Suit of the Week: Gianni Bini

Gianni Bini Bela SuitFor busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

This navy and black suit reminds me of more expensive pieces from The Row and Smythe, but for a muuuch more affordable price. It’s definitely a “fun” suit for a casual day (rather than an interview suit), but I like it, and think both pieces would be nice as separates as well as a suit. The jacket (Gianni Bini Bela Jacket) was $139, now $83.40, and the pants (Gianni Bini Devon Pants) were $99, now $59.40.  It happens to be Cardholder Preview Day, so use your Dillard’s Card for an additional 30% discount on both pieces.

Gianni Bini Bela Jacket Gianni Bini Devon Pants

(L-5)

Comments

  1. anon in tejas :

    I do not like this… I can’t really get behind the middle stripe. I like colorblocking, but this is kinda the opposite.

    • It looks interesting in the full shot picture, open, but I don’t love it closed in the close up. For me, It would probably not work for the additional reason that I’d need to shorten the sleeves and then the effect would be spoiled (unless I did it from the top, which I wouldn’t do for a polyester suit). This could look cool on the right person though.

    • I can see Alicia Florrick in this, but not me.

  2. I posted the weekend before last about what to wear for an assessment centre for an internship. I just got back from it and I was dressed very similarly to most of the other female candidates. One was dressed quite ‘fashiony’ (I thought too much so) but pretty much all the others were in dress and blazer.

    And I think I may have got the internship!

  3. Anon for this :

    Interview TJ – I’m sure there have been discussions on this topic before, but I can’t find them.

    I just scheduled an interview for next week. It’s my first interview since law school. The firm is much smaller than my current one (biglaw). What sorts of questions should I be prepared to answer? What questions should I be asking? Do I need to be thinking/asking about partnership track (not sure I want that)? I’m a 4th year in NYC, if the class year/location affects any advice.

    • Yes, at year four, you want to be asking about partnership prospects, definitely. I would say especially so at a small firm, where there is likely to be more of an expectation that you’re in for the long term.

    • Need to Improve :

      You absolutely should ask if they give laterals full credit (in your case, 4 years) both for partnership track and salary purposes. (They may not have the same lockstep salary system as Biglaw, but presumably they have some kind of hierarchy for associates.) If you want to make partner, you should ask how associates are evaluated/what the firm looks for.

    • Be prepared to talk about what you’ve done and accomplished at your current firm. If it is smaller, they will probably expect you to be able to take on responsibility from the get-go, so spin from that angle. I’d assume they’d talk about partner track given your year, but I’m still junior so someone more senior here can better answer that.

      I’d have a unique question for every attorney ready — at the interview for my current firm, each of the 6 attorneys didn’t ask me any questions but rather lobbed it back to me to ask. I’m so glad I had unique questions for each of them, otherwise it would have looked bad when they compared notes later and realized I got the answer in the first slot and kept asking it!

    • Yay! You are like me (tho I never did work for Big Law). You should know, if you interview in small-law, that the work is the same. We ALL must do work, and the difference is here, YOU must do alot that you did NOT do before. You MUST do alot of typing–I do all of my own Pleeding’s and letters, and efficeintley through copying and pasteing from other document’s. The manageing partner think’s I am a wizard b/c he does NOT do any word processing and does NOT even know about copying and pasteing!

      That is why I am abel (and you should be abel ) to bill alot for cases even if all you do is change a coupel of name’s and date’s. How else can I get to 6600 hour’s this year? YAY!!!

      Rosa said that she is thinkeing of lookeing of buying a place with Ed in the Hamton’s!!!! If she doe’s that I have a place to stay and would NOT have to share with other girl’s who alway’s bring back guys to the house. I am so tired of walkeing in on them when they are haveing sex or just drinkeing with these guys so that they will have sex later with them! FOOEY! It is so boreing to see the same thing’s over and over, but worse b/c they want priveacy to do stuff (which I do NOT disagree with). It is just that if I am renteing a place, I do NOT want to have to sneak thru my own liveing room, or hear all of the huffeing and puffeing and moaneing and groaneing that goe’s on in the liveing room b/c we share a bedroom. FOOEY! Also, the guy’s make a mess, then just leave, and I wind up cleaning the living room and some time’s it is gross! DOUBEL FOOEY!

      So best of luck to the OP, and rembemer if you go to the Hamton’s, share onley with women who promise NOT to bring back guy’s for sex while you are tryeing to sleep. YAY!!!!

  4. I would love this suit so much more if it did not have tuxedo stripes on the pants.

    • I really like the jacket. Is that a dark strip at the top of the pants? Can’t tell.

      Also, for you ladies who don’t have Dillard’s, Gianni Bini is a Dillard’s house brand.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I love a tuxedo stripe pant, so this is right up my alley!

      Too bad I’m on a shopping diet. ;)

      • Me too! (On the love for tuxedo pants.) I’m wearing a pair right now!

  5. anon for this :

    I’m not loving it. The jacket looks like it’s been dipped in a giant vat of ink. Pity, because I do like the cut of the suit.

    Living-with-roommates TJ: I’m an only child who’ll be moving into a shared apartment for the first time in my life. Any tips on how to make things as stress-free and painless as possible? To make things even more fun: this will also be my first time living in the US (I’m from India, but pretty Westernized.) Any culture-specific stuff will be great.

    • Orangerie :

      Honestly, living with roommates will never be completely stress-free and painless, especially if you have certain standards for cleanliness and tidiness.

      That being said, I think the best way to avoid misunderstandings and tension is for all of the roommates to be very clear about their expectations up front. Things to discuss (and even consider writing down after an agreement is reached):

      – Quiet hours: when does each person usually go to bed & wake up? If guests are at the apartment in the evenings (both weekdays & weekends), when is an appropriate cut-off time?

      – Overnight guests: if there are SOs in the picture (or if there may be in the future), how often will they stay over at the apartment? Will they be using a shared bathroom in the mornings or going home to get ready?

      – Guests, in general: do you or your roommate expect to host people frequently? Set clear expectations for where overnight guests will stay, and how much notice should be given in advance. Also, there is a potential for clash of expectations if one person likes to have people over for casual gatherings frequently and the other prefers to keep home a sanctuary and socialize outside.

      – Common areas: is the couch & TV first come, first serve? This is especially relevant if there is one coupled-up roommate and one single roommate. I’ve definitely been frustrated in the past when a roommate and her BF are canoodling all over the couch and I feel relegated to my room.

      – Cleanliness: how often will common areas (bathroom[s], kitchen, floors, windows, dusting, etc) get cleaned? What entails a “full clean”? Will the kitchen counters & stove get wiped down nightly/after cooking? Will you hire a housekeeper?

      – Tidiness: if stuff like clutter in common areas, messy couch cushions or pulled out dining chairs bugs you, address it ahead of time.

      – Shared expenses: do you pay rent jointly or in separate checks? Who is responsible for paying utilities, and how will each person’s share of expenses be communicated? How will you divvy up necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies? FWIW, I think splitwise.com is great for this.

      Good luck!

      • Anonymous :

        Great list– I’d add a convo about bathroom use in general though not just for overnight guests. I shared a 1 bath apartment with two other women and we definitely needed a schedule for all the showering, hair drying and makeup time necessary.

        • I share a 1 bath house with three other women – our unspoken rule is that nothing non essential happens in the bathroom. Hair drying, makeup and skincare all happen in our bedrooms.

          • Baconpancakes :

            I wish I could convince my roommate of this. She has a very extensive makeup routine, but no mirror in her bedroom. Admittedly, her makeup looks amazing.

          • Anonymous :

            Baconpancakes, her reasoning might be because bedroom lighting is usually terrible, especially in apartments?

