Thursday’s TPS Report: Navy tweed jacket

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

Navy tweed jacketI am not one of the people who can wear this kind of boxy, cropped jacket — but if you are, take note: this navy tweed jacket is on a pretty big discount at J.Crew.  It is a classic shape, and the model looks really cute in it — I’d wear it with trousers and pencil skirts if I were her.  The jacket is on final sale — was $268, marked to $90, but it comes down to $71 with code OURTREAT (sizes 6, 8, 10, 12 only as of this AM). Navy tweed jacket

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

(Psst: Check out the Corporette Bargains page for more great deals, including a compilation of previous recommendations now on sale.)


  1. Anybody have any experience with Piel leather? I’ve been looking for a work bag and saw a colleague carrying the Piel Computer Tote (link to follow) around. It’s under the pricepoint I was considering and looks nice in person.

    Or…other suggestions for a brown leather work tote that can hold my laptop + misc. stuff on a daily basis as well as business trips?

    • Can be seen here:

      And also here

    • I own a Piel bag, although I bought it mostly for traveling because I don’t have to carry my laptop daily. I can’t find the exact bag I own, but it’s something along these lines:

      I like it, and it has held up well (I’ve had it for two years), but like I said, I’m not carrying it every day. I was looking for something that was attractive but also practical, and it fits the bill. I would definitely be willing to buy another if/when the current bag gives out, although I don’t think that will be any time soon.

  2. @ petitesq :

    Just wanted to say thanks – you suggested a purple top for me on Monday’s TPS Report, and I’m wearing it today and love it. And it’s really soft! Thanks :)

    from Almost There

    • Hooray!! I’m so glad it worked for you!

      • I ordered this and I thought it was so pretty and interesting (and great colours – I tried “galactic green”) but I would recommend majorly sizing down. I’m returning the one I ordered unless I can try a smaller one.

        • Almost There :

          I agree, I went one size smaller than my normal, it runs pretty big. I got it in the dark green and the dark purple, er, vineyard and galactic green.

  3. I love this jacket. It looks great on those of us who aren’t tiny but are totally lacking in curves.

    TJ: I’m going to a meeting with a former high ranking government official tomorrow (like a mini-prime minister). So exciting. It’s invite only and billed as an intimate conversation. Pencil skirt, nylons and non-matching jacket okay? For context: I’m a doctoral student, it’s in an academic setting.

    • Always a NYer :

      So exciting, totally jealous! Your outfit sounds great, although this would be the perfect time to break out that off the shoulder suit we all have in the back of our closets ;)

      • Sadly it’s in storage ;) And I cannot believe I wrote ‘mini-prime minister’ above. There are nationalists who would have my head on a pike.

        • Haha. I chuckled when I read mini-prime minister, I was picturing a doll-sized Cameron.

  4. NOLA:

    The black heeled Me Too boots arrived. Fit easily over my calf, look great. Currently, everything is skimcoated in ice around my house, so I think I won’t wear them today, but they are lovely. Thanks for the recommendation.

    To everyone else with muscular (or fatted) calves, I have a 16.5 inch calf, they are these, and I have room in them:

    • Almost There :

      Those are hot!

      What is skimcoated?

      • very thin layer. I think it’s a word from home improvement, like you might skim coat some plaster onto something. Basically, ice isn’t thick but it’s everywhere.

    • Awesome! I have exactly the same calf measurement. I tried mine on with denim leggings and they even zipped easily there. I can’t wait until it’s cold enough to wear them! Really warm here now – it’s supposed to get up to 85. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to take them to Denver next week.

      So glad they worked for you, too!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Cute! Those are too high for me, but I really like them. I got an 18″ circumference pair of Lumiani boots last night and they didn’t fit either. I don’t know what the problem is. The widest part of my calf is 16.5″ and the size that I bought were the same size as the ones used for the circumference measurement according to Zappos. I’ll have to keep looking. Thank goodness for free shipping and returns!

      • I just rigged up a piece of paper to measure my calves in my office. (This is embarassing). I’m at just under 16″ – do you think they would be too loose? I can’t afford them but I really really want them (and need them frankly).

        • Sorry, I meant to reply to EC MD

          • Not really — the back half is lycra so its stretches to accomodate. The buckles also adjust and I think you could tighten them down. I tried them last night with just nylons on and had enough room that I would fit jeans or cords in them, but they don’t bag at all with just nylons.

            They are really high, but they have a hidden platform in them so they are more comfortable than they look. I find Me Too to be a very comfortable brand for my foot.

