Coffee Break – Open Flower Brooch

Most of my brooch collection comes from the days when I went to flea markets over the weekend, scouring for great vintage finds, and I’m always kind of amazed how brooches I picked up in college have grown with me over the years.  This brooch reminds me of one of my favorites — the wide flower can be great to pin to your shoulder to break up a high-necked dress, or a boring blazer, particularly for an after-work event. This brooch (“a perfect rose, abstractly recreated in lacy layers of faceted crystal” is $110 at Saks. Adriana Orsini Open Flower Brooch



  1. Okay, this brings up a question that’s been bugging me for a while. I get wearing brooches on blazers and suits, but do you also put them on dresses and tops? What kinds of fabric do you use them on? I am never really sure if a brooch in the middle of flat fabric (i.e., not a blazer) looks weird.

    But I love brooches and want to wear more of them!

    Also, please see this:

    • Ryan Gosling :

      Hey Girl,

      Don’t hate the player, hate the game. But I promise if you’re about to get hit by a car, I’ll save you…and look really good doing it.

      • Stephanie Plum :

        Corporette attorneys, any advice on applying for a federal job? I’ve heard resumes and questionnaire responses need to be tailored just so, and I’m nervous mine won’t make the cut. I wonder if there are consultants out there who help with this sort of thing?

        • I know there are consultants that do this; I have a mentor/friend that is an SES and she used one last year. I don’t know the name, but if you google “federal job consultant” there are a few that come back.

      • I’m so pleased that Ryan takes the time to visit and comment on our little site. ;)

        • fun thought: what if it really *is* ryan gosling. we’d never know!

          • Whatttt??? You don’t think it’s him??? I’m going to cry into the sleeve of my cardigan now.

    • On my way to work this morning I actually saw a woman wearing a brooch at the waist of her skirt (which looked like standard black wool crepe or something)–and it looked great as an accent on her neutral outfit. On me I’d be concerned about snagging on my bag at that height, but it’s an idea at least!

    • Always a NYer :

      I know I’m really late to this, but where did the “Hey, girl” thing with Ryan Gosling start?

      (stop laughing, yes, you, stop)

      • Ryan Gosling :

        Hey Girl,

        It started as a meme on a tumblr site called f * c k y e a h r y a n g o s l i n g. I believe. It has spread to many other places. My personal favorite is femenistryangosling.

    • PharmaGirl :

      My grandmoher wore brooches with absolutely everything… there was never a time she didn’t wear one (except maybe on her bathing suit).

      They work well on sheath dresses, not so much on lightweight tops.

    • Tired Squared :

      I have a friend who wears silvery brooches on turtleneck sweaters/blouses, and she looks great!

      • I have a large brooch collection mostly purchased in antique shops that used to be walking distance from my office and hence a nice lunch break. I don’t wear any of them very much, because most of my clothes seem to call more for necklaces of various kinds, but here is my rule for wearing brooches. You use them to accent the cut of your clothing. So…if you are wearin a blazer with a beautiful lapel, you place the brooch so as to emphasize the lapel.

        I start out by adding the brooch before putting on the article of clothing, to position it just right. Then I see how it looks when I am dressed, and maybe move it a bit to improve the look. Hope this helps.

    • I have a friend who babysat Ryan when he was little & still living in Canada. Apparently he was an adorable child as well, but was there any doubt?

      • Wha!?!?! ok, that is the coolest thing EVER. I mean, you practically almost know him…. swwooooonnn

    • Is there anyone else who really doesn’t understand the Ryan Gosling love, or is it just me?

      • Yes its just you :

        (Of course its not just you! You’ve been reading this website long enough to know there are infinite tastes out there.)

      • It’s not just you, Bluejay….I’m right there with you. He’s cute and all, but he doesn’t factor into my List….

        • He used to not factor into my list until that movie with Steve Carrell and Emma Stone (I can’t even remember the name of the movie since all I was doing was staring at his abs). Come to Mama!

        • I agree. Ryan Renolds now….that’s another story. I remember when both of them were on cheesy Canadian teen shows (Breaker High and The Odessey).

      • Yeah, it seems to me he’s a cool person and all (from what I’ve read) but he doesn’t really get my juices flowing.

      • Totally not just you. I find him a bit plain looking, personally. (It’s nice that he seems like a nice guy, though, and I sort of enjoy watching the swooning.) Of course, I don’t think that I’ve really seen any of his work, just pictures of him.

        • Nope. Not just you. I think he looks OK, and is very fit and comes across as a generally “good egg,” but I don’t seem to get the “wowza” factor.

          • Have you seen The Notebook? Nuff said.

          • b23, I love his acting chops! I liked his *character* in “The Notebook,” …I’m just not interested in the actor. I try to separate actors from characters, maybe I’m weird that way.

            And oh, I hope this doesn’t come across as way creepy, but I’ve been meaning to reply to your post on that SAHM/Rosengate thread about women’s issues/ideology, but didn’t get to it and now that thread is way old.

            I’ll just say this– I have a lot more I wanted to say on the matter, but I really appreciated your thoughtful response to my posts (including the ones that were less-well thought out.) Even when I don’t agree with you, I like your posts! :-)

          • b23: Thank You!

          • @b23 – I would rather watch paint dry than watch the Notebook, which may go a long way toward explaining my lack of interest in RG. I saw him in some godawful movie with Julianne Moore when I was on an international flight, and he certainly does have nice abs. Also, it wasn’t until I saw that movie that I realized there was a difference between him and Ryan Reynolds (still don’t know who that is really). But anyway, nice abs, but overall meh.

            Idris Elba on the other hand…

      • Every other male actor is pretty much dead to me now that I’ve seen Bradley Cooper speaking French.

        Well, not you George.

        And not you, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.

        But, yeah, everyone else.

      • i did not understand the ryan gosling love until i saw him in crazy stupid love (and i had seen him in the notebook). but seriously, crazy stupid love changed everything. EVERYTHING.

    • that made me spit salad on myself. also, truth.

  2. I used to be a pony tail or bun every day kind of lady, but I recently got a haircut (top-of-shoulder-length) and have been wearing my hair down in an effort to look nicer. However, I cannot. stop. touching it. Any tips on how to leave my hair alone other than pulling it back?

    • Always a NYer :

      My preferred hairstyle of the moment is pulling back a small section at the crown and keeping it in place with a barette. Think the “Snooki pouf” not on steroids and flat on your head. It’s also how Blair’s been wearing her hair on GG lately ;)

    • The rubber band snapping trick ( Or I guess on Corporette it would have to be a hair elastic around your wrist.

    • I have the same problem! So hard to resist.

    • More product. It will get all over your hands and be icky.

      I tend to not touch it if I put more effort into styling it. I know if my fingers go through it, it will ruin the curls.

  3. momentsofabsurdity :

    Debating buying the Prosonic facial cleansing brush on GrouponGoods. Anyone used it (or a similar product) and had a good/bad experience?

    • I got one of them (forget the brand) and haven’t noticed a difference either way except that my hair gets caught if I’m not careful. I don’t think I’ll get a new head once this one wears out.

    • I was looking at that too and also couldn’t decide. After all the fuss about the Clarisonic Mia I would hate to purchase a “step down” if I’m eventually going to get the Mia anyway. Also, I had a body brush that was like this and it definitely gained more dust than it shined off me.

      On the other hand, it’s a great deal and has good reviews!

      • Argh, I got distracted. I did want to mention that the last time I did Groupon Goods I was very disappointed. It turned out with shipping and all I actually paid more than if I’d just gone to Amazon and it was super low quality. (Which I would have known had I gone to Amazon and looked at the reviews, so it’s my fault too!)

  4. For those in Seattle... :

    Is anyone planning to go to Kat’s talk on Thursday? I actually never knew about this site until a friend forwarded me the info about the talk, and now I’m addicted…however, I have been totally unfashionable for most of my life so I will probably be the worst-dressed person in the room, or at least make numerous eye-rolling faux pas. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the event and just wondered if I will see any of you there!

    • Just wear a hairband on your wrist and a single nail painted blue. Trust me, you will be the most popular person in the room.

    • I totally wanted to, but ended up with a conflict that evening. Boo! I’m still hoping for a Seattle meet-up again at some point, since I had to miss the last one.

      • Seattleite :

        Same here. Someone put together a meetup last summer, but I had a conflict then, too. Maybe some extrovert will do another one this summer.

