Thursday’s TPS Report: Ombre Print Shift Dress

Limited-OBR-Ombre-Print-Shift-DressOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

I’ve been crushing on this cool ombre print shift dress since I first spied it a few weeks ago — of course I love the mix of purple and blue, but I also love how it feels a little wild yet perfectly buttoned down. I’d probably try it first with a boyfriend cardigan or long blazer for the office, but a cropped cardigan might also be just what the doctor ordered. It was $89.95, but is now $53.97 at The Limited. OBR Ombre Print Shift Dress

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Comments

  1. TJ: Professional "nude" flats :

    Hi all,

    I injured my foot a few weeks ago, and I’m really sick of wearing sneakers around the office. I thought my foot was healed enough to wear my heels again but it’s not. So I’m looking for a relatively inexpensive, professional flat in a nude-for-me color. I love these heels (got them on a Corpore t t e suggestion, so I know you ladies give great advice): http://www.payless.com/womens-janine-pointy-toe-pump/72389.html?dwvar_72389_color=nudepatent#start=1

    I’ll put one idea in a reply, and please let me know what you think/if you have any other suggestions.

  2. Ohh I really like this dress! It’s like a professional version of a Lilly Pulitzer print.

    • I was just thinking that! I hate the green/pink combo of LP, but I like the actual print shapes, if that makes sense. This dress seems to be a good alternative.

      • I really like the print, but it reads a bit ‘fancy casual’ to me. Sort of like something you wear with silver sandals on the weekend. Maybe it’s the loose, unstructured shape? Plus, I have a feeling the bottom is see through – you can see through it a bit on the website and that usually means it’s worse in real life. I like it but not for work. Which is just as well I suppose since my size is sold out.

  3. Yay! I love this dress, and I love the Limited!!! Mom take’s me shoppeing there alot when I go home to LI!

    Yesterday, we had a YUMMY cookout at Rosa’s house. Beleive it or not, the kid’s were all on their best behaviour b/c Myrna was there and they were in ABSOLUTE AWWE of her, b/c she was dressed up for a run (which she did thru Chapaqua afterward). Ed even got home earley and grilled up the BEST RIBEYE’ steak’s (BONE IN, OF COURSE). Ed told me that Merrill Lynch is lookeing for more litiegator’s and they pay well, but it would NOT be in W/C. I told him I would onley do litieagation for them if I could just go over and do W/C cases, b/c I could just take all the form’s over on my MACBOOK AIR and just change the name of the RESPONDANT from whoever is listed there to Merrill Lynch, and the rest would be the same. Ed say’s he has never known anyone fileing a W/C claim b/c the worst injurie’s they get there is paper cut’s. He is probabley right, but if I could get the W/C job, I would ONLEY have to work mabye 30 hour’s a week, and get out by 4:30 every day! YAY!!!!!!

    I took the subway in today b/c it was drizzelling out and I did NOT want to get my hair wet. It already is SOOO Frizzie from the HUMIDITY, and it is NOT even hot out yet. I am NOT lookeing forward to the Summer, where I will have to walk in the HEAT and HUMIDITY. FOOEY!!!!!

    Dad is wondering why my FITBIT step’s are down in the last 2 day’s. That is b/c my Macbook air is not starteing up right. I think I will have to brieng it into the apple store and have the guy’s at the genus bar fix it. Mabye I need a NEW machine, b/c mine is already more then 2 year’s old. Does anyone in the hive have issue’s with their Macbook Air’s? Mabye there is some sort of virus goeing around with them I am NOT aware of? DOUBEL FOOEY if there is. I wonder why these computer geek’s make viruses. Myrna say’s it is b/c they can NOT find girlfreind’s. Mabye she is right b/c I could NEVER see myself dateing a computer geek! They usueally have alot of food stuck in between their teeth. TRIPEL FOOEY ON THAT b/c their breathe also STINK’S! FOOEY!

  4. militarygf :

    When do you ladies let the people you’re dating pay the way?

    My boyfriend and I planned a lovely vacation in a few weeks. It’s not too pricey, and we discussed splitting it halfway, although he made it clear that he’d be happy to just take me on a trip and pay for everything. Because he’s been deployed, I did most of the planning, made reservations, and paid for it all. I’ll note that he makes a little more money than I do, but that, while we both do well, I’m in a ton of debt and currently living paycheck-to-paycheck. The vacation was a splurge for me, but felt worth it.

    Well, the check for his half of the vacation just came and he made it out instead for the entire cost. On the one hand, this is a huge financial relief. On the other hand, the high-earning feminist in me is kicking and screaming. He seems delighted to pay for it all and says that I should think of it as an anniversary present. Should I fight this one or just feel spoiled and let it go?

    • Feel spoiled and let it go. If you guys get married you’ll have your whole life to split the bill. Let him treat you! He wants to and you’ve showed him you’re not looking for handout.

    • Let it go. It’s a gift and you could use it. Treat him to a nice dinner or several while you’re on vacation.

    • Plus, you can pay for outings, drinks…there’s way to show you’re really appreciative. Sounds like a generous and solid dude. Have fun!

    • Adult Ice Skating :

      I think that if someone gives you a present that then can afford and want to give you and it is a present that you want to accept, by all means, graciously accept it.

      [Are the zeroes throwing you? If you think it about it in quality (gift) terms and not quantity (expensive thing), maybe that's easier? If it were a compliment, you'd accept it, no? Or a bunch of flowers?]

      At some point, if you stay together, it’s all y’all’s money anyway.

      • I agree with the other poster’s, with one CAVEATT:

        It is a GIFT, and you should NOT look a gift horse in the mouth (whatever that mean’s). Beside’s you say he MAKES MORE then you, so let it go. I assume you are being INTIMATE with him so it is worth it to him to pay for the vacation, but if you are NOT being intimate with him already, you can be SURE that he will want to get intimate on the vacation, b/c he has paid for it.

        When I was in college, this hapened to me. I was NOT intimate with a guy, but then he waited on line for me bought me a bus ticket to Florida for spring break, which I wanted to pay him for but he absolutely REFUSED. I should have figured out that some thing was up with him b/c he was grinneing at me on the bus alot, and when we got to Florida, even tho we had traveled with other peeople and stayed in different room’s at the same hotel, he wanted me to have sex with him in MY room when he came over to say hello. I REFUSED to have sex with him! He said I would NOT be in Florida w/o that ticket he gave me, so I should give him sex. I did NOT understand how he thought that giving me a bus ticket entitled him to have sex. He left with his tail between his leg’s b/c I did NOT even do anything with him. FOOEY on men that demand sex for bus ticket’s. It would be another thing if he was already my boyfreind, but he was NOT and there was NO WAY I would want to be intimate with him anyway.

    • Let. It. Go. Nice gift, and it’s not like this is an everyday thing. It’s a trip! He knows you can’t really afford it. On the trip, maybe buy dinner some night? As a gift, not a tally point, like here, you bought me this, so I bought you that. Scorekeeping is the worst. As long as you don’t let him just take over paying for everything every time you go out, I think paying for the trip is fine.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Let him do this for you. Be sure to thank him profusely and, as others have said, provide a treat or two on the trip. And then let it go.

