Coffee Break – Presia Tied MJ

Rockport - Presia Tied MJI think this may be the first time I’ve seen a 4″ “comfort” shoe — yet, here it is. The description does not mention a platform, so I think this is really just a tall shoe — expert heel wearers only! But if you are one of those expert heel wearers, these look really nice — I like the strap across the forefoot, especially for wear with black tights. Note that the shoe comes in five other colors, all of them $140 at Zappos. Rockport – Presia Tied MJ (Black Snake) – Footwear



  1. lawsuited :

    I REALLY love these shoes. Usually I don’t go for mary jane-style pumps, but the strap is so thin and delicate, I don’t think it would make my legs look stumpy. And black snake? I die.

    • Me too! But I’d literally die, falling down the stairs or tripping in the street.

    • I know, I love them too. The height is killing me.

    • lawsuited :

      OMG, checked out the other colours – the “blue exotic” is divine and the “black gold” totally plays into my love of seude shoes.

      Can anyone tell me how Rockport pumps fit? I have wide-ish feet and high arches.

      • They are available in wide widths, though I don’t know how the strap will work with a high arch.
        Black Gold looks gorgeous, but 4″ heel is too high for me.

      • I find their pointier styles a bit tight on the forefoot. I’d also say they run about half a size large. Not sure about arches as I have low ones.

    • Love these and I only wear mary janes. If only the heel wasn’t so skinny…

    • I feel like a strap like this would cut across my foot, although I am a wearer of high heels and mary janes.

    • Ohhhh, I love all iterations of this shoe except the black/gold. haha. I think this is the first shoe Kat has posted that I have liked!

    • TO lawyer :

      I officially hate living in Canada… we barely get any good online shopping!

      • THIS. Even though Icould never walk in these shoes.

        • Right, and except I love living in Canada. But I hate the lack of retailer-love. Including the fact that they still up prices by 20-35% even when the dollar is ABOVE par. Argh.

          • I know, what is with that? It’s like no-one actually wants to admit our dollar is doing well.

          • I used to own a bookstore in Canada but now I’m almost glad I don’t. Tedious, having to explain the printed price that says “$30 US, $40 Canada”.

            “Well, see, the price I (the bookstore) paid for it from the publisher (who sets prices, not me) is based on the $40, so, no, I can’t sell it to you for $30.” Gah.

      • lawsuited :

        I live in Canada too – these darlings are being shipped to a kind benefactress in the US :)

      • Hive Mind :

        It’s official: Canada is laaaame.

  2. If only I could walk in 4″ heels…

    Quick threadjack: Do any ‘r e t t e s have recommendations for an Intro to Finance book? Not a personal finance one, but more of a “here’s how the financial system works”. I have vague understandings of securities and mutual funds, but my knowledge is so piecemeal, I’d like to start from the beginning and learn the basics solidly. TIA!

    • If you are looking for a textbook try Myers and Brealey’s Principles of Corporate Finance. Or Damodoran on Valuation. If you are looking for something easier, less dry but still concise “Investing for Dummies” might be be a good place to start. I can also recommend just reading the Investment Section of the Wall Street Journal and wikipediaing things you are more curious about. also has great resources.

    • ChristinaMD :

      Morningstar has as Investing Classroom that covers stocks, funds, bonds & portfolio – this is more retirement plan associated, but might be of help.

    • So, there’s actually a really good Wall Street Jounal pocket guide that goes through this. Otherwise I would recommend Money and Banking by Mishkin or Corporate Finance by Bodie Kane Marcus (three authors). The latter is expensive and pretty dense–it’s a standard finance coursebook for many ugrad MBA programs and the CFA. But I’d check out the WSJ Pocket Guide first–it is actually very helpful and explains interest rates and the like.

      I also just saw a very good course from The Teaching Company called Money and Banking which goes through all of this too. Cannot personally recommend it, but I do generally like their courses.

      • It’s not light reading, but I like Bodie Kane & Marcus. Used it in college and then chunks of it for the CFA exams.

    • Brearley Myers.

      • Probably too late for OP to see but Coursera dot org partners with ivy league universities to offer free online classes, including on finance. The current intro to finance course is about to wrap up, but I’m guessing another will be scheduled in the future. Worth keeping an eye out for it.

    • Thanks everyone for the comments! A textbook is completely fine, I’m nerdy like that (or perhaps nostalgic for college, who knows) ;)

      I will look into these, thanks so much for the recs!

  3. Closet clean out :

    I asked this a while ago but was late in the day – what do you ladies do with clothing items that charities will not accept (for good reason) like underwear and bathing suits? I have a ton sitting in a bag in my closet and the thought of throwing them in a landfill makes me sad. Someone mentioned textile recycling? Where can I find that? Any other thoughts?

    I have also decided to take my clothing budget for the next month or two and finally get the giant bag of to-be-altered stuff actually hemmed, shortened, taken in, etc. I know I am buying new approximations of stuff I already have that just doesn’t fit right.

    • Honey Pillows :

      My mother used to rip them into squares, and use them to clean the house. I throw them away. Never heard of textile recycling before.

      I am suddenly a little squicked out by the realization that every single surface inside my childhood home had been swiped with my drawers.

      • Closet clean out :

        My mom did the same thing, but I have accumulated so many that I couldn’t possibly use them all! I am talking years worth here (I finally broke up with the wishful thinking that I would ever be the same size I once was)…

      • My mother did that with our old cloth diapers. The funny thing is, some of those diaper dusters are still around 35-odd years later. In fact, I have a couple, and use them.

    • Mountain Girl :

      Great idea to repurpose your existing items to make them work for you. I find that changing the length of skirts, switching buttons on jackets and minor changes like that make me think I’m wearing something new.

    • lawsuited :

      Where I live, you can take things to a municipal dump (and pay by the kilogram, I think) and put items in the appropriate bins (wood, textiles, etc.) so that they can be recycled where possible and bypass a landfill.

      Re: tailoring, great idea! I buy all my clothes on sale and then have 60% tailored so that they fits perfectly and I love wearing them. I’d do 2-4 items at a time and try out different tailors so you can find one that is great.

    • Some places will definitely take bathing suits, assuming they’re in good condition.

