Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Sleeveless V-Neck Blouse

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

This blouse from Mossimo is only $19.99, and the sale color, blush, is just $5.98 on clearance. You can also get 20% off with promo code JULY4, and that brings it down to $15.99. (You can’t use the code on the clearance color, unfortunately.) There are pluses and minuses with this top, of course: I’m sure the fabric is cheap, and it’s longer in the back than in the front, so if you don’t like that style that may be an issue, but this looks comparable to blouses I’ve seen for $150 and up. So if you’re looking for something very affordable, do consider this top from Target. It comes in eight colors in sizes XS-XXL. Sleeveless V-Neck Blouse – Mossimo™

For plus-size options, here’s one that’s also from Target and another from Nordstrom Rack that comes in five colors.

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Comments

  1. Wedding gift ideas :

    Gift ideas for a couple getting married who don’t “need” anything and won’t register for gifts? The couple is in their 40s and have already been living together for a few years; they’re having a small ceremony with immediate family only (we’re not invited). But they are family, so we’d like to send a gift of some sort. Additional context: they like to golf; have two teenage kids from a prior marriage; and their house is already nicely decorated (and I don’t think I could pick anything that would match the bride’s taste). Ideas? Something edible? Flowers?

    • How about a donation to a charity they support?

      • Wedding gift ideas :

        Good idea – not sure what that might be but will think about it! Thanks.

        • Anonymous :

          The First Tee makes golf accessible to underprivileged kids. I would do a donation to that or a similar charity plus chocolates or a bottle of wine.

          • Yes- and a lot of golfers have their own wine labels, too! Luke Donald, Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus, etc.

            Thank you for going this route. We registered and still received artwork from relatives that are not our taste and will probably remain hidden for a while.

          • LOL on the ‘artwork not to taste’. I definitely had that problem – my relatives who I adore picked something that I can only describe as a painting that should be called “death of a boat”. It’s so very gloomy. Hangs in the basement because they come over often enough that I can’t really trash it. Hoping it gets ‘damaged’ in our upcoming move.

    • Restaurant gift certificate, fancy chocolates, Harry & David pears… you can also get charity “gift certificates” (I get these every year from work) which you can make out to any nonprofit org.

    • anon a mouse :

      I’m in the same boat right now. I think my gift is going to be a nice silver picture frame for a wedding picture (with a gift receipt so they can exchange it if they want).

    • Anonymous :

      I vote for a nice bottle of wine or champagne now and another on their first anniversary. They’ll be getting a lot of gifts now, but few people will mark the anniversary, so that will be special.

    • Anonymous :

      Bottle of fancy champagne

    • I found that when my older/wealthier friends get married, and purposefully do not register, they are telling you please do not buy me “stuff”. Meaning, the last thing they want is a silver picture frame or a crystal vase. Seriously… Listen to what they are saying.

      If you feel you must buy them something, then something consumable. I have done gift certificates to the opera/theater/great restaurant (depending on their interests), wine/champagne, and charity donation. A small, his and hers golf gift could be cute.

      • Anonymous :

        This. Do not buy people crystal vases and silver picture frames unless you include a gift receipt. They don’t want ‘stuff’.

        • Returning things you don’t want is a PITA, please just skip the gift and hand write them a thoughtful note.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Amen! No crystal vases or silver picture frames!

            Several people took the time to write really lovely, personal notes in the cards they sent for our wedding, and that was so lovely and appreciated!

      • Anonymous :

        +1 If I say no gifts, I mean no gifts. Send them a nice card expressing your best wishes for their future, or something else pleasant and be done with it.

      • Brunette Elle Woods :

        I agree. Buying them a vase or picture frame is just giving them a chore as far as making a return. Definitely a gift card to a great restaurant or a donation to a charity.

      • Agree with the above. How about some sort of unique local experience? In my city there is a group that runs local farm dinners with guest chefs from the best restaurants in town. Or the symphony will do a private performance with a catered dinner. Something like that?

      • bluestocking :

        This. We didn’t register. We got some cash (which we didn’t need, but appreciated) and a few bottles of wine and one piece of art made by one of our guests (which we fortunately like). Many people didn’t get us anything, and I was very happy with that.

    • A beautiful card with a longer, personalized note from you?

      If you’re not invited and the couple doesn’t need or want anything, then all you really can do is reach out and congratulate them. “Much love and happiness to both of you!” They can display the card in their living room and then feel free to dispose of it/file it away.

      Maybe I’m naïve, but I would be equally as touched by a sincerely written card as I would be by a present or a gift certificate.

      • +1

        For myself, in my early 30’s I’m financially comfortable enough to buy myself anything I want that’s inexpensive enough to be a reasonable gift from a third party (e.g. under $100) and I know my own taste better than they do. I would much rather get a handwritten, thoughtful card than an item. It sounds like this couple is the same. At most I would do the card and some bubbly.

      • +1 to thoughtful card over physical gift (got married late 20s, didn’t register, and would have loved this then.)

    • My go-to gift for this is two bottles of champagne with a card saying “One to celebrate with now, and one for your first anniversary” – it’s always gone over well.

    • This was us, minus the kids and golf, but my favorite gift was open table gift certificates – we dined out and toasted our lovely friends who sent us to dinner. Nice wine was another favorite. My personal wedding gift go-to’s are either open table certificates (as was my favorite thing) or a wine of the month deal – K&L wines in SF has a gift section where you can set up to send wine as a gift every month and they accommodate different budgets and time frames.

    • Delta Dawn :

      Regarding “death of a boat,” we received a similar gift of art that we refer to as “the naked cowboy,” which is a framed charcoal sketch of a man on horseback, mostly just the outline of both man and horse, but for some reason a part of the saddle– saddle horn?– is quite detailed, and vertical, and in a place that would indicate great excitement for the cowboy….

      • And I now feel way way better about ‘death of a boat’.

      • Bwahahaha!

        I got a very ugly, lumpy, hand-thrown Southwest style bowl. We opened it and just stared. What the heck were we supposed to do with that?!?

        I re-gifted it to my college frenemy. My husband and I dumped it on the gift table, snickered, and ran away.

      • Senior Attorney :

        HAHAHAHA! Love this!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      How about taking them out for a fancy dinner a month or so after the wedding to celebrate?

    • Professor Marvel :

      Someone just shared a wine idea that she does for weddings. She gives a nice bottle of prosecco to drink now and a bottle of red to age for 5 years. She includes a note that the sparkling wine is to celebrate the sparkling moment as their marriage begins. The red is to share after it has mellowed and matured, like their love will. They have something for now and a nice bottle of wine to age. Of course if they opt to drink it earlier no one will know. ;-D

  2. Our go-to gift is usually a nice crystal pitcher or vase for these types of situations. Simon Pearce makes some nice ones, but there’s more budget-friendly options out there. I feel like simple but high quality crystal always fits in and is usually well received.

    Or, how about a “date night” gift – gift certificate for a restaurant and/or concert to keep the love flowing?

    My husband and I golf, we’d totally dig getting his/her golf lessons as a gift. Or a credit to the country club for drinks/food. Or you could get a small gift card to the country club (for him) and a polo from the country club with “Mrs. Smith” embroidered under the logo… I’d love that, but it might be too campy for other people :)

    • Anonymous :

      No don’t do that. You don’t know she’s changing her name.

    • Wedding gift ideas :

      Yeah – it’s a cute idea but not sure about the name. Will look into the crystal though! And the gift cert idea.

      • I have been married for 16 years and I still have a rubbermaid tote full of crystal knicknacks (vases, bowls, trays, etc) and silver picture frames sitting under the stairs in my basement. I agree with Brunette Elle Woods that, even with a gift receipt, you’re giving a chore to your friends.
        Go with a bottle of wine or a nice card!!

        • You’re not the only one! I just found a tote in my basement – it has 4 crystal wine glasses from our wedding 12 years ago that I never returned (we got a full set of 12 from our registry, I think they wanted to get us a “nicer” set?) and a whole bunch of random vases and trays. Oops.

          Yes to the charity donation plus bottle of wine or champagne. Consumable and thoughtful.

    • I have used crystal bowls a lot, and even got one for my 25 year gift from my employer (it’s large and I use it for Mardi gras beads), but I actually donated the one that matched my wedding crystal because I never liked it. I’ve been thinking about giving away my wedding crystal goblets and flutes because I have bought others I like better and use more and they’re just taking up space in my china cabinet. The one wedding gift I’ve used more than anything was a polished pewter tray that I’ve used as a cake platter, etc. I’ve also heavily used my good stainless.

      Anybody want a set of Waterford Marquis goblets and flutes?

