Tuesday’s TPS Report: Uma Silk Dress

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

Elie Tahari Uma Silk DressPretttttttty. I love the bit of green on this dress — almost like a screenprint, if that’s the right phrase — and a stretchy silk dress sounds comfy and chic. I remember a debate years ago about whether silk dresses were appropriate for the office — does anyone still have a problem with silk for the office in 2014? If so, let’s discuss — why? This dress was $298, but is now $178.80 (part of what seems to be a lot of new markdowns at Nordstrom). Elie Tahari Uma Silk Dress

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

Update: There are definitely lots of new markdowns, including some great basics (such as here, here, and here).  Browse a bit if you have some time. :)

(L-6)

Comments

  1. I dunno…there’s just something about whole-dress silk which seems too evening-y for the office, unless you live somewhere like Asia, where silk is ubiquitous, or somewhere that’s super-hot, like FL or TX or SoCal. I am sure that if I wore this work, instead of getting, “Pretty!”, I’d get “Where are you going tonight, va-va-voom?” from both my male and female colleagues.

    I definitely think that silk blouses can change a simple pencil skirt into a day-to-night appropriate look, and this just seems really formal for a bizcas office.

    Love this dress though! Would def consider for a date night, theater outing or similar. Great pick!

    • Anonymous :

      +1. It’s not an office dress

    • Anne Shirley :

      I think this is a lovely work/cocktail evening event dress, but not a daytime office dress at all.

      • I agree. But I think it’s not just because it’s silk. Also because of the color and pattern and the cowl neck (which can be perfectly fine on a more daytime material but in context here reads very slinky, which is probably not an adjective that should describe your office clothes).

        On the topic of silk dresses for the office as a whole, I think they can absolutely be appropriate but not all silk dresses are created equal. For ex., a DvF style silk jersey wrap dress is perfectly daytime and office appropriate (assuming it’s not too open on you and you don’t work in a office where a suit is the only acceptable uniform). But dvF silk jersey isn’t shiny, whereas this dress has a bit more of a satin look — I would say satin is probably not good for the office unless it is in small doses (like a blouse), and even then I probably wouldn’t wear it but to each their own (it just reminds me too much of those super shiny 90s blouses that were everywhere for a few years).

        • I was having trouble formulating my thoughts, but AIMS summed them up perfectly. I have the J. Crew Origami Dress, which has a similar neckline but in a more typical office fabric, and I think it is fine. It’s the combination of the neck line and the fabric. Likewise, I wear my DVF wrap dress to work on Fridays without hesitation.

          I don’t think seeing someone wearing this dress at work would even make me stop in the hallway, though. It isn’t really out of the bounds of workplace appropriate. It’s just not something I would wear.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I agree with AIMS’s analysis.

          I was going to say you could toss a blazer over this dress and increase the office-appropriateness quotient quite a bit. But then you would just look like somebody who tossed a blazer over her going-out dress, which I don’t think is ever a good look.

        • hoola hoopa :

          Agreed. I frequently wear a silk-linen sheath and a substantial knit silk wrap dress, but I wouldn’t wear any or all silk dresses to work.

          I’d need to see it in person. I think it could work in a lot of offices here on the west coast. I love it, though.

    • It has a shiny / satiny look and I think that satin isn’t a daytime or office fabric (regardless of composition — polyester or silk or something silky).

      I also agree that DVF silk knits are office-OK (or not un-OK based on their being silk; they can still be too revealing, have poor foundation garments, etc.). I also think that the patterns of her dresses and that they are knit mitigate against any wrinkling concerns.

    • anon-oh-no :

      I would totally wear this to the office . . . .

    • You all need to have more fun! This is fine for the office. Maybe not “big presentation day” but a regular day, fine. And a “plans after work” day, perfect.

    • Definitely a going out dress. It would be ok for work if the fabric were matte.

    • I don’t know, this dress just screams ‘look at my midsection’ to me, and that’s one area where I don’t want people to look. I like the overall cut, but not the print.

      • Yeah, I’m with you. I think this dress is gorgeous, but it would be a lot less gorgeous on my stomach than it is on hers.

  2. Any recommendations for a legal recruiter in the Boston area for a junior/mid-level big law placement?

    • I really, really like Judy St. John at Major, Lindsay and Africa. She is NOT pushy, which is huge for me, and really tries to place you in the best position for you. She is also very warm and friendly. Very good connections at big law as well.

  3. Diana Barry :

    Booo! I had a client ask me to mail stuff to his work and my assistant sent it out to his home instead (I had told her we were waiting on the address). Now the client is mad. Any tips on (a) how to deal with an upset client or (b) how to make sure my assistant won’t do this again?

    • a) For the client, own the mistake and assure him that this won’t happen again because you have removed his home address from the databases and b) for the assistant, review with her/him what the proper address is and how to ensure that the file is flagged with the proper address. I’ve had this happen in reverse. It’s embarrassing, but ultimately it worked out with no ill effect.

    • Did you sign the enclosure letter and not notice the address on it? Or was it sent without a letter?

  4. Miss Behaved :

    I think this dress is beautiful and I’d wear it to work, but I’m on a shopping ban.

    • Me too. But I LOVE TAHARI, and this silk dress. Great Pick, Kat!!!!! I might even be abel to wear it to work on a day that I am goeing out at night and do NOT have to go to Court in the day time, tho mabye the judge would like it.

