Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Black Check Pencil Dress

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

Dorothy Perkins Black Check Pencil DressHappy Friday!  I like the look of this black check pencil dress, available at Dorothy Perkins in sizes 2-18.  It looks interesting but classic, and (ahem) would be a great starting point for mixing patterns — I’d try a a black and white floral scarf, if you have one, perhaps layered beneath a black or white blazer. The dress is $39, but with code DPFW25 you can take another 25% off.  Dorothy Perkins Black Check Pencil Dress

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


  1. I just found out that I’ve been waitlisted at a T25 business school. I’m so disappointed I don’t want to be at work today, but I can’t leave. I’m considering emailing my admissions counselor with whom I’ve been in contact frequently to ask about the probability of a scholarship offer if someone is offered admission from the Wait List. Should I even bother? It seems like I should give up now, but I worked so hard just to get this far with limited work experience but excellent test scores.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I’m sorry to hear that, but don’t give up! My friend is just finishing up at an Ivy League school on a scholarship that she got into from the waitlist, it IS possible, but apparently so much of it is about you being pro-active and selling yourself so go for it!

    • Wildkitten :

      I was accepted from the wait list at my law school and given a scholarship for the second and third year (but not the first).

    • I can’t help you with the scholarship part of your question, but I was accepted from the wait list at two of the schools I applied to for undergrad. I graduated with honors from one of them. I know how disappointing this is, but don’t lose hope yet. Get in touch with the admissions counselor and let them know how interested you still are in attending. Good luck.

    • Two considerations:

      1) Definitely call the admissions officer and express your disappointment (albeit in the most professional way possible). They want to admit people who really want to be there, so it’s to your advantage to let them know that, so long as you don’t become annoying!

      2) Is it essential for your career that you go to b-school this year? If you’re sure that it’s your lack of work experience that is holding you back from outright admission, perhaps you can negotiate working for another year and then getting admitted with a scholarship next year. I had friends who did this for Northwestern Law, which is notorious for wanting their students to have work experience prior to entering. I understand that this may be different in the b-school context though.

    • I have one data point (close friend) but from that I have deduced its all a total [email protected] She got into HBS, Sloan, Kellogg, but waitlisted at Stanford (especially weird since her HBS interview didn’t even go that well, she was worried she had accidentally belied her Stanford preference).

      The worst part about the wait list was they kept tantalizingly telling her she was in the top 20, then top 10, then one of the LAST FIVE people still on the waitlist (this was in like, July, after she had obviously accepted someplace else). So that would be my only concern – they can keep stringing you along past the point of reasonable-ness. If you can afford to put down a deposit somewhere else and hold on to your dream at the T25 school, go for it. But otherwise, don’t feel like it means you were any “less” for not getting in- its such a total [email protected]

    • If there is an optional essay on why you want to go to that school that you didn’t do the first time, do it now. MANY of my classmates at a T14 law school were waitlisted until they wrote that essay/letter and then were admitted the week after they had gotten the final matriculation numbers from the original admit list.

    • Thanks for the replies, everyone. The stories and advice really help, as always. I still feel like this is setting my life back by a year and that sucks, but I emailed her and there’s nothing left to do but wait and see where it goes from here.

      • MBA–I know that this is not what you want to hear, but limited work experience can also mean limited opportunities when you are coming out of b-school, during recruiting, especially if you are not looking at “traditional” jobs like mgmt. consulting, banking or brand management.

        B-school is not just about getting in–it’s also about whether you will have enough experience that employers will want you to be a manager when you come out. I know how much it hurts to be denied from somewhere you have your heart set on–right there with ya! But don’t give up–it’s still very early in the cycle. Second, express your continued interest, OFTEN! And third, do everything you can, starting now, to beef up your resume in terms of experience, experience_s_, skills, leadership, etc.

        When I went to b-school, at age 25, I didn’t understand why people told me I was young. I got it once OCI rolled around–I promise you that my older classmates just had more to talk about and more to point to on their resumes as to why they should be hired rather than little ol me. I heard, “You’re so young!” a lot. Not a lot you can do to compete when you have two years to your classmates ten or so (I went to a school where the average age of my class was 29.)

        So…this could be a blessing in disguise….you may get another opportunity which is really wonderful if you have to sit a year out. You really never know. So, chin up, keep trying to get in, and in the meantime, do what you need to do to be competitive with your classmates when it comes to management roles.

        Also, I would be wary of scholarship tales from law school folks vs. b-school–law schools throw money around in a way that most b-schools do not. I would check out the, beatthegmat or message boards to find out more regarding money/stats for your school. Good luck!

        • Not to argue just for the sake of arguing, but it depends on the law school and b-school re scholarships – I did law and MBA at the same school at the same time and got several scholarships from b-school and none from law school (and they were both looking at my same transcript of grades, obv.)

