Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Seamed Pencil Skirt

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

Halogen Seamed Pencil SkirtNordstrom has a ton of stuff on deep discount (lots of lucky sizes, but a lot of great stuff).  For today’s TPS report, I’m liking this black combo seamed pencil skirt from Halogen — the bit of texture looks interesting and fun, while the black colorblocking on the side is flattering but not obvious (as some readers have noted, sometimes colorblocking look like a bad version of those bikini t-shirts).  The skirt was $69, but is now marked 60% off to $24.97.  Halogen Seamed Pencil Skirt

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. hellskitchen :

    I am wearing this today! It is such a great staple with a bit of a twist. I paid full price for it though, wish I had waited for the sales.

  2. I was just thinking today that I need more skirts – this is perfect timing! In my shopping cart.

    On an unrelated note, I recently received my very bonus – hooray!! Most of it will be going to pay off my law school loans, but I wanted to get something fancy for myself that I otherwise can’t justify using money to buy. I’ve never been big into handbags, so I don’t have any nice ones, and thought that might be a good present for me.

    Some time in the past people here suggested that the Modalu Pippa might be a great bag for me, but it was out of my price range then. They’re having a sale now, AND I have money to spend, so I thought maybe I’ll go with that? I was drawn to the peacock color, but thought that if I’m spending a lot maybe I should get something that more neutral. Do you folks think that the peacock would be too much color/shine/etc. to make this my everyday bag (my office is business). I certainly wouldn’t use it for interviews or court.

    Second question – are there any other bags that you all think I should look at?? If you were me, what would you be buying?

    • Saddleback Fan :

      Something from Saddleback Leather.

    • I have often thought about a blue / teal bag. I am on Team Red Bag, so I hear you! I say if it’s a color that you love and you will use it, go for it.

      I have always loved these (not leather, officially camera bags, but sooooo cute):

      I wish shop on there and get so frustrated when I can only narrow things down to my top 3 bags.

    • I had a teal bag that I wore into the ground, if that helps illustrate its versatility. I liked that it was a pop of color, but coordinated with different neutrals really well (brown, black, navy, etc.). I didn’t wear it as much in the winter, but I carried it close to 5x a week in the spring and summer.

      • Oh, interesting – I don’t usually think about seasons (obviously I am terrible at fashion. I just wear whatever.). What do you think limited teal’s use in the winter?

        • I think it depends how bright your teal is. If it’s a true teal I think it would be fine in the winter. Mine had slight aqua/turquoise undertones, so it was a little too “beachy” for winter use, if that makes sense.

    • For my post-law school graduation bag, my husband let me pick out any “briefcase” type purse I wanted (I went quite neutral and black because I viewed it as a forever bag.) I ended up going with a Jack George tote and I have to say, I love it SO much. I’m not three years out and it still looks great (and I am *not* particularly kind to my purses.) It easily holds file folders, a laptop, and all my daily junk that I carry everyday. And the nice long shoulder strap hooks easily over winter jackets.

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        Ooh, I like! I recently purchased the Lo & Sons bag and am very unhappy with it. These look delightful — which one did you purchase? the Milano looks great, but I wonder if it is big enough.

    • Carrie Preston :

      I checked out the peacock, and I’d carry it to both court and an interview, so I wouldn’t let that hold you back. If you’re worried about it though (personally, I’m on team show a little flair for things others are more conservative about), it’s not like those events happen all the time (unless you are an in-court daily kind of lawyer).

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Hey look! It’s time for my weekly MZ Wallace plug!

      I’m not 100% confident on my USD to UK conversion, but I think they’re right in the price range you’re looking at for the bigger bags. I have the MZ Wallace Kate in black, and it is, hands down, the best work bag I’ve ever owned. It’s super light, fits everything (laptop, file, Kindle, usual purse contents, makeup bag, two phones, two pairs of glasses, and shoes, when I really push it) has a million pockets, and has held up extremely well to daily beatings – it hasn’t lost its shape at all and has no visible damage. I also love the red lining – it makes it super-easy to find everything inside the bag’s large main compartment. Their non-black colors are also interesting but muted, so you could carry one of their more colorful bags and still look work- and court-appropriate.

      • KKH’s recommendation got me to look at and purchase the MZ Wallace Jane. I love it. Hands doe the best work/travel bag I’ve ever had. It still looks new after nearly a year of weekly work travel. It fits my iPad, work laptop and the rest of the stuff I feel compelled to carryon my weekly flights. It’s lightweight compared to most bags. I was reluctant to buy a nylon bag and bought and returned an OG and an OMG. I thought they looked cheap for the price. The MZ Wallace bags are stylish and don’t skimp on details like strong zippers, good zipper pulls, beautiful lining, etc.

  3. file edit view :

    I will be telling my boss this afternoon that I will be taking maternity leave starting in May (3 months, 2 paid by institutional policy and one FMLA unpaid; returning in August for a month at half-time using saved vacation days). I have a list of my major duties/projects and some suggestions on how to distribute them in my absence. I will be asking to come back at 80% for the first year, with evaluations at 6 and 12 months to see if it’s working for me and the department. This is in a non-academic (eg no student contact) department of a big US university. We’re already short-staffed from someone who left in November and won’t be replaced until March, so I’m a little worried about my boss’s reaction. What am I forgetting? Any advice from those of you who’ve done this before?

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I haven’t done anything like this before, but I have two thoughts after reading your post:

      1. Do you have a “backup plan” you can propose if that schedule doesn’t work for your boss?

      2. What will you do if you get a hard “no”?

    • I did something similar when kid #1 was born. But I waited to propose the pt arrangement until after I had returned to work and reminded them of what an asset I was. At that time, I think they saw it as a compromise that benefitted them because I wasn’t going to quit. But if I’d try to sell it before my leave started I don’t know that they would have felt the value.

      Also, you should keep in mind that you don’t necessary know what you’ll want after you’ve been parenting for a bit. 80% might not be the right number for you, and you wouldn’t know that until you’ve been a at it for a bit.

      Good luck!