      Sam called and wondered why I did not return his text and I told him about Benjamin. He sounded peevied that another guy was takeing up my time, but I told him I am not dateing either him or Benjamin. The manageing partner want’s me to continue to WOO Benjamin, but I refuse to do anything sexueal with him for the firm. Benjamin is still very formal with me, calling me Miss Barshevsky, so it is not a sexueal thing, thank god.

      Of all thing’s I get a call last night from Alan Sheketovit’s mother, wondering if he is there (meaneing at MY apartement!). I said no, I haven’t seen or heard from Alan in along time, and she said he said we were back together dateing!!!!! I said NO. What in the world was he thinkeing telling his mother this fib. I do NOT know why, but then where was he that he told his mom that he was with me again? I think he might have been out with another floozie that he does NOT want his Mom to know about! FOOEY, and I will not take him back ever, especially b/c of all of the women he must have been with since me. DOUBEL FOOEY!

      I left it with Mrs. Sheketovits that I would let her know if I hear from Alan, but not to worry b/c he was likeley dateing another woman and did NOT think it proper to bring her home yet.

      I am heading into court with Mason, that is, if he can pry himself away from Lynn long enough to go down town! YAY!!!! Finally Lynn has a boyfreind who is NOT a janitor!!!! YAY!!!

  5. Eh, I wear silk blouses and structured sheath dresses, but only those have a matte, slightly rumply finish (lack of fabric expertise here! is crepe the word I’m looking for?). The shiny, smooth silk reads “evening formal” rather than “business formal” to me.

    With the combination of the fabric and complicated, ruched neckline (making the sweater or jacket pairing tricky at best), while attractive, this looks like what I’d wear to a Friday evening city wedding, not work.

  6. No one else saw a radioactive midsection on this dress?

  7. Last week, some of you said you cut the waist band off your tights – what does that exactly mean? Do you just chop off the waist band (may be 2-3 inches)? How does it help? Will it not just tear further? I’ve noticed that my tights are slightly tighter around my waist so wondering if this may help me.

    • I have never done this, but I think the idea is to slit the waistband an inch or so at one or two sides. Don’t cut the waistband off.

      • Yeah, I was one who said I’d done this, but I realized later I might not have been clear – I cut a vertical slit down the waistband in the front (and later one in the back, too), which worked out really well and didn’t tear any further.

    • I wondered about that, too! Couldn’t figure out how that would work since I’d think they’d just unravel or not stay up. Unless I’m missing something completely.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      No, really, just cut the waistband right off – just the tightest band at the top. I follow the line where it’s stitched/knitted on. The tights don’t ravel down & stay up just fine. Since I bought a serger, I’ve been toying with the idea of replacing the waistbands on all my tights with wide stretch lace, which would lay flatter, not squeeze me, & be sooo much more comfortable.

      • Oh crap, that is the most brilliant idea EVER! I love my slips with wide lace waistbands, why didn’t I think of this, too!?! ….. um, so now i need a serger…….

        • Seattle Freeze :

          I think it could also be done with a wide zigzag stitch on a regular machine, slightly stretching the lace & tights together as you sew – but haven’t tried either method yet.

    • There are also no-band stocking out there, probably tights too.

      • Seattle Freeze :

        Hue used to make lower-rise “hipster” tights – before hipsters started growing beards and taking over all the good neighborhoods – and I had a pair that I wore to death. Can’t find anything like this anymore. Either they hit me at the waist and squeeze horribly or they come all the way up my ribs, in which case they might have a loose enough band to fold down over my hips.

        I just want tights that have a soft, stretchy, 2″ or so waistband with a low enough rise that the band hits across my hipbones, about 2-3 fingers below my navel – no bulk or squeezing around the waist, but a wide enough band to hold in my tummy.

        • Lady Harriet :

          I think some of Target’s really cheap colorful tights are lower rise. I’ve never tried them, but that’s what the package says. (Low-rise anything gives me horrendous muffin top, so I stay away.)

        • just Karen :

          I had those same tights and also mourn their loss- if you find a replacement, please post about it!

    • I thought I was the only one with this problem. I hate that! Might have to try this trick.

    • I’ve cut slits or v-shapes in the waistband at various points, and that helps a lot.

  8. I’m totally fine with wearing silk dresses to the office, but I think they need to have more structure than this one. Meaning, I would definitely wear a conservatively-cut silk sheath dress in a solid color to the office without a second thought. I had a beautiful red silk sheath dress with a high neckline that looked extremely professional and I work for years. Unfortunately, it was ruined when I had a shampoo spill in my luggage :-( However, this dress with the drapy fabric on the sides, the cowl-ish neckline and the strange green print just looks like too much. The only way I could see this working for my office is if I pared it with a very plain, solid black blazer, pantyhose and very conservative black pumps, all intended to try and tone the dress down.

    http://www.polishedpinstripes.com

    • hellskitchen :

      I must say I like what I have seen of your blog so far… the outfits are similar to my office dress code and I really enjoyed your post on haute couture

  9. Fashion Blog :

    Hi, any recommendations on a daily outfit type fashion blog for women who work in a more business formal workplace. I currently follow and like extra petite (although I am definitely not), cap hill style, and dc sparkle. I would love to see a blog though where I see someone’s everyday outfits though as they keep remixing their suits and conservative separates.

