Wednesday’s TPS Report: Cashmere Blazer

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

Antonio Melani Cashmere BlazerI love a good sweater blazer — I always think of them as falling into the sartorial space between “a blazer is too stiff” and “a cardigan is too casual.” I like that this one is cashmere, and the deal is pretty good — it was $199, but is now marked to $119.40 (and if you use your Dillard’s card you get an additional 30% discount). It’s available in “deep sea” (pictured) and black in limited sizes. Antonio Melani Cashmere Blazer

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

Psst: Check out more great deals at the Corporette Bargains page!


  1. Just wanted to say I’m wearing the White House Black Market sheath dress that was featured a week or two ago and it looks great. I’ve paired it with an emerald green statement necklace and matching earrings, as well as a cobalt blue cardigan, black tights and black wedges.

    It’s perfect for today’s weird near 60 degree weather.

    • I am loving the 60 degree weather this morning!

      • So excited about the weather. When I left home this morning it was still 35, but it felt like spring!

    • I received mine earlier this week but still have not had time to try it on!

    • I got mine too and it is lovely! A little long (I’m 5’5″ and it it came to below my knee) and despite my best bra attempt (one of those that is more half a cup rather than more triangular, which I know there’s a name for but it escapes me) I did have to have the tailor add something in the corners. I love your idea of a green necklace with it, maybe even change the belt up at times.

    • I got mine too, fits great and looks very elegant, great recommendation from this blog.
      For work, I would still wear it with a blazer, I just felt too much neck skin, but a cute neckline for non-work events.

    • I got mine too and sadly it doesn’t fit me correctly. Too narrow through the hips and too big in the waist, as always (though it was closer to fitting that I normally get in a sheath dress). Oh how I long for the day I can buy a sheath dress or even one that can be altered to fit.

    • Is this the same one I bought – with the snow leopard lining? Wore it to a symphony event Friday night and LOVED IT!

  2. momentsofabsurdity :

    Beautiful color. I like this pick a lot Kat!

    Update on my friend – secondary tests have now indicated that it is MS. Her first MRI was clear, so she thought everything was okay early this week – they were going to do one more confirmatory MRI and then just keep an eye on her. But it looks like that second MRI showed lesions in her brain and spine consistent with MS. My heart’s breaking for her and I’m trying to figure out how best to support her through this. I went up last weekend – she didn’t want to talk about it much so we just had a pretty normal hangout and tried to keep busy, so she wasn’t thinking about all of this. She’s traveling to another state (rotation) this week for 2.5 months and her time will be super limited so it will be much harder to see her but I will try to get there at least once.

    I’m just down about the whole thing. I know the internet is nothing but horror stories, but everything I am reading/learning about the disease – it’s just making me want to give her a huge hug and take this all away.

    • Diana Barry :

      So sorry to hear that. Big hugs to your friend and to you!!!

      I have a friend with MS and she is able to manage it pretty well so far…she looks on it as a positive that she was diagnosed early (age 28 or so).

    • Hugs to your friend. I hope some of the otehr ladies with more experience in this area can chime in.

    • I’m so sorry. Hugs to both of you.

    • Hugs and rawrs.

    • Living with a diagnosis of ms today is very different from living with ms 20 years ago. There are a number of disease modifying therapies that decrease both the frequency and severity of symptom flare ups. Juthe older line medications are all injections, but just recently two oral therapies were approved.

      There is a ton of ongoing research in this area, and I think many more developments are on the horizon. MS does not itself shorten life expectancy, and especially with today’s treatments, most patients can live without any lasting disability for decades (see Ann Romney). Your friend needs to find the best neurologist in her area subspecializing in demyelinating co.conditions. someone on top of all new developments and research will be best.

      It’s a scary diagnosis, but she will have many treatment options and her symptoms should subside.

    • I went through a six month period of seeing specialist after specialist who all thought I had MS or Huntington’s disease (sadly yet worse than MS). To date they have still not entirely ruled out MS, but have never formally diagnosed me either. The BEST thing my friends did for me was to just act normal, but with a little extra TLC thrown in. My one friend took to emailing me everyday with just a cute quote or picture or even just ” wanted to say hi.” I was swampped yesterday and not able to read your previous thread, so not sure if your friend is single, but I am, and my friends knew the scariest part for me was thinking I would be alone and with some chronic disease – so the daily email blasts really went to help me just feel less alone through the whole process. Also, I know my friends did do some reading on the diseases to know what was in my head – and I will say, that was helpful. That way when I did want to talk about it they at least had some knowledge about the disease, progression, drug therapy options etc. But overall, I found that having my friends just be at their “best” of being good friends was the most helpful thing. I felt loved and supported and it made the whole thing a lot less scary and a lot more manageable to deal with.

    • I’m sorry that the docs now think she has MS. A few thoughts (that hopefully are helpful). First, in my experience, the people who are posting their stories online are the ones who are struggling (mentally, physically, or both) and need support. Those who are doing well are probably living their day-to-day lives and are not participating in the support groups as much. So the sample is skewed.
      Second, your friend is being diagnosed now and her treatment will reflect what is known about MS now. How people who were diagnosed five or ten years ago were treated is irrelevant. If the treatment options have advanced (and I have to think they have), then all that matters is what today’s treatments are and how those options will help her.
      Third, she is going to need the ongoing support of good friends such as yourself. People often get an outpouring of support when they first receive a diagnosis and then those people get busy with their lives and tend to forget that their friend is still dealing with MS (or whatever the condition is). Please remember to check in with her regularly—and talk about things other than MS and her treatment.
      Finally, if she is amenable to it, I would suggest she find out which institution is the best in the country for MS and go there. I’m surprised when people with serious conditions will stay with their local doctors who may be very good, but are not the best in the field (especially for something like MS). My guess is that whether it’s Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic or somewhere else, those institutions are used to seeing someone annually or so and then working with the person’s local doctor to manage the condition. While I recognize this is a huge added expense to go somewhere else, her treatment likely will be far more successful and her quality of life higher as a result.
      Best of luck to her. She’s fortunate to have you as a friend.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Hugs to both of you. I know someone in her 30s with MS, though I’m not very close to her, and she’s one of the most vibrant, fun, and outgoing people I know; she travels, parties with friends, and does the things she loves. I’m sure she has a lot of struggles, but it is totally possible to manage the disease and live a full life.

    • So sorry to hear that.

      My mom has Parkinson’s, which different but not worlds away from MS. For my own adjustment, it was helpful early on to listen to people with Parkinson’s describe their experiences (for MS,, although you can also do support groups, other websites, etc.). Long-term, I have been donating to a related charity (for me, Michael J. Fox Foundation) — if nothing else, I now get a monthly newsletter and information on participating in various studies.

      For my mom, I don’t bring up her condition unless I have a reason (like there is a study she might want to participate in), and I do my best not to baby her or presume that she can’t do thinks for herself the way she did before the diagnosis.

      For your friend, I think the best thing you can do is to be available, as other people have suggested — visiting / calling / emailing more often, not re: MS but just to show that she is an important part of your life, and that there are a lot of people who care about her. It’s also important that you continue to rely on your friend as you have in the past. Don’t feel that you can’t unburden yourself to her now that she has this diagnosis. You should still let her in on your own concerns, your job complaints, your dating woes, your family / medical / other issues….From your friend’s perspective, it is really important to feel and be useful and needed — to remain a friend, and not to become an object of pity.

    • springtime :

      You’re a good friend for being there for her.

    • My husband has IBD, which is an autoimmune disease like MS. Sometimes the little things that he deals with can make him feel very alone, so the fact that I know he’s sick and can commiserate I think are helpful (since people with MS don’t “look” sick to others). For example, he takes a powerful chemotherapy drug (also used in MS) that means he is supposed to drink. This can just be tough and isolating at parties. “Why aren’t you drinking?” “Oh, you know, just my incurable, devastating chronic illness!!” Is not what you want to say.

      So I try to make these things easier on my husband by looking out for him wherever I can- I’d try to do the same for your friend. I think it can be very lonely dealing with a chronic illness that isn’t “obvious” or life-threatening in the way that say, cancer, is. That doesn’t mean it’s any less debilitating or painful- having someone around who just KNOWS that can be enough.

      • omg *isn’t supposed to drink. Obviously. No drinking on the chemo, lol.

        • goirishkj :

          Woohoo Team IBD!

          Moments, so sorry for your friend. No experience with MS, but I was diagnosed with IBD in college. I do not look sick and I run half marathons. It can be very isolating to be young and to have a chronic illness. The best things my friends have done is to be there for me and let me vent if I want or just treat me normally if I want. They let me feel whatever I am feeling in the moment without judgment. The worst are the drama queens who use Dr Google to figure out the drawbacks to a cold and whine to me.

          You are a good friend

      • Big ups to the IBDers! (Sorry – I bet I even know the drug he’s on – I took it for awhile). I have a weird amount of IBD pride…I weirdly weird amount.

        Nevamind…moving on.

        • Ugh, you have to take it once a week? I think that made me sicker than my chronic condition (not IBD but they use chemo drugs to knock out my immune system). I refuse to take it ever again.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Thank you all so much for your thoughts and advice. She’s in medical school so she’s well covered in terms of a desire to stay at the forefront of medical care/will be compliant in medication/etc. I believe she’s planning on going on some sort of injectable therapy (I didn’t realize there was oral therapy) and her biggest worry right now is how to slow the progression of the disease while on the same token, finding a medication she can handle the side effects of.

      I’m going to try to text/email/call/contact her daily so she knows how much I love/support her. I just want her to be able to do all the things I know she’s dreamed of doing in her life, and I so hope that her MS doesn’t progress enough that it limits her.

      Thanks all.

    • Irene Adler :

      In September 2011, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and passed in June 2012. I had an outpouring of support after he died, but the absolute best came from my dear friend that I met on the first day of high school. Every week or so, she would write a note to me on beautiful stationary–actual good ol’ snail mail–with a memory (a vacation we went on together, a lame teacher), something she admired about me, or even a funny story that happened to her at work or on a date. Those letters, just seeing the pretty envelope pop up in the onslaught of generic condolence cards, were a bright spot for me during what I hope was the toughest part of my life.

      • I’m so so sorry for your loss. Your friend’s gesture was really lovely and I’m glad you shared it here. I also hope you’ve passed through the toughest part. Much love and hugs to you.

        • Irene Adler :

          Thank you Frou! The toughest comes and goes, but I will forever swear by the the handwritten notes. My friend is one classy broad.

  3. Happy Anon :

    I love, love, love this blazer, and Antonio Melani is a designer I know works very well for my body type. Sigh. If only I had room in the clothing budget.

    • I’ve got a handful of Antonio Melani pieces that I’ve gotten on deep discount (thanks to the local Dillards outlet store) and I really love that brand.

      • Me too. It’s one of my favorite professional-with-something-special-but-still-affordable brands. Especially because they always have such crazy sales. And you aren’t that likely to see someone else wearing your outfit, as you sometimes can be with Ann Taylor or Banana.

      • I’m also an Antonio Melani fan.

      • Big fan. I’m amazed at how consistently nice the designs are.

    • Good shoes, too. The pumps are very comfortable.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I love this so much. Does the brand usually run large or small? I’m a 32E/F and usually a S or M depending on fit.

  4. Love this! I have such a hard time finding blazers that fit properly and are flexible enough to be comfortable. This looks really classy.

    • I agree. This is VERY cute, tho I would be WORRYING about Frank lookeing at me if I did NOT wear a turtelneck underneth it!

      Today when I was walkeing in, I literaly bumped into GONZALO! He came out of an old walkup on Lex right above a resturnant! I asked what he was doeing there and he said he was stayeing there. He said why was I there and I showed him my fitbit. He said I was lookeing very very good (he pronunces it “berry”) and he wanted to know if I would come to his apartement for dinner. I said NO b/c I do NOT go to guy’s apartement’s. He said OK, but he would call and take me out. I did NOT say no b/c right now, there are NOT any other guy’s calleing me. YAY!

      I do not think I would marry him, but at least he is interested in me and has some ability to have a CONVERSATION. I know my DAD would NOT aprove b/c he was making those disgussting clicking noieses with his mouth when my dad was at the resturant. FOOEY! Maybe I will NOT tell dad about this when he calls later to check up on me.