      • Yes, I agree that you should wait to propose part time until during or at the end of your maternity leave. Congrats!

    • This seems defensive and a bit of overkill. If I were your boss I’d be thinking- really? I need a list of your work 5 months in advance? I’d tell him the time you plan to take for maternity leave and see how it goes. There’s plenty of time to talk specific projects later. And I think your plan to use vacation time to go half-time needs to be an ask, not a tell. That would never fly in my office.

      • Agree that your plan is overkill. Say you’re pregnant and when you’re due. After the “congrats” and the small talk about how you’re feeling, mention that when your boss is ready to discuss it, you have some suggestions on how to distribute your duties/projects in your absence.

        I’d ask about using the vacation time once you’re already out on leave, same with the 80%. So many things are beyond your control – you could end up using the vacation for bed rest before the baby even arrives. You could go crazy being home all the time while on leave and want to return to work 100%; you could go crazy just thinking about being away from your baby for one little second and figure out a way for your family to survive with you working 0%.

        • Amen to thinking about unplanned bedrest. I had my plan worked out to a T when my blood pressure went up and I spent the month before I gave birth at home. There went my vacation time. If I could go back I would make sure to take symptoms seriously in the last month and be willing to cut back to part time if my boss agreed-I’m sure she would have preferred it to having me come back from a doctors appointment saying I had to start bedrest that day. I was so convinced I would work until I went into labor that I didn’t take what was happening seriously.

      • This. I don’t have kids, but I do a major unit and have had the conversation from the other side of the table.

        I would just have this conversation be a simple update that you are now pregnant, when roughly you expect to give birth, and any other pertinent details (ie due to health complications, I may have to go on leave earlier than my due date). Then I would say that you are committed to a good transition for your work while you are out (and for your return if you are committed to coming back – i do rightly or wrongly assume women who don’t express concern about taking over there work again once they return as not long for the workforce) and would be happy to develop a plan well in advance of your leave. And then as for when they would like to revisit this topic, and then follow up with their scheduler to get something on the books then.

        As a manager, I would be seriously annoyed if someone announced their pregnancy to me (especially that far in advance – it would be a different thing if someone had some sort of acute medical issue and had to start leave immediately) and expected me to have a substantive conversation about their work over the next year immediately. This is a conversation I would want to do some thinking and prep for so that I could have a substantive conversation.

  4. Miss Behaved :

    I’m working from home today and finally getting into the holiday spirit. I’m watching Christmas movies. I started off with Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. It’s straight out of the 70s. Bert and Ernie portray The Gift of the Magi. Bert sells his paper clip collection to buy a soap dish for rubber ducky and Ernie sells rubber ducky to buy a cigar box for Bert’s paper clip collection. Plus, Oscar makes Big Bird worry that Santa won’t be able to come because he’s too fat to get down the chimney.

    Now I’m watching The Year Without a Santa Claus. I love the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser.

    And I’m going to follow it up with The Grinch. And tomorrow I’m going to see the Nutcracker with my sister, my nieces and my mom. And I put Christmas songs on my ipod and for my nephew while I was babysitting yesterday. He likes dancing to the cheesy, jazzy ones like Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas. I like the rock ones like Christmas in Hollis, Christmas Wrapping , and U2′s Christmas, Baby Please Come Home, as well as the classic religious ones like The First Noel.

    What are you all doing to get in the holiday spirit?

  5. I like that skirt! Wish they had it in my size.

  6. Ok ladies, I am coming out of lurker-hood with what I believe to be the most difficult “what do I buy this person” problem I can imagine.

    My husband’s cousin is my age (28) and just got engaged last week. We will see her for Christmas, and I’d like to bring an engagement gift. Below you will find the ridiculous number of things I have to consider in purchasing this. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    -We are traveling internationally to see her, so nothing breakable, liquid, alcoholic, or large.
    -She is Latin American and will not be changing her name, so no new fun monogrammed items.
    -Both betrothed still live with their parents (see above re Latin American) so I think the cute Mr./Mrs. tumblers I’ve seen around would be weird, given that they don’t live together?
    -Her father passed away less than a month ago, which I only mention because the emotions are running high and I don’t want to step on any toes.

    Am I thinking too hard? HELP. Oh, and we leave on Saturday. Ha. Thanks!

    • what’s your budget- how about a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant for a romantic dinner for her and her fiance?

      • Anything up to $100. I’d love something like this, except that they live in the aforementioned Latin American country and I have absolutely no idea if this is even a thing they do there? Or how to get one before I see her. Also she’s a nutritionist so she’s a bit picky about food. See! Impossible puzzle. Thanks for the suggestion though!

    • How about some nice stationary (not monogrammed or personalized) or a nice notebook where she can jot down wedding planning ideas.

    • Is there a local holiday tradition there (las posadas, etc.) that you could get her a little gift for? Or an ornament with the year engraved on it? Sort of a welcome to the family, please share in our wacky Christmas traditions (or look at us try to embrace your traditions)?

    • Travel picture frame.

    • Blair Waldorf :

      A nice jewelry/ring holder for her new addition to her jewelry collection? Etsy has a ton of vintage and inexpensive jewelry boxes. You’d have to look to make sure one is sturdy enough to survive the travel, but usually the sellers package these things very well.

      • Jinx! :)

      • kjoirishlastname :

        Yep–great idea. My mother gave me (and my sister, as we both got engaged within days of one another) ring holders that were former stemware. The bowl of the wine glass was cut off, and the top end was ground down to a nice rounded top. Mine is fluted, and it is lovely. I use it every day.

    • What about a ring holder? My best friend gave me a lovely crystal ring holder as an engagement gift, and I use that sucker every day! You can def get one for 100 or less.

      • +1 to this. I use mine everyday too. I’d say a nice pair of wine glasses, but those are breakable (although the stemless tumblers might hold up better…)

      • +2 to this. I have a Waterford one that an aunt gave me as a gift, and I use it every day. I think it was about $60 or $70, so in your price range.

