Wednesday’s TPS Report: Liberty perfect shirt in Leo scarlet

J.Crew Liberty perfect shirt in Leo scarletAmazingly, I don’t think we’ve featured any of the Liberty shirts at J.Crew before. I love this particular print — the white flowers with a touch of teal, pictured against a chalky blue background — it’s not too feminine, not too twee, not too “printy,” just perfect. I’d wear it tucked into a pencil skirt, with a long necklace on top. It’s $150 at J.Crew. Liberty perfect shirt in Leo scarlet



  1. I ran across this Architectural Digest article on Julianne Moore (link in the reply), and her design style struck me – she only buys things for her house (and, I think, for her wardrobe) that are either purple, black, gray, white or green. I love this, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier. I’m the kind of person who needs a uniform, and from now on, I think I’m only going to buy black, gray, blue, green and white clothing. Different shades and tones of each, of course. But sometimes I just buy something that’s not me because it’s on super-sale, and I end up with this hot pink dress that I never want to wear and that doesn’t go with anything else I have.

    What would your colors be?

    • Grey, purple, teal, maybe a dark, dark pink?

    • This is brilliant!

    • I don’t think that philosophy applies to her wardrobe because she wore a bright chartreuse gown to the Emmy’s. It was roundly panned by fashion critics.

      • I was thinking about this too — I don’t think that her gowns count, because she’s just borrowing them, not buying them.

      • reallly? I thought she looked Uh-May-ZIng in that dress! gah!

    • I love color way too much to limit myself to something like this, but it’s a great idea and would certainly cut down on “unloved” clothing. I do have a few pieces (bright yellow blazer, purple pants) that are too much with other colors, so I limit them to pairings with neutrals. I don’t wear them as much as I’d like because of this, but being able to wear bright yellow every once and a while is worth it to me :)

    • watch how far you take this. I have never seen my MIL (over the course of 10 years) wearing an outfit that does not include at least one shade of green (skirt, pants or jacket – not just an accessory), and usually 2 or 3 shades at once. it’s a little odd.

      • Is your MIL my grandma?

      • Is that odd? I don’t do it, but I’ve always wished I had a “signature color.” In fact, when I’m going to a conference or trip or something where I’ll be meeting new people I try to wear the same color for the first few days. I thought it would help people remember me because when others do that I remember them better.

        I almost never by colored staple accessories (orange wallet, purple belt) because they aren’t flexible with my wardrobe. If I knew my color was green, I could just buy them in green!

    • Anon for this :

      I actually do this. Black, grey, blue, camel, cream, green. And I have very few green pieces.

    • My work uniform consists of Lauren by RL jersey dresses, which I rotate through about twice a month. I’ve been doing this for the past two months, and I have to say I love it. I can’t wait til all the current colors and patterns start to go on sale so I can snatch up some more, and as soon as it gets cool enough, I’ll start layering on cardigans and blazers.


    • emcsquared :

      I do this seasonally – I pick a few neutrals and then 3-4 colors for the season. Those are the only colors I’m allowed to buy that season. And then I get to shop in my storage bins for the next season’s colors every 3 or 4 months. Right now it’s navy, charcoal gray, teal, berry, and saturated red-orange. For spring I had pink, light greens, white, navy, natural linen, and black. For winter I’m thinking goldenrod, purple, and green, but I haven’t fully decided yet…

    • I sort of do this already, but with some seasonal variations.

      In warm weather, my basics are black, gray or navy. Colors are teal or plum. That’s it.

      In cooler weather, my basics are black and charcoal. My main color has been plum, but this year I’m adding a couple of red pieces.

      I always have a couple of white tops/blouses, but I rarely wear them. Ditto with prints.

      It’s a “strict” style of dressing but I like it. It prevents the “I have nothing to wear” feeling I used to have when my wardrobe was a jumble of clearance rack finds in various colors and prints.

    • (former) Clueless Summer :

      I have been thinking about this lately…I have a few things for work I bought a few years ago and while I like them, I rarely wear them now and I realize because they’re totally different colours than what I am wearing now. My colours would be black, grey, white (off-white/ivory really, not pure white), cobalt blue, red and burgundy/purple. Can you tell I’m a winter?

    • I do this seasonally, too. This summer, I wore a lot of corals, lavenders, aqua and pinks. My neutrals were navy, gray and camel. Heading into fall, I’m favoring plum, burgundy and teal, also mixed with navy and gray. I do tend to wear a bit more black in fall and winter, but never near my face; it completely washes me out.

      I don’t think I’m disciplined enough to limit my colors year-round. I enjoy seasonal colors too much! I have noticed that my clothing is much easier to mix and match since I’ve limited my palette.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I admire people who can do this, but I need to have ALL TEH COLERS! I think I go at this from the other end — I have very few types of pieces (pencil skirts, blazers, blouses, scarves, cardigans, pumps) but I have each of them in, like, every color. And I am not shy about wearing the colors together. For example, today I am wearing pink pumps and an orange jacket with my tan skirt and top.

      • Me too, except I’m not quite as adventurous in my color combos – but I’m working on it. My list of colors I won’t buy (any shade of pink, navy, most pastels) far outweighs the colors I do buy.

      • I’m this way too. I only wear pencil skirts and sweaters (cardigans or turtlenecks in winter, cardigan over shell in summer), and even those are almost all specific types (for instance, I have nine J. Crew Jackie cardigans) but I have them in ALL THE COLORS.

        • Senior Attorney :

          PghAnon, you are my color sister! I have The Skirt in seven colors! And there was a great pair of Madden Girl pumps two years ago that I also got in seven colors! Big rainbow fun!

    • I adhere to a relatively strict Glenn Gould color palette when it comes to clothing. I feel it highlights the jewelry more effectively.


      For the home, Mr. East and I have a theme (vegan hunting lodge), but not a color(s) code. Implementing one IRL would skew too Marie from Breaking Bad, for me anyway.

    • so funny, i am the opposite. Even when shopping second hand stores, I realized a couple months ago that every time, I exclusively pick up blue or grey items of clothing. I have some black at home. But i realized i was SO BORED with having only blue and grey to wear. And, actually, most of the blue is in the same cobalt shade. So, I am making a concerted effort to branch out and get different colors. Have bought some purples, some greens, got a couple white camp shirts for summer (if we get one)…. Altho, I guess, I wouldn’t have the problem of the one pink dress, bc i tend to pick colors that are all kind of in the same family so they could all mix and match together, greens, browns, blues, purples, burgundyish, etc. But yesterday I wore an outfit that did not have ONE blue or grey piece in it, and i was ridiculously proud of myself! ;o)

      • I had a period in high school when I only bought black tops (not intentionally… I think I just bought what was flattering without realizing what I already had). My mom picked up on the pattern and “no more black tops!” became a running joke between us.

    • In cooler weather, typically olive, mustard (here and there, never close to my face), dark red, and plum with navy and grey as my neturals.

      In warmer weather, turquoise, coral, and lime green, with navy and white as my netrals.

      I’m a fairly colorful person overall, though.

    • I am working on this as part of my current wardrobe rationalization exercise.

      I seem to be ending up with mostly navy, cream, black, red, green and mustard yellow.

      White just washes me out – it’s cream or nothing, baby.

      Can’t imagine doing this for the home. I like to think I decorate in West Coast-slash-British Colonial Bazaar style and limiting colours would be an unacceptable restraint on my creativity.

    • My closet has mostly pinks/purples/brown/grays in it already. I just gravitate toward those colors. I have one pair of gold cords to spice things up.

    • The comment lower in this thread about accidentally wearing black boots instead of brown is my driving factor to limit my colors. Having to get dressed in the semi-dark to dark while my roommate/husband/child sleep, and having ADHD to the point that laundry is never done and put away, I sucked it up and took advice from a “coping with ADHD” book. My neutrals are black, grey and khaki. Period. No chocolate brown, no navy. All my “colors” need to look good with those neutrals. That way, I don’t have to worry about whether my belt is brown or black, or whether I am wearing one navy sock and one black sock, and my purses coats, etc all work with my whole wardrobe. I was spending far too much time searching for my elusive navy trouser socks, or trying to wear a great new pair of brown pants and realizing I didn’t have any shoes of the right color & height to go with them. I packed up all my brown & navy items and gave them away/got rid of them, and now I don’t buy it anymore.

      My only exception to this is dresses for special occasions like weddings. I have 3 chocolate brown dresses, 1 brown purse and 2 pairs of brown shoes. They are all in my “special occasions” closet, and get pulled out a couple of times a year. I love the color and I look good in it, but its just not practical for me to let myself buy it, when I own so much more black, and prefer black/charcoal for everyday wear.

  2. momentsofabsurdity :

    Anyone else watching the Mindy Project? I really liked last night’s episode and think it’s shaping up to be a really cute, funny little show.

    And I thought of this site when her best friend said, “You look like a librarian in a p*rn” move when Mindy got dressed up in the bustier to interview nurse applicants.

    • Yes!! I like what I’ve seen in the first two episodes. I also just finished her book, which I loved.

    • I haven’t watched yet but plan to. Have you read her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? It’s a fun, quick read.

    • I love Mindy Kaling – her book was awesome and I have high hopes for her show. Did anyone else swoon for that teal handbag she was carrying in last night’s ep? I think it was Kate Spade, though not 100% sure.

    • Yes…I was literally laughing out loud at the final scene (when credits were rolling). I know domestic violence is no laughing matter (I’ve done tons of VAWA and U-Visa pro bono work), but she is one funny lady! Definitely added it to the DVR list.

      • LOVED that final scene. “I’m sorry, baby. I didn’t mean to make you mad”.


  3. I have a code for 15% off from Piperlime, and I’m not going to use it. Expires Oct 5. It’s a one-time thing, so if you take it just post so others know it’s used.


    I’m temporarily saying FOOEY on shoe shopping for my wedding. It’s the only aspect of planning it that appeals to me at all, and still I’ve been making no progress.

    • Brooklyn, Esq. :

      I totally feel you on the wedding shoe shopping thing…I thought I was going to find something fabulous (I wore a short dress) and even bought (then returned) a pair of Jimmy Choos…but it just didn’t work out. I had too many requirements (comfortable for my somewhat bad feet, big enough for my definitely large feet, not too high because my husband is my height, etc etc). In the end on the day of all I cared about is that I was able to dance the whole night and not have to change into flats. I don’t think I looked at my feet once!

      But good luck with it, and all the other planning. Let us know if you need advice. ;)

      • That’s kind, thank you. My feet are a fairly standard 8 or 8.5 and my betrothed is almost a foot taller than I am, so I shouldn’t complain I guess. I just share your need for comfort, and want a low heel, and am finding absolutely nothing bejeweled or glitzy that fits that description. My dress is also short, and very simple, so I thought I’d amp up the shoes. (Suggestions welcome, but I’ve found nothing!)

        As for advice, jeez. I guess the overarching issue is that my attitude about this is not what it should be, to say the least. I want to be married, but I never wanted a wedding–I agreed to do it out of love, because he wants one. I thought the energy and excitement for it would come over time, but it has not. I don’t like the pressure, the stress, the materialism, the attention, or all the implicit messages that this is the crowning achievement of my life. And I’m not even having any big to-do wedding! I feel like this all sounds terrible, but if anyone–ANYONE–can relate I’d feel less alone.

        • Have you looked at Kate Spade shoes? There seems to be a variation on a glittery heel each season, and every time I see one I think “future wedding shoe.” Though I certainly understand a gold or rainbow glitter covered shoe is not for everyone, so your tastes might be different :)

          • Senior Attorney :

            +1 for the glitter-covered KS Karolinas! I have them in two colors and they are reasonably comfortable and OMG TEH GLITTERS!!

          • Ah, I’m super jealous :) Can I ask where you wear them? I love them, but could only see them as a fancy occasion (aka wedding) shoe. Really, it’s the only thing holding me back from splurging!

          • Senior Attorney :

            I don’t have the glitter ones, alas. But I have the pink ones with rainbow heels and the green ones with navy-and-tan striped heels, and i wear both of those to work all the time. I’m wearing the pink ones today.

            If I had the glitter ones I would put them on every Friday after work and not take them off until bedtime Sunday!

          • Senior Attorney :

            And I would wear them out to dinner Monday through Friday!

        • We had a fairly chilled out wedding. It was a church wedding with 2 attendants a piece plus there were 2 ushers. The guys were in tuxes. I had a long dress and veil. The bridesmaids were short dresses.

          Afterwards, we had a typical church reception — punch, cake, etc. Friends helped us take presents back to the apartment and we ended up with an impromptu (and very casual) party there afterwards.

          The rehearsal dinner the night before was in the party room at a local restaurant and we just offered people a few choices from the menu. We had to guarantee a certain number of people for the room, so it ended up being family + wedding party + officiants and their families.

          The wedding was everything I wanted. I’m amazed at all the things people think they *have* to have or do at a wedding.

        • It may be a little late for this, but if he wants the big wedding, shouldn’t he be planning it?

          I do understand where you are coming from, though. I am getting married next spring in the courthouse with immediate family only and going out to dinner in a restaurant after. I love attending big fancy weddings, but the thought of trying to plan one myself basically gives me a panic attack. Is there anything that you can jettison to make it more manageable?

          • Thanks. He is doing at least half of the work, particularly all the things I most strongly didn’t want to do. It’s about as fair as it could be, short of me folding my arms and saying “harumph, just tell me where to stand.” I’d hate it if someone did that to me, so I don’t want to do that to him. And yes, we’re jettisoning quite a bit. But even doing that is such an uphill battle, so tiring. Everyone claims they have no expectations and just want us to do what feels right, but when it comes down to putting that into practice this does not seem to be true.

          • Well I’m glad you feel like there’s a fair balance. That’s important going into a marriage! It sounds like you are getting pushback from friends or family on doing things a certain way. I’m lucky because I haven’t had to deal with that, and I imagine it must be very stressful, especially if it involves the future in-laws. This is probably a good time to work on setting boundaries as a couple about what you are willing to do to please others and what you want to stand firm on and then actually stand firm. Easier said than done sometimes, I know, but pushy people aren’t going to stop being pushy once the wedding is over, they will just move on to a new topic.