      Frank is lookeing over at me with the manageing partner now and laffing at me. I have NO idea why! FOOEY!

  5. I just wanted to say that the post about trying to save for $1M houses (started by Harriet the Spy) yesterday really helped my spirits in the real estate department. It’s nice to know that others are struggling (so to speak) in high COL areas despite salaries that put us close to the 1%.

    Sometimes I just get so frustrated like, why is this so hard? I thought everything got easy once you got a degree from a top-tier school and landed high-paying job. And yes, I know these are total first world problems that I’m lucky to have… just nice to know others have them too & I’m not alone!

    • I found the discussion really fascinating. Thank you to all who chimed in. It very much affirmed that I never want to own property. Must be the building-destructing tendencies I have.

      • Or the fact that you have to deal with things yourselves. The idea of DIY makes me itchy.

      • I have never destroyed Tokyo, but I, too, have absolutely no desire to own property. I think it’s one of those funny instinctive things with people – it’s so important to some people.

    • harriet the spy :

      I also wanted to thank everyone for chiming in. I thought it was a very helpful discussion and it was so interesting to read about the various strategies — from saving up for a giant $200k down payment, to buying with a 3% down payment and trusting that the salary would be there to cover the monthly costs, to cannibalizing the 401k. Thank you all for sharing.

  6. Loveland, CO area? :

    Planning a trip to see my friend who lives in Loveland, probably around mid-March-ish (gotta use last year’s vacation days before they expire!) I’m thinking I’ll be up there a few days before the weekend, and a day or two after. I might be on my own a bit, any r e t t e s have suggestions on things I should go see/do? I’ll have access to a car, if that makes any difference!

    • Fat Tire brewery is in Ft. Collins nearby is FABULOUS, and Rocky Mountain National Park is absolutely gorgeous. RMNP has lots of “viewpoints” and road through the park, as it will likely bee too snowy/muddy in most places to do any significant hiking. There are also TONS of art galleries in Loveland, so you can just wander the main strip. If you want to venture more toward Denver/Boulder, I recommend a little jaunt through Boulder. It’s a really charming town. If you’re down in Denver, there’s a million things to do–Denver’s quite cute too–I recommend the Tattered Cover Book Store or checking out the Denver Museum of Art. The Cowboy Museum is very cool and local too! Hope you have a great time!

      • The brewery that makes Fat Tire is actually New Belgium. They’re fantastic and they have tours plus a self-guided tour with a lot of history. They have a great bar and store, too. We also checked out the Boulder Brewing Company. We went to a rodeo in Loveland and a music festival in Fort Collins and both were fabulous – I highly recommend events of either type! Our main purpose of the trip was to visit RMNP, so I think that’s kind of a given. :)

  7. MaggieLizer :

    For a few months now I’ve been noticing that certain men in my building will look up when they walk onto the elevator. I always kind of brushed it off, figuring they must be tired or depressed about going to work or something. Today for the first time, I noticed that the ceiling of the elevator is mirrored. And it’s very easy to see down a woman’s top, even if the top is perfectly professional and you’re wearing a cami. I think I’m going to start investing in some scarves.

    • This frosts me. In addition to installing a universal use scarf rack in the elevator (kidding), I might start looking up, too, and making eye contact with the creepers in the mirror/ceiling (not kidding). Gross, dudes.

      • I think this would probably be very effective. Look up innocently, as if just to see what he’s looking at, and I bet it will be remembered by all but the most shameless– such that you won’t need to keep doing it. So gross, guys.

        • MaggieLizer :

          Ha! I can just imagine the look on his face. I’m definitely going to do that in the future.

          • I think a pointed eyebrow raise would also be warranted. Let us know what happens!

          • Or an innocent-sounding, “Why are you looking at the ceiling?”

          • Yeah, and don’t wear a scarf unless you feel like wearing a scarf. It’s their problem and not yours.

      • You might find youself possessed with the urge to itch the top of your head with your middle finger the next time that happens.

    • I guess I have two thoughts. My first is, I couldn’t care less if someone looks, so long as he doesn’t leer, touch, or make an inappropriate remark. But your feelings are valid and if you don’t like it, I understand. Second, it’s not incumbent upon you to change your behavior. Complain to HR or management. They should replace the elevator ceilings if it’s enabling what you and other women might consider a hostile environment by allowing men to repeatedly look at your cleavage.

      However, if your cleavage is visible from an overhead mirror, it’s probably visible to anyone taller than you. Of course, they can’t be so obvious as to look down at it so I do agree that the mirrored ceiling is a problem, but if you really don’t want people to be able to see it, scarves might be a good idea.

    • I’d mention this to the building manager. There is no reason women should have to put up with this.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      A court house in my district has a glass staircase. I try to remember not to wear skirts there.

    • I wonder if they’re just checking themselves out in the mirror though…

    • Eh, devils advocate, but why not see if the women do it as well? I always catch myself glancing up into the ceiling as it’s kind of a neat view.

      Or maybe they’re creepers. But just saying…might be all in your head.

  8. Ambien / sleep problems :

    My SO has sleep problems and has been on ambien for it for what I think is way too long (and still has chronic sleep deprivation). I want to urge SO to see a sleep specialist or someone because I don’t think that this is healty or even safe (not to mention that it makes SO really not fun to be around — very short fuse). I don’t have first hand experience with something that is becoming a chronic problem with accute episodes. I am not sure where to start and it’s not my problem (except that the fallout is my problem and and I do love SO and want SO to have a long and healthy and happy life).

    • I have been chronicling my health problems recently and I am so frustrated and bewildered at how prevalent prescription sleep aids are dispensed. Any time I mention trouble sleeping, a doctor promptly writes me a prescription for sleeping pills and/or muscle relaxers (I have muscle issues but still). In my book, medicating symptoms without finding an underlying cause is lazy treatment.

      In my case, pain kept me from sleeping well. I was groggy and exhausted no matter how much sleep I got. Once I got appropriate treatment for the pain (which is painkillers, physical therapy and a pillow), my sleep has been so restful and restorative. No tossing and turning and waking up.

      TL;DR – send SO to a new pcp that will listen to everything that’s wrong. Work with your SO to figure out every little symptom that’s bothering him, as small and insignificant as they may seem. Maybe you can journal his issues – complaints of headache or dizziness or whatever.

      • Ambien / sleep problems :

        Thanks. That’s my instinct, too. I am not even sure that it’s a sleep issue so much as the anxiety explodes during still moments and keeps him too mentally occupied to sleep. And maybe bad sleep hygiene (Ambien + lots of bad-for-you food + TV/computer = it’s like having a stoner at home; I thought the idea was you should pop the pill, turn off all gadgets, and go to bed)? He loves his PCP (whom I never met). He is also struggling with weight (which I suspect would be much less of an issue if it weren’t for the Ambien diet, plus he’d probably be more active if had more energy and weren’t so tired). Even with all of this, he goes to bed way too late (so no chance to get 8 hours of sleep) doesn’t sleep through the night most nights.

        • Yeah, ambien is not going to help with any of what you just said. Sounds like he could be suffering from heartburn – junk food + little sleep is asking for fiery stomach problems.

          I actually changed pcp’s, even though I liked the one I had originally. A physician with a healthy amount of skepticism is important – he or she should be asking lots of questions.

          • Ambien / sleep problems :

            Any advice about getting SO to even get a second opinion? The PCP has had him on Ambien for years, with no talk therapy or anything for the anxiety issues, which I gather would be a huge red flag to someone looking at this with fresh eyes. From what I gather, PCP has SO on short-term prescriptions and then renews them without an office visit.

            I feel like I need to stage an intervention or something. Do not think that “your beloved PCP has gotten you hooked on something that hasn’t fixed your problem and has turned you into a sleep-deprived stressed-out hair-trigger-temper addict” will go over well and that I will get hit with “giving him a hard time.”


    • I recommend acupuncture if he is open to it.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      For the sleep study part – if he has sleep apnea, leaving it untreated can lead to permanent heart damage. Even if he swears he would never wear a cpap, he should at least know if he has sleep apnea and if he does, if he has already damaged his heart so that he can make an informed decision about whether to wear the machine.

      Like Ru mentioned, I also had multiple health issues going on and my pcp kept wanting to send me from specialist to specialist and each one just wanted to throw more drugs at me without finding out what was CAUSING all these issues.

      It was actually a nurse practitioner I was referred to for ADD that took a FULL medical history and said, woah, something has to be causing all these issues in all these different systems. He immediately thought food allergies or sleep apnea and sent me to be tested for both. I had no new to me food allergies, though I have plenty already, and it turned out I had hypopnea (spelling). That means that while I don’t stop breathing entirely, my breathing changes and becomes inconsistent such that my body will start to wake up until I breath normally again. I never fully woke up and never knew I was doing it. I was doing it 31 times per hour and I wasn’t getting ANY REM sleep. Hence all my systems freaking the heck out.

      After my diagnosis my coworker, who knew about her sleep apnea (the stop breathing kind) finally went to get re-tested so she could get a machine. By then, she had done some mild damage to her heart. Luckily, now that she is treated it won’t continue to get damaged.

      We just have better technology then we did years ago. A lot of those “died peacefully in his sleep” cases were actually strokes or heart attacks from sleep apnea.

      Maybe that will scare him into getting a sleep test.

      The downside – my husband has a sleep issue where he just wakes up a lot at night. He had the test too and he does not have sleep apnea. He was told it was probably just stress.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I have struggled with insomnia for most of my life, but it comes in phases. When I was dealing with severe depression and being very overweight, those cycles came much closer together and the insomnia nights became weeks which became months.

      It was definitely a combination of factors for me, but I think that all the medications I was taking, including Ambien every night for a couple of years were making it all worse. My antidepressant prescription was changed to a bipolar medication (which I am 100% convinced was not necessary but my doctor wouldn’t listen to me) and stopped getting an Ambien prescription. During the switch, I began to think that I may not be depressed anymore. Once I had been properly medicated, I thought it was the medication that was making me feel better and it didn’t occur to me that I had changed many of my circumstances and worked through many of the issues that led to my depression in the first place. I decided to stop taking the medication and was very fortunate to discover that I was right and my depression wasn’t something that needed to be treated with medication anymore. My sleep didn’t fix itself overnight, but over the next few months it gradually started to change and has continued to get better. Now, with the exception of a handful of nights over the past 2 years, my sleep has been pretty good.

      I don’t say this to suggest that he get off any or all of his medications. Just to point out that it can be a viscious cycle between pills that cause you to be more awake that then have to be dealt with through other pills later, etc. There could be other medications that would help better or trying to deal with other issues that maybe causing the sleep issue in the first place.

      I would have hated to have someone tell me all of this when I was dealing with the worst of my insomnia, so be gentle when you do discuss it with him. It can be a hard thing to talk about when you feel like the other person has absolutely no idea what it feels like to sleep so little and have any sleep you do get be such bad quality and still trying to make it through every day like that.

    • lucy stone :

      I would tell him just that and encourage him to see a specialist. My husband has sleep apnea and although he is not always good with wearing his machine, after a long talk about how I don’t want to have kids if it means I’ll be a single mom, I want to grow old together, etc. he usually complies for quite a while. He got his sleep apnea machine after we’d been dating for four years and it was honestly like he became Husband 2.0, new improved and better rested.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        He can try hypnosis to find the mask more comfortable. I was hypnotized before getting mine and haven’t had a problem sleeping with it since.

  9. I love the colour of this blazer- Dillard’s, however, is not into Canadians :(

    So, I booked an impromptu flight to Barcelona yesterday. I’m leaving on Tuesday and I’ll be there for 9 days or so. I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth the 3-4 or so days I’d need to go see Alhambra, or whether I should stay in Barcelona the whole time instead, and go see Montserrat? Any other Barcelona tips? If I stay in Barcelona, any other day trips? Or is it worth leaving to go see another city other than Granada?

    I probably should have planned this more than a week in advance, but I guess spontaneity is good for me in some way.

    • Go see the Salvador Dali museum in Figueres. You can go by train and avoid renting a car, driving and parking. The museum is a must-see, but the town itself is not interesting at all.
      I’d say 4-5 days in Barcelona would be enough in wintertime, so you can add a second major destination. Bear in mind though, that Granada is practically across the country and you may need to fly there.

