also had two dishwashers in my house growing up and it was awesome (and we were only a family of four).

        I am 5’9″ (long legs, short arms) and I put higher counters in my kitchen (two inches above standard) and have loved them. My mom is 5’7″ (shorter legs, longer arms) and thinks they’re too high.

    • Rural Lawyer :

      DH and I are attempting this this spring/summer, so I’m curious to see what others have to say about this! We started on the site prep and preliminary work last year, but haven’t actually started construction of the house yet. So far I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of decisions we’ve had to make already, and also a little disappointed to see items from my wishlist get crossed off as we realize they’re not feasible for our climate/floor plan/building site. One thing I was NOT prepared for was the amount of “helpful” input from parents, in-laws, coworkers, etc… this is probably specific to my situation, since we’re building down the road from my in-laws, but I could definitely do without the constant second-guessing of my choice in cabinets, layout, windows, and so on. That said, I know that the finished product will be beautiful when it’s all over–I just wish I could fast-forward to that point!

      • saacnmama :

        Stand your ground! The inlaws can come for dinner, but you will live there. No idea if your husband is like me, but if I had a husband, I’d really appreciate him encouraging me to go with my own decisions against my mother’s pressure.

    • We bought a house that the builder had started on spec, but it was really just at the stem walls/foundation phase. So, we got to pick out basically everything.

      The biggest things I wished I had caught/paid for:
      * Our house is all exterior brick except for one small area. To me, it would have been worth it to pay for the brick there.

      * Our interior doors are not paneled. They’re just plain flat MDF looking. I think paneled doors look a lot nicer.

      * We got to choose all our light fixtures, but didn’t get offered choices on hardware (drawer/door pulls, door knobs, etc.). I think door levers are more functional than door knobs (although harder to child proof) and would have preferred door levers.

      * One bathroom is partially carpeted. It would have been SO worth it to tile the whole thing.

      * Our project now is replacing all carpet outside the bathrooms with laminate or hard wood. This is a pain once you live there….

      * The brick mailbox has 2 side planting areas. I have never put anything there. It would look so much nicer without them.

      * If you want/need a sprinkler system, it’s nice to put it in before the sod. :-)

      * If you live in a ceiling fan area, go ahead and have the ceiling fans put in everywhere you might want them. They make a HUGE difference.

      * In their current house, my parents had a closet adjusted to make sure there was room for a vacuum in it — it was all shelves and they had some removed or done at half depth. Think about the stuff you have and generally where it will go and make sure there’s a place.

      * If I were designing something from the beginning, I’d want a drop-zone/mud room for things as you enter the house. We cause ourselves a lot of clutter.

      * I live in tornado alley, so this may not apply to you. We had to add a storm shelter. I wouldn’t buy a house without one (or a safe room) now. Adjust for your weather risks.

      If you’re going to pay for upgrades, consider whether you want the upgrades thrown into the mortgage or whether you have money to pay for them now. It’s cheaper in the long run to pay for them now rather than later.

      • I’ve never built a house, but my brother in law has built two. One thing they did in their second home was add insulation around bathrooms — apparently this isn’t standard procedure and it helps muffle noise. Kind of weird but it struck me as smart, especially for first-floor powder rooms that might be more public.

        • I wish more houses had this. It is so awkward to hear someone peeing while you are chit chatting in the kitchen. Or is that just me . . . ?

          • Not just you. If I were designing a house, I would not have the bathroom share a wall with the living room or dining room. The insulation is a better idea, though, and makes a lot of sense.

        • Consider insulating room(s) that will have television and/or bedrooms and/or all interior walls. Add solid wood interior doors if feasible. My previous house had all interior walls insulated and all solid wood doors. It was a marvelously quiet house – both as to interior noise such as the television and also as to exterior noise such as traffic, barking dogs, wind, etc. I would take interior insulation and wooden doors over more square footage, if necessary to make my budget. If you are a light sleeper, I would consider trying to place bedrooms on leeward side off house, away from prevailing winds.

      • As a follow-up to the ceiling fan recommendation, have 2 wall switches installed for any room with ceiling fans — one for lights and one for the fans. My daughter’s room only has one switch and she seems to always leave the light turned off at the fan (via the pull chain).

        They make special outlets now that are wired for 2 3-prong plugs and a USB connector. It might be worth it to have those in certain areas where you think you might want to charge iPods, phones, cameras, etc.

        If you have (or are planning to have kids), it might be worth it to put in the outlet plates that have the built-in safety — something like these: http://www.amazon.com/Mommys-Helper-Electrical-Outlet-Standard/dp/B00081J3OU

        The plan for our house showed eyebrow shaped windows. I had all those changed to rectangular because I think eyebrow shaped windows are much harder to dress (and everything has to be custom).

        Most people I know who work in construction want exterior walls framed with 2x6s (and then filled with insulation) instead of 2x4s so that there’s more insulation.

        We don’t have 2 ovens or 2 dishwashers (and would have rarely used them). However, if we had room I might be tempted to have 2 washers or 2 dryers. We do have space in the utility room for clothes to drip dry.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      This is helpful. I’d like to build our next house…

    • Anon for this :

      I really appreciate all the responses so far. Please keep them coming. Your tips are all really helpful. I hadn’t thought of making sure they insulate the bathrooms an putting in a sprinkler system. I will definitely do the 2 dishwashers if my budget will allow it. DH and I have a tear-down under contract right now and are conducting the feasibility study. We’ve spoken with a lot of builders and have chosen one that we think we will go with. Right now we are debating whether to go with a floor plan that this builder has used before or hire an architect to come up with something else. The builder’s floor plan is missing the mud room and probably does not take best advantage of this particular lot because the lot is a wierd shape and sloped.

      • MiddleCoast :

        Did not build a house, but did an addition which doubled the size of our house.

        Put extra outlets near your entertainment areas. Also, your home office area. Think of how you will be using your outdoor areas and put appropriate electric outlets, water spigots, gas pipes, etc. outside, e.g., patio, outdoor kitchen, front yard for Xmas lights, etc. Put lights on both sides of your outside doors, standard is usually just one side.

        Look closely at door/window placement in rooms from a how the will furniture fit standpoint. The older side of our house has windows smack dab in the center of wall, hard to arrange the furniture around.

        If you have a basement, try to have a straight shot from the stairs to an outside door. Makes life much easier to get things in/out, up/down. Actually, same holds true for stairs to a second floor, turns are horrid to manuever furniture through so make sure they are spacious.

        Think of traffic patterns in your house and have appropriate flooring; e.g., stone or tile in entryways where snow/water tracks in. Tile in laundry area.

        Definitely have a mud room. Put a large laundry sink in the laundry room, its amazing how much you will use that sink.

        If you hire an architect ask to see some of their constructed houses to see if you are on the same page.

        If you are in a northern climate, wait a winter before landscaping, pouring patios, etc. as the ground will sink. You have a teardown, make sure you and the builder discuss any trees/landscaping which you want to keep. Also ask how they plan on stablizing the slope while building (if its a steep slope). If there are perennials you want to keep, move them to a safe spot in the yard (this will save you money in the long run as you can divide them up and move them back once the house is done).

        • Consider the orientation of the house to the sun as well. Caveat – this advice is based on experience living in the northern US. Will the western setting sun be in your eyes when you’re washing dishes in the kitchen? Do you want the eastern sun to wake you up in the morning – put the bedrooms on the eastern side of the house. Do you have nice south facing windows to help with passive heating in the winter – they’re really nice spot for taking naps. The northern side of the house won’t have much sun and will have harsher winds so you can minimize the number of windows.

          • Boston 1L :

            Along with the sun, different orientations and positions of trees, etc. may affect your utilities (as well as convenience). For example, if there are many trees, it creates a lot of shade and so you have to worry about cooling the house less. However, if it is a balance between this and the ideal sun orientation or an awkward entry form the street, it probably is not as large of a deal as those would be on a daily basis. (I apologize if that is unclear at all.)

      • Be careful about insulating some interior walls – it can really screw up the heating/cooling system – we did that on a room we redid and that room was always about 6 degrees hotter than any other room in the house.

    • Boston 1L :

      Where are you looking to build? I might (as well as others on here) have suggestions for contractors or good places to get items or similar things that vary by area.

      Another thing to consider is whether you want to do stick built or modular. Modular sounds like trailer-home to some people, but it actually results in tighter homes which are greener, cheaper to operate, and require less maintenance down the road – overall, they are usually (depending on area) a better deal (though not always). If you use the right company, you can alter them in almost any way you want. (Not to sound like an ad – my father is a contractor and I’ve worked with his company a bit.)

      Finally, you should try going to Home Shows in your area. They usually are free or have a cheap entry fee, and there are some great ideas (and deals) at them.

    • More tips
      : In-floor plug-points for lamps and charge-able devices if you don’t want power cords snaking across rooms. And agree with everyone who’s mentioned extra outlets.

      : Outlets for garden lighting – you may not have a clear idea of how you might want to light your garden when it’s mature but can provide for properly water-proofed outlets outside the house

      : Knee-level taps in every bathroom for filling buckets/ mopping and ideally with the flexibility to attach a hose with nozzle for cleaning the bathroom surfaces

      : Photos of all wiring, plumbing, in-floor heating etc before the final surfaces go on – really excellent to have if you need to contemplate repairs or refurbishment in future

      : Also agree on the ceiling fans if they fit your climate – their presence makes the difference between whether you’ve got a comfy nook for reading, doing homework etc vs. unusable dead space

      : If you have AC units with external parts, make sure they are readily accessible for cleaning and repairs

      : Attic/ basement/ large store room if you have the room for it – great to be able to put away unused stuff including the odd bit of furniture

      : Built-in storage – this is now very well-covered in a bunch of organisation books/ blogs but some things to think about would be where do kids’ toys, cleaning aids, big kitchen appliances, bills and home-related paperwork go ?

      We’ve done extensive work on 2 different homes – a cantilevered 60s house in a hillside suburb and a traditional wooden structure in a village, effectively tearing down to the shell and rebuilding for modern wiring, plumbing etc. For the first, our big bugbear has been the exposed brickwork – it was original to the house and had seemed sound, so no work was done initially, but we’ve since had issues with water seepage in heavy rain and 2 rounds of work to supplement the original mortar and to coat the brick in water-proofing sealant (expensive and dangerous because of the cantilevered location). Basically, it was a mistake to assume that older brick-laying would hold up to modern standards.