          • OOOH! Thanks so much!

    • Seriously love these so much! I need them ASAP!

    • I don’t know what the measurements are but the Aerosoles With Pride may work for those with wider calves. It has double zippers and it’s faux leather.

    • To Cat from SF Bay Associate :

      To hop onto this boot thread, Cat, you were right – the Canadienne Dawson were not as cute as the Aquatalia Toast. I think I’m keeping the Aquatalias :). In particular, I really didn’t like the straight-across-the-ankle seam joining the shaft of the boot to the shoe part in the Canadiennes, as opposed to the much more vertically curved Aquatalia seam. The horizontal seam really stumpified my legs. I suggest all C-ladies be on the lookout for those horizontal seams on knee-high boots – it was REALLY unflattering.

      • Ugh. I’ve been closely following the boot discussion and was going to pull the trigger this week (well I did, but the ones I ordered were backordered and then cancelled) and now my car broke down and will be $1,7oo for the repair. That would have bought some really great boots.

  5. After reading yesterday’s Beauty Wednesday thread I think I’m going to take the plunge on one of the Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palettes. I’m leaning towards Naked II, but does anyone out there recommend one over the other? For reference, I have dark hair and light olive coloring (can get sallow in the winter if not careful!).

    Also, looking for endorsements of a light to medium coverage foundation (more of a tinted moisturizer, really). I’m having a baby in 3 months and need to streamline the beauty routine for a bit.

    • Legally Red :

      I have red hair and pink skin, generally look best in jewel tones, and I love Naked I. It’s pretty much all I use these days. I’ve also been wondering about the differences between I and II, though.

      • Dark blonde hair, fair skin with pink undertones. I also use Naked I pretty much exclusively.
        I find the colours warmer than those in Naked II.

    • Always a NYer :

      I have the Naked II palette and love it. For reference, I have very fair skin with pink undertones and dark hair.

      As for the light to medium coverage foundation, have you looked at the new Laura Mercier compacts? I loved the formulation and it would have come home with me had they had a shade light and pink enough.

      • Hmmm I love this rec but live somewhere where I’d have to order without trying (no Laura Mercier within a zillion miles). How do people do that? Just guess your coloring according to the computer screen?

        • Always a NYer :

          Their return policy seems very generous.

          Have you checked out the website findation dot com ? It shows you what shades you are in different brands based on the shades you currently use. May be worth checking out.

        • No chance of flying through an airport with a duty free? They typically have them there.

      • Legally Red :

        Maybe I’ll check out Naked II then!

      • LadyEnginerd :

        That’s interesting. I was warned off using the new LM tinted moisturizer compacts as a full-face foundation at the counter because there’s not that much of it in the compact as compared to the tube (designed for touch-ups). They told me to use LM liquid tinted moisturizer in the tubes and then use the compact for touch-ups (because it will go on over powder, unlike the liquid stuff).

        But hey, I use foundation so infrequently these days I might just go buy the compact and have it be cost-effective, because it’s taken me a year to get thru the LM tinted moisturizer starter kit from sephora…

    • Anon Analyst :

      If I recall correctly from what I’ve read on beauty blogs, the Naked II palette works better with cooler skin tones. I have the original Naked Palette and love it. I have darker skin and yellow undertones. Makeup and Beauty Blog had a good review and swatches of the different shadows.

    • I have both of them and love them. If you get the Naked II, spring for the eyeshadow primer. It comes with the Naked I.

    • Can anyone talk about the relative glitteriness of the Naked palettes? I checked them out but truthfully they just seemed to have too much glitter for work. Do they go on as glittery as they look in the pan?

      • Always a NYer :

        I was worried about that as well but found that they are more metallic/shimmery than glittery. My go-to colors are Tease, Pistol, Verve, and Bootycall (which are a mix of matte and shimmer, like the satin finish in MAC eyeshadows).

      • They do have a good bit of shimmer, but you can apply sparingly to minimize. The colors are highly pigmented so you’ll still get the effect. Or you can do what I do – dip my blending brush in the matte Naked shadow and use it to blend, which matte-ifies the sparkle somewhat.

        (although as an office drone, I welcome a bit of sparkle to my day!)

      • locomotive :

        I find that Naked II only has 2-3 very glittery shades that I reserve for going out. I’m Asian and fairly pale with black hair and I really love Naked II – I think the colors are more flexible and have used every shade in the palette. I don’t think I would have been able to do that with Naked I

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      I have Naked II and I think our complexions are similar. I got the newer one because I thought the first would make me look too yellow because of all the golds. Although I do love a good gold shadow from time to time.