    Any hope that this exists?

    • Fashion Blog :

      And it’s actually district sparkle, not dc sparkle.

      • Cap Hill Style is my personal favorite, but I agree it would be nice to have actual outfits posted. 9 to 5 Chic is good but more fashion-y than conservative. You can still get some good ideas from her. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. I would love to see a blog like that (and I’ve even thought of starting one myself, but man, blogging is a lot of work!).

        • Yeah, CHS is the site that is most in tune with what I actually wear on a day-to-day basis, but I’d love to see outfits as well.

          It’s funny; I come to thissite for the community, but it’s been a really long time since I really found any of the clothing choices posted to be particularly interesting. I sort of feel like it’s out of step with where I am fashion-wise – I feel like CHS has more of a bead on how fashionable women are approaching workplace dressing these days (and I’ve clicked through and bought multiple things that were posted there). But CHS doesn’t have the awesome commenter community that thissite does.

          • +2 Love the commenting and community here and the fashion at CHS.

          • Fashion Blog :

            Yes, I frankly don’t even really read the actual posts here. I just come for the comments section.

            I’ve bought stuff posted by both cap hill style and district sparkle (they just had an awesome round up of truly business formal flats).

            I think that this is a real niche that needs filling. Like the online board forum equiv of lean in with more business formal fashion and a bit more of an intense workplace focus, tips on how to effectively run an important meeting when you are the youngest/only woman in the room, real world salary bargaining scenarios that have worked for women, more explicit talk of how women can be better mentors and improve the workforce for all once we Achebe positions of relative power.

            I really love the community here and sincerely appreciate all the great convos about work/family/baby issues but it’s not really matching with where my own life is going at the moment.

          • Yeah, I would love to find a site where the discussion was lower on the babies/family stuff. Not because I don’t care – I honestly care very much about many of the people here, and this community has been *so* supportive of me through some very, very hard times in my life – but because that’s not where my life is right now. It’s an “in addition to”, not an “instead of,” if that makes sense.

          • Agree. The items on here seem really random to me. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of effort put into finding stuff– more like spin the internet wheel to see what pops up first. And half the time, it’s a $1000 item.

          • There has been more baby/life balance comments lately than say a few years ago. My suggestion is that if you want more work-related topics discussed in the comments, then please start them. I love reading the workplace comments, and find they help me so much. This isn’t meant to nick-pick anyone of anything. Just encouragement for everyone out there to post more about their work life!

          • I also haven’t considered buying anything featured on this site in quite a while. Most things lately are very basic, not appropriate to my workplace (like the dress featured today), too pricey, or too cheap. I know I sound like Goldilocks! I like Cap Hill Style too. I also like the selections of some of the guest editors here — one in particular had a J. Peterman writing style and posted some very interesting dresses.

        • Fashion Blog :

          Preg Anon, I would totally read a non-pregnant fashion blog of yours. I think you should do it!

        • I’m seconding the suggestion that Corpor****move more in the direction of workplace scenarios, life scenarios, etc, than fashion (or at least a better balance). The one-clothing-item-at a time posts are a bit boring, so different kinds of fashion posts would also be a plus. The community is focused less on fashion and more on life.

        • It’s funny – even I come to this site for all the comments. May be Kat should consider doing outfit posts (could be with models, not that Kat’s not pretty – she really is). I may actually consider buying all these clothes if I see them on real people.

        • National_Anthem :

          If you follow Belle from CHS on Instagram she posts some of her outfits.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      The Classy Cubicle? Way too classic/East-Coast-staid for me, but seems like what a lot of ladies here are looking for. I do like it when she loosens up a little – and she wears flats a lot.

      • Fashion Blog :

        I used to read her but she forever lost me with her business casual overall look. She’s too out there for my industry. I want a blog where they wear straight up business attire, but fashionable not veering into zany. Like Alicia Florrick only not crazy expensive.

        • You know, to be honest, I’ve often toyed with the idea of starting my own blog on this. I really enjoy buying my business formal/formal-ish casual wardrobe and I put a lot of thought (and money :P) into it. The thing that really holds me back is just the privacy issue. I’d love to share my outfits, but not myself!

        • your description is exactly the kind of blog i’ve been looking for too.

      • Haha! I work in Boston and I sometimes find her stuff not staid enough. :) There’s a good chance with my job that I’ll end up moving west at some point, so I’ll have to remember to un-stuffy myself when that happens.

    • I like Outift Posts. It may be more on the biz casual side, but I think the has some suit outfits posted also.

    • You could try my blog :-) I actually started it precisely because I wanted something like that and couldn’t find it anywhere. Plus it gave me an incentive to actually create outfits and not constantly wear my same black skirt + 1 of 3 cardigans. Extra Petite seems to be the closest thing out there and while I love her, I work in an even more conservative environment than she does. 9to5Chic is also somewhat more business-y. I also recommend reading more trendy blogs and looking for individual pieces that I could wear to work (ie a jacket, or a scarf).

      http://www.polishedpinstripes.com

    • A few more :

      Here are three “outfit of the day” ladies. Wish I could find more like ExtraPetite who mix Theory, Burberry, etc with J Crew and even H&M.
      - Corporate Catwalk
      Definitely not business formal, but at least a good actual outfit resource as opposed to just individual pieces. Even though she’s not business formal, I’ve found some reasonably-priced pieces through her that work in my business formal wardrobe.