      For both projects though, we used a designer who also doubled as the project manager (architect not required since we kept the original structures) and this really worked for us. Our designer provided a tonne of useful input on design (all the stuff about taps, outlets, photos are from her and she was supervising details down to which direction doors should open for maximum user-friendliness) and on sourcing stuff, and it made a big difference to have a project manager who was independent of the builder and who looked after our interests in the matters of quality, billing etc on top of the more specific project-management functions.

    • All the houses I ever lived in growing up were ones my parents had built. Their current house is the nicest. And their kitchen is absolutely beautiful. They built an “upside down” house so the kitchen, dining room, etc take advantage of the gorgeous views of Buzzards Bay on the Cape. They also put in unique touches like a custom designed stained glass window.

    • a walk in shower with a hand-held hose in the mud room for dog washing… As a dog person I loved it.

  3. Life change :

    After five years at BigLaw, I had a little one, and am considering staying at home for a few years. Honestly, I never thought I could be a stay-at-home mom, but now I sort of ache to do it. I miss my little guy so much while I’m at work, and even just for logistical reasons, loved my maternity leave. I loved that our house ran smoothly (no scrambling to get a million errands done on the weekend, etc.), all while spending awesome time with my son and my husband.

    My husband and I are now putting the financial pieces together so that I can stay home for a few years. But, of course being the totally risk-adverse atty, I’m now panicked at the idea. I constantly worry about whether being a stay-at-home mom to a toddler will be pure misery, even if I really enjoyed the baby-phase. Also, I worry I’ll struggle with the title change – I do have pride for my job and all of my friends are working moms in BigLaw. And, of course, will the “break” be a dealbreaker for getting back into the practice in a few years?

    Anyway, long winded way of asking whether anyone has thoughts regarding a total shift from a busy job to a SAHM.

    • How old is your child now? We have a toddler and I feel like keeping him entertained on weekends is a full time job. He’s increasingly self-sufficient, but not the type where I can clean the house and and run a bunch of errands while he happily self-amuses. So we are still limited to naps/evenings/ living with a little dirt. My SAHM friends have also expressed similar feelings that there aren’t enough hours in the day for child-raising and smooth house running.
      I will say that I am happier in my regional firm with a toddler than I was in BigLaw with an infant.

      • Life change :

        6 months right now. I am loving this stage – and am having serious guilt about missing so many moments – but yeah, I’m a little afraid of being a full-time mom to a toddler.

        • Something that helped us with the feeling that we were missing milestones was treating the first time we saw the milestone as the first time that our child did it. Our daycare provider was very good about not spoiling the surprise and letting us have the glory of the moment. It’s a mind trick to be sure, but it made a big difference in the guilt.

          • Research, Not Law :

            I do the same. I also remind myself that SAH doesn’t mean that you will catch all the firsts, either.

            FWIW, I think toddlers are way more fun than babies.

          • Way more fun!

    • Anonymous :

      I was a SAHM for three years (infants and toddlers) and — like any other job — its what you make of it.

      Make an effort to get out of the house, sign up for mommy and me stuff, and to meet people. People who say “I was so bored as a SAHM” probably didn’t make much effort to make themselves not bored, IMHO. Many gyms have babysitting, so look into that if exercise is your thing — it’s ok to have an hour or two to yourself every day.

      • Life change :

        Ultimately, are you glad you stayed at home?

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, totally. It’s a very personal decision, and I do not judge anyone because of their working/SAHM status. For me, it was the right thing to do, at the right time. I have to admit, though, there was a big adjustment period.

          • Life change :

            Glad to hear it, and I appreciate the insight. I agree – it’s a completely personal decision – and I’ve seen people do the working parent thing poorly and the stay at home parent thing poorly. I’m worried my fear of the unknown will keep me from doing something that strays from the norm of my current colleagues/close friends.

    • I think I want to DO this ALSO, but I FIRST must find a BOYFREIND, and then have him MARRY me and then we have to have a BABY b/f I can be a SAHM! Yay!

      My father said that time is runing short for me so I HAVE to loose weight in my tuchus to get a guy to marry me. Myrna is helpeing me by walking the 2.5 miles down town with me in the morning b/f takeing to subway some more, but she is NOT stoppeing by to pick me up which mean’s I have to walk all alone back UPTOWN at nite. It is LUCKY that BLOOMIE’s is about 1/2 way so I stop and get FROZEN Yogury at 40 Karrot’s and then do the last mile or so up 3rd Avenue b/c Lex is to busy for me and there is NOT alot of room on the sidewalk. Also b/c there is a SUBWAY there, alot of smelly people lay around askeing for MONEY on Lex.

      So I am about READY to leave now and will NOT go home until tomorow morning b/c Myrna is having 2 guy’s over to her place–one mabye for me. I hope he is the one, b/c I need to be a stay at home Mom! YAY! (But I won’t tell him that right away–he probabley want’s me to be a judge or go in house if I decide NOT to be a partner!) YAY!

      • Ellen, if you would tell me where you are, I would meet you and you could consider me as boyfriend / husband material. It does not matter if your dad has money–you sound like a very intelligent attorney and that is what I am. I think that together, we can make some beautiful children, and if not successful at first, we can have one heck of a time trying!

    • Very personal decision! I can’t weigh in on what it’s like to be a SAHM, but I do work four days per week so that I get one day to hang with my kiddo. I imagine it would be harder to define work/life balance in biglaw, but for me having a flexible, 80% time job has been the perfect mix. However, I never ached to stay at home with my child, either — I know for a fact that I need to work in order to stay sane. It’s as though I like/appreciate my kid more when I get some time away from her.

      In a perfect world I’d have a truly part-time 3-day-per-week job, but that’s not in the cards for us financially or geographically right now and I love what I do so I’m OK with that. Just wondering if you can dial back to TRUE part time to test the waters for six months if you’re worried about committing whole-hog to being stay at home. Good luck!

    • Anne Shirley :

      I think there are lots of great inspiring examples of women who re-enter the legal profession and do well. But all of the actual data I’ve seen says it’s really hard, you’ll be years behind in psy, and your career will not look the same. All of which might be completely worth it, but I think a solid assessment has to look at the worst outcomes and the best.

      • saacnmama :

        Reentry is awful. My mentor told me to be careful because he’s seen many people lose their “edge”. I’m not sure if I have or not, because my concentration just isn’t what it was–trying to build that back up! I used to have that awesome ADD hyperfocus.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Re-entry is the hardest. I can’t speak to law specifically, but I can’t imagine any professional career that allows someone to leave for 5 years and pick right back up where they left off. I personally will likely never be SAH just for that reason. If you can do part-time, it would be ideal. It keeps you active and ready to move back to full-time if/when you desire, but gives you much more home time with kiddo. It’s also, I imagine, a nice way to have both worlds.

      A coworker friend is deliberating going SAH right now. I can tell she’s sensitive about it because she fears being judged by her working mother peers. I can assure you that I, at least, do not.

  4. Research, Not Law :

    If you bank with a community bank or credit union, do you feel like you get better service and better products than at a large bank?

    I’m reeling from an annoyance that may be what pushes me out of our major bank. I’m not sure there’s a reason to stay, but I don’t need to rock the boat if there’s no reason to go. We like the convenience of ATM deposits (which a smaller bank/cu may offer), but travel very little any more (none internationally). We mainly just need a savings account and two checking accounts with debit cards. We have two community banks and at least one credit union available.

    • I don’t know where you live, but I had my accounts at a local bank pre-Katrina and it took a little while for them, after the hurricane, to resettle their offices in another part of the state. That local bank was bought out by Capital One so now, if I had to be out of the city, I wouldn’t be at all concerned about my location. Of course, online banking helps (we didn’t have it then) but we weren’t sure what to do at all when we first got re-settled in PA. Just my two cents and you may not be anywhere where natural disasters are possible.

    • I switched from Wells fargo to PNC, and never looked back. The hours were better (Sundays! til 7pm! times other than when I was at work!), I get ATM fee refunds, no monthly fees, and a vaiety of online tools that make saving easier (such as a “Reserve” account where you can put money you are saving for a big purchase and track progress). If a smaller local/regional bank has features, no matter how small, that make your life easier, it’s worth it. If you are putting up with a string of minor annoyances just because it seems easier than switching, it isn’t a huge deal to switch, and was absolutely worth it to me. You might end up with new annoyances (PNCs website doesn’t always function flawlessly), but without the years of built up frustration. YMMV

    • I’ve been with a credit union for about 15 years. I love it. We have our checking account, main credit card and savings account through the credit union. We’ve also financed our vehicle loans through the saame place.

      Ours offers online banking, online bill pay and they have a mobile app. There is a branch about 5 minutes from my house, but even if there wasn’t they process check deposits via mail.

      For the times I’ve traveled internationally, I just call and they update my account. I’ve never had any problems.

      The only downside is that they are not staffed 24/7, so I have to talk to someone during the weekday. However, they do have 24/7 service for lost/stolen credit cards.

    • We switched from a big international bank to a community bank, and I love it. The fees at the old bank kept increasing, and our interest rate dropped at a similar pace. The new one is in our neighborhood, has better interest rates and good customer service. Totally worth it!

    • Meg Murry :

      I’ve been with my local bank since I was a kid, and I used large national banks when I lived in other parts of the country. I can only speak for my particular regional bank, so you will have to see if yours is the same.

      Regional bank pros: When you want to get a mortgage, loan, set up a new account, etc, there are usually only 1-2 people per bank that do that, so you always get the same person and tend to get quick service. My regional bank has a “where everyone knows your name” attitude, which is very nice, and once you have a personal relationship with people at the bank, they will go out of their way to be helpful and get things done quickly. Our bank is also very conservative on loans, which gives me confidence that they will not be folding due to risky loans (example: when looking for a mortgage in 2007, they offered my husband and I 30,000 less than other lenders. Personally, this is a pro for me, as what they offered us was what we had budgeted we could actually afford, as opposed to other lenders which threw so much money at us and encouraged us to buy a house that would have stretched our budget to have 0 wiggle room for disaster). Also, their “free” checking really is free, not “free as long as you meet criteria a, b, c, d, and e” like I encountered with some big banks.

