Splurge Tuesday: Tonal Inset Italian Ponte Dress

Classiques Entier Tonal Inset Italian Ponte Dress | CorporetteOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. This week’s TPS reports come to us from blogger Road Warriorette, who’s guest posted before with advice about traveling with your coworkers, and what to pack for business travel, as well as rounding up small overnight cases for short business trips (as well as taking a week of TPS reports for us before). Welcome back, RW! — Kat.

The most important requirements for a business travel dress are that it is comfortable and wrinkle-free. This lovely Classiques Entier dress is both of those and has sleeves as a bonus. I would wear it with nude-for-me wedges, a white blazer, and a contrasting cuff — maybe turquoise. Perfect for summer! It’s $228 at Nordstrom in sizes 2-14, and is also available in blackClassiques Entier Tonal Inset Italian Ponte Dress

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  1. TPS even better :

    I just have to write to recommend a product – the Lands End Dress Cardigan. I ordered this two weeks ago in navy and it is perfect to wear over a sheath dress.


    It is way nicer in quality than I was anticipating. The front portion, where the buttons are, has a thick same-color ribbon that you can’t really see from the pictures that gives this cardigan a lot of structure. I hope they come out with more colors. They have a big sale today and I am ordering another one, probably the peach one. It is much more work-appropriate than it looks from the website.

    • I have something in a similar shape from Boden (not this year’s model) and it is fantastic. It is so useful I have to limit myself otherwise I could be wearing it every day with my short sleeved or sleeveless sheaths and my icebox of an office. Mine is a pewtery-tan color (which sounds awful, but works well with everything and I hate all things in the tan-brown family usually).

    • Unfortunately this item will not ship to Canada! Honestly, Land’s End, what were you thinking!

    • Thanks for this recommendation. I can’t wear sleeveless to my office, and I don’t think that’s unusual. I don’t understand why almost all “work” dresses are sleeveless, but they’re often not sold/shown with a sweater or jacket to wear on top? I really hesitate to buy clothes if I don’t already own something to match (too many bad past experiences with stuff that sits in my closet unworn).

  2. Ugh, ladies, need a hug this morning. I was so excited for MDW at the shore with my bf and friends, but today I’m feeling blah. My allergies were horrible all weekend, couldn’t sleep at night because I was coughing so much. Was feeling a little withdrawn around my bf’s friends which caused a fight (not a big one, but we spent the drive home yesterday talking about it). My mom sent me a long, confrontational email for basically no reason and now I feel like a horrible girlfriend, daughter, and everything else. The icing on the cake is that I came back to find I had gained about 4 lbs over the course of the last week, some of which is water weight or whatever, but the point is the scale is moving in the wrong direction and I feel horrible about myself. Is anyone else having one of those days?

    • Anonymous :

      I was having one of those days (especially with respect to weight) last week and came across this article – specifically the part about fluid retention: http://www.movenourishbelieve.com/active-living-2/youre-not-crazy-its-just-hormones-dr-libby-dishes-the-deets/

      It was a good reminder to breathe and step away from the scale. Hope your week gets a little smoother from here.

    • Major sympathy on the allergies. My allergies have been outrageous this year. Horrible sore throat, coughing keeping me up at night…. it’s miserable. Lack of sleep and feeling crummy makes everything worse.

      • I know right?! I’ve tried claritin for 2 weeks, zyrtec for 5 days, now I’m trying allegra-D and hoping it works :(

        • sweetknee :

          I have tried “Advil severe congestion” and it seemed to help me when the “regular” allergy medicines did not. Hope you feel better.

        • YMMV, but I can experience a 4-lb. weight increase just from taking back-to-back Benadryl or other antihistimines even just for a day or two in trying to get some allergy relief.

    • Yay! Splurge Tuesday! I love this dress and the neckline is acceptable to ME and to the manageing partner, tho Frank will have issue’s with this. Also, it is RED and I love RED now that the judge told me I will WIN my case’s as long as I wear RED! No one told me in law school this would be so EASY! YAY!!!!