          • Jenny, thanks again. Totally agree about the practice in setting boundaries. Luckily (I guess?) the biggest problem so far has been my mom rather than anyone on his side. She’s already thrown one tantrum about the wedding, and we had to think through: do we capitulate just to be done with this? If so, what happens when she does this again? At least it felt very much like teamwork.

          • @DC Jenny – Re: the setting boundaries as a couple now.
            This is really good advice. (I feel like your advice is generally always so helpful, thanks for sharing!)

          • Aw thanks, KC, that’s so nice of you to say. I like to think that what I learned through millions of hours of therapy can be helpful to others too. Pay the mental health forward!

          • Leslie Knope :

            I just went through this process this summer. We ended up having just 12 of our closest family members at the ceremony in our home, and it was great. We did the whole dress/chuppah/photographer thing so it felt “wedding-y”, but paring down the guest list so drastically eliminated TONS of stress.

            There was still a lot of delicate family negotiation when we announced our plans, though. I think the key to success was that my then-fiance and I knew exactly what we wanted to do and what we were willing to accommodate, and we were united in putting our foot down on certain things. Having a game plan from the very beginning was super-helpful in politely setting boundaries. “Ohhhh, you’re right, it’s so cute when all the female attendants’ outfits match, but we’re just going to have everyone wear their own thing!” “Yes, it would be fun to do a bridal shower at work, but that’s not in the cards for us. Thanks so much for the offer!”

        • lucy stone :

          Oh Monday, I totally can relate. We had a big wedding because it is what my husband wanted, and I’m glad we did it because he was so happy, but planning it was terrible and I really didn’t feel excited like I thought I should have. To be completely honest, in terms of moments of sheer unadulterated joy, I felt happier the minute I found out I passed the bar than I did on our wedding day because that was MY accomplishment, not his.

          Have you ever read the book Emotionally Engaged? I really enjoyed it during wedding planning.

        • I was married a long time ago now (23 years, it doesn’t seem possible) and our wedding was relatively low-key and inexpensive but still a huge hassle. (Plus, we did the planning long-distance, before everything was online.) I had fun with some of it, like planning the invitations that we had calligraphied (is that a verb?) on beautiful greeting cards, but most of it was either tremendously stressful or just a big drag. So you are not the first person to feel like this.

          Regarding shoes, have you looked at the J. Renee brand on zappos? They have lots of fancy/sparkly styles in the range of 2 1/2 to 3-inch heels. I’ll put in a separate response links to an example, in silver, but there are lots more in gold and silver and even a kind of amazing multi-colored sparkle with a pink bow.

          You’ll get through this and even have fun, I promise.

        • Monday – I totally get what you are feeling. I never wanted to have a big wedding. I had been to too many of my friend’s weddings where the event never seemed to live up to their expectations and I just never felt the urge myself to be a bride. When my husband and I got engaged we started planning our wedding. I hated every second of it. Eventually I realized that we were planning something for everyone else, not us. Luckily he had already had a big destination wedding and was only concerned that I enjoy our wedding day. So, we went down to the courthouse with a couple of friends and got married. Our compromise was to have a couple of small parties with family/friends where we went to them, instead of everyone coming to us. Also, we had a strict no gift policy since we already had enough stuff.

          That being said, I realize you say that your future hubby really wants a wedding. Perhaps you could talk to him a bit more and get an idea of the reasons why he wants a wedding. Often guys don’t really understand the amount of stress involved in planning a wedding and how little fun you can have sometimes (including being too tired for the wedding night!). Maybe there is some sort of compromise that you could reach or maybe if you let him take the lead on the planning it would help take some of the pressure off of you. Hope this helps to know that you are not alone in feeling less than enthusiastic about a wedding. The thing to be excited about is the actual marriage!! Don’t let planning for one day get in the way of the happiness that comes with knowing you are going to spend the rest of your life with the person that you love!

        • I custom ordered a pair of ballroom dancing shoes. I wanted them to be comfy and with at least a 3″ heel or 4″ with a platform, because I’m only 5′ tall. I ordered a pair in white satin, and while I left mine plain I could have ordered it in any kind of glitter, fabric, etc I wanted. I would look for ballroom dancing supply shops in your area. Do it soon, because they do take time to come in.

          Good luck!

        • Anon for this :

          I didn’t want a wedding, and had to plan one. (His parents thought people would think I was knocked up if we ran away to Vegas. *clutch your pearls*)

          I hated it the entire time. I did it my way though: at a museum instead of a church, dessert and candy bar instead of a sit down meal, all the girls wore black and white patterned dresses with bright colored shoes, and only invited close friends and family.

          I had a really bad attitude about it, and I regret that part of it. I don’t regret having the wedding, but I honestly would have been perfectly fine without one. I ended up loving the way it came out, and I get compliments every time someone sees our pictures.

          Hopefully you end up enjoying it!

          For my shoes I went with bright pink and teal snakeprint shoes by Poetic License because I wanted something funky with my short(er) dress. I looked almost our entire engagement for shoes, and ended up ‘setting’ for something I didn’t necessarily want. I ended up loving them though!

        • Wow–thanks to everyone who weighed in on shoes or the other issues. I will check back again later to see if there’s anything more. It’s really nice to know I’m not the only person with the genetic mutation or whatever it is to just not be into this bride thing.

          • Anastasia :

            I can totally relate. I wanted a wedding, but I am SO not the girl who’s been thinking about it my entire life, and I just didn’t care about the details. So we had a small wedding with immediate family and a handful of very close friends. I delegated every aspect anyone volunteered to help with, and ignored everything that didn’t interest me. It all kind of took care of itself, and worked out great. We got married at a swanky restaurant with pretty gardens. Ceremony and cocktail hour outside, sit-down dinner inside. Tada! no separate vendors for tables and chairs, catering, bartending linens, etc. no hassle getting from ceremony to reception, and almost everything rolled into one fee. If you’re not set on getting married at a religious institution, it’s a great idea for “lazy” brides.

          • Brooklyn, Esq. :

            Well you’ve received tons of great thoughts from others so I don’t have much to add, but I have three thoughts:
            1. Focus on the stuff that you do like about the wedding, no matter how small. If you’re writing your ceremony or vows, that might be something you could really get into–it’s not easy to do (so it’s a lot of responsibility!) but it’s also a time for you to really think about what the marriage means to you, which (I think) is what you really want out of this, right?
            2. Give your mother defined, discreet tasks that she can be totally in charge of, and don’t consult her on other things. I.e., more of the boundaries above. I realize this may be easier said than done. :)
            3. Is there any way you can carve out some time to do what YOU want for getting married? Our “officiant” was not “official”–had no legal power to marry us–so we got married the day before at City Hall, with my husband’s parents as witnesses. We went first thing in the morning (NYC) then went out to fancy breakfast afterwards. It was wonderful! If you can create a space to celebrate your marriage the way you want to, as well as the way your future husband wants to, you might feel better about the rest.

            Good luck!

          • Have you checked out BHLDN? I think it’s Anthropologie off-shoot for weddings. I’ve never actually bought anything from there and it’s a bit more whimsical than I am, but some of the things look really cute and I think they have lower heels too as well as detachable decorations for shoes, so you can wear shoes without them after the event.

        • Research, Not Law :

          My husband was also the one who wanted the big wedding. Honestly, while planning was a PITA, it was 100% worth it to give him a day that he enjoyed so much. He still randomly turns to me and tells me what a great wedding we had and thanks me for putting it together. (He helped with big picture, but I did most of it). Our friends and family enjoyed it, also, and after seeing how much my wedding meant to my parents, I was doubly glad to have done it.

          Hang in there, but know you’re not alone.

        • Hope you still see this! I got these in a gold color for my wedding and am so so so obsessed. Super comfy, flat but don’t look like flats, and super glam.

          For more size options they have a similar look here:

        • Monday, I also never wanted a “wedding;” I just wanted to be married. I never fantasized about my wedding as a child, I never even knew what finger the ring goes own. Like Nina Simone, I just wanted a plain gold band.

          My husband and I got married by one of my favorite judges, in his chambers, with my closest friends and family in chambers (federal judge, so the chambers were enormous).. That evening we had a splendid dinner party at a great restaurant. No presents at our request.

          One of the best decisions I ever made. I’ve never related to the fuss about the ceremony. My interest has always been in making our marriage happy, strong and resilient.

          Good luck, tho, with that shoe search.

        • Glass Spider :

          Just saw this and had to add my $0.02. Monday, I was in this same situation a few years ago. I was so upset and/or blase about all of the details of Having A Big Wedding that I was worried people (including my now-husband) would think I wasn’t happy about marrying him. I hated the whole production. Though I did end up enjoying some of our wedding weekend, in retrospect I still cannot believe how much time, money, and frustration we spent on that one day.

          But, it meant a lot to my husband, and to our parents. My mantra for getting through it? “It’s not about me.” I know it sounds weird, but it helped remind me that no matter the cultural myth that all women have been dreaming about their wedding day forev-ah and are just waiting to go all Bridezilla, I personally had no obligation to be delighted about the oversized festivities. I could just let go, feel how I felt (though I did try to curb my kvetching, so as not to take away husband’s enjoyment), focus on the few aesthetic details I cared about, and be a good host.

          Ultimately, at the end of the day, you’ll get through it and be married to the person you want to spend your life with. If you’re going to stick with the current plan for the scope of the wedding, could you find a couple of things that actually make you happy, and focus your attention on those things? For me it was shoes (I went with Kate Spade wedges in this subtle shimmery gold color for the main events, and switched to some fun red heels for dancing), choosing a band for the reception, and designing the invitations. Beyond your chosen focus, then ruthlessly delegate the stuff you don’t care about — to your fiance, parents, sister? — or hire a planner to sort out the details.

          Or, if it’s causing you too much agony, renegotiate the wedding plans. We wound up going through with a church wedding even though the further along we got, the less I wanted to do it. I concluded it was “too late” in the game to make those kind of changes when my husband offered to scrap that part of it. In retrospect, it would have been way less stressful and more fun all around if I had simply said at that time, “You know, I know we had this one plan, but I really really hate the church wedding thing, can we cancel that and do a quick ceremony at the reception site?” And it would have been okay. Didn’t kill me to go through with it though.

          On happier topics, Senior Attorney, great call on the glittery Kate Spades! I would totally make up excuses to wear them. Just because they make me happy.

    • Used it. Thanks!!!

    • Monday, have you tried Milk and Honey shoes (w w w[dot]milkandhoneyshoes[dot] com)? You can customize everything about them and the quality is better than Kate Spade.

    • Every time you are tempted to give in or to even seriously listen to pushy people with no standing*, just tell yourself: even if you listen to them, these pesky buggers will never, ever be satisfied anyways.

      So there’s really no point in extending yourself for them. Just think: STFU while they’re going on with their inane blah blah blah.

      *anybody who’s not paying for the wedding or doing at least 50% of the work of planning it

  4. Diana Barry :

    I have a perfect shirt in a red berry Liberty print and love it. I did not buy it on sale and it pained me to spend $150 on it, but it perfectly matches an Old Navy (!) dress that my daughter has and she loves it when we match.

    Thanks to everyone who responded last night. I have started a nanny search on sittercity and think I will be able to interview people soon. :)

    • DC Association :

      Good luck on the nanny search!! Where do you live in case some of us can even refer you to a nanny?

    • I didn’t get a chance to reply last night, but I wanted to wish you good luck (regarding everything!) and commiserate re: the stress of being a working mom. That thread last night was really helpful to me, as well.

      Also, we found a fabulous nanny on We paid for a whatever-membership for two months while we posted a job, then cancelled the membership. It was well worth it and substantially less than any “nanny agency” placement fee.

      • Diana Barry :

        Thanks. I am looking on sittercity – the $50 I am spending is definitely less than the 5K the agencies charge!

        DC, I am Boston area.

        • I’m in Boston area and I actually had better luck with Care (dot) com if you don’t find anything through sittercity. I also found a really good sitter once through craigslist, of all places. Given what you said you were looking for, you should look for recent grads of one of the many many education programs nearby.

    • Diana Barry,

      Good luck with your nanny search! And don’t feel bad about paying full price for clothes you really love. The added bonus of being able to match with your daughter makes it even more worthwhile. :-)

      FWIW, those of us with less complicated lives sometimes don’t have their sh!t together as well as you. I speak for myself here, but I know there are readers here who admire how well you’re handling all of these important, but often, competing demands on your limited time.

  5. I like the shirt but those pants are ridiculous!

    Game for the day – I’ll play the part of K in Transition:
    After hearing a particularly moving sermon a couple of years ago, I had a tag necklace made for myself and the tags say “Loved” “Blessed” and “Grateful.” I am feeling particularly grateful today because it’s my birthday and even though I’m feeling old and fat and tired, I have already been showered with e-cards and texts from my loved ones.

    So what would your three words be?

    • My 3 words would be: Happy Birthday, NOLA!

    • Happy birthday! Mine is next week.

      I’m not sure I can come up with three words, but I can come up with one: lucky.

      • Muddy Buddy :

        Mine is also next week! On 10/11/12, which excites me more than it should.

        • Celebrate! My birthday is always an event. My students sang to me this morning (they’re all musicians so it wasn’t a stretch).

        • Senior Attorney :

          That should excite you a whole lot! That is a super-cool, once-in-a-lifetime event! BIG BIRTHDAY FUN!!!

        • VERY exciting! I love it. Happy birthday in advance.

      • Happy Birthday to you ladies! Mine is also next week on the 9th.

        My three words right now would be: Stressed, Tired, and Grumpy. I don’t think I should make any decisions to get a necklace right now! haha.

        In truth though, my three words would probably be: “Strong” “Giving” and “Blessed.”

    • Happy birthday!