        • I have a Waterford ring holder and, since it’s small, I think you could roll it in clothes (or just protect it with the box) and it’ll do fine. I think it would be a fun gift!

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 for the Waterford ring holder. I use mine every day and love it. Plus it’s small, packable, and not all that expensive in the scheme of things.

      • That was my suggestion too. I still have the one my best friend gave me almost a decade ago.

      • Man, teaches me to post before reading… it is a great. They have adorable ones at urban outfitters (I know, bleh) for around $20 and also at cost plus.

    • What about a cute little “wedding planning ideas kit” or something – you can get her a couple of wedding magazines, a nice notebook for scrap booking wedding ideas, maybe print off a couple of those budget/wedding list checklists, and maybe a copy of A Practical Wedding or something like that? It would show both thought and I know when I first got engaged, I loved having a couple magazines to flip through and just fantasize about. You know, before budgets and timelines became an actual reality.

      • I love giving magazines as a gift – she doesn’t speak English. Anyone have a source for Spanish language wedding magazines?

        • A Nonny Moose :

          Depending where you’re located, I’d try a news stand store. They often have tons of foreign language magazines and newspapers. Barnes and Noble also might.

        • Marie Curie :

          You can browse those online newsstand sites e.g. to get some ideas!

    • You could always get a fancy bottle of champagne at the duty free in the airport (which is esp. fun with new years approaching) and maybe a little token gift (like a pretty but not too expensive ring holder from Anthropologie).

    • My fave engagement gift is a small ring holder– they have great ones lots of places right now.

  7. Yay! I LOVE FRUEGEL FRIDAY’s! And I am workeing so hard to get ready to go with Myrna to Myrtle BEACH! YAY!!!!

    I will probabley not be abel to p’ost much from there unless they have INTERNET access and a computer. I hate typeing from my I-Phone, so If I don’t post much next week, I will catch all of the HIVE up later about what is hapening with my life when I get back home and get on my MacBook Air!!!!!! YAY!! I am exceited that I am comeing back to the office as a JUNIOR Partner, which the manageing partner tell’s me get’s me my own letter head! Yay!!!!!!! I am goeing to send letter’s to all of my old freind’s showing them that I am a sucess even if I am NOT MARRIED to them and do NOT yet have a child. FOOEY b/c I think I should have both and I will have both, say’s Grandma Leyeh.

    Dad says he will NOT let me spend the $50K grandma Leyeh is giving me in January. Instead, he is putting this into the Firm’s 401K plan, which he got the FIRM to agree to match (at only 10% — which is an extra $5000 — Dad is such a negoteiator — mabye he should have been the first US Based Barshevsky, Esq., but that is ME!!!!!

    Anyway, I am leaveing all of the guy’s back in NYC in the dust as I explore South Carolina for a potential MATE. I am not expecteing much — Roberta says I should NOT ruel out her son, b/c she is goeing to see to it that he get’s started on being serius on life. Also, in January, we are getting the new KID to be my associate! YAY b/c I can now be a manageing attorney who is a partner, tho NOT THE manageing partner! Margie sent me flower’s at home, but since I am leaving, I told the doorman he could just bring them home to his wife, b/c she is making him ChimmyChanga’s for the holiday.

    I hope all goe’s well for the HIVE, and that we all will be charmed in 2014. For now, I guess it’s TOODELES! YAY!!!!!!

  8. Greece/Turkey :

    I will be traveling to Turkey in March and would like to visit Greece if possible. The duration of the trip is 8 days and I’d like to have 2-3 days in Greece. I am debating between Athens and Santorini – any suggestions one way or the other? I am an amateur photographer and will have my camera along. I know it is not good beach weather so I will mostly be wandering to historic sites for good photo ops.

    Anyone have any advice for which one I should go to – Athens or Santorini? I also found a flight pattern that has me one day in Athens and one day in Santorini. I think this may work as Istanbul will be the bulk of my trip and so I am okay with spending limited time in Greece, but I am not sure where the airports are located and whether this will afford me enough time to get to the various tourist-y sites with my camera.

    Any advice is much appreciated!

    • Santorini x1000. Its the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Also a photographers dream.

      Athens has amazing history obviously but its also crazy and congested.

    • Also in Academia :

      Having been to both, I’d vote for Santorini. Athens is nice, and I love that I have been to the historic stuff there, but Santorini is just so beautiful and relaxing and amazing. I was there in the shoulder season – early June – I understand it gets crowded later on but March would, I think, be an amazing time to be there. I can imagine it being really great weather-wise.

    • I’ve been to both. Santorini is stunningly beautiful, tranquil and relaxing. Athens, while crowded, is beautiful in its own way. The historical sites are amazing and I can’t imagine going to Greece and skipping them.

      • backgrounder :

        Been to both I vote Santorini!! Hands down. I loved the island – so beautiful and perfect for amazing pictures. I found Athens to be a bit crowded, congested, lots of graffiti, etc. but it’s nice to be so close to so much ancient history.

    • 100% Santorini. Although, depending on where you’re coming from you probably have to pass through Athens to get on your plane/ferry to Santorini so it might be worth taking a half day to see the Parthenon. But if you could only do one or the other, do Santorini, ESPECIALLY if you’re into taking photos. It’s the most photogenic place I’ve ever been by far.

    • With only 2-3 days, it would be feasible to do both . It is a short flight from Athens, so it would just depend on your budget. Alternatively, if you ended up doing Athens, you could spend a day at one of the islands that is closer to the city like Hydra or Spetses. Both Hydra and Spetses are close enough to Athens that you could do a daytrip and neither allows cars.

  9. KC, I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I wanted to thank you for your advice last Thursday. I bit the bullet and had the talk with the internal hiring manager.

    I will now be a recruiter in the middle of January! Thanks again!

  10. JCrew help -- Origami dress :

    Does anyone have this in wool crepe? The other fabric sold out already. There is a wool crepe one on sale in my size (I hope) and I’m just wondering about the fabric. Thanks!