            I have terrible acne and use several medicated creams that require washing my hands afterwards, and I also wash my hands multiple times while putting on makeup, so I’d go bonkers if I had to do my makeup in my bedroom and walk out to the kitchen multiple times to use the sink. But, because I also have an impatient bladder and would never be able to wait for a roommate in the shower, I just don’t live in places that would require sharing a bathroom. I currently live alone but still have an extra full bath for guests.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I’m having flash backs of college with one of us peeing or teeth brushing while the other was in the shower. At least there was a shower curtain. Not much different from a shared dorm bathroom I guess. Just seems weirder in a college apartment bathroom or grown up bathroom especially.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Sigh. Yes, that’s why I haven’t said anything. The problem is that she’s supposed to be out of the bathroom by 7:15 every morning, and when I poke my head in every morning, she says, “Sorry! Almost done!” So I go make breakfast, throw in a load of laundry, straighten the living room, and make coffee, and by the time she leaves the bathroom, it’s 7:30 and I’m late. I’m considering buying her a lighted dresser mirror for her birthday. I would LOVE a second bathroom.

          • Orangerie :

            That’s frustrating. If she’s agreed to be out by 7:15am and isn’t upholding her end of the agreement, I think you need to talk to her about it and ask her to either speed up her routine or wake up earlier.

          • Anonymous :

            I agree, Orangerie.

      • Baconpancakes :

        On the note of when people get up and go to bed, if you share a bathroom, plan out a rigid schedule of bathroom time. When does each person get into and out of the bathroom? With female roommates sharing a bathroom, this becomes a real problem.

      • CLEANING was the biggest issue for me. Perhaps suggest getting a bi-monthly housekeeper to take care of the bathrooms and kitchen?

        Sharing of food came in as a close second. Then again these are girls that I knew from college so maybe that’s why they could always help themselves.

        • I once had a roommate whose girlfriend drank out of containers in the fridge. Bleah.

        • Philanthropy Girl :

          Cleaning was a major issue for me too. It worked really well to have a schedule – this week so-and-so was responsible for the kitchen, and someone else did the dusting, etc… With a new group of roommates I could NOT convince them to go this route, but then they were unpleasant when cleaning wasn’t done at a certain time or to certain standards.

          If a housekeeper is an option, do it. If not, a scheduled, rotational solution for common areas was a lifesaver for me.

        • Blue Anne :

          My college life improved immeasurably when I started putting a bit of green food coloring in my milk. No more going for a cup of coffee in the morning and finding that a roommate had finished their milk and gone for mine.

      • The best roommate experience I ever had was when we were clear about our pet peeves and preferences up front. Before I even moved in, my roommate and I discussed our three or four “big things” that were important to us or could really bother us in a living situation. For instance, I really cannot stand dirty dishes in the sink or old food left out. She hated noise late at night during the week. Once those were out in the open, we did a pretty good job of respecting each other’s preferences and rarely ran into issues. Being upfront about potential issues helped a lot.

    • I’d start with a general discussion about the kitchen. Do you want to purchase anything shared or go your own way (eg, one person buys milk for the apt while the other toilet paper and other cleaning supplies). My favorite thing from my roommate days was a cleaning schedule. There were three public rooms in the apartment (including bathroom) and we each cleaned one a week on a rotating basis (I’d suggest this, but wouldn’t insist upon it because some people are going to hate it.)

      • Anonymous :

        I’d add to the kitchen discussion whether you’ll be sharing dishes, pots/pans, utensils, and other kitchen doo-dads. My first time with roommates was in a four-person apartment-style dorm in college. Two of the roommates were randomly assigned, and my friend and I got along great with one of them–we couldn’t have picked a better roommate. But the other girl…let’s see, she moved her queen sized bed into a dorm room that fit it with one inch to spare, which meant moving all of the dorm supplied furniture (bed with frame, desk, dresser) into the shared hall closet, leaving no space for the rest of us. She only stayed at the apartment about once every two weeks, spending the rest of the time at her boyfriends. And getting to my kitchen point, when she did come “home,” she would make an incredibly strong smelling (usually fish) dinner and leave the dirty pan in the sink, apparently with the intent to wash it later. But she wouldn’t come back for two weeks, so of course we ended up washing it because (a) it stunk, (b) it was taking up space in the sink and blocking the drain, and (c) it was our pan and we needed it because we actually lived, ate, and cooked there daily. That’s one example–she also used a lot of our other stuff and wouldn’t clean it properly, like not washing the base of a blender, or leaving it sitting on the oven overnight (with the oven still on) while she and her boyfriend had s3x with the bedroom door open. When we all moved in, we had all agreed “what’s mine is yours” with respect to kitchen supplies to prevent overflowing kitchen cabinets with 7 saucepans. But finally we had to tell this girl that she couldn’t use any of our stuff, and I guess that was the kick for her to grow up and do her own dishes right after she used them.

        • Orangerie :

          Piggybacking on this, if you have a dishwasher, make sure it’s clear what goes in the machine and what gets hand-washed. My litmus test for this is if there are multiples of an item (cups, plates, utensils), dishwasher is fine, but if there’s only one (pyrex dish, spatula, paring knife, colander, etc), it needs to be hand-washed so that others can cook without having to fish an item out of the dishwasher.

    • My input – the way we do necessities like toilet paper and dish liquid is that we simply have a chart with each of the as a category against each person, so we take turns. So I notice we’re low on bin bags, look at the chart and see that Lisa has bought the fewest bin bags, and text her to pick some up when she’s in the supermarket.

      This way those who want to buy branded loo roll and dish liquid can, and I can continue to buy own brand!

      • Baconpancakes :

        I actually prefer to get a chosen-upon brand of things like dish soap and toilet paper – my toilet is really old, and the super soft, plush TP my roommate prefers clogs it up immediately, and she tends to buy dish soaps that smell like chemical flowers. Blerg.

        Also of note: One’s turn to buy the toilet paper isn’t fulfilled by grabbing a four pack, when the last time the other person bought a twenty-roll pack.

        • Orangerie :

          Yeah, the quantity variable for things like TP and paper towels is why I don’t use the take turns method anymore. Everything just gets split down the middle.

          • We always buy a 9 pack of TP.
            I just remembered we do hand soap semi-separately since two of the girls have sensitive skin and are restricted as to which brands they can use, so as their soap is more expensive the other girl and I have our own cheapie hand wash

      • Anonymous :

        Ugh, I had a roommate who liked to buy the crappy generic dish soap. It was so unconcentrated and watery that one container would last about a month, with most of it going down the drain (literally) because the consistency meant when you squirted the bottle, only a small portion of it actually ended up on the rag/dishes. I’d then buy ultra-concentrated Dawn, a bottle of which can last me 2 years (but with her, would only last 3 months because she thought she needed to use a cupful based on her experience using the junky stuff). Really annoying having that cheap roommate who buys stuff that only lasts about 1/3 of what other people are buying, so your turn comes up way more often than it should if they were chipping in their fair share.

    • All of these responses are great insight into what can happen (and how to avoid it!) when living with roommates. With that said, I once lived peacefully in a house with 20+ girls. It was a scholarship house that was part of a foundation and there were soooo many rules, but those rules are what kept everybody happy. There were a few things I took away from my experience that I’d implement in my life if necessary.
      1. Assign someone as the business manager. This person was given an “allowance” weekly (technically a portion from each girl) to go shopping for house supplies. They couldn’t go over an they were encouraged not to go under. You could even rotate this on a quarterly or bi-annually schedule.
      2. Devise a schedule for chores. We would rotate the chores (taking out trash, cleaning the bathroom, cleaning common areas, etc.) which was a great set up. And at the end of each semester we had a “spring cleaning” schedule separate from the regular schedule. Worst part of the year but it ensured the place was spotless for the next round of girls.
      I hope this helps. And if all else fails, implement (and enforce) a super-detailed roommate agreement like Sheldon on TBBT :D

  6. TO Lawyer :

    What do you ladies do to satisfy your sugar cravings? I’ve been craving really sugary candy all day (like gummy worms) and I’m trying to resist – I’ve had veggies and cheese but nothing seems to be doing the trick.