        • Meg Murry :

          I second all the “get more work experience” advice, and I would also add – is this a local school that allows you to take a class or 2 before being admitted? Or would credits transfer from a local school or online? I don’t know about a T25 school, but when I was looking at going to a regional MBA program, I started by taking the first stats class online and was able to get tuition remission from my current job. I didn’t wind up going for my MBA after all, but I wanted to put that out there as something to think about.

        • Thank you, MJ. Hearing about your experience is helpful.

          Meg – thanks for the suggestion. The school isn’t local and I don’t think they do that, but I am going to look into possibly taking a MOOC. I’d be very interested to hear if anyone had taken one they really liked!

  2. Sydney Bristow :

    I love this dress and it marks the first time since I started reading in 2008 that I purchased the featured item. I’ve never bought anything from Dorothy Perkins so fingers crossed it fits!

    • Hey Sydney. I just read Obsessed by Mika Brzezinski based on your (albeit lukewarm) recommendation. I agree that it wasn’t great, but I don’t regret spending the time.

      Helpful: the perspective on how different eating disorders, even binge-eating specifically, can play out and influence how people look. I do commend her for publishing such honest material on her own disease. It’s also interesting to see how someone who is thoroughly in and of mass culture can still endorse alternative ways of thinking about food and weight.

      Unhelpful: often it seemed like completely dysfunctional eating and exercise patterns received exactly the same coverage and endorsement as healthy ones. I felt like I was going in circles sometimes: “let’s all get healthy! Here are some examples of people with very extreme attitudes/behaviors–everyone’s different after all.”

      Reading the book also made me more critical of that controversial photo of her and Joe Scarborough a while back, in which she was sitting on a table in a minidress and kicking up one of her legs. At the time I just kind of rolled my eyes and moved on, but now that she’s published a book that repeats over and over again that women are judged disproportionately on appearances, “like it or not” (she says that a lot), it looks like bad faith to simultaneously be objectifying herself in such a blatant way while saying look-ism in the workplace is unjust.

      This is the only place I could find the photo:

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I agree with your thoughts on the unhelpful parts. My thinking is that she wrote it while in her disease so although she tried to analyze herself as externally as possible, it still spilled over into the book. It also demonstrates the differences in the way these issues are perceived from the outside. For example, she clearly eats too little but what she eats regularly are such “healthy” items and she runs regularly, which is a “healthy” activity and she takes both to extremes but that is still viewed as “better” than the flip side of her friend who over eats and eats junk food. Even though both are destructive, the one that results in a thin look is viewed as better than the other.

        I kept picturing that image in my head when reading it too. I assume she went with it because to some extent she needs to play the game to keep her place in it.

        Oh I started reading Lost and Found. It’s interesting so far but I haven’t made it very far. I’ve had my attention on a few other books for now.

    • S in Chicago :

      I rarely purchase recommendations, but I have to say the few things I have (or from suggestions from posters) have worked out really well. I’d love to know what have been others “favorites.” Or best advice.

      Mine so far:
      –A basic cotton DKNY dress with short sleeves (I bought black, but it came in red as well) that was my first purchase from 6 p.m. It has gone on almost every business trip with a casual dinner component now.

      –The gray GAP moto jacket that some folks thought looked like Star Trek. I get a compliment almost every time I wear it.

      –I suspect a soon-to-be favorite-last week’s Tahari dress with the ribbon back So much more flattering on than the picture shows and the quality of the fabric and sewing were unbelievable. Will be the perfect dress for work and dinners, funerals, cocktail hours where I’m not sure whether to go dressy or business, etc.

      And the best advice I’ve gotten from the site?

      Someone once mentioned convincing yourself to get a shower and then decide if you wanted to rest some more in the morning. That’s been a huge motivator to get moving so many mornings.

      • Abby Lockhart :

        Oh– I would say the Gap moto jacket, too! I bought both colors and wear them often in fall and winter for everything from walking the dogs to casual evening events. I have often had people worry that I am going to “ruin my nice jacket” and then realize when they touch it that it is basically a sweatshirt material.

  3. T. McGill :

    How does shipping and returns work when ordering Dorothy Perkins from the US? Aside from the shipping fee, are they any import duties or taxes due? What about returns costs? As a general rule I hate paying for shipping and returns, but there is a lot of cute stuff so I am debating whether it is worth it to pull the trigger on an order… TIA!

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Last time I ordered there was no import duties upon delivery, but I did have to remember to use a card that wouldn’t charge me a foreign transaction fee. And w/r/t returns, I just sent it back in a USPS flat rate package because you have to pay for return shipping and that (at the time) was the least expensive option.