    • I thought it was rather thin when I ordered a suit last year. But I find that they do let you return things even when they say you cannot. It was a lighter fabric and I remember I could see my butt through the suit pants…

      • National_Anthem :

        I have this dress in the wool crepe, and I like it a lot. It is a lighter fabric but I don’t feel like it’s see through in the origami dress, plus it’s lined anyway. Go for it! :)

  11. job change dilemma :

    I posted yesterday about working with an insecure co-worker. One of the suggestion was to just leave the team instead of dealing with him. I want to follow up on this.

    I am unhappy with the team and I want to leave. But I am in a dilemma whether to join a different group in the same company or different company itself. Following are the pros and cons. I want to know what would you do in this situation and help me clarify my mind.

    I am on work permit which may limit my options if I want to join a new company (as they have to transfer my visa to that company and restart the green card process). I have to start with a lot of paper work all over again, just to maintain legal status for one year as I will get green card next year end through my husband’s employment (and I will be free to join whichever company I want).

    We want to start TTC in next two years. This is purely based on career and financial goals. If I start a new job with another company, it will be with an increase in pay which is one thing I can check off right away from my goals before having a baby. Increased pay will also help me reach our other financial goals faster. If I stay in the same company (as it is not doing so well and I will not do well for atleast next couple of years), it will take 2 – 3 years to reach my target pay. If I change the company now, I will lose around $25K in the form of restricted stock units and some retirement contribution from the company. Retirement amount will be fully vested in 2 years and it will be 60% vested next year if I want to leave. I will lose RSUs any day I want to leave the company as they keep accumulating.

    Can you ladies please help me with your views?

    • Apply to both kinds of jobs and also talk to your coworker and ask him to back off. You can choose when you have offers.

    • Agree with above. No reason not to apply to both and see what you get. The nice thing (if I remember correctly from your last post) is that you have 5 years experience at this company. It won’t look weird on your resume if you leave since you have one big block at the same company, and I would assume that you have contacts in other parts of the company that can help you with open positions.

  12. 16 handles :

    I’m thinking of going away with my boyfriend for Valentine’s / President’s Day weekend (unsurprisingly we are not the first to have thought of taking advantage of the 3-day weekend, so lots of places are booked up already). Does anyone have recommendations for somewhere within a 3 or so hour drive from New York City (like in the Poconos, Berkshires, or upstate)? I’m looking for something charming with a touch of luxury (so, not 5-star, but like an upscale B&B), and trying to stay under $350 a night. My boyfriend loves hiking, so somewhere near hiking trails would be ideal. I’ve looked at places like Mohonk Mountain and some more upscale places in the Poconos (like Crestmont) but it looks like those rooms go for closer to $600 a night. If anyone has ideas, let me know!

    • The Sagamore in Lake George is gorgeous, but it would certainly be cold in February. Hiking would be more like cross country skiing (as would most places within 3 hours of NYC).

      • More? Reposting Here Because I Messed Up Below :


        Our daughter is in college in Allentown, PA, and we are 2500 miles away. We plan to visit once annually over Presidents Day weekend. Any suggestions about where to stay and what to do, either with her or alone before/after seeing her? We are especially interested in visiting Amish country, but I’m concerned there won’t be much to see in February. You seem to know a lot about the area. Any suggestions? Thanks for anything you can share.

        • Sorry, don’t know much! Just spent a weekend at that hotel and did some hiking at the area waterfalls. Also saw the Grey Towers Historic Site (a lovely old home with pretty gardens).

        • For Amish country, check out the town Bird-in-Hand – I think it’s about an hour away from Allentown. I don’t have much current knowledge of the area, but the Hotel Bethlehem is/was the place to stay when I was in the area years ago; there are some wineries in the area and a casino in Bethlehem; Allentown has an art museum. I think there’s a Lehigh Valley visitors’/tourist website. Also, it’s only about an hour from Philly…

  13. So per my earlier post, I got the Dr. Who Tardis Cookie Jar for my SO and it came in the mail this week. My plan was/is to put his other gift inside, but the whole thing almost got ruined because the damn thing kept making the Tardis noise when I brought it up to the apt. in its box! Luckily I had other boxes and bags with me so it was hard to see what was what but as I went to put it away, he shouted from the kitchen: “What is that? It sounds like the Tardis is leaving!” I tried to convince him it was my phone and/or he was going crazy but not sure if he bought it…. oh well!

  14. lsfdj,

    Our daughter is in college in Allentown, PA, and we are 2500 miles away. We plan to visit once annually over Presidents Day weekend. Any suggestions about where to stay and what to do, either with her or alone before/after seeing her? We are especially interested in visiting Amish country, but I’m concerned there won’t be much to see in February. You seem to know a lot about the area. Any suggestions? Thanks for anything you can share.

    • My fiance is from Bethlehem and I also grew up in PA (more Amish country than him). The Lehigh Valley isn’t super Amish country, but if you drive an hour or so you’ll be in Lancaster/Lebanon county which is. For visiting the Allentown area specifically you could try visiting more sites in Bethlehem like the downtown area and the casino which is where old Bethlehem Steel was. I grew up in Hershey which has plenty of attractions. Any reason you chose presidents day? It’s kind of yucky weather in Pennsylvania during the period and you may have issues with flying and snowstorms.

      • JCrew help -- Origami dress :

        Binney & Smith is in Allentown — they make Crayola crayons, etc. It may not be age appropriate, but I always thought it would be a fun place to visit.

      • You can visit the historic Moravian district in Bethlehem, which might give you something of the historic vibe you’re looking for (although not Amish).

    • Visit Philadelphia. Much more to see and more easily navigable in sloppy winter weather. It’s close – about an hour/60 miles or so via car. There are also trains.

      • I have not been there, but I have heard amazing things about the Barnes Museum if you go to Philadelphia.

        • The Barnes is amazing! I went just before they vacated their original location to see it one more time. They have since moved downtown adjacent to the art museum and I was there in November. The new facility is amazing and while it lacks the charm of the old home, it’s stunning in its own way.

      • Anonymous :

        And, if you visit Reading Terminal Market in Philly, you can eat at the Dutch Eating Place (run by Mennonites) and get a taste of Lancaster county-style food. Love the apple dumpling!