    Thanks ladies!

    • Amelia Earhart :

      I like the Maple Pumpkin Seed KIND bars, they’re just sweet enough for me.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        I am so in love with these.

      • These are so good! I tried one on a whim at the airport since they were out of non-chocolate Kind bars (and as much as I love the dark chocolate sea salt bars, at 6:45 am it was a bit much) and I’ve eaten a few boxes since then.

    • Fruit

    • Raisins and other dried fruit are really sweet and chewy.

    • I eat chocolate vitamuffins, sometimes with almond butter spread on top. They are delicious.

      • They also have as much sugar as a candy bar, unfortunately. Not a great alternative to candy, though I like them too.

        • I was curious, so I actually looked it up. 11g sugar /100calories, compared to 26.2g sugar/296 calories for a snickers bar – so, less than half as much. Plus it has 9g of fiber to slow down the absorption. Though obviously not for someone who wants to completely avoid sugar.

          • Right, the muffins are fewer calories, but the proportion of sugar is about the same.

          • I think it’s a bit different because of the nutritional composition. An apple or a cup of plain yogurt also has that much sugar, as would dried fruit or some Kind bars, but I think those are also better for you than a candy bar. If you eat candy it may satisfy a craving, but since it’s a quick-absorb sugar your blood sugar would go up and down and it may result in you ultimately craving more candy, instead of satisfying you. If you eat something with a lot of fiber, like an apple or a vitamuffin, it’s a slow-absorb sugar.

    • Chai tea. I buy the Tazo brand in bulk from Amazon, both decaf and regular, and have a huge stock of it in my office.

      • Anon for tea :

        I’m saying this to be educational, not snarky. Chai means tea, so it is just called Chai. Otherwise it’s like saying Tea tea.

        • I think at this point people drink so many different flavours of tea though that chai is pretty well understood as a type of tea. For example, if I have friends over and I offer tea after dinner, I will ask people what type and they’ll answer chai, or mint, or black tea, or green tea, or one of those wacky fruity flavours. Unlike 50 years ago perhaps where each culture would be more likely to have one type of tea (for one set of my grandparents, there would have been only mint tea; for another, only black European-style tea). So unless someone wants to popularize another name for the tea/spice blend that’s commonly referred to as “chai”…this is kind of something that’s not going to change.
          I do completely agree with you that it sounds silly – and I have tried ordering chai tea at tea/coffee shops by just saying chai – but then they think I want a chai latte.

          • workingmomz :

            No, actually, the tea/spice blend is masala chai. Chai is just tea.

          • Right – I guess what I’m really saying is that it doesn’t seem like a battle worth fighting, because “chai” is pretty well ingrained in people’s minds as the name. Good point re: masala chai though.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I’m from Los Angeles and sometimes we like to go to The La Brea Tar Pits. Which, when translated from the Spanish, means The The Tar Tar Pits.

          That is all.

          • AnonLawMom :

            Love this so, so much.

          • The Society for Redundancy Association :

            There’s a road in Boulder called Table Mesa, which, when translated from the Spanish, means Table Table.

      • Wildkitten :

        I would assume chai tea is to emphasize that you are not adding milk to it, right? It’s like the chai version of “whiskey, neat.”

        • Frou Frou :

          Nah, chai (served in Indian homes) typically refers to tea boiled with milk (not at all the same thing as a chai tea latte), and possibly other spices. Chai in an Indian restaurant in the US refers to “masala chai” with milk and spices. On the other hand, if you order Chai in a western-style hotel in India, you will receive black tea, often a tea bag with hot water. If you order “ready made” chai, you will get tea with milk, sometimes made with all of the masalas (spices), but sometimes its the equivalent of what you’d find in those coffee machines at a quick mart in the US.

    • Fruit or tea, depending whether I think I’m actually hungry or not.

    • Philanthropy Girl :

      I’ve read licorice drops (not candies, but actual drops – generally from a health food store) are great for curbing sugar cravings.

      Also make sure your blood sugar isn’t getting too low – that can cause cravings, too.

    • TO Lawyer :

      Thanks for all the suggestions ladies! I think the combination of a stressful work day and exhaustion were leading to my intense sugar cravings – I ended up having a piece of dark chocolate (and accidentally a cookie I found in the kitchen). My emotional eating is totally triggered by stress which I probably need to work on, but that’s an issue for another day.

    • Read Eat to Live. Being free of food cravings for the first time in my life is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

      My food cravings were like a prison sentence. Now I can go for 5 – 7 hours between meals with no real discomfort. Needless to say, I have dropped some excess fat baggage. Yet I now have more, not less energy. I don’t get that part, even having read the science behind it in the book.

      Seriously, the best way to deal with food cravings is to eat the nutrition you body is screaming for. Then you don’t have cravings.

  7. Amelia Earhart :

    What good books are you reading lately? I’ve recently read Serena, The Silent Land (amazing!) and Gone Girl, now I’m looking for something new!

    • I’ve heard The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is good. I’ve just started it (10 pages in), so I can’t comment more, but everyone I know loved it.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        Oooof I disliked this book SO MUCH. the first third or so was entertaining enough to make me finish the last 500 pages, but I was definitely skimming at the end.

      • I loved The Secret History, but the book she wrote after that was dreadful, so I’m on the fence about this one.

      • I really liked it.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      The Geurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is great if you like historical fiction (or even if you don’t). The audio edition was particularly great.

      We should get the thissite goodreads going again.

      • I don’t know, I felt like it was a less good version of 84 Charing Cross Rd.

      • I loved that book too. Will check out 84 Charing Cross Road as well!

      • Anonymous :

        I just started using goodreads, so I’d love it if there was a thissite group (are they called groups? I haven’t explored the social media aspect of it yet)

      • This was a good, quick read. I liked the way it was written in letter format.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve been reading mainly nonfiction lately and am halfway through Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. I’m really enjoying it. I also recently finished his book called The Invention of Air, which I found fascinating.

      I’m also working my way through The Black Swan. It’s been a little difficult but I feel like I’m getting a lot out of it so far.

      I pre-ordered The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday and have really been looking forward to reading it when it comes out tomorrow. I probably won’t be able to prevent myself from diving into that before finishing the other two.

    • I just read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. So many feelings!

      • Anonymous :

        Ahh +1 to this.

      • I recently read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. It took me a little bit to get into it, but was such a cute/sweet story!

      • I just read Fangirl by the same author and love it. Eleanor & Park is now on my hold list at the library.

        • Fangirl was fantastic! I don’t think Attachments is out yet in the UK (on Kindle, anyway), which makes me sad.

          If you enjoy those you should take a look at Forever Young Adult – a book review website for people of an age to have left YA behind but who love the stories

    • anon in tejas :

      I just started We are Water by Wally Lamb. I also recently read Americanaha. It was really good.

    • The Light Between Oceans and The Magic Circus

      • The Light Between Oceans was fantastic!

      • Senior Attorney :

        I loved The Magic Circus.

        • Me too. It was a book club book for me last year. And since then, everyone who I recommended it to has loved it as well.

      • AnonLawMom :

        Eh – Magic Circus was okay for me. The visual imagery was fantastic. The plot was really lacking. It is probably one of 3 books that will end up being better as a movie.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Is the Magic Circus is a different book from the Night Circus? I loved the latter, so I could imagine liking the former.

    • I am finishing audio of “Special Topics in Calamity Physics” by Marisha Pessl. It appeals to me as a nerd with its overly-intellectualized narrative style, but also has an engaging, twisty plot.
      I’ll probably read Pessl’s second book, on paper.