  4. I’m planning a long weekend trip in June/July with my mom and sister-in-law. We would like to mainly relax on the beach and have drinks. Restaurants in walking distance would be a plus so we wouldn’t have to rent a car. A hotel with a spa (or one nearby) would be nice. I was considering South Beach, but I’ve been there a couple of times before. I’m leaning towards somewhere in Florida b/c we’re traveling from Ohio, but any other suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

    • I couldn’t do Florida that time of year (or Charleston / Folly Beach). Too hot (and way too humid)! If you want a city / beach experience, what about Virginia Beach? It’s about as far north as you can go while having a city-type beach experience sans car (I can’t talk about the Delaware beaches — a lot of East Coast beach experiences are more beach towns where you rent a house and do your own cooking and are perpetually driving to the grocery store for something you forgot).

      • YAY!!!! Fruegel Friday’s! I love Fruegel Friday’s and this Pencil Dress! It is very styleish, Kat, and not to expensive!

        As for the OP, I agree that Florida is goeing to be to humid by then. Have you considered Keiwah Island South Carolina? It is not realy an Island that you need a boat to get to and it is very warm. Dad was considering buying a home there to retire, but he then thought that it would be better if he was closer, such as VA or NC. So he is still in NY, b/c he says he can NOT leave until I at least have a steady boyfreind he approve’s of who will finaly marry me. He also suggest’s that I start warmeing up the engines (meaning letting men try me out) so that they will be quicker to MARRY me. Alan did this for a while, and guess what? NO marrage to him. FOOEY! Mom agrees and told dad that all I got out of it was alot of unnecesary “lube jobs” that I did NOT need. DOUBEL FOOEY!

        Benjamin stayed in town and we went out for DELI. He misses the NY Deli scene b/c in DC there are mainley southern deli’s that do NOT have real corn beef or real pickel’s. He offered to pay, but I said it would be a conflect of interest, thank’s to my CLE that I listened to. YAY! I hope they know this when they come to looke over our record’s. FOOEY!

        Benjamin asked if I wanted to come out to his parent’s house on LI this weekend and we can go do thing’s. I said I would let him know today, b/c he is goieng to be there anyway, and Willem is pressureing me to do something with HIM this weekend in the City. Sam also has reapeared and asked if I wanted to go to a basketball game. Why is it that men think we want to see a bunch of guy’s jumping up and down chaseing an orange basketball all day. I do NOT find that very much fun. FOOEY!

        Myrna said that the kitchen guy who grabbed her on the esecalator smile’s very smirky when she is in the cafeteria, and whisper’s to his freind about her. She thinks he is telling him that she had sex with him or something b/c now the other guy is also smirkeing at her, and she think’s that he will come and ask her out for sex or something. FOOEY on men that just look at us as sexueal object’s! We have brain’s and are so much more then blow up dolls for them to be huffeing and puffeing on until they are satisfied. I do NOT like men who just want us for sex and then just walk away. DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • Orange Beach, in Alabama, gets pretty crowded, but you might want to look into the Grand Hotel, in Point Clear, Ala. It’s a resort, so they have a spa. The rooms are beautiful, overlooking Mobile Bay (it’s on the bay, not the Gulf). They have a nice restaurant. It’s a little out of the way from anything else (short distance from Fairhope), so you would have to have a car. But there is a giant outlet mall in Foley. One of my friends and I used to go there every year over Thanksgiving weekend.

      A lot of people here like Perdido Key, which runs along the Gulf shoreline from Alabama into Florida. I’ve been to the key to the west and it’s a long drive (17 miles) to Orange Beach from out there, alhough it’s very pretty.

      • Miss Behaved :

        Plus, there’s a book series starting in Point Clear:

    • First Year Anon :

      South Carolina? At that time of year you don’t have to go as far as Florida to get warm weather.

      • I live in South Carolina, and can recommend lots of places. Kiawah Island, as ELLEN suggested, is very nice, and is close enough to Charleston for some excellent dining. If you want something a little more low key, try Litchfiled Beach/Pawleys Island. It is quiet there, but there is an excellent resort and you can either stay in the hotel or rent some cute condos. My family rents a beachfront condo every year for a week in July. Only caveat is that is REALLY hot. 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity. . . Dining options are less than at Kiawah/Charleston though.

        The Westin resort on Hilton Head Island is great too. There is a trial lawyer’s conference there every year in August, and I have tried many of the restaurants in that area. If you like beach/golf/tennis Hilton Head is good. Same caution about heat though.

        You might also think about Tybee Island just outside of Savannah. Close enough to Savannah for good food/entertainment but also has a nice beach. I stayed at the Westin resort in Savannah for a legal conference last November, and ate at Pink House. Excellent old southern restaurant.

        Hope you have fun !