    • I seriously think everyone on this site that shows up ought to have one blue nail and a hair elastic on their wrist. What a great way to recognize each other!

    • I can’t make it either. What are good dates in May for a meetup?

    • Jane Fairfax :

      I am coming. While I have made significant improvements since I started regularly visiting this site (and expanding my clothing budget), I am a far cry fashionable. I also don’t think I’ve ever noticed the color of anyone’s nails or what they were wearing on their wrist. I do find it valuable information to know that other people notice though.

    • no longer "job hunting" :

      I’m going! And agree that we should schedule a Seattle meet-up, preferably before BARBRI starts?

      • I don’t have time or interest in the talk, but would be interested in a meetup locally at some point. Have a few more weeks slightly mobile at times before baby arrival.

  5. Firm Culture :

    I have a lunch/coffee type thing coming up with an acquaintance that works at a firm I’m applying to. What would ask or talk about to figure out the firm culture? What would be your red flags? What would give the firm high marks in your eyes? How do I know if it is a good fit for me in particular?

    I’ve always been of the attitude that I’m smart, willing to pitch in, and generally a hard worker, so I could work anywhere – but the last firm that I worked in was NOT a good fit and I’m trying to figure out if it was just the personalities at play in the old firm (which was definitely the main problem), or if it was something more endemic to the practice of law, and how to maybe figure that out ahead of time.

    • What were some of the issues with the personalities at your old firm? I would try to ask questions that relate to the difficulties you had at your old firm because of bad personalities.

      Otherwise, I would ask how work is assigned/distributed. Do people tend to work with multiple partners, one partner, etc.? What do they use their assistants/paralegals for? What is the deal with billable requirements and what are any unwritten requirements? Do associates go to each other with questions? What does she think the firm does well? Not so well? Is face time important? What hours do most of the associates there work? Do people ever take vacation? Go to lunch? Are you expected to answer your blackberry/phone/email at all hours?

      Those are the types of questions I would ask to try and get some information about the culture of a firm. I do think there are some things that are endemic to private practice but I also think personalities/culture can make a huge difference in being happy at work.

      • Former MidLevel :

        I second all the questions about assignments and how the firm uses non-attorney staff members. I wouldn’t directly ask about face time, vacation, lunch, Blackberry responsiveness, etc. These would be great facts to find out, but you don’t want to give the (mistaken) impression that you are not committed or trying to do the bare minimum. You might try to get at these issues indirectly, e.g., “What traits do successful associates at Firm X have?” (If people say “responsiveness,” that means you will be a slave to your Blackberry.)

        • Also, I think most of those things depend entirely on who you work for, so an answer from someone who works with a different partner than you will won’t be that helpful.

  6. brooch lover :

    i love brooches but when i wear them on thin cardigans they don’t work. is there a way to do it so they hang properly on thin material, or do i have to reserve them for stiffer fabrics?

    • When I wear a brooch on a thinner fabric, I fasten the pin around my bra strap for extra support. Just don’t forget you’ve done this when you go to take off your top at the end of the day!

    • NY law talent scout :

      I think that brooches at the center of a garment are kinda boring. Placed on the upper lapel or at the waist — I think that they can be fun. As to Kat’s particular example– this brooch design in particular was all the rage a couple of years ago and got knocked off by every street vendor in New York City for under $20 so it is one that I, personally, would find to be a waste of money.

    • Similar to what DC Jenny said, I pin mine through to my shirt underneath so the cardigan doesn’t droop.

  7. I am completely unable to focus today. Any tips for days when you have a hard time buckling down and getting things done?

    • :

      On these days I usually do admin. tasks. Some days you just can’t focus on substantive work. I’d get some iced coffee and set to work tying loose ends (updating time, cleaning the office, organizing files, clearing inbox and voicemails, etc.)

      • This. Remember what when you ARE able to focus again on substantive work, all those annoying tasks will be out of the way and won’t slow you down.

    • Detailed to do list so that you can check a lot off and feel a sense of accomplishment (e.g. read first half of brief, read second half of brief. . . ).

    • I’m a convert to the Pomodoro method – set a timer for 25 minutes, work, then take a break. Repeat as necessary. 25 minutes is just long enough that you can accomplish something, but there’s always a break coming up soon.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        What timer do you use? I’m intrigued by Pomodoro, but I would need a digital timer that has a visual alarm, like flashing or something, without making any noise.

        • I downloaded a vibrate-only ringtone for my iPhone and just use its built-in timer. Before that I used an app that had an actual ding, but I stopped using it when my secretary started asking me what I was baking. :)

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Despite my location, somehow I don’t have an iPhone, or a smartphone of any other kind. Too much to hope for a silent kitchen timer?

          • Apparently it is not:

            And speaking of procrastination, I should probably get back to work!

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Thanks January, but the thought of looking at a timer with an “LSAT” button all day is not my favorite :). The search continues.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I posted a response 3 times now and it keeps vanishing into thin air b/c of my link (no moderation.) I use timer DOT onlineclock DOT net. I turn the volume super low so only I can hear it.

          • @ SF Bay – if you use a timer on your computer, just turn off the sound on your speakers and you won’t hear the noise. Or you could use Google tasks or Google calendar and set a reminder to pop up without playing a noise.

        • I downloaded a free timer called “free desktop timer.” It sits down at the bottom of my screen and flashes/beeps, but if I have my computer muted it still flashes so I see it. It also stays on top of everything, which I like. I’ll second the pomodoro technique – when I’m totally scattered I find I can do 25 minutes. I’m a recent convert as well :)

        • Mary Ann Singleton :

          I downloaded “focus booster” – a desktop timer that is silent, set for 25 minute intervals with 5 minutes in between. I use it on those days when I’m having real trouble focusing.

      • Accountress :

        I just started Pomodoro, too, and it’s been really good for my productivity. I set a reminder on my email calendar, and just reset the time by 30 minutes each time it dings.

  8. :

    Hi Ladies! I recently bought a home (yay!). Its a small home with a cottage look. The inside is ultra modern but the outside looks very cottage-y. Also it’s a light blue color. I want to plant some flowers/plants around the house but I know nothing about gardening. Any recommendations for flowers or small plants to complement the house, preferrably something not too high maintenance. Any other general tips for a beginner gardener?

    • Amateur gardener :

      Any gardening advice is going to really depend on region, but with a blue house you might be well served by getting flowers in purple, oranges, and then some green plants. That would be a nice color palette. Then, its always nice to have a mix of perennials (like tulips) and flowers you plant every year.

      But you might want to ask for some input at a local garden store, they’ll know best about what grows well in your area (I’d personally go to a locally run business. The quality of advice at Home Depot/Lowes can be hit or miss). Hanging baskets for the doorway is also a fun way to add pops of color, but remember to water them (we forgot our first year and killed them.)

    • Anonsensical :

      Congratulations! I’d be happy to make some recommendations if you could tell me roughly if you’ve got sun or shade in the areas where you want to add plants. Also, could you tell me what part of the country you live in? I wouldn’t want to advise you to buy something that won’t survive in your hardiness zone.

      • :

        Oops, I’m such a gardening newbie it didnt occur to me that region mattered! I live in Northern VA. This part of my house gets a lot of sun.

        • I love gardening and am in a nearby region so I could shoot out some suggestions but honestly, I think it would be best for you to go to a local/independent nursery (basically just somewhere where the employees know plants, not home depot) and ask them what would be low maintenance in your area. Then look at those options and see what tickles your fancy.

          Full sun will give you tons of options, so that’s great!

          Things to consider:
          – get mostly perennials if you want low maintenance, but you can always leave room in your landscaping design for some fun annuals that you change up year to year
          – pay attention to when things bloom in your area and try to pick plants that don’t all bloom at the same time, so you’ll have a constant supply of flowers
          – get at least a few things that are evergreen so it won’t be so barren in the winter


        • awww, my rental property is a light blue colonial w/ white shutters and front porch, also in NOVA. I used greens (ornamental grasses, hostas, lambs ear), yellows (day lilies, daffodils), reds (gladioli, coleus), and whites (PEONY bushes – I LOVE THEM SO MUCH, impatiens, queen anne’s lace, tulips). I also have a hydrangea, rhododendron, and camellia bush in the front/side of house – the placement isn’t very good, but I never got around to transplanting them. In the back I have a few azalea bushes.