      • I loved this book!

        I’m not normally into memoirs but reading and enjoying Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart right now. Also, just downloaded but haven’t read yet the latest Bridget Jones book, which I assume will be terrible but I just can’t resist.

        • AIMS, we’ll have to have a discussion in the comments about that book at some point. It just made me angry.

          • ME TOO. Gah.

          • S in Chicago :

            Count me in, too, for a good gripe during that future discussion!

          • Oh no – Bridget Jones? Now I am even more hesitant to read it! I loved the first book, having stumbled on it completely by accident and I thought no. 2 was fun, but somehow I have a very bad feeling about no. 3…. I thought maybe it’s because I know the big premise/spoiler re: MD and it makes me just so not want to read it, but is it just not good in general?

    • I just read Gold by Chris Cleave – he wrote Little Bee, which I liked too, but this book is much lighter. It’s still a page-turner though. I also read Bond Girl by Erin Duffy recently. It’s an entertaining light read.

    • Currently reading Middlesex (I’m late the party, I know) and it’s great. My favorite book recently was Tell the Wolves I’m Home. REALLY good. Other favorites: The Good Life, The Lotus Eaters, The Age of Miracles, the Answer is Always Yes, Room, 11.22.63. Always looking for more great books so I’ll be watching this thread :)

    • The best book I have read recently was Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Really loved it and highly recommend it.

      • Second this suggestion. I’ve also read her book “Half of a Yellow Sun” and loved that as well.

        • anon in tejas :

          I’m from above. I loved that book! I can’t wait to read her other books.

        • Miss Behaved :

          I haven’t read that one, but I liked Purple Hibiscus better than Americanah

    • I just finished The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt. Sydney Bristow and I were talking about how to identify books that treat women like men, and this is my latest favorite. It’s actually about sexism in art and criticism.

      I am now reading Oryx and Crake, which is not new. It’s part of a sci-fi trilogy by Margaret Atwood, whom I have always liked.

      • sweetknee :

        I also liked “When I Found You”. Easy read….

      • Sydney Bristow :

        The Blazing World sounds interesting. I’m going to add it to my ever-expanding list of books to read.

      • The Blind Assassin is one of my favorite books…

      • The Margaret Atwood trilogy is amazing!! You are so lucky you won’t have to wait to read all three. I liked the second the best.

      • I am reading The Year of the Flood right now! I am loving it, although it took me FAR too long to understand the book’s timeline.

    • I really loved Transatlantic recently, especially since the Irish peace talks were a huge focus for a civics project I had back in high school. Also enjoyed re-reading the Poisonwood Bible and Flight Behavior.
      I didn’t love Little Bee, but I’ll give Gold a try, thanks!

    • Meg Murry :

      I am rereading (and listening to the audio books when I can’t read) the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon in anticipation of the next book coming out in June. I enjoyed the middle books more than the most recent ones, so I hope I’m not disappointed by the newest book.

      • closet cleaning :

        Me too. The last one in particular I really stopped caring and skimmed a lot of the battlefield descriptions, which meant I skimmed like 60% of the book.

        • I don’t even remember what happened at the end of the last one. I need to go through and re-read or find plot summaries before the next one comes out.

    • I’m reading Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which is very good, but it’s not easy, and I need to read it slowly to keep up. I just finished Year of No Sugar: A Memoir, which I enjoyed. I like memoirs, and I’m trying to cut back on added sugar, the topic appealed to me. I’m also reading Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles, which is a fantasy / future / Cinderella type story. I half want to stop reading it, and half can’t stop because cyborgs! plagues! handsome prince! what?!

    • I read “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson over Christmas and was obsessed. It’s about a woman who dies and is born again into the same life, repeatedly, each time with a little change having huge life-altering implications. I loved it.

      I currently am ready “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini, which is giving me amazing insight into pre-Taliban Afghanistan, something I knew nothing about before, and is also a great, expansive story of a family with many wonderfully-developed characters.

    • I recently enjoyed “Longbourn,” which is “Pride and Prejudice” as seen from the servants’ quarters. Ann Patchett’s “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage” is a really wonderful collection of personal essays. The book made me want to be her friend.

      • I couldn’t finish the Goldfinch.

        I enjoyed the Kitchen House and Disco for the Departed.

      • I read Longbourn recently, and enjoyed it too. I found the discussion of the Hills’ marriage very thought-provoking

    • Philanthropy Girl :

      I’m a classics girl – Bleak House by Dickens for me. And there’s a great miniseries adaptation available on Netflix.

    • No Higher Honor, Condoleezza Rice’s memoir of her time working for the Bush Administration. It’s lengthy (700+ pages) and there’s a lot of names and key players to keep track of. It’s also endlessly fascinating, especially when she touches on topics like work/life balance and being a female Secretary of State working in the Middle East.

    • CapHillAnon :

      I love hearing good suggestions from everyone else. Currently on a fiction bender. I’m enjoying Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (I loved Olive Kitteredge, and this is almost as good) and Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker (it’s pretty silly). Recently I really liked The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (set in pre-gentrified Logan Circle, for the Washington rettes), Tartt’s Goldfinch (I loved it, not everyone does), and Paul Harding’s Tinkers. Can’t wait to read Life After LIfe and Americanah; they’re up next.

    • Sci-Fi:
      The Goblin Emperor and Ancillary Justice were both great. Ancillary Justice was really interesting from a gender studies type perspective, and might appeal to people who don’t read sci-fi.

      Non-Fiction:
      All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood was very interesting for this non-parent.
      I loved My Life in Middlemarch, but I also love Middlemarch and didn’t know much about George Elliot’s life.

      Literary Fiction:
      I’m about a third of the way through the Orchardist, and really, really like it so far. It’s almost too rich, I feel like I’m drowning in it every time I pick it up.
      I’ll add +1 to the recommendations for Americanah as well.

    • AnonLawMom :

      Reading Let the Great World Spin and I really like it so far. Also recommend Goldfinch, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao and The Sense of an Ending. For a good page turner, I liked Defending Jacob.

      • CapHillAnon :

        I adored Let the Great World Spin! And Oscar Wao too. For some reason, I couldn’t get behind The Sense of an Ending. Also, Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding is great, especially as a debut novel.

    • I’m reading the Rabbit Back Literary Society which is excellent so far.

  8. Diana Barry :

    DUDE, whoever recommended the Air Tali to me: THANK YOU!!! Just wore them yesterday all day for a conference and they were totally comfy for standing and networking (didn’t even notice I had them on, truly) and then for walking around afterwards! WINNING!

    Also, they came in WIDE and it was just wide enough to fit me really well, but not super wide in the heel (I have narrow heels) and thus not annoying! W00T!

    • Baconpancakes :

      Did you get the close toed ones or the peep toe? I have the peep toes in yellow and snakeskin, and I bought a second pair of the snakeskin for when the first pair wear through, since I heard a rumor the Air line is being discontinued.

      • S in Chicago :

        Please, please say it isn’t so. The closed toe (with the tie) are all I live in at our conferences and on weekends and when traveling. I’ve stalked 6p.m. and Amazon for sales the past couple of years and now literally have about every color. I don’t know what I will do if they stop making them. (I’m already into crazy hoarder territory now!)

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        The Air line is being discontinued because CH is no longer owned by Nike, and they’re losing the rights to the technology.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I got a pair of Cobb Hill flats last month that are really comfortable. The company is connected to New Balance somehow. Their heels might be worth a try to replace the Air line.

        • AnonLawMom :

          NO!!!!!!!!!! This cannot be.

  9. closet cleaning :

    Repost from very late a few days ago:

    I’ve been cleaning out my closet and figured I’d try here before ebay. I’ve got a never worn with tags Halston Heritage dress in xs. It’s the “poppy water mirage print” and I’ll put a link in a reply. Ideally someone would buy it (open to price) but it’s negotiable. I’m at lfgttb at google’s mail.