        • Just thought of something else. . if you are not wedded to the idea of a beach, but would like to do a nice spa/dining place, look into Asheville. The Grove Park Inn has an excellent spa and dining, and you can do a trip to the Biltmore House castle and winery for the day. It’s still warm in Asheville in July or August, probably about 85 degrees, but humidity is less than in South Carolina coastal towns.

    • How about the greenbrier? I love the Dorothy draper decor.

    • Thanks for all the reccomendations! I will do some research this weekend and see what will work best for us. With this never-ending winter, it’s nice to look forward to doing something fun in the summer.

  5. Last day before maternity leave! I get induced Thursday if these guys don’t show up on their own before then. Yes, I may actually have to be induced. Thanks to everyone who’s been following my story here all the way from deciding to do IVF to now. It’s so great hearing from you ladies! I can’t believe these little guys will be here in less than a week. (Although, believe me, while I’m not at all ready to care for newborn twins, I’m SO VERY VERY VERY ready to not be pregnant with them anymore. Ugh. I feel like every kind of sea mammal rolled into one, except they get to live in the water while I have to walk on land. If you can call what I do these days “walking.”) No bets on how much (i.e., little) work is likely to actually get accomplished today.

    • First Year Anon :

      Yay! So happy for you! What great news.

    • Wow, very exciting! I know you’ll keep us posted…

    • Amelia Earhart :


    • Sydney Bristow :

      Such great news! I’m really happy for you!

    • I, too, was placed on bed rest and then induced, after all the worry. Best of luck to you!

    • Congrats TBK!!

    • I took a 10 month hiatus from this site because I was overwhelmed at work/in life (I have finally “leaned back”), so I didn’t know about your pregnancy ’til now. I remember your story from before, though, and I’m so happy for you in a weird, person-I’ve-never-met-on-the-Internet kind of way. Congratulations, good luck, and enjoy your time home with the babies!

    • Thanks for the update. Congratulations and good luck!

    • Super congrats! This is so exciting :)

    • Baconpancakes :

      Congratulations on keeping them in the cooker, and even more congratulations due when they come out! I feel honored to have been able to experience your journey, even through a faceless website, and I’m so excited for you!

    • Happy for you, TBK! Enjoy your first week for the babies!

    • Congrats, TBK! You’ll do great! Lots of prayers/warm fuzzies for a safe delivery for your whole family!

    • yay Congrats!!! I am so happy for you!! can’t wait to hear the good news ;-)

    • +1 to everybody. I’ve identified with some of your posts about your life, in some ways (only child, long period of singlehood in adulthood), and your story has given me hope for my own future. I also appreciate your no-nonsense perspective on things, so I’m sure you’ll make a great mom. :) Best wishes for a safe and healthy delivery!

    • workingmomz :

      Awe, good luck!

    • So happy that you’ve made it to the point where they’ve scheduled an induction and very glad that after your long journey you’re only one week away from actually getting to hold your babies! Hope all goes well and good luck with being a new mama!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Congratulations! I’m so glad that after all the worry that the babies will finally (and safely!) arrive.

    • Long time lurker but had to say congrats on twins! Mine are now almost 11. I made it to 39 weeks with them, after some scary early issues, and totally know what you are feeling! My best advice is not to beat yourself up if things, especially breast feeding, are hard. I managed to breastfeed mine for the first 4 weeks and then just couldn’t do it any more. I had a two year old when they were born so that might have made things harder! Just enjoy them!

    • Congratulations and best wishes for an easy delivery and two healthy and beautiful boys!

    • Congrats and good luck with everything! :)

    • Diana Barry :

      Wow! Congrats! Hope that everything goes smoothly!!!

    • Anonattorney :

      More babies!!! Congratulations!

    • Congratulations, TBK! I am so thrilled for you. My first babe is due in a few weeks, so I would love to hear any updates you can share! Best wishes for a good delivery and enjoy those little ones.

    • mintberrycrunch :

      I have been following your story closely and rooting for you! As someone who is just starting to head down the fertility treatment road, I’ve really appreciated you sharing with us. So very happy for you and your babies!

    • Coach Laura :

      I am sending good thoughts through the internet TBK! So happy for you, your DH and family and so glad you finally get to meet your two new boys!

    • Jo March - Baby's here! :

      Yay! I’m so glad for you and babies that they’ve held on this long :) thinking all the good labour thoughts for you!

    • DowntownBK :

      Great news! Congrats and best wishes!

  6. Paging Orangerie :

    I have and love Paul Heacock’s book, “Which Word When.” Maybe you could suggest it to her?

  7. Videoconference Interview :

    I have an upcoming interview for a job in a different city (which I am incredibly excited about, because it’s my “home” city!). The first round interview (for me, because I am not local) will be via videoconference from the law firm’s office in my current city. Have any of you done a videoconference interview? Do you have any particular tips? I find I interview best in person, as I can get a vibe from the questioner, and I’m really nervous about doing it via video.