      • The pattern is Saxony: http://www.replacements.com/webquote/watsax.htm?rplSrc=GPLA&rplSubEvent=44252&productTargetID=97856323974&dvc=c&rplsku=764751&displayMode=modal&utm_source=GPLA&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=cpc&mkwid=sAXmfC0P7|pcrid||pkw||pmt||pdv|c&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIm5fXxIfm1AIVxY5-Ch1yAgHHEAQYASABEgIgSfD_BwE

        • Never too many shoes... :

          Those are lovely. I adore Waterford and have tons of it. I would take them off your hands but it would be so tough to ship them safely.

        • Those are the ones my mother in law handed down to me the last time we visited! Now we have four of each the wine and champagne glasses…and my husband doesn’t drink.

  3. Migraine/headaches and exercising? :

    I have followed the migraine discussion here and thought you could help me with ideas.

    I have suffered from migraines since I was a teenager, or that’s when I was diagnosed, I have tried too many preventatives to count and I take a triptan for a really bad migraine. I see my doctor and neurologist(s) regularly and I’m tired of constantly trying new preventative medications, so I’m taking a break from those right now.

    I need to exercise to keep the migraines at bay but I’m also easily triggered by exercise esp. when I am trying too hard or agitating muscles in my upper neck (I clench my jaw at night). I’ve become so fearful of triggering a migraine (because that usually happens when I try sth new) that I’m only walking/hiking. My upper body is so weak, yet strength training sometimes gives me migraines, even yoga has triggered a migraine before.

    Has anyone successfully dealt with a situation like mine? Any ideas?

    • Anonymous :

      Have you tried massage? I don’t have migraines now (I did as a teenager) but my sister’s main prevention is a weekly massage by a registered massage therapist. If she misses one or two sessions she will often get a flare up.

      • Yes, I have. The massage usually ends in a migraine. 15 years ago my neurologist at the time suggested that I take massages once a week until I stop getting migraines from them. l went for 8 weeks and couldn’t bear going back for more migraines after that. I felt like a loser for quitting!

        • Did you try a different therapist or used the same therapist each time? My sister didn’t see consistent relief until she found the right RMT. She drives half way across the city to get to him.

        • Being a long term migraine sufferer, since the age of about 7, I’ve tried everything. I found that regular massage helped – inhold temsion in my neck and shoulders and it took months of weekly appointments to get that to a manageable level. I have now been going for years and only have a massage about once very two months and that seems to work.

    • That sounds miserable, I’m so sorry. I’d suggest a session or two with a personal trainer who you can discuss your triggers with, and who will slowly work with you to increase your supper body strength.
      Personally, botox has been a godsend for me wrt my migraines but YMMV of course.

      • l tried Botox more than 10 years ago. l could try it again.

        l have been referred to several physical therapists for the migraines over the years. They usually show me upper body mobility exercises (some neck exercises make me nauseous) that I religiously follow for 3-6 months before giving up (the migraines are still there and now studies have shown what I’ve know for a long time: neck stiffness is a symptom of the migraines and isn’t a sign of tension headaches). l could find a new physical therapist and try that again.

    • I don’t get migraines, but I have somewhat similar neck/headache issues. I also struggle with finding exercise that doesn’t trigger it (for example, riding a bike is really bad because it makes me tense up my neck/shoulders), but you might want to try a rowing machine. Too much too fast starts to give me twinges in my lower back, but doesn’t seem to bother my neck. I’d also suggest seeing a physical therapist, but you’d have to get lucky to get one who would really help- my experience with anything a little “weird” like this has been hit and miss. Could be worth a shot, though.

      • And I just saw your comment about physical therapy- this has been my experience as well! But I had somewhat better luck with a PT that also did dry needling and trigger point release in addition to some exercises. I’m not sure the dry needling really helped (and it’s *really painful), but the manual stuff did seem to help.

        • How did you find the right physical therapist. I can’t seem to find someone with an understanding of migraines. When the exercises don’t work they seem to think I’m not actually doing them because the exercises totally work for everyone.

          • These days most offices have descriptions of each practitioner’s specialty on their website (e.g. sports injuries, headaches, women’s pelvic health). I often start with the state regulatory body for a profession, make a list of different practitioners in my area and then check out their websites to see if they have a specialty that is useful.

          • I just got lucky. And it definitely didn’t solve the problem, I’m still in pain all the time, just somewhat less! But I completely agree about the frustration when everything you try doesn’t help or makes it worse. I think medical practitioners are strongly biased in their thinking about success rates because the patients they don’t help just stop coming back. It doesn’t mean they’re healed, it means they gave up!

          • Honestly, your neurologist should have someone they work with. Otherwise, I would call or email local headache clinics at academic centers or even specific headache neurologists and ask who they recommend.

      • till try rowing! Thanks

        • S in Chicago :

          I would have thought rowing would be a trigger. I had a brain hemorrhage a number of years ago and that was the one exercise I was told to avoid going forward.

          • It has been a trigger before. But I’m also desperate. I could try it out for a minute and work up from there. My body is relatively healthy so l CAN row or lift weights etc. but maybe I’m doing too much? l don’t know.

    • Anonymous :

      I swear by regular acupuncture for keeping my migraines in check. It’s the most peaceful hour of my week, and I absolutely believe the acupuncture has minimized the number of migraines I get. I do still get them, but they’re not as severe and they’re generally tied to hormonal swings. Good luck! (As an aside, don’t you hate it when non-migraine sufferers tell you to take an Excedrin Migraine when you have a headache?! Serious pet peeve of mine.)

    • My Mom had problems similar to you. It was awful for her. Honestly….she didn’t exercise mostly because of this except for walking.

      Neck PT helped some. Especially the two tennis balls taped together underneath the head where the head and neck meet. Mouth guard helped some to help decrease the clenching tendencies. Must be well hydrated, eaten enough with all exercise.

      I would try to find another PT that specializes in migraines. Would also consider repeating Botox, or occipital injections if neck stuff seems to be a trigger, and acupuncture.

      I’m sorry it is so hard.

      It can be beneficial to switch doctors or get a second opinion if you have been working with the same doc for many years. I also agree that massage can sometimes be a useful thing, even if it doesn’t directly combat the migraine triggers. It will help well-being, depression/anxiety etc… which are tightly wound with migraine. As you know depression/anxiety worsens pain, and pain worsens mood, so it is an awful vicious cycle.

      • I’ve moved from tennis balls to massage balls with spikes. They get the blood flowing and maybe the pressure relaxes the fascia, l don’t know, but it feels good.

        The neurologist and my doctor push trying new preventative medications pretty aggressively, so I’ve started avoiding seeing them. After all, I’ve been trying out preventatives for the past 20 years without much luck. I’d rather try fixing this physical exercise problem that I hope will then help with the migraines than go back for more meds.

        You are right about mood, stress and pain. And sleep. They are closely linked and I’m trying to find a therapist specialized in pain management (I’m not sure if it’s called that?) but it’s a waiting list to get to see one here.

        • You have a lot of good thoughts.

          Some pain clinics have nice multidisciplinary/complimentary ideas that can be helpful. But often they just want to inject/do procedures/make money. I would ask your doc about occipital injections if you are getting relief from the tennis ball variants.

          A therapist specializing in pain is a great idea. That is gold.

          Sleep is so key….. My Mom would often get more migraines on the weekends, when her sleep schedule changed a little and/or she slept in a little. She had to be regimented about her sleep every day, always the same, to avoid triggering.

          I will be honest though….. You will likely not be able to fix the exercise problem without a preventative. There is some rational thinking by the docs. New pain meds are coming out all the time and studies are being done now on old medicines that they ddn’t even realize initially helped migraine. You also change over time, and sometimes a medicine that didn’t work before can help now. So don’t give up on preventatives. Make sure you give them a real trial of weeks to months, increasing the dose as needed, realizing that some side effects decrease as your body adjusts to the medication. If you decide to take a medicine for depression/anxiety, be sure to get input from your neurologist as to which ones can double as a migraine prophylactic.

          Good luck.

          • The last 2 preventatives were SSRIs. I was on ghe first one for 6 months and 7 months on ghe second one. I was miserable on them, snippy and kind of angry all the time. And not sleeping well. I’m so relieved to be back to my old self.

          • Anonymous :

            SSRI’s aren’t great for migraine + mood.

            SNRI’s…. maybe. Cymbalta, Effexor for example. Both are generic now and inexpensive.

            Nortriptyline, amitryptiline etc… are not great since they tend to make you sleepy and require higher doses for mood anyway. Can be helpful for pain, but often not without side effects. Still worth a try once.

            Sorry it is so rough… I hear you. Hang in there. I’d throw some mindfulness/meditation etc.. into the mix, if you aren’t doing it already.

          • The last two were Effexor and Cymbalta, I had forgotten they are SNRIs and not SSRIs. I used amitriptyline for years. It’s the only one that has helped somewhat (at first when starting up) and I keep going back to it.

