Thursday’s TPS Report: Contrast Trim Sheath Dress

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

Calvin Klein Contrast Trim Sheath DressHappy Thursday! I like this sporty little sheath dress — the blue (mais oui), the white, the, you know, black. It’s got a nice ladylike hem length (39.5″) and a modest neckline; I think it would be a great addition for the summer. It’s on sale at Nordstrom — was $118, but now marked to $70.80 (lots of sizes left). Calvin Klein Contrast Trim Sheath Dress

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  1. For some reason, this reminds me of a tracksuit set I had as a teen… Can’t decide if that’s a good or bad thing.

    • My sister, Rosa, can wear this, but not me. FOOEY! Dad is VERY sckeptical of the book’s that Frank showed him. He told me that there was some account for Madeline with alot of money in it, even tho she is NOT a partner. He think’s they are paying her off for some thing shady, and Frank refused to Explain! Dad also does not understand alot of other items that were included in the Account’s Payable Ledgger. He is comeing back in here next week to go over more with Frank. Myrna is stoppeing by here for lunch to go to Lord and Taylor and she want’s to know all about Philip and Robert and which one I should date. YAY!!! Right now, I am leaneing toward Philip, but he is very meek (mousey even!). He did not even want to kiss me! He texted about meeting tomorrow after work, so I will say YES.

  2. I have a swimsuit in those colours, black with a blue stripe, with almost that neckline.


  3. Calibrachoa :

    So is this what they call a scuba dress?

  4. I am starting a new job in two weeks (yay!) and I would love to take this opportunity to change my name (I got married last year and held off due in large part to my ongoing job search).

    My fear is that I will not have my new social security card in before my first day (I can go in person to the SS office, but the website says it will take up to 10 business days). Thoughts on whether this will be a problem?

    • No reason not to ask HR.

      • You should let HR know soon, because they may setup things like your email address, computer login, etc before your first day. I know I was able to go the the social security office with my marriage license and get some type of temporary paperwork that allowed me to get my drivers license with my new name the same day.

    • mintberrycrunch :

      When I went to change my name at the SS office, they gave me a temporary printed paper that I could use as my new SS card until the real one arrived in the mail. I would think that would work for paperwork purposes at your new job, but I don’t know for certain.

      • goldribbons :

        Me too – it was very quick and easy (surprisingly).

      • hoola hoopa :

        Me, three. It took about five minutes to have my new ‘card’ in hand.

        Definitely let HR know asap, as they will set up everything in advance of your first day.

      • Ditto. I just changed my name two weeks ago, and I actually received my new card in two buisness days. So it might not be the full ten they quote you.

    • Talk to your HR contact at the new job about this. They might be able to set you up under the new name and just use the old SS card for the employment verification.

    • If the reason you need your social security card is for I-9 paperwork, then if you have a passport, then you don’t need a social security card.

      Another option would be Drivers License + birth certificate.

      Here’s the official document and it lists your options on the last page.

      For insurance paperwork, you need to supply your SS#, but you don’t have to show your card.

      • You’ll need some sort of identification in your new name I believe. So go ahead and get your driver’s license at least. It will take a bit longer to get a passport re-issued.

    • Thanks all. I called my recruiting contact and she’s confirming with HR for me.

    • Thanks all! I called my recruiting contact and she is checking with HR for me.

  5. Yesterday’s thread about foods you always order at a restaurant made me think — what foods do you *never* order at a restaurant? I’m from the New England coast and I never order whole lobster out. Lobster is something you eat at home, at the kitchen table on a pile of newspapers, with lots of napkins and lots of melted butter. And a pot at your feet for the shells. Also, meatloaf. I like meatloaf, but to me, it’s a home food and I like my mother’s recipe, which is topped with Ortega taco sauce instead of ketchup.

    • I don’t order pizza (or “flatbread”) at any place that is not known as a pizza place. They usually just end up being worse than a frozen pizza I could get for $5 at the grocery store at double-triple the cost.

      • I don’t order “flatbread” period. If I want pizza, I want PIZZA, with all of its crust and glory :) If I want something lighter but with the yumminess of the toppings, then I’ll order a salad with a similar flavor profile. But flatbread, to me, always = cardboard with toppings.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Clearly, you have never gone to the wonderous restaurant that is Flatbread Company. My mouth is watering just remembering.

    • I have the reverse view on lobsters. Not something I would ever cook at home, so if it’s on the menu, there’s a good chance I will be getting it.

      I almost never order cheesecake because I think I make the best one and, although I love eggs benedict, I rarely order them because I feel like that sauce has probably been sitting around far too long in most places.

      • I hear you — I would worry that it would pinch me and we’d wind up in some standoff in the corner, with the lobster winning. Plus, something about them reminds me of cockroaches, which are huge and terrifying here.

        • Hahah, I can totally see a rogue lobster making a getaway after the standoff, you find yourself with an unwelcome/hostile lobster for a pet.

        • For the record, this actually happened to me as a kid, only with crabs. My mom and I drove past a road-side sale for crabs (we lived in VA at the time) and thought it would be a fun Saturday afternoon. Plus, my family is from New England and we are part of the we-cook-lobsters-at-home camp, so we thought we could handle a couple dozen crabs. Well, a tipped over bag timed with a squirmy crab in the tongs lead to about four ticked-off crabs on the kitchen floor with my mom and I squeeling from our perches on the counter.

      • The thing about restaurants and lobsters is that they typically crack it all over for you and drain it, which means that it arrives much too dry (especially the claws).

      • I generally won’t order steak anymore at restaurants – unless we are at a very well respected steak place. My husband has made a study of grilling and/or cooking steak extremely well (seriously he’s amazing) and you can buy restaurant quality steak for much less at Costco, Wegmans, or even Whole Foods. So I tend to go for things like lamb or fresh pasta or whatever that I can’t or am not likely to make at home.

        • mintberrycrunch :

          My husband has also perfected steak at home… I never order it out because I much prefer his.

        • Yes, I prefer my mom’s steak. Plus, I like it rare and in some states, they won’t do it for you.

        • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

          I miss Wegmans! And chip dip.

    • Meat/seafood/fish (I’m vegeterian…), which usually narrows down my options significantly.

      Otherwise, I rarely order pasta, unless its freshly made in-house (or unless I’m in Italy, where I think I ate spaghetti with plain tomato sauce or caprese salad with gelato to finish off for *every single meal* because…I don’t know, all the pasta there was amazing, and I still dream about it….).

      I just think I can make pretty much every vegetarian pasta I’ve seen on a menu, and I often find the vegetables overdone, or the dish too saucy, or not saucy enough, etc. I’m rarely content with pasta dishes. Plus, then I feel guilty if I have pasta AND dessert. And I always. want. dessert.

      I wish it was socially acceptable to just order appetizer + dessert (salad and cheesecake! yum!), but then if you’re with a group that isn’t ordering either and just doing mains, it looks weird. Or at least I always feel guilty, even though vegetarian mains in my city are frequently…average/mediocre.

      • Agree re: pasta. Unless it’s freshly made in-house, I could make it better or as-good at home for a fraction of the price. No thanks!

      • If it’s not a business lunch/dinner, I would totally do that and in fact do when out with friends. My favorite meals are usually apps, so I figure why not.

        • I travel a decent amount for work and I swear one of the only ways I keep my weight under control when I do is to order a starter for my main course (usually with a soup/salad to start). Appetizers are so much larger now that they’re probably the size main courses used to be. I’ve gotten one or two comments but who cares?

      • Apple Pie :

        Also vegetarian, and I do this (order just an app or side + dessert) all the time. Not when I’m out with partners, but quite often when I lunch with friends, family, or other associates. The waiter usually looks at me funny and asks for clarification, but I generally end up enjoying my food a lot more than if I try to order a vegetarian main off the menu. I’d so much rather get my calories from soup and dessert than a main course drenched in cream.

      • I do app + dessert all the time, I’m a fussy eater. I don’t think restaurant quiche or tarts are ever worth it.

        I am opposite though, my SO is veggie and we are normally veggie at home so I order meat in restaurants.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I try to avoid ordering shellfish in a restaurant because it is SO marked up. I live in New England and can cook mussels in less than 5 minutes. A whole serving for one usually costs me under $2. I can’t stand paying $16 for them at a restaurant. Same with lobster. I don’t cook it at home but my grocery store will steam/boil them for free. I can get a whole lobster for $10 or less usually so I refuse to pay $25 at a restaurant.