  15. Holiday movies :

    I’m looking forward to a quiet night in tonight watching movies and baking for the holidays. I could use some suggestions for fun, cheesy holiday movies to watch that are available for streaming on Netflix or Hulu Plus. What are your favorites?

    • Christmas Vacation!

    • Love Actually

    • Home Alone!!!

    • Baconpancakes :

      Not sure if it’s streaming, but The Snowman is a beautiful, fun, slightly reserved wordless film based on the children’s book, with the soundtrack composed by George Winston. It’s GORGEOUS and good for a quiet hour with a cup of hot chocolate.

    • Home Alone and Home Alone 2. In full disclosure, I think I’ve watched each about six times in the last two weeks thanks to whatever cable channel is playing them every night.

    • The Holiday.

    • There are a bunch of silly ABC Family/Hallmark type Christmas romantic comedies that I love. Holiday in Handcuffs (Clarissa and AC Slater!), 12 Dates of Christmas (Zack Morris!), and another one I can’t recall the name of but stars Nick Zano as the “Sexy Santa” in a mall promotion.

      • +1 to Holiday in Handcuffs! We stumbled upon that movie one year and it was so hokey it is now a holiday tradition to watch it. My husband and I look for that one in the Christmas Movie Guide that comes with our Sunday paper every November.

        Also love Christmas Vacation.

      • Totally, these are such a guilty pleasure. Holiday in Handcuffs is ridic! ;o) I also like Snow, and Snow 2, starring the guy from the Tv show Ed, remember him? super cute movies

        Let’s see if I can remember my whole list. I like traditional mixed with kind of not the usual christmas movies. I think all of these are on Netflix, or most of them.

        Muppet’s Christmas Carol
        White Christmas
        The Holiday
        Edward Scissorhands
        Scrooged (bill murray!!)
        Rent (or just listen to the soundtrack)
        Meet Me in St Louis (where Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” comes from)
        The Nightmare Before Christmas
        Die Hard & Die Hard 2
        Miracle on 34th St (the original)
        Little Women (1933 version)
        omg another cheesy one, but Christmas in Wonderland, with Patrick Swayze
        and then i have to watch the oldschool shorts: Grinch, Rudolf & Rudolf’s Shiny New Year..

        Also, I usually go back and watch a few Christmas episodes from my favorite shows: Doctor Who, Buffy, Gilmore Girls, 30 Rock, Community, Eureka, Leverage

        I’m so weird, because I am kind of anti-christmas, I’m not Christian, never have a tree, and don’t even love traveling on the holidays. But I will watch my whole list of movies/shows and bake tons of cookies at the end of December. Not sure how that makes sense in my brain….

    • White Christmas (and a second for Love Actually)

    • Small Town Atty :

      I love, love, love A Christmas Story.

    • Die Hard.

    • Seventh Sister :

      The Hudsucker Proxy. It takes place on New Year’s Eve, and it’s probably the sweetest Coen brothers movie.

    • Holiday movies :

      You guys are amazing! I think I will have to plan more than one holiday movie night… :)

  16. One More Gift TJ :

    I read that the best thing to get parents is more time with them. I live a few hours away from mine, and they both continuously express interest in visiting me. My father travels a lot anyway. My mother is a little harder to get away because of commitments at home. I’m thinking about getting them ‘experiential’ gifts in my town to give them a more time-structured reason to come and so we’ll have something to do together while they’re here. Can anyone comment on whether this is a good plan? If not – what do you get for people who have everything they need and a house full of past gifts they don’t use?

  17. Job Related Q :

    A judge has expressed strong interest (as in: “see if you can arrange it so you could start for me on this date”) in having me clerk for her in the future, when she next has an opening. I have informed the judge already that I would absolutely love to do so, and have discussed this opportunity with my current employer and they are on board. My last contact with the judge was about two months ago where I informed her that I am able to start on so and so date. I haven’t heard back. I know the judge is incredibly busy, but what would you ladies do? Would you check in now to follow up? How would you phrase the email? I thought it might be preferable to email right before Christmas, as opposed to right after when I’m assuming everyone will be playing catchup. TIA!!!

    • Job Related Q :

      I should perhaps add that basically, I just want to lock this down. It’s such an amazing opportunity, and I want to make sure I’m showing my continuted interest, but on the flip side, I’d prefer not to inundate her with emails.

    • Ann Shirley :

      Pick up the phone and call her chambers. Tell her “I can start this date.”. See what she says. This is your career, don’t hang about waiting to be nice to her to figure out what you are doing!

  18. Bah Humbug :

    So our small firm gives holiday bonuses every year and almost always mid year bonuses. This year during the mid year bonus distribution, the partners told the staff not to count on these bonuses – they are not guaranteed. Well, here we are, it’s pay day today and it’s already the 20th and no one has received a holiday bonus yet – despite every monthly meeting the partners stating we are having a very, very good year. If I get one, I will be paying down debt which will be very stress relieving but since I opted out of most Christmas stuff this year, I am not really too stressed about it. I am not doing any presents this year for family; we agreed to just do a nice dinner. I have no significant other for the first Christmas in a long time. I didn’t send Christmas cards. I didn’t decorate my apartment or get a tree since no one will come there. I have never been this low key about Christmas and I thought it would be more depressing but I am actually very thankful to not be relying on this bonus at the same time.

    But I feel bad for my staff who have families and kids and live paycheck to paycheck and can’t really opt out of Christmas like I did. Not to mention they have come in all morning to interrupt me and ask what I know – which is nothing as an associate. Anyways just venting because I can’t do it IRL.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ve heard of a few firms doing bonuses Monday even though today is payday. Hopefully, yours is the same. I know my boss is giving his assistant her gift Monday even though our holiday party was yesterday. There is hope!