    • I really like the Maybelline Age Rewind products – they have a concealer and a foundation/tinted moisturizer, they come in quite a few colors, they’re pretty reasonably priced and easy/fast to use.

  6. e_pontellier :

    NYC ladies: I’ll be wearing jeans, a black blazer, and a turquoise shirt. See you tonight!

    • springtime :

      So jealous of you guys! Have fun!

    • Cornellian :

      i know i’m late to the game, but what’s your address again? or where are you meeting?

      • e_pontellier :

        You can reach me at e.pontellier.r et te [at] gmail [dot] com. We’re meeting up at Grey Dog’s on W 16th St btwn 7th/8th Aves, around 8PM. Hope you can come!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Argh, I can’t make it tonight. I’m apparently trying to be Martha Stewart for my party this weekend and I have to make cupcakes tonight so that I can frost them tomorrow or Saturday because tomorrow night ill be making sangria, brownies, marinating chicken, etc. I forgot how much work hosting a party is, especially while trying to fit in 65 hours of work during the week!

      Have fun! I’ll make it to one eventually!

    • I may be on the later side (8:30/9), but I’ll be there!

  7. Kitten Heeled :

    Looking for some basic advice on health benefits:

    I recently started a BigLaw job and I need to decide whether to sign up for health insurance, dental, etc. While in law school, I was on my husband’s health insurance- which, although not the best, is completely paid for by his company (so is dental and vision). For the time being, his health insurance has our routine annual appointments covered. But, in the next 2-3 years, we plan to have children. Do I need to sign up for health insurance with my firm, so that we are double-insured, or will his health insurance be enough? Is this something policy-specific that I need to speak with his insurance company- and if so, what questions should I ask to ensure all my pregnany, labor and delivery costs are covered? If they are not all covered, when should I sign up for health insurance through my current firm- now? next year? right before TTC?

    Thank you everyone in advance. My husband and I both come from below middle-class backgrounds and have never had health insurance until two years ago when he started his job. We have no experience with this and don’t know where to find the answers and usually don’t even know what questions to be asking!

    • There are a lot of factors to consider. What you want to understand is how much you will end up spending out of pocket (in total) through each plan, and where double-coverage might be helpful/appropriate. If you have two health plans and both have very high deductibles (the amount you have to pay before your coverage kicks in), you’re not going to save anything by being double-insured!

      So for your DH’s plan, you are paying $0 out of pocket on a monthly basis for the plan, right? Next, look at what it will cost you for various pregnancy-related expenses. Under DH’s plan, do you have a deductible for hospital visits? How much? How much are the deductibles under your firm’s insurance? How much are your copays/coinsurance for visits? Is your preferred hospital/OB in network under both plans? How does each plan charge you (ie is it “employee, employee + 1, employee +2, employee +3 or just employee + family etc)? Once you have a baby, how much of the ped. visits are covered? Is there a pediatrician you like in network?

      Typically you sign up in Oct/Nov for 2013 benefits. Though, keep in mind that any “life event” (having a baby is a Life Event) allows you to make changes outside the typical cycle. Someone that has given birth can speak specifically about which birth costs are billed to the baby vs. the mother- that’s something worth considering as well.

      I suggest calling your OB as well as perhaps your current health plan to get a sense of what is/isn’t covered. Then talk to your company’s benefits rep and/or someone you know at your firm that has had a baby on your firm’s plan to get an idea of the pitfalls of the plans.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Does your firm pay the entire premium? I would start there.

      Check also on deductibles. Some plans have high deductibles but then pay 100% (no copays). Some employers also contribute money to a health savings account for employees to help cover the deductible.

      There is usually a number you can call to ask your questions so you don’t have to read the entire policy, which can be confusing. I’d call reps for both policies and ask what costs associated with pregnancy, labor, delivery, and new baby are covered.

      IMO, it’s easier to switch insurance as you’re starting a new job because you don’t have to wait for open enrollment and remember to do the paperwork at that time. You should ask these questions now and decide what you want to do before the window to sign up at your firm closes.

      Also, do not double insure yourself unless you are completely positive that having one policy will not interfere with coverage by your other policy. In other words, if you sign up at your firm, drop the duplicate coverage with husband. If you have never dealt with getting an insurance company to pay, etc., it would be a nightmare of red tape trying to figure out which company would have to pay what.

