Weekend Open Thread

Emilio Pucci 58mm SunglassesSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Nordstrom has added a bunch of new markdowns to their Half-Yearly Sale, including these purple sunglasses by Pucci. I bought a pair of Pucci sunglasses a year or two ago from a flash sale site and must say the glasses are still one of my favorite pieces — I always feel like a little fashionista no matter what else I’m wearing. This markdown is even better than the one I got, though: these sunglasses were $376, but are now marked to $99.90. Amazing. Emilio Pucci 58mm Sunglasses

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A few other notes from the handbag/shoe side of the sale (see my clothing picks here):

Also, remember that the Beauty.com 20% off sale is still on — they have super fast shipping so I already got, charged, and used my new Clarisonic for the first time — yay! Also loving the blush. :)

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  1. Weekender bag? :

    Any suggestions for a stylish travel/weekender bag? I know Kat had a post about this a while back, but the only suggestion I really like was the OG bag from Lo & Sons. The bag is more money than I am willing to spend. Anyone have a recommendation for a similar bag but that is more affordable? I will be using it mostly to pack a day or two worth of casual clothes.

    I’d be willing to get the OG bag if it could double as a diaper bag when I deliver in a few months. Thoughts?

    • Along the same lines :

      My trusty messenger bag is falling apart after 15 or so years. I have a newish (unscuffed) LL Bean largest-size backpack that I bought as a travel / diaper bag. Any reason not to use it as my daily lugging things bag? FWIW, I am a partner in a big law firm and practice in a finance area. I don’t usually see any clients. In my dreams, a Neverfull or something like it falls out of the sky (or off of a truck: I’m from NJ). But I can’t seem to turn my back on something that’s free (although this might be similar to this post: an OMG might do here, but it would cost $ that I don’t feel like I *have* to spend).

      • Aside from the fact that someone might see you in public with it? Lady, you’re a biglaw partner. Buy yourself a big girl bag. There’s a huge spectrum between neverfull and backpack.

      • S in Chicago :

        It is money you don’t “have” to spend (and I usually discourage purchasing things you don’t absolutely love and feel compelled to own as a general matter of course)….but in this instance, I tend to agree with the others. Carrying a back pack would be like showing up in sneakers . You can do it, but it’s not a professional image–and I say this as someone who is not even in law. Can you consider cost per use a bit? You kept the same bag for 15 years, and you will likely carry the bag most days. It seems like you will get a lot of bang for your buck, so purchasing something a little nicer and more suitable for a business setting would be well worth it.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Cap Hill Style has a 25% off code for Lo and Sons bags, if that might bring it down to a more reasonable price level for you.

      I have a big weekender bag from the coach outlet store (no logo, just understated) that I picked up for less than $200 a few years ago that I love.

    • I use a Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Travel Duffel Tote – it’s $255 but if you can grab it during one of the department stores F&F sales, it can come down to right around $200. I love it because it folds up nicely for storage, plus can expand if I go shopping while using it.

    • I love the Everlane Weekender.

      • Can you please tell me a bit more about the Everlane Weekender? How much can you fit in it? Does it fit under a plane seat? How heavy is it when empty?

    • To answer your question about the OG, I think it is too big to use as a diaper bag. I used it as one when I took a long trip with my baby (I was trying to pack light and didn’t want to bring a diaper bag in addition to a carry on) and it worked but it was way more space than I needed. I posted earlier this week (maybe Tues or Wed afternoon) in response to a question from either preg anon or preg 3L about using the OG as a diaper bag and listed everything I have in it now that I use it as a gym bag.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      The MZWallace “Kate” would fit the bill, and (I think) is actually intended to be a diaper bag – that might be a good alternative to the OG/OMG (although it’s on the pricier side of things).

      Also check out the Nordstrom sale – there are a bunch of great totes that could double as diaper bags on sale right now. I’m personally partial to the Kate Spade totes and shoppers, but there are others that look like they’d fit the bill you’re describing, for under $200.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        Edit: Didn’t realize the price point on Lo & Sons and thought it was more in line with MZ Wallace – it’s not. The Kate probably won’t fit your price range, but I have one (and beat the living daylights out of it daily) and it’s beautiful and I love it, so I still think it’s worth a look!

        • They do go on sale from time to time. I got my Jane bag by signing up for the MZ Wallace email alerts–I think I got it 25 or 30% off. Still felt overpriced for what it was, but I haven’t stopped using it since the day I got it (and I used to switch bags ALL the time). I love love love it! So many pockets!

    • I’m loving the Kate Spade Saturday weekender at the moment. Lots of pockets, and the small size even fits under airplane seats.

  2. NYC Meet Up :

    Monday 11/11! 7pm! Grey Dog’s (W 16th St & 8th Ave)!

  3. One of our senior associates is about to make partner. She is a great mentor and friend to me, and I was thinking I’d like to send something small to her to congratulate her when it happens. Is this weird? Any suggestions? Maybe just a small flower arrangement?

  4. does anyone know of a cute home store site that has stuff as cute/in the same style as anthropologie but not so outrageously (and irrationally) expensive?

    • Modcloth?

    • What kinds of home decor items are you looking for? It might depend.

    • furbish is not cheap but great

    • Lady Harriet :

      I’ve never bought any home stuff there, but every time I go to World Market I want to move in there and never leave. They sell online too and things seem to be somewhat less expensive than Anthropologie.

    • Not sure how helpful this is, but almost everything at anthropologie goes on sale eventually. I just put price alerts on things and buy them when they get discounted.

      Worldmarket is also nice but it’s a slightly different aesthetic. You can also find a lot of similar stuff on Etsy. Is there anything specific you’re looking to get? For instance, if you like their curtains, Ikea sells similarly whimsical fabrics for between $3-6/yard so you could easily make your own. If you like their dishes, I find a lot of similar stuff at actual flea markets (vs. Anthro’s flea market chic).

    • In the Pink :

      CB2 – more modern stuff than Crate & Barrell, but you might check that too.

      White Elm – quality seems random

    • It’s not the same as anthro, but I’ve been impressed each time I walked into a Pier One in the past few years.

  5. Has anyone ever seen anyone switch from patent lit to patent pros (e.g., as a mid-level)?

    • Yes…but…it is very difficult. Basically, mid-levels are too expensive to train. By that, I mean, their billing rate is to high to support the extra time needed to do the work and for reviewing attorney to bill their time spent training.

      I saw one person make the switch. He had to write off his own time and work like a machine to make his hours. It is possible but not without sacrifice.

      • I was a tech spech before law school for 15 mos. Think that would help? Or is pre-AIA experience too long ago?

        • By tech spech, do you mean technical drafters or writer ? If so, were you drafting patent applications?

          Generic technical drafting won’t help enough but patent drafting would. It would still be a very difficult transition.

          AIA hasn’t changed too much of the mechanics, just the deadlines.

          The person I saw transition was an incredibly smart guy and great writer. He struggled.

  6. What are people purchasing in the VIB sale?

  7. Eyebrow Pencil Recs? :

    Does anyone have an eyebrow pencil they would recommend? I’ve purchased the Lancome Le Crayon Poudre and I love the attached brush and the softness of the pencil itself, but there is some sort of hard coating inside the pencil that makes sharpening a nightmare (like, lost 1/3 of the pencil within the first two weeks). Hoping that someone has a better suggestion! TIA!

    • For near-black eyebrows I swear by Nars Black Moon, though it’s actually an eyeliner pencil. Each pencil lasts a long time, and it’s one of the only brow pencils I’ve ever found that’s dark enough to match my natural color. (I know the advice is to use a lighter color, but on me it just looks like…the wrong color.) Can’t speak to the other Nars colors, but the consistency is perfect for a brow pencil, and it doesn’t budge even when I run, even in the rain. Sharpening it is very straightforward.

    • Anonymous :

      I know you asked about a pencil and I have the Dior one that I am not all that impressed with. Its okay, but not fantastic. However, I LOVE the Anastasia duo brow powder.

    • Orangerie :

      I like Clinique’s Instant Lift for Brows. The pencil twists up so you don’t have to sharpen, and it has a nice highlighter stick on the opposite end which is really nice when used sparingly under the arch of your brow.