      Your guy sounds like a keeper! :)

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      You both put work into the vacation – you did all the planning and booking, he did the paying. I really think that’s a win-win situation.

    • Agree. Accept, and buy dinners, drinks, and incidental stuff on the trip.

  5. Has anyone tried babyfoot? My feet are super dry and scaly. From the reviews I read it seems to work, but I was wondering how long it lasts. Will it get me through summer, or do I have to do it every few weeks?

    • I haven’t used babyfoot but I used this horrifying potato peeler implement. It was pretty gross but my feet have never been so soft.

    • I just looked up babyfoot on amazon… some of the reviews have pics… I’m horrified but oddly curious about it.

      Cb, what is the potato peeler implement you referenced?

    • I tried it. It was just OK – there will be some peeling of skin, but it works better if you soak your feet in water a few days after the peel. The skin underneath wasn’t super soft or anything. I had better results with Amlactin Ultra.

    • I just used it this weekend. It took a while because I soaked my feet in water for an hour first. I didn’t think it worked, but yesterday the skin on my feet just started peeling off in large patches. I feel like a leper but the exposed new skin seems to be softer.

    • S in Chicago :

      If you are up for a splurge, I just wanted to give a shout out for the clarisonic for feet. It comes with a strong buffer type head as well as a brush. I got it as a Christmas gift, and I’ve used it way more than my face one. (I don’t use it as often as recommended, but it has still made a world of difference in keeping my feet nice and soft.) You get the benefits of a shaver without having to shave, if that makes sense.

    • Haven’t tried it myself, but I remember seeing an in-depth review on Capitol Hill Style.

    • I used it, and my feet peeled like all the really gross pictures, so I was really impressed at first. But within a couple of weeks they were back to normal. My feet are pretty rough though, maybe it would work better on someone with feet that aren’t so rough.

    • Leopard is a neutral :

      I’m a big fan of Babyfoot. I’ve done it twice and have another 2 packs waiting in the wings. Be prepared for a week or so of peeling feet so no sandals for at least 4-6 days – soaking each night for 10 minutes does help). The results seem to be good for a month or so of really soft feet but I run so that might be why mine doesn’t last longer.

  6. lucy stone :

    Reminder that we have a FitBit group for fans of this site – email me at fivetomatoes at gmail if you want to join and I’ll send you an invite!

  7. So an assistant that works for a partner I work for a lot has been giving me extreme attitude ever since she started a few months ago. I responded a bit snappy once (which I still regret but it was a stressful day) and she told my boss and her boss that I’m always really rude to her. I don’t think I am (I try to always be professional around the office although I may be a little curt at times).

    How should I fix this?

    • I don’t know if this will work for you but I tend to just go overboard with niceness and it usually works if you give it a little time. Like, “Good morning, Sally, how was your weekend?” said with a big smile and then I just do not waver no matter the attitude. “That’s a lovely color on you!” “Have a fantastic weekend!” “Enjoy your lunch!” “How’s that dog of yours?!” Nine times out of ten, the person starts being nice before long. I think people tend to mimic each other and the impulse is always to respond in kind so when she is being curt or rude, you respond in the same tone but it works in reverse as well.

      Sure, it can be annoying to try to be nice to someone who is being rude and who should really be professional, but it ultimately makes your work day easier to get along with her and it’s easy enough to do if you just don’t care and don’t take it personally (I’ve tried giving this advice to a coworker but she can’t get past the ‘why should I be nice to someone who isn’t nice to me?’ feeling, but for me that’s rarely a problem at work).

      • I think that this could work if someone was simply cold to you, but for someone who actively complained that you were rude, I think it could come off as passive aggressive. Once you reach that level, I think an open conversation is the only fix.

    • Lady Tetra :

      Maybe try to have a “I think we got off on the wrong foot, and I’m sorry about snapping that day. I appreciate how helpful you’ve been and want to have a better working relationship going forward” conversation with her, or something like that? Don’t expect to be best friends with her, but maybe it will help things to apologize and move on.

      • +1

      • anon for this :

        I second this. I am in an admin role and have had someone who was new to me be curt, and I did feel he was rude. If that person had come to me later with a “sorry for snapping / off on wrong foot / what can I do to make me easy to work with” I would have totally forgiven initial snappiness. In my case the person has never done that, and I still consider him rude, and though I help him cordially when needed I certainly don’t go out of my way for him.

    • I have some of these issues with my boss’s assistant because she is very chirpy and I am… not. I’m sure she was offended this morning because she got on the elevator with two of us this morning and we were deep in a conversation and, although we acknowledged her, we did not do more than that. In general, I try to put on a little cheerier face with her and be a bit more effusive than I normally would. Otherwise I’d probably kill her.

    • Need to Improve :

      I posted on here years ago about wanting to improve my relationship with staff. Hence my handle. I am a caring and kind person, but when someone is snappy to me or gives me attitude, my first response is to respond in kind. I have been that way my whole life. I really had to check this at work because I did not want a reputation. My advice is to suck it up and kiss as much a$$ as you can. It will pay off in the end.

  8. Relationship TJ :

    Relationship TJ – I’m looking for advice, books to read, etc.

    I’m in a long-term, committed, 6 year old relationship that is generally really good. We’re getting married soon. I feel really proud of the way we’ve dealt with relationship stressors in the past, things like living long-distance for a year, then living in a cramped and tiny apartment, my going through law school and worrying about unemployment.

    We’ve hit a bit of a rough patch lately. He’s been feeling a bit off due to some issues at work (he’s looking into starting a job hunt), which leads to him becoming a bit more closed off and distant. I’ve been stressed due to close family members’ problems, and this leads to me taking out my stress on him in really unfair ways. We’ve had a couple really good talks about this, how we feel about each other and our relationship, what we need out of the other person, and strategies we’re each going to employ to take care of ourselves as well as our relationship. I really feel that we’re going through a bit of a rough patch but that we’ll be fine long term…we communicate well, generally, enjoy each other, respect each other, and have been pretty successful in the past in working through communication issues.

    But my problem is that part of me feels that by my snapping at him and taking out my stress on him recently (things he’s acknowleged have really started to bother him, so I feel really strongly that I need to address them), I’ve somehow ruined things for us. Like, for years in our relationship I felt really, really, adored. And we didn’t have a perfect relationship, but kind of close to it. I have this deep fear that somehow I’ve ruined everything, that even though he still loves me and likes me maybe he doesn’t really, really adore me the way he used to. And I think this has been exacerbated by the fact that (a) we’re planning a wedding, and I think that adds another layer of guilt/distress on days I’m thinking both about figuring out our wedding vows and how to work on our relationship; and (b) the decision to get married is one that I initially brought up, and he took a long time to be comfortable with the idea of marriage in general…and I think that led to some insecurities I didn’t have early on in our relationship. I feel that I’ve internalized this idea that everything in our relationship has to be 100% unicorns and roses before we get married (and he has to see me as some sort of perfect partner), and I’m getting really stressed that that’s not the reality.