      • do you have a good simple recipe/tips/general instructions to share? I love shellfish but am scared of cooking it for whatever reason.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Sure! Mussels are the easiest thing in the world. I have a big wok like pan but I think a general frying pan with a lid would work too. I throw some white wine, butter, garlic and seasonings, sometimes diced tomatos or salsa, into the pan and let it get hot. Then I throw in the mussels. (Take out any broken ones first). Then I cover and let it steam, stirring occasionally until they are all open. Then they are done. If you have a couple that won’t open, they might just be bad and you can toss those out and still eat the rest. Super easy.

          • Abby Lockhart :

            And beer can be subbed for the wine to mix it up. Shallots or finely chopped onions can be added as well, with or without the garlic. I just add this to say that this is not an exact science — it really is hard to mess it up.

          • Veronique :

            I sometimes order mussels now because they’re so hard to find in my crappy city, but when I lived elsewhere I never would because when I make them at home it’s so easy and they taste better than many restaurants. I usually saute onions or shallots with garlic, add diced tomatoes and white wine, then mussels. Don’t add too much wine, you want to be able to taste the natural mussel flavor in the resulting broth. Add some crusty bread and you’ve got a meal.

    • Chicken. Chicken only needs to be cooked to 163 degrees to be safe, and should be rested for 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute, but most restaurants cook it way beyond that, in part because most customers expect/want their chicken to be as dry as cotton, and don’t let it rest because it’s a waste of time.

      • Agreed re chicken. I also have never had a chicken that I couldn’t cook just as well myself (with the notable exception of southern fried chicken). Also, cakes for desserts. 9 times out of 10, they’re dry and again, I think I could bake something at least just as good.

      • Agreed. I usually steer away from chicken at restaurants because it tends to be dry and flavourless, and also I am a dark meat girl and most restaurants serve chicken bre*st, which tends to lack flavour even when cooked properly.

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        Yes re: chicken, unless of course you are at Zuni.

        • Of course, Mary Ann :). I haven’t had that chicken for far too long. I need to go back soon.

          • Mary Ann Singleton :

            Just what I was thinking too – need a reason to go there soon for a chicken feast (that sounds weird).

      • I never order chicken! I have a weird love of boiled chicken and anything with sauce or batter on it just makes me gag.

      • Veronique :

        My only exceptions for the no chicken rule are roasted chicken and fried chicken. I have had some amazing roasted chicken in New American and Peruvian/Latin restaurants. I love it with really crispy skin, which I can recreate at home but best results require leaving it uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours. Too much work! I don’t like deep frying (too messy), so I never make fried food at home and sometimes you just want some juicy fried chicken.

    • Picky Eater :

      These threads make me laugh because I am soooooo not a foodie. What do I get when I go to a restaurant? Probably chicken. What do I never order? Anything weird. Whether or not I can make it at home is rarely a consideration (after all, I’m eating out because I didn’t want to cook).

      • Yep, sounds like the majority of people here are much better/more motivated cooks than me! I don’t eat out often, but I wouldn’t say I really cook either – nothing that takes more than about 15 minutes to throw together. I don’t have any favorites or avoids, apparently my palate is non-existent and I’ll eat anything but I do try to get something from the “guiltless” menu if there is such a thing.

    • Spaghetti and meatballs. My family is extremely Italian. ‘Nuff said.

      • Totally agree. In an Italian restaurant, I would order something that’s more complicated to make at home. And I never like restaurant meatballs. Spaghetti is something I make far better myself.

    • Chicken. I also wish I would stop ordering pasta anywhere but Italian restaurants, but my willpower isn’t that good :)

    • Lobster – we can cook it at home at a fraction of the price.
      Shrimp – I have a signature dish that my family loves, and I make it with wild shrimp. I suspect that restaurants use mostly farmed seafood.
      Steak – again, something we can make at home at a fraction of the price. There was a local store that almost always had excellent flatiron steaks under $5/lb that we marinated in worcestershire sauce and grilled on the deck. The store closed and I need to find another reliable supplier of good, affordable steaks for the coming season.
      I order salmon only if it is offered in a really fancy preparation. Very seldom does it surpass home-grilled cedar plank salmon + I am expanding the range of sauces and relishes for making baked fish.

      • Shrimp lover :

        Any chance of you sharing the signature shrimp dish recipe?

      • It is basically the Greek saganaki recipe but I make all kinds of variations and shortcuts with it: omit onions and pepper flakes, substitute fresh basil or other herbs for oregano, use goat cheese instead of feta, and lemon juice instead of wine. The only constant is the unpeeled shrimp.
        Here is a generic recipe with proportions.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Never order – Spaghetti Bolognaise or Lasagne, my homemade is better.

      Also, I never order steak anywhere that isn’t a ‘steak place’ – cheap steak a la Applebee’s makes my skin crawl.

      It’s really interesting about the mark-up and shellfish etc. I wouldn’t ever cook it at home as I’d be worried about not doing it right and certainly wouldn’t cook lobster at home, but then it’s not really ‘native’ to England so it’s expensive even if you buy it in a shop.

      • Ha! Shellfish is about the easiest thing in the world to cook! Clams and mussels you just steam until they open. Lobsters you throw in a boiling pot and pull out after about 20 min. Melt some butter, and dinner is ready. And I’m with Blonde Lawyer on the cost. I cannot believe how expensive shellfish can be. Growing up walking distance from a lobster pound (where some summers lobsters were $4/lb), those $15/lb things in the supermarket tanks just don’t do it for me.

    • Any salad where I have a choice of dressing (because it will probably be bottled), or a salad in a place where I know the dressing will be bottled. I can’t stand bottled salad dressing, for some reason. And I feel funny asking for olive oil and vinegar on the side, especially if I think the lettuce won’t be that great.

    • SoCalTraffic :

      I wouldn’t order chicken because, well, I can make it better / for cheaper at home.

      Basic pasta dishes, ditto.

      Pretty much if I’m going to a restaurant I would like to get something that I can’t make at home or something they specialize in. So of course I’m a sucker for a good prime rib or sushi.


    • Re-posting my comment on this from the last thread:

      Salads, because the dressing is usually from a bottle and they’re overpriced. Soups, because they’re usually from a bag. Stews are made from leftovers. Corned beef hash uses the stuff from the can 99.9%of the time (though I will eat that on occasion). Pancakes at cheaper breakfast places are absolutely soaked with liquid butter, and the omelettes are probably made with egg beaters or powdered eggs. Fish and shellfish and other delicious sea creatures, unless I know the place, or am at the coast. Also, anything with truffle oil….that stuff is usually artificially flavored and is applied with a heavy hand. Smells like feet and tastes even worse. Wine is usually grievously overpriced as well. Any restaurant that offers a decent selection at a good price has a corresponding high corkage fee, so that’s easy enough to figure out

    • Veronique :

      I try to order stuff that I don’t/rarely make myself when I’m out. I rarely order chicken or pasta because I eat them all the time and can often make them better myself. I sometimes break this by ordering mac and cheese, which tends to be either really good or really bad. I don’t order Chinese unless it’s good Chinese (ie, not mall/cheap takeout quality level). Cold sandwiches, the ultimate in “I can make this myself”. Omelets, because most people overcook the eggs (I prefer my eggs slightly soft). Barbecue, unless it’s a bbq or soul food restaurant. Fish and chips (unless in England) because most people overbatter it.

  6. Anyone have any experience with Botkier handbags? Looking at the Valentina satchel in black which is super on sale on the Bloomingdales site…

    On a totally unrelated note, I’m about to head off on a short beach vacation…any recommendations for good beach books? Only interested in novels, ranging anywhere from chic lit (my favorite is Emily Giffin) to more substantial stuff (recently enjoyed the Age of Miracles and Ten Thousand Saints). Not really a fan of sci-fi/fantasy.

    • I bought the Valentina in a light dove grey last year (it didn’t have the chain strap though) and I really liked it. It was big enough that I could fit letter-sized papers in it but not so big that it looked odd carrying it around during the day in the summer. It also seemed to wear very well.

      • locomotive :

        I have the valentina satchel in a light caramel-y brown (I think officially it’s called almond) and it’s worn really well for the past 1.5 years. It’s now way softer and a little slouchier (I like the look for a casual purse, but this is something to consider if you like the more structured shape).

    • Have you read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I think this would be an excellent beach read – not to fluffy but not to serious either.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve been recommending this book to everyone since I just finished it this week. It’s The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I’m planning to read it again on my next vacation. Something about traveling opens frees my mind a little so I think it will be even more inspiring and beautiful than it was reading it during my commute.

    • I second the Alchemist, but I also recently read The Cutting Season by Attica Locke, and it was really good. Well written, good story – especially towards the end, I really just wanted to figure out what happened.