      As for the OP, Hug’s to you! I also had a long drive home from the HAMTON’s with Myrna and the road’s were way to croweded! FOOEY! Myrna got mad at a guy who cut us off, and when she pulled over to get gas, that guy was there getting gas also! She told him off, but by the end, she gave him her # b/c he said he worked at a firm she is thinkeing of goeing to! I hope she does NOT go there b/c he was STAREING at me the whole time. He had another girl in the car with him also! DOUBEL FOOEY!

      Over the weekend, it got better, but still way to cold to go on the beach! Why go to the HAMTON’s if you can’t go on the beach — OR IN THE WATER! There was alot of stuff in the water floateing around. It smelled funny anyway. Myrna said it was RUNOFF, I said it smelled like souage! TRIPEL FOOEY if we went in b/c we would smell like souage! Not a good way to attract a guy! There were alot of men out there drinkeing on the beach, and a few asked me if I was MARRIED. I wonder why they think I was MARRIED? If I was, would I be walkeing in Capri pant’s with Myrna? And if I was, why would I be lookeing to find a guy on the beach? FOOEY! I think they think I “look” married b/c Grandma Leyeh think’s I would be a grandmother if I lived in the old country! Imageine that? Me a grandmother, and I still have NOT even been a mother yet? I wonder what the girls in the old country do now? I do NOT think they marry at 16, tho I guess most are haveing SEX at age 16. That would NOT be me. No way, especialy with a drunk who prefer’s VODKA to me.

      I have a busy week this week. I have to go to court tomorrow with Mason and the manageing partner told me to let him stand up and say something on one of the case’s, b/c he wan’ts to be a LITIEAGATOR. FOOEY! If he messe’s up, the manageing partner will blame me and the judge will NOT want him standeing up instead of me. I have to figure out something, b/c I am suposed to be MENTORING him, but I need to win my case’s at the same time. For now, I let him sit up with me at Council’s tabel. That should be enough. YAY!!!!!

    • That sucks. I also spent memorial day sick and now lost my voice altogether so I can’t talk. I’m not sure why but it feels so much more lousy to feel crappy in nice weather. But just remember the whole summer still lies ahead and the scale will even itself out. Hugs.

    • No Problem :

      Also had a crappy weekend. My bf broke up with me, and I’ve had a low grade fever since yesterday. I’m working from home today on account of the fever, and my boss keeps joking that I’m just “sick” (aka playing hooky after the long weekend).

      I hope you feel better soon on all fronts.

  3. I'm Just Me :

    Styling advice please. Earlier in the spring I bought a Halogen seamed pencil skirt in a coral/cream hounds tooth. It’s no longer on the Nordstrom website, so I can’t link. The hounds tooth is small, but the coral is much brighter than I remember it being and the cream is much closer to beige than cream. What can I pair this with for a business casual office? I have a coral round neck t and a turquoise cardigan on today, but color of the shirt is too soft to really look good. It looked fine in my closet, but not under office lights.

    • I can’t see the skirt but I think you need a lot of contrast with the coral. Since the cream is really beige, how about a bright white jacket, or conversely, a dark navy, dark teal or dark gray top?

    • Anonymous :

      Is it this one? http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-seamed-pencil-skirt-regular-petite/3708855

      I think it’d look really nice with navy. Maybe a v-neck sweater or a navy blazer with a white or cream top. I also think a berry shade would look nice, as would turquoise as you already identified. Maybe just switch the coral top out for something more neutral?

      • I'm Just Me :

        It is that one. It is much brighter in real life than in the picture. I love the skirt. I’ll try some darker colors with it, I have navy tops and a dark turquoise shirt.

      • anon-oh-no :

        at least in the summer months, i’d probably pair it with a white button down tucked in, with nude pumps. maybe a button down with some detail — lace, ruffle etc. or you could do a plain one and add a scarf or big statement neckless with the coral color and really just about any other color.

    • Found it on pinterest, maybe:


    • When in doubt, go navy. It almost always works out.

    • +1 for navy. I think a darker gray would look nice too. I’d also add a coral necklace to tie it all together.

    • Sounds like it might look great with a chambray or perhaps french blue shirt?

  4. Woods-comma-Elle :

    Public service announcement!

    A few of us were talking about yellow blazers a while back – I finally found one in Zara! It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for (I wanted something a bit more casual) but the colour was perfect for me and I love the puffy sleeves (though not everyone will).