          Even though Young House Love is in Richmond, they have been tackling their flower beds and have a lot of suggestions for hearty plants/shrubs.

        • I’m late to the party, but here in NoVa, you should check out Merrifield Garden Center for excellent selection and advice.

        • Also look at native plants for easy maintenance. Azaleas are a native (I’m in MD) and may be good for shadier edges. Current fav for me: varigated Solomon’s Seal – but I am partial/heavy SHADE and have snuck flamingo Swiss chard into my brightest garden spot to get some veggie fun going on.

          On the flip side, look at your local invasive species list for what NOT to buy. Don’t be surprised if Home Depot is selling that plant….they are plants with bad manners that you, or your neighbors will have to work to contain. Also, pick any groundcover with care.

          Butterflies are beautiful visitors, so consider attracting them to double the enjoyment.
          I have hummingbirds in my neck of the woods – so red flowers near a window might bring a visitor.

    • Anonsensical :

      Meanwhile, here are some general gardening tips because I can’t focus on work at all today!

      I second Amateur Gardener’s advice to go to a local greenhouse or nursery – you’ll get better service and better plants. Also, shop around and shop at different times of the year because you’ll see lots of different plants that way. I have about six local greenhouses that I check out periodically ~ one’s got a great selection of annuals, another has good trees and shrubs, another is my go-to spot for native perennials. Don’t expect one place to have everything.

      Plant for year-round interest. The first version of my garden lacked winter interest, but it slowly dawned on me that I spend almost six months a year indoors looking outside at a brown landscape. I added tons of grasses and conifers, and plants with interesting texture, berries, etc. I also added early bloomers like witch hazel and snowdrops and crocuses for early spring fun, and made sure I had late bloomers and pretty foliage plants for fall. Now, I enjoy my yard in every season.

      Put the right plant in the right place to avoid unnecessary maintenance. One beginner mistake I see all the time is people planting shrubs that will get 5-6 feet wide right on their fence line, or right against their house. Give your plants some breathing room. If the plant’s going to get 6 feet wide, put it at least 3 feet from your house or fence, preferably 4 so you have some space behind it. If you’ve only got 4 feet, pick a different plant ~ you don’t want to spend all your time pruning. Also, think about sun and water requirements. I have a hydrangea, which loves water, right next to my downspout. A plant that likes dry conditions would not be happy there.

    • Here’s my advice – i’m an avid, long-time gardener.

      Put 75% of your effort into preparing your soil and 25% into planting. The soil part is what most of us skimp on because it’s not as rewarding to stand back and say, “Boy does that dirt look good!” But if you do this, you will thank yourself later because your garden will look great. And you can’t go back and fix your soil nearly as easily once you’ve established some permanent plantings, so now’s the time.

      I converted my entire front yard of my first house into a drip-watered, drought-tolerant garden, and have converted a large patch of my current backyard into a food garden. It is back breaking work but so worth it once everything is up and growing.

      I had a number of books that were like my bibles while I was doing all of this. However mine are region specific (Sunset.) I think Better Homes and Gardens might have some good ones. It’s really nice to have one book that covers general topics like soil, pests, weeds, and plant types, and then you can supplement with single topic books for particular areas that interest you (in my case, drip watering, roses, citrus, etc.)

  9. Reunions! :

    Hey all! So I saw on the earlier thread about Foxfields and I felt a bit left out. So are there any Pton alums who are corporettes who are going to the best place of all this May/June? If so, we should definitely have a Reunions meet-up.

    It’s my 3rd reunion! Yes, I love that that’s a thing. I’ve bought some wide leg orange pants and a frilly white top to wear during the P-Rade.

  10. Reunions! :

    Hey all! So I saw on the earlier thread about Foxfields and I felt a bit left out. So are there any Pton alums on this board who are going to the best place of all this May/June? If so, we should definitely have a Reunions meet-up.

    It’s my 3rd reunion! Yes, I love that that’s a thing. I’ve bought some wide leg orange pants and a frilly white top to wear during the P-Rade.

    • Reunions! :

      If you are interested, send an email to ptoncorpor*tte at gmail dot com.

      • Oh my god, now I feel like I’m at least a hundred years old. It’s my 24th reunion this year. We’re going at least for the day, as we have a bunch of friends in the 25th class and it’s my father-in-law’s 50th.

        • Reunions! :

          No the 25th will be the best Reunion because you finally get a blazer.

    • lawtalkinggirl :

      Then I am at least 50 years old since this year is my 12th. Not goin’ back though.

  11. faking it :

    Do other professional women use clip-on hair extensions, or am I alone in the world?

    I’ve been wearing extensions for about two months on a near-daily basis to add body and a bit of length (1″-1.5″) to my thin, fine shoulder length hair. Although I feel a bit Kardashian-esque (ugh), I really like how they look and haven’t had any problems with slippage or the clips showing. However, I usually wear my hair down and curly/wavy at school, and I feel like I need to have a few pefected up-dos in my repertoire when I start as a SA in a month.

    I haven’t had much luck finding up-dos that are professional but don’t require pulling hair back tight against the head (doing so makes unattractive lumps over the clips). I’m also worried about the metal detectors in courthouses and airports picking up on the clips. (I usually wear about eight clips.)

    I don’t want to leave the firm with a legacy as “the girl with fake hair” instead of an offer. Any tips would be much appreciated. TIA!

    • viclawstudent :

      Could you switch to permanent (ie tied-in at a salon) extensions? This would avoid all the problems with the clips, although would possibly be somewhat expensive (?).

      • faking it :

        Permanent extensions are a little too rich for my blood right nos (I was quoted almost $1k), but thanks for the suggestion!

    • Wanting to Fake It :

      Will you post more info about where you get these clips and how they work (do you take them out at night? Do you wash them? How did you get a match to your hair color? Etc.?). I would love to do what you’re doing (also have very fine hair), but didn’t realize clip in extensions exist. I could also try Google to find out more…

      • faking it :

        I have Foxy Locks. I bought the lightest weight, and it’s plenty! It takes me about three minutes to apply them in the morning (there are many videos on youtube showing you how) and thirty second to take them out each night (do NOT sleep in them–however, I have taken naps and been fine). I wash them when they get dirty (approximately once a month, but I don’t use much/any hair product, so you might need to wash them more if you do). There are also videos on youtube showing you how to wash them. I bought a shade lighter than my hair and dyed them myself to match my hair. Mine have faded, so I will probably dye them again in the next month.

        I LOVE them, and highly recommend givng them a try. I think I paid about $75, including shipping. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • I had the POP brand hair extensions. They are made of human hair and would have lasted a really long time had I taken better care of them. They can be colored, washed, dried, straightened, curled, etc. Mine had metal clips and I loved them, though I never thought of the metal detector business.
        At first, I had the same problem with updos. If I wanted to do an updo, I simply stuffed the extensions into different spots of my hair so that the updo itself looked fuller, like, for example, to create a bigger a bun, but didn’t have the clips attached to the usual spots on the top/side of my head where the lumps would be created.
        If you want to avoid the metal detector issue, why don’t you stick a bobby pin in your hair (or two) and then if they detectors go off, blame the bobby pin? (Or barrette, or whatever)

        • Thanks! I’ll give this a try. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who’s went the clip-on route. I was starting to really feel like a freak!

    • I’d be more concerned about the possibility of setting off metal detectors than about wearing your hair up or down. If you like wearing your hair down, it sounds like it looks perfectly professional the way you style it. However, unless you’ve been through the metal detectors in the specific building you might go to for work, you have no way of knowing how sensitive they are and if they’ll react to your hair extensions. If there’s no way to get ones with non-metal clips, or if it would be really obvious if you didn’t wear them on days you go to court, you might want to rethink whether it’s worth the hassle to wear the extensions.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I set off the metal detectors every single time I go to Court and I don’t have metal extensions. It is bound to happen anyway.

        • Yes, but she wants to avoid having to reveal her hair extensions in front of her colleagues. It’s not as discreet as “oops, forgot to take off my watch.”

        • Equity's Darling :

          My jurisdiction lets members of the law society bypass security (thankfully, because as a student, I had a TON of forks confiscated from my purse…even though they really were for eating salad, not for attacking anyone).

          I now carry forks into the courthouse with impunity, and I love it.