    • I have migraines that are triggered by heat/exercise but that also had a food allergy component. Doing an allergy elimination diet was difficult, frustrating and took lots of planning, but eventually resulted in the best long-term reduction in migraine symptoms.
      I still get migraines if I get too hot exercising (sauna, hot tub etc too). Swimming is good, so long as I am not pushing too hard. The water keeps me from overheating but I have to be careful not to hold my breath. Swimming might help with neck mobility and upper body strength.
      I find that on the 2nd-4th days of migraine that massage, especially self-massage with a theracane of my neck and upper back, can relieve some of the secondary symptoms.

      • You sound like me! l’m currently wondering if I have a food allergy. I have red bumps on my neck, arms and stomach and l look 5 months pregnant. I’m only realizing now that it could be an allergy even though this is a regular occurrence for me.

        I had the skin allergy test done in winter but it didn’t reveal anything new.

        • I used to get terrible migraines 2-3 times a week. It seemed like everything I did triggered them: exercising, not exercising, heat, cold, you name it. It turned out that I have Celiac, and as soon as I went totally gluten free they went away – I get maybe 1-2 a year now, usually stress triggered.

          Migraines and lower back pain were my main symptoms, along with ‘I look pregnant’ bloating. A weird rash can also be a symptom.

          It might be worth going completely gluten free for a month to see if it helps.

    • No Problem :

      Totally spitballing here because I don’t get migraines, but wondering if you’ve done any water exercises? Full on swimming might be too much, but you can swim slowly with a kickboard and use only one arm at a time (kinda hard to describe, but a swimming instructor could show you how). Or just using the water as resistance to increase upper body strength – wouldn’t have to be full-on water aerobics, but maybe something less structured?

      Have you spent any time in Jacuzzis/Korean spa type places? Might be more gentle than massage but still increase circulation.

    • Have you tried acupuncture?

    • Do you have blood pressure issues that are causing headaches/triggering migraines? I think it’s time for you to change doctors. I wonder if preemptively taking an nSAID can stave off migraines during exercise, kind of like exercise-induced asthma. When I know I’m going to engage in something that will trigger migraines (too much sun, lack of sleep, being in a car for over an hour, etc), I preemptively take an nSAID and I won’t get a migraine for the most part.

      • I’m at risk for rebound headaches because the past six months have been unusually bad. I’ve needed to medicate with triptans so that I’m functional at work and have been pretty close to overusing. I’m considering finding another job but the job market in my field is awful right now.

        But I have tried medicating before the pain cones. When I was a teenager I would take an ibuprofen or triptan before going out with friends. Just so I could stay up late and drink. The peer pressure was so bad. I also tried a low dose triptan daily during my periods. Nothing has ever worked for preventing period migraines and I’m told those are the trickiest to treat, but I’m cautiously hopeful that the remaining migraines could go away.

      • I tried 2 types of blood pressure meds but had to stop because my blood pressure is quite low. But propanolol did somewhat work for me initially.

    • riboflavin deficiency (you have to take it for 2 months to see impact) or magnesium deficiency can cause migraines according to my doctor

      • I could try those. I haven’t been consistent enough with taking high enough doses of magnesium, riboflavin or q10 to see results, I think.

    • Acupuncture. I did it for years and I need to start doing it again. About half my migraines are triggered by hormones; the other half are triggered by TMJ. Acupuncture really helped with the TMJ migraines (and the TMJ itself); cut the frequency in half, easy. Because your migraines are so tied-in to musculoskeletal issues, I’d give it a try.

      I have migraines and have also been following the excellent discussions that have been going on (I never would have connected tight bra straps and ponytails to my migraines, but I’ve made some changes recently and I totally get it now). I wanted to recommend Nodolor, aka Midrin, for people who don’t tolerate triptans well (I can’t take them at all). It went off the market for awhile but was brought back. It’s one of the only medications that’s consistently worked for me. Downside, it’s very expensive now (it kills me that something that was a $6 generic for years is now $180 for 30 pills!) but for me, it’s worth it. I only take them when absolutely necessary, so a 30-pill supply lasts me six months or more. It’s worth it to be able to function when I have a migraine on a day where I absolutely have to get out in the world and function.

      The other thing that’s really helped me is taking 300mg of COQ10 daily. There’s a clinical trial to back up the use of COQ10 for migraine prevention. I have fewer migraines and the ones I have aren’t as painful, and they’re shorter.

      • Patricia Gardiner :

        +1 for acupuncture and CoEq. There is also a new device called a Cephaly – I haven’t tried it but have a friend who swears it changed her life. Some doctors’ offices might let you try one out before you invest in it.

    • Swimming might be a good exercise option.

      I have a friend who swears by rolfing (for her migraines and for other issues), which is a sort of massage/PT-type thing that focuses on realigning fascia that are tightened or moved around in ways they aren’t supposed to be. If your problem is not muscle tension but fascia tension then this might be the way to go. She recommended looking very carefully for a practitioner so you get someone who is highly recommended and experienced in dealing with migraines. But it took her migraine frequency way, way down, and simultaneously improved her posture and sleep.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Y’all have already provided most of my go-tos, but your migraines sound very similar to mine.

      Things that have worked:

      1) I now take a lot of chelated magnesium daily, and it has definitely reduced frequency, more than any of the preventative scrips I’ve tried. I hear the specific type of magnesium matters. This is working as a preventative and I’m not asking too many questions.

      2) I see a PT who specializes in dry needling trigger point therapy for migraines. IT CHANGED THE GAME. I still go back periodically when I can tell that the tension in the little muscles on the back of my scalp is starting to rise and not release. I will warn you that yes, it’s painful (but also a relief– imagine releasing a muscle that’s been taut for decades), and for some people, the sudden muscle release can trigger floods of emotion. There are a few times when I’ve just lay on the table and cried for a few minutes. Not because I’m upset, just because of the muscle relaxing suddenly. I highly, highly recommend the book and philosophy “The Body keeps the score.”

    • I also get migraines from over-exertion so I mostly walk for exercise. For me it’s really important to stay hydrated and wear sunglasses when I’m outside. I’ve taken weightlifting classes at the Y and not had migraines, but I took it easy so I wouldn’t get sore muscles (which leads to a migraine for me).

      I’m making my way through the book Heal Your Headache, which was recommended by someone here, and so far I’ve found that it has good information about staying under your migraine threshold.

      • Hey, I ordered that book too!

        Walking/hiking is the safest option for me. Sometimes I’ll hike for hours after the feel good hormones kick in.

        I’ve noticed that drinking more water than I think I need is necessary. And regular meals too. It’s as if I don’t have proper thirst or hunger signals and if I don’t look at the clock, the only signal I get is a headache. I wonder if teenage anorexia messed with that.

    • I might try dance style classes? Les Mills (Golds Gym) has a class Body Jam. Also Zumba and belly dancing. Maybe these will keep you loose and from tensing upper body and neck?

    • Smoky McP :

      I don’t mean to sound flippant, and I don’t know if you live in a state where this is possible. But medical marijuana has been a game changer for my migraines. Like, family members have been rendered speechless at its ability to stop a migraine in its tracks. And for me at least, since I’ve become a regular user, I almost never get them anymore (knock on wood).

      • It’s not available here legally. And I’ve never had the opportunity to try the kinds that are meant for pain. Which one works for you?

  4. 4th of July. What would you make for a beach picnic/BBQ?

    • strawberries + blueberries, and some homemade whipped cream or vanilla greek yogurt.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        On a rectangular platter like an American flag. Looks Pinterest-y but is almost impossible to screw up.

    • Raspberries and blueberries on skewers with chunks of angel food cake.

    • – Zucchini bread
      – Cold/room temp corn and red onion “salad” with apple cider vinegar dressing
      – Fruit kabobs
      – caprese kabobs

    • Fiesta bean salad. Colorful. Keeps well. I like the skinnytaste recipe.

    • I always do pasta salad for 4th of July. Lots of great recipes on Allrecipes. Devilled eggs are my other go-to if coolers/refrig are not an issue.

      • Any ideas for desserts? I was thinking a trifle might be cute, but I don’t know how to make pudding and I’m hesitant to use too many pre-made ingredients (cake, whipped cream,pudding) at the risk of it tasting artificial. I’m ok with moderate difficulty; bonus points for gluten free.

        • I like to do an icebox pie, which is alternating layers of cookies and pudding. I especially like this one: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-southern-lemon-icebox-pie-492592 because you can use graham crackers or ginger snaps and it’s easily adaptable for gluten free. I also whip my own heavy cream because I’m not a huge fan of cool whip. If you decide to whip your own, I’d mix the filling ingredients minus whipped cream, then fold it in. You want to allow enough time for the pudding to soak into the cookies so you’ll want to make it the night before.