      Regional bank cons: My regional banks “new and improved” online banking that was rolled out this year is still way behind what BoA, Wells Fargo and Fleet/Bank Boston/EveryOtherNameTheyHadInTheMergers were offering 10-15 years ago. The regional’s online system wasn’t compatible with Quicken/Mint/etc for a few years, and often when they do an “upgrade” something breaks with their Quicken/Mint conduits and I have to go back to manual CSV exports. Although ATMs are plentiful near my house, if I travel outside my county I will pay at ATM surcharge to use someone else’s ATM. Also on the fiscal conservative loans, they would not give us a loan to buy a rental property – they only do loans for primary residences – pro for being fiscally conservative, but con for us personally since we had to get another bank to do our rental property loan.

      My husband and I believe in hedging risk, so we actually have our primary accounts at 2 regional banks, and then a secondary account at a national bank, which works for us.

  5. nice cube :

    i need help finding an apartment to rent in DC. ive been looking on craigslist, but i havent found much. should i talk to an agent? how does that work? are there other sources?
    i am looking for a 2 bedroom within 2700$ in NW and it seems impossible

    • The budget is low, depending on where in NW you are looking. I would try Padmapper, it uses craiglist listings but has better filters and shows apartments as pins on a map, so you can get a better sense of where apartments are in relation to Metro/etc.

    • I don’t have suggestions for agents, but two bedrooms under that price range aren’t uncommon in Columbia Heights. You can also find them in “swankier” parts of NW if you’re willing to live in a basement.

    • If you are open to Silver Spring (5-minute walk from the Metro), I know of someone in a 2-br/2.5-ba townhouse-style apartment in that price range. Post an email address if you’re interested, and I’ll email you more details.

      • Sorry, not sure if the details on that are obvious. This person is looking for someone to take over her lease, and you’d have the option to renew.

    • I’m not sure agents are really a thing in the DC rental market. I never knew anyone who used one. I frankly found my DC apartments on apartments dot com. Also, are you set on DC? Just over the river in Crystal City are TONS of very reasonable apartments. The commute into DC can be shorter (depending on where you live/work) and the taxes are waaaay lower (plus you don’t have to deal with DC government — believe me, no DMV is as bad as the DC DMV. They are evil.)

      • nice cube :

        thanks, everyone!
        i think i am set on living in DC… i used to live there and have recently lived in arlington for the past 3 years. and while i have come to love certain aspects of arlington, it feels like something is missing here. i miss the riff raff of the city.

        • Then I definitely recommend Columbia Heights – if you’re not set on a fancy building with amenities, you can get a 2-bedroom while within your price range.

        • If riff raff is what you’re after, there are a ton of new apartment buildings in NOMA/H st area that have crazy deals while they try to fill up the buildings. Really nice apartments, somewhat questionable (but rapidly changing) streets; but still not NW.

          The hunt sucks, but I’m sure it’s possible to find something that meets all your criteria.

          • Second! I just moved to a new building on New York Ave, and it’s been pretty nice so far. It does feel a bit … in transition. I like it a lot though. There are two new grocery stores around, and lots of restaurants opening up, and lots of transportation around. I don’t know about the cost of the 2BRs, but the 1BRs seem pretty reasonable (high for what I’d like to pay, but good for being so close to transit).

        • Divaliscious11 :

          What is this “riff raff” you miss?

    • I love apartment hunting. Here is one in van ness- the archstone consulate

      http://www.archstoneapartments.com/Apartments/District_of_Columbia/Washington_DC_Area/The_Consulate/

      What is your preferred neighborhood?

    • I’ve seen rentals in your price range in Columbia Heights/Petworth.

    • handle = mindy project reference?

    • kerrycontrary :

      Try Quebec house is cleveland park, their prices look reasonable. I live in DC metro area and craigslist has been my best bet, but a lot of people just find places via word of mouth. Also, people who individually rent out their condo usually go through a realtor, so go to a long and foster agent in DC. I’m not sure what costs are for that, but this could be worth it.

    • Petworth – the apts right over the metro. There was a 1 bd with den when we were looking that was 2200 and it was GORGEOUS. Fun area

    • I am using an agent currently, he is someone I used to work with a while back, and it just helps me to have one to get a wider glimpse of what is open. Ted Smith – http://www.tedsmithsellsdc.com. Lots of energy, and although he mostly does real estate buyers, he can point you in the right direction.

      Good luck with your search! I am in the middle of mine and cannot wait to just move, cut my commute down an hour, drink a glass of wine, and be back in the city. Win, win, win, win.

    • I would recommend looking up the real estate / property management companies for apartments you’re interested in (Bernstein, Chatel, and WC Smith usually have lots in NW) and working backwards—call them up or go to their website, and see what else they have. I’ve had great luck contacting a place about an apartment, then saying “what else do you have in X price range in X neighborhoods?” You’re more likely to end up with a one-on-one tour instead of a free-for-all open house via Craigslist. Good luck!

    • House hunting is a lot like job hunting in that the best options are never advertised. You have to network and find places by word of mouth. I used a real estate agent to find my last two rentals in DC, and I used a property manager to find renters for my condo. Much, much more effective than wading through the spam on Craigslist. The landlord pays the realtor’s commission, usually around $500 or some equivalent percentage of a month’s rent. If you want to search listings yourself, check out homesdatabase dot com — there’s an option to search for residential rentals.

      Another strategy is to look for sale listings for homes that have been on the market for a couple of months — often, the owners are anxious to avoid carrying the full costs of two households and are willing to negotiate renting. Avoid corporate apartments…the rent will ALWAYS skyrocket in the second or third years. Most private owners won’t raise the rent on a good tenant, because good, long-term tenants are SO hard to find.

  6. Ladies, I’m looking for any renovation tips you can offer. DH and I want to have our kitchen and our (only) bathroom re-done this year. Neither of us has ever been through a renovation, so we don’t know what to expect, how to plan, etc. We do have a line on a good contractor. Do we need a designer too? Both rooms are small (it’s an NYC apartment), so the existing layouts will stay. I’m worried that there are key questions I won’t know to ask.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • Anonymous :

      Plan everything out. Changing anything costs money. Plan plan plan. Did I say plan? Plan some more. Get lots of samples.

      Take your budget, double it just in case. Don’t tell the contractor about your $$$ cushion. Once you open up the walls, you don’t know what you will find — creative wiring, mold, rusted pipes, etc. Those all cost time and money to fix, as well as take time for different trades to be scheduled, inspections, etc.

      Its not that your contractor is trying to charge you tons, its that he doesn’t know what is behind your walls either.

      Pick a contractor that you get along with and like — its truly a gut feeling, like hiring a nanny. You’ll be seeing a lot of this person, and he’ll be sending you some very large bills. Make sure you can discuss things civilly with this person.

      • Anonymous :

        I just noticed — your only bathroom? You must move out for the duration of the reno. I know, everyone thinks they can get by, running to Starbucks and relying on the goodwill of neighbors.

        You can’t.

        Plan on a bathroom reno taking at least a month. Everything takes 2x as long as you think it will, and there will be delays. Your reno will be scheduled in and around someone else’s project — that’s the nature of the business. Your tile guy will set your tiles for 3 days, then you wait for it to dry. During the drying time, he works on someone else’s project. When that project is done — which may or may not be on your schedule — he’ll come back to grout your bathroom. Someone else’s delays become your delays.

        You can live without a kitchen, you can’t live without a toilet. BTDT. (Also, the health department won’t let you.)

        • Second this! We did our only bathroom last year – naively thought we’d be out of the house for a week. More like 5! Be clear on what you are responsible for and what your contractor is responsible for. Ours expected us to buy all the materials and fixtures ourselves, which was good because we got exactly what we wanted, but bad because we didn’t take into consideration some things that a contractor would know…for example we needed special tile for the edges of the shower, we got a bathtub that was too narrow for our space, etc.

          I think you can get by without a designer if layouts are staying the same. You can get a ton of good, free advice at places like The Tile Shop and specialty cabinet stores if you find the right salesperson. DH and I know nothing about design and we plucked our bathroom straight from a catalog – it turned out great!

      • ExcelNinja :

        +1. We found some crazy stuff behind the walls and under the floor, including that the bathtub that was balanced on a sheet of rotting/rotted plywood over a huge hole…no idea how it hadn’t fallen through. I never believed that renovations would take 5x as long and cost 2x as much but it is true, true, true.

    • We had some minor work done in our bathroom. There were problems with the tile in the shower stall and the walls were getting residue from moisture buildup. I can comment on some of the minor things

      1. Get a paint that is made for bathrooms/kitchens. Ours is easy to wipe off. If there is moisture on the walls above the shower, my husband will wipe it off with a towel.

      2. Get a good exhaust fan. That will greatly keep the moisture/condensation down while the shower is running.

      3. Make sure the tile is sealed/caulked correctly to prevent any leakage. You may want to check with your contractor to make sure they are experienced in tile work (if that’s relevant to your bathroom set up).

    • Going through this right now. I’m a total newbie at this, but here are some things that helped me:

      – Spent some time really thinking about what the goal is (to make it look nice? or to remodel so you can sell easier?). Decided how many years we expected to live in the current place.
      – Spent a lot of time up front looking at pictures online / pinterest to have an idea of what we liked
      – Brought a realtor friend to give an assessment of how much we should put in to make sure we got our money back (or close to it). The space is small, so this helped a lot, because there’s a certain point after which you won’t get your money back.
      – Made a wish list (new flooring, change countertops, etc) and brought 3 different contractors to give quotes. They came from friends’ recs and from Angie’s List.
      -Made a spreadsheet outlining budget and all expected expenses from labor, to materials to bathroom hardware and other small things.
      – Asked lots of questions. At first I felt silly asking the contractor 100 questions, but I prefer to ask too many questions now than not like a choice he made later.
      – Worked out a written agreement with the contractor. This ruffled some feathers because an attorney’s idea of an agreement/ contract and a contractor’s idea is not the same. But we got things on paper.

      We keep reminding ourselves that this is not our dream house, so not everything has to be top of the line. It’s helped a lot to continually update the budget spreadsheet because stuff adds up FAST so trade offs have to be made.

      We did bring in a designer for a couple of consultation because I was worried we had no clue what we were doing. It was sort of a bust because we weren’t clear on what exactly she was supposed to do, and we hadn’t set aside a lot of funds for her servics. She did suggest paint colors for throughout the house, and that was helpful because I have zero design skills.

      We start the actual work next week – ask me how it went in a month!