    • Eyebrow Pencil Recs? :

      Thanks, everyone! I’ll be by a Sephora this weekend so this is very helpful!

    • Anonymous :

      I use Anastasia brow wiz because I hate sharpening pencils. It works wonders.

  8. TO Lawyer :

    Any advice on how to potentially get involved with a political campaign at the municipal level? I’ve realized recently that municipal politics are both fascinating and so important and would love to get more involved.

    Thanks all!

    • Your local politics are definitely fascinating these days! I’ve had friends simply start by volunteering for someone they liked, or to identify that, start by going to various events to make connections. I find twitter is also a good way to network, while the #topoli hashtag is currently quite busy, check it once the campaigns start.

    • Anonymous :

      Reach out directly to volunteer! A family member ran in a local race and finding great and motivated volunteers can be a challenge. They don’t have the staffs or budgets that larger races have. It’s very “roll up your sleeves”.

    • Like helping with an existing candidate’s campaign? Easy. Get in contact with the candidate and/or candidate’s rep you want to work with, and let them know you want to help. They will be more than happy for the help. As an alternative, if you’re not sure which campaign you want to help with, you can get in touch with your local club of your party of choice and let them know you want to help. As someone involved in local politics, trust, everyone will be more than thankful for whatever way you want to contribute.

    • Anon for this :

      I’m also in TO, and am in the early stages of involvement in a mayoral campaign (may be the same one as you’re interested in). If you are just interested in doing basic stuff (door to door, mailings, whatever), nothing is up and running yet obviously. If that’s your interest, you can get in touch with the potential candidate’s CA (constituency assistant or equivalent) and they can likely advise you. If you want in at a higher or more involved level, and don’t have any personal connection to the candidate or campaign team, you’ll want to find someone who can introduce you to the candidate or campaign team and vouch for your legitimacy. You’re a lawyer – there is likely someone who has a connection to the Stintz or Chow campaign that you know, probably based on political connections. Know any dippers in your office? They may have connections to the Chow campaign – request they do an intro for you.

      • Anonymous :

        Do your best but I am voting for Ford again. I need low taxes and my garbage collected regularly more than I need a role model.

        • wildkitten :

          – 1. Where did the report button go?

          • Anonymous :

            You may disagree with me but it’s my opinion and I have a right to it. I ask you to respect that.

        • But is anything actually getting done these days?

          • Plenty is getting done. The vehicle registration tax was scrapped. The union’s stranglehold on the city was broken. Property tax increases are minimal and quality jobs are easy to find.

            On a personal level, the mayor puts a high priority on his family. Certain family events are non-negotiable.

            Unlike Harper, who threw his cronies under the bus to save his own miserable arse, Ford is standing by his people and doesn’t blame anyone but himself for his problems.

            He’s done amazing things for the city and he’s also an addict who desperately needs help.

            Any more snitty comments from the mean girls or are you done now?

        • Yes you have the right to your opinion. However, this comment seems off topic and needlessly antagonistic, given that the question was about the process of getting involved in a campaign, not about the merits of any of the candidates.

          • Anonymous :

            I’m sure she’s just defensive because a lot of people must be giving her a hard time for loving the mayor with the poor impulse control, poor judgment, lying, crack use, alcohol abuse, rage rampages where he threatens to kill people, etc.

          • No, actually, just you. What’s with that?

          • Wildkitten :

            Sarabeth, this is what I was thinking. I don’t know anything about the candidates or issues in TO, but discouraging someone for wanting to get involved before they even get involved seemed unnecessarily antagonistic.

          • Pot. Kettle. Whatever.

      • TO Lawyer :

        Thank you all for your helpful suggestions and especially this one tailored to my city and situation! I guess I have some work to do in hopes that we can actually shake things up at City Hall

    • Anon for this :

      Start asking any and everyone you know who may know someone in this arena what their take is. I have also started pursuing an opportunity in local politics, fortunately I currently work with a few people who know the power players at the new gig. I have been disguising my inquiries as personal, not professional.

      • This. Make sure there are no real or perceived conflicts with your professional life.

        But if not, just calling or showing up at a campaign HQ seems to do the trick in the states. There’s always stuff to be done.

  9. file edit view :

    Recommendations for sub-$100 dresses or other outfit suggestions for a conference in Montreal the week before Thanksgiving? Business casual is fine, travel-friendly is good since I’m hoping to fly carry-on-only for a four-day trip. Difficulty: I will be 16 weeks pregnant; some but not all of my regular pants are too tight already.

  10. power of technology :

    Question: I’m a new user of tumblr and am using a password protected post to share baby pictures with friends and family who live several hours away. Does anyone have advice on anything I should or should not do? I want to reasonably protect my baby’s privacy and this seems a much better option than facebook.

    I’ve just never used anything like this, so I just want to avoid any hidden pitfalls.

    • Make sure friends and family are clear about your not wanting to share these pictures.

      A lot of security breaches are not technological, but social. Social engineering, I think is the term. If family and friends save and forward photos to random other people, or send out the URL and password info to people, then that would be a problem.

    • So, it’s not really going to protect you from anything other than random people stumbling across your post. Password protecting a post isn’t going to password protect any pictures (people can still send links to each other, or forward images) and people could still send the password to others or try to guess it. There’s probably no difference in using this vs a facebook group – a facebook group is probably a little more secure because you can control who has permission to look at the post based on an actual user list, though I don’t know if it does access control on specific pictures so still technically anyone might be able get to it if they knew the picture URL. However, your baby is probably not a state secret and I doubt anyone is trying to steal pictures of it, so I think it’s reasonably private. :)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      If you and your friends/family members that you want to share with use iPhones, you can set up a shared photo stream with iPhoto. My sister in law did this and it’s working great for us. It doesn’t translate into being safer than sharing like you are but for some reason I feel better about it than posting them on a website.

    • Boston 2L :

      What I would actually recommend for this is using Google Drive or similar. You can make a folder, share it with everyone who you want to see it (by email address) – but select that each of them can only view. Further, if you don’t want pictures being downloaded and forwarded (which I think depends on who you are sending to), you can select the option not to let viewers download the documents – then they can see them online, but nothing else. Since you are the only owner/editor and you make the folder privately shared (select to make it only for the listed email addresses), I think that accomplishes what you want.

    • In-House Anon :

      You can also try using Flickr — you can set up albums and only share them with certain people via email (a “guest pass”). And you can also limit these people’s ability to download or otherwise save the picture files.

      • Boston 2L :

        This sounds about equal in terms of privacy to Google Drive but much better for pictures! I think this is probably your best bet. :)

        I know Google’s picture thing (Picasa now) used to let you do this, but it’s a pain now to use picasa – especially if you don’t want all the pictures posted to Google+. So I highly recommend against trying that one.

    • Adobe just launched a cool new product called Revel where you can share albums with people really easily. If you’re interested it’s AdobeRevel dot com.

  11. PSA: Amazon is having a 20% off sale on select shoes and handbags for veterans day. Code is 20VETRNS.

    I thought I was already getting a great deal on a pair of boots that were marked down. With the discount they’re now 60% off!

  12. Negotiation help :

    I accepted a job! I now need to construct a casual-business casual wardrobe from scratch (worked at home before).

    I’m 6′, 140lb, slight hourglass shape, 34.5″ inseam and about a c cup. Oh, and wide ish feet. I’m in Los Angeles. Early 20s.

    I literally need everything, socks to skirts to coats to tops, sweaters and casual blazers. I have shoes in mind. I’m planning to spend up to 1k, hopefully more like 700, on a complete wardrobe of high quality basics, and later add in cheaper trendy pieces as desired. I thought about using a personal shopper but I prefer to buy on sale and imagine that wouldn’t be possible.

    Recommend favorite high quality basics that will stay in my closet for years? I’m already looking at the jc**w wool no 2 (is that too formal?) and l*nds end Ponte dress after seeing numerous recommendations here. Tall size availability is an absolute must.