  5. This is sort of gross, but whatevs. My heel cracked and it’s so painful. I am putting lotion and neosporin on it, but does anyone have any tried and true fixes to make this heal faster? This happens to me once every few summers and it goes on for weeks.

    Help! Thanks.

    • Anonymous :

      Google aloe miracle heel stick. It really helps me.

      Also sleep in socks with lotion on every night, and stop wearing sandals- switch to sneakers with socks.

      Keep an eye for any signs of infection and if you spot them (redness, throbbing pain, pus) go to the doctor asap.

    • Yes! this happens to me in the winter. Not gross, it happens :) Use a rasp to get off whatever dead skin you can. Then put lotion / socks on overnight. The next day, wash off. Put liquid bandage on the crack. You will have to do several applications to build up a nice layer. Dermabond works too, but liquid bandage is cheaper and (for me) works better.

    • Anonymous :

      Gold Bond rough and bumpy or anything with a chemical exfoliant in it, like AmLactin, should help.

    • Anonymous :

      I soak in Epsom salt, use a pumice stone to gently scrub off dead skin, then I use Flexitol heel balm (can get at the drug store) and follow up with Aquaphor. Then I sleep with socks on. In the morning, I put Neosporin and a bandaid and then do the same routine after work/before bed for a few days. This usually heals it up. Going forward I make sure to use the pumice stone and aquaphor or other thick moisturizer at least every couple of days to prevent it.

    • Anony Mouse :

      My husband gets cracked and painful heels from time to time, and he finds Badger brand Foot Balm helps a lot.

    • I literally bought something called “foot callous remover” off of Amazon and it’s amazing for anything like this as well. It’s a little green bottle.

      • For me, Burts Bees coconut foot cream is a godsend for calluses and cracked skin. After buffing off whatever dead skin I can, I’ll slather this on (it’s mostly vegetable glycerin) and sleep in a pair of cotton socks. It’s an overnight miracle.

    • People are suggesting good things to deal with the crack itself. For the lotion you use, get one with urea.

    • After it heals, for me, lotion + socks overnight isn’t enough. I use a salt scrub, then aquaphor, then socks and sleep overnight. I’ve never found a lotion that works as well as aquaphor.

    • Baconpancakes :

      There are lotions specifically for cracked heels with urea as mentioned by anon above – this is what you want. They’re kinda greasy and smell a little gross, but they work beautifully. They’re often marketed to diabetics. I use Flexitol and it’s truly a miracle product for cracked heels. Put it on at night, slip on cotton socks so your sheets don’t get gross and the lotion absorbs better, and shower in the morning, using regular lotion after your shower. The heels will start to feel better in 2 days. I swear.

    • My heel cracked after spending a month in a desert (dry air, heat, dust will trump any moisturizing lotion). Keep it clean (ideally using cleanser with antibacterial agent without SLS), then apply a thick layer of Dr Scholl Cracked Heel Cream, put your feet in a plastic bag and pull on socks. For obv reasons, this is mostly suitable for night or during home office. My heels got healed after 3 days. I applied the cream in the morning as well.
      I did not dare to use any foot file or take a bath – simply to prevent infection and irritation.

    • Wash off your heel with antibacterial wash.
      Slap a blister band-aid (the weird rubbery ones that look like skin) on your heel, over the crack, and don’t take it off until it falls off. Your skin must be totally clean and dry when you put the band-aid on. This will help the crack heal, and also keep it from getting infected. Not to scare you, but a friend got a staph infection in a crack on her foot some years ago; it happens more than people think. The doctor who treated her told her about the blister-bandaid trick.

      I have a tendency towards cracked heels. Keeping the skin on your heels from getting too thick with regular pumice/foot file use is the only way I know to prevent them, along with moisturizing regularly.

  6. Cashmere cardigan pilling after one wear? :

    I bought cashmere cardigans from Pure and now I’m debating weather to return or keep them. I wore one cardigan once out for dinner and a walk around town afterwards and the cardigan is pilling badly, it looks as if it’s years old and l’d be throwing it out if it weren’t so expensive. Customer service told me to wash it with their detergent and then comb with their cashmere comb and that cashmere does pill at first but then the pilling will subside.

    Has anyone tried that? Is it true that all cashmere pills at first and then stops pilling? Do I try washing and combing or just ship them back and lose about 50 dollars in shipping charges?

    • Most cashmere pills to some extent, but cheap cashmere that is not high twist will pill after one wear like this, and, in my experience, will continue to pill, such that it never looks chic–it always looks ratty. Even if you comb it. I call cashmere like this “disposable” cashmere, because it ends up being my lounge-around-the-house cashmere after one season, and that’s crazy, considering Pure’s prices.

      Send it back. That’s a shame. Sorry.

      I have really fancy cashmere from Brooks Brothers from ~15-20 years ago, and a lot of cashmere from Brora (very pricy UK brand) and it NEVER EVER pills. So I disagree that “all cashmere pills.”

      • If you were going to get just one Brora item, what would it be? I feel like it’s time to upgrade some of my tired items, but one a year maybe at their prices.

        • I actually buy a lot of accessories from them–usually one scarf a year. Their sizing runs pretty small–they have US sizing. Their cardigans are absolutely lovely and that’s what I would get from them–in a special color. (That’s what I have from years ago that I still wear.)

          If you are buying one piece from them, I would wait until Winter, as their summer line is summerweight cashmere and not as sturdy.

          They are on the Euro sale cycle, so great sales in July and post-Christmas/January.

      • l would rather have on that doesn’t pill than 3 that are useless. What is Brora’s sizing like? Pure’s UK14 was ok for me. I’m short-torsoed so I need to pick one of the shorter cardigans.

    • I never found the quality from Pure to be quite what I feel like it ought to be.

      And I have a Nordstrom-brand cashmere sweater that is over ten years old with minimal/no pilling after a lot of wear.

  7. Clementine :

    Anybody in the mood to shop for me? I’ve had that moment where I’ve suddenly realized that I am down to three work-appropriate summer tops, one of which I don’t actually like (was gifted, couldn’t return it) and one of which is a plain scoop neck black shirt.

    I do like to wear ankle pants or skirts on occasion and am looking to get a couple of tops that are work appropriate to wear with those. I have a lot of black and navy bottoms, so I’m looking for tops that would go with black or navy.

    I’m tall and have a defined hourglass figure, size 8/M in most places. My go-to for this used to be the Limited (RIP) but I’m struggling to find a shirt that’s not off the shoulder or weirdly voluminous or makes me look like a blob.

    • The one that got away :

      Fabric content? Sleeve length? Budget?

      • Clementine :

        game for any fabric type, any sleeve length as long as it’s summer appropriate and not balloon sleeved, budget is probably in the $60 and under range?

        I feel like this shouldn’t be as hard as it seems to be.

    • There’s lots of stores similar to the Limited – Loft, Banana, Express, White House Black Market, J Crew, etc. You might need to size down. Vanity sizing is real.

      • Clementine :

        Okay, so I find that the Loft tops are often too casual or too short. Banana right now is a little funky with all the blousy cotton stuff that I can’t wear to work, Express and WHBM can be good but also very clubby/’I was clubby 20 years ago and haven’t grown out of it’, and of course J Crew’s quality bingo and sizing hilarity.

        And yeah, sizing is funny to me. I’m 5’8 and 158 pounds – I am not and should not be a size 4. I’m cool if you give me a size 10 because that makes sense as to where I am in the realm of women’s sizes. I genuinely feel bad for petite women with smaller builds- If I am 9 inches taller than you and 60 pounds more and wearing a size 4, what the heck size is available to meet your needs. Okay, random rant over.

        • This! I’m 5’4″ and 115 lb and generally wear 00 or XXS or whatever the smallest option is. I frequently wonder what women smaller than me are wearing! I even dip into youth sizes for unisex things like t-shirts.

          • Yes! I know that I am on the smaller side, but I know lots of women who are smaller than me. When I am XS, XXS, 0, 00, then what are these women wearing?!

          • Anonymous :

            I was this height and weight and in athletic shape in 1997 and consistently wore size 6 and 8. I even acted as a fit model for fashion design students. Size 0 did not exist back then.

          • Your so lucky. I am 5’4″ but weigh 119, and I have a tuchus, so I have to wear size 2, or size 0 if I am luckey. FOOEY!

        • See, and I’m exactly that size, too, and there is no way in heck I could fit into a vanity sized 4. I barely fit into a vanity sized 10. I think vanity sizing is definitely a thing, but I wonder if it’s more of a build thing. I have wider hips and large thighs, especially in relation to my top half, and yet I’m pretty consistent in size across brands.

    • following for replies… I could have written this word for word. Had ok luck with Boden Ravello and Pleione at Nordstrom, but I don’t love either

      • Clementine :

        Is the Ravello boxy? And I’ve tried on a pleione top and it honestly made me look like I was hiding a pregnancy (I actually was at the time so maybe that was part of it…)

        • I found it very boxy yes.