    • It’s not fantastic, but IMO video is SO much better than phone interviews. It’s not as natural as an in-person interview, obviously, but at least with video you can still see your interviewer(s). So it’s much easier to get a read on their interest level, body language, should-I-wrap-up-this-answer, type stuff.

      Congrats on getting the interview, and as long as you prepare like you would for any job interview, I’m sure it’s going to go great!

    • I remember doing one just before graduating college for a cruise ship position and it was fine. Since it was during school hours, I asked my supervisor if I could borrow her office. The College Prepster blog had a guest post about video conferencing in general, but I think some of the tips would work for an interview too – I’ll post the link below.

      Good luck!

      • Link for above

    • Can you afford to fly yourself out? If so, could be worth the investment to meet in person if it’s where you really want to work. It’s hard to do great on video-con. My tips are wear a brighter color than you normally would, and practice a conversation or two over Skype or FaceTime if you don’t use those – the delays can take a little getting used to.

      • I do think the delays are one of the more difficult parts of video conferencing. Be sure to pause for a long enough time before answering to make sure that the interviewer is really done with their question or thought. If the interviewer pauses, and then starts talking again, it can be hard to recognize they’re not done. Otherwise, try to maintain eye contact with the camera as much as possible (it feels weird, but to the interviewer, it will appear like you are looking at them instead of off the screen).

      • Videoconference Interview :

        I think the plan is to have me meet people at my local office and videoconference with folks in the other office. The home office of the firm is in my city; the office where I would be working is a satilite

      • Meg Murry :

        I would still practice with Skype with a friend – especially to watch out for things that make the camera jumpy. For instance, I had a colleague who had a habit on drumming his fingers on the table during meetings – not enough to be annoying in real life, but on the screen it showed up as his hand being blurry the whole time, which was just kind of distracting. So if you are a “big talker” who does a lot of hand gestures for emphasis (or even if you don’t think you are but you might be) you might want to Skype with a friend and see if they can record what they see on screen and play it back to you. The more you move, the more likely you are to look blurry if its not a fast connection.

      • If someone wanted to fly themselves out on their own dime, I would find it very odd. It’s not how things are done.

    • Videoconference Interview :

      Follow up question as to what to wear. I know the risks of patterns, red tones, etc., and that white shirts will throw off the whitebalance of the video, so I plan to wear a charcoal sheath dress with matching blazer.

      On the daily, I wear my glasses. Should I put in contact lenses (I have dailies for working out/sometimes driving due to glare/etc.) so the interviewers would see my face better? Or would this be odd with them seeing me in person in glasses?

  8. Has anyone actually tried Dorothy Perkins before? I’m worried the quality will be similar to ASOS which I love in theory, but falls apart rather quickly.

  9. Baconpancakes :

    Anyone want to play stylist? After thinking so hard about the mint flats I posted on Equity’s Darling’s Spring Refresh question yesterday, I went ahead and bought them (thanks for the 9pm recommendation, Bonnie!), but now I’m stumped as to what to do with them outside of non-work appropriate white jeans which will be my weekend uniform this spring.

    Outfit suggestions? I also got the eyelet mint clutch I’d been stalking ($22 at ASOS!).

    • Baconpancakes :

      Er, 6pm recommendation. 9pm recommendation sounds like it might be an innuendo for something.

    • Anne Shirley :

      With a navy pencil skirt for work ? Or navy pants if yours are hemmed for flats?

      • Baconpancakes :

        I hadn’t thought to pair them with navy, but that’s great! I’d been thinking only about light colors like white and pale grey, but navy would be a great way to wear them without looking like an Easter egg.

    • I think if you were wearing gray or black dress pants and had a darker green top on, they would be a nice pop, especially since they would be removed a bit.

    • You’re welcome! I think navy and charcoal would both look great. They could also be a pop of color with a black and white outfit. In addition to other pastels, you could also pair them with other sherbert colors like watermelon and lime.

  10. Lots of Coach stuff on 6pm today, including the classic duffel in gorgeous lush cognac for 40% off.
    I am tempted but can’t buy anything.

    • Drool. The purse I’ve wanted is now only $600. Sigh. I really could use a winning lottery ticket.

    • I have mixed feelings about the fact that they don’t ship to Canada because they have some beautiful (and new) things on sale but I’m still on my shopping ban…

  11. Not sure there’ll be any takers, but I’ve been having trouble finding relatively simple, under 1″ heel, black ankle boots that I could wear with straight-legged/slim fit black pants. Under $200. Anyone up to the challenge? :)

    • Pointed toe, almond toe, square, round?