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        Yes! The Cutting Season was amazing once I got into it. And anything by Paulo Coelho will be awesome, especially The Alchemist, The Devil and Miss Prym, and Eleven Minutes.

    • I just finished A Tale for the Time Being and I really enjoyed it. I’d say it’s more on the substantial side, but not in the War and Peace category or anything.

      Also, for anyone who is even nominally open to sci-fi, you need to go out and read The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord.

    • springtime :

      Gone Girl! Great book.

      • Second “Gone Girl.” Unpredictable mystery and an easy beach read. “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann is more serious.

        • s in Chicago :

          Do Gone Girl on audiobook. Even better when you hear the characters. And stick with it. Gets so much better as you get in.

        • Loved Gone Girl! Great book.

    • big dipper :

      Some recently read recommendations –

      – Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple – It’s the story of an ecclectic , reclusive woman, her daughter and an escape to Antarctica. It’s super quirky, so if that’s not your thing you should avoid it, but it’s also so much fun!

      – The Dinner by Herman Koch – This is my top recommendation on the list. It takes place at a dinner party, and it’s part satire, part really suspenseful/tense and focused on the character’s secrets. So good – couldn’t put it down. Comparable to something like Gone Girl.

      – The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. Probably the best book ever written about a small group of young women moving to NYC and trying to make it on their own. It’s like more serious chick lit, and it’s an older book so it takes place in the 1940s/1950s.

      – Homicide: A Life of Killing on the Streets by David Simon. It’s a true life crime novel – so although it’s nonfiction, it reads like a novel. It chronicles the homicide department in Baltimore during the 1980s when crime was taking over the city. Simon went on to create the Wire, so if you like the Wire, check this out.

      Happy reading!

      • Backgrounder :

        Great recs :) Love David Simon’s Homicide…one of my favorite books! It’s like the Wire and the First 48 blended in book form

      • Anonymous :

        If you enjoyed reading Homicide, The Corner is another book (albeit a bleak and depressing one) you might find it interesting. The stories in it are from real life; it was source material for both the Homicide TV show and The Wire.

        • The Corner is one of the most intense, interesting, depressing, and bleak books I have ever read. I think it has impacted me more than any other book I have read (although that probably says more about the other books I tend to read/nordic murder mysteries). You must read this book.

    • Backgrounder :

      It may be over recommended on this site but I lurrrve the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The books are lengthy but it seems perfect for vaca and will ensure you won’t run out of reading material! There is a little bit of fantasy but also historical fiction, romance, adventure, mystery, etc. Great blend :)

      • Merabella :

        Ditto. I love this series. I’m slowly making my way thru book 6 because I know the next one isn’t out until DECEMBER!

    • A few books I recently enjoyed: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson, To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal, When It Happens To You by Molly Ringwald (yes, really) and Brain on Fire, by Susannah Cahalan.

      • Meg Murry :

        Ooh, 2nd Joshilyn Jackson! Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints were also great books – quirky, but fun, especially as audiobooks. If you want light fluff, Jennifer Crusie is the definition of beach read to me – fun, usually involve some romance, but with characters that aren’t complete ditzes. A little over the top sometimes, but in a good way. Beth Harbison’s Shoe Addicts Anonymous (and all of her books I’ve read so far) are also good light fun reads. None of these are “great literature” by any means – but they’re definitely enjoyable.

    • Thanks so much for all of the recommendations!

  7. momentsofabsurdity :

    Grr argh. My new camera lens which I ordered online and USPS says was in my state on Tuesday AM now reads as “missent” on the USPS tracking website. The internet says that means they accidentally sent it some place else and now have to reroute it back. I really hope it shows up before my trip, which is the whole reason I bought it.

    Grr. Argh. Hope everyone is having a better Thursday than me.

  8. Cupcakes, anyone? :

    A friend’s birthday is this weekend, and I wanted to surprise her with some cupcakes…I found a really intriguing champagne cupcake recipe (made with prosecco). The birthday is Saturday evening, I will probably only bring 4 or 5 cupcakes, since it’s a small girls’ night in. I’d probably just bring the rest to the office…has anyone ever made champagne cupcakes/frosting before? I’m wondering how the frosting would hold up if I made them during the day Saturday?

    • If you are making frosting on Saturday and want to bring cupcakes to work on Monday, it should be fine. I keep my cupcakes in a plastic storage container with a tight-fitting lid. If your frosting has a lot of butter you don’t want to keep them in the fridge b/c it will probably harden. You would need to let them come to room temp before serving.

    • Are you using the Sprinkles Bakes recipe by chance?

      I don’t have experience with champagne cupcakes specifically, but I have had great luck freezing cupcakes. You can let the cupcakes come to room temperature, or eat them frozen (the icing has a great consistency – almost like ice cream).

      • OP here! I looked up the Sprinkles Bakes recipe…looks like it’s the exact same thing I pulled up on another blog, so YES!

        Neha’s point is helpful, I’ve never made a frosting with butter, I usually do either cool whip or the shortening plus sugar recipe for Wilton classes, and I’ve never used champagne in the frosting, which is why I was wondering if there was any sort of life limit to the frosting.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          The Magnolia Bakery frosting recipe (which has a lot of butter but no champagne) suggests using the frosting within 3 days. I don’t think the champagne would affect the time period.

    • Anon for this :

      Going anon for this in case any of my coworkers are reading-

      We just had cupcakes at work and one of the varieties was mimosa – orange cupcake with champagne infused frosting, although it didn’t have a filling like the Sprinkle Bakes recipe. It was super delicious, so now I want to try the champagne cupcakes recipe, and then see if I can tweak it to an orange flavored champagne cupcake. Or maybe strawberry? Oh, the possiblities, I’m excited to try – thanks for bringing up this recipe!

      And if you are one of my co-workers – what flavor cupcake did you have? ;-)

  9. Tj – I’m planning to buy my mom an iPad for Mothers Day and am not sure which one to get her. She has wifi at home and I’m not sure she’ll use it on the go… For those of you with the cellular option, is it worth it? I’d love to hear your feedback. Thanks in advance!!!

    • A nonny moose :

      I wish my iPad had 3G; I think I would use it a lot more. However I am always on the go and would mainly use it as entertainment on the metro and in airports etc. my moms does not have 3G and she doesn’t mind at all. If she doesn’t need to constantly be on email/Facebook and such she should be fine. My mom uses it mainly for the kindle app which she can easily plan ahead for if she travels.

      Also consider the 3G will require someone to pay a monthly fee.

    • If she already uses an iPhone, she should be able to turn on a personal hotspot signal and connect the iPad in the absence of friendly wi-fi. Am guessing other smart-phones would allow the same thing.

      Btw I’ve recently given away a full-sized iPad after getting an iPad mini – the smaller size really works for me, lighter when traveling, easier to hold when reading and am not bothered by smaller size of display because I don’t really watch movies or such on the thing. Highly recommend if you think your mom’s use might be similar.

      • I LOVE my ipad mini – I use it constantly, even for catching up on tv shows my dh doesn’t want to watch. Mine does not have the cellular option, but when I need data I turn my personal hotspot on. It’s not often that I need data on my ipad, though, because I always have my iphone handy. But I don’t watch tv/movies unless I’m connected to wifi anyway.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        How does this work? I thought you couldn’t do that in the US (at least with AT&T).

        • I had mobile hotspot through Verizon free for a year as a promotion, otherwise you had to pay a monthly fee. Essentially it turned your phone into a mini router, and you could provide personal wi-fi for yourself for your computer/tablet/etc. It was pretty slick, but I didn’t use it enough to keep paying for it.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Oh cool, thanks for the explanation. I’m stuck with AT&T because I still have my $30 unlimited data plan, but I wonder if they have something similar and whether I’d use it enough to make it worth it.

          • AT&T does it too. I’m cheap though, so I only enabled the personal hotspot through my work cell and refuse to activate it on my personal cell. My IT department did it, but I heard it affects your usage, bill, etc. if you’re on a personal plan.

    • We have the option the one with the option but don’t use it because we mainly use it at home. But it’s great to have the option when you’re traveling.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I have no first hand experience, but I heard that Verizon is now charging $35 each time you want to activate a 3G plan. I think you used to be able to activate and cancel the plan and then reactivate when you wanted instead of paying the monthly fee all year round.

      I have a WiFi only one and have been satisfied with it. I use it for reading when on vacation and there seems to be WiFi available more places than you’d expect. If there isn’t then I use my phone to check my email or use the internet.