    Anyway, any advice on how to accept that people and relationships change and evolve, and it’s OK? Or how to somehow stop being insecure about our relationship or his feelings about me? I’d be interested in any recommendations for books, etc. on these topics as well.

    Thanks in advance. Actually, that was kind of therapeutic just to write.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Meh, I don’t think you really need relationship advice. You need help on managing your stress better. You’re stressed about work, stressed about wedding, stressed about relationship, stressed about being stressed. If you deal with the common denominator (exercise, sunshine, yoga, novels, therapy etc) I think you’ll then have the mental space to realize your relationship is great and you don’t need to worry about it.

      • I agree that this sounds mainly like a stress issue. If it helps, the several months leading up to my husband’s and my wedding (lo, these almost 13 years ago), we had a bit of what you’re describing, snapping and a little less lovey-dovey and whatnot. Planning a wedding is stressful, and we were stressed and it was harder. (Never to the point that I would have considered not doing it.) But then it was over and much better. Definitely keep an eye out for red flags and talk to him to make sure that he’s not just getting married because he doesn’t want to fight you about it and that sort of thing, but I think that this sounds fairly OK.

      • I agree. I think half the fights between me and my spouse happen because I am stressed and feel incapable of asking for what I want politely (without turning it into a bigger argument about who is right and who is wrong). Taking care of yourself and recognizing when you’re about to become impatient, reactionary, or visibly annoyed is huge.

        My partner and I also had a lot of stress while we were planning our wedding. We were about to move across the country, change jobs, start a new grad program, take on debt etc. I became the sole earner. It was stressful. We also fought. I remember the feeling of writing our vows together and wondering if we could ever keep them. Some of the examples of vows made it seem like you had to be perfect human beings for the rest of your life, “I will love you forever and appreciate you always and never take you for granted, and delight in you always… blah blah blah.” It was sad. I was like, I’m already failing at this! I actually said that to him, and he understood, which made me feel a lot better because there was an understanding that this commitment is huge and scary and seems unobtainable at times.

        We still have our good days and bad days, but a lot of it is about maturing and learning how to communicate without getting defensive right away. And actually listening. Etc. Good luck!

    • very curious to hear responses as I’ve been dealing with similar issues (but my relationship is only a year old and we aren’t discussing marriage yet). I definitely get stressed anytime we have a fight (which has been more frequent lately) because I feel like I’ve “ruined” our relationship or he won’t think of me the way he did before.

    • Sounds like you both would immensely benefit from premarital counseling – it would give you a safe space to have a dialogue about this and develop communication tools (which are especially useful in dealing with the stress of wedding planning).

      Even if that’s not a possibility, communication is still key, since you’re essentially afraid that he has negative feelings about you that he isn’t expressing. I’ll share a tool that our premarital counselor gave my now-husband and I. It’s called “sad, mad, glad.” Make time to talk, sitting across from each other with your knees touching, with eye contact. Each person takes a turn saying something(s) they are sad about, mad about, and glad about, and the other person repeats back exactly what they said, without adding any commentary. It’s a way to force one another to both talk about your feelings and ensure that the other person is really hearing what you have to say. This kind of thing might give you a safe space to express your insecurities and to be re-assured that your fiance still loves you.

      • Has anyone here had a good experience with pre-marital counseling (who actually needed relationship help)? I don’t think it’s the magic answer to everything. To me, personally, it was not especially helpful. You really need a good counselor.

    • So I feel like you hear all the time about how couples don’t ever fight and somehow that indicates that their relationship is strong. That’s a load of bull, IMO. My husband and I adore each other and we have no doubts that we are both fully committed to Team Mascot. But, we do get into fights, we do take things out on each other, we do our best to fight fairly and make amends, and we do trust that the rough spots will pass. Relationships are hard work and that’s ok. But if something is bothering one of us, we put it out there and work through it. A lifetime is too long to let things fester so for us it is better to deal with it as it comes up.

    • Wildkitten :

      Several folks have said that impending marriage puts a lot of stress on things. Like, – he leaves dirty socks on the floor and now OMG you’re going to have to deal with dirty socks FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE and that’s intense. I second pre-marital counseling so you can deal with that intensity in a positive way instead.

    • Thanks for these replies. I genuinely feel much better after reading them. And Anne Shirley and Lyssa, you are absolutely right that a lot of this has to do with my own issues dealing with stress / anxiety.

      Perhaps I should consider making an appointment for myself with a therapist in regards to stress issues, and broach the subject of premarital counseling or a workshop with my SO. Any recommendations for DC before I start googling? FWIW, we don’t have any religious affiliation.

      • No recs on regular therapy, but we went to Ashley Seeger in Dupont for premarital. FWIW, we didn’t have any specific problems or anything that made us do it – I just think it’s a good idea to bolster your communication skills.

      • Silver Spring :

        I see an anxiety specialist in Silver Spring. Her name is Dr. Linda Tipton. She’s been absolutely great. She’s been really helpful to me, and she’s great about being flexible and recognizing your triggers. I can’t recommend her enough.

        Here’s her contact information:
        8830 Cameron St, Silver Spring, MD 20910
        (301) 602-4343

      • locomotive :

        Caring Couples (despite the cheesy name) with Elizabeth in McLean is great.

    • Honestly, it sounds like you’re both just going through a hard time at the same time. It happens in every relationship, and it doesn’t ruin it unless you let it.

      I find when I’m stressed and tend to get snappy with DH that I need to take a moment before I react to him and remind myself that 1) what I’m stressed about is not his fault; and 2) he’s dealing with sh*t, too. If I assume the best of him, I’m a lot nicer. And when we’re being nice to each other, everything else is more manageable.

    • AnonLawMom :

      I am going to disagree with the premarital counseling advice. It seems like a bit of an overreaction to me given the circumstances. I agree that it is probably more of a stress management issue for each of you. But you can only control you. So, my advice would be to address your own stress. You know you, but some ways to do that can be individual therapy, yoga, meditation, a weekend away on your own, whatever. I would acknowledge to your SO that you’ve been stressed and haven’t been yourself and that you are going to do X to work on it. I would also give him space. I have found that’s what my H needs most when we have these sort of high-stress periods in our life. Adding wife smothering to his outside stress never helps. Of course, couples counseling can be appropriate if you try other stuff and still feel stuck. It just wouldn’t be my first move in your situation.

  9. Boston Suggestions :

    I’m hoping to tap in to some of the collective brilliance of the hive. Husband and I are headed to Boston for a few days and we’re looking for some new, fabulous places to eat.

    We eat basically everything, will be staying in the North End, and our only preference is that the restaurants not be inappropriately pretentious. We’ve been to Boston several times and have eaten at many of the normally recommended places, so this time we’re looking more for neighborhood joints. We’re more than willing to take the T if it’s worth it.

    Any recommendations?