        • I didn’t find it to be boxy – the v-neck Ravello is very flattering. I like the Martha (small/appropriate dip in the back) for pants/skirts, and the Riveria for ankle pants. Actually, Boden has a number of printed and solid color tops that look like they would fit the bill!

      • You’ll need to dig a bit, but Banana actually has a few decent tops. Also, oddly perhaps, Banana Republic Factory – they are online and seem to have a lot of two-shouldered, normal sleeved tops. I think their quality is comparable to regular Banana, honestly.

        Boden is nice, and good quality. Ann Taylor seems to be having sales all the time now, and again, you need to dig a bit, but I think they have good tops. Also Macy’s.

        I think the secret is you need to dig a little, and also be cool with ordering the same top in a bunch of different sizes to see what fits. I normally order things in whatever I think my size is and in regular and petite, if offered. Sure, that sometimes means I’m ordering the same item in 4 different sizes, but at least I find the one that fits me best.

    • Look at the Calvin Klein tops at Macy’s, and Ann Taylor.

    • I like Joie silk blouses and White Co silk blouses.

    • I’m 10lbs heavier but also tall and hourglassy. I love the Cuyana silk tees.

    • So the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale catalogue doesn’t look promising, but it never shows everything and they usually have a few good work shirts from Classiques, Halogen, Pleione. Early Access is coming up – I’d at least look.

  8. blush is on sale because it’s actually tan/nude. i ordered it and returned it. but kept the olive color

    • Anonymous :

      UGH. I ordered the blush but do not want tan/nude! Do better Target.

      • ?????

        • Anon at 9:53 :

          I ordered it because it says the color is blush and looks like blush. The poster above said it’s actually tan/nude. Tan/nude does not equal blush. Do better with your color descriptions/color assignments Target.

          Does that help?

          • Ah….. Didn’t realize you were talking about the clothes!

            Thought this was a post about buying ?blush/make-up….

          • HAHA Gotcha. Yea, we were both talking about the top featured in the post :)

            But I wouldn’t want tan/nude blush either, that would be bronzer!!

            Is this week over yet?

  9. Travel Purse Recommendation :

    I recently used this bag for a week in Paris and a week in D.C. It was great. Super lightweight and it has lots of internal pockets for organization. It is also large enough to fit souvenirs, but it never felt bulky. It’s obviously not a designer bag or anything but the black nylon didn’t scream tourist and I felt comfortable using it everywhere except the fanciest restaurants we went to in Paris.

    https://www.amazon.com/Travelon-Convertible-Hobo-RFID-Protection/dp/B00TQ6L9CC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498830395&sr=8-1&keywords=travelon%2Bhobo&th=1

    • What the benefit of using a travel purse instead of a regular purse?

      • Travel purses can help keep things safe while your walking around, especially in places known for pickpockets. They have lots of pockets to stash things like your passport and have RFID slots for your credit cards. Travelon has other purses that have locking zippers to keep your stuff extra safe.

      • Not the OP but I use a leather purse at home and a nylon purse when travelling. It’s not as polished but it’s a lot lighter which I value when I’m on my feet more.

        • Eager Beaver :

          Exactly. I carry a variety of leather bags at home, but even my Madewell Transport Crossbody (which I use for concerts, etc.) starts to feel heavy after a few hours. I also really like that nylon doesn’t have to be babied. Plus, I like a bag with a zip-top for traveling. I can just throw it on the conveyor belt at airport security or stuff it in my luggage if I need to.

        • +1. I also usually switch to cross-body when traveling. I don’t buy dedicated “travel purses”, but I definitely have purses at home that I only use for travel because they are cross-body, smaller, usually lighter than my normal everyday handbags (and also a lot less showier).

      • In addition to things others have pointed out, I’ve also taken a (relatively plain, medium sized, cross body) leather bag with me as my only purse on a trip and then decided at the last minute to do something that involved water and spent a lot of time worrying about ruining the bag. Carrying one you can’t ruin is a plus.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Nice, thanks for the recommendation!

    • I second your recommendation! I have a very similar travelon bag and have used it for multiple European trips. I agree that it’s a great size when you’re out and about all day long. I can fit a water bottle, travel book, passport, and camera easily without it feeling too big and bulky. It also has some nice safety features for when you’re in a big crowd (like the RFID protection and mine has compartments that can be locked).

      This is the one I have: https://www.amazon.com/Travelon-Anti-Theft-Signature-Compartment-Crossbody/dp/B00ICD5Y3A/ref=pd_sim_309_3?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00ICD5Y3A&pd_rd_r=BRRCR7P4TX15VJBN8Y90&pd_rd_w=cFyzW&pd_rd_wg=lwP6i&psc=1&refRID=BRRCR7P4TX15VJBN8Y90

    • Too funny, I very recently bought the same bag for an international vacation. I wanted something lightweight but sturdy, large enough to fit my fancy camera plus regular purse stuff, and water resistant b/c I was headed to some rainy areas. It’s not super fashionable of course but worked great, and I liked the option to switch from shoulder bag to cross body.

  10. Midwestern Constituent :

    Paging Jules (and anyone else looking for a good deal): Banana Republic has a coupon code to get 40% off a regular-priced item. If you’re still wanting to get the cardigan I posted about earlier this week, you can get it for less than $50.

    • Oh, that’s great. I’ve been holding off, waiting for a July 4 sale. Thanks!

    • HerNamesNotCrindyGOB :

      Can you post the cardigan again? I’ve been perusing BR for two days now waffling over cardigans. Also, I haven’t purchased new BR in YEARS. Is the sizing similar to Gap? I know what size I am in not-ten-years-old Gap. Thx!

      • This is the one I liked – just ordered two colors. I don’t know about the sizing, though IMO experience as someone large of chest BR tops run a bit small.

        http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?vid=1&pid=781752052

    • Legally Brunette :

      So I went into the store yesterday after work per your recommendation and I didn’t like this cardigan at all. It looks so awesome in the pictures, but even the smallest size on me had too much fabric in the area where the cardigan is supposed to lay flat — it sort of just hung on me, versus laying flat on my top if that makes sense. This is the same issue that I had with my shorter MM LaFleur jardigan, fyi. If you like the jardigan I could see how you would like this Banana version as well (which is much cheaper).

  11. Paging PCA skin :

    I just wanted to say thanks a million to whomever recommended PCA skin weightless protection face sunscreen (SPF 45) a few weeks ago. I’ve been using it for two weeks now and I absolutely love it. It goes on white, but dries clear and doesn’t interfere with: Tarte gel foundation, Smashbox bb cream, or the other tinted moisturizer I wear. I have tried just about every high spf face sunscreen out there without success, so I’m really happy you led me to this one!

    • Hooray!!!! I was in your shoes until my mom bought some of it for me – I thought I had tried everything. I’m so so glad it works for you!

    • I tried it, but it still lets enough UVA rays through for my face to get brown spots :( I’m still searching for the holy grail SPF 50 mineral based sunscreen.

  12. HELP! I’m barely seven weeks pregnant and already showing SO MUCH (I don’t think it’s just bloat – I don’t feel bloated and the ‘bump’ is around 24/7, not just after heavy meals or in the evening). I know other people aren’t scrutinizing my body as much as I am, but I feel like it’s so so so so obvious that I’m pregnant. And none of my pants fit! I’m mortified to buy maternity pants so early but I’m really running out of options. Do those belly band things work? Don’t you have to have really long shirts to cover the band? I feel like most of my shirts end right at the top of my pants so they wouldn’t work with the band thing, right? Any other brilliant ideas? And can anyone reassure me this is normal? I feel so lied to by everyone who said women never show until 12 weeks with a first pregnancy.

    • Everyone’s body is different. What is so mortifying about showing? Buy the maternity clothing now if it fits you best.

      • She probably doesn’t want to show because she doesn’t want to disclose that she is pregnant at work yet. It’s common to wait until 12 weeks to disclose.

    • Buy the maternity pants.

      • +1 maternity pants are amazing and can look just as good as regular pants. so so so comfortable.

      • The problem is if she doesn’t have THAT much of a bump yet, the maternity pants might slip. Try on a pair in-store if you can find it; if it works, great, if not, try the belly band (it worked for me from about 11 wks – 15 wks) or buy a pair of pants a size or two up to bridge the gap.

    • Deep breaths. It likely is bloat and it’s very possible you’ll get back to normal before your actual baby bump comes in. The belly bands work great for this time although maybe they won’t for you if your shirts are so short. Of course if that’s the case, the band part of any maternity pants you buy might also show.

      Congratulations!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Nothing mortifying! It’s your body doing an amazing (and bizarre and unpredictable!) thing. One way to think about it: you’re going to buy maternity pants at some point, why not get them now and get a ton of wear out of them?