    • I travel a lot and don’t have the 3G service. Doesn’t bother me at all. There’s WiFi so many places now that it just isn’t often an issue for me. But I did get my youngest son the iPad mini for Christmas, and I REALLY wish I’d spent more money to get more memory. Whatever amount of memory the cheapest version has fills up really quickly with videos and games. Definitely worth spending more to be able to store a couple of movies/TV shows on there so you have some options for what to watch while you’re on a plane or wherever.

    • Meg Murry :

      No opinion as to 3G or not, but I would definitely look into the mini vs the full size. My husband has the full size iPad and my son has a mini sized tablet (but a different brand, not iPad), and the mini size is much more comfortable to hold and use, in my opinion – plus it fits in a modest sized purse, whereas the full sized iPad needs a larger bag. If you think she’s going to use it more as a laptop, with a keyboard to type emails and such you might want to consider the full size – but if you think she’ll use it more like a Kindle for on the go reading, etc I’d suggest the mini.

  10. SAlit-a-gator :

    Furniture TJ: Soooo, we’ve been holding off on replaing our 6 year old Ikea furniture until we bought a house. Makes sense that it would all literally start falling apart withing three months of buying a house. Now I need to replace a dresser, a bookshelf, dining table, and get some armchairs for the living room. Besides Overstock, World Market, Target, Wayfair, Amazon, do you know of any other retailers that sell quality furniture at affordable prices? I’m trying to avoid traditional furnitures stores, because the prices can be sometimes double. Any other words of wisdom while buying furniture? Should I spring for the best from a traditional furniture store? Is it worth it long term? Ideally, I would like not to have to replace furniture for quite some time, so I’d like to get quality pieces.

    • How about consignment or antiques? These tend to be much better quality and much lower prices. Kind of the holy grail.

      • What about Craigslist? We were able to get better quality stuff there for the money, particularly for a dining room table and chairs.

        • Craigslist yes! :

          I can vouch for craigslist luck. Everything I have bought on it has been mahogany (I use it as a search term) and old enough that it is made out of real wood throughout. Delivery is the only thing that can be tricky to work out (helps to have some sort of truck-type thing or know your local uhaul options and how to rope in a helper, even if you have to pay).

          • Along those lines, you can rent pickups from Home Depot. That’s how we transported our CL treasures in the past.

    • Interested in the advice given here too.

      One word of caution: Back in the days when I started out at biglaw and finally thought myself a “grown-up” with a big salary and bonus, my husband and I sprung on a couch and chairs from Restoration Hardware. Less than five years after their purchase, they were basically wrecked. A leg broke off the couch, all the support was gone and the fabric did not stand up well. I wish I could blame this on kids, a move or pets, but I have to say that we were pretty gentle on that furniture. It was pretty when we bought it, but in hindsight I wish we had found something more resilient.

      • Hm, I’ve had the opposite experience with RH. Bought the Maxwell couch and the monastery dining table and chairs 3 years ago and they’re in perfect condition. The couch just needs to be fluffed from time to time.

      • Do you still have the furniture? If so, call RH, because they may be able to send someone out to fix it for you (or at least the broken sofa leg). I worked there for a very brief stint a long time ago, and if I recall correctly, we did this. I would suggest calling the store that you got it at and asking to speak to the store manager.

        All of the RH furniture that I have has held up quite well, but I don’t have one of their couches (just a dresser, nightstands, bed, dining room table and chairs).

    • In the Pink :

      Hey, does SA mean you are in San Antonio? If so, I would look at the all/solid wood products via Gallery Furniture in Houston. Solid wood is great and durable.

      Otherwise, I have been surprisingly pleased with the actual furniture (not just chairs) offered by LazyBoy stores as a name brand. They are holding up very well in my office, actually.

      You might look in your area for any retailed which carries amish-made furniture. Usually in a variety of simple styles which are so very well made. The simplicity should allow the pieces to fit in with whatever styles and decor you have throughout a lifetime.

      • My couches are Lazyboy, and are nearly 10 years old, and have held up beautifully. Even in the midst of 2 cats and 2 kids. The larger couch is going to need the seat cushions restuffed soon, but thats to be expected. The love seat, which gets used less, is still great. My grandma has Lazyboy furniture that has to be 20 years old. I think it was a good investment, if you can find a style you like there.

    • There are a lot of places where you can get vintage pieces which have been restored. They’re often better quality at a lower price than new. Depends on your taste, of course. Do I recall correctly that you’re in Florida? I’ve long drooled over furnishmevintage dot com, the website for a rel store in Tampa.

    • I like one kings lane, it’s set up like a flash site sonshort windows but stuff doesn’t sellmout instantly so you have time to measure, think. Not everything can be returned though sonit helps to have a clear vision of what you want.

    • I would add West Elm to your list, esp. the sales. But really it’s hard to buy nice furniture these days at anything approaching reasonable prices. I always look for old stuff at vintage and thrift stores and at antique/estate sales. The quality of wood is so much better. Most of the stuff built today just isn’t built to last.

      You should also make a point of visiting furniture stores and making friends with a good salesperson – they can alert you to sales or let you know if some item will be sold as a floor model. A friend of mine just bought a great couch from Crate & Barrel for about 50% off because they needed to make room for something else in-store.

      Also, check outlets. PB, Williams Sonoma and West Elm have outlet stores where you can sometimes find nice pieces (though it’s random).

    • How about an unfinished furniture store? Especially for things like bookcases you can get good deals (and it’s not that tough to stain it yourself).

      • This, but be sure you have time to do it. We got my son’s bed, dresses and nightstand from an unfinished store – great quality and value. His bookcase, however, has been in our basement waiting to be finished for a year and half.

    • SoCalTraffic :

      I would check out Craigslist, stores like Salvation Army, estate sales and/or antique stores.

      Yes, it can definitely be hit or miss but IMO a lot of furniture made nowadays aren’t that well made. Granted, if you’re looking to “change up the look” every 5 – 10 years then you don’t necessarily want / need pass-on-to-my-daughter’s-daughter kind of furniture.

      The places above can help find lightly worn but well made pieces – or Ikea furniture that college kids are getting rid of.

      If you’re waiting on getting the house before going for furniture, it could also work as a place to get interim furniture. This way if the particular style is too heavy/dark for an airy house you can change it up without wincing. Haha, just donate / sell right back to where you got it from.

      Keep in mind though that good pieces can go fast. Still drooling over a beautiful mahagony vanity that was whisked away for lack of cash :(

    • Craigslist! We also got a lot of pieces from an estate auctioneer near our home. The atmosphere was fun and the prices and quality were great.

    • I got a great deal on a couch at a local furniture store in the “dent and ding” section. It was missing a leg, which was very easy to replace – they actually sell sofa legs at Lowe’s. And it had a fabric skirt that came down to the floor, so you couldn’t see it. Anyway, I only paid about 40% of retail, and it’s got down stuffed cushions, 8 way hand tied springs, all that stuff. Might be worth checking your local stores.

    • Don’t rule out larger independent furniture stores. We’ve had good luck negotiating with them, especially for sale or floor sample items.

    • outlets for restoration hardware, design within reach, crate and barrel, etc? obvs hit or miss for what’s available that is also your taste though.

    • Several years ago, I had a local carpenter build me 5 pieces — three bookcases, a dresser, and a shoe cabinet. All in cost was something like $1200. Totally worth it.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Thank you everyone for the great suggestions! I appreciate all your feedback and I’ll keep you posted on what I hope to be some awesome furniture purchases.

  11. Anon Lawyer :

    I was doing some family law research the other day and came across a statute in my state that terrified me. It was a statute that requires adult children, if it is within their means, to financially support their parents, if their parents need it. I’m not sure if/when the statute is ever enforced. I don’t know if a destitute parent has to go to court and request monetary support the way an ex-spouse would.

    I live in an anti-tax, “take care of your own” state so I’m sure the intent was to reduce the number of people getting welfare. It may only be enforced by the welfare department. Given all the family issues we have read about on this blog, this statute terrifies me. We could argue about the moral obligations but for some people, life is complicated and there are reasons they have had to cut their parents out of their lives. That is not my situation but I have parents with very little money and anticipate I will have to provide some financial support as they age. I always thought this would be a choice my husband and I would make, not something that could be forced on me by the state.

    Anyone else ever heard of such a thing?

    • That would terrify me, as I’m the only adult child with a decent career and very…let’s say “difficult” parents. May I ask what state that is? Did you look into whether that statute had ever actually been enforced/challenged? When was it enacted?

    • Yes, I’ve heard of this. Not sure how it is enforced either.