    • I like these:

      • Ooh, those look amazing! Are they the kind you can comfortably walk all day in?

      • I just bought these – I don’t know if they are too casual for what you want but they have awesome reviews as far as comfort goes.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Try the Sam Edelman Petty. I just got them in cognac and love them. They look great with jeans and more dressed up. I think black would be more versatile for work, too. They’re pretty popular on fashion blogs so by googling I’ve found many cute ways to wear them casually. I got them at nordstrom.

      • Ha, those were the ones I had clicked on! I got pulled away, but I think they look really nice. They have them on piperlime right now.

  12. Can anyone help with Pendleton sizing for blouses? There are some beauties on very good sale, but smallest seems to be 4p. I’m a 2p almost everywhere. Thank you!

    • I ordered some blouses from them last summer. They were sized generously–more like Talbots than say, BR or JCrew. They should have measurements on their website. I sent everything back for being too big, and I ordered my usual size.

      • hoola hoopa :

        Agree that they tend to be generously cut. I’d say they are similar to the relaxed fit at LE.

        Aaaand now I’m going to go check out the sale.

  13. Anon-arama :

    I just wanted to thank everyone who responded to my thread later last night. I saw all your supportive messages when I logged in this morning. They meant so much to me. I am part of online BF-ing support groups but the posts from mothers celebrating their 1 and 2 year anniversaries of BF-ing don’t help my morale. Hence hearing from fellow mothers on this board about their experiences has really helped me feel better about this. Thank you for your cheers and support!

    • AnonLawMom :

      I just saw that thread and wanted to add another voice in the “you are awesome” chorus. BFing is one of the most difficult things a person can do. Working/pumping/nursing is an incredibly difficult combination. I say grab yourself a drink, a fancy new bra without any clips, a new non-wrap dress, and celebrate your accomplishment and your freedom :-)

      • +1,000,000. Life is too short to waste time feeling bad about something that you have done which is awesome. Bring on that non-nursing bra, unable-to-open-the-front shirt, and have a stiff drink to celebrate. Physical autonomy is a nice thing after the hard work of pregnancy, birth, and bfing.

      • Anastasia :

        +10000 from me too. I had to travel for work when my baby was around 7 months old and was away for about 10 days with only a hand pump. My supply was terrible when I got back and has never really recovered (in large part because I wasn’t able to keep a consistent pumping schedule at work). I felt a lot of the same things you wrote about, and seriously considered just weaning then. I ended up deciding to keep going, but I don’t even try to pump at work anymore, just nurse in the morning, pump when I get home, and nurse before bed. We have to supplement, but it’s OK. Baby’s happy and healthy at 10 months, and I keep reminding myself that’s all that really matters. My mom told me she gave up at 6 months with me (and she was a SAHM), and I turned out just fine. Somehow that made me feel a lot better. Whatever you decide, you’re awesome, you’re doing the best that you can and happy mom = happy baby.

        • Anon-arama :

          I talked to my mom last night and she shared that she stopped BFing me at 6 months and my sis at 4 months. Reading all these posts made me ask her. I feel so much better at not being the only one in situation. Thank you ladies!

    • kjoirishlastname :

      I didn’t read yesterday, but just to read between the lines about your post, it sounds like you’re frustrated with nursing & pumping, and everything that goes with it.

      Was at a friend’s house, who has a 1-month old baby. I love babies. More than most things. If I had it to do over again, I’d probably be in a profession to deliver babies. I digress. She has been nursing, and pumping, and supplementing, and we were of course talking about b00bs (who doesn’t talk about b00bs on girls night??) and now that mine are tiny (albeit very low & floppy), I like them MUCH more than I liked my truck tire nursing b00bs. They were horrible. And it made me realize how HARD nursing and pumping were. All the time. For more than a year for each kid.

      It was both the most rewarding/wonderful/satisfying/peaceful/insert-appropriate-word-here thing that I have ever done, but also the most thankless/hard/exhausting (physically & emotionally)/physically painful/insert-other-appropriate-words-here thing that I have ever done.

      In the end: you do what you need to do to preserve your own sanity. At one point, I had gone on meds for PPD, but the zoloft absolutely wiped my supply. I was so stressed and frustrated about the supply issue that it was more important to me to be able to NOT stress about that, so I went off the meds. And survived. But it wasn’t an easy decision, and I wonder how much marital discord I injected into my relationship with my husband by not medicating myself for my PPD.