      • faking it :

        I think I could pull off extension-free hair without looking *too* different if I put my hair up and do a little bobby pin/hairspray magic. Maybe I’ll go sans extensions the first few days and hide clips similar to the ones attached to my extrensions in my hair anyway? That way if the detectors go off, I can simply remove the clips (which look like regular “snap” hairclips) without the embarrassment of removing half of my hair too.

        What is the usual procedure if the detectors go off? Will someone just run a wand over me, realize the offending metal is along my skull and not a gun hidden under my suit, and then let me through or are you forced to strip until you can walk through without detection?

        Thanks for the advice everyone. I know this seems ridiculous, and it certainly would be easier to just go extension-free over the summer. I’ve just always hated my thin, scraggly hair and I feel so much more confident in myself and my appperance now.

        Yes, I realize how shallow that sounds. Thank goodness for anonymity.

        • Quite honestly, as long as you make sure you’re wearing NO other metal (I mean, take off your earrings if necessary) the detector shouldn’t even alert. They’re set to register above a certain level of metal. Also, if the detectors do alert, usually the person will just wand you, see that it’s something with your head and clearly not a gun, and go on from there. The more experienced courts I’ve been to would just look at you, know you don’t have a gun (the detector alerts at the level of the metal, i.e. boot level, waist level, head level) and wave you through. At the airport you may want to go through the full body scanner if given the choice, because these will not be a problem.

          As for style suggestions, I think google is going to be your friend. Another possibility would be to find a stylist at a hair salon with experience and pay for a session with them on styling. That may be more difficult, since most stylists with that kind of experience probably only work with the salon tied in type of extensions.

          Finally, I absolutely would not give up if they give you more confidence. What about adopting headbands? I know it’s not really an “in” look right now, but it’s never 100% out for the right person with the right headband. I go with the 1/2 up 1/2 down style like 90% of the time. I know it’s a bit juvenile, but for my long thick wavy hair and face shape it is quite literally the most flattering hair style I can have (though I also love the Blair on GG style recently and have done that, but find it doesn’t stay as well as I would like).

          • My spin pins have set them off when I have no other metal on me besides the underwire in my bra. You really can’t anticipate what will set them off unless you’ve been to that particular security checkpoint before.

          • I had spin pins set off a metal detector too (also with no other metal but my underwire). I almost missed a flight because I thought my hair was in a metal-free elastic band and could not give the TSA agent an explanation until he wanded my hair. And even then, he made me take them out. So if you have hard-*ss security guards, they might make you take the clips out anyway.

        • Also how often will you really be in court?

          Metal detector tip: put your hands together in front of you like you’re praying and walk through. The closer metal is to the sides of the metal detector (like rings), the more likely it is to go off. Hair clips wouldn’t be too close, so you should be fine, unless you have a super-sensitive metal detector.

          And no judgment on the shallow. Whatever makes you feel good about something that you’ve been self-conscious about is totally worth this.

        • Why don’t you wear them except for on days when you have to go to court or otherwise might encounter security, and on those days put your hair up as you suggest? And if you get through the metal detectors ok with a few bobby pins, then you’re probably ok to wear the extensions the next time.

        • faking it :

          Thanks for the tips! I guess I was under the impression that, as a SA, I wouldn’t go to court often, but I wouldn’t have notice of when I would go, so I need to be dressed appropriately every day. Maybe that’s wrong? Anyway, thanks for the advice. It helps a lot!

          • What type of firm is it? If you’re at a big law firm, you’re unlikely to go to court at all, even if you’re in litigation. Very few biglaw cases actually go to trial. If you’re at something like a personal injury, family law, insurance defense, etc, firm, you’re more likely to go to observe at least a few times.

          • Big law; however, FWIW my particular office is in a secondary market. I really don’t care about going to court (transactional girl, here!), but I got the impression during my callback that attending a hearing or two is part of the “well-rounded” SA experience the firm prides itself on.

  12. Anybody have any comments on Merona quality / sizing? I’m kind of loving this dress from Target (link to follow) but no experience with this brand.


    • I haven’t owned most of my Merona stuff long enough to give you a really long-term view, but I’ve washed it all a couple times and its help up nicely. And the fabric was all surprisingly thick and of good quality. I also figure for the price, if it doesn’t last forever, its not the end of the world.

      In terms of sizing, I’d say it runs true to size to maybe a bit large. If you’re between sizes, I’d order one down, but if you’re solidly one size, I’d order it.

    • Rose in Bloom :

      I bought this dress and am actually wearing it today. I’m 5′ 3″ and the XS fits me perfectly. The fabric isn’t super thick, but it has a nice weight to it and seems to hold its shape well.

      Merona tends to be higher quality than other lines sold at Target. I have a Merona cardigan that has been tossed in the washing machine and dryer for over 2 years and hasn’t pilled. On the other hand, I bought a Merona jersey dress last summer and that has started to pill a little bit. This dress is cotton, so you shouldn’t have that problem.

    • Super cute. In my experience Merona runs on the large size. I’m a size 8 and can usually wear a size small.

    • The quality is pretty good, especially for the price point ($30-ish dresses). I have a bunch of cardigans and dresses and all have held up well. I’d say the sizing is true to a bit large. I’m a size 6-8 in pants at stores like Banana and The Limited, and I wear a medium in Merona. Some dresses fit beautifully in medium, others are a little too baggy but I’m usually too lazy to have them tailored and just return them. The smalls I’ve tried on have not fit me well, but I don’t like my clothes too tight or clingy. Also most dresses are too short to be work appropriate on me, but I’m 5’11”

    • obsessed with this dress :

      I have an unhealthy obsession with that dress. I bought it a few years back, then they discontinued it. When they brought it back, I bought three! It is extremely comfortable. It goes with everything! It has a slightly sateeny finish, making it perfect to pair with metallic sandals and pretty dangly earrings for drinks at the bar or dancing. It’s also a great summer dress, paired with a denim jacket and/or scarf. Only complaint: some of the newer versions do not have pockets, which is my favorite feature. And I would lose the belt. It’s much cuter as a simple shift dress.

  13. Happy tax day to any other tax preparers out there! Hopefully your day is going smoother than mine!

  14. Creepy – yes or no?? I practice in a fairly small legal community. A courier in town introduced himself to me and commented on how he is married but just had to tell me how beautiful I was . . . I see him on occasion around town and am cordial but not overly friendly. I guess he had a delivery to my office today and asked the receptionist to swing by my office to say hello — and she let him! I said hello and then said I had to jump on a conference call. What are your thoughts?

    • I wouldn’t have cared for it, myself, but your receptionist probably just didn’t think twice about it. Tell her next time you’d rather he not be sent back to see you. As for the guy himself, I’ve had too many friends pursued by married men to assume he doesn’t mean anything by it. I think you’re right not to be “overly friendly,” because it looks like he’s interested and wants to see if you are.

      • Yes, I just spoke to the receptionist (nicely) and asked her not to allow him back next time. He gave her the impression that we were old friends and told her he wanted to surprise me — mission accomplished!

        • associate :

          line into creeper territory crossed.

        • Lying to get to see you? That’s really creepy (as opposed to the other behavior, which is only regular creepy).

      • That’s even creepier than I originally thought! He used deception to get what he wanted… yikes. Steer clear of this one. Sounds like a stalker in the making.

    • Definitely odd at least.

    • Creepy, Nutella. Yuck.

    • Creepy. It’d be a minor annoyance if he had just run into you and said this, but he actually sought you out in order to hit on you (and mention his marital status)? Creepy. I’d tell the receptionist not to let him back again.

    • Tell the receptionist (if you can trust her not to blab to him) not to let him “swing by” anymore and to say you’re out of the office or in a meeting from now on. If you see him around, be cold and unfriendly.

      And short answer, creepy, pretty much yes.

    • creepy

    • Maybe in a small legal community this wouldn’t work, but if he continues to behave in a creeper way I would ask that he not deliver to your building anyway. Not to be all freaked out, but sometimes this stuff is innocent and sometimes its not. If you are getting a bad feeling about it, and small ways aren’t enough to put distance between you, it’s totally okay to advocate for yourself.

    • I would go beyond “harmless creeper” and inform HR. This is completely inappropriate behavior.