    • Agree — those pants are hideous on their own; with the shirt, they’re mind-blowing.

      No idea what my words would be, but happy birthday!

    • Since this is this site. My three words will be Fooey. Rawwwwr. And Swimming (to remind myself to Just Keep Swimming.)

      :-) My necklace would be weird.

      • Would hivefive be one word or two?

        NOLA, I love your word choice — we all should be thinking about these and then remembering their meaning — and wish you a great birthday.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Is it wrong that those words, like, seriously resonate with me?

      • TCFKAG I love this.

    • happy birthday! Not sure what my words would be, but I like yours!

    • Happy Birthday NOLA! Sending lots of virtual fondue cupcakes your way! :)

    • Like dog tag? Just a side note that dog tag necklaces are one of my biggest pet peeves, but I like the idea of your 3 words. Happy birthday!! It sounds like you are also loved and blessed :) best wishes

      • Back-handed compliments are one of my biggest pet peeves.

        • Agreed, that was kind of obnoxious.

        • I really didn’t mean any back-handedness. it was two seperate thoughts- i don’t like dog tags, but I like the idea of the three words. The one NOLA links to is nothing like dog tags. I don’t see what was back-handed. I like NOLA very much have commented with her plenty on this site.

          • Also I thought it was obvious, but I wasn’t trying to say I don’t like that NOLA has “tags.” Its just a thing in my area where (mostly men) who aren’t in the military wear dog tags as an accessory. I just personally don’t like that.

            NOLA, hope you didn’t think I was being obnoxious. I meant that in addition to feeling grateful, I hope you get to feel your other words today too, because you obviously are loved!

          • I didn’t take it that way at all.

          • But what if they were dog tags? At the time you said it, it was more likely that they were dog tags (which is why you said it). You’re probably right – it wasn’t backhanded. It was a very unnecessary negative comment.

          • I don’t think NOLA would be wearing real dog tags to try to look like she was in the military. Really, relax. It was barely a negative comment. People are allowed to have differing fashion opinions. I don’t like dog tags, some people don’t like pleather. If they were dog tags, I feel confident that NOLA would not be crying herself to sleep because an anonymous internet commentator doesn’t like them.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Maybe cfm’s words should be

            No Dog Tags

      • It’s this one so smaller than dog tags:
        with a pearl dangle
        I get a lot of compliments on it – people want to know what the words are.

        • AnonInfinity :

          I love that! What a great idea. I need more time to think of my three words, though.

          • Well the cool thing is that the words are removable so you could actually have a bunch of them made and wear what suits you that day!

    • Happy Birthday! My three words would be “appreciate this moment”.

    • My words would be “always be joyful.” It’s actually a paraphrase of a quote from a prominent Hasidic rebbe from the 18th century.

      Happy birthday, NOLA!

    • MaggieLizer :

      Happy birthday! No idea what my words would be but I’m loving everyone else’s.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Happy birthday!! I don’t have 3 words, but my stepmom gave me a necklace years ago that is a simple disc that says “destiny” and I always wear it for important moments in my life. It’s my 1 word.

    • HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I think mine would be Fondue, FONdue, and fonDUE!!!
      hope your birthday is great, you don’t have to spend much time at work, and you get to eat all of the fondue!!! (and cake)

    • Blood And Fire

    • Francie Nolan :

      Happy Birthday!!! Have a wonderful day and I hope your birthday wishes come true!
      My three words would be patience, love and kindness

    • Happy Birthday, NOLA!

      My three words: Lucky, Curious, and Fiery.

      • Why do I think I would want to be your friend IRL? Awesome!

        • Thinking the same about you, NOLA! If you’re ever in the NY/NJ/Eastern PA area, let me know!

          • I will – my parents live in South Central PA so it’s not out of the question and I will be in NYC at the end of November.

          • Excellent! My email address is: edna_mode_nyc at yahoo dot com

            We can, if you’d like, build a C-rp-r3tt3 gathering around it, too if you’d like. (I think the NYC one is mythical, like a unicorn, oft-mentioned, never seen.)

            I’m open to doing a Philly gathering, but it’d have to be on the weekend. (I’d never be able to get out to Philly in time on a weeknight, alas.)

    • Happy Birthday, NOLA! And what a great game.

      My three words: Breathe Dance Sing

    • Anonymous :

      Happy birthday, NOLA!!

    • Honey Pillows :

      Winter. Is. Coming.

      And Happy Borned Day! (As a co-worker wished me on my birthday a little while ago.)

    • Busy Grateful Loved

      and happy birthday, NOLA!
      and to the other birthday babies.

  6. Blonde Lawyer :

    To the poster who posted as “sick” late last night check your post again. I gave you my email and invited you to join the fun group of [ladies from this site] with gut issues that email regularly. We have our own little support group. Collectively, I bet we have more colonoscopy and poop stories than you could ever want to hear.

    • And we talk about polka dots! Polka dots and p**p! Mostly p**p but I’m on there so you really can’t keep out the polka dots….

      Seriously though, we’re cool. Its just our guts that aren’t. E-mail blonde lawyer at projectmundaneart at gmail dot com and join us. :-)

    • Hi Sick–yes, join our little [email protected] group. We also love puns. Sorry you are going through this. It is scary and it can be embasassing, but you are not alone! And it is easier said than done, but you have no reason to be embarassed.

    • Ugh. Colonoscopy stories. I found out years after I had my first colonoscopy that most doctors give their patients drugs for the procedure.

      Too bad the statute of limitations had run.

      //shakes fist//

      • OH MY FREAKING GAWD. I’m cringing for you, Kanye.

        BTW, I will follow up on that email with you shortly. Just need to talk to my friend.

      • Oh gosh, that is just. awful, Kanye. I was so loopy after my last one that I told my SO rather loudly as he was walking me around the post-test area, “I can’t put my arm around you because of your gun!” And he was trying to hide the fact that he was carrying a gun. Poor guy.

        • NOLA,

          Where was your arm? Around the upper part of his torso (side holster?) or around his waist/lower hip area?

          If the latter…do you think the folks in the post-test area thought you you meant “gun” to refer to a part of his anatomy?

          Would be a great comedy skit if it suddenly caused everybody in the post-test area to start re-appraising him ….in a certain way. ;-)

          • Around his waist – he was wearing a holster or he might have had it tucked into his waistband. He was in law enforcement (now retired) so in plain clothes, he would have one tucked into his belt in the back and one in an ankle holster. It took me awhile to get used to that!

            And yes, you’re right, it could have been a good comedy skit. Who knows what they thought!

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          NOLA OMG I have a funny police spouse scope story too!!! My husband was on duty in the town we lived in at the time and was supposed to pick me up and drop me off at the hospital. There was a bad snow storm and he had stacked calls. He called me from one and said “I’m clearing this one and my next one is passed the hospital. Be outside and I’ll drop you off on the way.” So, I got picked up lights and sirens and he barely stopped to let me jump out in front of the hospital entrance. Everyone inside thought I had just run away from being arrested. I had to explain, “no that is just my husband.”

          After the scope and still drugged, I took a call from my (then also law enforcement) supervisor and proceeded to graphically tell him why, no, I could not be called in for duty that day. My husband had to take my phone away and apologize on my behalf. On the ride home I pitched a fit for a Wendy’s cheeseburger and practically started physically assaulting him while he drove because he wouldn’t stop and get me one. (That food makes me ill.) Once he thought I was going to crash his car he finally gave in, took me through the drive thru where I told the clerk “I was finally getting my f***king cheeseburger.” I’m pretty sure she thought I was the luckiest detainee ever. I don’t remember any of this.

          On another occasion, my husband picked me up on duty. The nurse misunderstood and came running back to my room, shut the door and blinds and said in this very concerned voice “there is a police officer here asking about you. What do I tell him!!!” I couldn’t stop laughing and said “I think that is just my husband here to take me home.”

          And like you, I never got used to “hugging” the gun.

  7. DC-area CSAs? :

    So, I just moved to the DC area from a place with amazing farmers markets and produce, and I am horrified by the outrageous prices y’all are paying and the lack of selection. Would a CSA be a better deal I terms of cost (as compared to farmers markets) and quality (as compared to grocery stores)? If so, does anyone have any recommendations?

    • When I lived in DC, there was a farmer’s market near RFK steadium in the FALL that I took the METRO to. The METRO is DC’s subway.

      You can get good thing’s there in that neiborhood and it is NOT too expensive. I like the KALE! Very good for digestion!

      Anyway, Jim refered a NEW CLEINT to us. Yay!

      There is this woman, ROBERTA, who head’s up the legal group for their big NY food chain and she has alot of unresolved WC cases her outside council has NOT handeled.

      I spoke with her on the telephone today, and told her I do great VOLUME litiegation, and I know the judge’s and that and I could clear the backlog at my normal hourly rate.

      Roberta told me she has over 100 OPEN case’s so she want’s a discount on my hourley, and I told her I would talk to the manageing partner about some sort of QUANTITY discount. I hope the manageing partner will go along with me on this b/c it means alot of hours, but at a DISCOUNTED rate.

      For all the work I do, I should be a partner! FOOEY!

    • South Mountain Veggies is pretty good and they deliver. Not sure about price compared to farmer’s markets since that depends on which ones you visit. I haven’t found many that are too outrageous, especially compared to the grocery store prices and quality.

    • If you are not looking for organic, look into ethnic groceries. I am most familiar with Korean – there are several large Korean supermarkets in Montgomery and Fairfax counties. They carry conventional and exotic produce at good prices. Fish selection is good, but one needs to watch which types are wild-caught and stick to those.
      I also like Magruder’s stores for produce and meat, but again, they are not that great on organic.

    • I don’t have any advice on good CSAs, but there was a really bad one I did about a year ago. I wish I could remember the name! I think the name started with an “a” and it billed itself as not really a CSA, because you could pick what you wanted. I got a Groupon for their “welcome” box, something like that, I used it sometime in the fall and got sad grocery-store fruit (there was a sticker on the sad apple) and some bad lettuce, maybe a (winter) squash. It totally sucked. They also do meat and dairy (milk in glass bottles, how trendy!), maybe that’s better.

      Wish I could remember the name! It’s funny, I moved here from Ann Arbor (back in the late 1990s) and thought the food options were so much better! I think that basically from November until about March or April, the only fresh produce I could get in Ann Arbor was Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples (once in a while there’d be good ones from WA), potatoes, carrots, bananas, nasty dried-out oranges and cabbage. We all greeted the appearance of asparagus in the spring with the delight of scurvy-ridden sailors finding a bushel of limes.

      • Honey Pillows :

        Not a real CSA, but rather a food club with delivery. It’s Arganica, and I was also incredibly disappointed.

    • We have been doing the CSA through Smucker Farms at 14th and V this summer and have loved it! They’re taking payments now for a winter CSA starting later this fall.

    • Just FYI, I looked into joining a CSA in DC and found that it didn’t make sense for me as a single person – there would be just way too much food. It’s doable for a couple if you eat a lot of veggies, but it makes the most economic sense if you can get a group of 4 to go in on it with you.

    • DC-area CSAs? :

      Thanks, all! I will check out South Mountain Veggies and Smucker Farms (and definitely ask about how much comes in the box each week to see if we should find someone else willing to go in on it with us).

      Also, Ellen has never commented on a post of mine. It makes me feel like I’m official, or something. :-P

    • Honey Pillows :

      I can’t believe I didn’t think to post this question! I’ve been searching for a good DC CSA since I moved here two years ago.

      I was very pleased with the price and quantity of Dragonfly Farms, but wanted more exotic variety, and a newsletter that actually told me when the spicy peppers were going to be spicy. If you want solid, basic produce, like lettuces, kale, tomatoes, zukes, apples, some berries every once in a while, I’d definitely recommend Dragonfly. I got Karl’s Farm this year, and they had the variety I was looking for, and even pinned recipes on Pinterest and emailed newsletters every week with news from the farm, but the quantity wasn’t fantastic, (admittedly, it was a dry summer and difficult for farmers all around), and I missed fruit in my CSA.

      I’ve heard really good things about the Lancaster Farm Fresh Coop CSA, so I’m buying a half autumn share to try them out.

      If you’re in NoVA, my friends get Great Country Farms delivered to their apartment, and the produce is ridiculously abundant and beautiful and varied.

      • DC-area CSAs? :

        Ooh, Dragonfly looks tasty. I was also thinking of a half autumn share from Lancaster Farm Fresh Coop…I’m really tempted by the cheese share they offer.

  8. Anon Analyst :

    This is totally a first world problem. When I was getting dressed in the dark this morning, I put on a pair of black knee high boots instead of brown ones. I’m wearing a coral shirt and a tan skirt, so to me, black just looks off. I didn’t even notice until I got out of the car at work. Ugh.

    • The perils of getting dressed in the dark… I’ve done this a few times with black and navy. It’s a tough look to pull off.

    • Just think. I could have been one black and one brown one! Count your blessings.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I was trying to find my gray sweater this morning in my closet in the dark. Thank goodness I organize my clothes by color and remembered that I had already worn the navy one so the gray was the second one from the right (right after the black). Compulsive organization comes in handy sometimes!

    • Senior Attorney :

      If Rachel Bilson can combine those colors and look great, you can, too!

    • I’ve actually put on one dark brown and one dark purple shoe when dressing in the dark for a trip, and not noticed it until I was on the trip. I’ve never bought two pair of shoes in different colors again…

    • I once came to work with my shirt on backwards and inside out – got dressed in the dark.

      • I came home from work one day and my daughter said, “Mommy, your sweater is inside out,” and sure enough it was. And had been since I had put it on 8 hours earlier.

    • Anon Analyst :

      Good point ladies, at least they are both the same color! I have the same style boot in both black and brown, so that would have been easy to do!