    • You should be able to get a summary of benefits for each insurance plan that tells you how much is covered for maternity, etc. You don’t need to be double covered, but if your plan has siginficantly better maternity benefits/infertility benefits, insure yourself under that plan. Husband and future kids can be under his plan if it’s cheaper. Make sure your preferred hospital and OB are in-network with whatever plan you choose. I *think* you can switch from one employer sponsered plan to another while pregnant, but I would triple check that. Easier to get the insurance figured out before you get pregnant. Also, get your short term disability insurance before TTC. It’s pretty much impossible to get coverage once you are pregnant.

      • Diana Barry :

        Yes, and also get life insurance. It is much cheaper when you are not pregnant. We ended up getting my policy when I was pregnant (hadn’t done it before) and my premium is about 2.5x my husband’s.

        • As you are big law, the life insurance papers should have been included with the health insurance papers.

          • Diana Barry :

            Yeah, I meant a larger policy. As I recall the biglaw LI policy is only about 1 or 2x salary. The policies that we got are around $2M each.

    • This is assumed in the above posts, but just want to reiterate – don’t forget to include a maternity rider in whatever insurance you decide to go with. It may not be automatic, and without it the insurance company may not cover a whole lot. If maternity coverage isn’t already included in your husband’s insurance, then this may mean an additional cost to the premiums, which should be factored into the analysis.

    • big dipper :

      I think the above advice is excellent re: out of pocket costs.

      A few other random things to consider –

      (A) Vision – Some health plans also include a vision component – where you can visit an optomologist once every 2 years for a check up. That could be an added benefit if you wear glasses.

      (B) Spousal Surcharge – Some employers penalize employees who’s spouses have other insurance available and remain on the employee’s plan. For example, your husbands company might charge him an extra $500 now that you have other coverage available but are remaining on his plan. You should see if your husband’s company imposes this kind of penalty.

      (C) Continued Coverage – Are your current doctors covered by your new BigLaw employer’s plan? If not, are you willing to switch doctors or pay the higher out of network fees?

      (D) General Flexibility – The importance of these questions varies by how much you value flexibility in choosing providers/seeking care, but you might want to consider the following questions. Is the plan a PPO or an HMO? What happens if you want to see a doctor that’s out of the network – how much will that cost? Do you need a referral from your primary care physician to see a specialist? What happens if you get sent to the ER when your visiting a friend across the country – are you covered out of state? Are you covered at reduced levels?

      As a general note…BigLaw tends to offer great benefits, comparatively. It’s possible that you’r new employer is offering more or better coverage at a lower cost than your husband’s current employer (not necessarily, but it could be). You might also want to consider switching both of you to the BigLaw plan.

    • "Allergies" PSA :

      Get the “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” for both plans and compare them. See which one covers the services you will need better. Also consider whether you will pay more out of pocket (premiums and your share of services) if you are covered by either his or yours and pay the rest yourselves, or if you are covered by both and one is “primary” and pays first and the other is “secondary” and pays second.

      Also, I found out this year (the first I’ve ever had high medical bills) that the “annual out of pocket maximum” is really important. My policy has a $3,000 maximum amount that I must pay. Once my out of pocket costs hit $3,000, I don’t have to pay any more this year. (I hit that about half way through my surgery in September).

      Don’t be afraid to call both companies and ask a slew of questions.

    • Two very important concepts that no one has mentioned here: first, if you are thinking about having a family in 2-3 years, there is no problem staying on your husband’s coverage for now, and switching to Big Law coverage during an “open enrollment period” in the future. In other words, at least once a year, you get to choose whether you join your firm’s health insurance policy. It’s not a once in a lifetime thing. As others have noted, open enrollment is usually in October or November. So, if your big law health insurance policy is better, but more expensive, you can stay on your hubby’s policy for two years, and then switch when you are thinking about trying to conceive. Second, some BigLaw employers will actually pay YOU to be on your husband’s policy. I’m in academia, and my husband’s BigLaw employer pays him $700 a year to be insured on my policy. It’s way cheaper than them paying to insure him. So, see if your firm will pay you to be insured elsewhere.

      • Exactly Anon! If your husband’s job pays 100% for coverage for both you and him, with no penalty because you have an insurance option elsewere and neither of you have any kind of medical issues that require specialised medical treatment, stay on his insurance for now. If your insurance for your new job is also 100% paid for both of you (or even just you) you should sign up for your insurance as well, as it can’t hurt to be double covered. The only exception to this is if your husband’s plan is a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) as those have limits as to what the secondary insurance can be – in that case just stay on his plan.