      I was working late the other night and a man was wandering around the elevator bank. Our elevators require a card key to access any floor. This man got on the elevator with me and said “go ahead” – he did not have an elevator key of his own. I just said “I can’t do that. I can’t let you onto a floor if you don’t have a card.” The elevator returned to the first floor and he left. What if I’d been self-conscious about saying no, or didn’t want to offend? I would have been alone in my quiet, dead office with a stranger.

      I told HR and building security. You have to trust your instincts. If your instincts say “creep” then he is probably even more of a major creep than you think.

      • I agree. Who knows who he’ll try to work on next time to try to get access. Your receptionist is in the know, but what if she’s out and there’s a temp? He should be put on a list of people who shouldn’t be allowed access. What he did was way creepy and stalkery.

        And mamabear, I’m glad you didn’t let that guy in. Major safety issue there!

      • Ditto on the instincts. We have them for a reason. If something makes you uneasy (and good grief this should) act on it. You have our input, and we have objectively told you that you’re not crazy, so you shouldn’t feel bad about taking further action. (Isn’t that the purpose of Corporette — to be the objective input?) Plus if I were a good HR person, I would want to know about this.

        • um, no one should be given access to your office without you saying send them in first

      • Thanks Mamabear – so glad you trusted your instincts!



  16. Blonde Lawyer :

    Testing, testing – I have posted two responses to the Pomodoro thread above and both just vanished into thin air, no error message. I’m seeing if I can post here.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Problem identified – I had a link. No moderation or anything. Just vanished.

      • This happened to me this morning – but I didn’t have a link. It just vanished.

      • That means that Kat’s filter marked it as spam and disappeared it, rather than marking it as questionable and sending it to moderation. This usually only happens to me if I have more than 2 links in one comment. (Um, I post too much.)

  17. Vacation question time!

    I have about 3 weeks between the end of my SA position and classes starting and I would like to go on vacation. I’m trying to decide where I want to go and would love input/suggestions. Right now I’m thinking Scandinavia but it is really expensive there! I’ll be leaving from LAX, if that makes any difference in suggestions (although, honestly, I really am willing to go pretty much anywhere), and am sort of budget flexible (for Scandinavia I was hoping to do about $100-$150/day plus airfare, although for cheaper places, if it were less that would be ok too).

    If I do Scandinavia, any recs?


    • Scandinavia is fairly expensive, but (says the girl who lives in Norway, and has lived in Denmark) to get the most of your daily budget – I would mostly stay in Sweden as the dollar exchange rate will get you more for your money there than in Denmark or Norway. (At the moment 100 USD translates into 676 SEK, 566 DKR and 575 NOK – while the price level is still so that you “feel” like the currencies are interchangeable, but you’d get more for the money in Sweden.)

      Alternatively – stay in youth hostels or scout out good deals on One good thing if you’re coming in August is that the holiday season usually ends here in mid-August, so you should be getting better prices.

      If you’re doing Norway, and enjoy trains and looking at mountains and nature – take the train from Oslo to Bergen. Order your ticket early and it is about $35.

      • but it will be daylight ALL THE TIME :

        Oh man, I stayed with distant relatives in Norway for a summer. It was a blast.
        Norway is very expensive, but awesome if you’re into history or fish. Oslo has so many museums and the Vigeland sculpture park in Frogner parken is insane. When I was by myself, people were really friendly, and the city generally seemed really safe.
        Hiking is also big there so if you make any Norwegian friends that is probably what they will invite you to do. (Don’t forget the Kvitt Lunsj! it’s like a Norwegian kit kat bar, but it’s so much more.)
        The train to Bergen is a great idea- definitely check out the fish market and the tyskebryggen (unesco world heritage site) in Bergen. Pretty good shopping as well, but again, it’s expensive.
        Just traveling around/on the fjords is amazing ( i have 300 zillion pictures of shoreline) because we don’t have anything like that in the US and it’s just so pretty.

    • HAWAIII!!!!! Or another South Pacific island!! You’re in LA…you’re going in the wrong direction!

      Okay, but seriously, depending on how much you have to spend and time to travel, you’re going to be so tired by the time you get to Scandinavia (especially after having just completed the Bar) that you may not be able to enjoy it.

    • I concur that if you want to go to Scandinavia, stick to Sweden. It’s cheaper by far, and would let you get more going. However, also be aware that during midsummer, a huge portion of the country is shut down—people often take their leave and travel during that period, which means that a lot of things are closed for several weeks.

      I just came back from a trip to Berlin and absolutely recommend it, if you’re not totally set on Scandinavia. It’s a relatively cheap city, public transit is fantastic, and there’s lots of things to do both during the day and at night. There’s the East Side Gallery (~1k section of the Wall remaining with murals all over), plenty of museums, memorials, and parks, great old historical spots (the palace at Charlottenberg!), and of course nightlife if you want that. Totally fantastic city.

      • Good to know. I knew that France/Spain shut down for much of August, but I didn’t know that about Sweden. I spent a lot of my childhood vacationing in Hawaii, and while it is lovely, I want something new. I sort of ruled out Asia–I was there last summer and wanted to die of heat stroke, but the South Pacific, especially the southern parts like Fiji, might be good and not quite so hot. Originally I wanted urban as opposed to a sit on the beach vacation, because for some reason I feel much less conspicuous traveling alone in cities than in more resort settings. However, I can be persuaded on this point.

        • My current dream vacation is Bali. Will you go on it for me, since I can’t? Or Austrailia, where you really won’t stick out at all — long flight though…but it’ll be Austrailia! I’d schedule some sitting on the beach time, you’re going to be…what’s the word…oh yeah STRESSED OUT. You may want to sit on a beach more than you think.

    • Second Hawaii because of the proximity to LA.

      I did a bar trip to Australia and stayed in hostels at the beach (Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, etc.). It’s a long flight from LA but probably not any longer than Scandinavia would be.

    • Flying Finn :

      It isn’t technically Scandinavia, just your garden variety Nordic country nonetheless, but I have to root for Finland. Sure, you’d have the have a connecting flight, but it’s cheaper than non-Euro Sweden, Denmark and Norway and just as pretty (except maybe the fjords, but there are a lot of lakes and forests) e.g. the archipelago is lovely. Trains/buses are v reliable and it’s even relatively easy to drive around. Helsinki is very walkable and you can get an overnight/daytime ferry to Helsinki or Turku (old capital, v. quaint, with a castle!) from Sweden (which is an experience all by itself!)

      There probably isn’t enough to see to warrant a long holiday, but it’s very easy to get to once you are in Sweden for example (or you can get super cheap connecting flights with the Norwegian airline from Norway/Sweden/Denmark) so I suggest considering it!

    • What about Cabo in Mexico? Or if you like a cooler climate, Alaska? Personally, I’d go to Hawaii if I were in LA.

  18. Football (aka soccer) question, ladies – I know there are some football fans here…

    I’m in the market for a new team to cheer for (long story) – why do you like your team and why should I become a supporter?

    • British football? I root for Fulham because my favorite MLS player (Clint Dempsey) now plays for them. Not a “good” reason, but a reason none the less.

    • Tired Squared :

      I root for my alma mater (undergrad) and my brother’s, and my father’s during bowl game season. I root for my home state’s NFL team, and I follow a couple of players as they make their way around the NFL since they’re non-franchise guys.

      Why are you looking for a new team? (I don’t mean that in an accusatory way — just trying to think about connections you might have to a potential new one)

      • She’s not looking for an American football team. :-P Also, there are perfectly legitimate reasons to dump a team…like if you’re a Washington Redskins fan. Just saying.

        • Tired Squared :

          Haha–apparently my football-loving brain skipped over the “aka s0ccer” part of Circe’s original post!

          With regard to SOCCER … 6 to 12-year-old me remembers seeing oodles of Liverpool posters plastered all over the walls of my British family members’ homes.

    • True football fans pick one of these:

      Arsenal, Chelsea, or Manchester United.

      No reason why lol. I was an Arsenal fan because I wanted to marry Thierry Henri and my father loved Arsenal.

      Any of the 3 will get you hated by some and loved by others. So you will be safe :)

      • Honestly not meaning to snark, Anon, but I would say the majority of true football fans support someone out of those teams, because supporting anyone else actually requires effort sometimes.

        For the OP, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. You need to find the team that resonates with you. Have you considered MLS? I know it’s lower on the snob scale, but there’s nothing like actually being able to go to games (says the Liverpool supporter who moonlights for DC United).