    • closet cleaning :

      http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/417l2Ij62yL.jpg

    • Medic Maggie :

      If you don’t get success from ebay, you may want to try thredup. I’ve just now received my first payment from a bag I sent.

      It’s a little bit annoying, but less hassle than ebay. Honestly, all the clothes I sent were slated for goodwill, but this at least gave me the opportunity to pick up some money from it, whereas I don’t have that option here. We don’t have good consignment (any?) here. But the payout is barely more than the resale price of the most expensive item I sent (a JCrew cashmere sweater). Still, it’s more than I would have had if I had simply donated.

      So, I “paid” for the convenience of shipping off my clothes where some will be donated (so they say), and some cash to boot.

      • I had a pretty bad experience with ThredUp – I sent it a bag with 10 or 12 items in it. All were new or like new and all were brands they say they accept. They only accepted 3 items and paid me less than $20. The most I got was $7 for a $60 H&M dress that was never worn. They rejected stuff from a lot of higher end brands like J. Crew and Ralph Lauren. If you’re planning to donate clothes to Goodwill, its a nice way to make a couple bucks instead (if they’re in absolutely perfect condition and are certain brands), but it is definitely NOT a substitute for eBay. I’m sure I could have sold that H&M dress for $20 or more on eBay had I wanted to go to the trouble.

        • WestCoast Lawyer :

          The trouble of listing it is exactly why their payouts are lower. They pay for the shipping of your items to them and for people to sort through the clothes, figure out which ones they think they can resell, list them on the site and take the risk that the clothes ultimately don’t sell since they pay for lower-priced items up front rather than a consignment model. The whole business model is that you “pay” for the service they provide in the form of a lower payout. I’ve had great luck with them, but like Medic Maggie it was all stuff I would have sent to goodwill anyway but didn’t want to take the time to sell through ebay. They have introduced a consignment model for designer pieces that is supposed to pay out more, but I don’t have any experience with that.

        • Yeah, I get that, but the payouts I got were much lower than the “expected payouts” listed on their website calculator. And they rejected some things that were brand new and brands they say they like. So I was pretty annoyed about that. I’ve never consigned stuff before, so perhaps its typical, but I was surprised that I went through all the clothing I was getting rid of really careful and picked out around 10% of it that was in really excellent condition to sell and most of it still got rejected. It’s not like I sent them items with obvious wear and tear, I donated all that stuff. But I do understand the payout will be much lower than it would be using eBay because there’s a middle man.

  10. lucy stone :

    Reminder that we have a FitBit group – email me at fivetomatoes at gmail.com if you’re interested!

  11. Medic Maggie :

    As we’re talking about popular media here, what is everyone listening to? What have you found lately that knocks your socks off?

    I hate Beck. But I cannot get enough of Blue Moon or Defriended. I love the new sound.

    I am also liking Big Data, Lord Huron lately. I’m totally late to the game, though. For about the past 5 years I listened almost exclusively to Lithium on Sirius/XM. I had no idea about The Spectrum or Alt-Nation. Now Lithium has taken a backseat. So, I missed a few years of apparently, pretty good music.

    My heart will always belong to Dave Matthews Band.

    • I have pretty unsophisticated tastes in music, so I may not be the best person to get into this discussion with. That being said, in between all my top-40s and bachata listening, I have been loving what I believe is the debut album from Haim.

    • I love Lord Huron and really like Beck’s new album so maybe we have similar tastes. I really recommend Youth Lagoon and Helio Sequence. A more unusual sound- try Future Islands.

    • Frank Turner, Haim, Bastille, Avicii, Kacey Musgraves.

  12. I just finished The Goldfinch, which I loved. I also read the three Call the Midwife memoirs, which were wonderful. Another book that reminded me of Call the Midwife was Brooklyn : a Novel by Colm Toibin. I recently got the Kindle app for my iPad and I have downloaded several classics that I skimmed over in school…The Great Gatsby, Tha Age of Innocence, Pride and Predjudice. They were pretty good the second time around!

    • I love Colm Toibin’s “The Master,” which is about Henry James. I also love Henry James, so that helps.

  13. married with money? :

    Question: Does anyone in the hive know what the best app/program/method might be for a WEEKLY, not monthly budget? We both get paid every other week, not monthly, and it has just become really clear that a monthly budget format doesn’t work for us.

    I have tried Mint and honestly it was too complicated and I had to manually input 20+ transactions every time I logged in. I need something like a weekly spreadsheet to tape to our dining room wall and look at every day.

    We make good money, and we’re somehow spending 99% of it every month. We were both really frugal before being married, and don’t understand how this is happening to us…

    • I don’t have a recommendation, but I do have a question.

      When you say you are spending 99% of it each month, do you mean w/o saving anything? Or do you mean that, after you contribute to retirement, put $ in saving, pay rent/mortgage/bills/loan payments/etc., then you pretty much spend all of the rest of the money per pay period on everyday life stuff (groceries, gas, etc)? Because the latter is what I do and I don’t see it as a problem. I pay myself first (retirement plus other savings) so I’m not concerned that my checking account nearly zeros out before each new payday.

      • married with money? :

        That’s the thing. We pay ourselves first. And at least three times in the last six months we’ve had to take money back out of savings into checking before the end of the month because we did not have enough money to pay our legitimate expenses.

        We’re not people who have lived wildly. We’ve both been pretty dang frugal our entire lives. The downside is that we have literally 200+ separate transactions in any given month, and we can’t really figure out how we’re being eaten alive by minnows. Yes, I went to CVS and spent $43.00. But we did actually need shampoo and deodorant and baby diapers. Does that make sense? We don’t have any junk laying around – we can’t figure out why this is happening.

        • Does your online banking provide any breakdown of expenditures by type/category? I find this immensely helpful for identifying budget pitfalls (hello, $8 work lunches!). Once you know where your money is really going then you can identify potential fixes.

          • married with money? :

            They do, but we find that it isn’t really helpful – i.e. last month we spent $1,806.00 in “miscellaneous.”

          • Wildkitten :

            That’s what I hate about Mint! Everything that it doesn’t categorize doesn’t get counted as part of my Mint budget. Unfortunately my bank doesn’t feel the same way, so Mint will say I’m $1806 left in my budget and my bank will say I have $0.

          • Anonymous :

            You know you can manually categorize, right? And that it will eventually learn so that you don’t have to keep doing it manually? (You can also set a rule that a transaction at X merchant is automatically categorized into Y, but I tend to have categorizing issues at places like CVS or Target where I’m buying across categories, so I don’t do this)

            Seriously, most of the Mint complaints I see are people who just don’t know how to use it. You can also set up rollovers or long-term spends to achieve the “envelope” method mentioned below.

            The real issue with Mint is its complete lack of cash flow functionality–no ability to see when money is coming in and when it’s going out. You can have plenty of money to cover your expenses for the month, but if the paychecks aren’t timed “right” with your bills, you might still overdraw unless you want to keep a cushion. I keep a $1000 cushion but I pretend it’s not there, and above that amount I prefer to send every leftover penny to my student loans, and have to keep a separate spreadsheet tracking cash flow so I know when it’s okay to move that spare $20 and still stay above my imaginary $0 balance.

          • Wildkitten :

            I’d rather use a program like YNAB or Learnvest that just works that have to manually explain to Mint that every time I spend money it should show in my budget that I have less money left.

    • following :

      I need to follow this–I have the same frustration with Mint.

      And, was in the same position as you re: not seeing where the money is going, pretty recently.