    Link to follow.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :


      • I love that blazer and wish it fit me but it does not :(

      • I saw it last week and was eyeing it. For once an item on this site is available in Morocco and less expensive than in the US. I think I will buy it this weekend and wear it with a cobalt blue dress.

  5. Love this dress!

  6. I feel really good in my outfit today, which made me laugh when I realized that I’m wearing a $14 Old Navy pencil skirt (polka dot) and an old Chico’s v-neck cardigan (in lavender). But it looks great together and I guess that’s what counts, right?

    • Yes, that’s what counts.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Navy and lavender is my favorite new combination. I bought a lavender sweater this spring and I’m contemplating bending my summer wardrobe rules and buying more lavender tops.

      • Agreed! This sweater looks cute with my navy eyelet sundress (although I’m wearing it with black today). Chico’s doesn’t have anything like this anymore. It’s a 3/4 sleeve v-neck cardigan with a rolled edge. Really nice-looking. I re-discovered it recently after not wearing it for a couple years. Luckily I kept some clothes in smaller sizes and I’m wearing them now.

  7. Did anyone see the article on Power Dressers in the Post magazine this weekend? I want to find Dana Bash’s purple dress but they didn’t list designers for the photos. It looks similar to a Tahari dress I’ve seen. Any ideas?

    • No idea about the dress, but I did read the article. So glad to see that Robin Givhan is coming back to the Post! She really brings a great viewpoint to the Style articles. I don’t always agree with her, but I respect her.

  8. Veep review :

    I have started watching Veep.

    I love the sheath dresses on this show — most have sleeves! And also the executive dressing in general (although there are lot of exposed zippers, which I loathe).

    JLD looks amazine — and she is >50, yes?

    • I love Veep! I’m behind on season 3 and realized last night that I need to catch up–this is another good reminder!

  9. Judge Prost :

    Anyone else following the Federal Circuit, with Judge Rader stepping down as Chief Judge and Judge Prost becoming Chief Judge? It’s not so much that catching my attention as the dredging up of Judge Prost’s early 1990s custody battle, in which her ex-husband was awarded custody because he was more nurturing. Essentially, the evidence was that she put her career first and he had taken easier positions (including being involuntarily unemployed for awhile?). God, I hope things have changed in the last 20 years because she’s essentially me. But I can’t help but think that a man would not have been judged as harshly for valuing his career and keeping his family financially secure. Here’s a link to the DC Court of Appeals opinion: http://clinics.law.edu/res/docs/Prost-v-Greene-675-A-2d-471.pdf. It’s worth it to read the earlier opinion too: 652 A.2d 621.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Haven’t read the link or followed the story but I think women were traditionally awarded custody because they had less time-consuming careers if any and thus, had the time to be more nurturing. It would be wrong for the courts to just award custody to mothers because they are mothers. The courts needed a standard. The standard they established just more traditionally fell to mothers. Here, it sounds like the standard fell to the father. I don’t really see anything inherently wrong in that.

      • Agreed.

      • I agree with BL, but I’ll add that there’s a lot of confusion in what people mean when they say “custody,” and that’s something that’s changed a lot over the past several years as well (now, courts strive to give as close to equal time as possible, more so than they used to). So, does custody mean more time, all the time, or something else? If one parent has been a SAHParent, or works limited hours to allow for family time, it’s just common sense that that parent would have more time to parent, and, if the parents live in different areas, sometimes that means that that parent will have to have a lot more time, so the kids can keep up with their schooling. There are never good answers to these things.

        (My state no longer says “visitation” for the parent with less time; they say “co-parenting time,” even if it’s only a few hours of supervised time a month, which I think is a good move.)

        • Diana Barry :

          +1. From the divorces my firm handles, I have the sense that shared legal custody is now most common, and the physical custody part is mostly split up with the kids going back and forth a lot between the parents.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Yup – here the legal custody is “decision making responsibility” which is usually joint. The physical custody is now “parenting time.” The two together are referred to as “parental rights and responsibilities.”