        • Yeah, actually I have my own MLS team and have seen MU, Chelsea, and a few other biggies play in person, but wasn’t *sold* on any of them… I really want a team on the other side of the pond, too. All I know is that it’s definitely not MU. That team just rubs me the wrong way.

          • If we’re talking big three in the Premiere League, I root for Arsenal. But I think picking one of them is almost like picking the Yankees if you decide to become a baseball fan randomly. Meh.

          • Those three will have you pegged as a glory supporter! I’m going to chuck my home team of Sunderland into the ring for consideration – mostly because I worked at their stadium as a student.

          • And just to throw a bone of contention into the ring: I suggest Newcastle – traditional rivals of Sunderland, and my adopted home team.

            I agree that you would do well to look outside of those ‘big three’ if you are serious about supporting a team. Do you have any connection, however tenuous, to a region or city of the UK?

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      Manchester United.
      Man U. all the way.
      I grew up on them — no good reason, really. but there it is.

    • I’d evaluate location, team owner, color of uniform (I’m serious), history of winning seasons, footballers’ wives (again, serious). I don’t really watch sports anymore because I take losses to heart, so ambivalence is v good for me.

      I’ve been to two football matches. The first was for the Lincoln Imps and the second was Chelsea v DC United match @ FedEx Field. Anyway, I think the Imps mascot is adorable (based on the Lincoln Red Imp which appears a lot in Lincoln Cathedral which looks a lot like the National Cathedral….I digress). But, Lincoln isn’t a premier league team; they are in a league that is sort of equivalent to AAA baseball (I can’t think of a better example). I’m not much help, but there you have it.

      • Oh, one last evaluation factor…assuming you’re in the US (if not, stop reading now because I’ll be wasting your time), but maybe consider a team that has a lot of matches broadcast here whether it’s via satellite at bar/pub or on cable.

    • Bayern Munich because my first time living in Europe I dated a German boy, and that was his team…

  19. Reply All Victim :

    TJ – REPLY ALL STRIKES AGAIN. So, weird thing just happened that I’d appreciate some quick advice. A coworker and I just officially joined a trade association that I’ve already been working with on the young professional committee. I actually started attending the meetings about 7 months ago, and volunteered a few months ago to be the co-chair for the scholarship committee. The young professional membership chair sent out the official welcome email that goes to all new members today, with a few notes added to acknowledge that he knew were were already involved and thanking us for officially joining in order to meet their membership goal. The president of the committee was CCed, and replied all a minute later: “But the question is do we want them?” He followed up that email just another minute later with “Shoot! That was for XXX (original sender) only, I didn’t realize I replied all…just kidding.” Well, ouch. I probably could have laughed off the first comment somewhat easily as a joke in poor taste, but now I see that you really just wanted to snark behind my back. It’s already a pretty small insular group and I had a feeling this sentiment already existed, but was trying to discount it. But now it’s there in writing. I don’t care too much and will probably just not put much effort into helping out now, but right now, should I respond to the email? My inclination is to rise above it and try and say something pithy/clever in order to diffuse the situation, but I can’t think of anything.

    • “Beggars can’t be choosers”?

      • Oooh, good one!

      • I like this, but I think I would choose to go along with the hive and not respond. I mean, I’m sure he’s embarrassed and quite honestly, I 100% doubt he meant it. People shoot off one liner jokes thinking they’re so awesome and don’t think about hurting peoples’ feelings.

        I would let it go and I would absolutely not limit your involvement. The only way to deal with a small insular group is to get in there and open it up!

        • I agree that not responding is the best way as well. But I think it would be fun if we all posted things that would be fun to say if we weren’t so classy :)

          • How about “Maybe you should throw this catch back and keep fishing then”

          • You could ask if your first assignment as new members will be to dig a mote to keep away all the unwanteds.

          • Ask if he would like you to set up a Bachelor-style selection process so they can be sure and get only the best members.

          • Reply All Victim :

            SO FUNNY! Those would be fantastic! Thanks for making me smile about this!

    • Take the high road – don’t reply. I’m sure the president of the committee is kicking himself now with the reply all comment and they are discussing internally how to continue to keep your participation in the group given the snark. I’ve been on calls where people thought they were muted and they weren’t in addition to reply all emails – it’s got to be mortifying but I think ignoring it unless it’s a personal attack is the way to go. Good luck and sorry that happened – it would throw a wrench in my day, too.

      • Agreed. As with anything like this, it reflects very poorly on the sender/speaker, and doesn’t reflect at all on the person being dissed. Be proud of your classiness. It’s not your responsibility to smooth things over. I’m sorry this happened to you, though.

        • I actually think responding with a joke, like the one Anon1 posted, is the classiest of all because it defuses the issue.

          • I like the responding with a joke idea. But it takes finesse. The person being discussed may be able to do this, though. Speaking for myself, though, I’m not sure I’m quite witty enough to do so (and quickly enough so that there isn’t this uncomfortable long time between replies.)

        • I actually think responding with a joke like the one Anon1 suggested is the classiest response because it defuses the situation.

    • Send out an e-mail in response to the whole list with just this article:

      • To be clear, I don’t think you should actually do this. Just ignore it. :-P But for lulz I tried to imagine what you COULD do.

    • Don’t respond. The prez doesn’t look good, but you won’t come out smelling like roses either by replying. Hopefully he’s appropriately mortified.

      • But in my fantasy world, I’d send your prez a few links to whatshouldwecall me. Specific links to follow because they are just greatness.

        • Dear Prez,

          In re your reply all. Please see the following:

          whatshouldwecallme dot

          whatshouldwecallme dot

          Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.


        • well, still stuck in moderation. but you can google it. “when you walk by those girls who talk sh** about you” and “when you’re at a bar and you have to walk by those b**** you hate”

          both are applicable, I believe.

  20. Merabella :

    I was in Nordstrom Rack the other day and came across these adorable cat eye Kate Spade Sunglasses, but could not bring myself to pay $60 for them. I saw these in Cosmo from Fred Flare:

    Anyone have any experience with this site? They’re similar to the Kate Spade and only $15. Worth it?

  21. I have seen several posters mention having tenants and renting out properties. Would any of you be willing to talk a bit about the ups and the downs of being in this situation? Did you become a landlord by choice, or because home ownership and job opps didn’t coincide, so you had to move?

    • Anon Experience :

      I am not a landlord but my bf is. He became a landlord by choice, because there are so many houses in our community available for 1/3-1/4 of their last sold for price and the rental market is SO strong. He and his son are partners on the venture.

      The up is that they made about…$8k last year on two properties, after all expenses were taken out. Might be a little bit less than that once they factor the homes into their taxes. The down is that it is a gigantic pain in the a**.

      They have a management company, but they discovered that the company was completely gouging the tenants and not passing along any of the fees. (i.e. extra $400 if they found out the tenants had a dog…which goes directly to the management company NOT to the owners who are going to have to repair the damage, charging a late fee if rent is late…which goes directly to the management company even if they did not have to do anything to collect the rent.) Also, the management company recommended repairmen for various things that came in at about 2-3x the market rate once we got several quotes. We can’t prove the repairmen are giving kickbacks to the management company, but it’s highly suspected.

      Then there’s the day to day stuff. There was a leak under the sink. The tenants ignored it until it became a flood. Then they ignored the puddle of water that was left until it became moldy. Then there were termites even though we had the whole place inspected just a few months previously. They ignored the termites until they had damaged the house extensively.

      One house was rented to a company that had a temporary project in the area. Apparently the employees decided this was a huge party and smoked in the house, burned the carpet, left bud stems in the sink, had a dog that dug up the back yard, left cigarette butts everywhere (took HOURS to get them all out of the lawn), apparently scraped things along walls causing them to need to be repainted, and left the house smelling SO BAD (from the cigars and weed, we believe) that days of airing out, putting scented carpet stuff down, glade-style plug ins, etc etc etc…only made the smell tolerable. They lost their whole deposit AND got a bill, as well as a complaint to the company, but we spent HOURS on the place.

      One of the houses was broken into and all the light bulbs, wall fixtures, lighting fixtures, and everything metal was stripped out of it.