    • Quick thoughts:

      North End: Dino’s for meatball subs

      Cambridge: Cragie on Main, Oleana

      Other random thoughts: Gene’s Flatbread Cafe in Chinatown (have only been to their Chelmsford location which is amazing, so not sure if this one will live up to the same standard, but worth a shot), Cafe Polonia in Andrews Square, Pho 200 in Dorchester (not a particularly nice neighborhood, but find during the day)

    • Diana Barry :

      I loooooooove Oishii in the South End (very fancy sushi) as well as Myers & Chang (fancy Asian street-food inspired) and Addis Red Sea (Ethiopian) in the same area. Oishii may be a bit clubby for you though (they love their techno).

    • North end – Neptunes for seafood. Its tiny, so always crowded and no reservations, but is just amazing food. We also like Mama Maria’s for fancy romantic dinners, especially if you manage to snag one of their tables in the front of the 2nd floor space.
      No.9 Park was amazing, but a bit heavy if you’re not looking for multiple courses. The Intercontinental in the Financial District probably had the best adult bar scene in that area IMHO. And the sushi bar in house was also pretty good.

    • If you’re willing to take cabs, I’d recommend checking out East Coast Grill in Inman Square, Cambridge for its seafood specials (especially the taco of the day), followed by an ice cream cone at Christina’s next door.

      Likewise, good restaurants have been popping up in the area east of the Kendall T stop in Cambridge. If I were visiting Boston, my idea of a good time would be renting a kayak in the late afternoon/early evening for a hour on the Charles with great views of Beacon Hill/Downtown/Back Bay, followed by dinner at one of the restaurants in the area. In Cambridge (particularly this tech-heavy area of the city), you will not be out of place in sport sandals and rumpled shorts/tee shirts. There’s an interesting pizza place called ‘Za that’s a very short walk from the dock where you can rent kayaks from Kendall Square Canoe & Kayak.

      Navy Yard Bistro in Charlestown is a good option for a quiet dinner. It has unpretentious but good food with nice service and a good wine by the glass selection. It’s a nice walk from the north side of the North End. If you’re staying closer to Christopher Columbus park, the commuter boat that leaves from the aquarium area is another option to get to the Navy Yard.

      Also in Charlestown, I’ve had excellent meals at Tangierino.

      I second the suggestion that you get a sandwich at Dino’s in the North End. The rolls are excellent.

      • I spend a lot of time in Kendall, and Za is just okay in my opinion. Great for a quick stop if you’re in the area. Wouldn’t take a special trip out just for that (although not a bad idea to do the kayaking + food). There’s a restaurant next to it called EVOO which I would totally avoid. It’s incredibly overpriced and awful.

    • My brother who lives near Boston swears by Lucia’s in the North End. He also stops by Caffe Pompei for a rice ball in between sets (he plays at the Bell in Hand during the week there).

    • Toscano’s – in Cambridge or on Charles Street in Boston; great for dinner
      Toscanini’s ice cream in Central Square (you may have been here already)
      Darwin’s in Cambridge (a sandwich shop)
      Crema Cafe in Cambridge, but beware that it can get pretty busy
      Also, if you’ll be here on a Sunday, the SoWa Open Market is really awesome. They have food stands (like a farmer’s market), food trucks, and lots of stands with crafts/clothes/home items, etc. I don’t want to be in moderation for posting the link, but it should be easy to find with an Internet search.

    • Boston Suggestions :

      Thanks all! Dino’s actually is one of our go-to’s that we visit pretty regularly and Neptune’s has been a winner too. These are awesome suggestions and I really appreciate the variety here.

    • locomotive :

      Mine are mostly Cambridge recommendations.
      Toscanini’s for ice cream (more like gelato)
      Craigie on Main (conveniently down the street from Tosci’s. $$$, great new american food)
      Muqueca (fantastic brazilian seafood or meat-stew type dishes – never had anything like it before)
      Orinoco (Venezuelan in Harvard Sq. beautiful backyard seating with romantic lighting, perfect when it’s warm)
      the beat hotel for jazz brunch. or the beehive in Boston for jazz brunch (same owners)

      Boston:
      Hamersley’s Bistro (fancy, amazing duck confit)
      JM Curley (more hipster bar/restaurant)

    • Bergamot in Cambridge (Inman Sq.)–went there a couple weeks ago and was very impressed by both the food and the service.

  10. irene adler :

    Hi All,

    I am interviewing in the next month for a litigation position with a firm. Currently I work for a state agency. I really have no idea what to expect for a long interview (almost all day) with a panel. Usually I’ve done shorter “get to know you” interviews. What kind of things should I prepare for? Obviously I will wear a full suit, but do you think 3/4 sleeves are ok for a suit? They make me feel more put together. I think I like being able to see my watch. But if other people would think they are not formal enough I will go full conservative suit. Thank you!

  11. People are often talking about putting a little clutch in your main bag with phone, wallet, etc in so that you can grab and go for coffees etc – would the Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac suit or is it too big for that purpose?

  12. Powerpoint Question :

    Does anyone have any rough idea how to approximate how long a powerpoint presentation will go?

    I have a deck of slides that I can mentally read through in 18 minutes (I’m a fast reader and know the slides almost too well now). I’m thinking that as presented, with asides and the like, it will probably be close to an hour. I just don’t want to have an >1 hour presentation that I will be breathlessly rushing through to cram it all in.

    ~40 slides, if it matters

    • The only real way to approximate is to do a dry-run of the presentation. It really depends on how much info you have on a slide. Are we talking a photo per slide, or tons of text?

      In general though, unless you have like 5 words on each slide, 40 slides is a lot for an hour. You’ll literally be flipping a slide every minute – think how that feels to someone in the audience.

      • This is exactly the correct way to do it. If you have more than 10 words on a single slide, the slide is bad. A slide per minute is ok (although fewer is OK too).

    • My rule of thumb is 2-3 minutes a slide, but that also depends on the information to be conveyed per slide and the topics. Therefore, I think your presentation may go a little long — but you may draft your slides “quicker” than I do – I usually put a small amount of “reminder” or “signpost” information on the slide, but have more to explain/stories/examples.

    • Powerpoint Question :

      Thanks — some slides are just fluff (a picture), so there is a balance b/w easy and hard. I can do a dry run later (and get ready with the axe). Thanks so much!

    • Before my first major presentation, a senior associate gave me his guideline of 1 slide per minute. I thought that was an insane number of slides and thought of all the presentations I’d been to where they start skipping or leave 2/3 of it uncovered by the end, and I ended up only having about half that (but extensive additional notes on my version that I thought would make it go longer). Well, when I’m nervous, I speak quickly, and I FLEW through my slides in about 20 minutes. It was an in-house presentation and several of the people my year who knew that I was too far ahead bailed me out by asking long-winded questions to slow me down. I learned from that experience that it’s better to have too many than not enough, at least for me with a tendency to talk too fast and be too nervous to come up with coherent filler on the fly if I run out of planned material.

    • Senior Attorney :

      And just remember… There is nothing, nothing, not. one. thing. that you can say after your time has run out that will not make people hate you.

      If your hour is up and you still have 20 slides to go, you say “Wow! That went fast! I’m terribly sorry we didn’t finish. If you’d like to have the rest of the slides, I’ll will email them to you. Thank you for coming.”

      Trust me on this. If your presentation was scheduled for an hour and you go over, they will hate you. Leave ‘em wanting more.