    • For bottoms:
      -With your height, I’d recommend the No. 2 pencil skirt or the Telegraph skirt. A pencil skirt is a great piece because you can dress it up (with a blouse and blazer) or down (with a cardigan) depending on the day of the week/meetings/etc. If you go with the No.2, be sure you get the wool version, as the cotton version wrinkles way too easily.
      -The Skirt (Halogen Seamed Pencil) at Nordstrom’s is another pencil skirt staple. It hits just above the knee for me (5’10), but you may need to try it on to see if it’s too short.
      -Besides skirts, I’d stock up on 2-3 pairs of dress pants (if you’re a pants person) in neutral colors (gray, black, navy, etc.). I’ve had good luck with JCrew and Theory (pricey, but can be found on sale/eBay for less).

      For tops:
      -I tend to browse the sale racks at JCrew, Ann Taylor, and Banana Republic for tops. If your bottoms/cardigans are neutral, tops are an easy way to add color and print. I’ve also found a few great work tops at H&M. They have the flowy look of a silk top, but are machine washable.
      -I wish I could give you a good suggestion for long sweaters, but that’s something I’m still looking for. In the meantime, I have a few Jackie cardigans from JCrew I’ve picked up on sale over the years as well as a L&T cashmere crewneck that’s held up well.
      -I have two blazers, one black and one navy, that I wear a lot in my business casual office. Both are JCrew (from the tall range) and I’ve been pretty happy with the quality. I’m a fan of wearing blazers over dresses and with a colored pencil skirt on days when I want to be a little dressier.

      As you create your starting wardrobe, I’d stick to mostly neutrals so that the pieces can be worn together. Then as you add to it, you can bring in more color and pieces that make a statement/are memorable and can be worn less often.

      Finally, if there’s a consignment store near you, check for professional clothes there. Some of my favorite clothes are second hand and it’s a great source of quality at a good discount.

      • One last thing. A number of fashion bloggers and stores have put together example “capsule wardrobes” that are great for imagining various outfits from the same core pieces.

        CapHillStyle has a bunch of examples pinned here: http://www.pinterest.com/caphillstyle/building-a-wardrobe/

        • Anonymous :

          Awesome advice, thank you! The capsule wardrobes are really helpful as well.

          One other question- I know C*rpor*tte readers aren’t typically a fan of Expr*ss pants… but they fit me so well. Is it the cut? Material? Lack of lining? I feel I might look too dressy if I show up in lined wool pants and a nice blouse and blazer, but I want to be investing in timeless pieces.

          • embrace Express :

            Nothing wrong with many styles of Express pants in my opinion. Their Editors fit me well and, besides, I hate lined pants.

          • Orangerie :

            I think it’s the material rather than the cut/style. To me, they just don’t look as nice as trousers cut from wool suiting material.

          • I can see how they aren’t business formal but my Express pants fit right in at my business casual office. They’re the only pants I’ve found that fit me well and to me look more professional than “nicer” pants that don’t fit properly.

            Regarding the pants as well as other clothing: you may want to buy a couple pieces to get you through the first week or so (or even longer!) and shop more after getting a feel for the actual office dress code (not the one on paper). When I moved from working in manufacturing to a corporate office I didn’t end up wearing a lot of the stuff I bought before or soon after I started because at the time I didn’t have a clear picture of what I wanted my wardrobe to look like.

          • Anonymous :

            Try the Limited as well – a bit more business friendly, but same parent company and the cuts are similar. Very affordable too.

      • anon-oh-no :

        these are all great suggestions, but i think trying to build an entire working wordrobe of “high quality” basics on $700 (or even $1000) is unrealistic. YOu can certainly get a good start to your work wordrobe, especially if you are very careful about finding things that serve duel purposes, all can mix and match, etc, but in that price range, even with sales, i think you will be hard pressed to get it done.

        • Orangerie :


        • And don’t feel like you have to get a complete wardrobe all at once. Get enough to get by for a couple of weeks, so you can get a sense of what the actual dress code is. Biz Casual yes, but that can run a spectrum of its own. Start with a couple neutral bottoms that you can re-wear during the week.

          Budget – you’ll definitely get a start with mid quality basics, but I wouldn’t count on a complete overhaul. Definitely look at your current wardrobe to see what could grade up with a nicer pair of pants or a skirt. Express, The Limited, and the Gap are great places to start that will give you a bang for your buck. High quality? Probably not, but will give you at least a season or two of wear before needing replacement. Sales at BR and Jcrew will help step it up a bit as well.

          • +1 to this. The list above is a starting point (ie. a few things to think about as you start shopping), but definitely don’t buy everything before you start. Pick up a skirt, a new top, and see how the first week or two goes. You might find that more of your wardrobe transitions to the office than you previously thought!

          • marketingchic :

            Speaking as someone with the same inseam length, you can’t find high-quality dress pants (which to me means wool) that will fit at less than $125 (before any discounts.) J Crew, AT and BR are my favorites but they eat up the budget pretty fast.

            I supplement with synthetic pants from Gap, Loft and Express. Just watch the fabrics. Some look better than others. Bonus, you can wash them.

          • Anon for this :

            On the Gap pants, I just sent a pair of the Modern boot pants. They looked cheap and wrinkled just from trying them on. Plus they fit like a second skin at the hips and thighs, but were way to big at the waist. They were washable and the length was perfect, but otherwise unwearable.

          • I love my modern boot Gap pants. I have them in black, grey pinstripe, and a winter-weight beige. The fabrics are all different, so try a different color if you like the cut, and you’ll probably get a different fabric. They are wrinkly coming out of the package, but the wrinkles fall out after hanging them up for a few hours. You can always get the waist taken in if it fits you in the thighs and hips. I am a relatively average height, but always find that I need to let the hem out of modern boot pants to wear them with a low heel. These are my go-to dress pants in all seasons.

          • Highly recommend the Gap “Perfect Trouser” — it comes in both Long and X-Long (their “Tall”) inseams. It’s $60 at full price but you can almost always get 30-40% off with their coupon codes/sales. These trousers in black and in grey are my work uniform — there is also a matching blazer in the black fabric that comes in Tall sizes.

        • Negotiation help :

          You might be right. I’ll do my best though! I mostly want that to include the basics (shoes, coat, a couple suiting skirts, slacks)- more trendy tops and accessories can come out of a separate budget.

          I want to get as much as I can because I’m going to be visiting a state with no sales tax on clothes. But I will definitely keep my tags on until I wear things.

          Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions so far! Recommendations for particular pieces are welcome- favorite tights, etc.

          • I like Hue and DKNY tights and you can find both for about $7/pair at places like TJ Maxx, Loehmann’s, etc.

            Uniqlo has some nice, quality basic clothes that are well made and very reasonably priced. For something similar to the editor pant, I was pleasantly surprised by the modern bootcut pant from the gap (its their “premium” pant collection thing). I got it when gap was having some 40% off promotion and I think for $30-something it’s a great item to have on hand.

            I would check out outlets. When I started working I basically did something similar and ended up with a good transitional wardrobe (4 pairs of pants, 3 skirts, a few sweaters) for around $600. My only advice here is to be careful with the outlet-only stuff. It tends to be very hit or miss. JCrew outlet stores have *some* nice stuff and some that doesn’t wear well at all. What I’ve liked: the factory version of the no.2 wool skirt (but not the cotton), sweaters, outerwear, jewelry and other accessories, button down shirts. What I’ve regreted: anything “ponte” pilled immediately, the suiting was all “off” for me in fit. Brookbrothers outlet has some good quality basics and often stuff from the regular store, too. You should look to see when they have sales for additional discounts because otherwise it can still be pricey. If you’re a lawyer, you are probably eligible for a “corporate” BB discount through your alumni or bar association, request a free card and get an extra 15% off. Saks Off Fifth and NM Last Call can be great sources — lots of DvF and Elie Tahari at often very reasonable prices. I mostly avoid the stuff at BR outlets because 90% of what I have gotten has been crap — you wash it once and might as well throw it away. That said, one of my favorite black pant suits came from there so never say never.