        If you want to post more specifics on your plan vs his (costs, deductible, co-insurance, etc) I could give you a more informed explanation, but for right now with no kids, FREE health insurance is probably the way to go.

        And for info as to what the insurance terms mean (deductible, coinsurance, copay, etc) here are some definitions, but its still confusing – I know I didn’t really understand my insurance for until I’d had it for a few years.

    • I also wanted to let you know that if you don’t have much experience with a BigLaw salary, you and your husband should probably meet with a financial planner to learn how to manage your finances.

      It can be quite overwhelming to get a big check and not know what to do with it. You want to save it, but putting it into a savings account is probably not the best option.

      I recommend “Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich” by Lois Frankel, but any intro investing book will be useful. I also looked up Edward Jones and found a woman financial planner near me, and went with her. Not everyone loves Edward Jones, so find someone that works for you. They usually have free consults.

  8. AnonInfinity :

    I seem to remember a couple of months ago, a woman posted because her significant other felt like she should be able to do more pull ups.

    She (and others) might be interested in this article that explains a little bit about why women are generally terrible at pull ups. I think some amazing women here can do them? RAWR!

    • Legally Red :

      I would’ve appreciated this in grade school gym class as I felt humiliated just hanging there from the pull up bar.

    • Pull yourself up :

      I don’t consider myself amazing, but I can do plenty of pullups.

      I wasn’t always able to do pullups. Yes, you need to do a variety of back/arm exercises to develop the muscles properly, but really, the only way to get better at pullups is by.doing.pullups. Use a chair to push off or a band for assistance to start, or have a buddy support your body. Do negatives. Work up to it.

      This article makes me angry. I don’t know what kind of researcher would have someone doing all kinds of exercises OTHER THAN ACTUAL PULLUPS in order to be able to do pullups. “Using an incline to practice a modified pullup” – what does that even mean?

      TL;DR – I could not do even one pullup when I started, and I’ve always been fit. Now I can do many strict, deadhang pullups in a row. No, it didnt’ happen overnight. But good grief, this article makes it sound like it would be easier for women to fly to the moon.

      I think what irritates me the most about this article (and these types of articles in general) is that they are akin to telling women (or men, or whomever they are geared towards) that it is okay not to try something, that they are hardwired to fail anyway. WTF?

      • Word. The assisted pull-up machine at the gym is one of my favorites. Makes me feel super strong every time I decrease the counter-weight.

        • Cornellian :

          If you don’t mind, how much counter-weight do you use? I usually use 80, and I’m 130. I have no idea if this is a lot or a little…

          • I weigh 160 and I’d typically use 100, which was very easy for me. If I was consistent with my workouts and wanted a challenge, I’d go for 85 or 90. So I was pulling 60-70 lbs, which is arbitrary in my opinion. Every person has different muscle compositions and goals.

            For strength training, you should be struggling to complete a set in order to build more muscle. If you’re just looking to tone, then setting a lighter weight is fine. If you want to push yourself, remove 5 lbs and see how it feels.

          • Cornellian :

            at Godzilla, I guess I mean I put 50 lbs on, so I’m lifting 80, which is how I think about it, somehow. I think maybe I need to try to do it with just 30 lbs 3x once in a while, since I’m not getting any stronger doing this over and over.

          • Check your machine and see if there are smaller weights that you can put on there (every machine is different), so your counterweight is 45, 40 or 35. Or, go hardcore like you’re suggesting, RAWR.

      • Cornellian :

        We always did the buddy system for “tear down” workouts where you did decreasing sets of pull ups until your arms wanted to fall off, but I never thought of using an exercise band at the gym.

        I also wonder if part of the reason women don’t do these things is that the gym can be sort of intimidating. Even in peak shape, I might be able to bench press 110, which is nothing compared to what men who work out routinely can do, and I sometimes feel like I’m getting in the way.

        • Confession: I find the gym SUPER INTIMIDATING. I joined a gym this year after not having been in a “classic” gym since high school. I walked around, realized I had no clue how to use any of the equipment and asked for someone to show me what to do. I told the trainer that I want to build up my monster muscles and had him show me EVERYTHING. Once I knew what I was doing, I couldn’t give a hootenanny about the men in the gym. And, uh, I may have developed a superiority complex over using the machines and weights and not spending all of my time on the treadmill or dance class like the other women at my particular gym.