    • I highly recommend using a kitchen designer — it’s a minimal cost (typically) compared to the overall cost of a renovation & I found it invaluable in exploring the different options that you have with your space. Mine came up with the plans for the contractor too so there weren’t any screw ups.

    • We did a complete reno of our only full bath (we had a half-bath and showered at the gym). It took just under 3 weeks, and that included every single thing, including re-framing the floor below it, redoing the walls and re-plumbing.

      The best thing we did was have everything on-site before the reno started or scheduled to arrive within the first week while they were doing the structural work. We did have one hiccup (incorrect piece ordered, but detected early and only cost us a day).

    • Thank you all!

  7. Research, Not Law :

    How does Boden fit? I like their clothes, but I always worry that they are cut to fit up and down straight figures and won’t work for my very curvy figure. As reference, AT fits me well (particularly their curvy/Julie fits) and JCrew is hit or miss (a definite no on pants, but I’m mostly interested in tops and dresses).

    • long time lurker :

      I buy my jcrew size in boden tops and tunics, and am fairly generous of bust. Dresses are a little hit or miss. I have a couple I love, but I have also returned a few for being rather shapeless.

    • Big in the bust, big in the waist, narrow in the hips, in my experience.

      I’ve returned almost everything I’ve bought from Boden.

    • Lady Harriet :

      I have three Boden dresses and one skirt, all hand-me-downs. The friend I got them from said they run about a size large, and I would say that’s accurate, especially for the dresses. I’m 5’4″, usually a size 12/14 and a 32FF with an apple or high-hip hourglass shape if that helps. I just had to retire one of the dresses because it was way too big (size 14, but fit more like a large 16) and the other two are doable, but work better belted. The skirt fits fine, but usually skirts are the easiest garment for me to fit into.

    • Agree they run large. I am rarely the size below my normal size, but at Boden, I am. Also agree with the generous of bust/waist, tighter in hips description. I buy things there, but find I am in-between sizes a lot, and sometimes, if their stuff is on sale, will pay to have the bust taken in or waist nipped, bc next size up is too big. I would size down. They have very accurate measurements for each garment if you click throught the item description too. This helps a lot.

    • Research, Not Law :

      This is helpful. Keep it coming.

      I’m a 5’1″ 32E with narrow shoulders, wide hips, and what can best be described as a small waist with baby pouch? Sounds like tops may work but dresses may not fit in the hips. Good to know they run large as I would have assumed the opposite.

      • Even the tops may not work. I am more hourglassy (36-27-37) and the tops are almost unerringly tight in the bust and slightly too low cut for work, untailored/baggy at the waist, and TIGHT across the bottom of the shirt at the hips. That is just not a flattering shape. I love their quality and fabrics, but I have had to completely ban myself from future Boden purchases. I just went through my closet recently, and a huge percentage of items I got rid of were from there.

        • And, I also think that there’s something strange with their returns. Don’t they just give you store credit? I feel like that’s been my general experience with them, so after I ran through the store credit I just stopped buying from them. And I am down to maybe 1 remaining Boden item after purging my closet.

          • oil in houston :

            no, they give you your money bakc.
            on the sizing – pay attention to each measurements for each piece of clothing, they all differ! I always check, and never had an issue (but it can sometimes be really odd!)

          • I’ve only returned one thing but my credit card was refunded. This was within the last 6 months.

          • My return process with them has always been breezy and the credit my card fast. Boden is kind of like my fantasy catalog. I devour it when it comes, and then whittle down to a few choices and they come and I usually only like one thing. The rest fits, as many folks have said, too tight or too loose in weird places. Many of their items are “tunic-y” or really long (I am short of waist, long of limb).

      • SoCal Gator :

        Sorry, but I think Boden runs small on the top. I usually order a size up from my normal J Cr*w or Banana or AT size. Otherwise the shoulders are too narrow. On the bottom I would say they are true to size. Also, check the review comments. Their garments really differ and some tops are larger than others. I try to see the consensus of the reviewers and then decide on a size.

  8. Mom update:

    Things have been stabilizing but still quite difficult. It’s really hard for her to accept that she is losing so much independence, and I guess I have been maybe going about things the wrong way by pushing her so hard to make so many changes at once. She had two major meltdowns, screaming at me and my aunt about how we don’t understand, are trying to ruin her life, etcetc. I guess she is right that we don’t understand, but we are certainly not trying to ruin her life…but we have all talked now and things seem better. The flaky aunt is at least kind of stepping up and not just sending me emails telling me I’m not doing enough, and the other aunt is now in remission from her cancer and will soon be able to actually pitch in with practical help again. This second aunt has also been there for my mom to talk to, which apparently has been very helpful for her.

    It seems she is now, after going back and forth for a while, actually considering assisted living. She is going to do some research this weekend and then make calls to set up visits starting next week.

    Legally: the condo company’s lawyer’s sent us a letter essentialy saying that if their insurance goes up, they will charge her for it and put a lien on her unit if necessary. Our reading between the lines of this is “Get out ASAP and maybe we won’t come after you for any money.” This has actually been somewhat of a blessing in disguise as it is forcing her to deal with where she should live, and that it is more efficient to have her move into a retirement facility than to keep paying for lots of private care that includes strangers in her house too many days a week.

    I don’t know; I am pretty high-strung sometimes and it is possible that I overreact to many little things, but moms sure know how to push your buttons, right? In any case, today feels like the best day in a while, she apologized for the screaming fits, acknowledged that they were inappropraite, and made an extra appointment with her psychiatrist to talk about how stressed and helpless she is feeling. He is prescribing her a low dose of Ativan to help with the anger/antsiness/anxiety, which is really a relief to everyone involved!

    I want to thank all you ladies who have been there for me, and sent me emails and care packages and love and support from all over the world! It is so heartening! And in lots of ways, this whole thing has given me some more faith in humanity – everyone who I have overshared with at work (lol, that happens to me when I am exhausted and emotionally vulnerable :p) has been so great.

    I think that’s about it….Hopefully things keep going well and I can focus on the fact that it is T MINUS 29 DAYS TO CUBA. Given what the weather has been like in Winnipeg lately, and that Professor Bhaer has never been anywhere tropical before, AND we have a sweet apartment rented in Havana with an awesome terrace, WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!!

  9. Anyone been to the Austin Bar Foundation Gala? What did you wear? I’m planning to wear a long dress, but I’d hate to be the only one in a long dress. In most cities I wouldn’t hesitate, but since Austin is pretty causal I thought I’d check here. Thanks!

  10. I need some advice… I have a phone interview Monday and I’m not sure what to say about how I address the job I just lost.
    I asked Ask-a-Manager too but I’m trying to cover my bases. I don’t want to say I resigned because I would have done it without a job lined up, but my former boss said I could say that. I also don’t know if I was laid off or fired so I’m not sure about what to say for that idea..
    Any thoughts on the best way to spin this?
    I’ve been working through scenarios to prep and I still don’t think I have a good answer.. My career service center told me it wasn’t their problem and I could try back in February when I called so that doesn’t seem to be a helpful course of action. Thanks!

    • If your old job said that you could say you resigned, I might say that. I might say something about how it wasn’t a great fit for you because of x,y, and z and you wanted something closer to [current position] so you left. The interviewer has no idea that you aren’t the beneficiary of a very large trust fund allowing you to resign before something else was lined up.

      • Sorry, I typed that in a hurry and it doesn’t make much sense. By “current position,” I meant position you are interviewing for. You could make it seem like the old job had no opportunity for advancement or transition into what you wanted to do, so after some careful consideration and discussion, you decided to leave.

      • I agree. I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing to a future employer that you resigned from an old job with nothing lined up. Just say it wasn’t a good fit and that you wanted to focus all your energy on finding the “right” situation. If there is a gap between when you left your old job and now, you can always say you traveled for a bit.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      If they ask why you aren’t at X company anymore, I think you can just say, “It wasn’t a great fit for me.” I think that doesn’t imply anything, really. Obviously if they press and ask if you were fired/laid off or resigned, you have to tell them the truth (but if your former boss said, just say you resigned, then I’d say that).

    • GirlMeetsWorld :

      I think it’s important to rehearse your answer out loud until you deliver it with sincerity. Keep it brief, positive, and somewhat vague. Do not speak negatively about your former employer and do not ramble. Even if your interviewer asks you about why you left, they are unlikely to continue to ask probing questions because it’s uncomfortable and because you have other positive qualities that they want to get into. I would say that you were let go or that you resigned, that you enjoyed the experience and learned a lot but that you are looking for [the attributes of this position]. You do want to spin your response to be about “fit” but I would highlight that there’s a good fit b/t your background and the new position. Like the earlier post, I don’t think you should worry about any backlash from resigning. People quit all the time, for all kinds of reasons. Focus on what you have to offer. Good luck!

    • You say you’re not sure if you were laid off or not. Were there lay-offs at the time? Or could you see that business in your area was drying up? If so, I think you can honestly say “there really wasn’t the business coming in the door to support my division at the staffing levels we had” or something similar. You’re not saying that you in particular were definitely laid off, and if it’s vague (i.e., it’s not that you were caught stealing and fired on the spot) then it’s totally fair to point out factors that may have led to downsizing. (As long as you’re not insinuating something about the company that’s untrue.)

    • “It wasn’t a great fit” I think is the right phrase for when it was kind of mutual. And if your boss said its okay to say you resigned, then I think that’s the way to go!

    • Thanks everyone! I will work on rehearsing an answer until I have it down cold.
      TBK, it was an office of 4 people and their hours in my department had increased by about 75% when they hired 2 full time people (one of whom was my supervisor and never goes to work)
      So there is an argument to be made for downsizing since they really didn’t need all those hours.

    • lawsuited :

      I’d say that you were laid off, which suggests that the firm was having problems, not you. When we interview prospective lawyers at my firm, we worry if they quit their previous job because of “fit” – it says they’re likely to quit on us too!

      • Anonymous :

        *eyeroll*

        We’re only going to quit on you if you’re an asshole. Which, it sounds like you are for dinging a person that’s unhappy in their job and seeking something better. Employees are supposed to like working for you. It’s not some giant power trip or endurance content.

        • lawsuited :

          Yikes, Anonymous, I offered my view in an attempt to be helpful to the OP, because some prospective employers may interpret quitting negatively, whether that’s fair or not. Law firms can be challenging work environments so resilience is a positive thing.

          I’m sorry to have personally offended you.