  19. Disappointing bonus :

    Tips on how to talk to a partner about a disappointing bonus check? The partner told me before I got my bonus that if there were any problems to let him know and he would see if there was anything he could do, so he basically told me ahead of time that I wouldn’t be happy. And I’m not. The bonus is well below the minimum I was expecting. Any advice on how to have this conversation with him would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    • Do you have a performance review soon? If not I would request one in January and ask what the basis for the bonus was and what you can do to improve next year, what goals you should be setting and meeting, etc.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t know, but I’m grappling with the same. Can’t figure out if I should ask my partners if I should read something into this. But I also don’t want to seem greedy and like I had expected more.

  20. Cape Town? :

    Any of you ladies been to (or live in!) Cape Town? I’m heading there soon. How worried do I have to be about personal safety? I’m hearing conflicting accounts.

    • Platinomad :

      I lived in CT for 6 months in 2011, and I felt generally safe, and only really had one incident. Here are a few things I think really contributed to my personal safety:

      - Find a reputable cab company, then get the personal numbers of several drivers you feel comfortable with. Call them when you want to be picked up, never take cabs you don’t know (do not just grab one on the street).

      -Assuming you have a “western” accent, don’t talk much when you are walking around town. Americans in particular are seen as targets, and your accent is a dead give away (so is your north face jacket/backpack and your yoga pants). My South African friends always told me not to talk much/loudly when we were crowded/not entirely safe public places (on the street down town, in Muzinberg, in the open markets, on public transportation)

      - Don’t take public transit at night. I personally wouldn’t take anything beside the train ever, and the mini buses (not formal public transit) are really only safe if you have a bigger group that can take up a majority of the van. I know a lot of people who had issues when riding alone or in small groups on mini buses.

      - Know where you are and where you are going. Don’t go places new to you without a plan about where you are going and how to get there and get back. Looking lost/actually being lost makes you an easy target.

      - Be vigilant with locks/security. There are a lot of home break ins/car break ins, and you need to be careful about keeping all doors and windows locked, not leaving valuables in plain sight of a window (in your house or in your car).

      Its all sort of about risk mitigation. I really loved living in CT and would be happy to answer any other questions, I miss it everyday!!

      • Cape Town? :

        Thank you so much! This is really helpful. I live in Chicago, so I’m used to being vigilant and avoiding public transportation at night, but I get the sense this is a different kind of danger, so who knows. Chicago can sound very scary on the news, but if you live there, you know which areas to avoid (not saying that protects you from all crime/violence, but it helps). I figured Cape Town was similar.

        Can you recommend a reputable cab company?

      • Cape Town? :

        Oh, and if you have any restaurant, bar or cafe recommendations, please share!

    • I grew up in CT so I may be a bit biased, but it’s generally a pretty safe place. As a tourist, or foreigner, you’re likely to stay in the ‘nicer’ parts of town which don’t usually have too much trouble. The biggest thing I would suggest is not to look like an obvious tourist i.e. head-to-toe safari gear, camera around the neck…etc. and to not walk around at night by yourself/in small groups. If anything, you are most likely to get mugged at night – in which case just hand over the bag/phone/wallet and cut your losses. I don’t know of anyone who has gotten hurt in this kind of situation. Also keep in mind that CT is a huge destination for foreigners and tourists (especially in the next couple of months) and is very cosmopolitan and more European than any other city in Southern Africa, so you won’t particularly stick out. FWIW, my mom is a foreigner with a strong accent and has never had any problem because of it. If it makes you feel better, I’ve never had anything happen to me, and I wasn’t particularly vigilant in my younger days (understatement!). Just be vigilant, stick to well-lit, populated areas and you should be fine!

      In terms of a cab company, your hotel should be able to point you in the right direction, but for what it’s worth I’ve always just taken whatever cab is available on the street and never have had any trouble (just use your judgement and make sure the car is part of an actual company and not a random guy who decided to start being a cab). There’s also new MiCiti buses which are generally safe in the day, and I would only take the train on the route to Kalk Bay.

      In terms of places to visit I have LOADS of suggestions! Camps Bay in the summer is lovely. Lots of restaurants and bars, but it is on the more expensive side. You should do Caprice and Bungalow on a Sunday at least once. Clifton and Llandudno are also great beaches nearby. In the CBD, Kloof and Long St and the surrounding area have a number of bars and restaurants. I’d recommend Asoka, Planet Bar, Tjing Tjing, Orphanage (a must), Julep and the bar at Daddy Long Legs. Kalk Bay and surrounding areas are considered more ‘rustic’ than Camps Bay and the Atlantic seaboard – I’d recomment Polana and Cape to Cuba for cocktails. Of course, the V&A Waterfront has a lot of places – but most of it is very touristy. A heads up, Sevruga (and it’s sister restaurant Beluga) has half price cocktails and sushi during the day. Constantia has some great wine farms and restaurants, and is very close to the CBD. Mzoli’s is in the townships but is 100% safe for tourists, but I’d suggest you go with a big group if you feel uncomfortable – it’s a huge outdoor braai (BBQ) with hundreds if not thousands showing up on the weekends. There’s also some great restaurants in the CBD – you should be able to find them using google. Oh and shimmy beach club is also a great party spot.

      Oh and a disclaimer – I’m in my early 20s so these places may skew a it young depending on how yound/old you are :)

      Let me know if you need any more help!

      • Oh and I agree with the poster above re keeping valuables out of sight, locked up..etc. As I alluded to above, the most likely crime you are likely to encounter is someone stealing your things – muggings or break-ins. As horrible as they are, they usually leave you unscathed. Also watch out for your drinks being spiked (I guess this is a universal threat, unfortunately)

  21. food issues... :

    My father (widower) is in his 70′s and will soon ?marry/move in with a woman who has a severe eating disorder/anxiety disorder. Up until now, I have been feeding my father who has a pretty normal American male diet, but healthier. Little meat, mostly fish, chicken, dairy/cheese and lots of veg/fruit/nuts. If it wasn’t for our help he would probably eat more pizza/convenience foods etc… but he is pretty easy going in his diet. He doesn’t cook, and actually uses a wheelchair so kitchen is kind of dangerous for him.