    • I started showing (not bloat) very early as well – my OB said it had to do with how short waisted I was – there just wasn’t a lot of room for any expansion to not show. I used the belly band to bridge the gap before I was ready for maternity pants – on me it just looked like I had a black tank layered underneath my tops and when worn with black pants I don’t even think anyone noticed. I did that and wore a lot of looser style dresses (most of which were a-line/shift/empire waisted anyways). Being short-waisted, most of my shirts are longer (not by choice). I found looser shirts with the belly band did the trick. After I got tired of the belly band, I switched to maternity pants that had a demi panel or side inset panels – wouldn’t wear those now (33 weeks) because I much prefer the full panel, but that was the next step in my progression. Once the demi panel started getting uncomfortable I switched to two pairs (one black and one grey) of the Old Navy Full Panel Every Day Bootcut Khakis and two pairs of maternity jeans (one gap, one old navy). I mix dresses in the rest of the week and one pair of gap maternity shorts in on weekends. I have a pre-maternity maxi skirt that can sit under the bump I wear from time to time too.

    • Maybe the best option is to buy a size larger in pants or switch to skirts or dresses that can be more forgiving even if in your usual size. Chances are that you will need some clothes bigger than your usual size after giving birth as well.

    • The first trimester bloat is real. I agree with others that it will go down before a real baby bump appears. I didn’t ‘pop’ with my pregnancy until 23-24 weeks but was wearing maternity pants much earlier than that.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      go ahead and get pants in a bigger size and maternity pants. You will be much more comfortable. Please don’t beat yourself up about it.

    • +1 I’m at the same point, both in weeks and in clothing struggles. I bought a pair of stretchier jeans two sizes up from my pre-preg size that seem to be working. I broke down and started ordering maternity pants from ThredUp today.

    • Give into the maternity pants. They’re so amazing. Get over the stigma (I had it too) and just do it – you will be so thankful. I wish I had just given in earlier!

    • Relent to maternity clothes now. Go ahead and get some nice ones. I resisted by first pregnancy, and regretted it. I’m on my second, and busted out almost immediately at 5 weeks from bloat. Stayed the same size for about 4 more months, and now I’m at the end and maternity clothes barely fit this time!

      The belly band works and it’s not bad. It will show though, and will look like you added a layer like a tank top under your shirt. If you get some maternity pants now, I promise you’ll be more comfortable, they feel like pajamas. I could never find good quality maternity pants, so my best advice is to just switch to dresses. Good luck!

    • I started showing around that time too and gave up and bought maternity pants. Colleagues, friends and mostly everyone commented they could see my “pregnancy glow” so there was no hiding. I’m also short waisted and remember being so hungry I could cry all day every day, so yeah, there was a tummy.

    • I am going to ask what may be a stupid question, but why are people opposed to maternity pants when they seem to be useful and comfortable? Is it cost? I’m not a mom or pregnant FWIW – I don’t get it.

      • I mentioned this below, but I don’t find them all that comfortable. The extra panel of fabric is hot in the spring and summer (and can be kind of constricting around your middle after meals), and maternity jeans especially tend to sag more because there is no defined waist. (Maternity shorts I love, however, since they don’t have as much weighty fabric to sag them down.) I am on preg #2 and I stay in my regular pants as long as possible, then rely heavily on black jeggings and dresses.

      • Anonymous :

        They make it more obvious you’re pregnant. If you size up in regular jeans you’re more likely to just look chubby. Many women don’t want to announce at work until 12 weeks so looking chubby is preferable to looking pregnant.
        I also felt like it was jinxing the pregnancy to buy maternity clothes before I was out of the first trimester. I’m weirdly superstitious though.

    • Depending on what size you were pre-preg, you may just want to size up in regular clothes. If you have a smallish frame, maternity clothes before you have a big bump can look really frumpy and disheveled (at least on me). I just switched into “real” maternity clothes at end of second tri with #2; before that I sized up in normal clothes and it worked perfectly (and more cost-effective; the premium pricing for mat clothes is real). Plus, maternity pants can really sag if you don’t have enough of a tummy/booty yet to keep them up.

    • I had major bloat early on and started with maternity pants and belly band at 6 or 7 weeks (with my first pregnancy). Buy the maternity clothes, you won’t regret it. They didn’t fall down and they still fit me at 27 weeks (I haven’t gained much in butt/hips/thighs yet).

    • I’m also 7 weeks along with my first. I have had bloat for weeks and it stays around the whole time. I was/am very self conscious about it but it looks like I just had a big lunch (just all the time) but my office is mainly men, and they will certainly not say anything about my appearance.

  13. Favorite subscription services? Thinking of trying Trunk club. Already tried stitch fix and Bungalow.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I have a flower CSA and a local gelato subscription, and I got my SO a MeUndies subscription. Can’t help you on the clothes boxes, though. ;D

    • I just signed up for Rachel Zoe’s Box of Style because I love every single item in the summer box.

  14. Anon for This :

    Just a vent… I’ve been waiting to hear back from a recruiter about a job I would be perfect for… she said they were doing interviews this week but I followed up with her and she said they were still reviewing resumes. I sent her my transcripts upon request on Tuesday and now I’m just waiting… so much anxiety tied up in this…

    I’m so unhappy in my current job – it’s so hard to manage my expectations when there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      I’m sorry you are so unhappy in your current job. I’ve been there!! I know it’s tough but it’s the Friday before a holiday. Nothing is going to happen today so please try to stop torturing yourself. When I was job searching I would send out one application and then just move on to the next. Until you get a firm job offer, keep searching! Focus on the next job application! Good luck!

      • This. I know it really $ucks to be waiting to hear back, but set your expectations that you won’t hear anything until at least July 5th because people are checked out or already gone for the holiday weekend & a lot of people are off on Monday & Tuesday.

      • Anony Mouse :

        +1 Sorry to hear you’re in this situation. It’s super frustrating. I know–I’m there myself. Hang in there!

    • That’s rough. I’m sorry you’re not happy where you’re at. Keep looking though! Know that recruiters can be flaky. I have not had good luck with them. Sometimes a position doesn’t pan out, and they’re too ticked or embarrassed about it to let the candidates know. Other times they’re sourcing info for benchmarking. YMMV though.

    • Anon for This :

      You’re all right and I know I just need to be patient – I’ve already waited a week and a half and it just seems interminable. I’m trying to remind myself law firms are terribly slow in this process but the long weekend just seems to be coming at the worst time!

      Thanks all

  15. Did the hide all/expand all replies option disappear for anyone else? I know I had it yesterday but it doesn’t seem to be here today.

  16. I volunteered for a local organization. The non-profit was looking at spending $25000 for the work I offered to do at no cost. In exchange, my contact agreed that he’d provide me a couple of items that are free to the organization, but difficult for the average person to get (value of about $2000 if that matters).

    I started the work a few months ago and my part in the project is now over. About a month ago my contact asked if he could come over one morning to bring me a gift. That particular date didn’t work and I let him know I had company. I’m assuming by “gift” he meant the items we had discussed. But there’s been no word of it since.

    With my part in this project over, other than occasional answering of staff questions,I’m looking for the best way to say that I’d like to make arrangements to get the items we had discussed. Very little of my contact has been in person, so bringing it up in conversation isn’t an option. It will need to be an email. Somehow, the wording isn’t coming to me. I’d like to keep it friendly as now that I have the structures for the project set up, this project would be simple for me to repeat next year and I’d gladly do it again for the same arrangement — assuming both ends of the arrangement are kept. Any suggestions for wording?

    • “Hi Contact,

      I hope you are well. Since we weren’t able to meet on XYZ date to exchange the [gift], I am reaching out to provide some dates and times I am available. [insert dates and times]. Please let me know what works best for you!

      Looking forward to seeing you.

      [OP]”

    • Hmm, now I’m curious about what this gift is, but assuming that the coordination about the date that didn’t work was done via email, I’d just reply to that old email chain saying “I just realized we were never able to coordinate, here are a few times that work on my end – which of these works best for you” or the like.

  17. I’m hesitant to share this under my usual username because I think more than one person knows who I am in real life, but I’m going to do it anyway: I got the “it’s time to start looking for other jobs” message from my (big) law firm in my review yesterday. I’d anticipated that this would be the message, so I had some time to prepare emotionally for that, and I’ve started taking steps in that direction, although I think it will be a while before I figure out what I want to do next. It could be another firm, but I’m not sold on the ide

    What I was not prepared for was for the review to be so much worse than previous ones. I’d understood for a while now that they didn’t think I was a superstar (which is why I didn’t expect a positive outcome from the meeting), but it hurts, and at least today it kind of makes me mad. (The criticism that really stings is that they don’t think I’m a good writer. Others in my professional life have not shared this view).