      It’s really effing hard. It’s a lot of work, and while I do miss it, I also don’t, and that’s ok.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I didn’t read your post yesterday but also wanted to chime in. BF’ing while working was probably the hardest thing I’ve done, harder than giving birth. If I had another child, I would wean him/her before going back to work. Kudos to all the moms who try, but sometimes it just doesn’t work, and that’s fine too. My brother and I had formula as babies and turned out just fine. :)

      • In House Lobbyist :

        I have an 8 month old and starting going through the same thing a month or so. I was already taking the herbal supplements and started pumping very little. I stopped pumping at work and only nurse mornings and before bed now. Not pumping at work and being able to leave the house for a day without a pump and cooler is a wonderful feeling.

  14. Anyone here have experience with Shabby Apple? Fit/quality in particular. I love some of their stuff but have never pulled the trigger.

  15. government and pay band :

    Need some advice, if you can offer it.

    Apart from my director, I am the newest hire in my department in local govt (granted, she was hired just a few months after me). I now have 6 years in this position, and 11 years of related experience post-graduation.

    A coworker recently vacated a position she had been in for some time (less than 10 years, more than me, though) for a director-level position in a different jurisdiction. She was not my supervisor, but she did have seniority.

    My director has been open and flexible about what the ad is going to look like, and it just got published. She worked with me and my former supervisor A (I’m now a direct report to her, not to A) to draft an ad for a candidate that will fill a bit of a different role than the former employee. My director was not sold on advertising only a Level 1 or Level 2 / Junior/Senior type position–she left it open ended, and added some duties to the job description that the former employee was not doing.

    Prior to all of this, she and I had been in discussions about getting my job description and my salary to match what I am currently doing, rather than what I was hired to do. I have outgrown the position I was hired for, and am a very valuable piece of the team for the whole organization. She recognizes this, as does the HR department head, and the town manager, and much of the town elected officials, so I feel that aligning my job description and salary are not going to be insurmountable. I have had conversations with her, I have done my research for equivalent jobs around the country (adjusting for COL) for what my salary SHOULD be (of the 30 jobs that I reviewed that were current postings as of Oct-Dec, the average increase in hiring range was 46% more than what I am making now). She has said it’s now in the hands of HR and a consultant that the organization had hired 2 years ago to complete this job description/salary match organization-wide to come up with what my new salary should look like. Remember that fiscal year starts over on July 1!

    Here’s the thing. With this vacancy, I know that there is physical money on the table (because a new hire is going to cost less than the former employee was costing the organization), and being in local govt, this is my ONE SHOT to get a biga$$ raise. What frustrates me, though, is that the hiring range for the new position is actually more than what I am making now.

    How do I navigate this?

    • First of all, I had to re-read this post a few times to make sure that you don’t work in my organization. So similar! My local gov’s fiscal year starts in Jan, so I knew we were clear.

      With so many similarities, I know how hard it can be to navigate through the mess of a small number of positions & very limited cash for salaries. I always operate with the assumption that no one is going to advocate for you but YOU. If I were in your shoes, I would talk to HR directly about the outcome of the salary realignment study. My organization has had 3 such surveys in the last decade. Twice there were significant adjustments for certain classes of employees. And the third time the results were ignored due to financial constraints. You can guess how bad morale gets when an expensive market survey discusses how underpaid the workforce is and nothing is done about it.

      It wasn’t clear from what you wrote if you were considering applying for the other job. If you are qualified for it, you definitely should. Doing so (with a revised resume that highlights all the “above and beyond” work you do now) will remind folks of just how much you do and how much “more” you are than your position says on paper.

      Good luck!

    • government and pay band :

      I am not looking to apply for the job. There is not enough money in the world to make me want to deal with all the committees that position deals with. No way.

      I love my current job and the duties. I’m really good at it, and it has been recognized on more than one occasion.

      My hubs has been instrumental in giving me pep talks and reminding me about being my own advocate, and that is what I want to do. I think that when I get word that it’s time to talk, I’m going to pull out all the stops and lay it out–knowing that there are a lot of jurisdictions out there that are paying more than 100% more than what I make today. (Not that I have any inclination to move, though, but it makes it frustrating to know that I am so poorly underpaid). My director has been a great advocate for me too, so far, but obviously she is acting in the department’s best interest too.

      We live in a fairly low COL area–our metro area is low COL, but our actual town is much higher because of desirability. We’re a university town, so a lot of well-educated, well-heeled folks, active citizenry, amenities blah blah blah.

      I guess I just want to know how I can use this vacancy, and the cash it leaves on the table, to my advantage when it is time to talk MY salary with HR and the town manager. Fortunately, our rules & regs are written such that the TM basically has power to grant almost whatever he wishes without council approval when it comes to the management of his employees. For what it’s worth, I think he also has a very soft spot for our department–as he started here as an intern.

      I guess I could start by comparing my new job description (that came out of the organization-wide consultant survey) to the one that was posted for my hiring and see what tasks & duties have been added, as well as where I have excelled/picked up quickly.