      For undies and socks, I also go the dust rag route. Somewhat related, for other old clothes that I cannot in good conscience donate because they’re just not in good condition (yellow-armpit white tees, sweaters with giant holes in them, stuff with stains, etc.), I’ve started using them as an improvised cushion in my cat’s sleeping basket. She loves to sleep on our clothes anyway, and this way I don’t care if she ruins them further. Once too much fur accumulates, I either toss or add a new layer. She loves the arrangement and I feel like I am repurposing clothes for a happy cause. Win win.

      • I struggle with recycling textiles as well. There are 4 of us with just one cat, so there is way more discarded clothing and bedding than I can repurpose at home.
        I have collected the softest items for donation to an animal shelter. Now I just need to get them there…

    • I love your idea of using the month’s clothing budget to get alterations done. I have a few things in my closet that need to go to the tailors… definitely would happen if I resolved not to buy new clothes until they were done ;)

    • Those things are tough. Some women’s shelters will take bras in nice condition, but underwear and bathing suits, I don’t think there are many options. You can definitely search for a good recycling center near you, because some of them do supply industrial textile recycling, but those are pretty rare, and not in every state.

      I know what you mean about landfills making you sad, tho ;o)

    • darjeeling :

      if you’re in NYC, there’s textile recycling drop-offs at some greenmarkets- also great for getting rid of old towels and sheets and stuff

    • Yes! Tailoring clothes is one of those hassles that is so so worth it! One quick tip – taking your clothes to a brick and mortar tailor can be ridiculously expensive, I’ve paid $30 for a skirt to be hemmed once (it was an emergency…)!

      If you do a quick search on Craigslist you can find a tailor who works out of her home who will charge you $5.00 to hem your pants, etc. Of course, I’d test her out a little bit on a couple of pieces to make sure she does a good job before you give her your whole closet, but once you find someone who does a good job, I promise, your life will change.

    • Hive Mind :

      Grrrl, we believe you’re overthinking this one.

    • Wash them good, then donate them. The charity will stream them into textile recycling. “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion”, by Elizabeth Cline, is interesting reading.

  4. Madewell Code I'm Not Going to Use :

    Hi Hive,

    I got a $25 off $75 purchase coupon thingy from Madewell (thank you, Birchbox) that I won’t use. It’s good until Sept. 30, but I believe is one time use. If anyone wants it: FBB8BF5BK

    Also, sorry if that’s not ok to do!

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve got one of those, too. I’ll post the code when I get home.

    • Speaking of promo codes: today only, Bloomingdale’s has an extra 25% off all sale/clearance items. Code SEPT25. There are some really cute Milly dresses.

  5. Headhunters :

    Do headhunters exist for the science fields? My SO is trying to break into a specific field and is getting no where even with entry level positions (albeit they are gov’t). Anyone have any good career advice professionals – resume writers, headhunters, psychics (I’ll take anything at this point!) – in the DC area? Thanks! L

    • Look for local companies that employ scientists/researchers in the field.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      What field (roughly)? What level of experience? How far from DC proper?
      In my science-ish field, job hunting is all about your portfolio of published work and your network from places you’ve worked previously, especially your university or graduate education. I hear there are headhunters, and I’d love to hear from someone who actually has worked with one, but no one I know used one.

    • I don’t have any DC recommendations, but they do exist!
      Try his alumni assoc? Most career centers help alumni, but it might be better to have one of his connections in that field look it over.
      Being published depends on the field and the industry. For example, SO published in grad school, but the car company he works for now was more interested in his extracurricular experience.

      • LadyEnginerd :

        re: the publications: absolutely! I’m utterly unqualified to comment on most flavors of science – but in my corner of the world, publications show your credibility (and in industry, patents matter), but your network (alumni association is a great suggestion) is what gets you a new job.

        OP: I do think a sense of the the field (biochem/pharma? semiconductor/electronics? algorithms/computer science) would help. Given that it’s DC, has he considered science policy positions?

    • In my area (not DC) there are headhunters that specifically for science/technical fields, but most of the ones I’ve encountered have either operated more as providing temps to the science field or don’t actually understand what science roles DO and just try to match keywords in your resume with keywords in job descriptions. I’ve been really badly burned by a few who sent me on interviews I was completely not appropriate for. I hope there are some reputable headhunters out there, but so far I’ve only encountered slimy jerks or really smooth talkers that seem to operate under the policy that if you keep throwing enough at the wall eventually something sticks.
      I would suggest looking for chapters of local professional organizations and networking through those, ask there if anyone has a good experience with a local headhunter. In my case, thats the American Chemical Society and American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Also look for an alumni association from his college (or yours, for that matter) for more networking opportunities.

      • Oh, I initially missed the “entry level” part. If he’s trying to break into the field, is he opposed to starting at a temp job? A lot of companies in my field use aerotek dot com to hire temps, and our temp jobs do convert into regular jobs if the person is a good fit and there is an opening. No guarantees on a full time placement, but it would at least help build a resume and bring in some income.

        • This – I got my first sciencey-y job (quality control lab at a med device company) by doing a contract to term thing. So, find a staffing company to get your foot in the door. (I did use Aerotek)

    • He’s into the physical sciences (weather, water, climate). So far BA, but working on pursuing a MS. It’s just baffling to me that even for jobs that say BA and 0-2 years experience, he’s not getting calls. Granted most of this is the government, so perhaps it is just a case of pure competition, especially in this area. He went to a respectable undergrad and did well, so the career services angle is something he hasn’t tried.

      • I should add that he is using his minor and has 5+ years of professional experience in government positions, unrelated to his science background, so it isn’t as though he would be starting with no actual work experience. Just limited experience related to the science beyond undergrad and internships.

        • LadyEnginerd :

          My impression is that there’s a stigma to “stale” science credentials. He should definitely set up informational interviews with professors from his science education and ask for their advice on getting back into the field. I do know that because data-gathering and maintenance in this kind of field can be labor intensive, academics will sometimes pull in extra part-time help, but you do need to know who to talk to. I think he will have better luck making the jump back into science via a master’s program in the area or his undergraduate network than submitting resumes cold.

          I take it he already searched for jobs at NOAA and NRL? Can he perhaps arrange for informational interviews with people there who could give him a read on the DC market and what he should do to become competitive?

          • Great idea. I will pass those along. I’m a big fan of informational interviews; I can’t believe I forgot to recommend that. Thanks!