    Obviously I need a new job, and preferably as soon as I can get one. The firm has assured me that I don’t have a deadline by which I need to get out, and they will do anything they can to be helpful to me, so that’s probably a relief. But what I think I need right now is some emotional support. I know I’ve seen some posts like this before, but if you’ve been in this position and you have an ultimately happy story to share, I’d love to hear it.

    • Been there (at BigLaw Big City firm where my area was not one of the flagship ones and we never had enough work and I always had to volunteer to do doc review to help keep my hours from being too low; firm was not awful and I keep up with some nice people I met along the way).

      Tried like anything to go to govt job in my area (originally to get experience), no interviews / no rejection. So frustrating.

      Had been looking to leave for two years and I had the talk, so I’d already been trying to do informational interviews / lots of speaking / lots of lunches. I doubled down.

      Landed at a regional firm for a job I had to move for. Now am equity partner at a BigLaw firm in city in SEUS.

      It’s rough, but ultimately, you will get through this. The review when they sack you is bad b/c they know they are going to sack you and no one is holding back (people always do, sadly). Your writing is probably fine, but wasn’t what they wanted (so it’s like a restaurant, where the dish is fine but just not to my liking).

      Sorry this is happening — reach out to everyone you know and start going to lunch and treat your job search like a job.

    • Oh I’m so sorry to hear this is happening to you. I’ve watched a lot of friends go through it (I left biglaw to go in-house before it happened to me, which I’m sure it would have) and my theory is that law firms are like Santa Claus – they need you to believe in them. They need you to work hard, bill time, be dedicated and to believe that working there is the be-all/end-all. And for most people, Santa Claus just isn’t real. I think we need to reframe law firm time as akin to a medical residency (albeit better paid from what I understand). It’s the time where you learn how to practice, learn a specialty and then you go make your career unless you’re one of the tiny few for whom law firm life works. You’re going to be okay. Life is so so so much better after a law firm (again for most people, I know there’s some who really like it). For me, everything dramatically improved once I left – I’ve had far more professional satisfaction than I ever thought possible, I had time for a personal life and to take care of myself. There’s literally nothing that didn’t improve after the firm. You’ll get through this bump.

      • PS – I’ve also observed an extremely cruel tendency of law firms who need their senior associates to exit to make it about them and to all of a sudden invent a performance issue that was never there before, rather than address the reality of the law firm model. Try to let the criticism you’ve never received before roll off your back. They’re acting like people who do the “it’s not me, really it’s you” thing in a break up, which can be devastating if you take it personally.

        • Ditto this – and big sympathies, OP. I do think there’s an element of “let’s point out any areas where person is not a superstar when we deliver the ‘it’s not us it’s you'” message. Firms may self-servingly view it as trying to explain why the person is not in the super-duper-top-echelon-bestest-associate-EVER category of those who get to make partner, but at the time it definitely feels like they’re kicking you while you’re down.

          Take the weekend to mourn/indulge yourself/etc. and write off the bad review as a result of the bigger message. Then when you get back next week start thinking more seriously about your next steps. Good luck to you.

          And scarlett, I love the residency analogy — totally true.

        • This. This. This.

          I was a paralegal and saw this time and time again. The sun shone out of every senior associate’s arse until…all of a sudden, “HE WAS TERRIBLE.” Oh really? Then why did you tout him all over the place and give him complete autonomy. Nope. He didn’t go from awesome to terrible overnight. This is quite often manufactured BS.

        • +10000

    • I saw this happen at my biglaw, too, but the consensus was that the last review was particularly harsh because they needed to keep a paper trial of why you were let go. Don’t take it personally. I saw people get bad reviews that were great lawyers, colleagues, and people. Guess what – because I am in-house now and think they were treated unfairly but are great lawyers, I give them work (at their new firms) just to stick it to our old firm, ha! The only damaging thing about those reviews is what it does to your ego; don’t let it. If no one else has a problem with your writing, I’m sure you are pretty good at it. All you need to do is dust yourself off and remind yourself of that before your next interview because you will have them.

    • Been in your shoes exactly :

      I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I have been there, and I have an incredibly happy story to share so I hope it provides you some comfort.

      I was given the talk that I was underperforming and needed to leave my BigLaw job within 6 months. Like you, I knew that I wasn’t a superstar but I was stunned by the performance review I received. What made me really angry and sad is that the general unspoken rule at my firm is that if a partner plans to give you a bad review, he should set up a meeting with you or at least call you FIRST to explain why he was disappointed in your work, as opposed to being blindsided by the bad review (which I completely was). Because once it is on paper, it’s a part of your record and you can’t go back and change it. I was told that I was sloppy, that my writing needed work, and that I just didn’t get it. My ego was crushed.

      Within 2 months, I had two excellent offers from other BigLaw firms. As I was debating whether to take one or the other, a dream government job appeared on USA Jobs. I applied and got it (while 37 weeks pregnant!!), and I’m still here 3 years later. I have never been happier or more fulfilled professionally. And I’m frequently commended by my boss for my writing.

      I agree with another poster that the firm needs to leave a paper trail. During the intevening 6 months when I was looking for a job, I ended up having to take a few depositions and by all accounts I kicked *ss and the curmudgeon partner said as much in my review. But because I had already been told that I had to go, I was still given a “underperforming” score in the review. So I realized that it was just a crock and not worth my energy to feel bad about it.

      In retrospect, being told that I had to leave was the best thing that could have happened to me, because otherwise I would never have thought to apply for my current job. And because I love my job, I want to work hard and do as well as I can (unlike my BigLaw job, where I was just going through the motions). For me at least, when I don’t like what I’m doing, it’s impossible for me to thrive much less be a superstar. I’m a superstar now and it feels great.

      Best of luck, my friend. You will get through it and be stronger as a result.

      • Thank you! And thanks to the other posters for their perspective. It does make me feel better. Glad to hear that there is life (and often a happier life) after this.

    • Been in your shoes exactly :

      I wrote a long response that is stuck in moderation. Please check back later because I was in your shoes and have a very happy ending, so please don’t lose hope!! Hugs.

    • anon for this :

      Been there. I was also told that I did not have a deadline to leave, and the firm would do anything helpful. That was my team leader being nice. What he really should have said was, “The powers that are giving you 3 months.” Take the long weekend to mourn and then start hustling!

  18. Am I Pence? :

    I have one-on-one meetings with my male boss, in his office. We’re fairly freindly but never socialize outide of work.

    My question is about boundaries. At first, I sat in the chair across from him and left the office door wide open, which is what I was most comfortable with. Then IT took away his swiveling computer monitor so I have to slide the chair around to the side of the desk. Lately, for a variety of individual reasons (we were talking about finance policies, coworkers were discussing gory medical stuff outside his office) he’s been asking me to shut the door.

    I have no concerns about impropriety, just appearances. The “norm” in my office seems to vary widely, so I was hoping to get a broader perspective here. Am I overthinking the situation?

    • I understand why you are concerned, but I think you are probably overthinking it. I regularly sit in a chair next to and not across the desk from my boss because we are looking at something on his computer screen and sometimes I stand next to him sitting to point to things on the computer monitor, all with the door closed depending on what we are discussing.

      I honestly have never considered that this would create a bad appearance, but then again I have NEVER ever heard rumors or judgment of anything of that nature at this company in the 2.5 years I have been here, so YMMV based on workplace and gossip culture.

    • I often have one on one meetings in the office of male partners or male associates with the door closed. It is NBD.

      • +1

      • +1

        If the door is shut it’s cause the people in the room want it shut. The hallway is too loud; they’re on a conference call and don’t want to be rude by letting the phone noise pervade the entire office; they’re talking about a sensitive issue not for general consumption; etc. etc. There are lots of reasons for people to be in closed door meetings. Gender should not be an issue and never has been for me.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I regularly have meetings with male superiors with closed doors since the public is often in our office, but mostly we have at least one glass wall in our offices. I think you’re overthinking it, though.

    • If the door is closed when two people are in a private office on my floor, I assume they’re on/waiting for a call or they are saying unfavorable things about people in the office that they don’t want others to hear, to the extent I think about it at all. Not that any other funny business is going on.

      • Am I Pence? :

        Actually the “what are they talking about that’s so secret?” is also one of my concerns. But then I remind myself everyone I’d probably just pleased to have quiet…

    • Am I Pence? :

      Thanks, it’s helpful to hear. I spent about a decade or more in an environment that ran on gossip. I think I really have left that behind, thankfully, but it’s sometimes hard to adjust to having a better job.

      • I have been at my new job for about a year now, and left a place that was also very gossipy/full of back stabbing and closed door meetings for the purpose of complaining/conspiring/planting gossip.

        Now that I’m in a workplace with actual adults, we have closed door meetings for the reasons discussed above (conference call, sensitive matter that we don’t want visitors to hear, etc). One of the ladies on my floor shuts hers whenever the hallway gets loud because she likes a very quiet workspace.