      - Colorful Corporate/ @lauschej on Instagram
      She’s only occasionally business formal and rarely posts on her blog any more, but you may be able to find inspiration in the Colorful Corporate archives. She’s a “JCA” (J Crew Afficianado), and many of those pieces are available in different colors each season. Her outfits are also Anthro-heavy. She’s currently doing outfit posts on her Instagram (listed above).

      - Cover Up Chic
      Again- you guessed it- not 100% business formal, but another “outfit of the day” poster who wears realistic clothes that I can work into business formal stuff. Heads up that sometimes her website gives me virus warnings or just doesn’t load properly. I haven’t had problems reading her website through by RSS reader though.

      - Forbes Style File-
      I’ve been mostly unimpressed, but you may like it.

      (ExtraPetite has already been mentioned multiple times… because her posts are great.)

  10. Help - Used Car Post-Purchase Negotiation :

    Reposting since I posted this late on yesterday’s Coffee Break thread:

    So I’m in a strange situation today with a used car purchase, and not sure what to ask for from the dealer. I bought a newer, low-mileage used car last night – did the test drive, had a rather extensive negotiation, signed the paperwork, drove off home. The car was certified pre-owned, everything inspected & the deal included a 2-year/24000 mile warranty. After leaving the dealership, we drove around a bit more to get used to the car when the check engine light came on – but by that time the dealership/service dept. were closed. Called them first thing this morning, dropped it off & got a loaner – and the result is that the car needs a major repair (under warranty) and I won’t get it back for a week.

    It goes without saying that I’m pretty unhappy right now. I had the car for less than an hour before it broke! I’ve spoken with my salesman briefly and mentioned that we’re unhappy with this situation, would like them to make it right – but don’t really know what that would be, so reaching out to you ladies for ideas. I floated the possibility of adding an additional year of warranty, but it seems that won’t fly. Has anyone ever re-negotiated a purchase after the fact? What’s reasonable here? Knock down the purchase price a bit more? Return some of my down payment? I can rawr at them Godzilla-style & make them grovel, but that doesn’t improve my confidence in the car or turn it back into the car I was sold.

    • Anne Shirley :

      You don’t want to return the car right? That’s what I think would be reasonable, or what they have done, which is cover the repair. Unless this repair seems to be something they concealed, if you want to keep the car I don’t think you’re entitled to anything else.

    • Is the repair expected to fix the issue, or is it likely to be a recurring issue? Do you think that they concealed the problem with the car? If it’s not likely to be a recurring issue and there’s no reason to think they concealed the problem, I would be happy with the outcome that they take care of it promptly and provide you a loaner.

      If you feel like you want *something* from them, maybe you can see if they can offer you routine maintenance for x miles/years for free (if the dealership would be a convenient location for you to get regular service done on your car, that is).

      • Help - Used Car Post-Purchase Negotiation :

        Yes, the repair is expected to fix the issue – but this particular system should not have ever failed at this low mileage – and was a major selling point in the driveability of the car. So. We have concerns now about continued reliability, given that they were supposed to have checked *everything* in order to pre-certify the car & set up the additional warranty.

        If they won’t go for an additional year of warranty, we’d consider a discount on extending the warranty, or as SA suggested below, lifetime discount on all maintenance (parts & service) after the current warranty expires.

        • Did you take the car to a mechanic you trust for an inspection before you purchased? I’ve only bought a used car that wasn’t coming with the certification, but I drove the car to a trusted mechanic to do a “used car inspection” before purchasing. You might consider getting a second opinion on the issue once you have the car back; you could ask the dealership to reimburse you for the cost of the inspection (I think it was around $75 at the place I went to in the Boston area). This additional info would make me a little nervous about keeping the car and the competence of the dealer’s service department, sorry.

          • the whole point of “certified pre-owned” is that you dont have to do this. YOu are paying extra for the “certification” and in many cases, quite a bit extra. The are certifying that the car is in full working order and the only issues should be some dings, maybe knowing you will need to get new tires sooner than with a new car etc.

            I think if I were you, i would want a different car. That totally shouldnt happen with a certified pre owned car.

          • Right, I figured that was the case with the certification, and that’s why I said I would be nervous about the car and the dealer at this point.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’ve had good luck getting “stuff” from car dealerships. Floor mats, key chains, coffee mugs, trunk liners, that kind of thing. You might ask for some swag.

      I also like the idea of some free maintenance. And also? When I bought my car I negotiated a lifetime 10% discount on all maintenance done at the dealership — parts and service.

    • You should check your state’s consumer protection laws. There may be something covering this (I think in NY you can reverse a transaction within a certain period of time). Its also worth threatening (or actually doing) to get the attorney general / better business bureau involved. Due to the extremely short window of time in which this happened, I would think there’s some recourse.

    • I highly recommend yelling at them Godzilla-RAWR-style, for obvious reasons. However, it seems like they missed something major and I’d wonder about what else they missed. I might ask for a different car with similar desired characteristics if a reinspection/recertification isn’t sufficient. It’s up to you and what you can deal with. The other discounted perks sound good but not enough to me.