          • LadyEnginerd :

            Glad to help! I have family members in the field and I’m always jealous of the places they go for work (Antarctica! Deep Sea Dives! Bermuda!).

            Speaking of Bermuda, check out the following link. While the internship is only minimally compensated, it’s probably cheaper than tuition for an MS… and in Bermuda!

      • if it’s federal, make sure he’s nailing the federal resume style, which is very different from a traditional resume. Check out the Federal Resume Guidebook for pointers.

    • I’m in a science field, and I have not had any luck with headhunters. Since they aren’t the hiring manager, and they just want their cut of your signing bonus, they will forward you along to random jobs that don’t even remotely match your skills. This has been my experience (in the Boston area), maybe other places they are helpful.

      I got both my science jobs through school connections- one of the members of the board of my current company came from my program. My first job out of school was at a research institute affiliated with my university (which helped me to get publications, network, etc). Has your SO looked into this? My school has a career board you can log into even after you graduate to see postings.

      As for the specific field, I’m not too familiar with ‘water/weather/climate’. All of my friends who studied earth science/geology work in petroleum- not so much a DC area industry.

  6. We’ve discussed the potential downfalls of wearing headphones in the office, but is it justified when you work in a cube farm and there are 2 guys with loud, booming voices who NEVER SHUT UP, EVER? I am perpetually irritated with these co-irkers, but trust me, talking to them would solve it for about a day and then they’d return to their old habits. Headphones is the best solution I can come up with. I suspect I’m not the only person irritated because since these guys moved in, everyone has started wearing headphones for part of the day, but trust me, talking to them would change their habits for about a day and I’d wind up on their sh*t list forever. They are among the most fake-nice people I’ve encountered in the workplace.

    • If other people are using headphones, then use yours. It’s definitely a “know your office” thing, and I think your office is saying “use them”.

    • Totally justified. IT should issue people headphones along with the computers.

      • Ironically, it’s the IT people that I’m trying to tune out. Ah, the pitfalls of putting a bunch of people with very different job functions in the same room for 8 hours a day.

    • I’m the only person in my office who wears headphones and honestly I don’t care. If people are going to be so disruptive that I can’t concentrate on my work, I am going to take professional measures to ensure I can do my work. Since yelling at people to behave like grown ups and use their indoor voices isn’t appropriate, I use noise cancelling headphones and a combo of white noise/pandora classical stations to get through the day. If people ask me why, I tell them I have a project I need to concentrate on.

    • lawsuited :

      I work in an office, but we have an open-door policy, so I still wear headphones. I take them out when someone stops by my office to chat. I don’t see the harm.

      • TO lawyer :

        I do this too – I usually just put one ear in. That little bit of noise helps focus me and drown out the background noise so I think it’s worth it. For what it’s worth… no one (including all the senior lawyers I work with quite closely) has ever had a problem with it.

    • Uh, two jobs ago I worked in a cube surrounded by four sales guys in offices. IN OFFICES. They never closed their doors, and often paced the halls yakking away. It was h3LL.

    • applesandcheddar :

      I am the only person in my office who wears headphones, and no one cares. It is really quiet in my area and I prefer a bit of background noise. Just keep them low enough so you can hear when people say your name or knock on your cube wall.

    • I have a co-worker who often eats at his desk with his mouth open, smacking his lips noises and all. Headphones are the only things saving me from losing it.

    • Hive Mind :

      The Hive hates it when people ask for our advice, but refuse all reasonable answers (asking them to keep it down) in the very asking of the question.

    • Jenna Rink :

      I would have been fired by now if I didn’t wear headphones in the office, because I would have lost my cool on our new receptionist who sings her words and baby talks all. day. long. Headphones are way better than the alternative!

    • Here is my concern with wearing headphones – will you see/hear when someone needs you? I cannot stand it when I need to talk to someone and they have headphones on and don’t hear me, so either have to scream or poke them or something. So frustrating.

  7. Gorgeous shoe. I’m sure I’d break my neck in it, but I’d sure look awesome doing it.

    • The 4″ heel just takes a little getting used to. I may ask the Manageing partner if I can get these even tho he just approved a similear pair of Nine Wests for me.

      Myrna invited me over to her apartement tonite to watch TV. It should be a lot of fun b/c she is bakeing an apple crisp!

      • You asked your boss to approve your shoes? Am I the only one dumbfounded by this?

        • Ellen is our resident troll.

          • Ahhh. I see. I’m active but not active enough.

            So let’s be real… I love Mary Janes (narrow feet > shoes eventually stretch > heels slip out— except in Mary Janes!) but I do not love these.

            1) The strap and “tie” look super cheap
            2) The faux snakeshin looks even cheaper
            3) 4″ heel + too-rounded toe = stripper shoes

            (No offense to our stripping ‘rettes. Your industry just isn’t known for its taste in footwear.)

        • The Maneging partner subsidizes clothing he approves.

  8. Thanks for the clothing recommendations yesterday for the funeral today. I ended up wearing a blue, “tulip” shaped dress (with a grey suit jacket for over it if I got cold) and an dark orange necklace. I think I looked appropriate.

    And thank you for the well wishes. It was the type of funeral that is more of a celebration then a tragedy, he was a great man that lived to be 93, was in full possession of his faculties, and died in little pain. I know its how I would wish to go. But he’ll be missed.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Your outfit sounds beautiful and totally appropriate for a celebration and remembrance of a life well lived and well loved.

  9. Threadjack – does anyone have any good suggestions to treat bacne? I took the recommendations for Paula’s Choice products, and those have been great for my face. But it seems that all my acne has now migrated to my upper back. I recently started running again, and it’s especially bad at my upper back at my neck where the straps of my sports bra sit. I change and shower as quickly as possible, but it just keeps getting worse. I have some events coming up where I’m supposed to wear dresses with very little fabric at the back, and I am becoming rather mortified. Thanks for any advice!

    • Anon for this :

      I’ve started using Clean & Clear’s foaming anti-acne face wash on my upper back. It’s not a miracle cure, but it helps. My theory is that the foam holds the medicine there a little longer than a normal face wash would. Also–treat your back at night. Rub on some anti-acne treatment before putting on an old t-shirt for the night. When I do this regularly, it makes a big difference.