  9. Quick threadjack to follow up on yesterday’s fast dinner thread:

    Can’t believe I forgot one of our household’s favorites, which I made last night. I call them Tuscan white beans, but it’s just dolled-up canned cannellini beans. The fastest version is to saute some garlic in olive oil or spray, throw in a can of drained & rinsed beans to heat and then put in a whole bunch of baby spinach, cooking (covered) until it wilts; add some kind of liquid (water, broth, white wine) if it starts to stick. Add salt and pepper and drizzle each dish with olive oil. We like it with crusty bread but you could put it on rice or pasta. If you have more time and more produce in the house, add it. Last night’s version was zucchini and onions sauteed with the garlic, two cans of beans (there are three of us, and we’ve got a couple of servings for lunch leftovers), 1-1/2 plastic boxes of spinach and some chopped fresh tomatoes added right at the end. Depending on the chopping required, you can have this on the table in as little as10 but never more than about 20 minutes.

    • That sounds delicious. I have a recipe from the NYT recipes for health when they featured pasta dishes (see, pasta is healthy, the NYT said so!). It sounds similar–pasta with white bean tomato sauce. This is a repost of the recipe:

  10. In search of the perfect cardigan :

    Several years ago, I got a great cardigan from Old Navy that I was actually able to button up over my large chest without gaping, and I realized that unlike all my other cardigans, this one had 9 buttons instead of 8, which I think made all the difference as the buttons were closer together.

    I’m now in search of more 9 button cardigans – Old Navy has some on their website now but they’re long sleeved, and I’d really prefer three-quarter sleeves if possible. Has anyone seen any 9 button cardigans elsewhere that they could recommend? Thanks!

    • No help in your search, but a validation of your discovery. It is indeed the ginormous intervals between buttons that is the #1 cause of gaping in blouses and cardigans. Sadly, I think fewer buttons is yet another way that clothes manufacturers are skimping out on quality.

    • Uniqlo

    • I have a cardigan from Target that has an absurd number of buttons (to the point I just put it on like a pullover – way too much work to do and undo them all). Probably not too helpful, as it could just be a one off though :(

    • Bajan Candy :

      Why not just shorten the sleeves to 3/4 length *_*, would that be too much work?

  11. Please help! :

    Hello ladies, I am jacking the thread b/c I REALLY REALLY need some advice. I am a junior associate at a large law firm (I am entering into my third year). I recently had my associate review and was rated below class, much to my surprise. Now I’m not saying I’m perfect but it was truly a shock to me. I have not had the opportunity to read all of my reviews, but my reviewing partner told me that I got great reviews on a large matter that took up 5 months of my time, and then 2 other partners on other matters gave me positive reviews but then from what he said, it sounded like 2 partners (out of 7 or so) gave me bad reviews. My reviewing partner also said I need to integrate myself more into the group. Our group changed hands recently so the people in my group are about 60% different than the people when I first entered as a first year. The climate and the culture has changed, and I will admit I don’t like it.

    While I want to go to him and say This isn’t fair! That’s obviously not going to get me anywhere. It has become clear to me that office politics seem to play a large part in this, since the people who gave me bad reviews have more “power” than the people who gave me good reviews.

    I’m sorry if I’m rambling, but I just don’t know what to do. Do I start acting friendlier and call people just to chat?? It’s just odd b/c I am at a firm that is honestly not known for its “friendly” culture and I feel like my group (which is a small group in a large firm) is trying to make its own little culture. I don’t know what to do to get “in” with the partners with power.

    Any advice at all would be appreciated and I thank you for reading my post, I really appreciate it.

    • Can you solicit reviews? Just because you did some small projects for a partner doesn’t mean that you have to ask them to review you, especially if you think that they will ding you. They may decide to review you without you soliciting a review, but no need to put yourself in front of a firing squad by asking them. Also, paper your file. Fill out the self- evalution form and mention how you are taking steps to correct anything they asked you to correct. Be prepared to give concrete examples in the future of how you made the requested changes.

      • Please help! :

        As far as soliciting reviews, we get reviewed on matters that we billed X amount of hours on. We supposedly have a free market system so I really do not want to go work again for the partners who gave me negative reviews. Problem is that one of them is essentially the head of our group (we have 2 heads of the group). I like your idea of papering my file. They said that I will have another review in 6 months, so perhaps from now until 6 months out I should make notes and keep track of the changes I’m trying to make. Thank you for that idea!

        • MaggieLizer :

          Does everyone get another review in 6 months or is it just you? This is a know your office kind of thing and I don’t mean to freak you out, but if you’re the only one getting another review in 6 months then I’d consider reaching out to your network and dusting off the resume now just in case. I’m not suggesting you can’t turn this around, and IMMJ’s advice below is really great, but it’s better to be prepared than not.

          • Please help! :

            It’s my understanding that if you get rated “below class” then you get an interim review. That being said, I did flat out ask my reviewing partner if my job was in jeopardy and he said no, although who knows. I’m not tooting my own horn but I get recruiting calls all the time (maybe that’s normal though?) so I don’t think it would be TOO hard to get another job, if it came to that, ugh.

          • Next time a recruiter calls, agree to have coffee. You can always find out what’s out there without having to commit. (This isn’t a bad idea to do periodically anyway.)

        • Divaliscious11 :

          I think that is exactly the wrong idea. I’d find out who gave me a bad review and go DIRECTLY back to them for work. Find out what they liked, what they didn’t like and fix your relationship. show them you can take constructive criticism and improve.

          • Please help! :

            But isn’t the point of working at a firm with a free market system is that you can pick and choose who you want to work with? You can only get reviewed by the people that you do work for.

          • It is, but you’re confusing what the explicit culture is and what the implicit culture is. Besides, do you really want to be in a situation where you are unwilling to work with the head of your group? That seems incredibly dangerous to me. If available work goes down, and you aren’t at least somewhat valuable to a head, who do you think is going to be first on the chopping block?

            I think you have to address this head on, with grace and humility. Talking directly with people who have problems with your work product or your personality may open the door to correcting their impression of you. Avoiding addressing the problem has a number of risks.

            There are a few red flags for me in your approach to the problem, and without trying to be harsh, I think a little more self reflection may benefit you. Your surprise at the review, your assumption that it won’t be “too hard” to get another job in this market, and your unwillingness to discuss the issue or work again with someone who gave you a bad review makes me worried that you may be blindsided again, as it seems like your assessments may not be entirely accurate.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            Yes, you can pick and choose BUT, avoiding someone who wasn’t please with your work can suggest they were right, and that you aren’t willing to hear criticism and improve. I read further below that you got some additional information and only a few below class ratings. If you want to practice BigLaw, you should go to those attorneys, ask for more substantive feedback, and then ask for more work so you can implement the feedback they’ve given you. Then, you have the opportunity to correct their impression, improve your skill, you can not work for them if you like. you may find that working for them works for you, because you have a better understanding of what they want. what you don’t want is for those disappointed folks to be in the discussion saying what she did for me wasn’t great, and/or to be the amen corner if someone else is disappointed.

    • I’d go to the partners and ask what you can do better. Make sure to talk yourself into a really upbeat and positive frame of mind before you do this, so that you approach them with the attitude that you want to be the best lawyer you can be and you’d like to the opportunity to show them what you can do. I have seen young lawyers really take to heart advice that they were given and do much better the following year. And if the partners won’t give you good advice, you’ll know that it’s time to start looking for a new job.

      • +1 on this. It is not at all an easy thing to do and if you need to take a few days to get your courage up, take that time. The firm review process s*cks. I’ve been there (had a senior associate who would go tell the partner things I was doing wrong only I wasn’t actually doing the things she said I was doing but the partner would just write those things into my reviews without any due diligence — seriously, dude, you’re an attorney and you don’t do DD?). The hardest part is the unfairness of it all but that’s law firm hierarchy. +1 also on papering your actions. Try to get the partners to give you a list of concrete actions you can take so you can say next time “Partner A told me to do 1, 2, 3, and 4. Here is documentation of all the times I did 1, 2, 3, and 4 over the last six months.” Over the next few days, actively seek out interactions that make you feel good about your work. It’s easy to just hear the negatives but you need to have confidence in yourself to be able to make positive changes.

        • Please help! :

          Thank you very much – it does freaking s**k!! I will definitely take notes on all of my actions. It is such a political power game.

      • Senior Attorney :

        When I was a very junior associate, lo these many years ago, I was called into a partner’s office and told about some things (both performance-related and office-culture-related) that needed to be addressed. It was unbelieveably upsetting, but I went back the next day and asked detailed questions about what they wanted to see, and I put my head down and made the required changes. It was horrible and soul-shattering but I was super glad I had been notified of the issues and given an opportunity to correct them before it was too late. My efforts to change were noted and appreciated. And in the fullness of time I made partner at that very same firm.

        Hugs. Give yourself a day or so to freak out, and then make a plan to turn things around!

      • Please help! :

        EC MD – I think you are right about the implicit vs. the explicit culture. I just had a meeting with a partner (who is kind of like my mentor and who was actually present for my review with the reviewing partner) and questioned the whole free market thing. He said that well, [firm name] likes to say they’re free market for marketing purposes but people are going to get upset if you turn down work. I’m glad that he told me the truth b/c I honestly thought it was a pure free market system.

        Divaliscious11 – your point is similar to EC MD and I definitely understand you guys’ point. I really think a lot of this is based off of perception, at least that’s what I think after having a conversation with my partner mentor.

        I don’t know ladies, perhaps I am truly not cut out for big law. I’m not that passionate about it and I imagine that attitude shows which is why a few people have a negative perception of me. In any case thanks for everyone’s input. It’s helpful for sure. Maybe I’ll be back in another 6 months to let you know how my interim review goes….

    • Honestly? You can fight this and try to show improvement, but perceptions are nearly impossible to change. I know someone at a big firm who managed to change perception, but I don’t know how it was done. I was at the same firm as this person, had this situation happen to me, and didn’t pull it off despite working my a$$ off and doing exactly what I had been told I needed to do. I would still try to paper your file and fight for your job, but I’d also dust off the resume and start considering what else you might want to do. It never hurts to be prepared. So sorry you got blindsided like this.

      • Please help! :

        Ladies – I have an update and I am freaking mad. I just went to go look at my reviews and EVERY SINGLE PERSON who reviewed me gave me a “with class” overall ranking. The big deal that I worked on for 5 months – billed over 860 hours on it, I got all with class overall ratings and then in several individual categories I got ahead of class. One of the heads of our group, who I NEVER worked directly with gave me the “behind class” rating in several categories but still gave me an overall ranking of “with class”. This is so irritating, so then how do I end up with an overall rating of behind class?????????????

        • Woods-comma-Elle :

          I would question this (but not while you are mad). We have a similar system whereby if you get a given number of a particular rating, that automatically dictates your overall rating. Check the small print and then maybe raise it with your reviewer more as a ‘I don’t really understand how this happened since I had x, y and z ratings’.

          • Please help! :

            I like that plan – I will approach it from that perspective of I’m confused/don’t understand. The reviewing partner told me to come talk to him again next week so I will go and ask this question, among other things.

        • Bring this up with your reviewing partner. Just show him what you found and ask for clarification on the ranking process. It may be that they made an error, or he may find himself having to explain things to you. Either way, you will be in a better position if you understand what got you there…Good luck.

          • Please help! :

            Thank you, I will def bring this up with him. On one hand it actually made me happy to know that I only got a few individual categories of “below class” but on the other it made me even more upset that my overall ranking was below class. Sigh.

        • karenpadi :

          Honestly, it sounds like this is an early “up or out” push. The powers that be have decided that not enough 3rd-years have left yet and they are starting to try to push people out.

          I agree with goirishkj, dust off the resume and move on. Your firm doesn’t appreciate you but they are just using you like a worker-dog to rack up hours. Look at your projects, are they churn-and-burn, doc review? If so, you aren’t getting the training you need to move ahead.

          • I was thinking the same thing. It’s not a great way to deal with it, but at least the OP has time to start looking.

          • I am not in Biglaw, either, but it also sounds like an “up or out” move. There seems to be no good reason for you not to be “with class,” but the head of the department with whom you have not worked directly, gave you some behind class ratings. It sounds as if perhaps your attitude (not being negative here, just repeatingwht you said) may be coming through, and someone has recognized it, or just that the “in” crowd thinks you do not fit in and you should be one to go eventually. It could be that you need to improve, or improve relations with Head Guy, but that is hard to do, as goirishkj said.

            I’ve been with my firm over 25 years, and there is one partner who I apparently made a bad impression on early on, and i have yet to think he truly respects me. Friends tell me he treats everyone that way, but …. It is very hard to change perceptions, especially if they don’t want them changed.

      • Please help! :

        goirish – did you end up switching firms? Just wondering….

        • Eventually, but I wish I would have done it sooner. I’m now in government. YMMV, but I don’t think I’m cut out for firm life. I think now is the time to really consider what you want your career to look like–personally, I’m much happier now, but everyone is different. Good luck!

  12. Early TJ. I want to buy rain boots. Boots are always problematic as I have narrow feet (typically wear narrow width shoes) and not so slim calves. Any suggestions for rain boots that run narrow as most are not available in narrow widths? I seem to remember people saying that Hunter boots are not great for heavy calves.


    • The Huntress model of Hunter boots has a wider shaft and works for my own fatted calves. If the boots are two narrow for your feet could you wear some thick socks with them?

      • Fatted calves – ha!
        Being a proud owner of a pair, I hereby appropriate the phrase.

        • I must give credit to Miss Plumcake of the blog “Manolo for the Big Girl” for that one. It makes me laugh every time I think of it.

    • phillygirlruns :

      heeee – fatted calves.

      i have wide calves (16.5″) and the original hunters work for me in a size up – i typically wear an 8.5/9 and bought a 10. they are definitely a bit big on my feet, but i am comfortably able to wear them over skinny jeans or tall socks. you may want to try them on.

    • My Dav cowgirl rain boots are narrow in the foot and they aren’t too high, so they actually hit below the largest part of my rather voluptuous calves. Mine are gray with koi fish. Bought them from Amazon.


  13. Another Early TJ:

    Can you be in mourning for a friend?