    • 40 slides in one hour is a lot and can be visual overload and/or distracting. I would either combine or reduce and def do several dry runs because being able to read through them in 18 mins isn’t really a good benchmark for the speech. 2-3 mins per slide is a good rule of thumb, and generally, people tend to overestimate how slow their speech really is — so even if you slow down even more, you are not going to get dinged for it (in the way that you might for speaking too quickly). The fact that you already know the slide content will def help you transition smoothly though!

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      That does sound like a lot of slides – mainly because you want people to be listening to you, not reading your slides. My feeling is, if you have any slides where you say “I’m not going to read through all this, but it sets out X”, scrap them; say things that aren’t on your slides, but don’t put stuff on your slides that you don’t say. (But YMMV and sometimes people use the slides as a reference so it depends on the topic/audience).

      BUT there are two kinds of people – people who take less time than they think and people who take way more, and the only way to know is the dry run. Then, whichever way you go, even if little (too fast vs too slow), during the actual presentation you will probably skew more in that direction because of the adrenalin etc.

      Totally agree with SA that nothing you can say after the time is up is anything anyone wants to hear.

      GOOD LUCK!

    • I agree that 2-3 mins per slide is a good rule of thumb, especially if you’re giving the presentation live. I usually time my webinars at about 90s per slide (no interruptions), and in-person presentations at about 3 mins per slide because of the interruptions.

  13. Hollis Doyle :

    Well, y’all, it looks like I’m headed for a divorce. His decision. I’ll be ok emotionally (eventually) although the hardest part is we have a 2 1/2 year old, so I just can’t help but think about how this will affect her. My questions are (1) has anyone been through this with young kid(s) and can advise me on that issue, and (2) I need help with logistics. Our house is too expensive for either of us alone, and it needs some work before we could sell it, but we don’t have the money to do a lot to it right away. I don’t have any savings and live more than paycheck to paycheck. Do we both just stay in our house until it sells and then I have to scramble to find a new place? There’s no family or friends to stay with in the meantime. I get a sizable raise in September, so moving after that point would be ideal. I have no idea how much housing I can afford or what to even look for. Help! Thanks.

    • No advice, but I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

    • Wildkitten :

      You will be fine. Your kid will be fine. Kids are resilient and it sounds like you are very level-headed.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Step one: talk to a lawyer

      Step two: talk to a realtor about what you absolutely must do and realistic sales prospects.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I agree with this. You’ll need a realtor to come in and check out your house and give you a realistic estimate for a sale. You should talk to your lawyer about this issue as well – you don’t want to be in a situation where one party refuses to sell the house because then everybody loses.

    • irene adler :

      So sorry, and I haven’t been through it and don’t have kids, but honestly I think it would be easier for kids at 2 1/2 rather than like, 13. There is so much time to build a “new normal” without the 2 year old feeling like their world is changing too much. I think the issues with logistics is something the divorce attorney could help you navigate.

      • A friend of mine also divorced when her daughter was a toddler. It was tough at the time, but now she has a happy, healthy kindergartener. Daughter thinks it’s totally normal to shuttle between both parents’ homes.

    • Silvercurls :

      +1 / also sorry you’re going through this!
      – Read the blog of another commenter here ( www[dot]dontblamethekids[dot]com ) for comments re divorce w/ young children.
      – In addition to responses posted today, read the archives of _this_ site for comments re divorce in general (financials; lawyers; moral support; I don’t recall if there were also discussions of logistics).
      – Find a new peer group: Parents Without Partners, or a local listserv for divorcing/divorced parents, or whatever. If you’re lucky you’ll find people to share venting and information that will make your life easier (e.g., hints for juggling work & family obligations, news re which grocery delivery is best or which pediatric dentist has weekend appointments, good ways of finding evening child care). I’m not divorced, but I’m a special education parent. In the early years I spent a lot of time networking, surfing local listservs, attending meetings, and chatting shamelessly with total strangers. I did whatever it took to get my head around the new body of information and plan for going forward.
      – If you feel comfortable doing this, reach out to the spiritual leader of your congregation. (If your congregation makes divorced/divorcing people feel uncomfortable, seriously consider finding another congregation. If you’re not interested in religious life, ignore this suggestion entirely.)
      – Take care of yourself as much as possible, but don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself skipping sleep or nutrition. (Dontblamethekids has a post about neglecting dental care.)
      – Good luck. I hope your husband manages to be civil despite his decision to leave the marriage. Based on observation I can say that there is eventually light at the end of this lousy tunnel.

      • Silvercurls :

        P.S. Not trying to alarm you but IME as a special ed parent a good child psychologist–and a good adult psychologist (or counselor, therapist, MSW, LCSW etc.)–can be a godsend. Ask around and trust your instincts or try the find a therapist feature on the site of Psychology Today. The people on that site have links to their own web sites and some of them will specify which insurance they take.

    • I’m so, so sorry you are going through this. I am going through this myself (a little farther along, as we are not in the same house), and man, it sucks. Divorce can take a long time, so you might find yourselves living together for longer than you would like. If it becomes unbearable, do whatever you have to to get out.

      See a lawyer. Don’t spend any money you don’t absolutely have to. Open a separate account right now and put money into it. (Don’t steal, but do divide finances immediately, if possible.)

    • Senior Attorney :

      I was in a similar situation 20-plus years ago, with a six-year-old. We stayed in the house together until it sold and although it wasn’t awesome, it was tolerable. I think others are right that it will be easier in some ways with a 2.5-year-old than with an older child.

      I have been in family law and my firm belief, which I believe to be backed up by the research in the field, is that it is conflict between the parents that is harmful to the children, whether they are together or apart. If there is high conflict in the home, that is bad. If the parents are divorced and there is still high conflict, that is also bad. If getting divorced turns a high-conflict situation into a lower-conflict situation, then that is a good thing.

      My first husband and I managed to be civil all these years and co-parent our son reasonably well and I’d say we managed to make a success of it. Our son is now 27, he’s a great young man and a Marine, and we’re all still friends. In fact, believe it or not, we all went on vacation together a few months ago when our Marine got back from two years in Japan!

      Hang in there. You can do this. I agree with separating the finances ASAP. And when you can afford it, get yourself a good lawyer and a good therapist.

      • Totally agree with this. One of my best friends growing up had divorced parents, and it was a ZERO conflict situation. Once they weren’t married and trying to live together, they got along great (they’re good as friends but were bad as spouses) and were both very actively involved in raising her as a team. She has a great relationship with both of them. I think she was better off than kids growing up in families where the parents were staying together ‘for the kids’.

    • Sorry you are going through this. I was 2.5 when my parents got divorced. It was no big deal for me that my parents lived apart because I never remembered otherwise. As I’m sure you know, it’s crucial that each parent maintain a neutral attitude about the other. My parents did this well and it was key for me. While it may be frustrating to have to paint a nice picture of your ex, your child will grow to see each of you for who you are with out the side comments.