    • Have you tried using the Paula’s Choice products on your back?

    • I like the Clinique Acne Spray. If you have a product you really like you can always get a loofah for washing purposes and then a back applicator for serums/creams. I’ll post links sep.

    • I use the St. Ive’s apricot scrub blemish fighting formula. It comes in a big jar and has salicylic acid (2%?) added for extra acne fighting power. I use it on days I have worked out and now don’t get back/chest breakouts. This assumes, of course, that you can reach your upper back. I follow that with Neutrogena anti-wrinkle/anti-blemish cream on my chest and upper back and my back/chest/shoulders stay nice and clear.

    • I use the same products I use on my face on other parts of my body that get acne. (And I use Paula’s Choice too. Also, the BHA gel is great for preventing ingrown hairs on your bikini line.)

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Whoa, genius Bluejay. That had not occurred to me. Paula’s Choice FTW yet again.

        • Haha… credit my google search for “how to prevent ingrown hairs”, not me personally. :)

    • One Thing :

      This used to happen to me when I was younger. (One benefit of aging: your oily skin dries up!) I used to try to shower as soon after exercising as possible, even if that meant showering immediately in a yucky gym instead of waiting the 30 minutes until I got home to my nicer shower. That seemed to help prevent it in the first place.

      To treat it, I used the same thing my dermatologist gave me for my face: benzamycin gel (topical gel that is a combination of erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide). Slather that on your back today and it will be crystal clear by the weekend.

    • This may have nothing to do with it – but maybe there is a reaction w/ the detergent used to wash your sports bra?? Might be worth trying a different detergent.

    • Dumb question, but are you sure it’s acne and not eczema? I thought for ages that I had the same problem as you, but it turned out to be eczema and not acne after all. As a result, products like clean and clear and the like really did not work at all. Now I have a non-steroid topical ointment I will put on and it usually goes away in a day or two. My dermatologist told me that sometimes you can react to elastic in a bra/underwear, so that may also be what is triggering the reaction. You may want to consider getting new sports bras if you have any older ones in the rotation.

    • I seem to be the only person Paula’s Choice products didn’t work for :/ I wish they did! Especially because my usual stuff just isn’t doing the trick. My face looks worse than it has in years.

    • Fantastic derm blog:

      This post is much more about hawking products than other posts usually are. Give the zinc soap a try. I personally use the bar form (link below) on my face (facial “dandruff” gone!) and on my back with the Salux cloth. They’re awesome!

      The Salux cloth is the texture of a loofah and sorta the size of a hand towel. Don’t buy it from Amazon because the seller ships knock-offs. I LOVE it. Loofahs are just fluffy petri dishes. This cloth can be sanitized!

      And no no no no no to the apricot scrub. I’ve heard from several reputable sources that the jagged edges can pull at pores and actually enlarge them. Plus, it’s ultra-irritating to skin. Either use a scrub with round beads (usually expensive) or baking soda (way cheap- it actually is a fantastic facial scrub).

      • Original Head and Shoulders shampoo… it has some sort of zinc, and was the only thing that cleared my bacne a few years ago. Lather up and leave on the skin for a few minutes if you can (while you shave or deep condition). Also, it’s pretty cheap and readily available at any grocery or drug store, so if it doesn’t work you’re not out more than a few $.

    • Murad Clarifying Body Spray — it’s expensive, but it totally cleared up my bacne!

    • My derm recommended PanOxyl wash. It uses the highest % of benzoyl peroxide allowed over-the-counter, I believe. I use a few heavy-duty prescription creams on my face, which would be overkill for my back.

  10. I love these:

    Trader Joe’s sells it (might be TJ branded) or you can find it in the organic sections fo grocery stores.

  11. You guys, today in writing a memo I totally spelled “managing partner” as “manageing partner” – twice! Obviously, both I and MS Word quickly caught the mistake but it was still “disconsertying.”

    • Heh heh. I totally catch myself doing this sometimes too. Spellen FTW.

    • I can just picture Ellen all like “Add To Dictionary!”

      PS, did you get that lace-like red dress you posted a while ago? I just totally bought some floral jeans and got into the same “am I too old for this?” dilemma. But I took my own advice and decided I am not. Floral jeans, folks! Turning 31 next month!

    • Heh heh.. And I worked with a partner, all throughout the day, who TRUELY does have BAD BREATHE – the kind that lingers in your office after they’ve left!

  12. Relationship with mother threadjack:

    My mother is a really awesome person. She’s loving, supportive, intelligent, and an all around wonderful person. For years, I’ve been really close to her, and despite never living in the same town, we’ve talked a ton on the phone, as frequently as nightly for some periods in my life.

    Lately though (last few years) I’ve felt a change in our relationship. Part of it is me and my escalating and dividing responsibilities (wife, mother, full time job) and part of it is her (retiring from high powered career, more time on her hands). On a selfish level, I don’ t get as much emotional benefit from our phone conversations as I used to. She does have a tendency toward anxiety (as do I) so our conversations often degenerate into a series of questions from her about stresses in my life that produce anxiety, or her sort of rambling about minutiae in her day. Our conversations used to be very emotionally nuturing to me and now they feel more like a chore.

    I love her and she is truly a wonderful person, but I find myself not wanting to talk to her when I don’ t have the emotional energy to devote to it, and maybe I’m a little sad that it requires energy instead of providing me energy like it used to.

    I know many of you have far more difficult relationships with your parents, and this probably falls into “first world problems” when it comes to family. But I guess if I had one question it would should I call her as often as she would like me to, despite the fact that I don’t always have the energy, or should I only call her when I have the energy, which is far less frequent than she would like? I’m afraid that she doesn’t have a ton of insight in this issue because when I have brought it up before, it clearly hurts her feelings that I feel this way, so I’m not sure that talking to her about it would help.

    • I get this. My mom is also a wonderful person who is very draining to me. I started to feel especially obligated, at the same time as it got harder to talk to her, when my Dad died and she became an extravert who lives alone and hates it. Her life now is nothing like anything she would have chosen for herself. So I understand both the need to be there for her, and how hard it is.