      The other thing that bugs me about mint is that I don’t need a budget. Our expenditures are basically fixed. It’s not like we have an internet provider “budget” but rather a set amount that is both deposited from our paychecks every pay period, then a set amount deducted to pay the bill. Our only “fluid” expense is groceries, and I’ve been so good at tracking our expenses over the last year, I was able to set a really realistic and pretty targeted grocery budget. We contribute per paycheck to things like home maintenance, auto maintenance, fun money, etc. That money just sits there in the account until it needs to be used. I wish that Mint would let you set it up like an envelope system, but I have heard that YNAB does that. I just am too cheap thus far to drop the $60 on it. If I find that I can’t stand mint for further finance needs (I’ll probably be doing a review of our process in another month or so), then I will try a different system.

      • Wildkitten :

        I hate the mint budget function. I love it for keeping track of balance in accounts. YNAB is great, but there are bunch of other “envelope” type programs that might work. I think learnvest does the budget function better than mint, but doesn’t connect to all my accounts.

        • following :

          Exactly–I think that mint is great for seeing your account balances, and where you spend, provided you link your accounts, but as far as building a pool of money for home maintenance? There doesn’t seem to be a way to do this. I read something about it where the person used tags to specify “buckets” (envelopes) but when I tried it, it was so cumbersome I gave up entirely. I get that you can split out a paycheck in mint to kind of do this, but it just isn’t set up that way.

    • My SO and I run a cash system with envelopes. We each take out what we need every 2 weeks. I have a groceries/misc house stuff envelope and a ‘fun’ envelope the SO has a “essentials” and “fun” envelope. The bills: cellphones, internet, hydro, and rent get paid via direct deposit. Its an awesome system minus the inevitable change, no one likes coins.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve never used mint, but I’m paid biweekly and we also had the experience of wondering where the heck our money was going. The monthly billing cycle wasn’t meshing well with the biweekly pay, so we’d think we’d have plenty of money at one point in the month only to have a bunch of bills come up. We knew the values and dates of the bill payments, but our mental calculations weren’t enough.

      Here’s what worked for us, no app/program required beyond our bank’s online account balance:
      — Add up your set expenses (mortgage, insurance, utilities, loans, etc) even if they are monthly or even every six months. Figure out the average monthly total.
      — Set up a separate checking account for expected monthly bills, totaled above, and transfer that amount plus a buffer every month. I do half automatically every pay period.
      — Continue to pay yourself first into a separate savings account.
      — Pay for groceries, meals out, clothing, incidentals (auto repair, etc) out of a second checking account. You’ll always know how much you have left because bills are already reserved. At the end of the month or pay period, put remainder minus a buffer into savings.
      — Review your spending if you’re still out of money each pay period. Or, set savings goals with all your new found money.

      Tip:
      — Grocery shop weekly. Meal plan for the week and only buy that food. This saved us an insane amount of money. I can’t fully explain why, but apparently we were just wasting a bunch of food?
      — Pack your lunch. Buying really adds up and doesn’t feel like a splurge.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh, and take advantage of those months with three pay periods! Once you get yourself on a two pay period budget, it feels like free money. Now I love getting paid every two weeks.

    • Quicken will probably provide the kind of detail you’re looking for, although I would recommend actually entering your transactions manually if you’re trying to figure out where all your money went. You can also generate reports to figure out how much you’re spending in a given category, for example.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I second the recommendation to track manually. Even if you don’t input them into a program, maybe just saving the receipts and reviewing every week or month would help.

        YNAB has a 30-day free trial, which might be enough time to identify the problem and correct it without needing to buy the program.

      • I actually prefer YNAB over Quicken for the budgeting function. Quicken is my go to register and money management program, but the budgeting side is just…confusing. Not intuitive.

        OP, this is the exact situation that YNAB is designed for – figuring out how to budget the money you have until the next paycheck comes in. At the risk of sounding like an ad, it’s more than a program – it’s also a philosophy about how to think about spending. You get to try it free for a month, so I recommend taking a look. There is a phone for tracking transactions on the go, but you need the desktop version to use it.

      • I actually think tracking manually is worse for seeing where your money went. I used to do this, and it’s easy to get lost in the trees and say “oh, of course, $10 there for lunch on that day I had meetings at 7am and didn’t have time to pack lunch, $20 there for diapers, yes, these are all necessities, I don’t know where it all goes!” I’ve had much more success with a program that pulls all of my data and auto categorizes it (with some manual correction needed, but this takes maybe 2 minutes per month unless you’re a complete moron), and then seeing how it all adds up. Seeing that those $10 lunches on days I just couldn’t possibly have packed one added up to $250/mo is what makes me go, “oh wow, maybe I need to find another solution.” If I was just doing the mind numbing data entry of 25 separate $10 transactions, commingled with all of my other transactions, I not only would’ve wasted my time on a task that provided no benefit, but I wouldn’t see the bigger picture.

    • This isn’t quite what you asked for but I downloaded an app called Money Squared (it’s actually just called Money with the little 2 up top) and it’s basically like a My Fitness Pal but with your money instead of calories. It’s annoying to put everything in as you go along but after a month or two you can really see how you spend your money in ways you might not have otherwise noticed. I suppose you and your H would both have to do it to get a really clear picture, but maybe you could make a game of it at the end of the day with a glass of wine or something.

    • I use Goodbudget. It used to be called EEBA I think – it’s envelope accounting, essentially

    • Anon for this :

      This isn’t an app, but my husband and I were running into the same problem. We finally started setting aside cash for things like the gym (a known fixed expense) and car rentals (an estimated expense) and putting that cash in a separate account that we access 1x a month. We also set aside a fixed amount of money to spend on things like groceries and going out to dinner (our biggest downfall) and put that in a separate checking account with its own debit card. We transfer a certain amount of money into it every pay period and use it for 98% of those expenses. It has really helped us reign in our spending. And now I am meticulous about going through the credit card bill every month and identifying expenses that we expected and those where we went a little overboard. It’s annoying, but so so helpful to us.

      • I use WepleMoney to keep track of expenses because I refuse to pay $60 for YNAB. It allows you to view your spending on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis, but I don’t believe you can create a budget. It will show you where you’re money’s going. Hey, it’s free so you might think it’s worth a try.

  14. Thank you to whoever recommended those hidden wedge ballet flats from Saks off 5th. They fit like a dream right out the box and were less than half the price of my go to JCrew cece shoe

    • oil in houston :

      I haven’t bought them yet as I saw the inside is not leather but man-made and was concerned about odors … any opinion on that so far?

    • Need to Improve :

      I got them and they are extremely comfortable but too tight. I am in between sizes and went with the higher size.

    • I actually have to return mine. They were very supportive so I can see how they would be very comfy but I think they are just slightly too big for me and/or too wide on the back of my foot. Hard to explain but something I often get with ballet style shoes – they just look like I am wearing loose-ish slippers and when I walk in them you can see gaping on the sides. Too bad – I can see them being a workhorse for someone else!

    • Haven’t noticed odors yet. I have pretty narrow feet and they fit well. Maybe a little big at the back of my heel but they aren’t sliding off so I’m ok with it. I love these.

  15. My husband and I have been married for 3 years and are thinking it’s about time to start thinking about kids (I’m 30, he’s 32). I feel like there is never a perfect time…

    I was hoping for your opinions. I started in my current position 11 months ago. My boss has made it known that he finds it extremely unprofessional for a woman to get pregnant after only being at a job for one year. I don’t know that I really want to wait another year and I really don’t think I’m obligated to. The best thing I can do is try to time the pregnancy to take my maternity leave at the most convenient time work-wise…and of course that’s always doable.

    This stresses me out…but I’m sure others have been through it so I would welcome any advice.

    • Wildkitten :

      Even if you started trying today and were instantly successful you wouldn’t tell your boss until you’d already been at work for 14 months, right? So it’s not the first year. And you hopefully could keep working for the next 6 months, so you wouldn’t even need to leave work until you’d been there for 20 months, which is almost 2 years in.