    C and I worked together. I left the company and she setup weekly dinner plans where we took turns picking the restaurant. We’ve been meeting almost every week since May 1st. We also e-mailed back and forth several times a week.

    After several e-mails from her (and responses from me) on September 5th, there’s been nothing. This happened for about 10 days this summer — she just dropped off the face of the earth with no comment. I was really worried and e-mailed, texted, called, and even contacted mutual friends. The friends told me she seemed fine. After 10 days, she picked back up like it had never happened.

    This time has obviously been much longer (4 weeks tomorrow). I’ve sent a short e-mail each week, but haven’t tried the other contact methods since I didn’t feel it accomplished anything last time.

    Please tell me that in a normal relationship the other person would at least respond and say “Sorry, things are crazy. I’ll let you know when it lightens up.”

    • There are people who drop contact for their own, unspoken reasons and do not bother giving long-standing relationships notice. It sucks to be on receiving end. But it happens. One of my closest friends did this to me, and it really hurt my feelings. Still hurts 5 years later.

      Give notice, people! Let a lady know where she stands. Grrr.

      • I agree it’s terrible when this happens. I don’t think the “friends break-up” is necessarily happening to the OP here. It is probably just that her “friend” was to devote less time to the friendship and not completely part ways.

        When I see the discussions here on C*rporette on how to break-up with a friend the advice given is usually to just make yourself consistently unavailable, stop returning calls, etc. Before you do that, put yourself in the shoes of the person on the receiving end of it. Think back to what it was like when someone else did that to you, like maybe a boyfriend who just disappeared instead of letting you know up front that he was no longer interested. It seams to me that women often demand more from their mates than they are willing to give to their old close friends.

    • I recently got dumped by a friend and it was very similar to what is happening to you, although at the end she made it explicitly clear (I asked her if I could pick up my keys, and she said she’d just drop them off with my apartment manager – i.e., she didn’t watn to see me even for 2 minutes). 6 months later I still have no explanation why. Some people are just jerks.

    • I think all of my close friends have done this at some point, some for periods of more than a year. The reality is that life happens and it is unrealistic to expect constant contact. I think it is also a matter of figuring out which communication method works best. Some of my friends only get a couple minutes of downtime once they are home, but are usually not too bad with texting because they can send a text in a few seconds.

  14. Westsidebee :

    Question about taking the bar exam while on maternity leave.

    The question is essentially this: am I crazy?

    I just moved from a law firm in California to an in-house position in Colorado, and at some point I’d like to take the bar exam here in Colorado. It’s not a rush, since I am in-house and not in private practice.

    I’m pregnant and due in December, and will be taking maternity leave from about Dec. 15 to Feb 10. The bar is at the end of February. Should I try to squeeze in bar studying while on leave? On the one hand this sounds absolutely crazy, but on the other hand, I feel like my time is only going to get more and more crunched as baby grows up. It’s not like I’m going to want to make time for this later, when I have a toddler. So maybe when I have a sleeping baby is the best time. Yes? No?

    I would love to hear any thoughts on this to help me decide! Thanks hive.

    • Sleeping baby. Good luck with that! :-)

    • e_pontellier :

      No. Please bond with your baby. If you want to buy the books “just in case” or sign up for a course that you can postpone (like I hear BarBri you can re-take the course even if you don’t take the bar exam), but please leave yourself room for the baby and heaven forbid any unexpected complications.

      • Yegads, this comment and some of comments about Marissa Mayer’s short maternity leave have really got my goat.

        Can we please stop making it seem like “bonding with your baby” and “everything else” is a zero-sum game? Because it’s not.

        Babies sleep A LOT. And studying is generally best done in blocks of time, rather than in a 10hr marathon. So I could see that you’d study for an hour, get up, check on the baby, snuggle the baby, feed him/her, change him/her, and get back to studying for another hour, etc.

        It’d make for a nice study break, I think, bonding with one’s baby. And if the OP’s health allows her to (no complications), why shouldn’t she study and do something over than hovering over the kid constantly?

        I get so irritated that people think that bonding with your baby = 24-7 all-consuming hovering over the baby like the f—ing East German STASI.

        • The thing is that it’s usually better for a new mom to sleep when the baby sleeps, plus she probably will need to do laundry, dishes, take a shower, etc. But I agree with you in general, as I said below.

          • Laundry? Dishes? Etc.? Other than taking a shower, that’s NewDad’s job, or he gets his sh!t together and hires the help/corals the relatives to make that happen.

            Not even remotely kidding here.

          • It isn’t NewDad’s job by default. It isn’t NewMom’s job by default, either. NewDad and NewMom get to figure out for themselves who will do which tasks, and in all likelihood, this is fluid and always subject to change.

          • @Anon 1:22

            No, it IS the NewDad’s job. Sure it’s negotiable, but lots of things are bad deals and unfair. Yes, it’s subject to change, but there are certain times when one is under enough duress that if the other person doesn’t step up, that person is being a jerk and taking advantage. Only stumping up when the going gets easy is sure “fluid and dynamic” but not really supportive in the spirit of things.

            Please tell me you don’t seriously think the following is a good “deal” merely because it was negotiated:

            “Hello dear, I know that you just gave birth 3 days ago and your v*gina still hurts /or the gash across your abdomen still hurts, and yes, you’re doing all the nursing of the baby, changing of the diapers, and washing of the baby, but I think you need to do also do all the laundry and vacuuming, never mind that these are very physical tasks that will cause your wounds to hurt more. I will pick up the slack when the baby is 4 months old, because, hey, it’s fluid, right?”

          • @Susan – Maybe this is anti-feminist of me, but I don’t think it’s fair to assume that any single duty is the responsibility of only one spouse. Is Dad not allowed to hold the baby?

          • Anonymous :


            I don’t think it’s anti-feminist of you at all! I see the point you’re making, and no, of course Dad is allowed to hold the baby, and should be encouraged to bond with the baby.

            But it’s striking that nobody ever exhorts the Dad to bond with the baby in undertones that suggest that the baby will suffer some vague dire effects if he doesn’t. Men I know who come back from paternity leave have been told by most of their coworkers, “aren’t you glad to escape that sh!tshow?”

            But the point I was trying to make was: I see a startling contrast between the way people, even the enlightened, brilliant ladies here, exhort women who’ve just given birth to bond with their baby. There are so many natural and structural things that make it very hard *not* to bond with the baby. There’s just the physical acts of caring for the baby– changing, bathing, holding/caressing. Nursing, especially (breastmilk or formula).

            I notice that when women here complain of various ailments (from the minor– severe headache + encounter with jerky boss/colleague/etc all the way to serious life-threatening illnesses and major surgery), the Hive tells the OP to rest, and let others feed the dog, clean the house, do the dishes, if only for a while until the OP gets back on her feet.

            So, what a marked difference when we hit the charged minefield of motherhood. Suddenly, the exhortation is to bond with the baby. Which comes across as either: (1) “we suspected you were a mean heartless witch, so that’s why we have to remind you to do something that you’re naturally very inclined to do anyways” or, more likely (2) it’s the most important, all-consuming thing, don’t you dare do anything else or prioritize anything else, including yourself above that.

            Bonding with the baby, sharing in the care of the baby, while recovering from childbirth is hard, so I don’t see why all those quotidian chores shouldn’t be temporarily assigned to the spouse (or helpful relatives, or hired help) during this period.

          • That above post was me. Posting fail on my part. I’m never anonymous for these types of topics, and I probably shouldn’t bother with anonymous for the embarrassing ailments type posts either.

        • Some babies sleep A LOT. Some don’t. If you end up with one of the ones that doesn’t, then getting stuff done can be difficult. She had about a 10 minute happiness time span when she was awake and no one was in the room with her. After those 10 minutes, she needed to be back with people — she was a real cling-on child. (BTW, she’s now 17 and she actually craves alone time — this was a baby thing, not a permanent characteristic.)

          Mine had her days and nights turned around for about a week. That meant I got no night time sleep for that time period.

          Also, if you’re [email protected] feeding, you may [email protected] feed more frequently than an every-3-hours schedule. If your baby wants to eat every 2 hours then by the time you change diaper, feed, burp, maybe change diaper again, there’s just not tons of time there.

          The waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby affects different people differently, too.

          And, if your baby isn’t gaining what the doctor feels is a normal amount of weight, add a weekly trip to the doctor for weighing into your plans.

          People always advised me “sleep when your baby sleeps.” If I did that, then *nothing* would get done around the house and I’d have never had a chance to eat or shower. It’s amazing how much laundry gets generated when you add a baby to the mix. (And believe me, I don’t have extremely high housekeeping standards.) Also, that first period of time at night when the baby went to sleep was when I got to see and talk to my husband. That’s remarkably necessary if you’ve spent all day in the company of someone who doesn’t talk yet.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I’ve not had a maternity leave, so I can’t comment on the whole sleeping baby thing, but I would tend to think that taking a second bar with little preparation is more a general question. How long has it been since your first bar? And how much studying did you do the first time? And because I seriously do not know, how hard is the CO bar? My husband took a second bar about 3.5 years after his first with only about a week of studying. The second bar was a much much easier state than his first (significantly fewer topics) and he worked in general practice for his first 3.5 years. I’d say if you think you’ve retained anything from the first go round, generally have a good memory, and are “downgrading” in difficulty, this may be something you’ll be able to do. I would set up significant, full-time childcare though at least a week, if not two, before the test so you are distraction free (as much as possible).

    • I’m resisting the urge to use the phrase “crazypants” in my response ;). There will never be a “best” time to study for the bar. It bites. It is a huge emotional upheaval and time-drain. Do not saddle yourself with that while you have another huge emotional upheaval and life change on your plate, particularly one that is so momentous and wonderful, and deserving of undivided attention.

    • Diana Barry :

      NO NO NO, do it later. You will be sleep deprived from the new baby at a minimum, and maybe feeling crazy hormonal. Take it in July or the following year!!

    • I’m going to disagree with the other posters. Whether or not you will be able to manage studying for the bar depends on you and your baby. Every baby is different. If you get a colicky, needy, demanding baby, and if you can’t function on less than 8 hours’ sleep and you stress out easily, no, this is not a good time to study for the bar. But honestly, studying for the bar while working full-time with a 6-month-old baby at home is likely to be just as difficult as studying with a newborn while on maternity leave.

      Since you likely will have to register for the bar before you have the baby, I think the real questions are:
      1. Will your state allow you to sign up for the February bar and then change to taking it in July?
      2. If no, can you afford the financial loss of paying for the February bar and not taking it, and then taking it in July instead?
      3. If you take the bar in February and fail it, how will you feel about yourself?
      4. If you take the bar in February and fail it, will you be able to afford to take it again?

      If you decide to take it, I’d suggest that you sign up for an evening Bar/Bri course and leave the baby with your spouse for a couple hours while you’re in class. Trying to study while you’re simultaneously responsible for childcare will be more of a challenge.

      I do know women who took the bar and passed it with an infant at home. So it’s doable, but it depends on you and your baby’s personalities and your ability to get time away from the baby to study.

      • Westsidebee :

        Hi everyone, thanks for these responses — lots to think about. I’ll definitely look into whether I can get a refund or reschedule for July, in case it turns out to be too difficult.

        FWIW, I took the bar in California 6 years ago, and I have heard that the CO bar is easier. But honestly I’m not sure how much I retained from 6 years ago — my practice is focused on IP, so a lot of the criminal, tort, etc is kind of distant now. I’m pretty good at cramming though, so I can re-learn some of it quickly.

        Also thought I’d mention that this is my first baby, so there’s no other child to be chasing around while baby is — hopefully — sometimes — sleeping! I like the childcare suggestion for intense studying at the end though, and will look into that.

      • This is excellent advice. I also want to stress that you never know what personality your baby will have. I never could have studied for anything (not a lawyer here) during the first 2 months of ds#1’s life. He was colicky and would not sleep unless he was held. I remember almost nothing from those 2 months. On the other hand, ds#3 was a dream – almost never cried, took great naps, I was self employed when he was born & couldn’t afford to take more than a couple of weeks off, but it was no problem.

        So, be flexible. It’s good to have plans, but be prepared to change those plans if you need to.

    • I second Bluejay on this–depends on your baby. I took the bar when my first was 7 months old, but was able to put him in daycare when bar review started so I had a nice schedule of bar class, stop off and nurse baby, study for 3-4 hours, the pick up baby and go through night routine (and study once he was down, at least in theory). That was manageable, but I doubt I would have been able to study when my kids were 1-2 months old; they were completely normal as babies but that still meant that much of those first two months was spent in a 24/7 cycle of sleeping, eating, diapers, etc. My son didn’t nap more than 20 minutes until he was 6 months old, so trying to study with him would have been impossible (I barely got to shower and eat). Also, you personally will likely need some time to recuperate (physically, emotionally, hormonally)–with both kids it’s taken me more like 7-8 months to feel like sort of functional adult.

      OTOH, taking a second bar might be easier because you’ve been through the process once, and I do think it’s true that February bar exams are easier to pass than summer bars. I felt a little better about my odds in the February bar and I think whenever the scores come out February scores tend to be lower (at least in New York). Depending on how long you’ve been practicing, you may be able to take the lawyer’s bar or equivalent (provided there is not reciprocity between California and Colorado).

    • One more thing to consider is if you’re going to breast-feed, your milk quantity, and how long you want to breast feed. The bar is 2 full days with limited (and awkward) breaks. Not pumping for the number of hours required to take the bar at the 2 month mark would have (a) been extremely painful during the test and (b) depleted me of my milk. I took the bar at about the 6 month mark, so chose to wean just before.

      • Westsidebee :

        Oh wow, something I had not thought of at all. I do plan to b-feed. Thanks for mentioning this!

        And thanks for all replies, I really appreciate it.