    • AnonInfinity :


      I got to go to Barcelona for a week after the bar exam (and spent another week in Italy). We stayed in Barcelona the entire week, though I think with 9 days you could do a trip to a different city and still be satisfied. Of course, it also depends on what kind of traveler you are. DH and I like to plan 1 major thing per day and maybe 1-2 minor things and spend the rest of the day relaxing at a cafe or wandering around just taking it all in. You can “do” Barcelona in less time than we did and still see most of the big things.

      My favorite thing in Barcelona was the Miro museum. I loved seeing the evolution of one artist’s work, and even though I wasn’t in love with Miro before, I really appreciate his work a lot more after that experience. The museum also had a small area devoted to a special exhibit. The area around that museum is beautiful, and it’s worth just wandering around.

      My husband LOVED La Sagrada Familia. We were there in major tourist season (early August), so I’m not sure if it will be different now, but the line was INSANE. We got in line before the cathedral opened and were still in line for an hour and a half. One very important note if you go there is that THEY ONLY TAKE CASH. They do not take cards at all even if you cry. We learned this because the couple in front of us did not have cash after waiting in line for an hour and a half. (We would have paid for them, but we barely had enough cash for our admission.)

      ALSO — You should go see Alhambra if you have the opportunity and any interest whatsoever in it. We went there during a separate trip, and it was just amazing. It’s seriously one of my favorite places I’ve ever been.

      Have so much fun!

    • I think nine days in Barcelona sounds like too much and that a trip to Grenada/Alhambra would be a nice addition. I think I took an overnight train down and then spent two days there. I liked Alhambra but liked Granada and the Islamic architecture in the city even better. Sevilla is also nice if you have the time, but Barcelona/Granada is probably enough.

      As for Barcelona tips, definitely go on a Gaudi tour and go to Park Guell! Loved it!

    • I went to Spain several years ago and the Alhambra was one of the highlights – definitely would recommend it.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Nine days in Barca alone might be too much, but its a great touch point for day trips – take a day and go to Monserrat, go to Sitges for a day, take the train to Madrid, go shopping in Andorra etc…

      In Barca – you have to go spend an hour or so on La Rambla, take the Gaudi, tour have lunch near the Marina, hit the Picasso Musuem and climb Mt Montjuic and see the castle!

    • sdchicky619 :

      If you can swing it, go to Granada and see the Alhambra. It’s worth the trip.
      A company called Runner Bean does a fantastic free “Gaudi Highlights” walking tour. I highly recommend it!

    • oil in houston :

      I Love Barcelona, such a beautiful city… I spent 4 das there and would have happily spent a bit more. I lvoed the restaurants by the beach, the park, and walking through the old city generally. All the museums are good.
      I would recommend a trip to Madrid (there is a high speed train between the 2 cities), Andalucia is nice, Granada’s Alhambra the best by far but Sevilla is good for a day or 2 as well (Christopher Columbus is buried there if my memory serves me right).
      have fun!

    • I’m jealous! Have a great trip! I love Barcelona, but agree that you have time for another city… I took an overnight train to Madrid on one of my trips, and it was great (although I’m a really heavy sleeper; I don’t think my husband got much rest. Make sure you get a top bunk so that the light doesn’t shine in your face every time someone opens the door!). One of my favorite ways to travel, ever– easier than flying, and since I was going to sleep at night anyway, I didn’t feel like I was wasting time getting from point A to B.

      If I’m remembering right, I thiiiink there’s a really cool maritime history museum in Barcelona down by the Columbus monument, if you’re into that kind of thing. Of course go see some Gaudi stuff — Casa Batllo, Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia is kind of a tourist trap, but worth it to see once. I also really enjoyed the Palau de la Musica Catalana.

    • I was just there for 4 days, and could have used a couple more, but you should have plenty of time to see almost everything and still do a few day/overnight trips elsewhere if you want. Absolute best part for me was La Boqueria, which is this huge farmers market thing in the middle of Las Ramblas, which is the main touristy drag. We would go to La Boqueria nearly every day and get a collection of awesome food and fruits and do a picnic lunch down by the beach. The nightclubs were fun, but literally do not open or have people in them until 1 am. We were able to hang in until about 3:30 and had to call it a night. Maybe keep one day reserved as a laid-back day if you decide to stay out all night :)

      Have fun, its a beautiful city!

    • I wouldn’t hit Granada this trip. It’s an amazing city, and words cannot describe the Alhambra, but you’re working with a fairly limited timeframe–why spend such a big chunk of it in a bus, train, or car traveling halfway across Spain?

      If you want to get out of Barcelona for a few days, Montserrat would be an easy choice. So would be the Montseny area, which is on my to-visit ( A bit farther afield, but still within easy reach, are Zaragoza (never been, but heard it’s massively under-appreciated), Pamplona (no bulls this time of year, but still worth checking out), the Rioja wine region (stay in the capital Logroño, tour vineyards, drink wine), or my personal favorite region of Spain, the Basque Country (Bilbao has the Guggenheim; San Sebastian is in its off-season but has more Michelin stars than Paris, which has a fairly impressive trickle-down effect on local cuisine).

    • Montserrat is just a nice halfday trip from Barcelona. I would strongly recommend Sevilla + Granada. I know they are not close by, but how many times will you be going to Spain anyway?

    • 9 days does seem like a lot for Barcelona – I’ve done similar and had thought a week wld probably have been enough. The easy day-trips are Tarragona and Girona, both with atmospheric historical centres (the former with a Roman amphitheatre). From memory, both are served by coach tours organised by the regional tourist authority (quite minimal, pick-up and drop-off, you’re left on your own to wander about on arrival, inexpensive, handy departure from Barcelona at the main square north of las Ramblas, and the Girona one stops in Figueres for Dali’s house, an interesting oddity of a museum).

      Quimet y Quimet off avenida Parallel is the tapas bar of my dreams – small counter, specialists in preserved foods of all sorts, siblings prepping tasty morsels on toast for a bustling stand-up crowd. Go at lunch since it can be a bit hard to find.

      Finally, it’s worthwhile to specify you want a quiet room wherever you stay. Barcelona is popular with noisy weekending packs from Northern Europe and locals eat late, so some streets and squares stay lively till very late.

  10. Has anyone tried the oil cleansing method for washing their face? It is basically washing your face with different types of oil, which I know sounds crazy.

    I am 27 and have always struggled with acne that has gotten much worse since I have been pregnant. I have been on all kinds of prescriptions, antibiotics and cleansers. I started the ocm and my skin is clearing up(after 5 days) and all glowy. My husband even noticed. Just wanted to share in case anyone wants to check it out!

    • Confused anon :

      Wait, if one is a night showerer, as I am, does that mean I would have to not wash my face in the shower and wait until I got out of the shower (with now-melting makeup), and then apply the oil to my face?

      What do you apply the oil with? And what do you use to get the oil (and even more dissolving makeup) off your face?

      Makeup and makeup removal arcana are just so confusing that I pretty much have given up. It always seems too hard, with too little of a payout for me. Ugh.

      • If you google oil cleansing method you will find all kinds of strategies. But basically, it’s not that different than washing your face with anything else. There’s no reason you can’t “wash” your face in the shower, with oil, then wipe it – and any make up – off with a warm, wet washcloth.

      • Jury is still our for my experience with the Boscia oil cleanser although I want to like it. It is super easy to use though, just use your fingers to massage onto a dry face and rinse with warm water. Rinses surpisingly clean and my face doesn’t feel tight.

      • East Coaster :

        I feel like this sometimes too – there are too many choices. Natural products or regular paraben stuff? Regular spf or mineral blockers? Should I use the retin-a the doctor prescribed or maybe not because if it’s not safe for pregnant women it can’t really be good for you anyways? And so on, and so on.

      • It’s pretty easy, but takes a bit more time than what I was doing previously. I use a mix of castor and flax seed oil. Rub it on my face for a few minutes and steam/wipe off with hot water on a wash cloth a few times. I have read that it works even better in a steamy shower but haven’t tried as
        I am a morning shower-er and do ocm at night.

      • I used to do this and then found a short cut in DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. It’s an olive oil blend whcih smells of rosemary. DHC (google DHC care for the website) markets it as a makeup remover. I dispense a small amount into my hand, rub my palms together, and then smear it all over my face before my evening shower. I then rinse it off with a hot washcloth in the shower – it’s water soluable! I really gets all my makeup off, and leaves nice clean pores. I follow my regular exfoliate, cleanse, tone, moisturize routine after the shower and my skin looks teriffic.

    • Glad you found something that works for you! I also use the oil cleansing method and have for a few years now. I did not experience such a drastic difference as you did, but I’m relatively happy with my skin. I haven’t had any winter dryness issues yet in the summer my oiliness isn’t as pronounced as it was before.

      There are all kinds of options for oil, but I like 100% jojoba oil (I get it at Trader Joe’s). I also bought a few dozen plain washcloths at Costco.

    • Yep, I use a mix of castor and apricot oil and really like it. I steam it off and then apply more apricot oil before I go to bed and my skin always looks better when I’m doing it consistently.

    • I’ve tried it and loved it, but it really clogged my drains, even though I clean my sink every two-three days with soap and bathroom cleaner.

      • I hadn’t thoght about that! I will make sure to keep an eye out for clogging. I had no idea so many were already using ocm. Guess I’m late to the game, but glad I found it!

    • I occasionally use olive oil and a washcloth (and do it before showering.) It’s pretty awesome and I get a little exfoliation from the washcloth. My skin is cranky (super sensitive and very acne prone); I just managed to wean myself off antibiotics that I had been taking for 3-4 years. I noticed that a strict regimen of a multivitamin and fish oil really helped, as did a low-sugar diet.

  11. Browneyedgal :

    Good morning ladies. I’m facing a bit of a block. My legal job search has been depressing. I feel really lucky to have a government job with decent hours, but I don’t feel challenged by it. I can only seem to land interviews in the same limited field. I’m trying to shift practice areas (with an eye towards moving in-house). Most of the job descriptions require significant commerical contract drafting/negotiation skills. I haven’t had the chance to work on these types of matters (and it isn’t an option at my current job). Is there a pro bono/other way to amass these skills? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • One pro-bono organization I can think of off the top of my head is Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Their clients often need commercial advice.

    • Alice Snuffleupagus :

      make sure you check your agency’s rules about doing pro bono. lots of legal employlers don’t like it if you do “outside” legal work.

  12. To somewhat continue yesterday’s discussion about yoga (I got home to late to participate), I had read an article awhile back that said that women should do some form of all three types of exercise – cardio, weights, and meditative (such as yoga).

    I do cardio and weights and it takes a lot of time. I can’t imagine taking the time to add one more thing.

    What are your thoughts?

    • In an ideal world, I’d do all three. But I barely make time for one form of exercise, let alone three, so I focus on the two that seem to do the most for me physically and mentally, which is cardio and yoga. My philosophy is that something is better than nothing.

    • CrimsonClover :

      I think that they’re all necessary to achieve “total body fitness”, but depending on which type of yoga you’re doing (for instance, warm vinyasa flow), you are definitely getting a cardio and weight-lifting component in your typical yoga class. Speedy Sun Salutations are essentially yoga burpees with a real emphasis on form (holy cardio, Batman!), and holding Chaturanga Dhandasana (a low push up) or plank pose means you are using your upper body to support the bulk of your body weight, plus definitely toning your core. Even correctly holding a Warrior II pose will REALLY workout your large leg muscle groups… I think that for those who have never tried it and/or those that have tried a certain type but weren’t necessarily fond of it should definitely take the time to research additional options and explore them before totally writing it off as just satisfying another recommended component.

      Full Disclosure: Currently studying to become a Yoga Teacher (Koolaid, anyone?)

      • I’d love to hear more about your teacher training! It’s definitely on my list of things to do at some point- I’ve been doing yoga probably 4 times a week for about 10 months, so I know I personally need probably at least another year or two of practice before I’m ready, but I’m still curious!