    • Wildkitten :

      And also this – “My boss has made it known that he finds it extremely unprofessional for a woman to get pregnant after only being at a job for one year” – is extremely unprofessional of your boss.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, my initial response is that your boss is unrealistic. What does he expect women to do? You’ll have been working there for almost two years by the time you go on maternity leave if you get pregnant tomorrow. Then you’ll take max three months off and return for the rest of your working life? Sheesh, guy. Maternity leave is awkward for everyone, but I don’t know that two years prior vs three years prior really matters. Has he been burned by a series of female employees who left after one year because they decided to stay at home? I’d be curious why he has made it so clear. Maybe you can alleviate his concerns if you know them.

      No, there’s no good time. At your age, if you know you want kids and feel ready now, then I wouldn’t put it off. Especially if you want to have more than one child.

      The only reasons I’d hold off is: If you feel that your current boss/office would not be welcoming to a working mom and you want to transfer, or if you are not currently on the short term disability plan. (The plan available when I was pg with my first required 12 months enrollment prior to payout, so I couldn’t use it because I wasn’t on it at the time of conception. That wasn’t true with the plan I used with my second, so check.)

      If your work has an predictable cycle and there’s a particularly *bad* time to go out on leave, then maybe you can temporarily switch to TTA for a couple of months. Otherwise, it’s hard to plan for a good time (which I know you know). I’ve been extremely lucky with my pregnancies and got pregnant on the first cycle, so I can essentially pick my birth month – but even then situations change. I ended up with a major presentation ON my EDD with my second child. It was scheduled while I was pregnant. Life happens. You cross that bridge when you get there.

      • Thanks Anonymous. No, I don’t believe he’s been burned with people leaving, but I know he has had to deal with mommy drama, such as “I want to work from home”, “Can I work part-time?”, “Wait….I don’t have enough money, can I go back to full-time?”, “Maybe you should just make me a contractor?”, “Wait, I don’t get benefits when I’m a contractor, can I go back to being an employee?” (P.S. for anyone reading this and saying – you can’t decide whether a person is a contractor or an employee, they either fit the bill of one or the other. I agree and I’ve pointed that out to them). Anyway, I think having a mother on staff just brings more drama for him that he doesn’t like dealing with, like sick kids and needing to leave early for this or that.

        I work for a privately owned corporation so it’s not huge and there’s no where to transfer to. It’s work in my current position or quit. I’m stressed about whether I’m going to want to work or not when we have a child. I feel fortunate that we are able to be in the position to make this decision but it still stresses me out as to what is the best answer for our family.

        I checked and I am eligible for our disability plan. I would receive 100% pay for 6 weeks and no pay for 6 weeks. Not great, but it sounds reasonable.

    • Need to Improve :

      Your boss should keep his mouth shut before someone sues him.

      You can’t control the timing of this. The first time it took me 7 long months to get pg. The second time, one shot. The second time, I had assumed it was going to take me a while and I tried before I was really “ready” professionally, and the timing was very inopportune given my caseload. But you know what? Having a baby was important to me and in the end I am glad I got pg when I did.

      If you feel ready, and you really want, then go for it. You have no idea how long it will take, and anyway you don’t have to tell anyone until you start to show, which with a first baby can take 5 months, and by then you will have been at your job well over a year EVEN IF you get pg immediately.

    • It’s your life and your boss will deal. Do what makes sense for you.

    • AnonLawMom :

      Your boss should not be saying that. But more importantly, you should not factor his opinion into this very personal and important decision.

    • AnonLawMom :

      Also:

      “The best thing I can do is try to time the pregnancy to take my maternity leave at the most convenient time work-wise…and of course that’s always doable.”

      Ummmm… Not to be snarky, but no, it’s not. I sincerely hope that you are able to get pregnant as quickly as you want with the best timing. But this is not a realistic expectation.

      • Ummmm… Not to be snarky, but you might want to check your sarcasm meter.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I read the “and of course that is always doable” as very sarcastic. Emphasis on the THAT.

    • I love suing people like your boss. What a tool.

      Do what works for you. It could take an awfully long time to get pregnant, or it could happen right away. If your boss is the kind of jerk who discriminates against pregnant employees, I can’t imagine that you actually respect him and want to be in this job long term, so why are you reluctant to get started building your family? Are you concerned you’ll be fired? If you really do care so much what he thinks as to put off baby-making to please him, then I guess I’d say that you’re one month shy of when it would suddenly be considered “professional” to be pregnant. What’s one month worth to you?

    • OP here. Thank you all for confirming what I’ve been thinking all along – which is when you hire a 30 year old female she just might end up getting pregnant. Regarding timing, yes, I was being sarcastic. The best time for me to get pregnant would be in the June – July – August time frame but if it doesn’t happen I’m not going to quit trying until next year at the same time. Regarding respecting my supervisor – I respect his worth ethic, his ability to train, etc. but neither him nor my other supervisor have children. They don’t want them and they make comments about “why would anyone in their right mind want children?”. It should be interesting to tell them I’m pregnant when the time comes. I don’t think I’ll be fired, I just don’t think they’ll be very excited about it. There’s no one here that could cover my job while I’m out so they’d have to bring in a contractor, which isn’t really my problem either.

  16. donations? :

    Which charities do you like to donate to? I could use some ideas. I get so overwhelmed when I do research.

    • Local anti poverty initiatives— in particular food insecurity and homelessness — are where I direct my (non-arts) charity dollars. I particularly like local hunger relief because it’s very direct, and a little bit can make a very big impact. So I donate to a couple local food pantries and also to the broader organization that sources them (here, the Great Chicago Food Depository).

    • My local NPR station, local educational programs I know work, the Human Rights campaign.

    • Anything to do with kids. I do World Vision. It’s so personal in a good way.

      • Anonymous :

        For anyone concerned about marriage equality, be aware that World Vision just made it clear that their ethical code requires anyone who is gay to be celibate. They will not recognize the legal marriages of gay employees.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My main charity is our local arts organization. I also love the Cambodian Children’s Fund — I sponsor a student and make other gifts occasionally as well. Also my local NPR station, local food bank, my Rotary club’s charities. And I have a monthly budget line item for various giving opportunities that may crop up during the year — anything that’s left over gets distributed at year end. I try to do a mix of local, national, and international.

    • The Fistula Foundation. I stumbled upon an article about women living with fistulas years ago and it really stuck with me. I also do local food drives year round and local toy drives around the holidays.

      I would like to do some more “hands on” volunteering, as I have the time right now, but I’m not sure where to start.

    • World Wildlife Fund and the National Parks Foundation. I also donate to my friends’ charity runs, etc, even if the cause isn’t particularly close to my heart because I like supporting my friends (although I obviously wouldn’t donate to something that directly contradicted my views).

    • Partners in Health
      Planned Parenthood
      Doctors without borders

      FINCA (international microfinance)
      Amnesty International

      Chicago food suppository
      WBEZ (local NPR)

      Charity Navigator is a good resource for screening charities, but it is certainly overwhelming. Maybe think about if you want to start local, national or international. You can focus on a personal interest, something that impacted you/your family, or an intellectual/ethical interest. We can help you find something if you throw out an interest etc..

      For me, my interests are human rights, international/national health, women/children issues and I am just a big fan of microfinance (which unfortunately has been soiled with bad “charities”).

      It is always important to screen your charities.

    • I donate to my local NPR station, Planned Parenthood, and I support a handful of projects on donorschoose . org every year. The last is my very favorite–it’s a site for teachers to solicit donations for supplies/experiences/etc for their students. The site is easy to navigate and allows you to search by various criteria for projects to support. Sometimes I donate to schools I attended, or to certain projects that I think are really interesting, or local teachers. The teachers always follow up with details about the project and great photos of the kids. It’s really wonderful.