      But that was about 1/2 a year, the houses were not purchased until a period into 2011 and they made $8k. They’re hoping as they get a little more experienced and don’t get taken advantage of by the management company (found their own renters for one house) and get some of these repairs in place, as well as hopefully finding some long term tenants, the $8k will grow.

    • I own a rental property and am going to buy another. I work in an industry tangential to the construction industry so I enjoy being able to actively manage my investment dollars in this way. I feel like its what etrade is for financial industry folks.

    • I had to move for work and couldn’t sell my house. Ups – paying the mortgage with someone else’s money; getting to move when I needed to, riding out the worst of the market/getting right side up on my mortgage. Cons – the year I had crappy tenants who were always late on rent and that I almost had to evict, which is a long process in a tenant friendly state; things breaking when I’m far away and having to trust either a professional I can’t see or my tenant to fix it. I will always pay a professional as that is my role as a landlord but I have had handy tenants offer to fix something if I knock a couple hundred off next months rent. They have always done good work but it still worries me. Pro – depreciating house as a tax deduction. Con – rent = income.

    • In House Lobbyist :

      We have 2 rental properties that we bought cheap and fixed up. One was designed to be a rental. The second was our home for several years until we decided to move to a more rural area with better schools. We are lucky in that our house payment is made by the 2 rental checks each month. But my husband does almost all the work on them. He stays home with our kids so the rental properties are his job. It is more than just fixing something when it breaks- he makes sure the air filters are changed, gutters are cleaned, the AC is maintained and lots of other maintenance items that can be overlooked. It works great for us but it is work if you do it yourself.

    • I was forced into it as a result of my divorce several years ago. We were unable to refi to get my name off the mortgage because we were upside down. My PSA left it to the ex, but he decided he couldn’t afford it anymore (and by decide I mean stop making payments). The best solution for my sanity and credit was to just take it over and rent it. I hadn’t lived in the house in 2 years and had moved on. But, back to your question, I live in an area that is fairly transient so I was able to get a signed lease within 36 hours of listing the house online and in that time I had 4 calls/2 showings. It is priced very well; unfortunately I take a loss on it, but I know I’m in it for the long run and that won’t always be the case. I spent a month and a ton of money getting it ready; I did things right because I knew I would never have that kind of time again. I drew up my own lease (combination of a kit and several copies I got from friends), I researched the laws in my state (some are state-specific), used some online service for background checks, changed my homeowner’s insurance to reflect that it’s a rental, decided what amount of rent/security deposit amount, would I accept pets, became familiar with the fair housing act and tax implications (how do i account for a security deposit?) etc. My renter pays on time; he is also military and if I ever had a problem with him that we couldn’t resolve, I would call his commanding officer (I know that sounds awful of me, but that’s how the military rolls and as a landlord I wouldn’t hesitate to use that to my advantage). It’s a huge learning curve, but is a lot easier than I thought it would be and I’m proud of myself for fixing it up and taking on the responsibility. I manage it myself and have only had minor problems (freezer, leaky outdoor faucet). So far, so good. I also like to think that I’m a good landlady…..

    • One other thought – in the state my rental house is in, it is more advantageous for us not to take a security deposit. That might sound crazy but the rules are really strict about separate accounts, escrow, interest, number of days after tenants vacate you have to return the deposit, etc. If you screw it up, you have to pay tenants triple what their deposit was. If you take part of the security deposit for damage and the tenants challenge it, you will end up with months of litigation and again, if they win, they get triple the money back. Not every state is like that. Also, the security deposit is limited to one months rent. For us, if the house was damaged, we would rather eat one months rent fixing it than having to deal with all the procedural headaches of having someone’s security deposit. We can also just try to send them a bill after if need be, knowing we may not collect.

    • Thank you all so much for your insights! Very helpful.

  22. Equity's Darling :

    Apparently working women are only choosing careers because they can’t find men to marry.

    Not because they want careers or anything.

    • But…I’m confused. I had “found” a man when I chose my career path. Does that just make me an outlier? And what if you’re a lesbian???? What then! ;-)

      • Oh holy…gah. I’ve “found” numerous men in my life at all stages of my career development. At any time any of us could have “settled” down to SAHM-hood and not gotten the degrees, education and experience that we have. We didn’t. Because it’s not the 1800’s. Ridic!

        (To be clear, I am not ridiculing the choice to be a SAHM, I’m ridiculing the idea that every woman’s goal is to be a SAHM and the fact that some of us are not just shows that no man loves us enough to take care of us.)

        • There’s always the possibility that getting good grades or having a good job make men uninterested in us, too.


      • BUT p.s. outliers are good, if I may simplify the premise of the book, so we should all be proud to be outliers then!

    • I appreciate the hostile tone and Jay-Z invocation toward the end. I think the author did what needed to be done here! Thanks.

    • There’s a reason why people call this newspaper the “Grope and flail.”

      It’s a slightly less raunchy version of the Daily Mail UK with fewer “celebrities and their cellulite!” photos.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Well, what’s your Canadian alternative?

        The Post? They’re terrible, and I have issues with their editorial slant.

        Every individual city paper is mediocre (I found errors in the Toronto Star at 11 yrs old, and I currently only skim the Calgary Herald so I know what interesting things are happening in my city now). The Suns are not even mentionable, with their girls.

        The G&M is the least terrible, though I admit, they’re becoming a lot more umm…obsessed with celebs. The G&M paper edition is much better than the online one.

        • I don’t have a Canadian paper that’s my “go-to” paper, nor do I have a U.S. one, either, sadly. I just skim several and hope I’m getting enough differing viewpoints and strengths.

        • Have you read their celebrity captions though. They’re awesomely snarky. This may be my NDP raised east coast yuppie view but I read the Globe, it’s the only paper I take seriously. Most locals just copy off each other and the Post shows it’s bias much more clearly.

    • Insidious :

      That’s the problem with any system that depends on, and enforces, strict gender roles: those systems do not make any allowance for outliers.

      In a similar vein, check out:

      • Insidious :

        PS: I think these systems are insidious because instead of telling the truth (“We don’t want women to have equal access to any resource — money, decisionmaking, health — because then we won’t be able to control them.”), these systems teach the lie (“What you are doing — having babies and depending on us — is too much more important than what we are doing, so you need to keep doing it and keep depending on us.”) The truly insidious part is that women believe it and start self-policing, thus alleviating the men from policing duties and liberating them to collect more resources for themselves.

        And, yes, I say this as a member of a religion (not Mormonism) that does it.

        • Do you remember the PromiseKeepers? That was their spin. It didn’t directly slam women who worked (regardless of whether they were also mothers or not), it merely said that “men should be keeping their promise to be the providers” so women could focus on the “most important work of having babies, raising them and relying on men.”

          It stuck in my craw– don’t oppress me, try to take away my choices and then pretend you’re doing me a favor.

          • Insidious :

            I do remember them. I recall specifically a Monday in the mid-1990s in my BigLaw office in Orange County, CA. A senior associate came into the office with a bit of a sunburn. This guy regularly billed about 2200 hours/year and was quite pale. So I casually asked if he had enjoyed the weekend. He said he had been to a PromiseKeepers event at some huge outdoor stadium near us (Angel Stadium? the Coliseum in LA?) and that it had been transforming. In particular, he told me, he was thrilled about one thing they all had been told to do: “go home, give your wife $50, tell her to spend it on herself, only on herself, not to save it and not to use it to buy groceries or do anything for the house, and not to report back to you what she used it on. ” The theory being that if you give her some freedom, she will lap it up. I gagged.

          • Oh my stars. I haven’t heard of these PromiseKeeper people before, but Insidious, that anecdote made me see red. What. The. F.

          • I’d take my DH’s $50.

            But I’m the breadwinner anyway, so his $50 is my $50.

      • That article is jaw dropping. I couldn’t put it into context on their site. Is this something they currently are teaching students or are reading for historical perspective?

    • Anon Lawyer :

      Well, no, actually I can’t find a man to marry BECAUSE I chose a career…

  23. Wrote yesterday about interviewing for the litigation support position. Well my interviews went fabulous and after interviewing with the BIG BOSS LADY she shook my hand and said “welcome to the team.” Now I just have to negotiate a salary. Argh! So excited!

  24. Anyone else out there get totally heartbroken and depressed by roadkill? Just had to bury a squirrel that someone hit in front of my house. It makes me so, so sad.