        But it’s taken a long time for me to stop feeling dread whenever a door is closed, or to feel similarly weird when I am in a closed door meeting.

    • Lawyer in-house :

      This is entirely fine and happens in my office all the time. No one thinks twice about it.

    • I sat next to my male boss with the door shut often sort of huddled over the same documents. Never crossed my mind that this would be gossipped about.

      I think if there is general touching/smiling/flirting like behavior *outside* the office then what is done inside is scrutinized. As long as he isn’t standing over you with his hands on your shoulders, or one of you putting your hands on the other, I’d say you are fine.

  19. I have been practicing law for about seven years and am considering opening my own firm. I have some experience in private practice and in government. I am in a small- to mid-size city and feel fairly sure I could find enough work, plus I am not the only earner in the household and would not starve to death if I didn’t make as much as I hope. It appeals to me because I like the thought of being my own boss, making my own hours, etc., and I’m getting a little disillusioned with working for “the man.” I know this will involve a lot of business (i.e. not law), like opening an office, dealing with overhead, malpractice insurance, etc etc, but in addition to those considerations, are there other things I should be thinking about? Any advice for someone looking to hang a shingle?

    • I have worked in very small firms where the attorney is also the marketing dept., human resources, office manger, etc. I cannot put into words how much I would discourage anyone from doing this. IMO, it is simply not worth the headache. It really consumes your life and the stress is unbelievable. I know attorneys who were solo and went into a large firm after a few years and are much, much happier. All the attractive aspects of hanging your own shingle don’t come close to balancing out the negatives.

    • Look for a co-working space. Even my small city has one. One of the more successful local solo practitioners focused on flat rate packages for small business and other flat rate services. She advertises that she will come to you to meet but also has space available at a co-working space. I think the co-working space has copiers/printers etc available but I’m assuming she does her own secretarial stuff.

    • If you’d like to post an email address, I’ll respond. I successfully transitioned from a law firm to solo practice many years ago and it’s been great.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Just be very clear that you will be a business owner with all that it entails. My husband has had his own practice for years and the thing that drives him the craziest is dealing with employee issues (which you may not have at first if you are doing it completely on your own, but be prepared as your practice grows). And remember Rule 1: Don’t do involuntary pro bono! Get a good retainer and stay on top of billing and collections!

  20. Anon for this :

    A good friend of mine has recently developed this habit of lecturing people on their personal lives and giving unsolicited (bad) advice even though her own personal life as of late has been pretty messy. I know this is coming from an insecure place but I’m wondering if I should call her out on it or distance myself and let it blow over?

    • I didn’t know that recently could be a thing with these sorts. I thought it was like being left-handed — either you are or you aren’t.

      At any rate, if she is recently converted to something (paleo, religion, exercising), it will probably blow over. If not, I’d not try too hard to hide any sign of my daydreaming, multitasking, etc. Or change the subject and say “OK, enough lecture time.” If she persists, I’d work on spending time with other friends.

    • My guess is that she’s in lecture mode because of the mess–everything she thinks she should know or do/have known/have done is on her mind. It sounds like she needs to ease up on herself and others!

      I would keep away from the message that “you’re in no position to give advice” (that sounds hurtful to me).

      Advice is often scripted, and sometimes it’s a substitute for opening up and being more real with people. I would try to move conversations in that direction if I could.

    • Distance and let it blow over, if it’s relatively new behavior.

  21. Another thanks for a rec:

    Someone posted here last week about jersey tops from Kmart of all places. I’ve been looking to replace a couple of black matte jersey V-necks I’ve had for 10 years; these are a decent replacement and surprisingly nice. The fabric is a soft knit, the drape is very nice, the fit is flattering. (It runs a bit large – I’m a busty 14 on top and the large is slightly loose on me.) And just $10.

    I’m wearing the pale blue today, also got cobalt and black. When I went to pick up the link, I saw a new listing for additional colors and now might have to get a couple more. Links to follow.

    • http://www.kmart.com/jaclyn-smith-women-s-dolman-top/p-027VA96949312P?rrec=true

      http://www.kmart.com/jaclyn-smith-women-s-dolman-top/p-027VA93674512P

    • Links are in moderation, but it’s the Jaclyn Smith dolman top; there are two pages, with two sets of colors.

  22. A friend’s mom has been diagnosed with cancer and is having surgery next week before starting chemo. My friend is traveling home to be with her. Our group of girlfriends is planning on sending flowers; is this the way to go, or would something else (more practical) be better? I thought about a food delivery, but they’re across the country and I’m not sure the best way to go about that. Flowers, food, or something else? And any more ideas on how to be supportive are appreciated. This is a new one for me — not sure what balance to strike.

    • There might be diet restrictions for the patient before/after the surgery and during the chemo (compromised immune system) so non food would be safer

    • A friend of mine supported her mom through chemo two years ago and us girlfriends supported her, and currently I’m supporting a coworker. A chemo massage gift certificate for your friend’s mom, or one for her might be good. Your friend is going to be going through a lot emotionally and could use the help to decompress and this will help support her mom. Flowers are always a nice message to send too. Mostly your friend needs lots and lots of hugs.

    • is the surgery local to their home? because we had to travel with my mom so flowers, fruit baskets and the like didn’t really get enough time for appreciation if they were sent before. My sister and I lived on one of those fruit arrangements for like 3 days though that arrived just as we were getting home.

    • Senior Attorney :

      The son of one of my colleagues had serious surgery and we sent food to the hospital for the family members who were there hanging out. It was really appreciated. Maybe call the hospital and ask about good delivery places nearby?

    • I was your friend. My mother just finished surgery, six months of chemo and a second surgery (all successful and currently in remission!).

      Flowers are lovely, but we ended up with SO MANY FLOWERS. Depending on the hospital/level of surgery, flowers may not be allowed in the rooms. A lot of mom’s got sent to the house, which was helpful because eventually you have to leave the hospital and transporting all of that home is a pain.

      What was most helpful and appreciated: meals (her local friends teamed up to bring us food at the hospital and then again when we got home so that we didn’t have to cook). I imagine you could see if there is good delivery there and you could spring for dinner to be delivered one night (just text her so that she can respond when she has a quiet moment and you’re not waking up the patient). Particularly for your friend – the chemo patient may not be hungry but your friend still has to eat. Mom’s chemo destroyed her appetite and changed her tastebuds. I could imagine something like a varied snack pack (chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, candies, etc.) would be helpful because the chemo patient could try a bunch of things that she may or may not like. With the decreased appetite and healing from surgery a lot of doctors also really want the patient to focus on high protein food, so I could see something like a salami and cheese basket/board going over well.

      You might also consider a nice care basic – warm fuzzy socks, nice hand cream, lip balm, etc. The chemo really dried mom’s skin out and she was always cold. As the person staying with the patient in the hospital, that was good for me. If your friend likes to read or do crossword puzzles, maybe include a few new books or magazines or puzzle books. A lot of time is spent waiting around for tests and/or watching the patient sleep.

      For the patient, tumblers with straws were huge for us – it was hard to keep her hydrated and sipping out of a straw made her drink more, so we switched to a bunch of those plastic tumblers with straws.

      Additionally, depending on how well you know them, a cleaning service might be nice. Chemo sucks all the energy out of you, so might be nice to have someone come in and clean (or offer to spring for a few visits from an existing housekeeper).

  23. Salary negotiations :

    I’m going to be offered an internal position soon. I’m dreading the negotiation part and I’m trying to decide what’s the better move for me:
    a) to ask for higher salary (starting salary plus $5k), or
    b) to ask for the starting salary plus flex time. I’m actually OK with the lower salary if I can have some flexibility, but I’m not sure what’s reasonable to ask for. Work from home one day a week? Leave earlier in the day, but work again in the evening? With that kind of arrangement, I have some real concerns about getting taken advantage of and essentially working around the clock.

    • anon a mouse :

      This is a know-your-office thing, but I’ve always been advised to think of the pay for your work and how you do your work separately. The first question is what is your work worth? Is the internal position a promotion, more challenging, etc? The second question is how the company treats general flexibility. If there’s not a blanket policy, you could bring it up at the time of offer, or ask to have a discussion after 90 days in the role to revisit. But I wouldn’t look at flex time as compensation, if the work you are doing will be the exact same with it or without.

      • +1. Unless you’re actually decreasing the number of hours you’re available in the position (i.e. working 30 hours a week instead of 40), then the way in which you work those hours is not part of your compensation.

      • Salary negotiations :

        Ah, I’d never thought about it that way before, but you’re exactly right. Thank you!

  24. Salary Range :

    Does anyone have any sources for finding out the salary range for different job positions? I’m putting resumes for different fields — I have no idea what the normal salary ranges are there.

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