    • Auto Industry Maven :

      If you would like to return the car, this incident absolutely happened within a reasonable timeframe for the Dealer to accept the car back. Beyond this, you really wont have a lot of recourse. Warranty is what it is – unless they are willing to cut you a deal on an aftermarket extended Warranty plan.
      If you would like to keep the car, you could try asking for free oil changes for xxxx period of time. Dealers love doing this as an incentive – it keeps you coming back to them for maintenance.

  11. Hoisery TJ :

    I need some recommendations for reasonable priced nude hose and stockings I can buy at Nordstrom. I recently bought a few pairs of Nordstrom brand control top sheers and knee highs and they all ripped after only a few wears. I really like the price point, but clearly quality is lacking. Do you ladies have any recommendations for some longer lasting hose at a not much higher price point?

    • I get thigh highs at Target, and they usually last a year (I wear them in the Fall and Spring). I don’t remember whether they have multiple brands, but if they do I probably just get the one that has the most packages set out. They’re $8 or $9 a pair.

      Because of my own experience, I’m not sure more expensive hose actually last longer.

    • DC Wonkette :

      I like the Calvin Klein nylons. They hold up well and look nice. On the other hand, my more expensive Spank nylons got runs in them today after 2 wears. Rawr.

    • If you’re open to not buying at Nordstrom, check out One Hanes Place, which is the overstock site for Hanes, Silk Reflections, Just My Size, etc. I get all of my nylons from there in bulk and if you buy by the dozen (which you do not have to do), you can get the price per pair down to very low levels.

      My favorite nylons are Donna Karan (pricy).

      Also, if you are getting runs, figure out what is causing them–you putting them on, catching on the underside of your desk, etc. Then avoid whatever that is.

      Also, think about what denier you want–thinner nylons definitely run more easily, but also look more natural, so there’s a tradeoff and you need to find your sweet spot.

  12. Recommendations for pants? :

    I’m looking for a straight leg/skinny, non-jean, non-courderoy pair I can wear with boots and waist-length tops. I’m having a horrible time, because I can’t seem to find the correct fabric thickness/tightness. I find that pants are either too thick / loose fitting (so that they scrunch up a bit at the knees, don’t create a smooth line on the legs) or too thin / tight (so that the legs look great but I’m uncomfortable wearing tops that don’t cover my rear).

    What does everyone else wear? Am I overthinking this?

    • Clementine :

      White House Black Market instantly slimming skinny pant. These are what you’re looking for.

      I have a black pair and they’re not leggings, they’re not jeans, they’re not cords- they’re just a nice pair of black skinny pants.

      I am between sizes at WHBM and bought the slightly larger size. I find that sizing runs similar to JCrew (I’m between a 6 and 8 in both) and went with the 8 so I would have a more pant-like, less legging-ish look. Give them a try- they are some of the only pants I’ve found that don’t stretch out during the day.

      A coworker swears by JCrew’s Paley pants but I can’t personally speak to them.

      • Recommendations for pants? :

        Thanks all! It actually looks like the WHBM instantly slimming skinny pant may be phasing out or something…they only have size 00 online (which is much too small for me!). But I may swing by both J.Crew and WHBM. I remember trying on the Minnies in the past and finding them unflatteringly tight on me, but that was also at a not-so-great body image time of my life (law school), and I may have better luck this time.

    • Have you tried the Jcrew Minnie?

      • J Crew Minnie really stretches out and loses its shape by the end of the day. I am not impressed with the fabric at all.

        • Did you buy a size down ( in the twill, not the wool)? I was told by the salesperson that was the strategy with the Minnies. I have found that they don’t get baggy – but they are pretty tight the first couple times you wear them. And you can totally cold wash, line dry, instead of the dry clean.

          That being said, I would still want a longer shirt to wear with them, because they are pretty tight. Same with the Paley’s. I put them in the same category as leggings, personally.

    • I am a banana. :

      I currently live in my Banana Republic Sloan Fit Five Pocket pants. Wearing them right now, actually. I’m about to buy another pair. The fabric is the perfect thickness.

      I picked up a pair of “true straight pants” from Gap a few months ago and have been happy with them, but they are a little bit thicker and my biggest problem is that they attract fuzz.

  13. European family reunion :

    I am planning a 1-week family reunion for 25 people (15 adults, 10 kids ranging from 2 – 10 years old) in Europe in summer 2015 and I am looking for ideas on what city to go to. We are looking to rent a large, 7 bedroom house where all of us can stay and hang out for 1 week. Criteria: warm weather, not crazy expensive, kid friendly. Some access to beach/water would be great but not essential. Not necessarily looking for a place where there is a ton of touristy stuff, since most of the time we will just want to be hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.

    Any suggestions?

    • Senior Attorney :

      I don’t know, but I want to be in your family!

      • European family reunion :

        :) Aw, thanks! Yeah, we do this every 2 years (in a different location) and always have a blast. This is the first reunion where we have decided to go international.

    • It might be helpful if you provided some more specific criteria. I can literally think of EVERYWHERE IN EUROPE that fits what you’ve got right now. Are you thinking Southern Europe? Northern? (Scandinavia might be fun in the summer. And Iceland!) English-speaking?