      I still have difficulties, but here are some things I do to manage:
      –Email or text when I don’t have it in me to call. It shows I am thinking of her, and it’s the best I can do at that time. She has never complained about this.
      –Do have it in my mind for the times I am up for it. There are plenty of other things that would be more fun, but she’s my mom, so I call when I can.
      –Redirect conversation. My mom is also totally impervious to meta-talk; it’s been a disaster every time I’ve tried to address problems, so I’ve learned to just gloss.
      –Think of something she can “advise” me on. I think this is a role moms like to have. If it needs to be something a bit trivial, that’s ok–it lets her feel helpful to me and can help us keep things more prospective and positive.

      • Totally agree with all of this. My mom is awesome but also very different from me, and I struggle with calling her as much as I should because it’s pretty draining. She also lives alone and I feel a lot of responsibility for taking care of her (even though she’s very capable and tries not to put that mantle on me).

        I find that rather than setting aside 30-60 minutes to call her, I try to reach out more frequently for shorter amounts of time. Our long talks are too much for me to handle on a regular basis, but we email and text back & forth every few days and that’s much more manageable and comfortable for me. For instance, I’ll text her a photo of a cake I baked & decorated, and it makes her happy because she feels included in my life & what’s going on with me. She’ll email me a coupon code for BR and we’ll go back and forth talking about clothes a little bit. Or I’ll reach out and ask her for advice or help on something – how to get a certain type of stain out, or for a recipe that she made when I was little. I think she really likes knowing I still “need” her a little bit.

        When I call, I sometimes set a time expectation at the beginning of the call (“Hey Mom! I’m on my way to the gym and just wanted to say hi”) and we can chat for 10-15 minutes without it turning into a detailed life analysis/all-of-the-feelings-oh-my-goodness-so-many-feeling conversation.

        Before I sound like the world’s worst daughter, my mom does live within a reasonable driving distance & I see her at least monthly/every 3 weeks for a few hours at a time.

        • I do the same thing – lots of email especially with grand kid pictures. That seems to keep her busy and helps me avoid extensive conversations. That sounds bad, but if I talk to her for more than 15 minutes, I feel completely drained. She is always stressing about something and looking for my advice on how to fix it. Eghhh… I only hope that I will be OK with this strategy when my kid grows up and implements it.

    • I have not had the relationship you describe with my parents, so I don’t know if this is applicable…. I have my parents on a schedule. I call them every Sunday night sometime around 6:00. They are excited to get my call and because they know they will always hear from me (unless I’m on travel or whatever) they don’t call much outside that (my mom used to love to call me at work just to chat–not possible!). It sounds like once a week will be a big step back for your mom, so maybe schedule twice a week? You don’t have to tell her, but eventually she will be trained to expect to hear from you on Wednesday and Sundays (or whatever). It’s the reliability that’s key. Erratic calling patterns breed insecurity, which leads to more calls.

      • Also in DC :

        This is exactly how I used to communicate with my parents and it worked well for a few years. But it has recently become an issue because Sunday evenings are so precious (last weekend hours!) and calling is about the last thing I want to do. It also started feeling like a chore, and they get extremely disappointed if I miss our “call time”, so setting reasonable expectations is key.

    • Can you switch up the way you two communicate? Maybe try emailing more, but backing off the frequency of the calls?

    • Eh, I’d split the difference. My mom would ideally like to speak twice a week and would totally lose it if we spoke less than once a week so we talk every nine days or so.

    • My mom can be difficult for similar reasons – she’s a fundamentally wonderful person who can drive me batty. My parents are in the process of getting divorced, so I think my mom felt particularly lonely and needy for a few months.

      Similar to Monday, I email or text as needed, and occasionally call her when I’m walking home (my commute is a 15 minute walk). Sometimes she can finish up the conversation in 15 minutes, but if not there is a readily available “Sorry, Mom, I just got home and need to eat dinner.” Something that has helped her fill the time is reconnecting with old college friends (quarterly dinners, sometimes weekend trips, etc.), and getting involved with her church. Perhaps there is a hobby that your mom would be interested in spending more time on? Or, now that she has more free time, perhaps it would be nice for her to visit so that she can spend time with her grandson and feel more connected to your every day life?

    • How old are your kids? Call your mom and put the kids on speakerphone – give her some grandma time and then you don’t have to deal with the emotionally exhausting issues. Even if your kids are young, grandmas often like babbling to babies over a speakerphone, and you can tickle the baby every so often so they laugh at what grandma said.

      Just a thought. I also like the idea of sending emails or texts, and I’ve been know to go the route of calling sprint voicemail directly so I can just use the “leave a message” option instead of calling. That way she knows you’re thinking of her without actually having to have the exhausting conversation.

      • emcsquared :

        Yes! Putting children on the phone is a great idea, also to get your kids in the habit of calling family. My mom always handled the obligatory family phone calls alone, and I grew up without any sense that family phone calls were “normal.” As an adult, I literally feel sick to my stomach whenever the phone rings, and have not been able to sustain a schedule of calling people (and feel guilty for it, which makes me stressed, which makes me less able to handle phone calls, etc). Getting your kids in the practice now will help you when they are older!

        Also – I totally understand the sense of being drained by maternal phone calls. I have realized that my mom likes to (1) discuss my life and (2) complain about her life. I find it exhausting to listen to (2), so I try to keep it to (1). Since she only knows those things about my life that I tell her, I’ve started preparing a few talking points about good things happening in my life, or things I’m excited about, or funny stories, and that helps keep the conversation away from maternal angst (which she has in spades). Luckily, she lives nearby so I see her in person every couple weeks, which is helpful in keeping phone calls to a minimum.

    • Mountain Girl :

      I have always had a great relationship with my parents. However, sometimes I just don’t have the emotional energy to interact with anybody. While I can’t avoid interaction with my DH and kids I can limit my exposure to everybody else. I find that a text or email can sometimes substitute when I don’t feel like talking. And, honestly, my mom and I have an understanding that if one of us isn’t able to talk that’s okay. We don’t make excuses – just state that we can’t talk right now and reconnect in a day or so when we are able to have some sort of meaningful communication. As an adult, your first responsibility is to yourself and those you live with (spouse and kids). You need to make sure you reserve enough emotional fuel to handle your job as wife, mother and employee before you spend it on being a daughter.

    • You just reminded me to call my Mom. Thanks.

    • Thanks everyone for the commiseration. I feel guilty about these feelings, and was wondering whether it was even worth discussing. You guys rock.