    • Ack! What state are you in? That’s scary!

    • Anon Lawyer :

      I did more research. Couldn’t find cases in my state that enforced the statute against adult children but did find dicta indicating that the state could. There are two bills pending in my state to take out the provisions that would leave adult children on the hook for their parents. I found an article that discusses such laws across the country. This should help you figure out if it is an issue in your state.

      My state also hasn’t yet overturned the doctrine of necessities but the supreme court has suggested that if the right argument comes before it, it will likely overturn it. Until then, a spouse can be liable for the other spouse’s debts, including uninsured medical care.

    • I’ve heard of this in Pennsylvania and seen at least one case where it was enforced. That’s the state my mom is moving too. Fortunately, it looks like it can only be enforced against adult children living in the state-which would be my brother, not me.

      • i’m in pa, and my family law prof said enforcement of this is on the rise, but she wasn’t sure how much. “on the rise” from virtually ignored, though.

    • Anon Lawyer :

      Comments to the article I linked said that some of the statutes listed have been superseded by other statutes so do your own research or ask a lawyer.

    • I got something about an ABA webinar about this… they call them “filial laws.” The program info said: “Thirty states have filial responsibility laws, requiring children to provide necessities for parents who cannot do so for themselves. States, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities have attempted, often successfully, to use these laws to collect the cost of care from adult children.”

      So it looks like it’s actually pretty widely out there…

    • I would imagine if it is LTC, that the goal is to get people to either release their parent’s assets they control or if there are no assets to file for Medicaid. You’d be shocked the number of people who want to hold on to their ‘inheritance’ (before the person has actually passed) when that is actually counted against the income of the person receiving services which doesn’t qualify them for Medicaid. Or they’ve transferred it within the lookback period (ala people from say giving their kids the lake home for $1 when it’s valued at 750k).

  12. When I started dating my husband about five years ago, I went on a “yay new boyfriend!” underwear buying spree. Five years and about a thousand washes later, my bras and panties look very “meh I’m married now.” What’s the best place to go for reasonable quality, not outrageously expensive, tasteful bras and panties? Extra points for bras that manage to be both pretty and functional (e.g., strategically placed lace that is pretty but doesn’t show through basically everything).

    • I hear very good things about Soma, but no personal experience. Elle McPhereson line, on sale, is not terrible and often available on RueLaLa, etc.

      • I love Soma stuff. I’m slowly but surely replacing all my old stuff with new stuff from there.

        • Is Soma for all sizes, or just the better-endowed? (I’m a small B cup.)

          • A cup here :

            Soma for all sizes

          • A cup here :

            Although I will admit that they seem to have more variety for the larger of bust. And some of their smaller-size options are very padded (which may be a plus or a minus for you – I don’t do padding).

    • To tag onto this- how frequently does everyone replace their undies? Is there an efficient way to just keep the undie drawer “up to date”.

      • Anne Shirley :

        I throw them out when they get holes, and buy new ones in a panic when I realize I haven’t done laundry. It seems to work out okay.

        • Oh thank goodness, I’m so glad someone else does this. I’m also guilty of taking holey socks and undies with me travelling so I can leave them behind.

      • I throw them out when my dogs destroy them. (TMI?)

      • Meg Murry :

        My grandmother always got us socks and underwear for Christmas, and my parents have continued the tradition. Its not “fancy” underwear, but basic everyday cotton, usually from VS, Kohls, Jockey outlet etc. And if I haven’t done it already I throw out the rattiest then, or as I find holes.
        I’ve also been known to buy new socks and underwear before a couple day trip, especially last minute business trips when I don’t feel like digging through laundry to match socks.

    • If you are a thong wearer, I’m a huge fan of the Hanky Panky lace version that comes in one size fits all. Also if you are near a Nordstroms Rack they have great prices on both “great for work” Calvin Klein microfiber bras and some more fun options as well. I can usually grab bras that are normally 60+ in the $15-20 range.

      • Frugal doc.. :

        Agree with both suggestions.

        Hanky Panky lace thongs are incredible. Pricey, but amazing quality and they will last last last…. I gave up on thongs years ago because I found them uncomfortable, but now that I have tried Hanky Panky and they are great.

        And I get my Calvin Klein bras at Marshalls on a deep discount.

        I’ve also moved to washing everything in the delicate cycle and all undies/bras in the little bags for delicates. They seem to last even longer this way.

      • Anonymous :

        Third to Hanky Panky lace thongs = the best! Online retailers have friends and family so you can stock up for cheaper, occasionally. Bare necessities 25% off F&F (last week) + 5-pack = $13.50 a pair. yay!

        Other than that, I like gap body lace ones (thongs & bikinis) when they go on sale, usually $3 – $5 each.

      • anonypotamus :

        also, my inside source tells me that hanky panky goes on sale on the nordstrom anniversary sale. i try to go through my underwear drawer at that time and then stock up during the sale. this is funny timing because i actually just went through my underwear and trashed a whole bunch that i never wore for a variety of reasons (fit, comfort, age, etc). i realized i was just doing laundry more so i could keep wearing my faves. i also realized i was down to one everyday bra that was getting really sad (sorry TMI) so i went in for a fitting (was wearing the right size) and invested in a few new ones so i can rotate. it seriously makes such a difference and now my clothes fit so much better. its one of those things that sounds silly but totally makes a difference in how i feel.

    • Small Town Atty :

      I recently went up a size & needed new bras, but didn’t want to spend a lot because I plan on losing that weight ASAP. I went to Nordstrom Rack and they had a lot of underwear at really good prices; I got an Elle McPherson bra for $20!

    • MaggieLizer :

      Nordie’s sale is coming up in the not too distant future (note to self: start saving now), I usually stock up then. Hanky Panky panties and Natori bras have received praises here before, and personally I think they’re fabulous. One of my favorite bras is the Betsey Johnson T-Shirt Bra (315596), which goes on sale for around $30 if I recall correctly. Commando panties are also super comfortable, if a little less cute than the Hanky Panky ones.

    • I love Felina bras.

      • Undie frequency replacing :

        So glad you asked this, as I’ve been wondering the same thing myself. I bought a set of cotton panties at Costco about 15-18 months ago and they are amazingly still in good shape after machine washing and drying. I have older pairs from Hanes and Fruit of the Loom that I am slowly upgrading as they get holes or shredded elastic to include Hanky Panky bikinis.

        Side note – I am very petite and have found the thongs they are famous for are not actually one-size (I wear Petite 4 bottoms and the thongs are too big on me; their “petite” thongs are really just ultra-low-rise and not my style). The XS bikinis are barely right for me but at the end of the day they are saggy.

        Anyway, I’m wondering how long these expensive pairs are going to last. Years? I hope so! I’m babying them a bit washing in cold water and line drying.

        • Undie frequency replacing :

          I’m not a frequent poster and I can’t seem to figure out how to reply to the right person/thread. Sorry about that!

        • wintergreen126 :

          I’ve been eyeing these, but I haven’t tried them myself:

          It’s Hanky Panky’s petite version of their thongs.

  13. Any stories from ladies who said ‘I love you’ to their SO before they did? I recently said it my bf first, but said I didn’t want him to say anything in response until he was ready. I feel like now I shouldn’t say it again until he does just so he doesn’t feel pressured…

    • I did it- and I went back and explained that I didn’t want him to say it back just to pay lip-service to the word, that I was happy to wait until he was ready to say it, and that I wouldn’t say it again until he did, but that he should know I felt it. He said it back like…a week later? He was a contemplative type, and I did kind of spring it on him, so, I wasn’t surprised.

    • I said “I love you” months before my (now ex) SO did. I held off saying it again until he did, with a couple of exceptions where it just popped out. He did eventually say it and I could tell when he said it, he meant it so I’m glad he didn’t feel pressured into saying it earlier.

      • Also see the comments on this post:

    • Well, someone has to go first, right? You feel how you feel; no need to stress. (I don’t remember who went first, me or DH, 13-ish years ago.) In your shoes, I agree that maybe you should let it go for a while and see what he does with the information. And congrats.

    • goldribbons :

      I waited til my then-bf (now dh) said it. We were getting close to saying it, and we were talking about “the L word” so I told him that if he “L-word-ed” me, I “L-word-ed” him back. He said it that night.

      Hope you didnt vom at my story there. Point is, I would definitely definitely not say it again unless/until he says it.