      Personally, I know southern Europe the best, so I’ll go with…
      Spain: San Sebastian (might be a bit pricey), A Coruña (way off the beaten track but kid-friendly stuff and urban beaches), Valencia, Girona
      Really anywhere on Spain’s southern coast
      On Portugual’s southern coast: Lagos (too touristy for my taste but it sounds like like it hits all your other criteria) or Albufeira
      Closer to Lisbon in Portugal: I love Cascais particularly; Estoril; Ericeira; and on northwards. There are probably some good options near Porto too.
      The lesser-known towns in Luguria in Italy…the Italian lakes district near Milan, like Como or Garda…and on into infinity.

    • Clementine :

      A friend’s family has rented villas in Malta several times for similar family reunions- definitely off the beaten path, the rental was very affordable and it’s a lovely place to visit.

    • Friends honeymooned in Croatia and loved it. You could rent a villa on the Adriatic Sea.

      • cold in Chicago... :

        +1

        This is an excellent idea. Relatively inexpensive, quite beautiful.

        The trade off is plane tix may be cheaper if you go to Spain/Portugal instead. You may have to weigh this issue.

      • CapHillAnon :

        +100. The Croatian coast is insanely gorgeous. And inexpensive.

    • Anon in NYC :

      A person I work with has rented villas in Tuscany for his family. It’s great because the kids have access to a pool, people have their own space, and there’s some stuff to do (touring some of the neighboring towns, wine, etc.) but it’s not a mission to go to every museum.

    • Taormina in Sicily is beautiful. Its probably a little touristy, but its quaint and lovely. Sicily is really different from the rest of Italy. Its quiet and rural.

      • I was coming here to suggest Sicily. When I was there, it seemed like a lot of Italian families vacationed there. Taormina itself is pretty expensive, but the towns down on the water have a much wider range of options.

      • Lawyer Mom of Four :

        Sicily. Several years ago we rented a house in the countryside near Ragusa (in the south). We were about 10 km from Marina de Ragusa, which is a lovely Italian vacation town on the Mediterranean. Hardly any Americans. Friendly people; great for kids. The house had a pool, which was great. We did day trips to Syracuse and the Valley of the Temples. We spent a week in Rome in a fabulous flat right near Campo De Fiori, which was also wonderful, but for what you’re talking about I think Sicily would be great. And Italy is a fabulous place to travel with kids. Ours were 2, 5, 8 and 11 at the time.

      • +1 to Sicily. I stayed near Cefalu (in the north) and it’s one of my all-time favorite vacations. So low key and beautiful. Plus, you can do a relatively easy side trip to the Aeolian Islands where you can see an active volcano, mud baths, and black sand beaches.

    • Greece. You can go to a less touristy island or one of the coastal cities on the mainland.
      I highly recommend Naxos – off the beaten path, but has a lot of history. Only 4 hours travel from Athens. Paros may also fit the bill.
      Spanish Balearic Islands are also amazing, but more expensive.

    • new york associate :

      Provence! We rented a villa there with a group of friends and had an amazing time. The villa had a pool, we were close to lots of fabulous towns and interesting Roman sites, and if you want, you can drive to Nice or the Riviera. We flew to Paris, took the high-speed train to Provence, and rented cars at the train station. Many of these villas also can connect you with a chef who will come in and do meals, which I totally recommend.

      Have fun!

  14. Anon for this :

    Debt payoff or investment question. My husband just sold some stock he received from his employer. He regularly receives stock as part of his compensation, and our plan has always been to use this money towards a house down payment. But the amount he sold is just enough to get rid of one of my student loans, and now we’re debating whether it makes sense to pay that off in full or invest the money in the market. The interest rate on the loan is currently low (less than the return we’d most likely get if we matched the S&P), but I have a family member as a co-signer on the loan, so there is added incentive to pay it off. The “smart” thing to do is to put the money in the market, but the lure of wiping out this loan is strong. What would you do?

    • I would probably pay it off because of the co-signer. It might not be the “smart” thing, but I would want to get that family entanglement out of my fiscal life.

      • Agreed; I made a similar choice recently to pay off a loan with a co-signer even though there were other things I could have done with the money that would have been better for me personally.

        However, when I am faced with this kind of dilemna, I often compromise – you could pay off half the student loan and invest half of the money. Then, continue paying the same payment you are making now on the student loan, but obviously it gets paid off faster. Use an amortization calculator (I like this one: http://www.bretwhissel.net/cgi-bin/amortize) to see how much you save and what your new “paid off” date would be.

        Or, you cuold pay ooff the student loan completely and then commit to saving/investing the monthly payment each month.

        • “Or, you cuold pay ooff the student loan completely and then commit to saving/investing the monthly payment each month.”

          I like this idea. You could eventually get the same amount of money into the market, it will just take a little longer. But you’d have removed the financial entanglement to the cosigner.

          Yay for finding the 3rd path!! ;o)

        • Anon for this :

          Yes! That’s the approach we’re going to go with!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would pay off the loan in order to get the family member out of my finances.

    • What will help you sleep better at night? I know we are all supposed to maximize our investment strategies and stick to budgets but, looking back, my best decisions were the ones I made because it would help me sleep better.

      For Annoyed: thanks for offering to be a wallowing buddy!

      • Anon for this :

        Thanks, everyone. k-padi, you’re right. It will make me sleep better at night to get out of debt / get this debt off of my family member’s books.