        • Yes. I hate to agree with this, but I have to say that a budget of $1000 does not seem like enough for this. I have recently been going through a bit of a wardrobe upgrade myself (due to a size change), and I was surprised at how quickly the items added up in terms of cost. If you are adding in shoes and winter coats, I don’t think you will be able to meet the budget. I wouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to buy “investment” pieces. With a limited budget, this becomes No Fun very quickly. You end up trying on countless pairs of pants, in the hopes of finding that one perfect pair that is worth the chunk of your budget it will take up. When you repeat that process of searching for the most perfect, worthwhile piece, for every single item in your closet, you will become exhausted very quickly. Also, you might not have anything to wear come Day 1. Just don’t be too terribly hard on yourself–this is a difficult and expensive task!

      • Better advice for work capsules is I think found at http://theviviennefiles.blogspot.com/ and http://youlookfab.com/ If your time/budget is limited, I think it’s best to start with some really boring basics :-), spicing them up with existing pieces as you go along. You do have some clothes, it’s just that you need to make sure to only combine them with a solid foundation. It’s best to be nondescript while you figure out the lay of the land anyway, and then you can go as far towards expressing yourself is acceptable without overstepping right off.

      • By the way, I have a 35″ inseam, and I wear the No. 2 in regular (not Tall). It hits me better. It’s approximately 23-24″ at my size, so that’s just knee length. Also check out Talbots–they are having a sale right now and have some really lovely silk tops for ~$40, which is a steal, if bateau necks look good on you. I find they cut long in the larger sizes (but you’re thinner than me!). Good luck!

      • Not sure if you’re still checking this thread, but you can definitely use a personal stylist at Nordstrom with their sales. I just did that this weekend (with a very last minute appointment made via their website). My friend pre-shops the sales with her personal stylist too.

    • You should check out the Talbots website online. They have 40% off their sale now.

  13. Loose Seal :

    Does anyone have advice for getting motivated to lose some weight? I have gained about 30 lbs in the past couple of years, and I’m really unhappy. But then I still make choices that lead to more weight gain. I just feel like I have no willpower left over sometimes to make healthier choices. Has anyone been here? How did you snap out of it?

    I want to feel better and fit into my favorite clothes again.

    • Anonymous :

      I find that exercise doesn’t help me lose weight, but it does help me make better choices. Can you implement a regular exercise routine? Even as simple as 3-4 45 minute walks per week. Walking is very therapeutic to me and I’m much less likely to make poor choices after I exercise.

      I also suggest starting small with easily controllable things. Identify your weaknesses and avoid them. For instance, if you make bad choices when you eat out, try to cook at home more. Give yourself huge props for cooking at home all week.

      The other key is good planning so you don’t have to make bad choices. Have healthy stuff to eat around. Don’t let yourself get starving so that you lose all decision making capabilities.

      Remember with cravings that tomorrow is another day. If you have the power to bypass a craving today and you still want it tomorrow or the day after that, then let yourself have it. I find that cravings usually go away. And if they don’t, then I give in.

    • For me, I had two upcoming weddings that I was going to be a bridesmaid in and I wanted to lose weight before them. So do you have an event coming up that can be a goal date for you? Or can you plan an event (beach vacation, race to train for or something?) It helped me to have a set (but realistic) timeline.

    • Yes, totally been there. More than once in my life. The first time, I went on a work trip with some colleagues and was mentally comparing their eating habits with mine and I came home and said that’s it, I’m ready. More recently, but with less to lose, I knew that I had been gaining and was completely frustrated with not being able to fit into my clothes, etc. I got on the scale in preparation for my annual wellness appointments (so I wouldn’t be shocked) and I was horrified by the number on the scale, made a decision then and there to eat better. As I mentioned in the earlier thread, I’m not a big overeater, it’s more about my choices. I work out a lot so if I eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and don’t snack on sugary things, I lose weight pretty easily. I’ve been surprised that I didn’t have to do anything drastic or starve myself, especially given my age (late 40s). Only you can find that tipping point. Good luck!

    • Check out sarahjenks.com. She’s amazing. Totally changes how to think about food/exercise and very positive. Also, maybe read Intuitive Eating (recently recommended on thissite but I havent read it myself).

      • I can’t plug Intuitive Eating enough. I’ve been trying to follow it for just under a week now and I feel amazing compared to before. The more I think about it, the more I realize that every single use of restrictions, rules or conditions in my life related to food and exercise was counterproductive. Yet we have almost no other way to think about these things.

      • Anonymous :

        I just looked through this site for the first time and, to be honest, I don’t get it. I’d like to lose weight, but I’m not eating from boredom or sadness – I still live my life and accept myself as I am, I just know that I’d be healthier if I lose some weight. I agree with the idea of the site, but I’m not sure I understand how you lose weight. Is it something that comes in the emails?

        • Wildkitten :

          If you don’t feel any emotional or boredom compelling you to eat, why don’t you just eat less/healthier? I’d eat salad for every meal if my emotions weren’t telling me to eat a box of mac and cheese. I think you have to figure out what’s stoping you. Too busy to eat healthy? Don’t know what to put together? No time for fancy recipes? If your problem is different, your solution might be different.

    • FitBit? I got one for me and my mother got one at the same time. I am walking a lot more because we friended each other so we can compete for who walks more. She is in her 70s and is totally beating me, so it’s kind of embarrassing and motivating me to move more.

      • +1 for fitbit. Seeing the hard numbers really keeps me from having that extra snack or at least motivates me to take an extra walk before indulging.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My motivation just sort of clicked one day so I’m not terribly helpful on that. I did want to recommend checking out a website called Nerd Fitness. If that fits your personality at all I find it motivating and helpful as a source of information.

    • I find baby steps are easiest for me. I hate dieting so I always start with exercise. Once I’m in a regular exercise routine, I tend to crave fruit and salad and water so then my diet improves without me feeling like I’m depriving myself or having to watch what I eat. If you’re the opposite (hate exercise, find dieting easier), then focus on that.

      With whichever you start with, start small. Walk for 10 minutes (that way you don’t have to change your schedule too much) or switch your soda for water. Once that’s not a challenge or you’re used to it, increase the amount of your exercise or focus on adding another diet tweak.

    • Been there! The one thing I found really helpful was to force myself into a mindset that every minute of every day was distinct from every other – so just because I ate something off-diet, that didn’t mean “the day was shot” and I’d start my diet again the next day – instead I tried to always start again RIGHT AWAY. Same with missing a couple of workouts – I tried never to let myself say, oh well, this week isn’t happening, I’ll start again next week – instead I tried to go later in the day or the next day or whatever. For me, forcing myself never to think in those day/ week increments, and instead trying to focus on making the right choices in the moment, made a huge difference.

    • wildkitten :

      Spend time on Sunday prepping food for the week so it’s easy to eat healthy when you are busy/stressed.

    • I’ve been there. For me it was my doctor looking at my weight, asking if I was happy with it and then offhandedly saying “well, it’s not like you’re obese yet”. Yikers. I started watching things that day & using myfitnesspal to track what I ate and to figure out how to lose weight. It worked for me – I’m down 30lbs. Not quite where I want to be but much happier. To answer your question though, I needed a real wake-up call and to go “cold turkey” from bad habits to good ones.

    • Motivation :

      For me the motivation was precisely that – wanting to continue to fit into the wardrobe I built up. But what helped to provide concrete ideas was Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat. The science behind it just seemed to make things click. I don’t know that I agree with everything he says, but he makes a really compelling case against the perceived wisdom I had previously accepted (low fat, low cholesterol diets are best). Instead I sharply limited my sugars and grains and simple carbohydrates (trial and error, I have subsequently continued to stay off wheat, but have added in a small portion of rice or starch each day). I was someone for whom bread was a major food group, but by focusing more on what I could eat (meat, eggs, full fat dairy, seafood I previously thought I didn’t like) it hasn’t felt restraining.
      I continue to exercise (running and yoga) because I like it but I no longer feel like I MUST exercise to maintain my weight, which is a big relief with a challenging schedule.

    • For me, I had to acknowledge that willpower wasn’t enough to motivate me, so I had to take proactive steps to keep myself out of situations where I was going to make poor diet choices. For me, that means having a breakfast routine (for me, a veggie/almond milk smoothie) and lunch routine (make all weekday lunches on Sunday via crockpot). I keep the stuff I’m weak about out of my house – for me, that’s Ritz crackers and cheese and guacamole and chips and unhealthy breakfast choices like bagels and cream cheese. If it ain’t there, I won’t eat it. My approach is eating two very healthy meals a day and healthy snacks, and then eating whatever I want for my third meal. Most of the time I end up eating healthy for the third meal, but I don’t beat myself up over it if I want pizza or dinner at a restaurant. I also try to go vegetarian during the week and let myself eat meat and fish on weekends.