    • I’m going to be the voice of dissent here. I live in a different country from my mum, whom I’m very close to, and speak with her 2x a week.

      Seems to me like now is your time to step up and nurture your mum a bit. Maybe she needs it, given that she has more time on her hands etc. There is a season for everything, maybe you need to play ‘ mum’ for a while?

      • I can relate to the OP, but as someone whose mom is currently experiencing a medical hardship I sure wish I had made the time and put in the effort to call and visit her before her health took a nose dive, even when I didn’t feel like it.

  13. Grr. Direct report asked me a question, then when I started to answer her she interrupted me & jumped to a completely wrong conclusion. I said ‘if you’d let me finish’ and then completed my explaination. Drives me crazy. I handled a situation with another direct report badly earlier this year that directly impacted her (this is my first time managing people and I should have fired someone due to issues with his work product earlier than I did) and she seems to be holding it against me, which I can understand. I know I screwed up & I appologized to her. Its a tough situation. And now she might not be retiring next month like originally planned. Can a conflict avoider be a good manager?

    • Are you sure her interrupting you was related to the other situation? I was on the other side of an incident like this today: I presented a problem to my boss, he started to say what I should do, and I interrupted him with my own (wrong) solution. I immediately regretted interrupting him, and I definitely didn’t do it because I resented him. It was because he seems to explain things to me in great detail, and provide answers even when I already know what to do. I was trying to show him I can do more than sit passively and wait to be told what to do. Obviously, that backfired, and I realize I shouldn’t interrupt people. I only cite this to say that there may be things going on that don’t have to do with the previous situation, but you feel badly about that situation so your mind jumps there immediately.

    • I don’t have any good advice, but I can give you the perspective of the other person.

      I was a paralegal for a few months before starting law school. They wanted someone with 3-5 years experience, and I had none, but I had a friend who worked there, so I got the job. I had always been a smart, capable person. I would often jump to [what seemed to me to be] logical conclusions, interrupting the attorneys I worked for. Eventually I was wrong enough to stop the sentence-finishing behavior, but it was hard.

      When I left the job, I asked for feedback. The main criticism I got was that “in the beginning” I wasn’t teachable enough. It made me feel terrible–both because I don’t want to be unteachable, but also because it was the first time in my life that being “smart” wasn’t enough.

      So maybe I do have advice: talk to your direct report, and explain that in law (I assume you’re in law–if you’re not, I’m sorry!) things aren’t always logical. There are a lot of special rules that aren’t obvious. She can take it from there.

      And you can apologize for being snippy. I think small apologies like that (especially in the moment, but also after the fact) are helpful at repairing relationships.

    • Honey Pillows :

      It’s a bit of a different situation, because the roles are reversed, but my direct supervisor constantly jumps in before I’m finished and jumps to the wrong conclusion.

      Fortunately, when she’s done talking/yelling, I calmly explain to her what I actually was trying to say, and she always apologizes and says “Oh! Yeah, you’re totally right! Good question!”

      I internally roll my eyes and say nothing, because what can you do other than silently feel superior and god-like in your patience and mercy?

      • lawsuited :

        “What can you do other than silently fel superior and god-like in your patience and mercy?”

        I LOVE this. You are also superior and god-like in your wisdom and hilarity.

      • What do you do when their tangent goes on for way too long? I find that I have to cut it off at the start to avoid listening to a detailed explanation that I’m just going to have to rebut, but I want to help them learn to draw their own (correct) conclusions and not just cut them off all the time.

    • I would try avoiding “if you’d let me finish”. I would not like that if somebody said that to me, which has happened. Just let them say what they want to say, and then correct them.

  14. collegiette :

    I thrifted a pair of the J Crew “minnie” pants in charcoal the other day and they’re in great condition. I’ll definitely wear them for fun outfits, but I’m wondering if they’re too “fitted” for an office. I’m a size zero with no curves and the fit is great, but I can’t ever decide if this pant style is ok for a “traditional” political office. I’d hate to raise eyebrows, but I’d also hate to not wear them. I think the problem is that they have no front zipper and the back pockets aren’t real. It tends to make them read a bit “jegging.” Sigh.

    I posted a while back about altering my too-short AT suit pants to this style. I left them the same to just wear with flats.

    • This is probably a know your office situation, but if you’re having doubts I wouldn’t wear them except, perhaps, on Friday. The no zipper makes them look really casual like yoga pants.

      • Also, although the fit is great, there might be the potential for [email protected] toe. There, I said it. ugh.

        • collegiette :

          Ha! Good point. I’m thinking a longer top might solve the situation. I’ll save them for biz-casual event type things.

    • By political office, do you mean the Hill or more of a campaign? I’m guessing the former, as the latter is hardly know for formal dress. I would only wear them during recess and/or Casual Mondays/Fridays.

  15. anon for this :

    I’m not looking for legal advice, but looking for advice on dealing with my attorney.
    Some background:
    Last year, I(we) left a lease with a difficult landlord after a contentious relationship. My roommate provides childcare for landlord-tenant attorney and additionally, he knew of a place in his neighborhood that we were able to rent. Due to her existing relationship & that he’s now our neighbor , he de facto became our attorney when the prior landlord failed to return our security deposit.
    He was quite aggressive in trying to get us to pursue a claim against the prior landlord and use his services, we explained that neither of had money to retain an attorney on this issue, but he didn’t let it drop. He’d walk by the house with the kids, and inquire as to where we were and so forth. We(roommate) and I filed a claim with the county department that eventually culminated in a hearing, which he attended on our behalf. He asked us when it was – we didn’t reach out to him for his availability. At no time was there an agreement on costs.