      • just Karen :

        my DH and I were just as vomit-inducingly cutesy and dodgy – at one point when he asked me what I was thinking I told him I was thinking something I didn’t think was a good idea to say…and he told me to just tap him three times… this has resulted in T3 and T4 being our code for I love you and I love you too in e-mails and texts, and three or four taps being our silent message to each other in real life

    • Anon in NYC :

      I did. I think it took him a month or so to say it back. I chose to say it in only select circumstances before he said it (for example, we were seniors in college, so I said it to him while I was leaving for Senior Week and did not anticipate seeing him for a full week). My opinion was, I’m not going to force it because I don’t want him to feel pressured, but it’s okay to say it occasionally because it’s how 1) how I feel, and 2) it’s a positive emotion.

    • I was on the other side and actually really appreciated that he shared how he was feeling even though I wasn’t quite ready to say it back. I caught up pretty quickly :)

      He did whisper it a month in though (in an emotional context) and I may or may not have pretended not to hear.

    • I said it first – at about 4 months of dating (and believe me, I’d been holding it in the entire time). He didn’t immediately say it back and made me wait about another two or three months. But when he finally did it was really sweet and I will always remember. I came home to one of of my most favorite meals, wine, and flowers. He sat me on the couch and let it out. We joke about it now and I think it’s actually kind of cute the way it happened. Also, I didn’t say it again after the first time until he told me. It helped to be able to vent to one of my girlfriends (he would very annoyingly say that he “really really really liked” me instead of the love word). We’re also happily still together over two years later, so I think people just have to decide for themselves when they feel comfortable saying it.

  14. I love this dress, but not sure how to style it for work. I would need to wear a cardigan or something. Would a black cardigan be too much black? Plus it would cover up most of the pretty color-blocking. A cardigan in that same blue color would be pretty, but probably hard to match.

    • You could do white, or you could do a different blue – like maybe a slightly darker or lighter shade.

    • MaggieLizer :

      A coral cardigan or a camel or white blazer would look nice.

    • There’s no such thing as too much black in my book! (For example, today I’m wearing a black silk button up with small white polka dots, black wide leg pants with a black belt, black pumps, and a black cardigan.

  15. springtime :

    Ladies- I just read an article about the difference between “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” and it really struck me. I feel like most people my whole life have treated me with a fixed mindset, and I have internalized it.

    I’m successful, but what irritates me is that people often say to me “oh that’s because you’re smart, of course you did” or “why are you studying so hard, you are smart”, or “well of course you are fast, look at your legs!” or how about (my favorite that really irritated me), “you did well in school because you were raised in an upper middle class household.” It always felt like qualifying my accomplishments, and I t hink it resulted in me assuming, that yes, I have talent, but that talent only takes me so far, and thus I shoudl limit myself.

    Here’s a funny example- my parents saying how “easy” the LSAT is (they took it, but never went to law school) and that it requires no studying. Well, apparently that might have been true 30 years ago, but not now. So, I took the LSAT with around 3 weeks of sorta studying, barely. Luckily I managed to do decently and got into a good school- but I wonder if I had of REALLY studied, what would have happened. Law school classmates were always SHOCKED by that story.

    Do any of y’all suffer from the same issues? Do you know how to fight through it? It’s been on my mind for awhile now and I’m trying to figure out what I can do to be the BEST ME.

    • Can you link to that article?

      I am not sure if I would say that I suffer from the same issues, but I think I might have something related. I was always raised with the notion that I am just so smart and so capable and so much better than average that I think I internalized it as I don’t need to try as hard, which is so not true, regardless of intelligence or the lack thereof. So I also didn’t really study for the LSAT or the SAT, and took weird pride in still doing relatively well, but now I also think “imagine how much better I could have done if I just applied myself.” And same goes for school – I always did well but rarely was the best and, again, what a shame. Looking back, it seems so stupid to have been proud of myself for getting an A- on an exam where I didn’t even read the book, and the few classes where my professors actually made me want to excell and which were hard and for which I worked my a** off for were always my favorites and it’s such a shame I didn’t feel that compulsion more or didn’t recognize how much better that approach was. Sometimes I think a little less positivity from my parents and family would have done me a world of good.

      • This is totally Mr. TBK and me both. We were able to coast through pretty much all of school (my mother did put me in a school that really challenged me for 7-12 grades but college was total coasting). We both mostly coasted through law school and did pretty well. But now we find, living in DC, we’re totally surrounded by everyone who was at the top of their classes in all the top schools and success requires a lot more effort than it used to for us. It’s definitely an adjustment.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Thinking about it, I’m the same way and wonder how different things could have been if I’d really applied myself. I think it adds to some Imposter Syndrome feelings for me.

        I was just reading about this stuff this morning in a book called Search Inside Yourself. It was in a section about offering praise. The recommendation was to offer process-oriented praise (like “you must have worked very hard to achieve x”) versus identity-oriented praise (like “you must be very smart to achieve x.” People who receive process praise were shown to do better in the future because of the “growth mindset” that results from it.

      • springtime :

        Yah, honestly it wasn’t positivity that made me feel that way. The comments were actually sort of negative (or, that’s how I perceived them). It made me feel like my accomplishments were not “my own” and that they just happened because of my natural abilities, which has nothing to do with how hard I work.

        Like how, my parents love to tell me that I’m smart because they are smart. Yes, genetics play a factor, but when I said “how about the work I put into it?” they scoff. I feel like it’s a way of putting me down.

        The article:

        • Interesting article. My mom never let me say “I can’t do that.” I always had to say “I haven’t learned to do that yet.” I found it frustrating at times (“Mom, I KNOW. That’s what I MEAN, it just takes so long to SAY!”) but I appreciate the effect. I think it was helpful to frame even things I never intended to do as something I simply haven’t learned to do yet.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Thanks for the link. That website in general in really interesting.

          I like how you’re identifying what you’ve grown up with and instead of internalizing it you’ve challenged it. In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, the author talks about 5 competence types. One of them is the Natural Genius who expects to know how to do things without being taught, to excel without effort, and to always get it right on the first attempt, which leads to feelings of failure when something doesn’t work out that way. It sounds like if you’d internalized your parents’ messages then you might have felt like this.

          • springtime :

            Aw thanks for the compliment! I’m trying really hard to be the ‘best me’ as I like to say, and really figure out what I want out of life and attack my goals. I also really just like reading about psychology and the like.

            In fact, I think your compliment would definitely work with a growth mindset!

          • Sydney Bristow :

            :-) I’ve been doing something similar lately and reading everything I can get my hands on. I’m in a personal development zone lately.

          • springtime :

            I wrote down the name of the book and will be downloading it to my ipad soon.

    • East Coaster :

      I think sometimes I operate on a fixed mindset with regards to my personality / capabilities. For example, there are certain roles / positions that I wouldn’t consider because I am an introvert, and someone with a more outgoing personality would do much better in that role. In these instances I will tell myself that “X” area is not suited to my strengths / my personality and pursue something else instead.

      This past year I have really tried to push myself out of that box. There is definitely something to be said for knowing yourself and playing to your strengths, but at the same time I don’t want to limit myself. So for the introvert example above, while I don’t think I’ll ever be the most popular kid on the block, I can certainly do a better job of reaching out to others.

      • I’m the same way but I think some of it is fear of failing. In other words, if I don’t really study for the LSAT (I didn’t) and I still do pretty darn well (I did), then I can wonder, gee, if I had really studied or taken a class like a lot of people do, how much better could I have done?

        But I don’t ever have to find out. Like…what if I studied that hard and put so much time and effort into it and only did the same? Or got like, a point better? Then what?
        So much easier to just be like, Meh, I’m relatively awesome without really trying, maybe if I really tried I could be totally awesome but I’m awesome enough as it is” and never have to face the fact I might have peaked.

        • I am so there. I’ve really struggled with this, for every thing. I think it’s the curse of the smart person. Haven’t found a solution yet. It’s almost like a cycle: gotta do X. Hey, I’m smart, I’ll procrastinate X because I can do it/I’ll do it later. Also, I’m scared of failing when I do it (if I do it). Then, when the deadline comes close, I “can’t” do X. I get into a state that I know I’ll fail if I don’t start and freak out about it…need someone to push me to start, then do an adequate job. Finish X, then have a bit of regret that I didn’t do my best work, hope I’ll do better next time (doesn’t happen).
          Anyone know how to change? I’ve tried Pomodoro and …well, it’s hard to start! I know I’ll face some consequences , but it’s not enough for me to change.

          • Also, I have trouble seeing benefits for long-term work. On short-term projects I’m great: start, finish, done. But long-term? I sit down, start working, …get disheartened b/c it’s not done yet. Bah!