      I say this all to say, it’s easier to get motivated if it’s a routine and not solely based on willpower to make the right choices in the moment. Good luck!

    • How about a personal story? I am on the cusp of 40 and about 50 lbs overweight. My body is truly breaking down after gaining the last 10-lbs in the last year. I am facing massive changes in my body that threaten my ability to function day-to-day and certainly threaten my dreams of adventure travel and athletic pursuits. Now clearly, others are more overweight than I am and don’t face the same issues, but you don’t know until you get there. My doctor recently explained that your knees experience 7x your body weight, so if you lose just 2 lbs, it is the equivalent of 14 for your knees. I couldn’t be more upset with myself for getting here.

    • ExcelNinja :

      Sorry to hear you are unhappy with your weight :( Please remember you are still a smart and wonderful person.

      This was basically me about 5 years ago. I went through about a year where I just could not make myself make good choices. Even if I went for a 5 mile run I would go out for pizza, wings, and beer afterwards, more than negating my hard work. On the weekends I’d go outside hiking and biking all day and then eat an entire box of mini-wheats at night while watching tv. I’d bake my own bread (healthier!) and then eat an entire loaf of it. Etc, etc, etc. I definitely empathize with your plight.

      Everyone is different of course, but what worked for me was:
      – I cut out carbs entirely. See above re: binging. I couldn’t control myself around carbs. This was awful for the first month – no more bread, cereal, pasta, rice, sauces, etc – but it really seemed to help. I’m still pretty low-carb even now (not as severe – occasionally have pizza or sandwiches or whatever).
      – Doing something active every weekend, which has since translated into doing something active every day. Even if it was just walking to the park to play catch, or walking 10 mins to get a coffee, I moved my butt.
      – I stopped being so hard on myself. I gave up running (I hate it but it was just such an efficient calorie-burning mechanism!), and I went on bike rides for fun rather than to see how fast I could do a route.

      Things that did not work for me:
      – the wedding/trip/hot date deadlines I gave myself would just make it so much worse.
      – dieting/depriving myself did not work.
      – buying all my new clothes in a size too small did not work and just wasted a TON of money (though my sister got a pretty nice donated wardrobe!)

    • I think it helps to focus on coping with stress in a healthy way so you don’t reach that point of feeling totally drained and powerless. When you take care of yourself better, you don’t feel like food is the only option to make a bad day better. I do this through yoga, listening to podcasts and going for walks, calling a friend, and trying to make fun/enjoyable plans sometime during the week. I also take walk at lunch (even just ten minutes sometimes to get outside during a hectic work day and clear my head). That way I feel more in control over my own well being. Step 2: eat more healthy foods — make at least one meal a day super healthy — such as a big salad or a healthy soup. This will help increase the number of veggies in your diet and decrease the calorie count over all. And as you try more and more healthy options, you will find some you actually like, which can help reinforce good habits naturally. Step 3: rarely by the unhealthy stuff in the grocery store. Don’t stock up on things you don’t want to be eating. In the last four years, I’ve lost fifteen pounds this way and kept it off. I’m the skinniest I’ve been since high school. Good luck! You can do it.

    • Loose Seal :

      Wow everyone. Thank you so much for your thoughts, personal stories, and kindness.

      I’ve read all the responses several times, and you’ve all offered some great suggestions and plenty for me to think about. Time for a trip to the grocery store and some Real Talk with myself about the importance of taking care of myself rather than pouring every.last.ounce. of mental energy into my job.

      • Remember that you aren’t a good worker (employee/advocate/assistant/whatever your job is) unless you are 100% present, both health-wise and mental-health-wise.

        Put the oxygen mask on your own face before you can put it on anyone else’s.

  14. Boston 2L :

    Have any of you ladies tried no more rack (dot com)? They have some good deals and some terrific deals, so I’m interested – but I don’t know if they are legitimate or not. I see some great reviews and some horrific ones online, so I’m wondering if it is worth the chance (they have a skirt I really want to get and haven’t been able to find similar elsewhere) if it’s basically luck if it goes well or not!

    • Franice Nolan :

      I tried them and had an eh experience, I ordered a bed spread they shipped the wrong size and the right size was out of stock. They gave me store credit and I waited and waited to find another bed spread I liked and it has been ok but not great.

    • I’ve purchased from them a few times in the past and had a decent experience. The one time I purchased something and it didn’t show up, they sent me a full refund.

  15. private equity labor rates? :

    Going into negotiations with a private equity firm to provide consulting/guidance/technical assistance on an investment opportunity. Work is estimated to be a 2 week long project, results needed ASAP, starting right away. Thoughts about hourly rates?

    My usual rates are in the $110-150/hour range; I charged $400/hr for similar opportunities 1.5 and 2 years ago – is this still in the ball park?

    • Yay! Open thread’s! I love Open Thread’s! And the 3 day weekend, tho I am comeing into work to catch up on by billeing’s so that I can get my $10,000 bonus dad negoeatied for me!

      As for the OP I am not sure of your billeing rate, but it sound’s to compleicated to bill at $100-150 hour. The manageing partner bill’s me out at $650/hour, and then he put’s his own ADDER on my bill for his review, which is at $1000 per hour, so every hour we BOTH bill a cleint, the firm make’s $1,650/hour! YAY! But some times, the cleint ask’s me what the manageing partner is doing b/c they NEVER see or hear anything about or FROM him. I tell him he MUST audit my work per NYSBA rule’s, tho I am not sure if there even is a NYSBA rule on this (he said there was, so that is what I tell them) Once in a while, they call him, and he expelain’s it to them, and then bills them for $1000 to expelain it to them.

      Roberta was the first to question him, but she stopped b/c she realy like’s me and my work, tho she is NOT crazy about the manageing partner. I am goieng with Myrna to see a freind of her’s this weekend in the Hamton’s. We are stayeing at his place, but I was told to bring warm clotheing b/c it is on the beach and there is not good heateing out there. FOOEY! I do NOT want to freeze my tuchus off out there, but Myrna say’s we will be fine.

      Dad called to tell me I should be getting busy with Fred already b/c Ed called and wondered why I have no plan’s with Fred yet. I told dad that I was NOT sure about Fred b/c he will make me work after I have a baby. He said the onley one haveing a baby now is Rosa (#3) and I have NOT even got out of the starteing gate with #1 and I am OLDER then her. I said FOOEY b/c I am a professional, who COULD have been a housewife, but I never found a guy who was SMART enough for me. He said that at THIS POINT, any guy willeing to marry me and put up with me should be good enough. I think he was the one who told ED that. FOOEY! I will NOT compremize on a guy. I know I could get alot of guys, but they all just want to have sex with me, burp, and roll over to sleep. DOUBEL FOOEY ON THAT!!! I need a guy who will respect me and who is smart, and who earns alot of money and who will NOT just want sex and to burp and roll over in bed. I had that with Alan. TRIPEL FOOEY!

      Can the HIVE find me a DECENT man? I will consider any reaseaonable offer. HELP!!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      I think you want to be more in the 500-600 ballpark. Two weeks of 40 hrs per week is 40,000-48,000 at this rate. I work in PE and we would be paying consultants closer to this figure for this kind of work. As an aside, we once had someone quote us 200/hr for consulting work, and the partner in charge decided not to hire him because there was no way he could provide anything useful to us if that was his market rate. Basically, there is a lot of money in PE and we totally lose sight of other industries that might pay their consultants less. This is definitely a situation to go high and let them negotiate it down if they feel the need (they probably won’t).

      • private equity labor rates? :

        Thanks for this valuable perspective Anonymous – while I am actually considered a national expert in my field, this is a completely different planet as far as rates go. Your anecdote is exactly what I am trying to avoid. I had an initial conversation with the client and they made it clear I was exactly what they needed. Your insight – and willingness to share – is an just another example of why this community rocks!!