          • Cornellian :

            Yeah. At the risk of outing myself, I live in a “rough” area of the city and go to the gym there, and I have once in the last six months seen a woman working with free weights (aside from the sub 15 lb barbells). There are many very large and intimidating men, but they’ve actually all been very polite. It’s not really their fault they can lift me with one hand.

            As a former gymnast, I definitely have a superiority complex over my insistence on lifting weights, with low reps and high weight, and not counting 30 min on the elliptical as my work out. On a practical level, lifting weights can make your resting metabolism SO MUCH HIGHER. Even when I’m running 40 miles a week, I don’t feel like I really need to eat that much more per day to keep up (maybe 500 calories?). If I add weight sessions to that I am SO HUNGRY all the time.

          • fellow weight trainer here. I love heavy weights.

        • I love weightlifting – it totally changed my body shape. Between my twice-weekly 45-minute weightlifting (and abs) class and my once- or twice-weekly ballet class, I have muscles!

          My weightlifting class is majority women. We do about 15 minutes of abs work and then half an hour of weightlifting that includes machines, free weights, and bands, interspersed with squats and lunges. When we have new people try the class, the men usually end up queasy or needing to lie down, I think because maybe they try to push too hard too fast? I don’t know, but it’s interesting.

          I, too, feel superiority for lifting weights instead of just doing cardio. I also tend to look down on 1) people who do a million reps using a tiny amount of weight and 2) people (usually men at my gym) who will sit on a machine FOREVER and then lift the weight, like, twice. My exercise philosophy is push hard for a short time period, I have no interest in spending hours at the gym, so I don’t understand people who dillydally there.

          I think this post is making me seem like a not-very-nice person. Oh well.

          • I try to push myself to up my weights periodically. I had very little upper body strength so I did a lot of reps using a small amount of weight but I’ve really pushed it up! I do a lot of cardio but added weights about a year and a half ago and I LOVE it.

            As for the men who sit on a machine, ours are college boys (I use the university’s gym) so I just ask them to move. They usually know I’m faculty so they politely move if they’ve been sitting there hogging the machine and checking their phone.

          • Nah yo, you’re just beasting at the gym. That makes you AWESOME.

      • phillygirlruns :

        agreed. the only thing that helped me get a pull up was DOING PULL UPS.

        i can do a weighted chin up with 25 pounds hanging from my waist, pull up (pronated grip/palms out) with about 20lbs, and can do several regular, strict, bodyweight pullups and chinups in a row. i am not a magician or a super-crazy athlete. the strongest women at my gym are closer to +50lbs or more on their weighted pull ups.

      • You can use a machine at the gym that has pulleys and handles on it. You hold each handle, lean back with your feet at an angle to the machine, and do pull ups that way. I know that’s not a good description, and there are ways to make it harder or easier, but my trainer had me do them that way when I was first starting out.

        You can also get underneath the bar on a squat rack in a more or less push up position ( except you are facing up), and pull up using the bar.

        I still have very little upper body strength, even after 1 year of personal training. Sigh.

    • When I was in high school (and a very, very jacked swimmer) I could do the most “true” pull up of any girl on my team — and I believe I topped out at 15-20. And my muscle mass tended to focus at my upper end (i.e. I was built more like the boys) at that point (I could also bench 150 pounds). Pull ups are stupid for girls.

      That is all.

      • Diana Barry :

        Yep, same was true for my gymnast friends in HS. And they were STRONG.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Definitely. I was freakishly strong back in my gymnastics days. I always hated conditioning, but being able to do 1-armed pull-ups and things like handstand push-ups seems so awesome to me now. Although I can’t do either (or even regular pull-ups) anymore.

      • phillygirlruns :

        15-20 strict pullups is a CRAPLOAD of pullups.

        • Cornellian :

          I’m all over this thread but how do you make sure they’re strict when you’re alone? In gymnastics they had chairs in front of and behind our legs so you couldn’t kip, which I think is the easiest place to cut corners. I don’t think bringing folding chairs to my gym would be appreciated.

          • phillygirlruns :

            i am frequently guilty of forcing my last rep by lifting my legs/bending at the waist. or frog kicking. there’s not much else to do besides forcing yourself to stay honest.

            kipping pullups are a totally different animal – i can do lots of those, but it’s just different.

    • Cornellian :

      Oh, I was hoping for something more revolutionary than that.

      As a gymnast who could, at my peak, do probably 25 chin ups and 15 pull ups, I’ve always suspected it has to do with the relative width and angles of our body making our leverage in our arms less effective. Women generally have narrower shoulders relative to their body, for example.