        • Veronique :

          This is also me. Growing up, my parents always used to get upset that I didn’t “apply myself.” I coasted through most of my pre-college schooling and got great grades, as well as the knowledge that I could be even more amazing if I tried. But deep down there was always that fear of not measuring up if I did give my best effort. What if I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was (and everyone said I was)? Boarding school was my first reality check, as the math classes were a difficult adjustment from my previous school. Since then, I’ve had a mix of a. applying myself fully, b. not applying myself for fear of failure and c. not giving it 100% because I value quality of life more than the difference between B+ and A. I’m mostly ok with a and c and still working on b.

    • Meg Murry :

      I heard an interesting story on NPR about how in the US we praise children for being smart or catching on to things quickly or being “a natural” at something (sports, etc), while in Japan the emphasis is placed on effort, and struggling is considered a positive trait, not negative. I had the problem of being considered very smart in my small school, doing well on SATs/ACTs with no studying etc, then going to a very well regarded university with some of the smartest people in the world (not kidding, met several true geniouses and child prodigies) and had no idea how to handle being routinely “below average” or how to ask for help when I didn’t get something – it was especially scary for me when I hit a conceptual wall in upper level calculus, because up to that point math had always come easy to me, and for the first time I understood how my sister felt when she didn’t “get” math and I just looked at her like she was an idiot. I wish I had been pushed out of my comfort zone when I was younger, I had no experience with struggling past a difficult point to “get” something.

      The NPR story is here, and I’ve been trying to use its points with my son: not to say “wow, you’re so smart!” but rather “wow, you worked really hard at that and you did it!” or asking him “how” he figured something out rather than just praising him for doing it.

      • springtime :

        Yes, I think that’s the issue I struggle with. I certainly wasn’t praised a lot when I was younger (success never went to my head), but it was more of a “why are you bothering working so hard” attitude that I think was almost meant to bring me down, to make sure I *didnt* put in that effort and do amazingly well. I’m not sure if I’m explaining myself well.

        I was thinking about it with work and also, my running. I keep thinking “oh geez, I can’t do that”, or run at a certain pace, etc. and am surrounded by people who think running 4 miles is crazyness (to each their own, of course). I think I need to be surrounded by the other types of craziness- the people who think- ‘I’m going to work my BUTT off for months on end, and” I’m hoping my local running club can provide me with that inspiration.

        I feel like I’m lucky I figured this out relatively early on in my life (mid-20s). I mean, yah, it would have been nice to know during college (although, I think my college environment fostered the ‘try really hard’ attitude, it was more law school that had the ‘you are either smart or aren’t’ attitude’).

        To be great, I think you have to surround yourself with greatness.

      • Special Snowflake :

        When I was at MIT, facebook groups were still big and there was one called, “I thought I was good at math and science, then I came to MIT.” Basically 95% of the kids I went to school with, like me, never really had to work in high school, so when we got to MIT and were really challenged it was an entirely different ballgame. (then of course there were the other 5%, who never studied at MIT either and still did well- the actual geniuses).

        there were also t-shirts & stickers that said SPAMIT, which was understood to stand for “stupid people at MIT”. So I say we all internalized that fixed mindset!

        • Anon for this :

          I sure felt like there were a lot more than 5% who rarely studied or who got things really quickly! And don’t get me started on the people who could study while drinking, (and sometimes even take the exam still drunk/hungover) and then ace the exam and blow the curve. I also felt like I was surrounded by people so much more prepared then I was – my small public high school education just couldn’t compare to people who had been to TAMS, Stuy, TJ etc. And for all the people calling themselves “stupid” – trust me, those of us that were on the bubble of being overwhelmed weren’t advertising it – a lot of the people I saw with SPAMIT stuff were probably in the top 25% of their classes – those of us who were routinely “below average” certainly weren’t advertising it!
          The fact that I was in a major with a lot of pre-meds who got vocally upset about a grade I would have cried with joy for didn’t help my impostor/stupidity syndrome either :-/

    • This reminds me of a study awhile back about how girls are praised for what they are (pretty, smart, nice) and boys are praised for what they do (succeed on a test, run fast etc). As a result, girls seem to think that if they don’t do well, they aren’t smart.

    • just went to lunch with managing partner today and he said the LSAT back in his day (he’s 62) was not focused on analytical skills like it is today. it used to be focused on figuring out whether you went through prep school, so maybe that’s what accounts for your parents’ opinion on the LSAT!

  16. I’ve been looking for a new leather bag for months now, and I think I’ve found one that I really like: the Coach Legacy medium Candace carryall. Super long link, and I think you’ll still have to scroll down a bit to see the exact bag:

    I love the shape, the size, the reviews about the leather quality, even the price is reasonable (but I’m still going to hold off for a bit in hopes of a coupon code). I just can’t pick a color! I’m an attorney who makes occasional court appearances. I look very young, and am generally the only woman there, so sadly the bright turquoise Robin color is probably out, even though it’s my favorite. (I’m also afraid it’s too trendy/season specific, and I don’t want to spend that much on a bag I can only wear in the springs/summer).

    So eliminating that color, I’m torn between the purple Marine color and the beige Sand color. I would like a fun color like purple, most of my bags are very practical purchases (black, black with tan accents, dark “luggage” tan). And the purple is dark and muted enough to maybe pass as a neutral? Plus I could wear it in every season. On the other hand, I think the beige is really pretty, and might be a good choice since I’m hoping this bag shape/leather quality will read as very classic. Plus I’ve been obsessed with Olivia Pope’s wardrobe on Scandal lately (just me??), and she wears varying shades of cream/white/beige/tan. Of course, her leather bags are Prada, but this is about as close as I can get!

    Thoughts?? This is admittedly a very silly dilemma to have, but I would appreciate any feedback.

    • I have that purse! I loooooove it. Coach has really re-upped their game recently. The quality is fantastic for the price, especially because I had a $100 off coupon.

      I think you should get it in purple! Purple will go with everything. But the beige is lovely too, although I think you won’t get the Olivia Pope look unless your whole wardrobe approaches that.

      • I’m so happy to hear you love it! I completely agree about Coach really improving lately, I was so surprised to find this bag. When I think Coach, I usually think of the canvas monogram bags in bright colors carried by high schoolers. But this Legacy collection is gorgeous, and looks really high-quality. One of my co-workers has a new Coach Saffiano leather tote that’s really beautiful.

    • Get the purple. I carry a small purple purse (a cheap one from Kohl’s but very cute) and it goes with just about everything (except maybe my red patent shoes, but I’m too lazy to change back to a red purse on those days) and I get tons of compliments.

    • That is a gorgeous bag. I have a number of Coach bags, and I’m happy with them all. Two thoughts, though. One, much as I love some of the more fun colors, I would never go into court with a bag that wasn’t a neutral — black for most of the year, or beige/natural in the summer. Brown is ok, but less high end professional looking. Second, if you’re a lawyer, are you sure the medium is big enough for you? I just measured it against the Coach bag I have right now, and I’ll tell you, I would find it too small to be useful. Sure, lots of days it’s going to be fine. But I’d get the large Candace bag (which I recognize doesn’t come in all those fun colors). It’s not that much bigger, but those two extra inches in length make a ton of difference when you’re trying to cram a bunch of papers in for going to court.

      • I definitely take your point about the size, but I think I’ll stick with the medium: I’m 5’3″ and have a very small frame, and I find larger bags tend to read a bit “bag lady” on me. Also, I generally only appear on one case at a time so I only have one file with me. And I drive to/from court, so even if the file wouldn’t fit in my bag at all, it would be fine to carry it the short distance I’m walking.

        Happy to hear you like your Coach bags! I have a buttery-soft leather hobo from a few years ago, but that’s my only Coach bag and it’s decidedly not for work.

    • Lady Harriet :

      It looks more navy than purple to me, but I like the Marine better than the Sand. If you already have a dark tan bag, I think the beige would be too similar. However, it would probably go better with light colors than the purple/navy. Still, I think I would get bored too fast with a true neutral like beige, but ymmv.

    • Not sure if it was used already, but this code should get you 25% off thru 4/28

    • mintberrycrunch :

      FYI, the online Coach factory store has had some of the Legacy bags off and on for the past few months. You might want to check there before you pull the trigger (I know I’ve seen the Candace there, but not sure what colors).

      • Anonymous :

        Yup, I got a Legacy Candace medium carryall from the Factory about a month ago. Mine was colorblocked blue & black but they had a variety of colors at the time. I think the colors were not the colors they currently have in stores though (maybe last season’s colors). It was around $200. I have not seen them in recent Factory emails but I haven’t been looking closely. Even if they’re not there now, I bet they will come back at some point.