      I have been told that I was able to hit the ground running in this position much faster than anyone anticipated, so I picked up responsibilities and more complex projects very early on in my career here, and it’s only gotten bigger.

      • Good info. I would definitely write up a point-by-point analysis of what your original job description requires vs. what you actually do. This should be very factual and data-driven vs. emotional. You may never actually show this to anyone, but it will be in your hip pocket if need be. How many layers of management between you and the TM? Is he/she aware of your situation? Are there lots of others in the organization that are similarly underpaid, or are you an exception?

        • government and pay band :

          In terms of leadership/management, from the bottom up, it’s me (and I don’t supervise anyone), my supervisor (who is the department director), then the Town Manager. He is aware that there is some shuffle that is going to happen, not just because of my coworker leaving, but also because of the recognition months ago that my current duties didn’t/don’t fit my job description. I don’t know if he knows that I’m going to be gunning for a big raise, but he does know, at least top-level that at the very least, I’ll become an exempt employee, which will mean *some* raise. But I don’t honestly know if he knows how much work I’m putting into fighting for an equitable salary. Apparently the consultant guy who is doing the salary research for the organization has more than a working knowledge of what a planner does, and all of the intricacies involved. I just don’t know what kind of information he is going to come up with. You know, I would hate to ask for a 45% raise, only to find out that he thinks that 65% is appropriate…

          As for others in the same situation–I can’t imagine I’m the only one with such a discrepancy, but I have no way to be sure.

          • I would just add that I wouldn’t phrase it as a “raise” at all. You mentioned that you and your supervisor are re-writing your job description to better reflect what you actually do, I would phrase it as “setting the salary that will be commensurate with my new position as X”.

            A 45% (or more) “raise” seems hard to sell, but simply recognizing that you are essentially in a “new” position with a “new” job description and therefore, a “new” salary commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of that position, which reviewing the market, appears to be in the range of X to X.

  16. What do you do about a shirt that gets armpit sweat marks? I thought the shirt I’m wearing was light enough (in color) to not show sweating but that’s apparently not the case. How embarrassing! What do I do for the rest of the day?

  17. Solo travel ideas? :

    I’m thinking of planning a trip in May. Dealing with work, school and marriage stress right now and will have some money to spend, really leaning toward taking a trip on my own.

    I’d like to go away for about a week. I’ve never traveled alone. I’m kind of nervous about safety and wondering if I should go on some sort of group trip, or stay at an AI (not usually my thing), but I’d really like to go alone. I do like my alone time exploring the area I live in. I love beachy places, and I love places with good art and food.

    I’ve been looking at

    -yoga/surf camp in Costa Rica
    -St. John – found a little rental with a nice deck and view, and I can explore
    -Puerto Rico – Vieques?
    -Positano – honestly, only because I have seen pictures and loved them
    -Isla Muerjes

    I think i’m most interested in sun, something interesting to do (I can’t lay out all day, I’ll go crazy), would like to get drinks/wine, and eat good food.

    I realize this is super vague, but I don’t know where to start. Thoughts? Where would you go even if it’s totally outside of what I mentioned above? Have you traveled alone before? I’m flexible, and travel daydreaming helps me deal with stress :)

    • Mrs. Jones :

      This isn’t exactly what you described, but look at Rancho la Puerta in Mexico. It’s paradise. I try to go once a year for a complete mental and physical tuneup. Most guests are female, and many go alone. The food is to die for. They don’t serve alcohol, except for twice during the week, but you can bring wine into your villa, no problem.

      • Solo travel ideas? :

        Thank you – looks amazing and is now on my list!

        I also posted this on the weekend thread since it just went up.

    • Just FYI, I’ve not been to St. John, and I have heard that it is a lot more civilized than St. Thomas, but St. Thomas is pretty rough. DH and I honeymooned in the BVI (virgin gorda–I cannot recommend it enough), and babymooned in StT.

      Hubs made the observation that Virgin Gorda was third world, but that StT was ghetto. The difference is very nuanced, but it is tangible. I would not feel safe traveling in StT by myself.

      The idea of a surf camp is appealing to me, (my sister and I have talked about it), just because it caters to solo travelers, and brings a bit of a higher level of safety and comfort, IMHO.

      What about domestic travel? Gulf coast of Florida? The Keys? Folly/Charleston/Pawley/Savannah??

      • Anon-oh-no :

        Maybe it depends on where you go, but we stayed at the ritz in st Thomas and it was amazing. We traveled away from the hotel and into town and it was fine. Had the best lobster ever at off the hook.

    • Miss Behaved :

      Along the lines of surf camp, I’m headed to a place in the DR, that’s a top spot for kitesurfing, if you think you’d be interested. It’s Kite Beach in Cabarete.

    • Wildkitten :

      I traveled alone to Costa Rica and had a great experience.

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