        • CrimsonClover :

          I would love to tell you more! Briefly, as I’m sure not everyone on here wants to know this, I have been doing yoga in a class setting for a year, and on my own (poorly) for about 4 years prior to that. I just… love it. I knew very early on that I wanted to undergo the teacher training for my own benefit, if not not necessraily to “teach” yoga, HOWEVER, things just kind of lined up and I realized that doing this was super important on a mental/emotional level, as well as the answer I was looking for with regard to a second income (killlllllller student loans and 9-5 with commute made any other side job impossible as the amount of time put into it and the financial yields weren’t worthwhile). …It was kind of like the universe screamed loud enough for me to hear that this is the plan, and in less than 2 weeks I went from not even considering the idea to in class.

          I am doing an intensive weekend training for 20 weeks, meeting every other weekend 6-9pm Fri, and 10-6pm Sat and Sun, plus 30 additional classes. It’s intense, and the topics cover A LOT (Sanskrit, injuries, Ayurveda, Meditation, 6 hour labs for poses, etc.), but I think it really will be worth while. I’m only the end of the second weekend and already I can feel that I’m “becoming” a teacher, which is really validating. My training is on the East Cost, at a reputable school and cost $2800 for the 200 hour YTT and I will be registered with Yoga Alliance and have a certificate to teach when it’s completed. Books, supplies, clothes, etc. cost extra but aren’t necessities (unless you sweat a lot, like me, and want something to change into!).

          Also, PLEASE do not feel like you “need” a certain amount of classes or prior training before you’re ready for this. Some schools may have requirements you have to satisfy, but in my case/school it’s really been about the journey and the fact that “I” feel ready to do this. Not everyone can do everything in Yoga, and even if you did it one time there may be a point that you can no longer do it and/or struggle. THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT; as someone stated above (or yesterday), it’s a PRACTICE, and ebbs and flows come with that just like anything else.

          Overall, yoga means so much more to me than just the physical; I love that too, but it’s about finding the challenge and learning about new ways to adapt in your current environment. Everything’s linked, and it’s a good “tool” to have to help you make your way through the world.

          For what it’s worth, I AM NOT A LITHE LULU teacher, and probably never will be. I’m in good shape and will get in better shape the more focus I apply to my practice, but as I said above, it’s a journey… I’m 205 lbs. and I doubted harshly that this would even be an option for me, but ya know what? Seeing the change I’ve made in the past year and my new “abilities” made me realize that I TOTALLY CAN DO THIS and it has NOTHING to do with my physical appearance. Teaching yoga is wayyyyy more than being able to do “all the poses”.

          Anyhoo, that was not brief, and if anyone who knows me in real like reads this I’ve totally been outted! If you have any other questions or just want to discuss anything yoga related feel free to send me an e-mail at [email protected]

          I definitely encourage you to follow your desire to do this, and don’t let YOU hold you back!

      • Totally agree – pass the Kool Aid. I started doing heated vinyasa flow yoga last May and try to go 3 x week. Was not a regular exerciser, totally out of shape and had various problem areas (hips, shoulders, knees). While not really overweight, I’d put on about 8 pounds in a year that I attributed to peri-menopause, mostly in the gut area – where I’d never really had issues before. I am now stronger and leaner than I have been in decades. DH teases me about my new ‘yoga butt’ and my arm, leg and core strength have improved markedly. I do Corepower Yoga – a chain that is in limited parts of the country but is adding locations; they also do a Yoga Sculpt class (it’s a killer, but lots of people swear by it) that incorporates hand weights along with using body weight for resistance. This kind of yoga is really working for me.

        • Question for you. I only ever go to the CP1 class because I’m out of shape and it feels hard. CP2 fits with my schedule better, but I’m too intimidated that I will feel behind, etc. Should I just suck it up?

          • Does your Corepower have C1.5 classes? When I started, I did C1 classes for about 2 weeks, tried a 1.5 and it was too much and went back to C1 classes for a couple more weeks. I now do a mix of C1.5 and C2 classes depending on my schedule and how I’m feeling. C2 classes might be a bit much (depending on the teacher) if you’re still just getting into it, but you can always modify or take a break in child’s pose til you feel ready to rejoin the class.

        • Love the Core Power sculpt class! It helps me combine yoga and some weights, which I like.

        • layered bob :

          loooove Core Power – I know a lot of true yoga people look down on it as commercialized, athleticized yoga but boy is it the thing for me. Sad I’m moving soon to a region without CPY.

      • What *is* vinyasa flow yoga? I’m looking for a new gym that has yoga classes, and I found one, the description says vinyasa flow. I did yoga a bit in law school, but wasn’t too informed on the vocabulary, types, etc.

        • CrimsonClover :

          The above link explains it pretty well, but essentially it’s not “static”, where you get into a pose and hold it for an extended period of time, and there are Vinyasa’s that connect the pose sequences (not any mandatory ones, just in whatever order and intensity the teacher is feeling like they want to focus on), which are like a little mini-burpee, haha. Standing, arms out and over head, dive forward, lift to prepare and step back to knees-chest-chin or plank pose, lower down, pull through to up dog and roll back into down dog. If it’s “wwarm” it will be in a room heated (sometimes humidi-heated) to 75-85 degress farneheit. It sounds intimidating to some, but the heat really help to open you up, and yes, you will SWEATTTTTTT…!

        • “Vinyasa” just refers to linked postures and fluid movements, usually the same hatha yoga asanas you’d encounter in any other ‘style’ of class, and usually at a faster pace pace than, say, an Iyengar class.

      • I finished teacher training (Vinyasa) in December, so I’m right there with you on the Kool-Aid. I practiced for about 4 years first, and still go 3+ times a week.

    • I don’t do them all on the same day- I generally aim for 3-5 days at the gym per week doing cardio + weights (usually get there around 3 times, lol) and then yoga on Sat a.m. and Sunday p.m. (again, if I’m being good).

      Also, once you’ve been to enough yoga classes, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to do your own practice at home- which takes way less time. I might not get the exact same workout as if some skinny Lulu-clad teacher was counting to five and making me feel like I failure if I drop to child’s pose, but I definitely get tired & sweaty doing yoga at home.

    • I do cardio and yoga and find that vinyasa yoga classes essentially use my body as a weight and are just as effective, if not more so, than weight training. So I don’t do weight training.

    • Though I consider myself a runner primarily, I enjoy yoga and pilates. I go to Crunch gym and take advantage of a very good selection of classes with top notch instructors (though I only do weights I would say about 2x/month, usually I just use body weight and I already have what I call “man arms”). My typical week: Monday – 60 min pilates class and run 6-10 miles; Tuesday – 60 min spin class and run 4-8 miles; Wednesday – 60 min yoga class, run 4-6 miles, 60 min pole fit class; Thursday – 60 min spin class and 60 min kickbox class; Friday – 8-12 miles; Saturday – 90 min spin class; Sunday – 90 min yoga class or hike or long run.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I am so impressed by your workout schedule!

        • YES ME TOO that is amazing!!!

          Do you work out in the morning or evening? I am inspired!

          • Evenings after work (I’m off by 6), mornings on weekends. Once upon a time I used to run in the mornings but have been sticking to evening workouts for the past several years.

      • This is pretty cool. I do cardio on my treadmill 60 min, 6 days a week (all but Wednesday) and weights 3 days a week. A lot of my friends at the gym do classes and I find it pretty intimidating. Good for you!

    • I have recently started weight training, with the help of a trainer. Prior to this, I had a semi-schedule where I would run 4-5 times a week and do yoga once a week. I have found that I am now running 3-4 times a week, seeing my trainer twice a week, and doing yoga at least once. Yes, sometimes this results in two workouts a day, but I am so hooked on it all and my body has never looked or felt better!

      FWIW, I don’t have kids and don’t work crazy hours. I run in the morning before work, and do yoga/gym at night around 7pm, so it’s 50% I don’t have many commitments to get in my way and 50% I really love working out so I look forward to it and make time for it.

      I think that sometimes we get caught up in this idea of having no time to work out, when the real problem is not making it a priority and making time to do it. Sometimes this means that you can’t go to happy hour (or whatever other activity) but it’s a trade I am ok with making.

      Oh, and I second the doing yoga at home. A local studio in here in Austin offers online classes for a very small monthly fee, which is awesome. Sometimes I will do a mini 10 minute class in my office (door closed!) over lunch, which does wonders for concentration!

      • mintberrycrunch :

        You are completely right about making time for working out. I always think *I’m so busy*…but I have a lot less going on than many. Thanks for the reminder – definitely what I needed to get myself to the gym this week :)

        • I used to think that adding a 10 minute ab workout (with a DVD) was too much in addition to my hour of treadmill. I guess that changed when I started doing weights. It does seem like I’m doing nothing but work out on the evenings when I do both weights and cardio, but I go to the gym (for weights) on the way home, then take time to eat a light dinner, wash dishes, feed the cat, before getting on the treadmill. I try not to lounge around too long in between or it eats up my whole evening. I don’t know what I would do if I weren’t single.

      • Second mintberrycrunch – I can definitely use this reminder. Here is my issue though – I’m the world’s worst morning person so I don’t think I could make it to the gym in the mornings. I like evening workouts but if I have plans, I don’t usually get a workout in. Or I get home from work and I’m starving so don’t want to go to the gym. And I feel like I can’t do cardio too soon after I eat because I start to feel sick.

        Am I just making excuses? Any tips to help me stop making these excuses?

        • Merabella :

          Bring snacks to the office for the afternoon before you go to the gym, then head home from the gym where you have a crockpot meal or something prepped from the night before.

          This is what I had to do because I am NOT a morning person at all, and if I go home I will never make it to the gym.

          I also try to get in 2 days at the gym a week (if I do more than that awesome, but if not at least I’m getting in some time). It doesn’t matter which days, just that I do 2 days, so it makes it more flexible for my other plans.

          That being said, I don’t ever do yoga. I do about 20+ minutes on a cardio machine and then weights. I keep thinking that I need to incorporate yoga into my routine, but I just don’t have the time.

        • One thing that helps me is to try to make it as easy as possible to workout.

          I also hate to run after I’ve eaten, which is the exact reason I run in the morning – before breakfast. I also do not run on a treadmill – there’s no way I’d drive myself to the gym in the morning so even though running on the sidewalk near my house is far from ideal (I actually run alongside a feeder road to a highway for a bit of my run) I do it because it’s easy and I don’t have to drive anywhere. I put my workout clothes beside my bed, roll out, get dressed, and go outside. No time to think and convince myself not to do it! (Don’t worry, I heard you say you hate mornings…just trying to give an example of making it easier for yourself!)

          Or, in your case, maybe if you eat a snack around 4pm or so, so that you aren’t starving on the way home and can stop at the gym? I think it’s usually pretty hard to make yourself work out, so anything you can do to make it easier to get there is a good step in the right direction!

          • I agree with this! For me, the hardest part is waking up early to get going, but once I’m awake, I always get up & out the door because I know I’ll regret it if I don’t.

            And because exercise is a priority, I get up way earlier than I ever thought I would to do it. However, in the evenings my priorities lie with my family, so I don’t work out as much as I’d like to, but I do what I can.

    • In an ideal world I’d do all three, but I just don’t have the time. I work full time, have 3 kids and a husband who likes me home in the evenings on the days he’s not working out. I try to run 3 times per week (as long as the weather co-operates), 6-7k each, but I do it early, early in the morning. I don’t know that I could get up that early every day to workout, but I may try to evolve my routine. My company is moving to a new office building in March, and the building is opening a fitness center next week. I’m hoping to add some weight training to my schedule, maybe at lunch time (if it’s not too crazy busy, which it probably will be for the first couple of months). I also sometimes try to do the workouts in the Nike Training app at home in the evening while dh & I are watching TV, but it doesn’t always work. I know yoga would be good for me, but I’m just not sure when to fit it in. I keep thinking “Someday, when the kids all leave home or are significantly older”. My fitness goals when that happens (in 10 years or so) include running a half or full marathon, participating in a triathlon or two, doing yoga regularly, and getting strong & toned through weight training. For now, I do what I can when I can, and try to work in as much family fitness time as we can as well (skiing occasionally in the winter, hiking occasionally in the summer, and my boys want to do the C25K this spring, so hopefully we’ll do a couple of 5k races this summer as well).