    Late in the summer we recieved a substantial judgment in our favor and now the defendant is attempting to negotiate a settlement. I attempted to begin communications that if we accepted a lesser amount, what amount would the attorney be happy with receiving, that we all found reasonable. We have been going back and forth and I’m quite frustrated. I feel I’m getting vague answers and recently he’s purposefully combative. I’d like to tell him to go play in traffic, but I want to be respectful of my roommate’s relationship and his position as a neighbor, I’m also thankful for his participation in the hearing, though I believe the facts of the situation spoke for themselves. I asked him what his billable time was so far, he responded and indicated that 33% of recovery was a standard amount. When I inquired what services were offered for 33% recovery I got an answer he would have to consider what further steps we wanted to take. I responded that if we followed more agressive collection(liens/garnishments), we’d hammer out something certainly but for the current offer, what amount to date would he accept if a settlement offer was extended and agreed upon. He responded with a figure and then states this however, doesn’t cover all the emails and follow up discussion (?!?!) I asked if the figure acknowledged that roommate and I did quite a bit of work on the hearing (I spent sometime as a paralegal immediately post undergrad). In his response he chastised me for emailing, that ” keep in mind that lawyers charge every time they respond to client inquiries”. I feel like I can’t get a straight answer from this guy on what he would like to receive and I’m very irritated by his most recent email.

    Sorry this is so long, any advice on how to respond? Also, I’m willing to accept I’m being overly sensitive – would accept if someone said so.

    • This is totally frustrating. There is no clearly established representation (you didn’t sign a retainer agreement, right?) which is on the lawyer to get to you. That would have spelled out the terms of representation, and what the billing would have been.

      I believe 33% of a settlement is typical for contingency cases, in which case, that should be the only thing he charged you for (and ideally you would have agreed on that prior to him doing any work).

      He does sound kind of pushy (and I’d consider getting someone else if you needed to do collections), and I’d respond to him by saying that you guys didn’t have any sort of representation agreement (assuming that’s true) when he started doing the work, so how about he accept this flat fee (either the number he threw out, or what you think is reasonable) and you call it even. Or just drop it, and see if he ever even bills you for anything.

    • I do 100% of my work on contingency – there is no standard fee. Typically our fee (which is always in writing, as I believe my state requires fee agreements to be in writing – representation agreements only don’t have to be) is between 20 and 40% of recovery, sometimes with more for costs.

      • And, I want to add, our fee agreement always says that the amount specified is negotiable – which it always is.

    • In my state, contingency agreements are required to be accepted by the client in writing. I realize this doesn’t really answer your question, but you may want to look at your state’s rules.

    • I am not a lawyer. If this were me, and the roommate (who seems to get paid by this guy for childcare?) were not involved, I’d just tell him that we had no fee agreement and that I am not obligated to pay him anything, but will offer some flat # as a goodwill gesture.

      Since the roommate is involved and you want to be respectful of her relationship with this person, you should figure out what she wants to do. Then tell her what you would do if it were just you and perhaps meet somewhere in the middle. If she wants to give this guy everything he asks for, that would not be acceptable to me.

    • In my jurisdiction, contingency fee contracts must be in writing, or lawyer would be guilty of an ethical violation. I would call the State Bar; they may have a mediation program to assist in resolving this issue.

      If the guy is working on a contingency, he does not get paid for each email, etc. He gets paid the percentage he contracted for, and it does not sound like there was a contract.

      If there was no agreement as to an hourly rate, there is no contract. A court would probably award him quantum meruit, wich means something on the order “what it is worth.”

      I would document in a letter to him that he never asked you to sign a contract and there was never an agreement on the fee. Again, I woudl call the state Bar. If you are reluctant b/c you do not want to interfere with friend’s relationship with him, you can probably get by with some general questions that will help you determine the best way to proceed.

      • Just echoing what others have said. Check your state’s rules of professional conduct to determine whether a written retainer is required.

  16. So can I ask a mental health/counseling type question? You guys are all so smart and willing to help. I finally decided to try and get help for my depression, which has been pretty bad. I figure I probably need antidepressants, so I started calling psychiatrists who are in my insurance plan. The first 2 were not taking patients, and the lady who answered the phone for the third one said he’s only in the office one day a week, and she took down my information for him to review – they will let me know if he can take me on. But, he doesn’t do therapy, just medication management, and would probably refer me to a therapist, while prescribing me meds. I’m wondering if it’s better to start with a psychologist, and have that person refer me to an MD as needed for medication? Or a social worker? There are several different categories in my insurance plan for counseling. I’ve asked a few people for recommendations, but got no one who was on my insurance, and really can’t afford to do out of network. I had no idea it was so complicated. I’m about ready to crawl back into my deep dark hole and forget about the help thing. What do other people do? So tired of being sad. I have lost several family members over the last 5 years, and am just not dealing with it very well. I’m finding it impossible to concentrate at work, and my work product and billable hours have really suffered.

    • I would talk to your PCP/OBGYN to see if she can refer you to a psychiatrist who is in-network and accepting new patients (your insurance plan may require a referal anyway). I also would definitely see a therapist/psychologist—I think for most people, therapy is really helpful, both for getting out of the current depression and preventing relapse.

      Good for you for starting the process. I know it’s hard. Two years ago, I was in the same position you’re in right now and had waited too long to get help. I ended up with therapy and medication (and changing jobs). You won’t believe how much better you will feel and how much better your daily life is once you start getting help. It’s really hard right now, but you’ll be glad you found some professionals to help you. Don’t give up.

      If I can be of any help, please feel free to email me: [email protected]

    • Your GP may be willing to prescribe meds; start there. Your GP may also have therapist recs. If you have a list of people who take your insurance, start with Google. Take the first five names, look at what the web says, whether their websites make you feel ok about them. That’ll eliminate some. Then, call. Some won’t call back — eliminate them. Talk to the ones who do call back and go with your gut. You can meet for an introductory appointment, no strings, no commitment to a full course of therapy. Iterate as necessary.

      If your GP does give you meds first, it may be easier to face the tedium of finding a therapist.

      Good luck.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Does your office have an employee assistance program? Ours does referrals.

      • This. And often going through the EAP will get you a few sessions at no charge.

      • Thank you for all the suggestions. We don’t have an EAP, it’s just a small firm. And I don’t really have a GP, I also decided to change Gynos, since the one I’ve been going to is just so not helpful. She seems more interested in pushing the skin care line and laser treatments she started selling. Anyway, I’m kind of between docs right now. I guess I’ll just keep calling people, and maybe something will click.

  17. Rainmaker in Training :

    I posted this at the end of the Networking thread, which seems to have been abandoned this late in the day. Has anyone seen or used Rainmaker VT? You can check it out on their website. I’ve been debating trying it but not sure if its really something worthwhile or just fancy marketing. I just started my BigLaw job, and want to get an upperhand on learning these skills early. Thoughts?