    His friend has an extreme “diet”. She weighs every item she eats, and eats zero added sugar and ultra low carbs and I can’t truly describe what she does….. but it is odd. She doesn’t know how to cook – only microwaves, and since she eats based on weight, she dehydrates every item by overcooking to eat as much as possible. She only eats a single item per “meal”…. like 1/2 pound of a protein…. raw tofu, tuna from a can, or cheese are the most common. Then 3 hours later, 1/2 pound of a vegetable from her list, then 3 hours later something else from her list etc… She is very anxious about food, secretly binges at times (eg. a bunch of bananas will disappear or a pound of cheese) and has a NIGHTLY support group on the phone/online nightly for 1 hour for her disorder. There’s much more, unfortunately…..

    How do we manage feeding my father when she becomes part of his household? They lived together briefly and it flopped… as she said she would start cooking for him and then fed him dried out costco chicken and overcooked broccoli every night for 1 week. And then he said no more. So then he stopped eating normal meals. Slowly we started bringing him food as we were worried. It is a bizarre, abnormal relationship to begin with and we are stressed about their marriage, but my God… how do we help my father eat, without stressing her out?

    To make it worse, my father says…. “we’re fine… ” and doesn’t tell me that he stopped eating.

    • I have no answer for you, but my father is also in his 70s, and I have discovered that if my mother is out of town, he does not eat. We now invite him over or take him out for dinner if she’s away (which is rare) because of this. What’s up with guys in their 70s? My dad is totally competent in all other areas of his life.

      • Anonymous :

        My grandma passed away 3 years ago and since then it’s been a struggle to get my grandpa to eat. He only knows how to use the microwave and won’t learn to use the oven (we’re also wary of that for safety reasons, anyway). He says my grandma always cooked for him and he simply never learned how and now can’t learn. He essentially eats stouffers meals, sandwiches, and cheese and crackers. Occasionally he gets take out from his caregiver. There is no changing it, either, shy moving in with him and cooking all his meals (which I can’t do).

    • Senior Attorney :

      Are you feeding him now? If you are, I think I’d just continue. If they protest, just breezily say “oh, it’s no trouble” and keep doing it. If he eats what you bring, problem solved. If not, then that’s harder, but I think I’d try business as usual at first.

      And “not stressing her out” would, honestly, be at the very bottom of my list of priorities. Just keep doing what you’re doing for him, and let her do her own thing.

      • +1

      • Agreed.

        • food issues... :

          Thanks for this you guys. This is what I did last time, but it was very stressful, navigating her/him. I let it deteriorate, then I crept back in slowly….. Sometimes I would arrive to cook, and she would say… “Oh! I had planned to make…… etc….” Most of the time I didn’t know if it was true, or if she was trying to nudge me out of the house. I don’t want to thwart her, but I also know she is a disaster. Because of her anxiety disorder, she also doesn’t like people around …. and I’m sure that includes me. She will quickly try to fire the person who helps clean the house, as she tried last time. Did I mention she describes herself as a borderline horder?

          I may need to do more “dropping off” of prepared meals, so that he can have the choice of eating it then or later. Unfortunately, he is also a complainer, and complains if it isn’t salted enough, not cooked just right etc… Sometimes I have to hold it in so I don’t blurt out something frustrating….. I would almost prefer cooking for him fresh so I can eat as well and save time, but nothing is ever as it should be in these situations…..

    • Would your father listen if his doctor placed him on a strict “diet” of healthy foods? I agree that you might have to provide this.

      • food issues... :

        Interesting…. actually, this could backfire. His “friend” actually WANTS his doctor to prescribe him HER healthy “diet”. Her diet actually is somewhat healthy, it is just unappetizing, bizarre (she gets up in the middle of the night to eat one of her “meals”….). My father doesn’t want to eat a block of tofu for a meal. But it takes stress of her if he had to eat no sugar, no carbs…. She wants him to change to her.

    • Coach Laura :

      I would get lots of reusable “TV Dinner” plates that are meant to be prepped and frozen then micro-waved. Prepare a few dishes at a time using what you make for yourself for dinner (casserole or chili or spaghetti and meatballs -whatever) . Portion the food onto the trays (or for an intermediate step, freeze portions and add to trays later) and add frozen broccoli, frozen peas, frozen beans, frozen asparagus etc. to the tray. Don’t thaw the veggies that were purchased already frozen; just add them to the tray prior to putting them into the freezer when the tray is filled with the entree. You can also try cooked rice, quinoa, buttered pasta with a veggie and a previously cooked piece of fish, shrimp, chicken or burger if you don’t want to make casseroles.

      Then the friend/wife can microwave them (put instructions for the time on the top of the covering) and serve to your father without any prep work. Hopefully she won’t nuke the he!! out of them! You could bring them over and put them in the freezer or a few at a time into the refrigerator.

      Another option would be prepared frozen meals from Trader Joes – they have tons. Eggplant parm, enchiladas, pasta, chicken with gorgonzola, yum! Pick up a dozen and put them in his freezer.

      Keep his fridge filled with convenience food like pre-cooked sausages, cut up veggies, hard boiled eggs (they sell them pre-peeled at Costco), cheese slices, bagged salads, frozen waffles, pre-cooked baked potatoes.

      I might have other ideas if you tell us more what your dad likes to eat. Good luck!

    • Anonymous :

      That sounds terrible. I will co-sign everything above on actual advice about how to help your father, who does and should always remain your top priority. I just wanted to say that, although it clearly is not any of your concern, that woman has a disease and is almost certainly not intentionally ruining everyone’s time. I know that when I was in the throes of my eating disorder, many people were unfortunately angry about perceived slights and showed a remarkable lack of compassion/understanding.

      • food issues... :

        I hear you, and really appreciate you sharing your personal experience. I’m sorry to hear it was so painful for you. Ouch…

        I am torn between protecting my father (this will be a very rough, unstable road….) and trying to help them succeed, although I cannot get stuck in the middle.