  16. happiness? :

    I’ve been thinking a lot about what actually makes people happy in life. We all strive to get certain things like a great career, a relationship, maybe children or owning a home. But do those things actually make us happy? I know people that have none of those things and seem thrilled with their lives. And I know others that have three or four of those things but never seem satisfied.

    What actually brings you happiness? Do you find that it’s the same things that the culture/society tells you should make you happy?

    • Puppies.

    • Boston 2L :

      I’m not at a point where I particularly want a marriage or could afford a home, but I find that two things are key for my personal happiness: loved ones (friends and family) and success based upon what I want/know I can do. I think that, because I want a great career, that will make me happy if I succeed it – but if what I really wanted of myself was to sit in a park and meet people or to take pictures or something, I’d be happy as well. With loved ones, I think it is more difficult – it depends on so many things (the hand you are dealt in life, past experiences, and sometimes, sadly, your work and position in society) – but if you find people who truly match you (fit your life, love you, you love, and basically help keep each other happy however that may be), that matters.

      I think that different definitions of success and happiness are why some people are happy in their lives while others (who by societal terms may be seen as more successful) are not.

      It is difficult to separate out from culture/society, since I think that plays a lot into what I think I should do in my life and goals I set for myself. However, I try to look at myself based on my expectations rather than the societal ideal – as tough as that is.

    • At the risk of being a mood killer, to be honest I don’t feel like I’m TRULY happy very often. I always feel worried or stressed about something. I like getting my nice paychecks, but then I feel stressed when a lot of it just goes to student loans or saving for a down payment. I feel happy if a partner compliments me on doing a good job at something. What makes the happiest is spending care free and relaxing time with my husband, but that’s rare because we’re both attorneys so one of us is always stressed about something 99% of the time!

    • Read the Happiness Project. The author spent a year researching that topic through her own life.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Interesting question and something I’ve indirectly been reading about lately. I’m not quite sure how to express it but I’m happiest when things in my life seem to flow. It’s when I’m being challenged and rising to the occasion at work and things are relaxed but not boring in my personal life. At the same time though it isn’t really anything external that makes me happy deep inside. Sometimes external things like lighting a candle and reading a book on a crisp fall day with the windows open can put me in a good mood, but I don’t really think of a good mood as being equivalent to being happy. Likewise, when something happens and I’m in a bad mood I’d still consider myself happy inside because the bad mood is temporary.

    • I think happiness is basically expectations minus reality. If what you think your life should be is greater than what it is, you’re likely to be unhappy; and if your reality is in line with or greater than your expectations of your life, then you’re more likely than not to be content. This is why I think FB makes people so miserable — you compare your life to the “best of” that gets posted by your friends and family and you feel inferior when in reality it is all just a well-curated image. In terms of society, I also think that for people in their 20s and 30s, part of what causes unhappiness is that we were raised to think we are each a special little snowflake that will grow up to change the world, but as Megan’s mom said it so well on Mad Men, “all little girls can’t grow up to be ballerinas.”

      On a personal level, what makes me content with life is trying to be grateful. It’s so easy to focus on all the things one doesn’t have or all those things you think you should be doing, but I just try to be grateful for something every day. Some days, I almost trip on the stairs and I think, “I could have broken my leg” and it makes me thankful that I am okay. I think it’s important to always keep in mind all the things that are right, not just to focus on what’s missing.

    • Anonymous :

      Without exception, every.single.person who has ever pressured me to settle down has been on the verge of divorce in their own relationship.

      • I’ve noticed this pattern too. I think a lot of it is jealousy: I had to marry the wrong person and be miserable for decades, so why don’t you? It may also be too scary for some people to sit with the idea that staying single for longer would have been…just fine at the time, and better in the long run.

    • I like to think that I’m generally happy, but that may be wishful thinking. The moments when I can remember feeling “true happiness” were usually in the wilderness: camping somewhere or on a hike. I think it’s because when I get away from distractions I can get more clarity and am able to acknowledge all the good in my life, instead of focusing on the stress. Also when I laugh really really hard, which is usually when I’m just hanging out with friends.

      The last life event that I had where I felt truly happy was when I had finished the Bar and was on a camping trip with friends. I was sitting in my camp chair, sunning myself and drinking a beer while reading. It was quiet and peaceful, and I had absolutely NOTHING to stress about, because for the first time in a long time there was nothing I needed to do.

      I think happiness is all about managing your expectations. If you constantly are expecting more from people or your job, or are constantly trying to compare yourself to others, you’re ultimately going to end up disappointed. But, if you can calibrate what you want in life to what you are likely to get (given your career choices, your job market, your earning potential, etc.), then you are much more likely to be happy with the results.

      • I am a banana. :

        I’m with you on being truly happy mostly in the wilderness. I think it is because it is so much bigger and more permanent than me and my problems. Gives me some perspective.

      • Almost all of mine are when I’m traveling to some beautiful, sunny new (or old) place in Europe. I think that’s because I’m 1) doing something I love more than just about anything; and 2) everything MH said about getting away from those everyday stressors and worries, and getting to refocus on all of the good things and opportunities in my life.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Your experiences that you describe as “true happiness” are things I’d describe as “bliss.” Not sure how different they really are, but they are definitely related in my mind. I think of happiness more as a long-term underlying feeling punctuated by moments of bliss.

    • I’ve thought about this, because DH and I are so different. He had a severe upbringing, with the focus on survival and not on happiness. His culture has a quote that roughly translates into “it doesn’t matter if you are happy as long as you are fed,” which sums up his feelings on happiness. If I ask him if he is happy, he says he doesn’t really know and it doesn’t matter. Happiness isn’t a goal for him, and he picks jobs and activities that are designed to improve society or the well-being of me and our children, with no focus on himself. He has had many tough breaks in life. On the other hand, I had a great childhood and all sorts of things landed perfectly in place for me (good schools, dream job, great boss, husband, children, house, parents nearby) — I almost feel guilty for how happy I am all the time when he never really seems happy, yet we share the same life and he just doesn’t do happiness the way I do. I guess I don’t really get it, but do think about it a lot.

      • Anonymous :

        I aim to be content, not to be happy, because being happy seems greedy in some way. If I’m happy, a dip will follow, but if I’m just content, I can maintain it forever.

    • I recently borrowed this book from library called “Geography of Bliss”, very interesting scientific results about happiness across different countries with good humor from the author. Good read.

    • Lady Harriet :

      A few weeks ago I posted that I finally applied for a new job, after putting it off for far too long. I didn’t hear back from the company in the time period that was listed on their website as a typical wait, so I dove back into depression and feeling sorry for myself for being a failure that nobody would want to hire. Just last night I was wailing to my parents that I must’ve been obnoxious in the cover letter, and that was why I hadn’t heard anything.

      This afternoon the company called me and I have a phone interview scheduled for Wednesday! I’m 100% qualified for the job and actually have a little more experience than they’re looking for. At this point, I don’t even care so much if they hire me, I’m just thrilled that a company like me enough for an interview. This is actually only the second professional job I’ve applied for and then been called for an interview, so I’m nervous, but I feel like I know so much more about how to interview well than I did last time, about 18 months ago. (I got my current job entirely through connections, so I never had a formal interview process. It’s a great job in many ways, but I think it’s time to move on.)

      Anyway, I just wanted to say that if this can happen to me while being depressed, very stuck in all aspects of my life, and without much professional experience, then good things can certainly happen to the rest of you too! RAWR.

      • Lady Harriet :

        Whoops, I meant to post this below! However, here are the things that make me happy:

        -Being around children. I don’t have any, so it’s mostly friends’ kids at this point, but being around them brings me so much joy. I feel a strong desire to get married and have children as soon as I reasonably can and have for a number of years. My religion highly values marriage an families, so this is totally normal for my peers from that group, but society in general seems somewhat baffled that someone my age (mid-20’s) would be so eager to “tie myself down.”

        -Swing dancing makes me very happy. I have insecurity sometimes about being asked to dance or my skill level, but dancing itself makes me feel amazing.

        -Having family and friends that really care about me and are willing to put time into our relationships.

        -Feeling as if my life has a purpose and that I am contributing to others’ lives in some way. This is something I’m definitely working on and unemployment/underemployment has a great tendency to rob me of it.