    • I hadn’t heard of this before. I’m interested to hear responses, too, or at least how to be a baby rainmaker (as opposed to just a baby shark).

  18. Wondering :

    Threadjack completely unrelated to fashion, but google is failing me here.

    As I was getting ready for work this morning, I discovered that my condo complex is stripping and resealing the decks, unbeknownst to me since I don’t have a deck. By the time I could close my windows, my unit was filled with fumes from the paint stripper, paint, and various industrial-strength chemicals. I escaped to work for the day, but my apartment still smells a bit like fumes.

    Anyone know if I need to throw out any food or non-airtight toiletry items (like mineral makeup or spray deodorant) that could have absorbed the fumes? Apparently things like butter and vinegar can absorb fumes, so I wonder about other consumable items. Are my fridge and freezer contents okay? This all sounds so ridiculous to type out, but I’m so annoyed and would rather be safe than sorry.

    • Unless you have major condensation or ice buildup in your fridge or freezer they are in fact airtight, so don’t worry about the food. Bread left out might taste a bit funny, but fruits should be okay with a rinse. And makeup and hygiene items, well, if they have absorbed any fumes it’s probably microscopic amounts, far less than what you inhaled this morning. Fumes from solvents are volatile, so they kind of go away on their own after a while. But the smell has a way of getting stuck in your nose, hasn’t it?

      (And yes, fats like in butter and cream bind flavours/aromas, which is why food cooked with cream or butter is so delicious. And vinegar has Special Powers. There is nothing vinegar can’t do.)

      • Wondering OP :

        Thanks Pip for the reassurance, and for the butter/cream trivia. Mmm butter :)

  19. I saw one of these little guys at a friend’s house, and love it! Thoughts on whether I could get away with putting one on my windowsill in my Biglaw office as a first year associate? I’m not sure whether it screams “fun conversation piece” or “immature kid who decorates like a 5-year-old.”

    • Not sure if this answers your question, but I THINK IT IS AWESOME…and/but just bought one for my 9 year old nephew who loves both dinos and plants.

    • I love it and want one.

    • Do it right now, Rawr. Fun convo piece all the way.

    • Oh my gosh, I want one! It would definitely work in my casual legal office, but I’ve never worked in biglaw.

    • ChristinaMD :

      Um. I just found my office white elephant gift for the holiday party this year. And I’m getting one for myself while I’m paying for shipping. This.Is.AWESOME!!!!!!!!

    • Do it. OMG, I would do it myself except for the Shipping Plants Across the Border issue.

      • you can buy an empty planter. That’s what I did since it’s going to be a holiday gift and I don’t want to care for a plant for the next few months.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Yeahhh, I’m definitely ordering a couple of the plant-less ones, these are awesome.

      • Oooh, I hadn’t noticed that option!

    • Oh absolutely do it! I like to have unique and fun things in my offices for when days get gloomy. Mine is usually a betta fish, but this is a little more awesome. I may have to have both.

    • I like Stanley so much. Better is a cute name, too.

    • lawsuited :

      If other people in your firm have colourful, interesting office decorations, go for it. If not, I’d wait a while for people to get to know you rather than judging you based on the plastic toy in your office :S

    • Was anyone else disappointed not to see a plaid pigeon when they clicked through? No? Just me?
      I heart plaid.

      • Yes, me. From the comments, I kind of expected a plaid pigeon planter.

        • Not knowing your office environment, I can’t really say one way or the other, but I can say that I just bought 3 – one for myself and 2 to give as gifts – which will go to very happy law firm forever homes.

      • I was. But OH SNAP these are AWESOME!

  20. Vintage Lawyer :

    Don’t do it.

  21. Vent:
    OMG you guys, the &^*(! help desk.

    That is all.

    • +1

      When all the help desk can do is tell you to reboot, you know it’s not gonna work well.

      • How about when they don’t even know that much and ask you 15 more times for your name and phone number?

  22. Mango and Princess Letizia of Spain :

    Has anyone bought clothing or accessories from Mango? Any comments about fit or quality?

    I am looking at a blog about Princess Letizia of Spain — in my next life, I will have her body and sense of style — and she wears some things from Mango.

    • I have a few blouses from Mango and like the fit, fairly sleek without being tight. They are (European) XL and I am 5′ 8”, 160-ish pounds, barely a D-cup. I’m kind of the upper limit to what you can fit into Mango clothes. :D They’re a bit tight over the shoulders, but I do have wide shoulders. The quality is consistent with the price range. The fabrics are interesting, not too flimsy, and have held up well through washing so far.

    • I suspect fit runs small – it’s one of the rare high-street labels where I can find x-small clothes that fit me. Quality is variable – I’ve a couple of dresses which have held up nicely and the tailored clothes seems pretty good for the price point but I’ve also noticed some quite nasty casual knits.

    • Merabella :

      JC Penny’s has MNG by Mango at their stores. I have some of their stuff and I love it.

      We don’t have a Mango here, but I get the feeling it is along the same lines as Zara, slim and runs smaller.

  23. What ever happened with your stepmom? Did you guys ever talk to her or your dad about it? Did it shed any light on it?

    I posted as Voice of Doom at the time.

    • Oh that’s so funny! Thanks for asking and I was just thinking about that. Well, hard to say. I haven’t been with them since last Christmas. Usually, if I’m going to go visit them in PA, I’ll go in August, but this year, I planned a trip to surprise my nephew for his birthday in July so none of us went up there. Oddly, when we all went last year in August, we felt like we were not welcome at their house, so I doubt if my sister-in-law would have gone. I talk to my Dad here and there (he called every day during the hurricane) but haven’t talked to my stepmother. My brother was up there for work a few months ago and he stayed with them and he said everything went fine. We are still wondering if it was the stress of her big project that caused her to be so nuts on that trip. Nobody has talked about Christmas yet, but you can be sure that we won’t be going on a trip together!

      • I wonder if you will ever know? Glad is didn’t get any more out of control.

  24. I’d like to second Kat’s comment in the original description: “I like the strap across the forefoot, especially for wear with black tights.”

    Anyone else out there looking forward to tights weather? I’m not talking full-on winter opaques yet but maybe some sheer black tights with a cute skirt. Who’s with me??

    • Merabella :

      I wore tights on Monday because it was coolish. I loved every second of it.

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