      I’ve been doing sets of 5 assisted chin ups (where the machine takes part of your weight) at 80-90 lbs (of my 130) forever, and I don’t seem to be getting any stronger. Maybe it’s not in the cards for my post-gymnast body.

    • springtime :

      Ugh, no matter how much I work my upper body at the gym, I just cannot get that much stronger. Yet, my legs are crazy powerful and I can squat like a pro.

      • Cornellian :

        I think that’s pretty common among women. I also find upper body strength harder to build as a I get older, which is strange, since I’m not experiencing the same with lower body strength… Maybe just because I’ve gotten heavier?

      • Legally Red :

        This is me. Training for long distance running comes easily to me. Trying to do one pull up? No matter how much I work at it, I just end up hanging there.

        • springtime :

          Finally! An article that acknowledges having longer limbs makes it harder (I’m tall). I get tired of people saying everything athletic should be easier for me because I’m tall.

          • Legally Red :

            Haha. I’m not tall, so I don’t have that excuse! I just can’t figure out how to increase my upper body strengh. Strengh training, including upper body work, just makes me a little faster.

          • As a fellow long-limbed person, I can tell you that it’s way harder to lift what your shorter-limbed friends lift. On my team in college, we were specifically paired with lifting buddies each year based on body type…it’s just leverage. Long-limbed folks are working with a longer lever, really.

        • Cornellian :

          I had the opposite experience when I started running. I had a six-pack and visible definition in my quads, but could barely make it around the track. Now I have a marathon under my belt and can’t do pull ups. I think it’s just hard to keep both up at once.

      • I guess, to be fair, I don’t know that I’ve gotten a lot stronger (as judged by using heavier weights) in the past few years. But my arms look good and I can change the giant water jug at work and lift other things I need to lift, so I’m good with that.

        • Haha. At my last job I changed the water jug pretty frequently because 1) I drank a lot of water so I felt responsible and 2) my coworkers complained about how heavy it was. Made me feel macho for a good five minutes of the day ;)

    • I have spent YEARS trying to strengthen my lats, practicing, doing everything I could to do a pull up. Including being so focused I developed tennis elbow and a weird tear in my shoulder which just kills. I had bought into the whole HIIT and drank the crossfit plus paleo koolaid. And I can say for my apple shaped 5’8 15lbs overweight body and biglaw lifestyle, it did not make me happy healthy. I was really muscular with lower bodyfat, but HUGE and always stressed. I went cold turkey and turned back to yoga, a little bit of barre, and long easy runs and my stress levels are WAY down and my body functions much better. And after all the misery of big time strength training, I always still failed at doing one proper pullup.

    • SpaceMountain :

      So many former gymnasts! I remember the days when I could do 20+ chin-ups, as well — days long gone. My 7th grade daughter is a gymnast, and she is in such incredible shape. I guess it comes from being young and working out 18 hours a week, while I work out maybe 3 hours a week, if that. Something I’ve always wondered about is the long-term benefit of a childhood spend in gymnastics. I haven’t done a back flip since I was 18, but I suspect all those years in the gym have helped me stay in shape over the years, even now in my 40s, possibly through a good understanding of how my body works under stress or something.

      • Cornellian :

        I think it gives you great body awareness (also body image issues, unfortunately), which lends itself to all other sports/future workout regimens/injuries. I think I picked up yoga so quickly because I “knew” where my body was and which way it would bend, etc. I think it also gives you a high pain tolerance, which comes in handy later in life.

      • Another former gymnast here! I did it 20-25 hours a week for 8 years, and even though I can probably barely do anything more than a cartwheel anymore, I think it set a great foundation for me.

        For one, it made me realize how much I liked working out/being active, and so now, as an adult with a busy job/life, I try make it a priority (even on the days when I’d rather go home and do nothing). I’m also really coordinated/have great body awareness, which makes trying other activities lot easier for me. +1 for the high pain tolerance too. Lastly, reminding myself that I could easily do 10-15 pull ups when I was 10 is great motivation for getting myself through my arm workout in barre class now.

        On the negative sides, it gives you body issues (at least it did for me) and it only exacerbated my perfectionist tendencies.

    • Oh yes, this was me! Thanks for the article – it’s definitely interesting.

      As an update, my fitness regime went totally out the window about 6 weeks ago after moving into my new house, because we have been spending all our time unpacking, painting, fixing things, etc. So my gym time has been minimal. But now that things have settled down a bit I’m trying to get back into the swing of things.