  13. Morning y’all. Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for their thoughts regarding my crazy baby vent yesterday. Meant to respond last night but work took a crazy turn. Anyway it was helpful to get some perspective. I think I am just weird and when everyone is doing something, whether it be getting married or procreating, I have this irrational little rebel inside me that says, “ew, don’t be like these lemmings!” BUT, I do get that it’s just because everyone is at similar life stages and thus cannot be helped and y’all helped me see that. I am going to try to squash my crazy inner little rebel!! As DH said last night when I shared this with him: “I’m not gonna let other people having babies keep me from having one.”
    The bottom line is we all just have to do things when the time is right for us to do them, nevermind anyone else’s life plan.

    • I love your bottom line. I’ve had to remind myself of the same thing lately because all my friends are now getting engaged/married. It’s definitely been putting some implicit pressure on me to move my relationship along, which while serious and committed, is probably not ready for the next step till the end of the year at the very earliest. I didn’t even notice it until I was questioning why I was so stuck to this timeline.

      So yes – I think we have to ignore the noise and do things when the time is right!

  14. eye opening... :

    Can you guys recommend an eye cream?

    I’m in my 40’s and have quite a few smile lines around the eyes. Not sure what I should be using regularly. Something with SPF (is that safe near the eye)? Something different during day vs. night? Something with all those space-age “peptides” and stuff that probably doesn’t do anything…. or does it?

    • Most creams are very, very loosely regulated as “cosmetics” by the FDA, which isn’t all that great when it comes to regulated “drugs” either.

      So you’re basically buying creams that work the way the placebo effect works. Oh, the creams will moisturize, but if you’re hoping to minimize or erase the lines, get a prescription for Retin-A from a real doctor (not a cosmetics sales person). It’s not that much more expensive, and compared to overpriced overrated stuff like La Mer, it actually has to be demonstrated to WORK.

      I really think that a lot of these creams are popular because people get all sorts of hinky about prescription drugs (Retin-A), botox, and further along the spectrum, plastic surgery. People think that by using crap that doesn’t work, that they’re not that vain or fixated. I’ve long made peace with the fact that I am fixated on my looks, and I’d rather focus on getting results than deluding myself.

      • second Anon

        • eye opening... :

          Thanks for this. I do have Retin-A for my chronic acne (don’t mind the skin side effects either!), but I thought this wasn’t to be put in the delicate skin under the eyes? I have fairly sensitive skin. Am I wrong?

          • I’d check this with a dermatologist and mention that you have sensitive skin issues there.

          • eye opening... :

            So… you put Retin-A under your eyes, and don’t put any cream under your eyes at all other then Retin-A?

            My eyes are dry in the morning (and when getting out of the shower) and I need more moisturizer there for sure and my mild everyday face moisturizer isn’t enough…. And certainly a sunblock on top of that would be needed if I am using Retin-A there too. Just curious what you guys use. I’m surprised no one uses anything under/around there eyes.

            My dermatologist is not so helpful with aesthetic questions. She is purely an acne/skin cancer etc.. type of derm. Actually, I feel a little silly asking her questions about this stuff, which I guess is my own personal hang-up. I wont see her for another year. And she just tells you to use Cetaphil and that’s it. She’s also only in her 30’s.

            Just thought I might get some more input about a nicer lotion/cream to use by the eyes, what people use and why. Like it might be nice to have something that helps puffiness, keeps them feeling moisturized all day. I’m not hoping to stop time or reverse wrinkles. If it gives me a perk up look during the day – great.

          • I think it’s because you said it was for wrinkles. If you just want a cream for soothing comfort and dry skin, I asked on here about a year ago and got a bunch of recommendations. I ended up buying a rather pricey La Prairie eye cream, which is very nice as long as I remind myself it’s not going to actually get rid of or prevent wrinkles (which also involves ignoring the La Prairie sales clerk.)

            Since then I’ve figured out my eyes were dry because I was reacting badly to my eye makeup remover. I switched to a more gentle eye makeup remover and rarely need the eye cream anymore. I sometimes use the La Priairie, but mostly don’t. I find any really emollient eye cream makes my makeup run and I’d rather not have to deal with that.

    • I will embarrassingly admit that I have been using Meaningful Beauty (Cindy Crawford’s infomercial). They have a million different products for different issues. While it hasn’t reduced wrinkles or fine lines my face is very moisturized.

      • eye opening... :

        Thanks for your responses. Sorry if my post was misleading… I just wanted to hear what people are using and why…. if it had SPF… if they use it day/night…. etc… and why

        Sorry… I am isolated taking care of my ill parents. I’ll find another forum.

  15. You guise… apparently my copy of Downton Abbey season 3 just got delivered to my apartment! Can’t wait to run home and watch it!

    • I ordered mine yesterday too! I couldn’t wait after Sunday’s episode.

      ….I bet they did that on purpose. Sneaky.

      • I watched Sunday’s episode last night, and even though I’d accidentally gotten spoiled by Monday morning’s thread on here, it absolutely just killed me. So sad.

    • Back in December, I donated to PBS and got the 3rd season DVD as a gift. I was looking forward to watching it over the Xmas holidays but I didn’t get it until after the episodes started airing on PBS. I’ve managed to not watch ahead so far, but considering that I have a snow day at home today my resolve may finally crumble…

    • Don’t blame you for watching ahead, but please don’t spoil it here!

  16. Kitten Heeled :

    NYC Threadjack!

    A group of 10 of us are heading to NYC this Saturday just for the day. We will be there from about Noon until 9 pm. Any recommendations for what to do or see? We have all seen the main tourist attractions, like Times Square and Statute of Liberty, so we’re looking to do something other than that but also something that is unique to NY. We want to check out the Ninja restaurant for dinner, so if you have any good/bad reviews please share. Any other ideas for fun and unique restaurants? activities? places to visit?

    Thanks in advance!

    • My favorite two NYC things for tourists right now are (1) the High Line Park (it really is as awesome as the hype) and (2) the Tenement Museum on the LES. You need tickets for (2), which you can buy online. I’ve done two different tours at the Tenement Museum and they were both awesome. My out-of-town mom always tells her friends visiting NYC to go and they always love it.

      • Kitten Heeled :

        Thanks for the ideas. We were thinking about High Line Park, but thought it may be too cold to enjoy the park.

        • Honestly, I don’t think the highline is a great idea now – a) it’s a bit dreary in winter and b) it’s going to be extra cold because it’s both a cold day and it’s windier out there, not to mention it’s a hike to get to.

          As for what else to do, I am not sure what your interests are so it’s hard to say. You could start with brunch and then go shopping or go to a museum (the Frick is fantastic and very manageable in terms of size)…. Or why not go ice skating? Avoid Rockefeller Center, and go behind the Public Library in Bryant Park – the rink is cheaper (you only pay to rent skates) and way better/less crowded; there’s also hot chocolate and drinks with heat lamps around it so you can alternate skating/imbibing and this will still be fun for anyone who doesn’t want to skate. Nearby is a huge flagship Lord & Taylor – I am not even a fan of most L&Ts, but I love, love, love this one.

          Since you’re planning on dinner at Ninja in Tribeca you may also want to check out Century 21 (the store) beforehand. It’s a bit of a madhouse but you can find awesome stuff at huge discounts.

        • Definitely the High Line! I think it’s supposed to warm up a little this weekend. I would start at the North end and work my way down, so you end up near Meatpacking / Greenwich. I don’t know anything about the Ninja restaurant, but if you need a lunch option maybe Chelsea Market? It’s close to the High Line and can be fun if you have a group and people want to eat different things. Eataly is similar, but obviously just Italian food. Have fun!

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 on the Tenement Museum. And there’s a great Vietnamese restaurant a few doors down called An Choi. The banh mi is amazing!

        • Love An Choi! Get the soup / banh mi combo.

        • Clinton St. Baking Company is right near the tenement museum. Brunch plus the museum is one of my favorite combinations to take visitors on.


      Just to be safe – you’re going to Ninja because you want to see the folks there dressed up like Ninjas, doing “sword showmanship” and “fighting,” right? Just wanted to make sure that the sideshow aspect of the place is why you’re going. I had to dissuade my parents from going there because they thought they it was just a garden-variety sushi place rather than a tourist-attraction/theme restaurant. Like Mars 2112 was.

  17. Shameless squee: So the guy I’m seeing stopped by the library where I was camped out and working with coffee for me and walked me to my meeting last night. I am fiercely independent but I do kind of like someone taking care of me a bit.

    • Oooh, he’s the “guy I’m seeing” now?! I take it the date night went well! (Sorry if I missed that update, but I was wondering!)

      • Ha! Good memory. I’m attributing it entirely to the outfit :) He’s amazing!

        We’ve kind of danced around it, he has to tell our boss about it (super awk) so I guess it is somewhat official?

        • Aw, yay! I’m glad to hear he’s wonderful and things are progressing… awkwardness aside. The Outfit shall go in the closet of fame ;).

          • I love the idea of a closet of fame – personally, I am very fond of the first date outfit I wore on my first date with my current SO. I haven’t worn it since for some odd reason but every time I think about it, I do smile and think it was a lucky combination.

          • I thought of the same thing! I wore the outfit I wore on my first date with my now-fiance when we went to look at wedding venues a few weeks ago. Seemed auspicious.

    • Yay! Maintaining your independence and having someone in your life who cares about/for you are totally compatible!

    • Happy Anon :

      I’m another fiercely independent gal with a guy who likes to take care of me, and I know just what you mean. Bringing coffee and walking you to a meeting sounds like the perfect thing. Squee away, sister!

  18. Can someone fill me in on where an attorney specializing in regulatory and compliance would typically work? Are this positions typically found in firms or in-house? Is this a growing area? Basically I am very interested in this area but I am not sure what the field looks like and what type of short term and long term opportunities there are. Any insight from someone with experience would be much appreciated!

    • Do you have an industry or focus area you are interested in?
      I’ll give you my story as an example of what this kind of work can look like. I am a healthcare attorney in a firm and much of my practice has a regulatory/compliance focus. So I advise my clients (various healthcare providers) on how the applicable state and federal regulations affect their businesses. I am based in the corporate side of the firm, but there are litigation paths that call for good regulatory knowledge (lots of administrative law). I also do a good bit of general corporate work for healthcare clients (mergers, employment contracts, new lines of business,that sort of thing), all of which must be done with the regulatory restrictions in mind. Healthcare is a necessary industry that is highly regulated. I won’t call it recession proof, but there isn’t really a lack of work.
      As far as job choices, there is always law firm life, both big and small. Lots of government opportunities with the various agencies and of course in-house positions. However, my experience is that in-house counsel for providers deal with a lot of other issues besides just the thorny regulatory ones. So, unless they have a big enough legal department in-house to handle that work, it goes to outside counsel. Compliance officers obviously deal with regulatorya nd compliance issues, but they are not always lawyers (a JD wouldn’t hurt though) and are housed in a separate division from legal in my experience. Hope this helps

    • I have the unusual path of not being a lawyer but working in compliance on financial regulation (I have a related PhD). In this field, it’s common for lawyers to work directly for the regulatory agency (SEC, CFTC, Fed) early in your career and then, if and when it’s time to make more money, leverage that experience for a firm or in-house job. Typically the line is “I can advise on complying with that law because I helped write/implement it when I was with the government.” However, there’s a finite window of time in which that necessarily works, from what I have seen, and furthermore Dodd-Frank did not lead to the volume or duration of business for my firm that was expected–not even close. So the lesson was not to have all the practice’s eggs (or your personal eggs) in a specific regulatory basket.

    • I know you are probably asking about “where” as in law firm vs. consulting vs. government, to which the people above had great advice, but to add another dimension: you probably should be working in DC. It’s by far the place where this kind of work is most available.

      • I don’t know – I thought that a lot of utility companies have full legal departments that focus on regulatory and compliance work specific to their industry?

    • I worked at a large bank in the international corporate and regulatory department. I was there for a big merger with another bank and we retained about 40 outside counsel teams, so I got a lot of exposure to how regulatory law worked at many firms, in many countries, from an in-house perspective. Anyway, many biglaw firms have regulatory groups which are focused on industry (as attys essentially specialize in one area over time). It was fun to be on conference calls and hear from very senior partners, “I’ve never seen the regulator do Y in X years of practice” or similar. Point is, if you really like being an expert, as opposed to a generalist, and you like “fine print,” I think it would be a wonderful practice area. As for our outside counsel teams, many of the juniors left during the duration of the merger to go to regulatory agencies–it seemed like they did biglaw for a bit and then, say, joined The Bank of England or the OFCC, etc. Of course, there were also law firm lifers, but I got the feeling that it was more “up or out” than some forms of corporate law in that the expert is the partner (who is not going anywhere) and so eventually, the minions (associates) went to work at clients. I also got the feeling that as the folks who practiced this type of law were quite specialized, it really limited their choice of employer/geographic region. For instance, where I was, there wasn’t really another “game in town” for the in-house attorneys to work at. So, if there were, for instance, layoffs, they would probably have to move to another place where there was a big banking presence, or settle to being attys for a smaller bank (with a very different, less specialized structure in the legal department).