    • I would wait, and I say that as a BigLaw veteran of 9+ years with several kids. My Baby #1 was colicky and a terrible napper. The stress of nursing, not sleeping, and working (I had to write several briefs during the first couple months of leave, which sucked) was very difficult. Plus the transition into parenthood can be overwhelming. I agree that women can and do do amazing things, and that there is no need to hover over/bond with your child 24 hours a day, but the key to me is that you are going in-house and that there is no rush. Why create a possible short-term stressor when you don’t have to?

      Just to show how experiences can differ, it would have been much easier for me to work or take another bar exam while home with Baby #2, even though I had a toddler underfoot by then, because Baby #2 was a very easy baby, Baby #1 at that point had grown into a toddler that slept very well, and I was much more used to the juggle of parenthood and a ton calmer at that point.

  15. Relationship Threadjack (and a little long):

    So…after months of thinking that we were on the same page, last night my boyfriend admitted that (contrary to my understanding) he is not ready to get engaged and does not think he will be ready until he lives on his own. So from my POV, that is adding at least almost two full years to the amount of time I have to “wait and see” because our current lease does not expire until May and then he would go and sign a full year lease on his own.

    I know I’m on the young side (24, turing 25 in November), but we’ve been together for 6 years and have lived together for a total of 4. Before I graduated and took the Bar, I asked him if he was ready and he said “soon, but not before you graduate,” which lead me to think that it would happen later this year. Was I wrong for making this conclusion?

    To further complicate things, a while back we went through a tough time which led to him blindsiding me and breaking up with me. We got back together, but I told him then (and still mean it now) that if we break up again, regardless of fault, I would not get back together. It makes me sad to think about it, but I do think we’re heading for a break up.

    And last night, I realized that it wasn’t just him I was sad about losing, but since I’m out here on my own, his family has become my family. They have come to love and respect me and it’s become a place I can go to hang out, but I know that if we break up, i’ll lose all of that. I have my own circle of friends, but there’s nothing like having an actual mother to talk to and hug at times and if (when?) we break up, I’ll lose all of that.

    I want to talk to him about this, but every time I talk (and apparently type) about this, I begin to cry and I don’t want to look like I am tying to use my emotions to guilt him into making a decision that he is not ready to make. I understand that we need to have an adult conversation about this, but I don’t know how because it hurts to think about it.

    I don’t want to rush him, but if this is not going to move forward I want to know. What is the best way for me to handle this?

    • Cornellian :

      I feel you. I try to be very aware of how my significant other’s family affects my decisions in the relationships. It’s really rough not having anywhere to go for the holidays because you got broken up with by your boyfriend.

      Have you thought about starting the conversation in writing? I remember someone here saying that they would write down what they needed to say, then hand it to the other person and wait for them to read it. That would, at least, delay the crying, I think. Do you mean you two live together now, and have since you were 20, and he wants to go out and live on his own and then decide whether to get engaged to you? That sounds like he’s stringing you along, unfortunately.

      • Agreed with Cornellian, unfortunately. He’ll drag this out as long as you let him. Save yourself some heartache and end it. It will suck and hurt, but you’ll come out better for it when you meet someone who won’t make you wait 6 years just to tell you he needs to move out and live by himself for a few years and then, well, maybe.

        I’m sorry you’re going through this.

        • What Herbie said. I’m sorry, my dear. This just sucks all around.

          *hugs* *tea & sympathy* *wine & cookies*

        • Diana Barry :

          So sorry. Big hugs!

        • Senior Attorney :

          This times a million. Especially “he’ll drag this out as long as you let him.” And I think it’s not inconceivable that you could retain your relationship with his mom, at least for a while.

          • I know it’s unconventional, but the relationship with his family/mom can exist independently of your relationship with him. Especially if you’re in the same city. You might not get invited to dinner once a week, but you can still be a family friend. I say this from the experience of my own outgoing mother – I guess it depends on your bf’s mom, but it’s certainly a possibility!

    • Ugh. I have to agree with Cornellian–it sounds like he is stringing you along. And although the family bit stinks, you can’t stay with him because of his family. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Big hugs.

    • I’m so, so sorry to hear this, Mrs. BEF. Honestly, his wanting to move out sounds to me like your relationship will soon be over. You can drag things out by living separately but still dating, but if after 6 years of dating and 4 years of cohabitation, if he isn’t sure he wants to spend the rest of his life with you (regardless of if or when you actually get married), he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life with you. I don’t think giving an ultimatum is ever helpful, but I do think that if he moves out it would probably be a good move to agree to see other people. Otherwise, I think you might end up wasting another year or more of your life on this guy, and when you’re dating the wrong guy you don’t have the opportunity to meet the right guy. Maybe you don’t need to make an absolute split right now, but I don’t think you should agree to be monogamous and committed anymore either.

      It’s always possible that if he leaves you he’ll realize he really does want to spend the rest of his life with you. I know couples that happened to. But it’s rare, and it’s more likely you need to be sad for a while and move on.

      • I agree with Bluejay. If he wants some time to himself, you should probably see other people for a while. I know that you said you would not get back together, but I think that, *if* you see other people for a while, and *if* you reconnect later, that would be OK. But I wouldn’t set a time limit or “wait for him” – be single and let him be, too.

        I’m so sorry that you’re going through this, too. It’s hard to end a long relationship, but it’s probably better now than later. Best of luck to you; we’re all thinking of you.

    • I’m so sorry. This must be so hard. My only suggestion is to make your own decision and stick to it. How long are you really willing to wait? Is it a month? A week? Maybe you’re already done with this relationship? Once you know your own mind, tell him. This isn’t an “ultimatum,” it’s just informing him of your own decision. If you can’t do this without crying or don’t feel like you can do this in person, I think this would be an okay time to do it via email or a letter (just say that you think it would be too difficult to say in person and that you might cry and don’t want that to unduly influence the situation). I’m really sorry. It will get better.

      • I just want to echo something in this comment, becuase I think its really important for women to be reminded of. You deciding what you want out of life and out of a relationship is not an ultimatium. It is you being an adult and exerting some agency over your future. So often women are told any act of personal assertion in this type of situation is an ultimatium and therefore automatically verboten. Nonsense.

        His failure to decide is still a decision. And that decision will have natural consequences, like you getting out of dodge and finding someone who is crazy about you.

        (Trust me, I have been in this exact same situation. Putting my foot down and standing up for what I want, without feeling ashamed or needy was one of the best decisions of my entire life.)

        • Exactly. There’s a huge difference between saying “Do X, or I’m leaving” and saying “I need X and if you don’t feel you can provide that, that’s okay but I think we’d need to go our separate ways.” Same result, different intent.

        • I needed to hear this right now, too. Thanks Odessa.

        • phillygirlruns :

          yes, yes, yes. all of this.

        • I completely agree. Getting out of the last relationship I was in where I was strung along, albeit in a slightly different way, sucked but ultimately was the best thing I could have done. Hugs!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Oh goodness, I’m so sorry you are going through this. I’m going to talk from a purely practical standpoint, but I know there are obviously so many emotional variables involved in all of this.

      You’ve been living together since you we’re 20 and have been together since you we’re 18, right? Did either of you live alone during the time after leaving your parents homes and moving in together or was it time spent living in a dorm, sorority/fraternity, etc? I know that I personally learned so much about myself during the years that I spent living alone. I’m a completely different person now than I was before, so I understand where your boyfriend might be coming from on that.

      Without knowing what your current renting situation is like, would it be possible for him to find his own place now before your lease expires? Perhaps finding a 6-month or month-to-month lease instead of a new 1-year lease? It’s entirely possible that even if you technically live apart that you still spend every single night together since that is what you are both so used to after living together for so long. If that happens, then there almost isn’t a point to living apart and he might see that. Maybe you could find a roommate if the rent is too much for you to cover on your own.

      Does living on his own mean that you would break up or that he wants to break up? That is a conversation you will need to have with him. If yes, then disregard what I said above and you both need to think about what you want for the future and whether that is together or separate. If not, living apart for awhile could be beneficial to both of you. There is a wide variety of ways that things could end up after living apart. You could both be much more committed to the relationship and stronger for knowing yourselves better, one or both of you could change your mind about wanting to be together, and probably about a million things in between those two ends of the spectrum.

      I agree with Cornellian that writing it all down might help. Even if you don’t give it to him, it can be a great way to get all of your feelings out and then revisit it in a few days when you’ve been able to sit with the idea for awhile.

      • I agree with all of this. I will also second the benefits of living alone – if either of you have never lived on your own before, it is a freeing experience. But I would ask what the living alone actually signifies. If it means eating ice cream in your pjs on the couch for dinner watching cr*ppy tv then great! If it means being able to be free and go out to bars etc that is a different conversation.

        You both should start exploring your options for him to move out sooner rather than later. If this means staying together or breaking up you’re not going to know until that happens, since it seems to be a condition of moving forward.

        All of this said, I’m sorry it sucks.

    • MaggieLizer :

      So sorry you’re going through this. It’s pretty odd for someone to move out but want to stay in the relationship. Generally you grow closer to each other the longer you’re together, not throw up a wall and push the other person away. Was he willing to have open and honest conversations about his move? Was he understanding about your feelings of frustration and rejection? Or did he just kind of inform you that this is what’s happening and your emotions are your problem to deal with?

      Two people can be really perfect personality matches, but the relationship won’t work if their needs are just too different. It’s tough to determine how far apart you two are based on what you’ve said. It’s perfectly possible that he will have his time by himself, get it out of his system, and come back in a year ready to commit, but it’s also very possible that he will enjoy his time to himself and want to keep it that way for a while. At the same time, if you’re really over partying and such and want to settle down and start a family, then sitting around waiting for this guy to decide he wants the same thing is going to cause much more resentment than if you want to get married because you love him but you’re happy living the young and active lifestyle that he wants more of. There’s really no right answer here, so I’m sorry that this sounds kind of unsatisfying, but we’re all here to support you. Hugs.

    • Thanks for all the advice so far ladies.

      @ Sydnew Bristow: So after graduating from high school, I lived in a dorm setting immediately, but I did it 2,000 miles away from my family. So, although almost everything was in one place, I still view that as my growing up period. Whereas he moved in with me after I finished my junior year from his mom’s. From our first apartment, we moved in to help take care of his elderly grandmother and continued to live there after her passing. At the end of my first year of law school, I moved out and into my own apartment. I lived there alone for about 2/3 of the year before he sold the home and moved in with me. Since my apartment was the perfect size for me, we moved into a larger apartment in the same building this May.

      I asked him why he doesn’t consider the time that I had my own apartment time apart and he mumbled something about he wasn’t sure whether it was long enough since he was basically at my place almost all the time. but that was his decision, right?

      I don’t think that he wants to live apart so he can go wild because neither of us are that type. We’re perfectly happy sitting at home and watching a movie together. Lately, I’ve been going out to dinners with friends a little more, but that’s just because I have been completely ignoring them for the past three years (law school) and just want to rekindle the ‘ships.

      I could try to find a roommate, but that would open us up to all sorts of questions from nosy people that I don’t really want to deal with right now.

      I think at the most, I could wait until the end of this lease, in part because anything shorter would just make the rest of the time we have on the lease has the potential to make things unnecessarily uncomfortable.

      @ Maggie Lizzer, it was less an open and honest conversation and more a “I asked him straight out why he would never give me any concrete answers when I brought up the subject.” After he told me, he went out into the living room to finish his homework and I stayed in the bedroom and did my work, cried some more, and went to bed.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’m concerned that he thinks living apart would be any different this time around than it was for that 2/3 of a year. It seems like you’d both spend a ton of time at the other’s place, force yourselves to stay apart even if you don’t want to so that you can get this time alone, or that everyone else here is right and this is his way of starting a break up.

        Since you’ve only had one conversation about this, I’d suggest talking about it a lot more. You could even tell him that this is something you want to talk about at a later point s that you can both get your thoughts together on the subject. It doesn’t have to be resolved in a single conversation, and probably won’t be. This seems like something that will take multiple conversations, insight into each others wants and needs, and will evolve over time as you both think and talk it through.

        I personally would try and get him to explain why he feels he needs the space (to grow up? to have some alone time?). Maybe there is another way for him to get what he needs without uprooting your current situation. If he really does need time to live alone, I’d want to drill down on how it would be different from the last time and talk about what you guys would do if living apart isn’t working and he isn’t getting what he said he needed (this is where a shorter lease or month-to-month would be helpful). Also try to explain to him what you are feeling about it, your fears about living apart, what you see as the meaning of his words and actions on the subject, and what you want out of the relationship. This is why it might help to postpone a serious talk so that you can both figure these things out on your own a bit first.

        Good luck with everything. I can’t imagine how rough this must be for you. Please let me know if you need someone to talk to.

      • Oh, Ms. BEF. My heart goes out to you.

        I’ve been trying to figure out how to say this, and I’m not going to get it right. I ended a 6-yr relationship this year. That came after me spending months and months and months ruminating all. the. time. How long was I willing to wait on him to make up his mind? What if I waited, and he decided he didn’t want to get married, and in the interim, I lost my ability to have kids on my own? Was I willing to trade having kids for being with him? Did I need to make that decision now? If not now, when? What if I didn’t actually want to marry him–how long was it okay, if at all, to stay in this comfortable relationship? What if this, what if that? I finally pulled the trigger and HAVE BEEN SO MUCH HAPPIER, in part because I no longer spend most of my free time in an endless mental see-sawing of pros, cons, and what-ifs. I wish I’d ended things way sooner, but my indecision allowed things to carry on much longer than they should have. So did my acceptance of his indecision.

        So you do you. You know what you want for yourself (do you need to live with someone with whom you’ve been in a committed relationship? how long are you willing to be in a relationship before you need to get married? do you want kids? how do you want to have your kids?), and as some of the commenters above pointed out, it’s good to think about what you want! It doesn’t make you needy; it makes you a human being who wants as fulfilling a life as you can cobble together. Nobody should expect you to be a passive observer as someone else makes important life decisions for you by refusing to make tough decisions himself. Don’t just float along, not really make any decisions, because that’s what Mr. BEF is doing or because your other options seem scary or hard.