      • Judge Prost :

        I guess having read the decision though, I don’t think it was applied with gender blindness. I feel like, had the genders been reversed, it would have been joint custody, rather than custody to him with visitation for her. I don’t feel like you’d see a decision saying that a man was too involved in his career, got home at 7-8 at night, had chosen to prioritize his career, etc. There was no evidence that they weren’t both good parents, and she had had primary custody during the pendency of the divorce. I just can’t stomach a decision that says that a woman who prioritizes her career loses custody of her children in a divorce.

    • Senior Attorney :

      The reality is, if you are the high earner who works more hours than your spouse, and if your spouse is a SAHP or spends more parenting time with your children than you do, in the event of a divorce it is highly, highly likely that your spouse will be awarded primary custody of the children, in addition to possession of the family residence, substantial spousal support, and child support.

      High earners, beware.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Again, this is how it always has been, just gender reversed.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Never said it wasn’t. ;)

          I do think, however, that it’s the rare case in which the genders are really and truly reversed from how they were in the old days. When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, for example, it was quite common for dads to not really interact with the kids at all except for a quick kiss goodnight (maybe). The moms did EVERYTHING kid-related.

          In my generation (let’s say those of us who became moms beginning in the mid-80s), I have known a lot of primary breadwinning moms, including myself, including some who had SAH husbands, and not one of them engaged in the kind of hands-off parenting that our primary-breadwinning dads did. Indeed, some of us did the primary parenting in addition to the primary breadwinning, even while working longer hours than our spouses. So it’s not clear to me that it’s necessarily super appropriate to automatically award primary custody of the children to the parent who works fewer hours, without taking a look at the whole picture.

          Which I why I say again… high earners, beware.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Got it. This is also why I think the courts have moved away from the concept of “primary custody” and seek to get as close to 50/50 as possible. It is probably also why many have done away with the term custody.

          • And that, in short, is why good family lawyers are worth their weight in gold when it comes to determining custody arrangements.

          • My husband and I were just discussing how this has changed the other day. He’s a SAHD, but even if he wasn’t, he said that he could not imagine being the kind of dad who just sort of said hi to the kids every now and then, instead of having really significant daily interactions, and didn’t understand how fathers in the past could deal with that. That kind of fathering is just not the norm for our generation (30-somethings, having kids now), even for sole breadwinner families, regardless of gender. It seems so normal now, but it’s really been a huge societal change.

          • SA, highlighted parts from your last post: “Indeed, some of us did the primary parenting in addition to the primary breadwinning, even while working longer hours than our spouses. So it’s not clear to me that it’s necessarily super appropriate to automatically award primary custody of the children to the parent who works fewer hours, without taking a look at the whole picture.” This happened to a colleague of mine and is why I stayed married when I didn’t want to. This was early 2000s. Colleague was forced to pay support and “alimony” to her ex who was a sahd who thought that since she was a high earner he had carte blanche to stay home forever, even when the kids were school age. They couldn’t agree while they were married that he should go back to work, so he ended up with the kids, the house and her money. Her feeling was that she was the more involved parent – even with her hours – and his sahd gig was just a way to not have to get a paying job.

  10. Tummy tuck :

    I have noticed some people who have really flat stomachs below their belly buttons (and this is from the crowd that goes to kiddie pools with small children). I am pretty thin, but have some tummy below my belly button (and did pre-children). My stomach is only flat after a bout of food poisoning.

    Is this what a tummy tuck looks like? Really flat below the belly-button (but not as trim elsewhere)?

    My cousin had the dr remove some excess tummy after her second or third c-section (she was a nurse and friends with the doctor) and now I’m wondering if this is more common?

    • Diana Barry :

      It totally depends on your body shape. I have friends who have very flat stomachs – they are both naturally thin – one even has a six-pack! – and others who have the traditional pooch below the belly button. I don’t know anyone who has had a tummy tuck. I do tend to have a small pooch there, but it is better after eating fewer carbs the day before. ;)

      • Yeah, my sister naturally has a totally flat stomach like this, while I have a pooch. Even when she gains weight her stomach stays pretty flat.

    • Yup, I would say it largely depends on body shape. The last place I gain weight is my stomach (weight goes to my hips/legs and arms), while I have friends with very thin extremities who tend to carry weight in the middle.

      • Another +1 to body shape. I have a naturally flat stomach, including below my belly button. If I gain weight, my waist line will get wider, not rounder, if that makes sense. Just like some people have natural thigh-gap.