      On the flip side, hedge fund/40 Act/investment management compliance is a very robust field, can be done from almost anywhere (although is concentrated in “money centers” like NY and Boston) and is very stable. Also quite specialized. My best friend is an investment management attorney, and while much of her work involves fund formation, she also spends a substantial amount of time in her practice dealing with ’40 Act compliance and SEC compliance matters. Also, her clients are mostly hedge funds, which means very demanding ex-banker types who are not the nicest. As she is more senior, while she could certainly go in-house to a fund, she’s not sure she wants to hitch her wagon to a firm which has really mercurial, demanding personalities. “Vanilla” investment management, such as mutual fund work, is less “sexy” to some, but she strongly believes it’s more genteel, and is less full of jerks. Just something to consider.

    • Wow thanks so much for this great advice! I have not yet chosen a specific industy to focus on so I’d be curious to know which ones seem like areas that are growing and which areas I should avoid. My background is related to chemicals but I don’t have a chemistry degree which from my research makes your options for regulatory work in that industry (even with a JD) very limited.

      How do compliance roles vs. in-house atty dealing with compliance roles differ?

      • This is just a super-broad question–would depend on the industry, how a business is set up, etc. In the broadest brush, compliance is more about the people and organizational set-up–making sure that there are daily policies in place that compy with regulations and getting your employees to follow protocols that lead to compliance-friendly outcomes. Regulation is more about higher-level laws/rules and (ha!) regulation and making sure strategically and operationally that you are in line and your business is heading in a direction that will still be legal/profitable in a few years. I hope that makes sense.

        From the compliance-type stuff that I see, now in general corporate in Silicon Valley, the attorneys’ role, say, in Employment Lit, is to make sure that proper handbooks and policies and procedures are in place–they do a lot of education and provide “boilerplate” to our clients, who then enforce things via HR. Our attorneys usually get involved when there are issues or grey areas or, surprise, the possibility of litigation.

        When I worked in banking, compliance was more of a privacy, anti-money laundering, fraud protection, type thing…very little to do with practicing law and actually, much closer to forensic accounting. Then, separately, through the legal department, we had all sorts of legal compliance attorneys who dealt with home mortgage compliance, lending rules, anti-discrimination, yadda, yadda. If you can think of an area that govt regulates, there are compliance folks on the front lines litigating, enforcing and rule-writing for such things. (Note the policy stuff happens mostly in WA or state govt, not at the client level. Clients react after the laws are made, for the most part.)

    • I do compliance work for gvt agencies. You definitely need to take admin law in law school.

  19. My whole team was fired yesterday, including my manager, except for me. Not sure if I should be happy or sad. I am not even sure what I should be doing today. Really feeling survivor’s guilt today….

    • Wow. That can’t be easy. Maybe today, just focus on getting through the day, I’m sure it’s feeling hectic to say the least.

    • Wow, how bizarre! You must have been pretty impressive to survive that, though – congratulations! I think you can feel bad for your (former) colleagues without feeling guilty; unless you did something to get them fired, there’s nothing for you to feel guilty about.

      Regarding not knowing what to do today, is there a new structure in place already so that you have a boss? Either way, it seems like there will probably be lots of clean up and organizing with so many people leaving at once.

    • Wow! Did you see it coming at all? What are they going to do with you?

    • Super late to be replying to this, sorry, but it’s such a unique situation.

      The same thing happened to me in 2008. My whole dept and another dept that we worked closely with got laid off. They kept me. I had the urge to be very bitter. All of my coworkers who were also my friends were gone and I imagine not happy at me. I was overwhelmed and lonely for awhile, but I understood that I needed to convey that I could do the work they were asking of me.

      I’m so sorry this happened to you.

  20. Anybody here who’s tried CrossFit? Everyone I know who does CF is so obsessed with it, it’s like they’ve joined a cult. I kind of dismissed it as only being for people who were super athletic (had been college athletes and were looking for that same kind of commitment and atmosphere). But then a woman I know, who’s in her 40s and totally NOT an athletic type at all, was telling me that she joined and loves it. So now I wonder if I should try it, but I feel kind of intimidated by it. I am not in shape at all, not even a little bit. I know the thing about CF is that it’s supposed to be very supportive and team-spirited, but I just worry that I’d feel like a loser for how out of shape I am.

    • I think there was quite a long convo about cross fit a few days ago!

    • phillygirlruns :

      there was a good discussion about this the other day – can’t remember when. i’m a bit of a cult member, but when i started (about a year and a half ago) i was…not so in shape. i worked out regularly, but i couldn’t even support my full bodyweight just hanging from the pull up bar, let alone do an actual pull up or anything like that. the important thing is to find a gym where the programming and coaching is good and the coaches/owners care about their members and their members’ progress – not all gyms are created alike, so they’re not all welcoming/supportive/well-programmed/etc.

    • Definitely check out the discussion from the other day, but also remember too that Crossfit is very focused on toning/muscle building. While that’s integral to any fitness regimen, I think if you’re not in great shape in general you should also focus on developing your cardio endurance too, which Crossfit isn’t geared toward.

    • I did crossfit for 2.5 years and burned out/got injured. It’s very intense and competitive (hello, military).

      Honestly, I recommend it with some major reservations because Crossfit can be very dangerous and induces many injuries. I would only go to a “box” where the coaches have some other, additional fitness training (ideally a Bachelors or Masters in PT, athletic training, or the like). I really respected the head coaches at Crossfit Moxie in San Jose.

      To avoid injuries, I have 3 rules:
      1. Scale weights, reps, and rounds. Most of the “girls” (workouts of the day or WODs) should take less than 10 or 15 minutes. If they are longer, scale or set a cut-off time. Honestly, the WODs as Rx’ed are for very athletic people who have been doing Crossfit for years. Most boxes want their athletes to move to Rx’ed WODs within a few months. That is very dangerous.

      2. Don’t do barefoot running unless you are already a barefoot runner. This is how I got injured.

      3. Don’t continue Paleo dieting if you go up 2 dress sizes in 2 months and are getting constant migraines (true story). Regardless of what they say, paleo doesn’t work for everyone.

  21. Kitten Heeled :

    Also, we’d like to keep the weather in mind- it will be cold (30 deg F or so) and would like to stay warm if possible.

  22. I have to talk to our law school intern today about what is work appropriate clothing. I’ve never had to do this before and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it.

    I know this has been covered a zillion times here, but I can’t find the past threads. Any suggestions?

    • springtime :

      The subtle way would probably be to go over the work attire policy and note that you were asked to remind all staff about it because there have been some issues in the office.

      • Some people don’t get subtle, or if you say “there have been some issues in the office” she may hear “no one has told me, so I must be fine.” Trust me, my last office loved the “subtle” memos and reminders, and the number one culprit that the memos were about never got that it was about them.

        I would approach it as overall performance feedback: here’s what you’re doing well (a, b, c), here is where you need to improve (d, e, clothing).

        What isn’t appropriate? Is she too casual? Too lowcut/tight? I’d give her a few pointers about what shops you find work, and some general rules (if you would wear it to the club after work, don’t wear it to work. If you would wear it to the gym after work, don’t wear it to work, etc) and let her in on the “secret” that magazine articles showing “what to wear to work” and tv shows showing “professionals” are full of baloney, and that places like Express are often too form fitting or low cut. If there is someone fairly fresh from school but appropriate dressed in your office, maybe point that person out as someone to emulate?

        • springtime :

          Yah good point- if you see my post below, you can see why I wouldn’t be one of those people- natural worrier :).

      • This doesn’t sound direct enough to me. If her clothing problems are serious enough and have continued long enough that someone has to talk to her about it, she probably isn’t picking up on cues from how other people dress, and might not pick up on this hint either. Also, I would hate to have someone say this to me so then I could wonder whether she meant me or not.

        I do think it’s a good idea to refer to the work attire policy, and say something calm, simple, and direct, using specific examples of items that are not appropriate. Better to be clear now than have to have another conversation in a few weeks when it’s clear she still hasn’t understood.

        Good luck!

        • If its a one time thing, I think just pulling her aside and saying “I don’t know if you realize it, but that sweater might be a little lower cut/sheerer/tigheter than you realized, I wouldn’t recommend wearing it to work again”

          If its ongoing, see my comment above.

          Here are a couple of past threads:
          The one about clothes at Express being generally too fitted:

          What not to wear to the office:

    • How well do you know this intern? I ask because the reason she’s dressing poorly might affect how you approach the subject – Ss she just clueless/never worked in a professional environment and doesn’t realize that some items aren’t appropriate (i.e., needs guidance)? Or does she not care/think her work should be speak for itself (i.e., needs to be told it DOES matter)? Also, since she’s a law student, you might frame it as giving her advise to prepare for her future career as a lawyer (as in, when you’re a big-girl lawyer people will expect you to dress a certain way in order for them to take you seriously, so you may want to start on that now).
      The other option, allbeit the more painful one, is to just be straight forward. Tell her some of her sartorial choices aren’t acceptable for the office, she should review the company dresscode, and to let you know if she has any questions.

      • I don’t know this woman well. She only started a couple of weeks ago. I think the problem stems from being the first professional in her family and not knowing what work appropriate means (i.e., needs guidance). It also might be a money issue because she’s a law student (although I would say then wear the same suit every day and that’s okay). It doesn’t help that some people in my office wear amazingly inappropriate clothing IMHO (but they work for different people and, therefore, don’t get talked to). So I was thinking about approaching this as advice for her future career as a lawyer.

        Nothing has been low-cut, the pants are too tight, the outfits are attempting to be too trendy, and the hair is often a messy ponytail.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          I think the best course of action then to say is:

          “Hey Intern. I really like you and I think you’re doing great work, but I’m sure you know how important it is not just to do good work, but to project a professional appearance. I’m a bit concerned that you’re hindering yourself in this area – you aren’t dressing as professionally as you could be, and I think it’s causing people’s perception of your work to suffer. You’re an intern, you’re here to learn so that’s okay! Just like I’d point out a problem in your work product, this is an issue that can affect your credibility as an attorney, so I wanted to bring it to your attention. I just want to reiterate some of the basic expected norms for this office and probably most law offices” etc.

          I think you can say this and still come off well – like you care about her and want her to succeed. She may/may not listen – but that’s in her court, not yours.

          • This. I’m trying to think about how I’d like someone to tell me and I think I’d like to hear it straight and in a kind and concerned manner – the comment above hit it perfectly.

            One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone want to hear it this way, or at all, but there’s nothing you can do about that. I think the consensus of the Hive is that you’re doing her a favor in the long run, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll see that right away.

        • I think you are kind to approach it as future advice as a lawyer, and just include clothing as part of the bigger picture. If you think other people in your office are inappropriate, maybe point out that your office is a little more casual and she may find that she needs to be even more conservative at other offices if she stays in law, and its always safer to be too conservative and formal than too trendy or casual.
          Could you give or lend her a copy of NGDGTCO? I’d also say the part about better to wear the same 1 or 2 suits daily if $ is an issue than wear something new and too trendy every day.

        • I’m not sure that I would treat all these things the same. Pants too tight, fine. But trying to be too trendy? That may be bad style, but I don’t think it’s outside the bounds of appropriateness. Same with messy ponytail (especially if she’s not meeting clients / going to court). I would probably tell her that her clothes are too tight for a lawyer, and that that would probably be true across offices. Then I would add that style can vary by boss (see, e.g., coworkers), but that for people working for me, I prefer more toned-down clothes and hairstyles (i.e., more “timeless” office clothes such as neutral button-downs and dark slacks, and simple ponytails).

        • If your work policy doesn’t say anything about “tight” clothing, then I think you need to let that go. I don’t think the tightness of one’s clothing is something for the bosses to control. If you mean to say that leggings or skinny jeans aren’t allowed by the dress code, say that. If you’re saying her otherwise-appropriate dress slacks are too tight on her, you can’t say that.