      If you can, explain to your extended family how you want them to talk about the ex. My parents were very diplomatic about each other, but then I’d go stay with my mother’s family and hear them say awful things about my father. This led to much confusion, sadness and anger that I kept hidden from my mother for years. Just wanted to warn you about that, as I feel it doesn’t often get discussed. Good luck to you!

      • Thought I would add, I have a wonderful relationship with both of my parents all these years later. It can be done.

      • This is so important. My parents did the exact opposite–I was 13 when they separated and it was not done civilly at all. My mom talked so badly about my dad (to be fair he did cheat on her and leave her for his much younger mistress. . .) but it was still very hard to feel like I had to choose who to be loyal to when I loved them both.

    • So sorry :( Agree with everyone who said just keep your child away from conflict/anything negative people might say about her dad and she will be okay. It won’t be easy on her, but kids are very resilient and as long as she feels safe and loved, she will adjust. Also second Anne Shirley’s rec to see a lawyer. In my state you must be separated for one year (if you have kids) before a divorce can be entered. If you’re living under the same roof, you have to do certain things to prove to the judge that you were really separated even though you were in the same house. Good luck.

    • My Stepkids' Mom :

      I could write a lot about this, and have in previous posts. I agree about getting the kid to an age-appropriate therapist with demonstrated expertise in divorce and children.

      With respect to the formalities, keep in mind that you and your loved ones will be living with the divorce decree for the next two decades. If there is any ambiguity in it at all, someone will try to take advantage of that ambiguity. Water runs downhill. So it needs to address things that are relevant now (custodial time for toddlers, pre-school fees), things that are relevant in the middle term (custodial time for teens) and things that are relevant long term (college tuition). In my opinion, you absolutely cannot do this without a good lawyer and you should not scrimp on time or money finding the right one.

      Re changing needs wrt custodial time, I find this pamphlet helpful:

      http://www.occourts.org/media/pdf/parenting-plan-guidelines.pdf

    • Hollis Doyle :

      Just getting back to read all of the comments. Thank you for the responses. He and I are both lawyers and I’m fairly certain it will remain civil, so I’m not too concerned about that aspect of things. We don’t fight; we’ve just kind of grown apart and are more like roommates than partners. While I’m willing to try to work on our issues, he, apparently, is not. C’est la vie, I guess. Thank you again for the responses and well-wishes. It’s comforting to know that most likely our daughter will be fine. That is my main concern.

    • DC Association :

      My divorce was finalized last year; we were separated for about 1.5 years before that. Our son was 5 at the time it all went down. I was unhappy for a long time and i WISH we had split up when my son was 2.5 instead of 5. As others said…the child won’t really remember anything but your not being together. My son is handling everything very well, I think, but of course sometimes he gets sad and says he wishes we all lived together like we used to.

      Anyway, our house was under renovation at the time we separated . He lived in the house for a year after we separated (for financial reasons). Although it was hard on me, it was actually better for my son. The ex slept in the basement, so it was sort of an easing into our living in different locations…my son started asking why we weren’t sharing a room anymore and got used to the fact that we were not “together” anymore.

      Regarding selling your house – not sure where you are but…i’d say that you will get more for your house than the cost of the renovations. i.e. if you upgrade your kitchen and spend $5k, you will probably get at least $10k more than you currently could. Could you get a home equity loan or borrow money from somewhere to get the renovations done?

      I second another poster recommending having a realtor come over to take a look around and recommend what is necessary. As I said, our house was under renovation and when we were interviewing agents to work with, they each told us what was absolutely necessary to do and what to not waste time on. It was immensely helpful since my ex is an architect and of course had way too many ideas of what needed to be done.

      On a final note…perhaps during the separation he will come around and realize it is a mistake. That’s what separations are for. As the song says, “Only hate the road til you’re missing home. Only know you love her til you let her go.”

      good luck. I’ve been there, and it sucks. But for me, the grass is greener on the other side.

  14. Wedge Recommendations :

    Anyone up for some vicarious shopping?
    I am searching for a couple of pairs of 1-3 inch wedges to get me through the summer. I would prefer they be less than $100 because I am need to size up for swollen, third trimester feet.
    I am much more comfortable in wedges than flats or pumps right now, and they are fine for my office – peep toe or closed toe works for me.
    Thanks, Ladies!

  15. I like this for nonwork wear but not for work.

  16. Does anyone have any tips to get yourself through a “suck it up, it’s your job” day? Without getting into the details, I’m frustrated with a work assignment but need to keep pushing it forward anyways. Yesterday I left at a reasonable hour, relaxed, got a good night’s sleep, and came in on the later side this morning. But I’m still having a hard time getting back to the project this morning. How do you keep yourself motivated when you’re frustrated or a little burnt out at work?

    • I close the door to my office, listen to some energetic music and try to work in shorter, productive periods. For example, I’ll tell myself “if I get X & Y done within the next hour and a half, I’ll go take a walk around the block or browse the web for a few minutes.”

    • Like Orangerie, I close my door and turn on music. I also create a micro to-do list for whatever task I want to avoid–breaking it into a bunch of simpler steps that I can start crossing off. That is usually enough to get momentum going for a good productive spell, then I reward myself with good coffee or a walk. When I’m feeling really over a project or work in general, I make another list of the accomplishments I’m proudest of. Once I’ve written a few of those down, whatever I’m dreading doesn’t seem so bad. Reminding myself that “it’s just work” helps, too. Good luck!

    • Count backwards from your salary

  17. Roommate vent: why is it so hard to push in the dining table chairs and not leave the couch looking like a rumpled mess?! It’s my furniture so obviously I care about it more, but I’m frustrated since she claimed to be “really, really clean” and yet I’m constantly straightening up after her.

    It would also be nice if she cracked a window in her room from time to time… it stinks to high heaven.

    I know I probably shouldn’t say anything about it to her… but ugh.

    • I’ll chime in with an officemate vent. Smelly cheese in an office with 4 other people and no ventilation? Rude. Crunching chips at top volume? Also rude.

    • I love you. I hate when people don’t shut cabinets, don’t push in chairs, leave their stuff all over the couch. My roommates suck. (They’re also my kids, so I’m hoping I can teach them better.)

      Roommate probably won’t change. They never do. Just do it yourself, but feel free to vent away!

      • Hahaha, yes unfortunately she isn’t my kid so I can’t instill better habits. Tempted to ask her to move out (I’m the only one on the lease and our sublease agreement is now month to month), but not sure I want to go through the hassle of finding someone else.

        • Wildkitten :

          If her only fault is not pushing in the dining room chairs I wouldn’t want to risk it with a replacement who might be worse. (The room smelling is bad, but it’s not your room).

          • Yeah, true that it isn’t my room but the smell permeates into the hallway (so gross). It’s also right by the front door so I’m greeted with the stench every time I enter or leave the apartment.

    • Anne Shirley :

      You’d be comfortable asking her to move out but not saying “hey you probably haven’t noticed but your room stinks. Please open a window and clean it.”

      • Yeah. That’s why I set up the sub-lease agreement so that after a specified period of time, either party can terminate the agreement for any reason with 30 days notice.

        • Anne Shirley :

          Honestly that’s just ridiculous. If you’d rather kick someone out of her home than at least try method “have reasonable grown up conversation” you have no business having roommates at all.