      • No Problem :

        For some ladies it could be the result of liposuction or a tummy tuck, but in general I agree on body shape being the cause for most ladies. Even when I was a size 0 as a teenager, I had the pooch. Not an ounce of fat anywhere else, but I had a pooch. I was always jealous of the other girls with flat stomachs. Oh well. I had a nicer behind ;)

  11. Diana Barry :

    Ladies, recommendations for STORES that would have cheap (under 50) statement necklaces? I found a dress for my reunion, yay! but now would like a necklace and I have to get in-store this week.

    Should I try Anthro? Does Claire’s have anything nice? Department stores? J Crew, Kate Spade, etc., are too expensive. I hardly ever buy jewelry so I don’t know where to go.

    • Try Francesca’s if you have one near you – a newer chain that’s like Claires for GrownUps.

    • Loft, Ann Taylor, Kohls, Macy’s, Lord and Taylor… For all of those, check around for coupons. Banana Republic is another place to look. White House Black Market?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      If you have a Charming Charlie near you, I’d recommend going there. They have a ton of options and the store I’ve been to was organized by color. Everything was really inexpensive and the 2 necklaces I bought have held up just fine.

    • Check out Charming Charlie if there is one close. I bought a couple of necklaces there recently for under $20. The quality is about what you would expect for the price, but they do look nicer than they really are.

    • I'm Just Me :

      Charming Charlie’s, JCP, Kohl’s (if it has a decent jewelry department, I have 2 stores equal distance from me and one does and one doesn’t).

    • Online only but I love Jeweliq.

    • Why not try baublebar online?

    • Try C. Wonder if you have one near you.

    • Charming Charlie’s and Forever 21.

    • I know you said store since you’re in a rush, but if you have amazon prime try their jewelry section, I’ve had a few successes there (and easy to compare, view close up, etc.)

    • Sometimes Bauble Bar have great selections

  12. I have this dress and it’s perfect for work. I also wore it for my daughter’s First Communion too.

  13. I love the quality of CE but the neckline of this dress is too high for me. I went to the outlet mall today to search for sheath dresses and only found one that worked for me. Has anyone seen sheath dresses lately that are not this high but also not ridiculously low? I’d prefer materials other than ponte or jersey.

    • I almost bought this one on Rue La La recently in gray. It’s available in navy on Amazon. It strikes me as the kind of thing that would be very easy to wear and I like the side tie detail. http://www.amazon.com/Anne-Klein-Womens-Sleeveless-Dress/dp/B00J024988/ref=sr_1_25?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1401205781&sr=1-25

      • I ended up buying this one instead, though I may have to return because it shows up very differently on store websites. http://www.dillards.com/product/Anne-Klein-Sheer-Pique-Degas-Dress_301_-1_301_504390195?cm_mmc=GooglePLAs-_-Anne-Klein-_-Dresses-_-Anne-Klein-Sheer-Pique-Degas-Dress&adc=pg_318_11149_533198ffe4b011b3868629f7_42879856587

    • I have been coveting this one from Brooks Brothers which looks like the neckline would be office appropriate:


      I think Anne Taylor has some new ones just this week too though I don’t shop there as often as I used to due to quality issues.

  14. Awkward Conversations :

    I always have the most awkward conversations with the people in our U.S. offices.

    I always start with hi, this is [my name] calling from the [city] office, I work in [x group]. How are you?

    And then I either get silence, or “fine” followed by silence. There is no reciprocal “how are you doing?”. It always throws me off, and it seems a bit…I don’t know, rude? I usually end up repeating my question, because it is just so awkward, and I find it abrupt to jump into the business portion of my call.

    This ONLY happens when I call people in our U.S. office- is my set of questions not common in the US? The “hi, how are you, good, how are you?” or “hi, how’s your morning so far? good, and yours?” is a standard start of the any conversation here.

    These are people I see every other week by teleconference (because we all have the same VP and work in the same department, just in different countries), and once a year at retreats, so it’s not like they can’t put a face to my name.

    So, do Americans not do this?

    • American, and I always do this. Sometimes I think I do it too much, like when a doctor/nurse or other service provider asks in the course of providing care or the service and without thinking I respond with “good, how are you?”