      • What a lovely idea…. I really like donorschoose.org from your description and will check it out.

        My brother was a teacher and years ago he requested donations using something like this to start a chess club at an inner city school in New Haven. He got a very small donation, and bought 10 chess boards, and the minds and lives of many kids changed before his eyes….

        • That’s a wonderful story! So inspiring. I’m a total evangelist about Donors Choose and I’m glad you plan to check it out.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      CCFA (crohns and colitis foundation)

      Lutheran Comfort Dogs (even though I’m not Lutheran or even that religious). I heard about them following Hurricane Sandy and Newton. I visited them when they visited Boston after the marathon. Basically they are a team of people w/ golden retrievers and go comfort people in times of crisis. They will email for funds when they are deployed to a new disaster site. There is an amazing picture of the dogs visiting a bombing victim in the hospital. The smile on her face is so genuine.
      http://www.lutheranchurchcharities.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=25&Itemid=95

      A local charity that provides free health care to kids. My local animal shelter. Occasionally a random charity that sends me nice stuff in the mail. If I like it and I’m going to use it, I send them $20. The bulk of my donations go to the above though. The K9 comfort team probably gets the most of my donation money.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        This is the link with the picture:

        http://i.huffpost.com/gadgets/slideshows/293080/slide_293080_2359903_free.jpg?1366420373872

    • My favorites are Donors Choose, Kiva, and Modest Needs … my whole thing is about knowing exactly where my donations are going and what they will be used for. I don’t enjoy donating in general to organizations where who-knows-what will happen to the money, especially because I have some narrow interests (e.g. my donations have gone towards helping students in jail, cooking lessons, etc).

      I love getting pictures and updates from the teachers about their projects. It’s so worth it!

  17. Charlotte York - MM Lafleur :

    I wanted to let you all know that I received my MM Lafleur dressing room box earlier this week. I ordered two dresses in two sizes each – the Felisa and the Narie, in size 6 and 8 each. Unfortunately, the whole shipment is going back. It’s a huge disappointment.

    First, it took a whole week to ship and it arrived while I was traveling for work. I received multiple follow up emails asking whether I tried it on yet from them which was kind of annoying.

    Second, the fit is terrible. Neither dress fit in either size ordered. For reference, I wear a 6 in Trina Turk, Banana and Hugo Boss and an 8 in Theory. I would love to see the fit model/measurements because I could barely get the 8 of either dress over my head or get my arms into the sleeves. Once on, the fit was even worse – loose in the bust, tight in the hips and generally bad all over.

    Third, I was unimpressed with the fabric. Both dresses felt cheap and thin despite being made of different fabrics. Neither dress was lined so every bump and line showed. At that price point ($250), I expect a lined dress.

    I had been so looking forward to trying these dresses and solving a work wardrobe staple need. Unfortunately, I’m sending it all back, won’t be trying other items and can’t recommend them to friends.

    • This was my experience as well. I posted a few weeks ago, but I was so disappointed in the Tarantin that I got. I contacted the company once, shipped it back, and got a replacement, but my replacement is probably 10 times worse than my original. I contacted them again, but never got a response.

    • Well, based on your review and another poster here earlier, I think MM LaFleur is out for me. Thanks for posting!

    • This is a serious question–why were you pulling them on over your head? I always thought you were supposed to step into dresses. Am I doing it wrong? I have much larger hips/butt than my waist and upper body and sometimes it’s a squeeze getting it over that widest point, but I have tight shoulders and I feel like I’d be a tangled mess trying to pull dresses on overhead (embarrassingly, I’ve gotten “stuck” in shirts before in dressing rooms and had to ask the attendant for help getting out!)

      • Also, thanks for sharing this review. I’d looked at them before and was intrigued, but with the aforementioned hips I don’t think it would work for me based on your review. And I’m not a fan of unlined dresses showing my fine dimples of wisdom on my rear end (in any context, but especially not at work).

      • Charlotte York :

        I pulled the first one over my head because it had a side zipper. There is no way to step into a dress with a side zipper! The side zipper alone is enough to make me reject the dress. The second dress had a back zipper and while I did step into that one the fit was just as poor.

  18. Texas Bar Results :

    In case anyone here has been waiting for the Texas bar exam results, they were posted earlier today — a day earlier than expected. (I passed woo!)

  19. Thanks Bonnie :

    I think it was you who posted about the ballerina flats from SaksFifth. I ordered 3 pair and they arrived. I love them in black and am so glad I ordered TTS. They were perfect. I am returning the nude and rose gold pairs. I thought the nude upper looked a little plastic and the rose gold was just not my style. Anyhoo, thanks again.

  20. Frou Frou :

    It is decidedly late in the day for this, but I have my first Federal court trial coming up at the end of July and I need a reminder of how many “Brooks Brothers” suit outfits I will need. I am co-chair (is that what it’s called when you are not lead counsel?) in this civil trial, which is expected to last at least 5 days, if not 7. I will be cross-examining at least two witnesses. I have two BB suits (wool, not the nubby kind, but smooth) with pants and skirts, but I don’t find the skirts comfortable. However, I will probably force myself to wear them in rotation because DH will not co-sign to a huge this-is-my-first-federal-court-tiral–and-imma-suit-buying spree. My other suit options are from the Talbots’ seasonless wool collection, and are sheath dresses with matching jackets. Are these appropriate? If not, how many additional suits do I need. Also, can I wear shells (not tank tops) under these jackets in the heat of the summer? Or do I need to wear button downs, which never fit well across my chest.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I don’t know where you live but where I live the sheaths in suiting material with matching jackets are perfectly fine, as are any other “real” suit. It doesn’t have to be Brooks Brothers. Yes, federal court is more formal. That said, I have heard there are still some rare courts requiring women to be in skirts. Mine is absolutely not one of them. I was at a networking event with a female federal court judge and she did not believe that there were still courts requiring skirts.

      • I had a five-day federal, civil, jury trial about a year ago in front of a (female) judge that supposedly requires women to wear pantyhose. I had four suits (and no button down shirts that would fit over my new belly, so all my shirts were shells and dressy tees) and on the last day, wore a black pencil skirt and grey jacket. I was about 20 months pregnant at the time and so had to make do with some suits I was able to buy online at Nordstrom in a few sizes larger than what I normally wear. I didn’t think it was an issue at all, and in fact my opposing counsel (female) wore a khaki skirt suit on the last day with tan strappy heeled sandals. I think you’re fine.

    • Your dress/jacket suits are perfectly fine and there is no requirement for button-downs. In my experience, the courtrooms are chilled to tundra levels so keep that in mind.

      • Thanks, Blonde and Bonnie. I know I don’t need to wear the BB brand, I was referring to them for their formality because they are the most formal suits I own. :) But hooray! it sounds like I can get by with a few shells and call it done. I’ve always had a hard time discerning how formal these talbots suits are based on the quality of the wool/ As for the regional thing re: skirts, I have heard of one judge in our region that prefers skirts on women, but we’re not before him, so yay for pants!

    • If you have two suits with sheaths and two more that you can wear pants with, you should be fine. If you can wear the jackets with the skirts, you are definitely fine. I might want one additional suit (in case of disaster — I once split a seam during trial climbing to retrieve a box of files), but I don’t think a spree is necessary.

      I don’t wear pants in jury trials unless they are expected to go more than a week and a half, but that is personal preference. We have judges (typically female) in our courthouse who don’t believe in pants suits for court, but they won’t ever ban you for it. They will just express their displeasure.

      Shells are fine. I don’t find button up shirts particularly attractive, so I avoid them and wear shells frequently.

    • Just an FYI – Brooks Brothers is doing a massive sale. I just got a suit, a blazer, and two silk blouses from them for under $500 with shipping and tax.

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