  17. Random thought/question: A lot of us here talk about having to be careful of our images because we’re female and, some of us, young. What do you think would happen if we stopped worrying about that and just expected everyone to treat us with the respect that anyone in our positions (attorney, consultant, doctor, professor, engineer, etc.) typically commands? I’m asking this as an honest question. My mother brought me up to expect the work world to be tough on me because I’m a woman but I now realize I was often more defensive because of that than I needed to be. Thoughts?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I do try to stop worrying about looking “too young” or “too female.” I AM young and I AM female – and neither of those things make me less competent than anyone else. Today, I’m wearing a side braid. Would it be more “adult” and less “feminine” to put my hair in a bun? Probably. But this is not three decades ago, and I don’t need to stuff foam into my jacket shoulders, tuck my hair into a tiny bun at the nape of my neck and hope and pray that dear god, no one notices I’m a woman so they can judge me the way they would I’m a man. I think, in fact, we need MORE young and feminine role models to show that the image of success for women does not have to look one particular way.

      In general, I try to ascribe to the theory that working hard, doing my best and getting results will serve me well. I think if you are a good and hard worker, almost anything is forgiveable. If you are not good at your job, almost any one of your traits can be held against you. I can’t always say I don’t internalize some pressure to look/act/be a certain way. But I do *try* to let go of the idea that I have to project an image of an older, authoritative and masculine person in order to succeed. I’m a young and feminine person – and success can look like me too.

      • Merabella :

        I really love this attitude. I hate the idea that we have to be old white rich men in order to be successful, and hope to emulate it. There are plenty of women who are successful and don’t fit into that mold. We have to embrace who we are as individuals.

      • I really like this attitude, and I think we need more of it.

        I think the old adage “the only person you can control is yourself” is really true, and we’d do well to remember it in business as much as personal life.

        I attended a networking event recently for solo/small practice attorneys. First of all, 2/3 of those who showed up were men, even though invitees were roughly equal. Second, the women I spoke to, with ONE exception, almost immediately launched into what to me sounded like whining about how ‘hard’ things are and how “they” need to appoint more women for this or that and “they don’t want to hire women for this or that” and “they” blah blah blah. (The “they” were various groups, the clients, the bench, other lawyers, etc). The men on the other hand were taking the opportunity to bounce stuff off people in other practice areas, exchange contact info, and talk about committee memberships and marketing.

        I say this because I think it’s a different example of the same thought process you’re talking about, and I think it goes back to internal vs. external locus of control. The females were trying to figure out how to get “them” to do/think the things that would make their lives work better, while the men were figuring out how to do things that would make their lives better. Much like women worry about how ‘they’ will perceive their hair or handbag color, instead of just KILLING IT and facing the world head up saying “yeah, my purse is pink, AND?”
        I know one male lawyer who always wears a polka dot bow tie. Even in front of the state supreme court. He’s in his 30’s. I doubt he ever had these conversations with himself, he just decided it was his signature, and he liked it, and as long as his arguments are good what’s the difference?

      • TO Lawyer :

        I really love this attitude too. I’m also young and love dressing in a “feminine” way. When I started working at my firm, I tried to subdue the girliness and would wear dark colours and suits without much jewelry. I found I feel much better about myself when I let my real personality show through my work clothes – fitted skirts/dresses, silk blouses in all colours, and fun statement jewelry. Yes I probably look young and feminine but that’s who I am. I don’t think I’m a bad lawyer because I like to wear pink and I’m going to continue embracing it!

    • Anonymous :

      It depends on what you are talking about. A lot of young, female women have to “worry” about this because they maybe never had a female role model or mentor. You don’t have to worry about being female and young if you are a professional person. The problem is, TONS of young women are going to work everyday looking like they just came off the beach. None of my male interns have that problem. So I think some of the “dont wear pink!” is an overreaction when the real advice is, skirts need to be knee length, please dont wear spaggetti straps, chew gum, and have flip flops on all at the same time.

      • True. I think part of that is that men have a pretty simple time of it when it comes to wardrobes. There are very, very clear rules (down to how many inches of cuff should show below a jacket sleeve, and what colors – exactly – can be worn). Women’s wardrobes just don’t have those rules, which makes it much easier to screw up. But I guess in that case it’s not about being the only young female in the room, it’s just about being inexperienced. Whether a color or a hairstyle is appropriate isn’t about how many other women are there; it’s either appropriate or not no matter who else is in the room.

        • Anonymous :

          Agree with the men have fewer choices- which is why they don’t worry about this as much and wear the poka dot tie. I think the shift is happening. At first, women dressed as men because there was nothing else to base it off (ie what is a power suit? look as much like a man as possible) At my work the women in charge (which outnumber the men) wear color, different styles, fun shoes. For a young woman, its just about looking like you belong there. And looking “too young” means you look like you don’t belong there, but I have never interpreted that as you can’t wear a pink blouse, I think it means “look like a professional”

      • Hmm. I think we tend to remember when people egregiously disobey the dress code/common sense, and those people tend to be women, but I think that when I look at ten women dressed professionally and ten men dressed professionally, the women are usually wearing clothes that fit and flatter within a certain range of acceptability…and the men are usually wearing clothes that are either obviously too big or too small (and not the result of a ten pound weight loss/gain). If I dressed for work the way I see many men dressed (in suits that look like they belong to someone who’s 6’8″ and 300 pounds), I’d be considered frumpy and not professional.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Really interesting thought. My concern is that there are 2 things at play though. I absolutely agree that we should just expect everyone to treat us with the respect that our positions demand. This will require us to approach any instances where we are not treated that way head on. The problem may be with things that happen behind the scenes where others’ views of us as young women play into their decisions. Not sure if I’m expressing my thoughts very clearly.

    • I agree that young women — or middle-aged women like me — don’t need to try to be old men to be respected professionally. I am so glad that the old dress-for-success advice that had women wearing big-shouldered navy power suits and blouses with bows that emulate ties is out the door. I think there’s plenty of room to be feminine, stylish and individual. A pink purse? Why not.

      That said, I do think looking too young makes it more difficult to be taken seriously, for men or women. I started practicing law when I was was 30 but I looked about 21 — like Gidget in a suit. So I dressed a bit more professionally, wearing full suits more than I do now (and avoiding, say, Peter Pan collars or anything too cutesy) to help make the point that I was in fact a professional. I think young men have the same issues — frankly, I see some young male associates who look to my 50-+-year-old eyes like high schoolers — but it is a bit easier for them because a suit, or a least a shirt and tie, is the standard uniform.

      And there’s a difference between being feminine and being inappropriate. I had to counsel a law clerk a few years ago about low-cut shirts; I actually saw male clients and witnesses staring at her cleavage in meetings. (I deal with a female opposing counsel who has this same issue; it’s hard even for me to listen to her when I can see the entire top half of her lace bra.) This is just a distraction from the work, legal or otherwise, and makes it hard to be taken seriously.

      • Anonymous :

        I would hope you also took the time to “counsel” the male clients and witnesses about thinking it was okay to stare at a woman’s cleavage (whether “out” or not) during meetings.

        • Actually, in the meeting I remember most vividly, the client was doing his level best not to stare and I could see him looking everywhere except her chest most of the time. The witness was someone who was not in my control and I wasn’t in a position to “counsel” him. And it’s one thing to tell a man to stop staring at your chest (or legs or whatever) but quite another to tell him to stop staring at someone else. This goes back to the comment above, that you can’t control everyone around you.

          The law clerk was working at my firm and was there to learn, which has to include learning how to be professional. It’s not professional to show tons of cleavage, and she needed to be told that, as kindly as possible.

  18. Today’s been a rough day – I just met my best friend for lunch, where she told me that she & her husband are moving to another state in three months.

    We’ve lived either in the same house or within reasonable walking/driving distance for the last 7+ years. I know that we can still stay in touch, but the thought of not having her so nearby makes me really, really sad.

    We’re also both about to go through big milestones soon (she will likely have her first baby soon, my BF & I are discussing getting engaged in the next 12 months), and the thought of not being “around” for those for each other is devastating.

    Any commiseration/sympathy/advice? It’s a little tough to focus on work after getting this news. It’s taking all of my concentration not to cry at my desk.

    • I feel you! My best friend, who’s lived in my current town 5 yrs (I’ve been here 6) is moving to Hawaii due to her husband’s job. We’re on the east coast, and with my income and a healthy fear of flying, Hawaii might as well be Mars. I almost feel like I’m grieving for her, like she’s just disappearing.

      Big hugs to you – it’s tough to think about that distance.

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