      I do find that people respond differently to this on the phone than in person (on the phone they tend to have their question prepared and are jarred by the “how are you?”), so it might be more of a medium issue than a cultural one.

    • Hm. The questions you list are definitely normal, but perhaps a little less so over the phone vs an in person chat. From your description it sounds like your coworkers would already know your basic location and role because you interact with them frequently, so maybe it’s the “re-introduction” background that is throwing the conversation off?

      The two approaches I hear most often – Hi Bob, it’s Cat (Lastname) (whether I include the last name depends on relationship), how are you doing? or Hi Bob, it’s Cat, is now a good time to catch up about XYZ topic?

    • If you meet with them frequently, perhaps they’re just taken aback by your formality. I’d be thrown off if someone I work with addressed me that way. If these are generally people you work with at least somewhat and know, I’d just say “Hi [COWORKER], it’s Awkwared Conversations. How are you doing?” That seems reasonable. If it’s someone you work less closely with or haven’t really talked to before, your introduction sounds fine.

      As someone who works in the US with coworkers in several locations throughout the US, asking “How are you?” is definitely the norm.

      • +1. Your intro seems pretty formal to me. It’s probably throwing the Americans off.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I agree with this. If you’ve spoken to them more than once before, especially if it is semi-frequently, I’d get rid of the office location and department stuff. A long into like that is what telemarketers here seem to use, so it is probably flipping people into that mindset at first. I’d keep the “how are you” part. That is very normal in my experience.

    • It almost sounds like you’re speaking from a script.

    • Your beginning is too formal- I’d be waiting for the sales pitch

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      In general, I find most people do respond with ‘good, how are you’, but I have also experienced the awkwardness at times. I have one particular client in the Midwest who always just says ‘fine’ and then there is just silence, but then this is also the same guy who calls and says ‘hi this is X’ when he calls me and after I acknowledge him, there is silence, even though he was the one who called me, so I can’t really place much on this.

      I’ve learned to expect that so it’s not so awkward now, but for me saying ‘how are you’ just comes naturally so I would always say it without even thinking. I assume though from your message you are talking about people you haven’t spoken to before, so it may be harder to predict the response (or lack thereof), but if you expect it, it does get less awkward.

    • I think I use “How are you ” in person more than I do over the phone. If I’m calling, it’s usually with a purpose and the “how are you doing” feels like chatty filler, so why use it. In person you might want a gimme question like that to help the person refocus on you before you jump in your question/request. My phone call, to someone in an office that I speak to somewhat frequently would be “Hey, it’s Mpls in the MN office. I’ve got a few questions on X – do you have a minute?”

      • +1 to the chatty filler part. Unless I’ve never spoken to the person over the phone before, I approach calls the same way I would an email; that is to say, I would probably never write “Hi, this is Orangerie from the SF office, from X group, how are you?” in the beginning of an email.

    • Depends on where in the US, too. In the NE, people just tend to be gruff/less friendly/less talkative.

      However I agree it is a bit formal if you’ve spoken to them before and work for the same company. Most likely, your name flashes on their phone, so they know it’s you. and if they’ve ever seen an org chart, they know whose department, etc.

      The only time I’d go through the whole script is when I call someone for the first time.

      • Awkward Conversations :

        They’re in the south! Think Texas, Louisana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama.

        • But if you know them anyway, why do you need to provide location and dept details?
          Just say…hi this is X calling, do you have a few minutes? Or schedule a telcon in advance.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Incidentally, this is a really interesting example of cultural differences! In the UK, if someone called you and just launched straight into what they wanted without platitudes along the lines of how are you etc, they would be considered rude.

      • hoola hoopa :

        It’s true. While it would be incredibly rude in many areas of the world, in (most of) the US it tends to drive people nuts when you don’t start off with the intent of the call. It make them feel like you are either fishy or just wasting their time.

        I assume you’re contacting someone via telephone one-on-one (not a conference call) to request information or a task? I’d start the way you do if you don’t already know them, then immediately say something about the task you need them to do. Ie: “hi, this is [my name] calling from the [city] office, I work in [x group]. I’m calling to get [the status update on y, etc].” I like to start general, give them a chance to catch up, then start speaking more specifically about what I need.