        I really don’t like that Mr. BEF hasn’t given you any concrete answers about his reasons for moving. You deserve those answers because you are worthy of knowing where he sees this relationship going and what his plans are… for himself and the two of you. You deserve to know that he’s really thought this move idea through and that there are legitimate reasons that justify hurting you in the process (because, let’s cut the $hit– his moving out and his apparent indecision about the future of your relationship is really, really hurtful).

        So I guess to close my novella, none of us can tell you what to do or not do re Mr. BEF right now. But if you do decide to end things, whether now or two years from now, you will be just fine. There is life after guys, and it’s pretty good.

      • Leases are made to be broken! Don’t let real estate drive this decision.

      • Brooklyn, Esq. :

        Oh, I am so sorry you are going through this. 6 years is a long time, and such formative years for you two, as well.

        I am sorry to be blunt, but: when I was 23, I told my then-boyfriend of 4 years (1.5 years living together) that I wanted to get separate places. I still wanted to date, I just wanted to live on my own for a while.

        I did it because I was so afraid of what was going to happen. I didn’t want to hurt him. But I knew in my heart that I was doing it because what I really wanted was to break up–I just couldn’t see my way there.

        Luckily, in a way, he wouldn’t stand for it. He gave me the choice: break up and move out, or stay together. I also got lucky in that at almost the same moment, my job wanted to transfer me from PA to NY. It made the break a little cleaner, I think, but the break was coming whether or not I moved to another city.

        Good luck over the next few minutes, days, months. It will be tough, but (from what I can tell from this board), you are a smart cookie and you’ll do great whatever happens.

        [Internet hugs.]

    • Oh, Mrs. BEF, I have so been in your shoes and even when I was your age. My BF’s family was my family – we even lived in the family compound. It was devastating when we broke up. This just plain sucks. Let me know if you want to get together when I’m in Denver for some drinks and sympathy. No advice – just give yourself time.

    • I’m sorry to say, moving backward rarely if ever works. I agree with those who say to make a break now. Ripping the bandaid off is better than peeling it off one hair at a time, you know?

      You deserve better.

  16. gift etiquette :

    I have an etiquette question. I am a second-year associate in a large law firm and I’m buying my first home. I felt uncomfortable with some aspects of the purchase agreement, but since I’m not a real estate expert, I asked a real estate partner I’ve worked with whether he could recommend any good residential real estate lawyers in the area. He said that he didn’t have any good residential recommendations, but instead, he offered to take a look at the agreement himself. He ended up giving me an INCREDIBLY helpful mark-up of the agreement and spent about 45 minutes walking me through his comments and suggesting steps I should take in negotiating the agreement.

    His advice was enormously helpful and it saved me the fees I was planning on spending on another lawyer, so I feel like I should give him something to thank him (besides the profuse words of thanks I gave after our chat). What’s appropriate in this situation? Do you think he’d be offended if I were to give him some sort of thank you present (e.g., bottle of wine, restaurant gift card)? Any suggestions about what to give/how much to spend?

    • I’m not sure what the standard here is, but putting myself in his shoes, I wouldn’t expect anything, but would feel appreciated with a bottle of wine, I think that’d be a very nice touch!

    • I would get him a nice bottle of wine, in the $50-75 range, plus a handwritten thank you note on nice paper. You can always go to a nice wine store and ask for their recommendations if you’re not sure what to get.

    • A handwritten note and a bottle of wine would be great and even just a note would be fine. It’s a token of appreciation, you don’t need to make up what you saved on fees. People do favors for other people. Reviewing transaction documents for a colleague is how lawyers do favors.

    • gift etiquette :


  17. Threadjack…

    How do you deal with a professional workplace where people push too much into your personal life?

    I started a new job recently – a clinical fellowship in a male-dominated area of medicine. This means I am still ‘in training” with lower pay, but am a doctor after 8 years of med school/residency.

    Within a couple months, one of the nurses actually “yelled” out in the doctor work-room…. “We need to find Dr. L a hot guy!” ****cringe**** She’s 60 years old, and should know better….. I said “no, thank you” and that I didn’t need any help…. something like that. I was so shocked and embarrassed that I’m not sure exactly what I said. I certainly didn’t yell it though….

    Little did I know that multiple other attending docs had been already talking about me to a senior colleague and co-worker (that I see almost daily!) that they had decided to set me up with. This was incredibly awkward on so many levels….

    Bottom line – I would never get involved with someone at work – particularly whom I need to work with daily. This is asking for trouble. I want to be seen as the competent, physician scientist… not the younger trainee dating an attending and a topic of gossip.

    I tried to politely side step this when MY BOSS finally came to me to talk up this guy. I awkwardly declined, stating I was not interested and I prefer to keep my private life separate from work. The end result was the senior colleague became distant, and all of his friends/colleagues made life uncomfortable for me. It was subtle, but problematic, since I needed to speak with their group daily for discussion of patient cases. In a way, it is even more awkward since we never even went out, because the end result is only the result of gossip/back-room discussions and apparently, hurt feelings.

    How should I have handled this? I am not a flirt, and am actually a little shy. I dress professionally. I am quite mature actually, and older then most fellows because I have a PhD as well. Is this a Midwestern thing?

    I think in the future I will just always send the word out that I am involved, but I have found this also leads to more questions. People are so damn nosy.

    • Wow! I’m so sorry to hear about this! I work in a male-dominated area of medicine as well and with several younger female doctors/residents. I can’t imagine this happening here though! As someone who has lived in the Midwest and both coasts, I think that this may be somewhat due to your location. In my experience, people in certain regions are very concerned when a woman of a certain age (>25!) is single and feel it is their duty to help her out! That being said, it’s extremely unprofessional for them to have put you in such a position and they are obviously looking at you more as a young woman than as a professional colleague. Is there someone in HR (or perhaps the manager of the department) that you can talk to? This is borderline sexual harassment (maybe not even so borderline! I’m not a lawyer) and while you probably don’t want to rock the boat too much, this is not an ok environment for you to have to work in! Having someone step in to mediate a discussion could be helpful and prevent future lawsuits from other fellows/residents! They really just might not understand what is it that they did wrong (although they should!) and how they are making you feel.

      • HR? Does that even exist in medicine? I am half kidding…. I cannot even imagine taking it to this level and I would never trust anyone in HR. The current situation is subtle, but it is so clear to me. And even though I like my boss, I am certain he would look at me “differently” if I even brought this up with him. Medicine is an incredibly small world within subspecialties…. I can’t afford any more gossip.

        Hoping that time will help, and I always tell myself that doing your job well will get you what you deserve. But honestly, I have decided that I probably will not continue on at this hospital after fellowship because of this. I realize that this sounds dramatic, but I feel that it is compromising the care I give patients if other doctors are not collaborating fully with me.

        It really isn’t fair….. but there it is.

    • e_pontellier :

      i can so so so relate. seriously. subscribing to this thread to see what others have to say.
      Last week, I had a “networking” meeting with an accomplished attorney who attended my law school. Within the first five minutes, he was asking me where I went to high school, who my father works for, whether I have siblings, how old my husband is, where i met my husband, and oh my god it was awful. (please no comments on how I need to learn to control the conversation, please no comments on how that is what life at a big firm will be like if I ever manage to get there, I was totally blindsided and got completely chewed out by my husband when I got home).

      FWIW, I’m in NYC and so I don’t think it’s a midwestern thing. I think it’s just a completely socially unaware thing. From this experience, I’ve learned that I need to be very firm and I can repeat myself as necessary. I’m constantly told I’m “mean” but really, I’m just shy and afraid of being steamrolled (like I was last week). so I’m right there with you on being annoyed with people being so damn nosy.

      • I’m worried this is going to come out as snarky, but I’m not seeing what was awful here since it was a networking meeting (and not a job interview where family questions would be out of bounds). I might ask questions like this, especially if I was trying to draw someone out and get to know them. (Although the husband age thing is weird. Not sure why anyone would care.) What am I missing?

        • anon in-house :

          Yeah, I’m confused…why did your hubbie chew you out?

        • I hate clunky shoes :

          Completely agree – networking is basically making friends in the industry and that is all he was looking to do. If I met a collegue for a networking event and tried to be friendly and asked where they went to school and siblings and I got a response of “that is too personal” all I would think is “what is wrong with this weirdo” and try to leave like you would try to discreetly leave a bad date.

          Sorry but it’s the truth.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Not to pile on but I recall you posting here for relationship advice. I worry that you were blindsided and chewed out by your husband. Your husband should be supporting you and maybe giving constructive criticism but certainly not blindsiding you and chewing you out. I hope things get better for you soon.

    • I doubt this is a reflection on how they view your professional credentials. (And maybe it’s just where I come from, but I feel like 60 yo ladies often love to play match-maker and be really outspoken about romantic relationships, no matter how inappropriate. At least, all my aunts are just like this.) Was it ever explicitly stated that they wanted to set you up with this guy? If so, can you just go back and say “hey, I feel like things got weird here. I just have a no dating at work policy. I hope that didn’t cause any hurt feelings.” I just feel like sometimes awkwardness is most easily dispelled by calling it out and saying “hey, Awkwardness!” Maybe the guy wasn’t in on this at all and now worries that you thought he was blah blah blah junior high. What’s great about not being 13 years old is that you can be up front instead of *dying* from embarassment.

      • ha, TBK, you said what i was trying to say, but concisely and better! ;o)

      • Thanks so much for your input guys. Yes, it was explicitly said they wanted me…. not only to go out with this guy….. it was like they ALL had decided I practically should marry him. It was disturbing. I said “no” – clearly – to multiple people. Maybe I don’t always choose the perfect words when blindsided, but I did pretty well. And then it did stop…. and now I am suffering the consequences. That’s what sucks.

        And how can I go up to this guy NOW, when he actually never said anything to me directly. It is so damn stupid.

        For all I know, this guy was everyone’s dear friend… or recently got divorced…. or is a geeky scientist like me (!) and they thought they were doing a good thing. I don’t even want to go there and ask any more questions.

        • This sounds crazy, but maybe ask him out for coffee? Even joke that everyone was trying to set the two of you up and you’d like to clear the air?

          If you break the ice with him, maybe others will follow….

          • I actually thought about this, but I just didn’t think I was comfortable enough that I could pull it off. And again – I thought this just was too casual of an interaction that I didn’t want to get misconstrued.

            We did have to meet alone though to work on preparing some figures for a publication/presentation and I made an effort to be very professional but comfortable and friendly …. a kind of “no hard feelings?!?”… but I just could not bring up the elephant. Unfortunately, it didn’t help.

      • +1 on this reply. Calling it awkward usually makes everyone realize they stepped over a line. If you’re the sarcastic type, you could go with “no thanks, my cats would really be upset” or “did my grandmother call you to play matchmaker” + a laugh and combined with a “thanks, but my personal life is actually great!”

      • karenpadi :

        Trust me, it’s a midwestern thing. I grew up in the midwest and I work with people in the midwest. It’s culturally acceptable to be nosey and intrusive in northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. I think it’s their way of showing affection/interest.

        I try to turn it around and interrogate them. It works with my extended family and most of my co-workers.

    • aw, i feel your pain…how awkward! To be honest, though, i think i read in this just a simple culture/personality difference. I think they seem to have a TMI, gregarious, super personal and tight culture, and they were just trying to make you part of the group as a new person. I don’t think they were *trying* to make you feel uncomfortable. In my workplace, a group of us are super talkative and since we spend a lot of time together we have gotten really TMI sometimes, and we have to constantly remind ourselves to tone it down, but it’s hard ;o)

      NONE of this is your fault!!! You didn’t handle anything wrong, you didn’t bring this on yourself!!! This is just their normal group culture, and would have happened to anyone new coming in.

      The only thing I would suggest that might help is telling some of these people (maybe your boss) , or in the future telling people as SOON as this thing starts to happen: I’m sorry, I know you’re trying to be friendly, but I am really shy about my personal life, and I like to keep my dating outside of work. But I appreciate your trying to help! (and try to say it with a smile)

      I’m saying this from the perspecitive of someone who used to be super shy and kind of in my head, and finding out later that people thought I didn’t like them, and I was a snob, because i had been so quiet. It turns out if I’d just been honest that I was shy, then we all could have become friends sooner.

      But, I’m sorry this happened to you. It sucks to feel overwhelmed and steamrolled by stronger personalities. ;o(

      • Thanks for your support!

        Actually, I think it is good to add the “shy about my personal life”. That is very appropriate for me. I am going to memorize a few key lines and practice them.

        This all just happened so fast and I had no idea they were all conspiring behind my back until it was beyond control. I have to admit that it was so so discouraging to me though….. I was working so hard and thought I was earning the respect of my colleagues, and they still all just saw me as a woman rather then a colleague. I’m not stating it well…

        • Okay, feel free to ignore me, tell me I’m an idiot and insensitive or whatever, but I guess to me I see that they have this friend, maybe he’s the only single guy, and then you come along and they like you and say “oh, hey, wouldn’t this be great!” Kind of a numbskull approach, I agree, but aren’t they similarly seeing their friend as just a man rather than as a colleague? When I was in school, all of us lawyers often found that the doctors were pretty much the only other professional school kids on campus who were as (or often more — sorry!) nerdy and awkward as we were. I’m not there and so maybe there’s a vibe that just doesn’t translate over the Internet but I’m seeing some geeky and awkward people, not people who lack respect for you.

          • That definitely could be the case. However, I have the feeling that if the situation was reversed, with a male resident/fellow and a female physician, that this wouldn’t have happened. Especially not a male boss telling a male resident to date a female colleague!

            Also, I totally understand the disappointment in working your tail off to be professional and rock at your job and still being viewed as just a young woman. I actually had to stop lightening my hair and wear my glasses instead of contacts for a while at a certain point in my early career to get the respect that I deserved. I didn’t see any of the young men having to change their appearance to get taken seriously. Frustrating!