          • I was also thinking that the slacks too tight (as in, gained weight in law school and hasn’t come to grips) is a bit more awkward than, hey, trendy forever21 clothes + messy buns don’t project the image that you probably want to as an aspiring attorney.

            On the other hand, my hair often ends up in a messy bun at least once every two weeks by late afternoon.

    • As someone involved in training & development (I’m a training manager for an insurance company), I’d avoid the general approach recommended above, as when feedback or coaching is framed in general terms and not specific to the person being given the feedback, most people think the feedback is meant for others.

      Example: To a group or an individual:
      “I’ve been asked to remind everyone of our dress code. No x, y,z”

      The person you are trying to reach with the message, thinks you’re talking to/about someone else.

      You can soften the blow by telling her that you are speaking to her because you want to support her (I’m assuming this is a woman and you are too) as a woman entering the workplace but let her know that there have been some concerns raised about the way she dresses and how that can impact her career in your firm and elsewhere if not corrected. Give her some tips on places to get ideas about what is work-appropriate (like this place! or ask a manager . com)

      Keep in mind that we do our employees a disservice by not setting expectations and providing them with feedback, even if the feedback is critical. In order to do a good job, people have to know what is expected of them and then receive feedback on their performance (or dress in this case). Yep, it’s scary and hard to have these conversations, but not having them, shortchanges your employees.

    • CapHillStyle has a good discussion of this. Link posting later to avoid moderation here. Start off with the good–“how are you liking work? You’re doing well in X, Y, Z.” Then launch in the BUT part. “BUT, part of working in this office is projecting a professional and polished image. You’ve worn A, B, C and that just isn’t appropriate here because they are too casual/too revealing/other reason, according to our office dress code [shows printout copy]. I’d suggest you avoid D, E and F (items she’s worn) in the future. Once again, you’ve done a good job with XYZ tasks, but professional appearance and dress is also important.”

    • Belle at Capitol Hill Style did a post about this about a year ago. I know a lot of people don’t like her, but I found this particular post to be helpful.

      • I think it’s interesting that women on here complain about how society demands that women be nice and then hate Belle precisely because she bucks the societal demand and is emphatically NOT NICE. I smell hypocrisy!

        • For me, it’s not a “Not Nice” thing. It’s that I cannot stand her employer or her job.

        • I also disagree with her employer. However, a big part of the partisanship problems we have these days is that we don’t interact with people we disagree with. In the past, senators and congressmen/women maintained friendships with others on the other side of the aisle. They disagreed on the floor in debate, but in private life they enjoyed friendships, discussion and exchange. That must’ve led to some moderation in their professional careers. I think a forum where people of different political stripes and beliefs can come together for some non-political discussion helps humanize both sides.

          She doesn’t flog her beliefs (by law and employer policy, but also by personal policy), and it’s not a vehicle for her work. If CHS shuts down, her employer will remain. But every time an impassioned commenter screams all caps “I CANT STAND YOUR WORK OR SUPPORT IT YOU CRAZY NUT” on a *fashion blog*, that just confirms the bias of her employer’s ardent supporters.

          • hellskitchen :

            Shanghai, I completely agree with all your points above. But I think the reason many people didn’t like Belle is because failed to exhibit that kind of bipartisanship when it came to fashion. If a commenter disagreed with one of her “rules” Belle came down pretty hard on them. It’s her blog and she can say whatever she wants but her responses to commenters prevented the kind of dialogue you see on this blog. There are many times people dislike Kat’s picks and say so in the posts and she seems perfectly fine with dissenting opinions. I stopped reading CHS because I got tired of the fights among commenters about her job… that comment forum was not that interesting to begin with but after the fighting, it became downright unpleasant

          • hellskitchen, that’s pretty true. It isn’t a community like here. I guess I take it like I would a women’s magazine–appreciative of some points, but with a mountain of salt!

        • I don’t care if she’s nice or not. My biggest problem is that she apparently doesn’t proofread her blog. One of my favorite things about [this site] is that Kat’s posts (in addition to being interesting) are grammatically correct with proper spelling.

      • Merabella, I’m looking forward to meeting you….great minds think alike :)

    • Thank you to everyone! The conversation went well. Let’s hope the message got through. I appreciate all of your suggestions.

  23. springtime :

    Law firm ladies-

    I have a hard time distinguishing between revisions of my work that are totally normal for my seniority and things that are bad mistakes. I guess, even when a lawyer tells me it isn’t a problem, I worry and think that they secretly think I should have known better.

    FWIW, I have just started my 2nd year of practice. I’ve never had anyone sit me down to say I am not up to snuff or that there are major issues with my work. Conversely, I don’t get much praise either (lawyers don’t seem to hand out praise like candy).

    How do I know when to worry, and when to chill out?

    • LeChouette :

      I would worry less about that and more about making sure you don’t make the same mistakes twice. Some revisions are a matter of personal preference, some revisions reflect information you couldn’t have known before you did the work, others are actual mistakes — the first two aren’t worth worrying much about (with the exception of making sure you ask enough questions before you start), as to the last I would focus on learning the lessons from those mistakes.

      Generally its impossible to get real feedback at least at my law firm job. I go every day feeling like I am on the verge of getting fired and then get really positive performance reviews. So, who knows.

      • springtime :

        “Generally its impossible to get real feedback at least at my law firm job. I go every day feeling like I am on the verge of getting fired and then get really positive performance reviews.”

        That is exactly how I feel. It’s stressing me out!

        I actually haven’t done repeat work really- everything I do seems to be new and different, so I haven’t had many opportunities to make ‘repeat’ mistakes. Most of what I hear is “this is how I would do it” as opposed to “this is wrong”.

        • LeChouette :

          Then I think you are probably in good shape — you aren’t expected to get everything exactly right on the first try. So long as you’re learning I would try not to stress!

    • AnonInfinity :

      I agree with everything LeChouette said.

      I am also a second year, and here’s how I deal with it — I take everything the partners say at face value. I fix the mistake and do my best not to make it again and show them that I’m learning, but I’ve made the conscious decision not to try to get in their heads and figure out what they’re thinking about me. It will just drive me insane if I’m afraid they’re constantly judging me for every.little.thing. So, when a partner says, “Do X in the future. No big deal.” I just do X in the future and choose to believe that it’s really no big deal. If the partner is going to be upset with me forever about the mistake, then he’s going to be upset about it whether or not I obsess over it.

      FWIW, we don’t get a lot of praise here, either. I know that the partners like my work because they give me more work and better work. That’s the real barometer of how you’re doing in most firms, from what I understand.

    • You are a 2nd year, right? At this stage, you have been given detailed feedback to teach you the partner’s styles. By now, you should be able to mimic the partners’ and senior associates’ styles. You shouldn’t have too many substantive errors–it should mostly be cosmetic changes.

      As a 3rd year, you should start to develop your own style and voice. You will get lots of feedback on this. Some mentors will resist and insist that you continue to mimic them. Others will give you feedback and guidance on the strengths and weaknesses of your style. If possible, I would move away from the former and try to get more work from the latter.

      • springtime :

        The thing is, I don’t get detailed feedback. This is a huge problem with my firm imo- everything is very ‘ad hoc’ and we are supposed to be able to figure out a lot of things on our own. I’m often given instructions of “do this. good luck”, sometimes get an example/precedent to sort of guide me, and rarely have a structured example of exactly how something should be done. My review last year was “everyone says you’re doing a great job.”

        The benefit to this though is that I really know how to do things and figure things out for myself. I don’t rely on people to guide me and I know where to find things I’ve never worked with before. But the lack of structure can be very hard to deal with. Sometimes I just want to be able to know what I’m doing!

        • springtime :

          It also means I get pretty high level work to do- when I talk to friends at other firms, it’s so weird to hear that most of their days are spent writing simple letters, reviewing docs, and basic research. I love those days because then I get to relax!

        • It sounds like you are in a “sink or swim” and “clean up your own messes” firm. In those firms, no news is good news. You are doing great! Congrats!

          In the real world, there rarely is a structured example of how something should be done. That’s why lawyers can charge so much for our services. Law is an art just as much as it is a science.

          All I can say re: wanting more feedback is “be careful what you wish for”. BigLaw is full of people getting bullied, over-criticized, and treated badly for not doing something exactly how a mentor would have done it.

          • springtime :

            Thanks so much for your feedback k-padi. You always give helpful advice in these types of situations :).

  24. For those of you that have some downtime at work, I found this list of 102 interesting articles of 2012 yesterday and so far I’ve read like 10 fascinating ones:

  25. I’ve somehow totally missed the white shirt post yesterday, but have been meaning to share this for a while so here goes. I’ve been obsessed with this Boden top ever since their last catalog came out. It strikes me as the perfect alternative for interview/formal occasions for those of us who not quite keen on the button down but want to upgrade the usual under-suit attire. Comes in other colors, but I think the ivory would be just perfect. I haven’t ordered it yet, but very tempted. I think as soon as a 25% promo comes along, my willpower will crumble. Unfortunately, smaller sizes in blue and navy are all back-ordered and will only be available in five weeks. But I think this only speaks to the item’s popularity and general awesomeness. If anyone has gotten this already, I’d love to hear your thoughts (the reviews are pretty positive online)

    • Could you (or anyone) comment on sizing? I know Boden isn’t great for the curvy. I am hourglass-shaped, about 32DD or F (usually a S-M/6-8 at places like Ann Taylor and BR).

      • I also have an hourglass figure and I wouldn’t say boden is a problem for me in tops or all dresses. It’s more the skirts and tunics that don’t work. I wear the same size shirt as BR.

      • Diana Barry :

        I would order your normal size and have the waist taken in if necessary. I am a 34E and usually take an 8 in Boden tops, 10 at the most if they are meant to be form-fitting.

      • I’m a 34DD hourglass and their dresses fit me well. I also have a shirt, a tunic, and a cardigan. I generally wear a 6, though I own a dress in 4 that ran large. Check the size chart on every piece you’re interested in, because they change depending on the piece. The tab with details also sometimes comments on fit or if an item runs large.

    • mintberrycrunch :

      Love this

  26. Are there any other stepmoms out there who feel marginalized by their friends with biological kids? I’m a longtime stepmom of a wonderful kid. My friends are all that age of having babies and young kids. And I really feel like they don’t consider me a parent, too. They somehow assume I have free time when I’m really doing parent-teacher conferences, cooking family dinners, or at sports games just like they are. I find myself left out of parenting-type conversations. On Facebook (as always!) it’s even worse; everyone likes and comments about each other’s kids’ birthdays, photos, first day of school, etc., and I don’t get much of a response if I post something (infrequently) about my kid’s birthday or soccer game, etc. There are other examples of this, but describing them is difficult. It’s more of an overall impression that I don’t think I’m inventing. Does anyone have a similar experience, and have you been successful communicating to your friends that you love and and are involved with your stepkids just as much as they are with their biological kids?

    • I’m not a stepmom (or a mom).

      But I’m pretty sure your friends are a**holes.

      That is all.

    • Another Anon :

      Must second what the previous anon said. Your friends aren’t real friends. They’re inconsiderate assholes. Why are you friends with these people again?

      • I can’t say I don’t get annoyed by it, but I think it comes from a lack of understanding, not being as*holes. I think they probably identify with my stepkid’s bio mom on some level; since she’s thankfully still in the picture, maybe they can’t understand there also being a parental-type relationship between me and stepkid.

        But at least you’ve validated my frustrations a little:)

    • as a child of divorced parents, I have had step parents, so I do have some opinions on this …
      I am sorry if I sound harsh, but I have to say it – you are not their mum … so other mums might have some issues with this overall (ie, fear of being in that situation one day when another woman tries to ‘steal’ their job as a mum).
      Also, they might not appreciate how involved you feel. I guess the question is: do you live with them every day? do you get up at night if they have nightmares? if you do all those daily things, and if it bothers you that much, talk to your friends about it.

      • I do think this was harsh, but I understand your perspective. I’m not trying to make myself out a “real” mom or whatever. I’m secure about my relationship with my stepkid, and it’s not one I need to defend; it’s just such a huge and fulfilling part of my life that I wish I could share it more. I’d just like it if my friends who are moms could relate to me on that level, not because we have *everything* in common as parents, but because we do have more in common than might be immediately obvious.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I think your stepkid is very lucky to have you. Kudos to you for jumping in feet first to an “instant parent” world.