  15. Ugh! Winter! :

    Ok. I’m officially over winter. Today was the last straw. I’m looking at cheap caribbean or mexican vacations for early summer. Any suggestions on cheap places? I’m talking cheap cities or cheap resorts. I’d rather an all inclusive resort that is romantic and not kid or family friendly (would be going with bf with no kids).

    Any suggestions?

    • Anon Today :

      Not sure what cheap means for you, but my husband and I went to Paradisus La Perla in Playa del Carmen in November and found it to be nice. There’s a family side and an adults side. When we were there, school was in session, so there wasn’t really anyone but babies on the family side, but if you don’t want to, you never have to go over there. We found a package on Expedia with flights and all inclusive hotel and then got a shuttle for the 45 minute drive from Cancun airport to the resort.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I haven’t used them, but I’ve heard good things about Vacations To Go dot com. They specialize in cruises, but apparently they also do resorts: http://www.resortvacationstogo.com/?source=cruisetop

    • Check out budget traveler magazine. They do a “cheap beach getaways” feature every year or so.

    • Sun Palace in Cancun. It’s an adults-only all inclusive resort. We went several years ago and loved it there. They have basically two different sections: the party pool and the quiet pool and so you can switch up whether you want to chill out in silence by the beach or drink/party/etc with everyone else (we chose lounging on the beach alone each day, but we’re not huge partiers by nature). The drinks aren’t well liquor quality, fairly respectable quality booze: Jack Daniels, Smirnoff/Absolut/Skyy/Bacardi and the like.

      I’m pretty snobby about my food and was very skeptical of an all-inclusive, but the food was good, they had a lot of variety in the restaurants, and I didn’t mind eating there for almost every meal. The hotel is located on a more secluded part of Cancun, as well, so the beaches aren’t jammed up with people.

    • If you’re not wedded to the all-inclusive resort thing, Vieques off of PR is lovely. Prices are very reasonable. The beaches are gorgeous (and, at least as of a few years ago, not at all overrun). There are great restaurants often run by ex-pat chefs who trained in major cities and restaurants in the US mainland. And the food is way less than you’d pay in a major city. There are fun things to do like snorkeling, taking a nighttime paddle in the biolumenescent (sp?) bay, doing yoga outdoors, etc.

      • Second this recommendation. I absolutely loved Vieques. I will warn you that this has a little bit more of an off the beaten path feel to it. It’s not a huge tourist destination, so some aspects are not as luxury. But the place we stayed was lovely and the restaurants were all great and pretty inexpensive. The beaches were basically empty and it was great fun driving around in a jeep. Plus, definitely not a popular place to bring families/kids. It’s mostly mid 30s couples.

      • Aqualover :

        Third Vieques!

      • Anonymous :

        When I was in Vieques, it seemed like it was a ghost town. Yes, the beaches were absolutely stunning and amazing, but there didn’t seem to be much open besides a couple of souvenir shops.

        You know what . . . scratch all of what I just said — Culebra was where I went — beautiful beaches, but a ghost town.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I’ve used Costco Travel several times with really good results.

  16. Internal applicant :

    Regular, going anon for this. I’m applying for a position on another team within my floor. I know the hiring managers and a few people from the team just in passing. Should I reach out and let them know I’m interested or just wait until they see my résumé in the queue? I don’t want to be too passive or aggressive and come off as trying to get a leg up especially since I’m one of the younger associates (not law). Any device is appreciated. Thanks!

    • Not sure what field you’re in, but if you know the hiring managers, I would definitely reach out, let them know that you applied and are excited about learning more about the position. I think it’s more of a know your culture and relationship thing to determine how aggressive you want to be. If you’re at a big company, they may need to be careful about how “standardized” they keep the process, but if it’s smaller or less formal, it would probably be okay to ask them to coffee to “learn more about the role.” I wouldn’t reach out to anyone on the team (not the manager) unless you’re very close with them to begin with.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I think yes, absolutely tell them. I’m not sure what you mean by getting a leg up, but I would have thought you want to do all you can to stand out, especially if other people are doing this (and if you think you are at a disadvantage for other reasons). If you know the hiring managers, I would chat with them pre-interview about the role which serves two purposes (i) show you’re keen and (ii) get intel on what they are looking for.

  17. Looking for support, and probably a kick in the pants.

    I’m a fourth year associate, and I started with a new, small firm a few months ago. The first few months were wonderful. The partners were really happy with my work, and I felt like part of the team. Last month, another partner started reviewing my work. Now it seems that no matter what work product I produce, he has tons of issues with it (trying to mold me into “his style”). Now, he’s starting to micromanage even more, and wants to review every email that I send out. I know I need to put my ego aside and try to learn (and the other partners even tell me to take advantage of what will probably be my last time going through this kind of training), but I’m really in a slump now and having a hard time producing any work product. Any tips for getting over the mental block?

    • Did you always work at a small firm or transition from a big firm? I work in a small firm and most everything I do is micromanaged in a similar way – although it is based on constructive criticism and lots of understanding. It can be difficult at times, but even partners here have work reviewed by the named partners because they all write in different ways and want to come off to the clients in different ways. I will say it has helped me to write in the style that the firm prefers and also I think has just been a good way for me to learn the law as well. That being said, I’m a first year so I could see how it would be extremely frustrating.

      I’d say just try to make the best of it! I just accept that nothing ever gets done quickly because it has to go through several channels before approval. When I approach it with that mindset, it makes it easier. I also try to remind myself that this is just procedure and has nothing to do with me or my writing or skills.