        • hoola hoopa :

          I only start with social talk if I’m close with the person, so someone where you’d say only “hi, it’s [first name].” Social talk usually happens either after the reason for the call has been introduced or at the end of the phone call – or at the beginning of conference calls while you wait for people to join.

    • GetMeOuttaHere :

      I just wanted to add that I had to go through telephone training at my job, and we were taught not to ask “how are you?” and to deflect when a caller asked that. Ie caller says “Hi this is X calling from Y, how are you doing today?” and we are supposed to say “Fine, how can I help you?” or whatever variant. The point is to get to the task at hand. Productivity over politeness: the American way.

      • I’ve always admired how Mike Greenberg (of Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN) handles this when they have people weighing in by phone. When someones says “How are you” or something like that, he says “We are well, thank you” and he moves quickly into interview questions.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I use “Very well, thank you,” as well. The chit chat drives me nuts, I must admit.

          My lawyer began every call as follows: I’d say “hello,” and he’d say “Did I catch you at a bad time?” I’d then say “yes” or “no,” and then we were ready to dive in to the business of discussing the business at hand or making arrangements to speak at a more convenient time, as appropriate. Plus it conveyed his concern for me without sidetracking things. Genius, I tell you.

  15. Rural Juror :

    What are the best shoe insoles for slingbacks? I guess I just want something that provides some cushion at the ball of the foot, most of the ones I see seem to be a full-foot cushion. Love to hear your recommendations!

    • Dr. Scholl’s ball of foot cushions are great. Not sure if it’ll work for slingbacks, but check out their line of ladies products. I use the ball of foot cushions in my heels.

  16. I’m the anon from this morning who’s been having a crappy weekend/morning.

    As I mentioned, I put on a few lbs recently, but I’ve put on about 7 overall since last winter and it’s really bothering me. I’m only 5’4 so 7 lbs is the difference between a size 2/4 and a 4/6 for me. I’m certainly not overweight but I’m just not happy with the way I look and feel right now.

    Do any of you have any experience (success or otherwise) with keeping to a fairly strict pattern of eating completely “clean” for breakfast/lunch/snack (e.g. fruit and plain greek yogurt for breakfast, salad with avocado/seeds/maybe quinoa for lunch, nuts and/or fruit and/or low fat cheese for snacks) and then being more permissive with dinner? I think this is something that might work for me better than just calorie counting.

    • From what I’ve read, it’s better to be more permissive with breakfast than with dinner (although others subscribe to the calories are calories and it doesn’t matter when you eat them). But eating clean is definitely a good goal. More vegetables.

      I don’t count calories. I just try to eat well and reduce sugar.

      • that makes sense physiologically, but psychologically I think eating most of my calories/carbs in the morning doesn’t work for me because by lunch/dinner time I’m feeling deprived.

    • I don’t think that anything but baby steps that you envision keeping up with forever work in the long run. Do you know how you gained the 7 pounds? Inactivity in the winter (usually cures itself in the summer; maybe join a gym next winter)? TV snacking? Eating yummy restaurant food too much? If you can trim back and keep what you like about your diet / routine intact, I think you’ll have much better luck in the long run getting rid of the 7 and keeping it off (and the 4 recent pounds can just be water retention / bloating / etc.; maybe reweigh next Monday and see if the number has changed; I can gain/lose 4 pounds in a day if I eat the right mix of Chinese food one day and something else salty and drink a lot).

      Also, lowfat stuff may not leave you as satisfied as normal-fat stuff. I’d try to eat a smaller portion of something full-fat food than eat something low fat (e.g., cheddar).

    • I have success with this. I don’t count calories, and I eat when hungry throughout the day, but I eat pretty clean while at work (I have breakfast and lunch at my desk) and then allow myself whatever I feel like for dinner. It works for me because food is enjoyable at home, cooking and eating with my SO or my dog, and honestly, food is often the cue for me to “unwind” after my day. I could never be successful restricting myself in the evenings (though I try to cook and eat unprocessed foods, I don’t limit my weaknesses…cheese, olive oil, tons of tomatoes, carbs, especially in winter, sometimes red meat, and dessert, typically on the one week a month I really crave it. And wine.).