        This is also why I’m worried about stressing her out. I realize she has a disorder, and have been trying to explain this to my father so he doesn’t explode with her. She can’t change… not at the age of 60, after decades of this. It really seems to be the best to me for each of them to do their own thing, but I can imagine she feels an incredibly amount of pressure to “cook for him” and start a “family dinner” etc… which I worry will push us all over the edge.

        So I am also curious about your opinion…. can you imagine being in her shoes? What you would have wanted from family, that is realistic considering everyone’s needs? We kids work and are already stressed caring for my father.

        If we go over to cook for my father, should we be obligated to cook only things that she can eat and/or cook separately for her? Is it rude to ask her to ?prepare her own food? It seems so to me. That’s what I’m struggling with.

        Ok … done venting for today. Thanks a lot you guys. Part of me is still wishing they would move to independent/assisted living where they have a dining room/restaurant, and they each can eat whatever they want! But no, my father wants me to continue helping him live “independently” in his house, and now I will have two dysfunctional people to care for.


        • I’m over 70, and while I used to love to cook, I no longer do, and I don’t have to. There are many really good markets near me that have their own prepared foods from which I can choose. I do cook in the microwave: egg -white omelettes [trust me, they are tender and good and easy], all kinds of german and italian sausages, steamed fresh and frozen veggies, rice, and sometimes even recipes including those and other ingredients. I work only part-time.

          Given how hard I read y’all working, I can’t imagine undertaking cooking for a parent. There are some pretty good frozen dinners that are mentioned in previous replies. I am partial to lean cuisine’s roasted turkey breast which includes stuffing, gravy, and some kind of apple dessert. But there are many flavors, he’ll probably like some, and they’re single portion, easy to heat and serve. The Trader Joe’s read as delicious, but I’ve found them over-salted, so I pass on them.

          I wish your father luck with his new love, and I wish you more luck in trying to navigate those shoals.

          • food issues... :

            Thank you for this perspective. It is really helpful and I am so happy that you can post from your experience.

            My father doesn’t cook at all…. even in a microwave. I have bought several frozen dinners for him over the years, and he will never put them in the microwave. He will only eat a yogurt/banana or maybe a scoop of peanut butter and then every sweet/salty snack food in the house. He is also very physically disabled, so cannot go out to get fresh/prepared food…. He’s ready to eat whenever he wants to eat, and never plans 1 minute ahead. If we aren’t there to feed him at a typical dinner hour, it might not be until 10pm at night…. or at all…. usually he will skip it. And then he forgets to take his pills, since they were supposed to be at 6pm with dinner etc… He’s pretty much a mess. It is a success if he even leaves the bedroom, and one of the only ways we get him to do this is to prepare food for him.

            Thanks for your good wishes to him on his new love. Unfortunately, it is an old ?relationship that broke up because of his dysfunction and anger issues, oh yeah….. and because he was already married to my mom. This friend has lost her job and is desperate to be supported financially and is moving cross-country to “take care of him”, when she is already on 4 psychiatric medicines herself and doesn’t cook/clean/drive/know his medical problems/want to take him to doctor’s appointments or therapy/ or how to care for a house. She wants him to support her and take her to plays/movies/travel etc… Yes, she is clearly taking advantage of him, but he is of her as well and says so clearly. He wants a physical partner, and says so very graphically.

            It will be explosive, as it was in the past….. I am fearful for my father’s health and safety… and hers.

        • (replying to your response to me) So sorry. You really are in a terrible position. I can only wish for you to take care of yourself first, and do only as much as will fit into your life for your father. I’ll be sending good thoughts your way.

          • food issues... :

            Thank you for your kind message, Miri. It is actually helpful for me to hear your perspective. In many ways my father is young at heart/mentally, but in other ways is very frail and unable to care for himself. I am constantly struggling with letting him live however he wants if it gives him happiness… but yet it seems to always end in crisis and health problems and at times…. perhaps putting others at risk. It has been very rough.

            My work situation will change dramatically very soon and I will have little free time, and I am just dreading how we will manage.

          • Coach Laura :

            What about a crock pot? Fix it at home the night before, put every thing in a ziplock bag, take it to his house and plug in on your way to work. Stews, soups, chili. Get a crock pot that cooks a variable time period/temp and then switches to “keep warm” after it’s cooked so it doesn’t overcook and stays warm.

  22. wintergreen126 :

    I have to attend a NYE party that’s apparently a “white party.” If I wear a white dress, what color tights can I wear? Silver?

    Also, any suggestions for white dresses? I’d prefer something party appropriate but simple. And inexpensive. Seriously, the cheaper, the better. I rarely wear white, so I’m not interested in investing a lot of money in a dress that likely won’t see much use.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My first thought would be a white tuxedo — jacket and pants and a sparkly top. Is that an option?

      • wintergreen126 :

        I hadn’t thought of that…but I don’t have any of what you mentioned! I wear almost all black, grey, and blue. I will definitely consider this, though.


    • I wouldn’t buy a white dress myself. Does it have to be all snow white? If you want clothing you can wear again, what about a white silk blouse with a cream or pearl gray pencil skirt? You can dress it up with accessories and actually wear the pieces again. In terms of legwear, I would say nude hose to avoid looking like a nurse.

    • If I really wanted to just grab a dress quickly, I would browse through Nord strom Rack and Last Call NM websites. You can search by dresses under $150 or under $100. There’s a lot of junk, but usually I find one or two really good deals.

    • There are plenty of cheap white dresses at Nordstrom including this one
      Will you be outside much and need tights?

      • wintergreen126 :

        I hadn’t thought of juniors dresses over at nordstrom! I’m small enough I can fit into junior sizes. And I liked the one to which you linked.


    • check out ASOS for white dresses at an affordable price point. free shipping/returns and free 2-day shipping if you spend $140+ (you could order a few different dresses to make sure one fits, get the 2-day shipping for free and then return what you don’t want).

    • Everybody on here is too crazy expen$ive. Visit your friendly JCP (ha!) and/or H&M, F21, Charlotte Rousse and find your white dress.

    • After you find your dress, I think you should also find new friends who don’t throw annoying-themed parties anymore. But that’s just me.

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