      Hang in there.

  18. Checking emails, too? Ugh, what a PIA. Basically, I recommend a two-part strategy:

    1. Get over yourself goodbye. Seriously, there is always something to learn. Appreciate that an expert is investing his/her time in you. You will become that much more amazing.

    2. Preempt his requests. Have everything ready. Show no emotions besides professional ones. He will eventually run out of time to monitor everything you do. Micromanagers are ineffective managers.

    • Oops, that was for CJ!

    • new york associate :

      I agree with Godzilla’s strategy but add one more thing: 3. Disengage. This isn’t personal, it’s just about his management style. I know it’s hard and I totally empathize. But every job has lousy parts, and this is just one of yours.

      Hang in there!

    • Yeah, I know I need to get over myself. You guys are really helpful. The management style sinks because I don’t feel like a part of this firm at all. I’m the only associate in the office and the other partners will go days without making eye contact with me or saying hello. Also, the feedback I get is an enumerated list of complaints and things that need to change. This guy is rarely in the office, so its hard to learn from any of it. I guess I’m just feeling overall frustration with the job. I guess micromanagement and general disinterest from the partners is better than the mistreatment I’ve dealt with at other firms.

      • While that doesn’t sound very welcoming, it’s YOUR job to get the partners to notice you. You should be prepared for elevator chats, greeting them even if they aren’t looking at you, etc, etc.

        When I email someone edits, I typically don’t write in “Nice fact-finding but fix your grammar”, which is something I may say in person. If your firm isn’t pushing your professional development, then push yourself! Classes, volunteering, networking events, etc.

        • I am giving an incomplete view of my workplace. You are right. I could be doing more to be noticed. Regrading professional development, a major reason for my hire was that I have my own book of business (oh, and those emails are also now proofread), and I am really active in the area in my field. So, I get called in to ask if I can go try to get x client. This is the only time the partners have an interest in maintaining a conversation with me these days. I’m finding it difficult to go bring in clients based on my experience and connections when I can see this easily turning into a poaching situation, especially since I don’t even have control over my own email.

          • anon atty :

            well, if you can handle clients on your own, then go out on your own. otherwise, this is just one of many things you need to learn to do and do well. It doesnt matter whether you brought the client in or not, if you are still learning (and you should be) then you are still learning for all clients. And the fact that emails are being checked isnt unusual at all. Emails today are what letters used to be.

          • hold the phone :

            You’re a fourth-year associate with your own book of business?!

            what am I doing wrong?

      • I can sympathize. I did the same as a 8 or 9 year lawyer. It is hard going from being good at what you do to barely feeling competent. Patience patience. I am still 100% happy with my move.

    • You ladies are awesome. Thanks for the advice. Time to get back to work, ego in check. :)

      To hold the phone: it is a small but growing book of business. I developed it through a lot of networking, presentations in the community, and working those connections. And luck. And probably too much self confidence.

  19. TJ- Any get well gift ideas for someone that just had a mastectomy? I could go with flowers & a card but wanted to know if you could thing of anything someone might want more than that?

  20. Joanna Toews :

    Hi there, all…

    (Grand)parent help’s discussion yesterday touched a lot on not-so-great parents becoming wonderful grandparents. Wondering if any of you have experience/advice with abusive parents (hopefully) becoming wonderful grandparents?

    Context…

    I’m currently 4.5 months pregnant and am thinking hard about my in-laws… my MIL in particular. She was brutally abused in all manner of ways as a child and has several (undiagnosed) intellectual and mental health disabilities. She was emotionally and physically abusive to my husband and SIL when they were growing up, to the point where the SIL landed in the hospital a couple times. FIL was more of a bystander, but considered the abuse to be acceptable discipline (born in the 1930s, rural blue-collar upbringing).

    Mr. Toews and SIL have reconciled with their mother at this point. They call their parents several times a week to keep in touch. Both have gone through therapy to deal with the past abuse. (FWIW, their parents are of the generational/cultural mindset where counselling is for “broken homes” and “sick minds,” so… yeah. No counselling for either of them.)

    SIL has two children in their teens, but they live in another province, so they haven’t had as much inperson contact with their grandparents as our kid likely will. They do have a very positive, affectionate relationship when they do see each other, FWIW.

    Thoughts? Anything would be helpful. Of course, I’m largely concerned with our kid’s emotional and physical well-being.

    • Joanna Toews :

      [Reposted this on the newer Coffee Break thread.]

      • I have a similar (not as severe) situation. The abuse was more than spanking (using objects) and would qualify as abuse under our state’s criteria, although a lot of people would probably classify it as very tough parenting. CPS was actually called at one point although nothing came of it. I don’t have any kids and I am not pregnant but I addressed the issue with my fiance as soon as I learned of it back when we were dating. It may have seemed premature but I did not want to end up in a situation where we had a baby and were not on the same page about discipline. Basically I told him I would not tolerate my children being disciplined like that (he was on board with it) and that if his parents ever disciplined my children in that manner, it would be the last time they saw them. I figure at some point I or he will have to communicate this directly to his parents which is fine.

        • Joanna Toews :

          Thanks for sharing your story — I appreciate it. I think we may need to have a similar conversation re. discussing discipline with his parents.

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