          • We are both reasonable grown ups who signed a contract. It’s not ridiculous for either party to eventually decide to act on one of the terms of the agreement.

          • Wildkitten :

            +1. Living alone is better for a lot of people and it sounds like you would prefer it.

          • Wildkitten :

            Uhm no you are not being a reasonable adult. A reasonable adult would have a conversation, not unilaterally demand someone move because they’re not conforming to your secret standards.

          • I’ve had a conversation about cleanliness in the kitchen, among other things. And you’re getting way ahead of yourself, I’m not asking her to move out. But legally, I could.

        • Yeah, I’m with Anne Shirley. Just *ask* her.

    • Oh, I should show this to my husband and make his day! I’m a clean person but apparently not as “neat” in this respect. To me, whether the chairs are pushed in has nothing to do with whether the room is clean (i.e., vacuumed, dusted, and de-cluttered). It just doesn’t occur to me and I don’t associate these things with cleanliness— although I see how they certainly make things look neater. My poor husband has resigned himself to this flaw of mine and he’s usually a good sport about closing the drawers or moving the stools, but your post reminds me I should pay attention more.
      Now, if I could just do something about my husband’s “put it in a pile” method of cleaning up!

      • Fair enough; there is a distinction between clean and neat/tidy. I think my frustration is exacerbated by the fact that all of the furnishings in the common areas are mine, so when they aren’t treated with care I know it’s always going to be me who puts them back in order.

      • Yes! This is me! I am all about the “clean” – no soap scum in my bathroom, carpets regularly vacuumed. On the other hand, I can’t seem to ever close cabinets and leave my stuff all over the tables. This drives my husband up the wall because he’s the exact opposite. If the cabinets are closed and the books are shelved, it doesn’t matter if there’s random bit of cat litter in the carpet (eww). Ugh!

      • Moon Moon :

        This is interesting, cause I am more bothered by things not being neat than things not being clean, oddly enough. I’m more likely to have everything put away/chairs pushed in/every closet door and cabinet closed/toilet seats down/no clutter/everything lined up at 90 degree angles, but with a layer of dust on everything. This is why I end up being the perfect recipient of a house cleaner!

      • Agree with AEK, I consider myself very clean (I wash everything, often, like to have things wiped down and wash my hands a Lot, air out rooms, etc.) but I am not always neat. I don’t push back dining table chairs, and I often dont bother closing cabinets or doors or drawers, and I often don’t put things back in their right places, figuring I’ll do it later!
        To me the difference is clean=germ fighting, and neat=appearing orderly and/or taking care of stuff so it lasts a long time (not my strength).

    • Chiming in on this – housemates, why is it so difficult to put plastic pull tabs from the tops of milk bottles in the bin? I don’t mind people leaving actual cleaning up for when they have time later that day, but stuff that takes <10 seconds to do… grr.

    • Miss Behaved :

      Heh. You’d hate me, but I hate having roommates and haven’t had one since grad school – 20 years ago (yay!). And now I have a cleaning service that comes in every other week.

      True story, though. When I was in grad school (MBA), I posted on the online bulletin board. I said I was “relatively neat.” I ended up with a neat freak. She came to me one day and told me that she was going to sue me because I’d said I was “neat” and I wasn’t. I looked at her and laughed and then told her that she wasn’t on the lease.

  18. This dress is pretty! I have to go to The Limited on my lunch break today because they left the security sensor on a pair of trousers I purchased on Tuesday (grump). I might try this on–it would be good for this weekend’s hostess duties (in-laws!).

  19. I’ve been lurking for awhile and need some advice with helping my daughter stay in university. She’s a smart girl, but has some very severe learning disabilities and some medical issues. She had help when she was very young with therapy etc. and then did quite well threw the rest of her schooling up until university. She is dyslexic, has ADHD, has some motor skill issues and polycystic ovaries and all the grief that accompanies that. She did alright in first year except she failed philosophy and she hasn’t been able to get her GPA up high enough since then. Now after 2nd year she will get a letter expelling her, but she has to appeal with a written letter. I’m wondering how to format that letter.

    The facts: she is taking a BMus (Vocal). She is doing very well singing, but struggles with writting essays and especially exams.
    She will be assessed (finally, it took her months to set this up) in early June by a psychiatrist to receive help with the dyslexia. Then she would have help with exams depending on what her needs are. The government will provide her with whatever support she needs.
    She is retaking philosophy right now to get her marks up in that course.
    She will change her degree from B Mus to a BFA (multidisciplinary) with mostly music courses followed by drama and art. This is a much easier load for her. (No music history that’s she’s struggling with)
    She will drop down to 3 or 3.5 courses instead of 5 for the fall semester.
    We will be looking at restarting ADHD medications (they depress her)
    Her greatest gift is her singing voice–she has serious career potential in opera, so she doesn’t want to lose this. Her greatest fault is not talking to the people around her when she’s in trouble, so we’re always trying to help her after she’s dug herself in a hole.

    Sorry for the long TJ, I’m wondering if the response should be like an essay or like an action plan in a spread sheet with what she plans to do and the timelines for completion. I’m in healthcare, so I don’t have much experience with academics. My BSc is in biochemistry so I’m not sure what the arts side would be looking for. Many thanks for any help you can provide.

    • Wildkitten :

      What is she going to do for money when she grows up? Sing professionally? Does she need a college degree to do that?

      • She doesn’t need the degree, but part of her going there is that she does her Studio course (basically intense singing lessons) with a professor that she has a really good relationship with. The quality of her learning fron her is really valuable. She has also been accepted into the university opera. That’s why we going to drop her degree from music to multidiscipline–she doesn’t need the music necessarily but the drama in the multidiscipline will really help her with both opera and musical theatre. Her back up if she doesn’t make it professionally is teaching singing and she needs either a degree or get all her levels with either the Royal Conservatory or the Canada Conservatory.

        • V250, you’re right that she doesn’t really need the degree until she is going to teach singing professionally. That said, a solid background in music history and theory are *really* important to understanding what she’s singing and being able to sightread, etc. Even kids who go to conservatory have to do those two things. If she can’t handle that right now, I’d probably go the route of having her work with a private voice teacher and maybe get some tutoring (outside of university classes) on the history and theory so she can go back to school more prepared at some point.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Why isn’t withdrawing for a leave of absence an option? Are you in the US? Rather than challenging an expulsion it sounds like she really isn’t capable of doing the work now. Could she take leave and resume her studies in the fall? And give herself time to adjust to meds and pursue her singing outside the university context ?

      • A leave of absence of a year was considered, but to get back into her Studio course she would have to audition again and it is extremely difficult to get in. The other courses she’d take are choir, musicianship skills and theory. She also in the school opera. Those are really easy for her. We’re in Canada. She would start up in the fall (she can’t take any of her music courses in the summer) The only reason she’s taking philosophy is that if she does well it gets that F off her GPA. That’s the only course she has in the summer.

        We went to a meeting with a school councillor right after she got her marks. And she felt she would have a good case with the learning disabilities being looked at and the plan I listed above is most of what she and my daughter came up with.