      • really? if they didn’t fit at their previous job, that tells you they won’t fit at your firm either?

        • harriet the spy :

          I think the trick is to figure out if someone didn’t fit at their previous job because of factors specific to their previous job, or because of factors general to the industry. There’s a big difference between someone who didn’t like their job at Sullivan and Cromwell and someone who just doesn’t like their job as a BigLaw associate.

      • Interviews are about making judgments on people with a limited amount of information. I think that fear about someone who quit a prior job is common, even if it’s not fair in many cases.

  11. Book Recomendations :

    Anyone have anything spectacular that they’ve recently read?

    I generally like fiction (old or new), but loved Devil in the White City (recommended from someone on this site). I’m open to a biography if it was really well written and engaging.

    • I’ve read all three of Gillian Flynn’s books: Gone Girl, Dark Places and Sharp Objects. They are good mystery/thrillers.

    • I’m really enjoying Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir, but I started out biased because I lurve her.

    • TO Lawyer :

      Was also going to suggest Gillian Flynn! I’ve also really enjoyed Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.

      • Did you find Behind the Beautiful Forevers to be slow at the beginning? It is on so many Best of 2012 lists, but I am having a really hard time getting into it. Or is it just not grooving with me?

        • TO Lawyer :

          Ya I thought it was a little slow. I really only stuck with it because I wanted to see why it was on all the lists but ultimately, it ended up being worth it!

    • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

      • Book Recomendations :

        Oooh, I heard this was great.

      • Anyone who liked Unbroken (and I thought it was great) should try Lost in Shangri-La, by Mitchell Zuckhoff. An absolutely unbelievable (but true) story about a rescue mission during WWII in Papua New Guinea. I found it particularly fascinating because one of the plane crash survivors (who then have to be rescued) was a Women’s Army Corps officer, and you don’t read a lot about women service members in WWII.

        • LadyEnginerd :

          +1 to Lost in Shangri-La. it’s a little slow at first, but a true testament to truth being stranger than fiction. Side comment: was I the only one who mentally cast Jack Black as the parachuting hollywood guy?

      • This was good – my book club’s book last month!

    • The Silver Linings Playbook is actually really good. I love Bradley Cooper, but I don’t want to see the movie now because I’ve heard it’s so different from the book.

    • If you want something light and fun, try “Heads in Beds.” I read it in two nights this week. Funny but also a good look at human nature.

    • Lady Harriet :

      If you like fantasy, anything by Brandon Sanderson is excellent.

    • I’m 90 or so pages away from finishing The Book Thief and I am loving it. It’s a great work of historical fiction, told from a fascinating perspective.

      I also just finished The Glass Castle recently, despite hearing about it for years. I couldn’t put it down, once I started. I think I finished it about 3 days.

    • If you have any interest in mysteries, I wholeheartedly recommend Rebecca Pawel’s ‘Colonel Tejada’ series. The first book is called Death of A Nationalist. The series is set in fascist Spain, and is really beautifully written. I’ve read them all about three times, and that’s really saying something for me.

      • Book Recomendations :

        I love mysteries. Tanna French is my current favorite and I’ve read all her paperbacks and waiting for her newest to come out in paperback. These books are high on my list of possibilities.

    • ExcelNinja :

      I just DEVOURED the “Wool” series. It’s post-apocalypse sci fi…but I hate sci fi and loved, loved loved Wool. Highly recommend.

    • I just read “Alif the Unseen” and really, really enjoyed it….hacker in unnamed Arab country comes across mystical book. Sort of Harry Potter meets the Arab Spring.

      Over the holidays, I read The Passage, which is a few years old now. Vampire Zombies! Truly a scary book, and a quick read for all that it is the size of a brick.

      If you like mysteries, I am a great fan of Tana French, who writes very literary mysteries set in contemporary Ireland.

    • Sin in the Second City, if you liked Devil in the White City. It’s by a different author, but similar style of story. It’s about the notorious Everleigh brothel in Chicago at the turn of the last century, vice districts, white slavery, and basically how the US went from allowing prostitution in segregated areas to being more aggressive with arresting people/shutting down brothels. It’s a quick read, but interesting & well-written.

    • I read Sweet Tooth recently by Ian McEwan, I was really impressed and enjoyed it- I heard it’s not as good as Redemption, but I haven’t read that so I can’t compare.

      • Guessing you mean Atonement ? Black Dogs and Enduring Love are good too and you might like his early short stories, which are recycled in Sweet Tooth as the boyfriend’s writing.

    • Miss Rumphius :

      I recently I’ve loved The End of Your Life Book Club (memoir, very sweet and uplifting despite the title) by Will Schwalbe, This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz, and The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly. All very different but I couldn’t put any of them down.

    • “Boy Kings of Texas” – a memoir about growing up in Brownsville TX. I am almost finished and have really enjoyed it so far.

    • Stephen King’s 11/22/63 about a guy who travels back in time to try to prevent Kennedy’s assassination. The book is from a couple years ago but I just read it. I highly recommend it even if you’re not especially into sci fi or historical fiction. at its core it’s really a very character-driven novel ith a beautiful love story. I couldn’t put it down.

    • Here are the books I’ve really loved in about the last year that are novels or read like novels:

      Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

      Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

      Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky

      Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

      The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

      The Unit by Nina Holmqvist

      both books by Justin Halpern

      Love by Toni Morrison

      Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

      Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent

      Wild by Cheryl Strayed

      Runaway Girl by Carissa Phelps

  12. Anon for this :

    Alright ladies, I know we have discussed prenups at length before, but for the marrieds/partnered out there, what are the other top things you wish you’d discussed or agreed on pre-ceremony. SO and I have initiated “the talk” and are trying to confront as many issues as possible to make sure we move forward with eyes wide open. (I’d also take book recommendations OR recommended search terms to find old convos on the blog.)

    • In my mind, the top two things to discuss are: kids (yes/no; if yes, possible timing) and finances (joint, separate, who pays the bills, do you get fun money, how much debt (credit card, student loans, etc.) do each of you have, what are your monthly financial obligations, etc.).

      • Research, Not Law :

        Those are my top two, also. To money, I’d add discussion of how you want your lifestyle to look (ie, live on small means and save big, work hard to play hard, etc). Ultimately, compare where you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years and make sure it lines up.

        I’d also add where you’d like to ideally live and whether you’d be willing to live where the other wants to live or likely could need to live for their career.

        If you don’t already live together, do discuss household chores and cleanliness.

      • Merabella :

        I agree with all of these and add some somewhat silly/small things that can cause big issues…

        Where will you go for Christmas/Important Holidays? How important is being around your family during these times to you?

        How important is spending time with your parents? Do you go to their house every weekend or are you a holidays type family?

        Do you open your Christmas presents on Christmas eve, or Christmas day?

        How important is a clean house to you? What are some chores that you feel like have to be done in order for you to feel happy at home? Are you someone who has to have all the clothes put away or you go crazy? Can you have dishes in the sink?

        • Oh, I think that where you spend the holidays and how much time you spend with family counts as a BIG thing, not a silly or small thing. The Christmas Agreement of 2005 is single-handedly the best pre-marital conversation that my husband and I had. It has dramatically simplified our holidays ever since.

          • East Coaster :

            Just curious – what did you agree to?

          • harriet the spy :

            Even years with his family, odd years with mine. We both live many, many states away from our parents, so Christmas is a significant chunk of the time we spend with our families each year. For Thanksgiving, the cardinal rule is that we Do Not Fly unless there are extenuating circumstances (like the year that there was a memorial service over Thanksgiving week, etc.). If there’s family close enough to drive, we celebrate with them, whoever they are. If not, we make our own Thanksgiving fun.

        • I love the Christmas Eve v. Christmas Day suggestion. It is amazing how much we hold onto childhood traditions about the “right” way to do important holidays. Similarly, whose family recipe for stuffing will you use on Thanksgiving, or will you have to have both? :)

    • Adding something to what has already been said re: kids – yes or no. If yes, and you don’t have an easy time TTC, how far is each of you willing to go to have your own kids and what alternatives are you willing to consider. Never thought about it before, but it became an issue in my life.

    • Kids
      Money
      Country to Settle Down In

    • MiddleCoast :

      Kids, money, holidays (very HUGE), family vacations (never discussed, ended up dragging widowed MIL with us everywhere).

      Do either of you want to open you own business? Is the other okay with this? Who, what, when, where, how, why? And most importantly, if it doesn’t work, what is your exit strategy?

      Also, long term vision – retire early? work till you drop? Travel the world? Have a cozy cabin up North? You don’t need to decide this here and now but at least see if you are on the same wave length.

    • Saacnmama :

      Where to live became a big issue in my very brief marriage in 2 ways

      1 We moved out of the apt I’d been living in and rented a house together bc he couldn’t deal with the neighbors. The “new” house was a rough commute for me, so we moved closer to campus. We drew up a spreadsheet with price we were willing to pay for various types of dwelling & how much various “extras” were worth to us, and started house hunting. He fell in love with a place that absolutely did not line up with the chart. Not sure how we could have made the agreement more complete than a spreadsheet, but I guess we should’ve found some way to do that.

      2. Because he was so homesick, I changed my dissertation topic & applied for grants to go where he was from. When I didn’t get any on the first round, he accused me of lying to him and left me. I was waited-listed on one of the grants & got it a few months later, but it was all over by then.

      So those are my two examples of how not to do it.

    • 5 years into my marriage, I think that before you go down the aisle, it is most important that you trust that together you will deal with unexpected bumps in the road/ changes in how you thought things would be. Having a game plan concerning kids, extended family, etc., is great, but can you trust each other to be what you need if you realize you need to change the plan? That’s the best part of having a real partner.

      • Saacnmama :

        Yup

      • Well said.

      • Strongly agree. What’s the quote–something like “You make a plan, and God laughs”? It’s not that planning is useless, but it’s not worth much when someone’s heart truly changes or when something external comes out of nowhere. What are you going to say? “This wasn’t what we planned”? Call foul or something on your spouse? I think if you want to stay together a lot of it is being able to work together when plans go out the window.

        I’m not married yet but made the decision to get married about 6 months ago. There’s already been one major factor that unexpectedly changed in our lives since The Talk(s), and I noticed as we worked through it–not without discomfort–that I was thinking “this must be what it’s really about.”