      During the day, I basically bring my breakfast and lunch, and if I need supplementing I have almonds and oatmeal in my desk. I typically have warmer foods in winter, cooler in summer (I feel like I’m depriving myself if I have cold foods in winter).

      Typical winter breakfast: baked oatmeal with apples and cinnamon or banana, walnuts and blueberries; or black beans with Greek yogurt and avocado if I’m in the mood for savory.

      Typical summer breakfast: chia pudding with pineapple and shredded coconut and almond milk, or with frozen berries and almond milk; or the black beans again.

      Typical winter lunch: Some sort of homemade stew or curry with lentils and veggies, piece of fruit.

      Typical summer lunch: Quinoa or barley based salad with veggies, beans, some sort of sauce or dressing (usually with tons of olive oil).

      I think for me, the most important thing is to (1) bring my food to eliminate temptation; and (2) have something to start off the day that I really look forward to. For me, that is a steaming cup of high quality coffee with 2% or whole milk. Oh, and (3), allow myself one cheat breakfast a week if needed (it’s usually needed on really sleep deprived mornings. It is comprised of sausages and potatoes or a bagel from the cafeteria. Yup.). I can’t exceed one cheat breakfast.

      • thanks- can I ask you something if you don’t mind, you said you “can’t exceed one cheat breakfast.” Are you at a weight you’re comfortable with, and do you mean that if you exceed your cheat breakfast (or in some way alter your diet during the week even if only a few times) you will gain weight? Or just not feel good?

    • This is basically what I do, but I also counted calories at first to get a good idea of what each portion should be (and realized my “clean” salad was a calorie-bomb with all the pecans I was adding to that thing. . .oops!) Then I still eat fairly healthy for dinner, but it is my bigger meal.

    • You sound like me. I recently gained some weight as well.

      I’m not trying to put rules on what I can eat but rather how I eat, and when I eat. I am eating out less/cooking more. I find cooking takes time (and energy), and I eat less when I’ve cooked. Even if I eat out, I eat a smaller portion (take leftovers home, etc). I also stop eating after a time of day (for me it’s like 9 PM). If I’m hungry I’ll just have crackers. I’m usually not though due to having a late dinner. Also, I don’t have any sugary drinks after dinner – only water. One thing I have incorporated is exercise, which helps. I have just started this and it’s going well so far, but will take a while to see the weight go down substantially.

      I think the exercise is what’s going to help the most though; I think my recent weight gain is attributed to me sitting in front of a computer all day (as compared to walking from class to class and commuting with law textbooks).

  17. hoola hoopa :

    Advice needed because I’m awkward:

    The women who sits next to me in our open-plan office is wearing a new perfume and it’s really bothering my lungs. First off, is it fair to ask her to not wear it to the office any more? I can’t figure out how to bring it up without being awkward. Should I wait until the end of the day (it’s morning here)? It’s not like she can shower now. And with the open office, quite a few people within earshot will hear me say it. She’s very nice and considerate, so I know she’d feel awful if she knew it was making it hard for me to breathe. Should I wait to see if she’ll wear it again? It’s definitely new. We’ll both be at our desks most of the day.

    She also was just telling me that her daughter’s asthma was really bad this weekend, and I’m wondering if it’s related to the perfume.

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      Wait until end of day. Catch her and say, “Coworker, I noticed your new perfume because it smells great. But for some reason, it seems to be really aggravating my lungs. It’s not a problem with your regular perfume, but something about certain types of perfumes triggers my asthma/makes it hard for me to breathe. I had hoped it would wear off by the end of the day, but no luck. I know it’s a lot to ask, but would you mind skipping this one for the office? It would make a huge difference for me.”

      Do not tell her about the daughter. That will make her feel embarrassed and like you are criticizing her parenting. She is probably smart enough to figure it out.

    • I would tell HR and have them handle it. No awkwardness that way. A lot of places consider scent, excessive scent or anything that causes a medical issue to be HR territory. Talk to HR and step away. Sorry it’s bothering you…I am a HUGE asthmatic, and even in college, I made my roommates spray their perfume in the dorm hallway and then jet. We all laughed about it….

  18. Clearly, retailers need to start proofreading the subject lines of their advertising emails. I got 2 emails this weekend that advertised Memoriak Day sales. And just got one advertising Guy Fieri Frying Pants. Ha!