    • Totally with you. I used to drive a rural highway a lot and every. single. time. I would see at least one dead animal. It actually makes me kind of sick and on my really depressed days I see it as evidence that humanity is a scourge upon the earth. (But that may be my hippy vegan upbringing coming to the fore!)

    • Yes. I mean, I eat meat and everything, but something about the pointless loss of life makes me so sad. And god forbid its a dog, I’m a wreck for the rest of the day.

      (And god for FREAKING bid that the Sarah Maclachlan ASPCA commercial comes on the same day. Then I’ll basically just have to curl up into a ball and call it a week.)

      • Tired Squared :

        Yes, I find roadkill depressing too — all domesticated animals, and deer (probably from growing up in the Midwest).

        And TCFKAG — I’m with you on that ASPCA commercial. I don’t even have to hear more than a second or two … by the time “this dark cold hotel room” rolls around, I’m full-on bawling.

      • Yes and domestic pets are the worst.

        There is no escaping that commercial. It comes on and it lasts forever, right? I hear that song and I am incapable of changing channels because the song is so pretty, but the images aren’t.

      • I hate that commercial. I feel like it’s trying to manipulate me.

        Well, I guess that’s the case for *every* commercial. But that one tugs on me. And I hate feeling used.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I used to live in semi-rural Wisconsin and would drive through rural roads to get to work. I passed at least one (new!) dead animal every ride (so twice a day?). Usually raccoons or squirrels, occasionally wild turkey or deer. Once a cow. And one horrible, horrible day, a dog.

      Depresses me too. There’s a dead bird on the on ramp to the highway I take to work now that’s been there for probably a month and a half (it’s a curved on ramp so no feasible way to stop without putting yourself at serious risk of being run over which I assume is why it hasn’t been cleaned up). I get sad about it every freaking day.

    • +1.

      I saw a young deer about a year ago that had been hit, clearly very injured and couldn’t move. It was sitting next to the side of the road, occasionally trying to stand up and unable to do so. It looked straight at me and it broke my heart. I called 911, but really, what are they going to do? Sigh.

      • Yeah, I was on a run once and happened to have my cell phone with me when I came across two kids in tears trying to take care of a beautiful fluffy cat that was clearly dying. They had seen a truck hit the cat and race away. So I did the same thing, called 911 and they actually did dispatch a unit. By the time he got there (only 5-10 minutes) the mother had come out and taken the two kids a bit away so they couldn’t see and the cat died so the officer just cleaned up the body but it was about the worst thing ever. The cats lungs were clearly punctured and she was suffocating, it was horrible. If the cat hadn’t been dead I don’t know what the officer would have or could have done.

      • Ugh. In the rural areas where I live, Fish & Game will come out and “take care of it” the way farmers do with lame horses. Better not to witness.

  25. TJ… Sorry. I feel as if the class I am about to teach will be a disaster because I am on the verge of tears. I teach at a community college as an adjunct at two different departments. I have been there for the past 7 years while trying to complete my doctoral dissertation. Prior to that I had a diversified career in law. I just ran into the head of one of the departments who summoned me to a meeting in 10 days. I feel she intends to terminate me and this means I will not be able to teach there next year. These classes account for a third of my income. The whole arrangement is not even enough to make ends meet on my own. I have already decided that if I cannot secure a tenured position once I complete my dissertation I will go back to practicing law or start consulting and do freelance writing related to my interests. But the timing and her attitude are awful and paralyzingly. The timing won’t allow me to look for something similar at a different department or a different institution. I suspect she intends to give this classes to a newly tenured colleague who will use my materials…. I feel like every time things calm down and I can make plan , before I know it an emergency of some kind hits and puts me down again. I apologize for typos and mistakes I didn’t catch. Any advice? Dodge the meeting? I told her I need to make sure I am available because this is not even one of my teaching days. Any advice will be so appreciated. Thanks.

    • Dodging the meeting won’t keep you from being terminated. Today, focus on taking deep breaths and trying to focus on the immediate tasks at hand — like teaching your class. Then in the next ten days, organize your thoughts as to why you bring added value to the institution, begin looking for alternative employment, assess exactly what you have to do to finish your dissertation, and be prepared. And then if the meeting is about whether you’ll organize the department summer cook-out or whatever, at least you’ll have thought about all those things.

      (And for my two cents, while they may be planning to terminate you, it’s just as likely she’s planning to light a fire under you to get your dissertation done. In my experience they don’t schedule termination meetings ten days in advance!)

    • Ditto to TCFKAG — not sure they would give you 10 days’ notice for a termination meeting. At worse, I would imagine it might be a warning/paper trail meeting that will give you a heads-up on termination. Also ditto that dodging/rescheduling the meeting won’t change its outcome. If it’s an inconvenient day for you, then by all means, reschedule.

      Global reaction to your post: I know this incident hit you hard, but I don’t know the back story on why this is awful and paralyzing. And I don’t know if today is a one-off day. But are you someone who’s prone to anxiety? Negative self-talk? In reading this, I see you’re worried the class you’re about to teach will be a disaster, worried you’re about to be terminated, worried you won’t have a job next year, worried you have to chuck whatever you’re working on and return to practicing law, worried you won’t find another job due to timing. And then there’s the overall emergency hits you and puts you down concern. It feels like A LOT of worries about something that may turn out to be nothing big. This isn’t an emergency yet, and it may not turn into one. It may be worth a screening to see if there’s something more going on with you that’s driving this level of anxiety.

    • Thirded. I do employment law and work with schools up to the community college level. We don’t give 10 days notice of a termination meeting. I don’t know your school obviously or your state, so I’m not saying this as 100% but is there anything else this could be?

      Like TCFKAG says, this could be to get you to finish your dissertation, to step up to doing something else with the Department, etc… Dodging the meeting won’t help, and being a pain about it will just start getting you branded as “the pain in the … employee.” Walk in there like you own the world, be prepared with all the reasons you add value to the college.

      I agree with GovtMom that you seem to have a lot of anxiety over something that is likely pretty minor. Maybe a quick hip check of yourself is in order, you mention that the head of the department had a pretty cold and paralyzing manner, well, is she just not good at communicating, was there something else going on with her, was she in a hurry, did she feel like you were stonewalling her and the conversation wasn’t going well? There could be a lot of reasons you felt this attitude from her and they may not be because she was projecting the attitude.

      I frequently see employees who fall into a kind of tunnel vision that distorts their reality. For instance, one complained about an administrator who whistled while he worked and felt the whistling was directed at the employee. In reality, the administrator whistles all the flipping time, just absent-mindedly and had no idea it was bothering anyone.

      • I appreciate your responses. I posted my message about 15 minutes after the encounter and while grubbing a bite before teaching, which, by the way went well. Hence my hysterical tone. Part of the relief was provided via a short supportive phone call from my SO. My situation is complicated. I work for two departments and have two bosses. The other one, where I teach most of my courses likes me and will rehire me next year. But if this one cuts my two classes at her dpt, its too late to fill in the gap for next year, unless my other boss allows me to teach at least one of them at her dpt. (the other class won’t fit the curriculum). I hope for the best. I really need to wrap up the dissertation but had one crisis after another that I allowed to derail me (divorce, hostile ex, daughters caught in the middle, mom had Alzheimer and died, ailing father – you get the picture). The terminator is not a very nice woman. once I realized it a few years ago I kept my interaction with her to a bare minimum. Thank you for your concern. At least I’ll walk in well dressed ;).

        • Anony, hang in there in this rough period. I’m glad you got support here and from your SO.

          For faculty/adjunct advice, a great resource is the forums at The Chronicle for Higher Ed www dot chronicle dot com / forums There are some very helpful people there (and some decidedly un-helpful ones), especially in the non-tenure-track forum, the grad-school forum and the job-search forum and they can give you tons of info on the sometimes byzantine practices (written and unwritten) of universities. Good luck!

        • Oof. Anony, it sounds like you’ve been through one heck of a hard time, in addition to your complicated work situation.

          I’ve been in a crisis period for some time now, as well (difficult, possibly bipolar child, marital crisis, husband suffering from severe depression, job change, etc). It’s been incredibly hard to keep all balls in the air. One of the things that has helped me is finding a therapist for me, just to have a place to air all of the garbage that I have to deal with, day in and day out, and to get a sense of perspective on what is going on. Maybe that would help you, too? Just the hostile divorce sounds bad enough.

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