        -Sunsets and good weather. They’re some of the best parts about living in Florida. I think I may have SAD, so living in a cold northern climate made me miserable.

    • Famous Internet Cats.

      No, really. That is pretty much the only thing that makes me happy.

    • Forgetting where the article I just read on this was, but it boiled down to: loving relationships. Could be with friends, family, children, life partner, whomever. But having love in your life is the number one thing that increases happiness in the long run. Second was meaningful work.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      When I first read this I thought – oh boy, but after giving it some thought, I am happy when I have a sense of accomplishment, and not necessarily my own. When I can support my kids doing their best and achieving, I am happy, supporting my husband in his goals etc.. I am happy. working at a job I mostly love, and enables my family to have and do the things they enjoy – I feel a sense of achievement. Still, I enjoy big wins, and closing great deals and resolving disputes.

      I do not like chaos and discord/confrontation for the sake of confrontation in my personal life.

    • I think happiness is fleeting and is enjoyed when things ‘peak’ or are new. Contentment I think is the real, stable, continuous ‘life happiness’ that people look for. The contentment feeling, in my perception, comes from 1) no major ongoing trauma or stress 2) having made choices you can live with/that are ‘right’ for you 3) having time and the inclination to have little pleasures (a perfect cup of coffee, stopping to see the sunset, fun/romantic time with your SO, seeing friends) and having these achievable pleasures be ‘enough’ to fill your emotional needs.

    • ExcelNinja :

      My dad died very suddenly when I was 12, which taught me that you or anyone you love can go at any time. I live every day as though it could be my last or a loved ones’ last. Everything makes me happy. It’s a constant joy to be alive.

      (I see you rolling your eyes from across the interwebs, but it’s true for me! sorry I’m so lame :0)

      Yesterday I was walking to work from the train station and the blue sky and sun made me so happy.

      Today I was lucky enough to cuddle up on the couch with my DH and watch a StarCraft tournament (who knew that these things existed!).

      Tomorrow we’re going ice skating. Maybe at the rink I will have a brain aneurysm and die but I’ll be smiling right up until that very moment.

    • Some of the happiest people I’ve known in my life were my grandparents from the WWII generation. They told me they felt lucky to have survived the war. Their whole lives felt like a gift, because at one point, they could have lost it all. They had a whole different level of gratitude. Both my grandparents were never demanding or manipulative to their families. They were very independent, trying to exemplify good qualities for the rest of us. The same is true for my husband’s grandparents. Maybe they kept their unhappiness to themselves, true, so we certainly didn’t see the whole story, but there was a brightness about them too that I think was real. I try to bring that kind of positive attitude and gratitude into my own life. Don’t expect that everything should be perfect. Lose the entitlement. Be grateful for the real good in your life — friends, family, a stable home, food on the table, whatever it might be.

      • Silvercurls :

        “Don’t expect that everything should be perfect. Lose the entitlement. Be grateful for the real good in your life — friends, family, a stable home, food on the table, whatever it might be.”

        Thank you. This is beautiful.

  17. Poppyseed :

    I’ve been at my job for just 3 months, and I know it’s not right for me. I’m willing to give it a few more months, but I know I want to leave before my 1-year contract is up (actually, more like ‘contract’ because nothing was signed… though we have an agreement for the length of time). I think I want to leave at the 6-month mark. How bad would that be? And how can I spin it? There’s no growth here and it’s not something I’d want to do beyond the year, FOR SURE.

    • Do you have something else lined up? You never know how long your job search will take and might put you close to the one-year mark anyway. Also, I would think about whether you would burn any needed bridges? Do you work in a small industry? Do you need a good reference from this job? Anyway, just things I would consider.

    • If you have something else lined up, and don’t have a other short stint work, then you are probably fine.

      If you don’t have anything else lined up, then you stay the full year or until you do have something else. It’s a year, you’ll be fine. (Unless it majorly unethical or totally shady, which you didn’t suggest). Then you can explain it as moving on to something better, not quitting something you didn’t like. If it’s just boring, or not as fulfilling as you thought, think of it as paying your dues as a working member of society.

  18. Atomic Atty :

    Next week, another associate (3rd year, patent litigation) and I (1st year patent litigation associate ) will be meeting with a potential Partner for our group. He has other interviews earlier in the day, but we will be the only associates he meets with. I am happy my firm allows us to have some input, but I really am not sure what he would expect to be answering from associates, or things I should ask. I get that it’s a two-way process, he is screening us too. Is there anything I should be aware of on that front? Thanks!

    • If it were me, I would ask what is your management style? Can you please provide a couple of examples? I worked with a horrible micro manager of a partner and it would’ve been interesting to see what his answer to this question would be….

    • As an associate, I want partners who are going to bring in lots of interesting work. I’d ask about typical cases he works on, what his most challenging ones have been, etc.

    • Especially as a junior associate, I would ask about the partner’s delegation philosophy and ask for examples of what types of work he would give each of you on a particular type of file, as well as how he generally communicates feedback.

      • Atomic Atty :

        ANON, Anon., and Nonny, these are really good suggestions! Thank you! This also gives me the confidence to actually ask these questions. The delegation philosophy is a really on-point suggestion as I know this candidate is coming from a firm with *no* 1-3 associates, all 4th years and above.

    • Wedding ugh :

      I wasn’t in love with any of my photos either, especially the ones that really showed off my body, since I felt like I was the only bride in history that managed to GAIN 20 pounds before the big day instead of lose it. It’s been three years and though I still see the “flaws,” I also remember how much fun I had that day and how happy both of us were (and still are), so I’ve gotten used to it. The hubs loves them much more than me and I consider our album to be something more for my children and a way to remember everyone else who was there.

      And quite frankly, after spending all that time focusing on your wedding and your day and you finally get the HUGE packet of pictures, you get so sick of looking at yourself. If you take a break, you might find you look a bit better.

  19. Anonymous :

    We just got our wedding pictures back and I don’t love them. There are a few nice ones and my husband looks great, but I feel like I could have been better. My make up looks harsh, my heels are sinking into the grass and I’m standing awkwardly in a few shots, I don’t like my smile because I showed no teeth and it looks forced but I don’t like my teeth which is why I don’t smile with them, and I feel like I could have lost 5-10 lbs and looked much better. I know that probably in 20 years, I’ll look back and think how young we looked and how great it was, but right now I can’t help but feel like I’m mad at myself for not having lost some weight like everyone else does for their big day, or not practiced smiling and standing in front of a mirror, or not having gotten a better make up person…. I guess this is just me getting it off my chest but I’m hoping some of you wise women can just make me feel better.

    • Oh no! You know what, why don’t you put them away and then go back to them in a few days. I honestly didn’t LOVE my wedding pictures when I first saw them but then the more I looked at them, the more I loved them! Regardless of how you look, they are memories of an incredibly special day in your life so hopefully the pictures will remind you of those memories and make you smile :)

    • If it makes you feel better I felt exactly the same about my wedding photos — even though everyone else tells me they’re great (which I’m not sure if that’s better or worse). I think you have to think of it as documenting a great day, less that they are beautiful photos – you’ll love them later on because of the memories they’ll bring, not because of the aesthetics. That, and make an effort to get people to take pics of you and your hubs when you’re out together so that you feel like you have some new nice photos.

    • Sorry. For what it’s worth I don’t love mine either – a combination of hating my hairstyle and our photog not be being very creative and taking almost all the shots from one angle that I don’t think is very flattering. Plus, we actually had to crop a photo to use for the newspaper because we had NO close-up with both of us smiling and looking at the camera. Remember this isn’t your last chance to have professional pictures taken – most of my friends have done professional family photos once they’ve had kids (or even pets). And at least you got a few nice ones for framing! I know people who have hated ALL their wedding photos. I hope they grow on you.

    • Anon Photographer :

      This won’t fix everything, but if you’ve found your makeup too harsh, pick out a few photos you otherwise like and ask your photographer to brighten them up and make them a little more exposed – it will soften up the whole photo. Your photographer can also decrease the clarity, which will also soften up the look. Also, converting color into black and white with similar principles (brighter and more exposed) can help with that too. If you used a professional, they should want you to be happy and a lot can be done in the editing room.