        • Oh, good, I’m glad to hear it’s been a collaborative effort. Perhaps the counselor could advise you w/r/t the format and level of detail for the letter? It seems the important thing would be to explain the circumstances, emphasize her commitment to continuing her studies, and ask for the chance to demonstrate it, so I do think she should spend some time on the actual narrative letter. You could still append an action plan as additional evidence that you’re taking the issue seriously and have mapped out a realistic way forward.

    • I understand that their process is to require an appeal letter, but it seems like you all should be able to talk with someone in the dean’s office or student health to determine the best way to approach the letter/the action plan/coordinating all the various resources she needs to be successful. There should be any number of people in university administration who work on just these sort of issues.

      Re: trying to to help her after she’s dug herself in a hole, if you can engage the university at an informal level, she could be involved in the discussion, too. She needs to be invested in the plan for it to work, and it’s not clear from your post whether/how much she is.

      This sounds difficult and stressful for you. I’m sorry, and I hope that she gets the help she needs so she can continue her training.

    • It seems like you guys are doing a good job at attacking this from all angles. But I am a bit worried about her dropping her chance at a practical, and employable degree. She should talk with others in her program and her advisors about it this summer, as soon as her ADHD/psychiatry plan gets stabilized. She needs support right now, and then a plan for the long term.

      As a double major in music and another employable major, I saw many people crash in burn in music performance/MFA. We talk about the competitive roads in law/finance etc.. on this blog, but nothing in those realms compares with trying to make it as a professional opera singer. I am worried that you and your daughter are not being realistic. Unless she is at a conservatory like Curtis or Julliard now on scholarship and already winning competitions, her chance at an opera career is almost nil.

      She needs to think now about what her back up career will be. For most in music, it will be teaching…. at a minimum, private lessons and ideally at a place where you can get at least minimal benefits. While I am surprised that she can get a MFA without covering the core music history and theory classes, make sure she gets the pedagogy courses under her belt.

      You are being a good and supportive Mom.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. I have a cousin who was an opera major, also with learning disabilities, who couldn’t graduate from his original institution. He now teaches children with disabilities and without his degree was making about $10/hr. He finally finished his degree about 8 yrs later through community college, etc., and will get a big bump in pay as a result.

      • She has all her music history courses done except for 20th century music. She will continue the musicianship skills (sight and ear work) and her theory. The singing part (studio, choir and now opera) is very time consuming, but she’s good at it and loves it. She’s gotten into one of the top Canadian unis for vocal (not the best which is U of Toronto IMO). I’m not being kennel blind about her ability, she has been told by profs where she is and by profs in other schools that she has career potential. I know it’s a long shot, but it really is her only strong suit. Initially, she started with a joint degree in vocal and education, but her English marks were 2 % too low. Her professors really encourage her to stay in the singing which peaks in the last 2 years.

        She has discussed this with her singing prof and she’s told her to go for the multidiscipline BFA. Her prof is also worried about her getting through.

        She’s young and single and if she’s even going to do the follow your dreams thing, now is the time. She needs at least her Masters to teach in either a college or university so that’s probably out of the question unless she does it in theory.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I used to work in the office that handled this sort of thing at a large university. Here’s my off the cuff thoughts:
      — The university needs to see that she’s taking the lead on this, not her parents. It’s great that she has you to support her, but they’ll be looking to see whether she’s driving the train to get back in or just riding along.
      — She should meet with someone in person. They will need the letter, but there should be human contact and discussion. Have her call and set up a meeting or find out more about the process (ie, should she meet prior to submitting written statement or after).
      — Definitely get her connected with the student support for dyslexia. Note that they will drop her if she’s using their services to slack off, but if she engages with them it can make a world of difference.
      — Definitely look into taking a leave. Feel out the office as to whether that would be a plus or minus in their consideration. It can be either.
      — For the love of all that is holy, be polite and courteous to everyone you encounter. You’re all stressed, but snapping at the receptionist will hurt her cause. Seriously. A sense of entitlement will hurt her big time.

      The document should explain the issues that lead to the problem and what she’s going to do to resolve them. Usually 1-2 pages of text, IME. I’ve seen letters of support from advisors, mentors, professors that certainly help – but I’d find out if that’s protocol at her school first.

      Serious question: Is skipping music history etc going to hurt her chances of making it in opera? What do her advisors think of that? I know two women who went on to successful careers in opera, and their programs seemed (to me, the science major) heavy on history, theory, and foreign language. I’m not sure how required they are, though. But consider whether that strategy to get her though the short term will hurt her in the long term.

      • First, a thanks to all of you for your advice. She has started to get in front of this on her own. She asked the councillor if there was a template or ideas for the letter, but the councillor had no advice on this. We’re waiting for the letter, but she wants to be fully prepared ahead of time. All I know is that the letter is sent and then she files for an appeal by responding with a written letter outlining how she’s going to improve. I assume the meetings start after that letter is received. I was wondering about the letters of support/reference. I will see when the letter comes.

        She can never fit the languages in. She’s almost fluent in Italian (thanks Rosetta Stone) and her German diction is very good. She was going to take French in the fall, but she won’t be able to do that now. Her prof says if she can sing the opera companies don’t care about what the degree is.

        Great advice about being polite! We’re not very snappy people for the most part. I work with the public. I’m a medical lab technologist in a hospital, so I get the worst of people. My daughter has been in music a long time and I’ve drilled into her that she must always watch her mouth and be nice to everybody. It’s a very small industry and no one has patience for a diva.

    • I would like to wholeheartedly echo what one poster said–even with learning disabilities, and even though university administration can be a big mess, your daughter needs to learn to stand on her own two feet. Even though she’s ~19. This doesn’t mean you can’t be involved, but…she absolutely must learn to navigate the world on her own. This is a life skill and it’s really important.

      I have several close friends whose parents stepped in to help anytime there was the slightest issue with anything relating to their learning disability, and what my friends learned was learned helplessness. You are a lovely, caring and wonderful mother, but learning to ask for, seek, use the help you need is an enormous life skill. Beyond that, understanding that the greater world is not going to be terribly understanding of learning disabilities is also something your daughter needs to get. The best skills you can help her develop at this point are learning to deal with issues and problems head-on, of her own volition. Truly.

      I am saying this not out of snark, but because she needs to learn how to do this. And then I would have a separate discussion with your daughter about how things got “this bad” and that she _really_ needs to speak up sooner. In my experience, schools really try to help students before they go down these sorts of roads, which means she either didn’t take the help or something along those lines. Future employers may not be so patient, or have redress procedures, so learning to raise her hand and ask for help early is key to her success, and is also a lesson your daughter needs to understand, now.

      Best of luck.

  20. Just got official word that my promotion went through. I got a 12% merit raise and 13% bonus for my performance in 2013 effective 3/1, and found out this AM I’m getting another 13% increase, moved from a 10% to a 25% bonus target, and a big title bump, effective immediately. Icing on the cake is they are giving me an increased head count for my team!

    The kicker? I was out all of q4 having a baby!!

    Working mama FTW. :)

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