        • No, you are totally stating it well, i get what you are saying, and that is what it feels like and that is lame. :o(

          and i totally understand you felt blindsided, i am horrible at responding to things in the moment, and then i kick myself afterwards for all the things i wish i had said.

          But I also hope like some other people have said, that they were just trying to be friendly in a way too-familiar way, but that now it’s just awkward bc they are worried that you are mad or don’t like them. So, I HOPE that with a few “i’m sorry, im shy about my personal life” and trying to initiate some other friendly conversations about them ad their lives to show that you like them but just don’t want to talk about yourself, that their weirdness right now will blow over and people will get over their awkwardness right now as you all get to know each other better.

          That is what I hope. I could be wrong and it could be more like some other people are saying, and these are just obnoxious, rude, overbearing people, and you will find another workplace where you fit in better. But I hope that is not the case.

          Hugs!! And once again: NOT your fault!!

    • This is sexual harassment, plain and simple, even though it was initially meant with good intentions. Now, your colleagues are retaliating against you because you did not respond to their harassment in the way they wanted you to. Since it is so extensive and involved supervisors, it seems perilously close to creating a hostile environment. Is there an HR or ethics board of some sort you could go to? You don’t have to name names or report anyone, but I think it would be prudent to suggest that all employees undergo anti-harassment training. This isn’t just a matter of your own feelings, but a matter of protecting the employer from liability for their employee’s boneheaded actions, so HR will probably go for it. Also, if you do make a complaint, you’re documenting the issue in case it continues to escalate and you feel like you need to take further action to protect your own career.

      You handled this perfectly. It is others who handled this wrong. No matter what you wear, how shy or flirty you are, or how mature you are, this is NOT your fault and it is NEVER okay for colleagues to treat you this way. No means no, in the workplace just like anywhere else. Please, don’t feel badly about yourself.

    • anon in-house :

      Wow, I am pretty blown away by this story. So many boundaries crossed on so many levels. I am not sure how you can undo what unfortunately others have done on your unsolicited behalf, but take the high road, stay friendly but professional, and be the most competent clinical fellow / doctor you can be. Perhaps you can try weaving in that you are now seeing someone without getting into details, but seems like these busybodies won’t get a clue. Sorry you have to put up with this!

    • Ugh, this sounds like you are trapped in a bad TV show on the CW. Sorry, no advice, just commiseration. There’s no stopping some people. If you were married, then all you’d hear about is “when are you having a baby?”

  18. WARNING: Paula’s Choice question ahead. Please pass with caution if you are not interested.

    Based on recommendations here, I started using Paula’s Choice products this spring. After developing the two largest pimples of my life, my skin settled down and now looks pretty fab (I’m routinely going without foundation for the first time in 20 years.)

    Here’s my question. I initially found the multi-step process too overwhelming so I just use two products, the balancing cleanser and the 1 percent BHA gel. Now, I’d like to branch out. So, those of you who are Paula’s Choice regulars, what products do you love and would recommend?


    • My favorite “add-ons” are the antioxidant serum and the anti-wrinkle/anti-acne moisturizer.

    • I do the Balancing, all five steps. I use the shampoo/body wash and conditioner (which I think might be discontinued) and I use the orange bottle sunscreen on my arms. I like the redness diminishing toner also but I use as needed since my skin is sensitive.

      I was thinking the other day though, that the sunscreen has antioxidants in it. So I am going to shift to using the antioxidant stuff (step 4) only if I am using a different sunscreen. Because that stuff is expensive.

    • Like you, I initially found it overwhelming. But I now use the four-step process – Balancing cleanser, Balancing toner, 1% BHA gel, and anti-oxidant serum around my eyes. I use the former two twice daily and the latter two at night only. I think you really need the toner, because it calms and soothes your skin. The BHA exfoliates and I think it would be a bit harsh if you didn’t have the soothing effects of the toner. As for the anti-oxidant serum, I use it only in areas where I’m concerned about wrinkles, and I use a different eye cream in the morning (currently Say Yes to Blueberries).

      I don’t use normally a PC moisturizer because I have a Clinique one with sunscreen. I did buy a tube of the moisturizing gel and I pretty much only use it when my skin is extra dry, for instance if I travel to a dry climate or if I take a long-haul flight.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I do all five steps (cleanse, tone, BHA, antioxidant serum, SFP moisturizer for day, gel moisturizer at night). I have found that it really doesn’t take that much longer once you’re used to the routine. You should at least add moisturizer!! I’m considering adding the dark spot remover… does anyone use a dark spot remover of any brand? I have some dark spots from acne long since gone that I’d like to get rid of.

      • I’m using Kiehls with the DDF cleanser I got in my birchbox. I have definitely seen a difference and it’s been about a month of consistent use

      • Cavedweller :

        Paula’s choice recently came out with a new lightener that, according to a reviewer, successfully addressed acne scars. I’m intrigued since I’m looking for the same thing.

        • Cavedweller :

          I believe it’s the RESIST Pure Radiance Skin Brightening Treatment .

    • If I can TJ your TJ for a moment; how do you all figure out which line is best for you? I am have breakouts, blackheads, dark spots/discoloration and would like to start addressing the creases that seem to be forming (I refuse to call them wrinkles). I’m normal/dry with a normal/oily Tzone. I hate my skin!!

      • Trial and error. They allow returns for a full refund within 60 days of purchase.

    • Does anyone use PC who is on prescription acne stuff (retin-a or antibiotics)? I need to overhaul my routine, but the prescription meds have to stay in. Thanks!

      • I do – only use Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing cleanser and toner, then Retin-A at night, mix of BP and clindamycin in the morning. PC seems to work well with the prescription stuff for me.


    As bad as this case is, I’m thinking of the many other bad situations like this where the women have decided not to sue for fear of being blacklisted.

  20. I am inheirating an employee who objects to working for me. I don’t know or understand the nature of her opposition – I understand it is historical in nature and that she thinks I have been critical of her in the past.. She is a high strung, high performing individual who has been through a lot of management change in the last couple of years. She brings a lot of value to our organization and has a lot of internal knowledge (more than I do, and she and I both know that). I need to figure out how to balance managing her with not having her damage my own reputation. My boss has suggested treating her with kid gloves. In the meantime, this woman has displayed zero respect for me, doesn’t even say hello to me, and I need to figure out how to partner with her effecively. Does anyone have any stories, advice or resources they can suggest to me? Thanks!

    • Treating her with kid gloves will make her respect you less, and make it even more apparent to her that she can hold you hostage.

      Really, the two of you can sink or swim together. She can withhold help and be dificult and you can slam her in reviews and you can both look terrible. Or, you can both work together.

      Is part of her resentment that she thinks she should have the job you now have? Or is she someone in a post that’s not on the track, but which is nevertheless an important one that she might hold forever?

      Either way, you need to have “The Talk” with her. Address openly and honestly that you know there’s been a lot of management change, and that it hasn’t been ideal. Ask her what her goals are? (Has anybody bothered to find out? Is she frustrated? Perhaps she’s one of those people who are good at X and have been pigeonholed doing X forever and are seething with resentment about it? If so, you might be able to make a deal– she needs to do her share, and you will try to get her out of her pigeonhole.) If not, she still needs to be reminded that the two of you are part of a team, and she is expected to do her part. You will do your part, but you can’t do that if she doesn’t want to cooperate.)

      • Thanks for the advice. She definitely feels she should have my boss’s job (forget my job!). She is young and knows so, so much about the organization. She treats everyone as a peer to herself or someone below her. I do think it’s a good point that she may feel pigeonholed. I will sit down and talk to her about her goals – I’m not sure what else I can do to “earn” her respect. Her prior manager had the same problem, unfortunately.

        • anon in-house :

          I like that idea, and would go further by having this talk with her over coffee or lunch outside of the office which can feel more guarded and tense. Ask her goals, how you can work together, what you can do to assist in her transition. Kill her with kindness, but be sincere.

          • Very good point– neutral /safe ground can make a huge difference in getting someone to open up so you can have a productive discussion.

    • Not sure if you’re still reading but I’ve encountered something similar before and can share the story. I did have ‘the talk’ with my employee and yes, she did have a lot of baggage related to management change and a long list of professional goals. She was obviously very bright and capable, so I took a risk and gave her some big prominent responsibilities, with a lot of room to figure out how best to address them. She did very well and after a year, was a credible candidate for a desirable transfer which I was only too happy to support.

      I wouldn’t be too worried about absence of outward forms of respect and it certainly sounds like your boss is already sensitive to the fact that you’ve got a prickly handful. It seems like your employee feels particularly entitled if she thinks she can do your boss’s job, so I would be careful to avoid feeding this eg. avoid confiding, find other ways to get up to speed on your own internal knowledge, remember that you are partners on the projects you assign to her but she’s not a partner on your other work. You don’t want her second-guessing or moaning to your other staff or anyone else because she reckons she’d do your job better.

      My former employee came seriously unstuck with her subsequent boss – small upsets because she wasn’t included when the team pitched to the company’s executives, big upsets over her failure to receive promotions and pay adjustments – and eventually left our company. It didn’t surprise me but I was glad the drama hadn’t happened on my watch.

  21. Number Cruncher :

    I like the 10% AHA weekly resurfacing treatment.

  22. CurlyEsq. :

    Hello ladies. I need to stop being cheap and invest in a good hairdryer for the winter. I’m looking for something that will dry my hair quickly and wont frizz it out (I have curly hair – and although it is fine – it takes forever to dry). Any suggestions???

    • ChinaRette :

      Hi CurlyEsq. I have frizzy/wavy but not curly hair. I finally broke down and bought an Ultra Chi Low EMF hairdryer from Ulta. I found a small coupon, plus they had a special sale on some of the Chi hairdryers. I saved over $40 off the regular price that way (although it still costs ~$100). My hair does dry a lot faster than with my old cheap hairdryer, and it seems shinier, too. It has several attachments including a diffuser which might be good for your hair. Anyway, not sure if you want that kind of investment, but I did like the experience at Ulta. Stalk and ask the associates when the hairdryers you want will be on sale.

  23. I just need to complain. Today has been a horrible day. I want to go back to sleep and wake up again!

    I need the next two weeks to fly by (a wedding this Saturday that is stressing me out, and I’m sick of dealing with crap from it, and my husband’s rude ex-girlfriend’s wedding next weekend) so I can finally relax.

    Calgon, take me away!

    • I am a banana. :

      Ew at having to go to your husband’s rude ex-girlfriend’s wedding. Internet sympathies.

      • Yeah. I don’t know if agreeing to go makes me a saint or a pushover. He was asked by the groom (whom he grew up with) to be a groomsman, so…

        On the upside, I’ll be going to Dallas (hopefully cooler weather), and a close friend that I haven’t seen in a long time is coming up to hang out with me at the wedding. So maybe that will outweigh the “ew” factor. Hasn’t yet though.

  24. Help managing a situation at work..

    I work with another senior manager (not my reporting manager) and he keeps asking me to do things that are his secretary’s responsibility like setting up meeting, quick edits to PowerPoint etc. how do I nip this in the bud? I don’t want to be treated like an assistant.

    • At your firm, is the norm for only secretaries to set up meetings and make quick edits to PowerPoints/word-docs?

      I ask, because in my large finance firm, the head of my dept, who’s a very senior managing director will sometimes send out his own meeting invites.

      Just want more context, otherwise, it’s impossible to assess from here whether he’s inappropriately delegating work to you that he should be delegating to his secretary, or whether you’re at risk of making this worse than it is.

    • anon in-house :

      Just a thought, but in my experience across multiple employers, I was asked to do administrative stuff even when there are secretaries around because the managers know the secretaries are inefficient and take forever or are not as attentive to detail, so they asked another junior professional like me who they know would get the job done. It actually gave me a chance to shine in some ways, and people appreciate when you can roll up your sleeves and do the annoying menial stuff even more than your actual job tasks. Feel free to disregard if this is not the case here.

    • AnonInfinity :

      For me it depends. There are certain times when I feel that doing one of these tasks is part of being on the team. For example, we were once under the gun on a deadline, and the big boss literally dictated a document to me in a conference room. But it’s not a normal thing, and he doesn’t treat me like an assistant otherwise.

      If someone starts giving me those kinds of assignments as more of a normal thing, I’ll usually email his assistant, copying him, and ask the assistant to take care of it. Or else I’ll ask the assistant to set up a meeting, for example, and email the particulars to him and copy me.

    • Research, Not Law :

      It depends on the workflow. I have been in that situation where the requests were appropriate. In which case, just do it.

      I’ve also been in situations were it was not. When it was not, my solution was to say “I’ll get to it after I complete my necessary tasks. I can’t guarantee when that will be. You may want to do it yourself or find someone else.” Then I’d repeat as often as needed until they finally went down the correct channels. Mind you, this is an indirect and perhaps immature way of dealing with the situation and that I knew I would have full support of my actual manager if the person complained. It was, however, quite effective.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Is any of it something you could conceivably learn from? Not sure what your relative levels of experience are, but, for example, I prefer to input a partner’s edits to my documents myself rather than ask a secretary do it (even though usually partners give it to the secretary) because I learn from the edits better by entering them myself than reading over them later. If it’s strictly administrative, though, forward it to your secretary to do and cc the senior manager on it.

    • It depends on the situation. If it is a crunch situation (last night I e-filed a document from home b/c internet was not letting us do it at work), that’s one thing. If not, I would try to find a way to point out that this is not your job. Our top two senior attorneys sometimes in a conversation about a case will suggest I do something (as in schedule a deposition, contact the court administrator about hearing dates) that is typically an assistant’s job, and I do not make a big deal. I just say “I”ll get ASSISTANT NAME to do that.” No one has ever blinked an eye. These occurrences are usually in the context of a discussion about strategy and what we are gong to do next, and it is second nature for them to suggest someone ELSE, not them, do it :)

  25. Threadjack: Jennifer Livingston is my hero of the day!

  26. Doesn’t anyone else think those J. Crew pants are non-sensical? When exactly does a grown woman wear bow pants (especially ugly brown bow pants?)

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