    • I hated my wedding video, but wow has my view of it changed in the almost 20 years since then. I don’t care anymore about how I looked as a bride; I’m looking at the people I loved who are gone now, and I can see them move and hear them talk . . . It’s all about seeing my friends and family in one place, to celebrate with us, and who cares what everybody looks like. But that’s not to belittle how you feel about your photos; I’m sorry about that, and maybe there’s some way to work with the photog to fix them up a bit, or even take them elsewhere to see if they can be edited.

    • If you had looked absolutely flawless/the best you have ever looked in your whole life because you starved yourself and caked yourself in makeup, you would look at them in 10-15 years and feel sad that you don’t look that way anymore (even though it wasn’t a realistic image of how you normally are). Now you will be able to look back and be reminded of who you really were and how much fun you had at that point in your life.

    • If you still have your dress, retake them! You might as well be happy with them, right?

    • you will probably feel differently in 10 years. not much consolation now, i know. i have some body confidence issues due to babies and slacking off on my gym time, but i tell myself that in 15 years i will look at my pictures today and wonder where the pretty young girl went!

    • Oh, honey. Be nicer to yourself! Your weight, your makeup, your smile— they might bug you, but it’s not because you didn’t look great on your wedding day! Some other insecurity, or maybe some unreasonable expectations, have gotten hold of you, I think.
      Do you normally like photos of yourself, or do you usually think you don’t look good? If the latter is true, then you have to remember that there is no magic wedding-exception that will make you like *these* photos of yourself; that’s going to come from practicing some self-love and acceptance. If usually you like photos of yourself and this was a fluke, then (1) lucky you! and (2) sure, why not get a few more pictures of you in your wedding dress with some makeup you like better? Assuming your budget allows for it. But don’t feel like it’s necessary to do that, at all. I suspect the photos you already have are great, and you’ll hear that from people in your life, and get used to looking at them, and feel better. But if not, get some more!

      Finally, if it’s any consolation, I’ve been married for over three years and have not looked at my photos again since getting them. I hardly had any printed, and wouldn’t have an album if my dad had sent me a copy of one he made for himself. I want them to have them for historical value, but displaying them or even looking at them frequently, not so much. You might realize that you feel similarly. So it might not matter at all, once you gt over your initial disappointment.

      Finally-finally, let yourself be little disappointed if you must, but please don’t blame yourself /your appearance. Be nicer to yourself! These photos are of the first day of your marriage, not just your wedding. There is joy there!!!

    • New Bride :

      I got married 6 months ago and hate my pictures too.

      I actually hated my hair that day. My DH told me on the wedding day that he loved it, and everyone else did too. But I still hate it.

      I also really liked our photographer. We interviewed several artsy/”journalism-style” photographers and picked this one. I like the candids and some of the creative bridals shots.

      But our family portraits are awful. The lighting is bad, some people aren’t even looking at the camera, etc. My family takes photos all the time, so they knew pretty much what to do, but my DH’s sweet shy parents aren’t smiling and it makes me so sad to see them. His dad had to buy a suit for the wedding, and his mom got this really pretty dress, and all the pictures we have are of them frowning. WTF.

      All I can really do is suck it up. I look at the pictures now and think it was happy, but I remember a lot of the stress too. With the hair thing, I think I just need to shut up about it. I can’t change it now, so there’s no point telling everyone who sees the pictures that I hated my hair. I just shouldn’t say anything if I can’t say something nice, even about my own self. (In other words, I should STFU with the self-hate.)

      These are the pictures we have (and we paid a ton for). We aren’t going to go back and start our marriage over because I hate the photos. It will be fine in the end. But I’m with you – I worked so hard to get things perfect, and photography was something we really cared about, and it turned out crappy.

    • I wasn’t wild about mine. I chose to wear my long hair completely back because I thought it would frizz otherwise– but it looked harsh, and it would have been so nice down, what was I thinking? And my makeup person was a whackadoodle who thinks everyone should wear red lipstick and coral blush. My husband looked sickly despite being tall and good looking. My photographer who I thought was so good was actually pretty lame– we could have done so much better. BUT . . . we do have a couple that are decent, so those are the ones in the frames that are out. I think they’re black and white– that helped, and any color photo can be made black and white (that was trendy 15 years ago), and they’re from a little further away. The rest are in the album (which I insisted on making myself because I thought the hard bound ones were cheesy, but of course mine turned out awful because I am not crafty or skilled). It’s in a cabinet and we rarely look at it. But my kids love it, and that’s what counts. Which is a long winded way of saying, it’s not that big of a deal.

      • Also, my dress was too low cut and was loose by the day of the wedding, so I swear to God you can see nipple in one shot where I’m leaning over. God only knows what the guests saw. Fail.

  20. London Recommendations, please! :

    I am going to London over the holidays (yay!!) and I found a flat to stay in (in the Bayswater neighborhood) & have theater tickets and reservations for tea and a tour of Buckingham Palace. My questions are – (1) does anyone have recommendations for some fun, local London blogs? (2) Also, I’ll be there for New Year’s Eve – for those of you who live there, how hard is it to get dinner at a pub that night? Anything to avoid/know about that day/evening? and (3) based on where I’m staying, anything in the neighborhood that’s a local favorite?

    Thanks in advance!
    -Carrie Preston

    • Look up FFiona’s (double F intentional). It’s near SouthKen and is an incredibly intimate restaurant with great food. Go shopping on Ledbury Road in Notting Hill (also walkable). Make sure to wait for the sales to go shopping. I like Bond St, Oxford St and New Bond St. It’s fun to go to a department store or two–my favorite are Browns and Selfridges. Harrods’ food court is fun, but not necessary. Check out Time Out London (they are online) to see what else is happening. Check out a recent NYT article on London–it came out in the past month and had some great recs.

      Should not be a problem to get dinner in a pub on NYE, but I would try to book a proper dinner reservation somewhere. The fireworks are usually over the Thames near Westminster/Parliament. Be careful with Tubing/Taxis as the tube stops running…just something to think about if you’re out past midnight…your hotel can explain Night Busses to you.

      In terms of day trips, considering doing a day trip to either Oxford or Cambridge. It’s easy to get to Hampton Court Palace via train too–it’s a short ride out. If you want to go further afield and have more time, consider Stonehenge. It’s fun to ride the boat between the Tate and Tate Modern. It’s fun to pop into any of the free British museums–Natl Portrait Gallery, V&A, etc. And my 2nd favorite museum is Sir John Soane’s House–basically a semi-wealthy guy died and decreed his house should stay exactly the same–and so it’s like stepping back in time…very intimate and very cool. My very most fave museum is the Cabinet War Rooms.

      Have a great trip.

      Some of my favorite high street stores are Jigsaw, Hobbs, Karen Millen and LK Bennett. Enjoy!

      • Carrie Preston :

        Thank you so much!! Exactly what I was looking for!!

        • Forgot to tell you to try to book tea at Claridges or the Dorchester. Tiny sandwiches! Huzzah. Really pricy but you feel like royalty and it’s very memorable.

          I also like going down to Greenwich (you can take the DLR from Bank Tube or a mainline train from London Bridge–it’s like a 10 minute ride). It’s pretty cool to step on the meridian and think, “time starts here!”

          Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden is also a favorite shopping destination I forgot to mention too. They have lovely lotions and potions.

    • London Recs :

      I am not sure what play you already you have tickets for, but I would highly. highly recommend The Light Princess at the National Theatre on the South Bank. The reviews in the press were mixed, but I would have honestly gone back the very next day to see it again if I weren’t returning to New York. It can be combined with other South Bank activities like the Tate Modern or Borough Market, a fantastic food market. On previous trips to London, I have also really enjoyed BrakeAway Bike Tours (I did the one of East London).

    • I’d recommend going on the London Eye, but book your tickets on-line first to avoid queuing twice. I second the suggestion of Borough Market if you like food. Liberty on Regent Street is a beautiful 1900s building with the most amazing shopping. Have a wonderful time.

    • In terms of blogs, I love “the Londoner.” She is adorable and always posting about fun stuff she is doing in town – restaurants, events, etc.

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