        • I kind of bristle at this comment, as a stepkid with a stepmom who sounds a lot like the OP. My stepmom loves me like her own bio kids and refers to me as her daughter, and has since the beginning of our relationship. This isn’t the same thing as “stealing” my mom’s role – not even close – and anyone in her life who assumed our relationship had that dynamic without any evidence would have been a bit batty (and not a good friend.) If OP’s friends are seeing a loving stepparrent-kid relationship, and projecting onto that some of their own weird marital insecurities, then they’re being crappy friends to OP. Period.

        • AnonForThis :

          I second Blonde Lawyer as well. As a new “step mom” on a full time basis, I am learning the ropes and the balance of being a parent when its convenient for everyone else, and not one at all when its not. My closest friends who are parents have been very supportive, and my family and other not-so-close friends have not. It sounds like you have a great attitude about being a stepmom and a good relationship with your stepkid. If you’d be interested in chatting/sharing some advice for a newbie, I would really love some guidance.

      • This. Also if Facebook is bothering you, walk away. If they aren’t including you in conversations, start your own.

      • If your hypothesis is correct– that these women are freezing out the OP because they’re projecting their fears that someone might “steal” their job as “mom,” then that proves the prior Anons’ point, right? That these women are a-holes. Having irrational fears does not entitle these people to dismiss the OP.

      • Also a stepkid (on both sides — both parents re-married) and I’ll chime in and say that, while my steps were never my “real” mom or dad, they were their own wonderful, warm thing and I presented them with a whole set of challenges my own mom and dad never had to deal with. I lost my stepmom a couple of years ago and I miss her terribly. I wasn’t always as nice to her as I should have been (see above re: “whole set of challenges my own mom never had to deal with” — from me, at least; my mom was also a stepmom and stepsibs weren’t always as nice to her as they should have been) but she never, ever, ever stopped loving or stopped working to make her home welcoming to me. I know she did this both out of love for my dad (which gets her serious points) and out of genuine love for me. My stepdad came along later in my life, but he has also worked extremely hard to be positive, loving presence in my life. Your friends make me mad. Being a step is hard work and not everyone is up to it. Kudos to you for loving and accepting your kids just as they are, and for being proud of them. Even if your friends are lame, and even if the kids aren’t always as appreciative as they should be, I’m sure your spouse appreciates how much you do and the kids will come to appreciate when they’re older. Especially assuming you’re keeping a great relationship with their mom (my stepmom even defended my mom to my dad a few times — MAJOR stepmom points!).

      • kerrycontrary :

        Who says that she’s a step-parent due to divorce? I’ve known multiple step-parents who married a window (or widower) thus becoming the only mother (or father)-figure the child has had since a young age.

        • Senior Attorney :

          OP says bio-mom is “still in the picture.”

          Which seems a little condescending to me, BWDIK?

          • Yikes! Not meaning to be condescending, I was literally just trying to convey that mom is alive and well, which I think might contribute to my friends’ lack of understanding of my role.

            If the information is important, we have primary custody and placement, and mom has visitation.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I think that is important, actually.

            And I agree with the “just jump in to the mom talk” advice.

        • just Karen :

          OP said in a later comment that the bio mom is still involved in the kids lives, so while there may not have been a divorce involved (not all parents are married), she’s not the only mother figure for these kids (who are incredibly lucky to have two involved and loving mother figures).

      • I think this was pretty harsh, and possibly some biases coming out. Kudos to you, Stepanon for making such an effort. I speak from experience that being a good step-parent really pays dividends when the children are older. You’re doing the exact right thing, don’t let the haters get you down.

      • AnonForThis :

        As food for thought, its not about the step mom “stealing” the mom’s role as “mom”. In my case, SD’s mom decided she didn’t want to be a mom. She left her husband and child to go out and drink and party and act a fool. She willingly gave us primary custody, and moved halfway across the country. She sees her child 2-3 times a year. Every other day of the year, I am “mom,” except that I’m expected by “mom” and society to not think of myself as “mom”, but simply nanny, chauffeur, maid, etc. Meanwhile, she gets to be “mom” with little to no pushback for her decision to literally walk away from her daughter’s life. I was shocked by how otherwise rational women react so negatively to the stepmom role in favor of the biological mother without considering the facts and circumstances.

    • I suppose it has to do with whether you have primary custody, and how old the child was when you became a step. It’s probably just a habit on your friends’ part and I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they’re not automatically a-holes because of this.

      But instead of sitting there feeling hurt and marginalized, jump into the conversation with both feet.

    • I don’t have kids, but I have a stepfather, and although my father is a wonderful person who is my “real” father in every way that matters, he lived in another state from my mom and so my stepfather was my caretaker and parent in my everyday life. And he was every bit as involved as any biological parent would have been. So, from the perspective of your stepkid, I think your friends are in the wrong.

      Like mamabear said, though, it is probably just a habit on the part of your friends. They probably don’t mean to exclude you. If you weren’t a parent for years and now you have an eight year old, they probably just aren’t used to thinking of you as a mom. I think that if you have heartfelt talks with a couple of your closest friends, they’ll start including you more and they’ll tell others to include you too.

      If they deliberately exclude you even after you talk to them, then they’re @$$holes.

    • Meg Murry :

      You say your friends are having babies and young kids. Is your stepson older than their kids? Its possible that they don’t respond as much simply because they don’t really know as much about older kids, and they may know the other friend’s children better if they are the same age as their own. For instance, I tend to comment more on posts from people with children the same age as mine because I know their children and can relate, whereas I don’t know much about, say, 8-10 year olds so I don’t comment (although if the pic is cute and I know the kid, I’ll be sure to “like” it). So if all your friends have 3 year olds in the same play group and you have an 8 year old stepson, you are just as valid as a parent – you just might not have as much in common to talk about on Facebook.

    • MaggieLizer :

      I’ve heard several iterations of “It’s different when it’s your OWN child” or “When you carry your child INSIDE you, that’s a bond that NOTHING can compare to and you just can’t ever understand that.” Some bio moms just have a holier than thou attitude, even with a mom who adopted her child as an infant, and with dads. If that’s your friends, then get new friends; they’re never going to respect you as a parent.

      If your friends aren’t total d!cks though, it might have something to do with the relative ages of your kids. Is your child quite a bit older than theirs? If so, your friends might just be forming a stronger bond because they’re all dealing with babies and toddlers at the same time. I’d expect this to be especially pronounced if you weren’t around when your stepchild was little because you haven’t experienced what it’s like to parent a newborn, or deal with temper tantrums, etc. It’ll probably be better once their kids are older.

    • Adult stepkid here! I love my stepmom, and cannot stand people who discount her role in my life. Motherhood does not need a biological link.

      I’d say blitz them with a bunch of wonderful stuff about said stepkid. Maybe they’re really slow and just haven’t realized that you take your role as stepmom seriously. Every conversation, be sure to mention little Jimmy and how smart/adorable/great he is. “Oh, I would love to go to girl’s night, but I have to help Jimmy with his arts project. He has such a creative eye!” Go overboard.

      It sounds like you use facebook in a reasonable way. This is probably not how your friends use facebook. Become that mother! A in science class? Facebook it. Side part as a tree in the school play? Facebook it and send out invites to everyone. Participation trophy in soccer? Facebook it and mention that you put it on the mantle next your wedding photos.

      Do this for two or three weeks and either they’ll get the clue that you’re just as invested with your kid’s life as they are, or they’ll continue to be jerks. Get new friends.

      • I love this advice.

        Of course, there are variables here – e.g., if the kid lives with you full time, his/her age, etc. But assuming that the child is living with you, it does sound like your friends just either don’t get it or are d*cks. I’d give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the former until proven otherwise.

        If they’re all having babies just now, keep in mind that many people who just had a baby or have a very young child think that what they just did is just about the most amazing thing anyone’s ever done and anyone who didn’t just do that can never ever comprehend that or anything else in life because they didn’t It’s like when your friends get married and for two years all anyone can talk about is vendors, menus and thank you card etiquette but times a thousand. Give them some time to adjust.

        • My mom once said (fondly) about a young couple that had just gotten married: “They’re at the stage where they think they invented getting married. I’m not looking forward to the invention of having children.”

    • Everyone, thanks for sharing your advice and experiences. This dialogue has been really helpful, and it turns out that my feelings probably have at least as much to do with my own questions about my role and how I identify as they do with what I noticed about my friends.

      • I am a banana. :

        Just wanted to say that you seem awesome, the child is lucky you are in his or her life, and that I relate to this feeling too.

    • midwest anon :

      This may sound odd, but thanks for bringing this up. I have two friends that are in committed long term relationships with guys that have kids and it has never occurred to me that they might be experiencing what you describe. I don’t have kids (yet) but I am going to try to make an effort to try to think of my friends’ lives as different now that they are parenting.

  27. Cookies and Wine :

    Does anyone have a suggestion for nice short-sleeved “shells” to wear under suits? I hate sleeveless ones under suits and that seems to be all I can find at the usual suspects (AT, Banana, etc.). I also don’t like button downs. So, I’m searching for short sleeved light sweaters or shirts. A t-shirt is okay but would prefer some sort of unique design or detail to make it nice enough to wear under a suit. Also, I prefer something a little “flowy” if possible (just returning from maternity leave and will be pumping at work). Thank you!

    • Check out boden. I posted the one I am currently obsessed with above but they have a lot of cute options, many of which are sort of empire waist or wrap style.

    • My favorite ones are actually from LOFT – silky/flowy material, short sleeved – look nice under a cardigan or a suit, and machine washable. Usually they hold up really well – I have one that’s about two or three years old that started to pill.

    • I’ve had some luck sorting through the racks at Macys for this sort of thing.

    • I may have given up and given over to the flowy long-sleeved silk blouse.

    • I was perusing the Land’s End sale earlier and decided to give them a try. They had some cute short sleeved shirts – I won’t bother with a link that will put me in moderation, but I picked up the Short Sleeve Bow-front Blouse.

  28. I’m sorry if this has already been covered, but since last week’s post on “how often to you re-wear work clothes” and some of the VERY helpful comments, I’ve been looking to step my selections up a notch. I have TONS AND TONS of clothes – I’ll readily admit, way too many. But I wear the same three or four pants skirts with a button-up shirt and a suit jacket about 80% of the time. When I’m feeling crazy, I’ll sub out for a sweater or – wait for it – put a sweater on OVER the shirt. I know, crazy boring. CRAZY BORING.

    So I was thinking, if there was some sort of online closet manager tool, where I could put in what I owned, take pictures of it, and then match things up a little more creatively. I wondered if that might be more inspirational to me. And if it had some sort of calendar feature, that would be helpful too, so I’m not repeating my outfits all the time. Another big bonus of course is that this will fully force me to assess what I own and what I need.

    Does anyone use anything like this? A quick search online showed me a few options, but nothing seems to be exactly as comprehensive as I’m imagining, and I’ll love some suggestions, if you guys have them.

    • Merabella :

      I have an app like that for my iphone. It has a calendar, and you can create a packing list. I like it, but you have to take pictures of everything.

      You could always do polyvore and clip stuff from the internet that is similar to what you have to create outfits – and use a google calendar for keeping track.

      • just Karen :

        Do you mind sharing the name of your app? I don’t know if I would follow through with it, but I really like the idea!

    • That is such a good idea, I would love that! I would love to hear any Android recommendations…

  29. Speaking of Cap Hill.. :

    I’m making the jump from academia to an NGO in DC that will require me to occasionally attend hearings, etc. on the Hill. What is the dress code for this? Will I be ok in flats, dark dress pants, and a cardigan? I start next week and my clothing budget is pretty nonexistent so I would like to purchase the absolute basics only. Thanks :)

    • Yes, you’ll be fine in flats, dark pants, and a cardi. If you’ll be participating in meetings, as opposed to simply sitting in the audience during hearings, a suit or slacks with a blazer would be more appropriate than a cardigan.

  30. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all. However imagine if you added some great graphics or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this blog could definitely be one of the greatest in its niche. Superb blog!

work fashion blog press mentions