      • Well put. 10 years into my marriage, and life is not at all where I thought it would be when we discussed the future 10 years ago. Health issues, job changes, unexpected death of a parent. This stuff you don’t plan for. I doubt we would recognize our 25 year old selves anymore, but we have rolled with the punches and done so together. Our marriage is stronger for it.

    • Not so much “wish we discussed” because we did, but here are some things our Rabbi made us discuss with each other and her that I thought were helpful.
      – kids? if so how many
      – finances, including general attitudes towards spending vs saving, in a “normal” year at current salary how much goes to different things, things you want to splurge on vs things you could cut out/do more cheaply, what would you do with an unexpected $10K windfall, what would you do about an unexpected $10K expense
      – how you plan to divide up holidays with the two families
      – where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years and is that consistent with the other persons goals
      – religion, how big or small or role it will play in your family’s life, if you are of different religions which one will potential kids have

    • Need to Improve :

      It is important to discuss not just whether to have kids and how many, but also what will be the logistics of raising them. Will he want to stay home? Expect you to? Would he be open to going part time? Obviously these are very complicated issues and you do not want to jump the gun, but you also should have a general sense of whether he expects you to be a SaHM if, for example, you do not want to. People change their minds once kids are born but it is worth exploring now. I have seen this become stressful for a lot of working parent friends.

      • Lady Enginerd :

        The traditional “wife” expectations is where we got stuck. A good toe into this water, when you’re dating, is to discuss keeping vs changing your name. Lots of funny gendered expectations about the job description for a wife/mother fell out of that one. Anyone who asks you why you can’t be more “traditional” and who thinks a woman keeping her name or hyphenating is “emasculating” likely has all sorts of similar expectatioms about the management of a home and parenting of children. Better to get those out in the open early.

        Did I listen to that red flag? Nope. But I know for next time.

        • That’s a great piece of advice (although I’m sorry you had to deal with a bad outcome).

        • Meg Murry :

          I agree. Along with traditional “wife” expectations – discuss your parent’s roles and what you consider “normal” for a married couple. What about your parent’s marriages do you want to emulate, what do you want to avoid? Did one of you grow up in a neighborhood where all women were SAHM/SAHWs? For instance, my husband grew up in a church where women deferred to their husbands for everything, and all household and child-related chores were “women’s work”, even if the woman was also working full time. My husband and I discussed this before marriage and we agreed that our relationship was NOT going to be this way – in fact, he does 90% of the cooking and around 60% of the childcare now, while I am the main wage earner who works more hours. Discuss what your definition of “normal” is for each of you, especially if you grew up in different parts of the country/rural vs urban vs suburban/socioeconomic statuses, etc.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Parental support – ie.. financial, live in – yes/no, etc…. its helpful to have a plan before an emotional event occurs….

    • I think it’s a great idea to talk about what you think your life will be like, but you never know what curves life is going to throw at you. I think it’s most important that you love your partner with your whole heart and that you remember that respect is the most important thing. If you have doubts about either of these, don’t walk down the aisle.

      Also, be careful what you promise. One of my male work friends says that when he and his wife had “the talk” before getting married, they had talked about what would happen if one of them had an extramarital affair. His future wife at the time said she felt that if their marriage were otherwise strong, she’d rather not know about it. Naturally, my male friend used this as carte blanche to cheat on his wife all the time. He regrets it now, particularly since she finally left him.

    • Before we got married, my husband and I did “marriage prep” in addition to “wedding prep.” We read and discussed a book called The Hard Questions by Susan Piver – it has chapters on a variety of subjects that people have already mentioned (children, holidays, money, etc), organized by topic, followed by a series of questions. We each wrote answers to the questions, swapped via Google Docs, and then took a day or two to read each others’ answers and process them. Then, once a week we would sit down over a plate of our favorite crab appetizers and discuss our answers. It was really nice to have some structure, and a chance to react privately to each question and to the other person’s answer.

    • Can’t say that there is anything that I wished we had discussed, but I can tell you that, after 12 years of marriage, I am glad that we agreed to the following:

      1) No swearing or cursing at each other – EVER
      2) No using our upbringing as an excuse for our behavior or reasons why we want to do something in a particular way
      3) We see our families infrequently (because his live in another country and mine are spread out), but we live with each other everyday. We keep that mind when the pressures from family interfere with our marriage.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      In case you’re still reading, one thing we didn’t do but maybe would be have been helpful (it’s happened for us organically in response to some difficult things) was discuss what’s the bare minimum we need for happiness. I think when you’re getting married there’s a tendency to think about your ideal life and all the things you really want. But what are the things you can’t compromise one? If they are somewhat different between the two of you, that expands the confines of the minimal life you both can be okay with.

      And I don’t mean would you be happy with a 3 BR vs 4 BR house, I mean would you be happy if you nature and circumstance make having children impossible…that’s actually something you may never be able to control, but could you be happy together? After a couple of losses and 2 1/2 years TTC, I realize that we could be…even though we haven’t given up, I also feel like the 2 of us are a family just us.

      Would you be okay if you lived far from both of your families? We can obviously survive this way, but we’re not exactly happy about it, so we’re looking into other compromises to bring us closer to them.

      Aside from the stress of the trauma whose impact is impossible to predict, if injury limited your ability to pursue your current hobbies (especially those that you share), would you still enjoy each other’s company? This was the worst for me. Our relationship grew up around our love of the outdoors (climbing, cycling, skiing, hiking, etc). That was the context in which we both imagined our lives. 5 years ago I was injured in a way that it was likely to preclude me from doing almost anything we used to do together. I honestly didn’t know if DH could live his life without being able to share those things with his partner, but we learned that we like each enough as people to find different things we enjoy together. This may seem like a minor thing, but I think there are a lot of couples who lose the ability to enjoy each other’s company…

  13. What’s everyone doing this weekend?

    I’ve got dinner tonight with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, a date tomorrow night, brunch w/ my mom on Sunday, and then lady date with another C’ r e t t e to the theatre on Sunday afternoon. Yay weekend!!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Fun weekend! I’ve got spin class/relaxing night in tonight, gym and a ton of work to do tomorrow, followed by dinner/drinks with a good friend and her boyfriend, and then driving to a neighboring state on Sunday to hang with a friend who’s going through a health crisis. Sunday will be a crazy long day (3hr+ each way) but besides the drive, I think it’ll be a good weekend.

      Jealous of your date (even though I’m still on my self-proclaimed boy-break)!

      • I’m glad to hear you’re going to see your friend (I think you were the one who posted yesterday?) You’re a good friend!

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Yeah — I’m glad too. I offered to go for the whole weekend but she said no, so I just said let’s plan a fun, low key friend-day for Sunday where we can go get lunch, relax, etc. I hope I can pick up her spirits a bit – we’ve been texting through the day so I know she got an MRI this morning and is meeting with a neurologist in an hour or so. I so, so hope everything’s okay – but I want to be there for her this weekend to give her a hug and some support, if she needs it.

    • Nothing fun planned, unfortunately. I feel like my house has gotten out of control, so some cleaning and picking up. I may make barbecued beef to freeze in advance for my friend’s Super Bowl party. And ultimately, avoiding Mardi Gras parades. They’re a week early because of the Super Bowl. Getting to church on the parade route and (even more challenging) getting home are always an adventure!

      BTW, my girlfriend and I saw the Hobbit in IMAX 3-D last weekend and now we want to see EVERYTHING in IMAX 3-D. So awesome. Even the trailers were cooler.

    • Dining with my brother and his wife and baby tonight. I’m going to pick up amazing sandwiches from a place near work (think avocado blt, steak and blue cheese, etc.) And I’m staying the night.

      Tomorrow I’m heading to my parents’ house. We’re doing a birthday dinner for my dad and I’m making a cake.

      Sunday I’m resting hopefully. I have tendinitis in my thumb and the pain is excruciating and constant right now. I think the very cold temps are exacerbating it.

      Hope you all have a great weekend!

    • Research, Not Law :

      Taking the kids swimming with friends (whee!) and organizing our toys and storage (boo…).

    • Lady Harriet :

      One of my friends is planning a board game party tonight. Tomorrow, the small town I live in is holding a steak cook-off as a fundraiser for scholarships to the school here. I’ve never been before, but I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun. Probably the rest of the weekend will be cleaning, relaxing, and researching job listings. (Yikes!)

    • Working. For the 28th and 29th consecutive days.

    • I have a facial tonight. A run and a swim tomorrow morning. Then lunch with hottie boy I’m dating. Sunday is a lady date with a certain other r e t t e; we’re going to the theater. And then Sunday night is dinner with the family. Maybe I should clean my house too—but that doesn’t sound nearly as fun as everything else.

    • A recap from the earlier thread but I am cooking dinner for the guy I am seeing and we’ll watch a movie. I’m on call this weekend and the weather is crap so we’re making the most of it and having a nice evening at mine. I’m weirdly nervous about the dinner, he thinks I’m insanely busy and pulled in so many directions so I feel like by making something complex will prove that I have it somewhat together. (You’re welcome to take bets on me being back tomorrow night with a tale of burnt dinner, fire alarms, and pizza).

    • Time alone tonight (can’t wait!) Hopefully won’t get snowed in.

      Mani/Pedi tomorrow with my favorite aunt (can ya’ll believe I’ve never had a pedicure before?) Housework the rest of the day, then working the PT job on Sunday. Booo.

    • Any Tampa Bay ‘rettes here?
      Tomorrow’s the Gasparilla day parade. I’m hosting some people at my place for brunch tomorrow and then we’re walking down to the parade route (I live about 2 miles from there).
      Sunday will probably be church, more painting!, and recovering from the exhaustion of the day before.

    • (resposting to avoid moderation)
      Any Tampa Bay ladies here?
      Tomorrow’s the Gasparilla day parade. I’m hosting some people at my place for brunch tomorrow and then we’re walking down to the parade route (I live about 2 miles from there).
      Sunday will probably be church, more painting!, and recovering from the exhaustion of the day before.

    • House-hunting. Also, going to dinner and a CD release party on Sunday night, with our newest “couple friends” who we love in part because they are essentially our only non-law friends, lol. Plus they are awesome and hilarious and raunchy :)

    • ExcelNinja :

      Tonight, maybe happy hour. Tomorrow, a long bike ride and dinner with friends. Sunday, errands/chores and laziness (we’re on S2 of The Wire)! It’s going to be a great weekend :)

    • New Apartment :

      I will finally find the perfect pieces of furniture I have been searching for so I can unpack the remaining boxes in my new place! If I say it confidently enough it will happen, right?

    • Studying for the bar.

      Don’t lateral before you’re a sixth-year, kids.

    • Nervous Girlfriend :

      I am seeing a friend for coffee tomorrow, dinner with a cousin in the evening and then brunch with my girlfriends on Sunday. And hopefully not obsessing about my boyfriend + Vegas strippers…

      • Anon for this :

        Aww, hey Nervous Girlfriend. I used to be super nervous about strippers too. Then I went to a strip club with my bf-at-the-time and got a lapdance. It seriously, seriously means nothing to him or them…they just want $20. Don’t worry :)

        btw, bf-at-the-time and I are now very happily married.

        • Nervous Girlfriend :

          That was me being kinda facetious. I’ve been to strip clubs before (although not with him). I’m not a huge fan of him getting lap dances but I think I’m more jealous/resentful that it’s freezing here and work is insanely busy and I’ve been dying to go on vacation but he said he couldn’t swing it and went on a boys trip instead.

          Thanks for trying to reassure me though – you’re right, I was much more nervous about strip clubs generally before I actually went to one!

    • - Thomas Keller’s Braised Chicken Thighs recipe
      – Taking a professional exam so I can get some more letters
      – Laundry

    • Family night tonight – out for dinner & shopping at MEC for my oldest’s first winter scout camp. Skiing tomorrow – should be a beautiful day – high in the low 30s. Church & nothing else planned for Sunday. Probably watch a Disney movie – we’re taking the kids to Disneyland in April (they don’t know yet, though) and I have a list of movies I want to watch with them before we go. :)

    • Taxes
      Writing Posts
      Dinner w Friends
      Re-Packaging all my online purchases and carrying them to the post office (which judging by the pile in my kitchen will take half a day ;))

    • SoCalAtty :

      Spin after work tonight. Possibly watching a friend barrel race her new horse (I do jumpers (hunters) and she’s a trainer from that world, but she recently started barrel racing, it’s awesome!) tomorrow, maybe another spin class tomorrow depending on how hard the spin tonight is, then Sunday my husband is working so I’m getting a massage and just hanging out with a book.

      Monday I get to go in and sign my offer and meet more execs at my new gig. Also Monday, my horse has her re-check / lameness exam after having the winter off, along with a bone scan and MRI. I have a ton going on in the next 3 days!

    • I’m pretty boring this weekend. A friend and I had a pizza, wine, and movie night last night; tonight I’m going to a crêpe-making party; and tomorrow I’m going to the opera (or what will pass for the opera in my podunk city). Other than that, I plan to play with my dog, run a few errands, and otherwise flop around my apartment in my PJs. I woke up feeling kind of pre-sickness today, so I’m trying to lie low.

    • There’s a full moon tonight. I’m 39 weeks pregnant on Sunday. I’m hoping the moon mumbo jumbo works and have my baby soon because waddling is only cute on my bulldog :)

      Fun thread! Moments, I didn’t comment on your post about your friend, but I saw it and have been thinking of both of you. As someone who has had health issues in the past, I really appreciated just having friends to talk to in the midst of getting hit with tests and such–it really helped me and I know it is helping your friend too.

    • Photobombing at Sundance.

  14. Does anyone have a good suggestion for professional maternity clothes on a budget? I’m clerking, so I am on a limited income, but I also need to wear a suit most days.

    I’m only about 10 weeks, but most of my wardrobe are suits with pencil skirts and they’re already looking indecent. Any suggestions for transition clothing? The hair elastic trick doesn’t work with skirts! This could get expensive quickly if I need a bunch of new suits.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I personally waited to bring out maternity clothes at work until I announced, so I would rubberband suit pants and/or wear size-up skirts (bought consignment) as separates for now. As a long-term solution, I would buy a handful of great maternity pieces and wear them to death. In retrospect, I wish I had just paid the money to buy fewer pieces that I felt good in rather than making due with cheaper things that I never felt right in. You can do a lot of mix-match and variation with accessories (which, thankfully, always fit). Readers who wear suits more frequently can correct if I’m wrong, but don’t worry about full maternity suits; just wear the jackets you have unbuttoned. Do look for consignment options. Professional wear will be harder to find, but they are out there and can save you a bundle.

      • I agree with this – when I had to wear a suit when I was pregnant, I wore black maternity pants and a black suit jacket that was the “same black” as the maternity pants. Full-on maternity suits are either $$$$$ or pretty ugly, in my experience. People really do give you a pass when you’re obviously pregnant, fashion-wise. If you can find some maternity pants that coordinate with jackets you already own, I’d buy those and some professional-looking maternity tops and just go with separates. Or maternity dresses with your jackets unbuttoned. I found Motherhood Maternity and Target to be good for basics, and Japanese Weekend was great for professional, nice pieces. I hated Pea in the Pod – way more expensive than Motherhood but not a measurable improvement in quality.

        Consignment or borrowing from friends who’ve had babies are always good options too!

    • Is there a maternity consignment or resale store near you? I got my whole maternity wardrobe primarily from a resale store for about $200. I looked professional and presentable, but not at put together as I did when not pregnant. Although I didn’t buy maternity suits because manufacturers don’t seem to believe someone of my proportions would be pregnant (I am tall but also thin, which is a tough demographic in maternity wear), the resale store where I shopped had a lot of maternity suits. I made my regular clothes work with a belly band until 2 months before I delivered. I never tried it with a skirt though. Later on, I got tons of mileage out of a pair of black maternity pants from one of the cheap mall maternity stores for about $40 and wore that with a regular black suit jacket because I only gained weight in my stomach. They were horrible material but I could put up with it for a few months.

      • I second (third?) the idea of consignment maternity items — heck, I hit the jackpot at Salvation Army a couple of times! All it takes is one person in your size to make an end-of-pregnancy donation and bam, instant wardrobe.

        You may want to consider purchasing a few non-maternity items that are a couple of sizes up from what you regularly wear. This will keep you out of full-blown maternity clothes for longer and you’ll also likely have to cycle back through some larger/regular clothes post-baby, when you’re dropping weight again. You can especially do this with blazers, too — leave them unbuttoned and keep them around for after the baby’s born.

        Otherwise I’d recommend Gap and possibly Old Navy for unfussy, not-a-suit work basics. Dresses are your maternity friend; I only own one (casual) maternity skirt b/c dresses really grow with you much better than pants or skirts do. For example, in these last few weeks I’ve had to resort to wearing black yoga pants to work with long tops (to disguise the yoga-pant factor) or dresses over leggings b/c my tummy is so huge! My favorite work trousers came from Gap and I loved them so much I got two pairs: full belly panel black work pants that saw me through two pregnancies (although now, at 39 weeks 2 days with Kid 2, they’re pretty faded). I’ve heard some good stuff about Ann Taylor LOFT’s maternity line and I think it’s 50% off today in fact.

      • Does anyone have a recommendations for good consignment stores in DC? There must be one, but I don’t know of any. I can ask friends in a few weeks after I announce.

    • Can you wear coordinated suiting separates in your office? I’m a lawyer, but in a casual office. I’ve had to wear a suit once during pregnancy and I wore black slacks, solid top and a gray jacket and that was fine, but I know every office is different. If you can get away with suiting separates, I’d look at your suit jackets and figure out what sorts of pants/skirts/dresses you can wear with them. That way you can get a basic black skirt, black pants, gray pants, etc. I actually had good luck at Old Navy for some tops, but my office is pretty casual. Target has some cute things too. I’ve been able to wear all my nonmaternity jackets and cardigans, but be prepared that depending on where you gain weight that might not always be possible. I can’t button them of course, but it works. A friend borrowed her mom’s jackets that were a size bigger than she normally wears. If you can’t wear suiting separates and need maternity suits, then I’d echo consignment stores. Also, dresses can really look formal with a coordinating jacket and don’t necessarily need to be the same fabric. I was able to wear nonmaternity dresses the longest. Just an FYI, if you are big of bust, maternity dresses can be hard to fit (at least they were for me!) I was a 34 D/DD prepregnancy and went up to a 34H. The problem I found with maternity dresses is that so many of them had empire waists that were designed to flatter a slightly bigger than average bust. I was way bigger than average which meant the waist band was mid-b**b on my body which really wasn’t very flattering on my body!

  15. Hey Everyone,
    I haven’t posted before but am loving the interview fashion advice. I am a 1l and have my very first ever internship interview next week with the US Attorney’s office (which is my dream internship) and was wondering if anyone had any advice on questions they might ask/ what they are looking for in interns.
    Thanks!

    • Best of luck! I clerked at the US Atty’s in law school and it was by far the best employment experience I had during school. Err on the side of formal for your interview. I’m sure every office is different, but I remember the interview being very blunt (i.e. why do you have this one C on your transcript). They were also really interested in my motivations in working for the government versus the private sector and of course writing and research experience. Depending on how they allocate work to you, I would stress being able to work independently and to pick up on new/complicated legal questions quickly. I think they also asked me what the hardest part of law school was in my opinion.

    • For interns, generally they will ask about any pre-law school work experience you’ve had. Government vs. private sector was big. And since you’re a 1L and so this may no be a “future job” type internship, they may spend a decent amount of it sort of pitching and explaining what the job is like. Try to come in with some interesting and well thought out questions (they can be hard to think of on the fly.)

    • SpaceMountain :

      Do you know the name of your interviewer or any attorneys in the office? If so, you can search them on Westlaw to see the types of cases they handle, and then ask questions about those cases. I’d love it if one of my interviewees did that — I love to talk about my cases!

    • thanks for the tips! I think I know the name of the interviewer so I will try to do some research about her/the particular office this weekend.

    • Pretzel_Logic :

      I interned with USAO last summer (as a rising 3L) and it was awesome. Be prepared for having more than one interviewer–I was interviewed by four attorneys. They didn’t give me any names up front, though. I only say that because the panel format with questions from all directions can be intimidating, but they told me once I’d been working for a while that they liked me in large part because I wasn’t phased by the barrage of questions. My thought at the time was just that I had to make at least half of them like me, haha. I went with a gray suit and normal work makeup and hair (neat and a little toned down from what I normally do, especially eye makeup). They were more blunt, as Bloom said, but I found that gave me a better feel for what they were really looking for and whether I actually wanted the job (and HECK YES I DID). I had an absolutely awful 2L fall and that was the last grades they had and they still hired me, so grades may or may not be a factor; I also had prior experience with criminal work. (Although they do a ton of civil litigation, too.)

      Good luck!! I had such a good time with that job, I hope you impress the hell out of the interviewer!

  16. big dipper :

    This has probably been covered before but…I want to learn how to apply make up. Does anyone have any go-to tutorials (blogs, books or Youtube) for the very basics (applying eye liner, every day eye shadow, applying foundation, etc).

    I’m planning on going to a makeup counter to find appropriate colors, but I need a lot of help learning how to physically apply the make up.

    • Merabella :

      I like The Small Things Blog (she has make up and hair tutorials), Let’s Make It Up You Tube Channel (1 & 2 have make up and hair how tos).

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Laura Mercier Counter for Make up tutorials and discussing what you need. Also, Bobbi Brown. MAC can be fun, but be sure to specify daytime, they can get a little extreme.

      • Second The Small Things Blog. She has great hair tutorials but I haven’t had a chance to check out her makeup ones yet.

        Also blogs like Temptalia, Makeup and Beauty Blog and Vampy Varnish have lots of product reviews, swatches, etc. That might be more for when you are looking for products to try with your new skills. Have fun!

      • Statutesq :

        Second Laura Mercier. My makeup guy not only taught me how to put everything on, and in what order, but he also wrote me a detailed email summarizing the lesson that I could refer to until I got it down. He also let me email him with questions if something came up with hadn’t discussed. Any he didn’t laugh at me for being a 29-year-old putting on makeup for the first time.

        • frugal doc :

          Wow. Was this a formal appointment for a ?make-over, or just a casual “stop by the counter” and ask for make-up advice for free? Really great.

    • Check out Makeup By Tiffany D. She has a website and You Tube chanel. She has tons of tutorials.

    • I’m interested in this as well–I don’t wear some things, or even own them, because I don’t know how to use/apply..blush…eyelash curler…I try eye liner but it ends up all over my face within an hour.

    • The beauty department. Regardless of your opinions of Lauren Conrad, the tutorials are spot on and have big, easy to follow pictures.

    • Do you know what type of look you’re going for? Different looks have different applications. Also, what type of skin do you have? What type of finish do you prefer? Matte? Shiny? Sparkly? What features would you like to emphasize and de-emphasize? It might help to follow youtube videos of people with similar features. It’s also useful to browse in the make-up book section of the library or bookstore to get an idea of what you prefer.

      Some techniques are easier than others, so figuring out your needs and wants is important. Some people prefer brushes for application, while others prefer sponges. Liquid eyeliner is typically a more advanced technique than either the pencil or brush. Colors that are close to your skin tone or sheer require less precision, say, than engine-red lips.

      Generally, it’s easier to start off light-handed and build up intensity. Enjoy!

    • Interesting – I had no idea there was so much help on this subject. I’ve been using Bare Essentials for the past year or so but I’ve never really liked the look on me. Feel like it makes me look washed out, greasy, etc. Does anyone recommend a different mineral/powder makeup or do I just need to switch to something altogether different?

      • hellskitchen :

        I liked bare essentials at first but it doesn’t wear well on my skin either – gets greasy very quickly. My routine now consists of moisturizer followed by primer (I use Rimmel London’s primer no 01) followed either by Boots no 7 soft and sheer tinted moisturizer, if I want a very natural look or maybelline’s fit me foundation for a bit more coverage. I thought that mineral powder would be better for my combination, acne prone skin but the liquid moisturizer and foundations actually allow my skin to breather better and feel better. I think the key is to use products with sheer coverage.. maybelline fit me is a good one because it’s meant to mimic natural skin tone

    • You may want to check out the tv show What not to Wear. I’ve learned a lot from watching Carmindy.

  17. I may have spent a good portion of the morning looking through the DineLA restaurants instead of being productive at work. Does anyone have a recommendation for one that they loved? There are just so many!

  18. Research, Not Law :

    Do middle-sized fashion bloggers exist? The plus-size discussion got me thinking: I have only seen quite trim or plus-sized fashion bloggers. There must be someone in between. The Mindy Kaling of fashion bloggers. Sally from Already Pretty with professional tastes.

  19. 3L here. Did any of y’all ladies find that grad school was tough on your ego? During high school and college, I really excelled at school, and I’m beginning to realize that I placed a lot of my self-worth in my academic achievements. But since coming to law school, my grades have been very… average. I haven’t won any awards, didn’t make law review, and didn’t blow anyone away in clinic or moot court. Even though I am very, very grateful to have a job waiting for me after graduation, I’m having some serious self-esteem issues related to my mediocre academic performance. My family constantly brings it up. “Are you sure law is for you? You graduated summa cum laude in [undergrad field]. Why not do that instead?”

    I loved my summer internships, but I have this secret fear that maybe I’m not going to be a good lawyer after all. Not really sure what I’m asking for here. Maybe stories from you talented ladies who did okay in school and then blew away the competition on the job?

    • Former MidLevel :

      Please, please, please don’t let this ruin your self-esteem. Plenty of amazing lawyers have less-than-perfect law school records–and there’s no guarantee that your classmates who got perfect grades and the other “merit badges” will be good lawyers. I’m sorry your family doesn’t get it. I don’t care where you went to undergrad–graduate school (and law school more specifically) is a whole new ballgame. You’re competing with enforced grade curves against people who are every bit as smart as you. Plus, you got a job! Do you know how many law students/recent grads you “beat” in that respect? Just go out there, kick some a**, and have a happy career.

    • I’m still trying to get over it. :0) Especially because I graduated in the downturn, which meant that interviewers tried to put you down if you weren’t the top 2% of your class, even at a T14 law school. Sigh.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Yes. I actually think this is a pretty common thing, to be honest.

      Think of it this way – life and advancement are often one big series of funnels. When you were a baby, everyone was (mostly) the same. In elementary school, you generally had most of the population. As you got through middle/high school, you took more advanced classes and maybe hung out with smarter kids. When you went to college, with a selection criteria, you mostly hung out with even smarter kids. When you go to grad school, even more so.

      I think for someone who is, for example, in the 95th percentile of say, human achievement, college or more often, grad school is often where they realize they aren’t in the 99th (at least, that’s how it’s been working for me). Because let’s say by the time you get to a great graduate program, there have been so many filters and selection criteria, your grad school is really pulling from/your classmates really are among the top 10% of people in terms of achievement (pulling numbers out of a hat here).

      Well if you are in the top 10% of people, but not the top 5%, you’re basically middle of the pack in grad school. When you’ve been in environments with more of a diversity of achievement, you have often risen to the top, but in grad school, since everyone is so high achieving, you haven’t. That doesn’t mean you aren’t smart or capable – it just means among a bunch of really really smart, really really talented people – you weren’t the absolute best. I think that is a hard thing to come to terms with – but you still are incredibly capable and I’m sure will make an excellent lawyer! Maybe you are not the best in the whole world – but you can still be pretty damn good.

    • In a word, yes. Got tons of accolades in highschool, graduated on the Dean’s List from college, and went to law school thinking that the stream of success I’d experienced up to that point would continue. And then BAM, first semester grades come out and I was dead in the middle of my class. That was pretty hard to swallow.
      It took a little while and a serious attitude adjustment to get over it. What really helped were two things: (1) recognizing that most of the people in my class had been similarly successful prior to coming to law school (top % of their classes, lots of extracurriculars, general overachieverness) and that, basically, I was going to school with just the smart kids and (2) realizing that the law degree I would graduate with would be the same degree that the guy at the top of the class had and that his eventual law license wouldn’t have some special gold star that mine wouldn’t.

    • I hear this from so, so, so many of my friends. As for your family– duh, the people in law school were ALL something cum laude in college. How do you think they got to law school? If you always thought of yourself as an A student and now you have a bunch of non-pointy letters on your transcript, I think you need to re-think what A means. Plus law school grades are notoriously haphazzard. First, if you have a job now, no one will care what your grades are after this job. They’ll care where you went to school and where your first job out of law school was, but grades really become secondary (I had one crazy would-be employer ask for them but she was crazypants). Second, law school grades have almost nothing to do with being a good lawyer. I say almost nothing because there are a small handful of people who love, love, love digging into tiny minutae completely undisturbed and what served them well in law school serves them well toiling deep in the recesses of some massive BigLaw building. But that’s a tiny minority of lawyers. If you’ve liked the work you’ve done so far, you’re probably going to be a better lawyer than most.

      • Not to be a downer, but every post-first-job employer has asked for my grades. Some have also requested transcripts. I think they become less significant, but I still had to provide them. And I started at BigLaw from a T10 school (only mentioning this b/c those things are obviously both on my resume).

        • I got asked for transcripts as a mid level lateral into BigLaw. I think it was more background verification at that point than actually caring about grades.

          • +1. Also, really good/really bad grades may be used to distinguish two otherwise similarly qualified candidates.

    • True story: I cried when I got my 1L grades. It was the first time I’d ever made a B. I was lucky to come from a lawyer-y family, so people understood.

      I later taught at a law school, and had lots of students come to office hours and cry because they’d made their first-ever B. So yeah, it’s a common experience. And, gently, the only thing you can do is grow out of the feeling that your grades define you. FWIW, I graduated no higher than the top third of my class (at a top-5 school, which I do admit is relevant). That didn’t stop me from getting a great job right out of law school, and lateraling to an even better job that I love. Yes, they looked at my transcript, but it didn’t stand in my way.

    • SoCalAtty :

      I had the same experience. It messed with my self esteem for a bit…until I won my first trial against a BigLaw team with much, much more experience.

      It still bums me out when I see a job opening that says they want both 5+ years of experience AND top 5% of your law school class, but those become more and more of a minority the more experience you have.

      I didn’t have to really try much in HS or college…and that smacked me in the face my 1L year. I figured it out and made great grades after that, but it was already too late.

  20. Shopping Request – I want to treat myself to a new bag for work. I’ve been using the same black Coach bag for three years, and I want to mix it up – something red, dark red, or dark green maybe. Needs to be able to hold a laptop, some file folders, wallet, and lunch without making me afraid that I’ll break the straps by overloading. Absolutely must have feet on the bottom and have good pockets/organization. Under $500 but I’d go more if something were really special. I’ve absolutely loved my Coach bag – it still looks perfect even though it has been banged around a ton, and I need the new bag to hold up well too even if it isn’t treated perfectly. Any suggestions??

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