      Pull-ups without counterweights are still a long way away for me. But I have been finding that it really feels good to do them on the assisted pull-up machine. I started out at 80 lbs counterweight and am now down to 60 lbs, and I like feeling stronger and knowing I can do that. For me, whether I can do a pull-up unassisted is immaterial. But if it keeps feeling this good, I’ll keep doing it.

      I’ve also been doing the 100 push-up challenge (which also went by the wayside about 6 weeks ago). That also feels great, which is not something I *ever* thought I’d hear myself say!

  9. Almost There :

    Forgot to put on mascara today. It feels like I forgot to put my head on my shoulders this morning!

    • I did that once and looked in the mirror and couldn’t figure out why I looked different. Duh.

      • Likewise, I have a hard time figuring out why I look different on days I forget mascara, but it’s definitely noticeable.

    • It’s a good day when I have every major piece of CLOTHING on…so you’re doing pretty good in my book.

    • You ever have one of those days when people are like, “Oh De, you ok? You look sick, or really tired?” And then you’re just like “I forgot to put on make up this morning, thanks.”

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Yup, I did that once, except that I only forgot on one eye and put some on the other!!

    • I accidently wore hjeans to work today. I am leaving early and taking off tomorrow to go out of town for the weekend and as such forgot that today isn’t Friday. OOPS!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I do this from time to time. So now I keep an extra mascara at the office so I can put it on as soon as I remember!

    • I realized I forgot mascara o my way to the elevator.. but I was already late.
      This got me thinking about maybe keeping a mini mascara tube at work

  10. momentsofabsurdity :

    I wore an angora sweater today and I am shedding. all. over. everything.

    Literally everywhere. I love this sweater (Victoria’s Secret Angora Scoopneck sweater in blue/gray stripe) but this is annoying!

    • I had a purple angora sweater in high school and all my friends were covered in it by the end of the day. I love the cozy look but it drives me bonkers.

  11. Always a NYer :

    For fellow Clarisonic users – How long does the purging last? I just started using my Clarisonic brush again and my skin is all broken out! When I first got it my skin was a broken out mess so I only saw improvements. This time my skin only had a few spots but now they’ve multiplied. I remember reading that this happens because the brush brings all the nasty gunk to the surface but am wondering how much longer I’ll have to go before my skin is clear again. Btw, yes, I am using a new brush head.

    • For me, it’s cyclical. When it happens, I lay off the clarisonic for a couple days, clean the brush head really well, and when I start again my skin is right as rain. I’ve found that if I give my skin a bit of a break when it’s starting to break out, the breakouts are less and less frequent with fewer and fewer spots.

  12. Anon for this :

    Need the wisdom of the hive this morning. I’m mid-20s, live about a 4 or 5 hour drive away from my parents and haven’t seen my parents in a couple months. I haven’t been home though since May. Last night my mom and I got into a huge argument about this. My mom and I usually get along great, but she can be both very critical of me (my weight, my appearance, my apartment, my job, my boyfriend) and very passive aggressive. I usually just deal with it by trying to minimze the amount of things she can criticize me for – staying slim, making sure my hair is done and I’m well-put together etc. and ignoring her passive-aggressiveness when I can. Yesterday I had a bad day and my defences were low and I unfortunately got dragged into an argument I didn’t want.

    Anyways, I was discussing it with my boyfriend last night, and he said that he doesn’t foresee him and my mom getting along well because he just gets angry when someone is so image-obsessed and critical, and he also indicated that he would get frustrated with me being so concerned about what other people think about me.

    I was actually shocked at this because I didn’t think there was anything odd about my mom’s behavior – all my female friends seem to experience some sort of critical viewpoints from their mom.

    Thoughts? Is this normal mother-daughter relationship? Would standing up for myself more make a difference? Is he wrong in taking such a hardline stance? This has been the dynamic for so long that I can’t imagine something else – I just don’t know if other moms are like this…

    Apologies in advance for the novel!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think there is often something critical in the mother-daughter relationship. I think sometimes, our parents understanding of us is so wrapped up in the innumerable hopes, dreams and expectations they have for us that sometimes, they get frustrated when who we are and who they want us to be don’t line up.

      Like you, I try not to engage with my mom when she’s being critical. I often say, “What you’re saying is hurting my feelings, so I’d rather not talk about this anymore.” I think I’m also uniquely sensitive to some things that, if I heard them from a friend, wouldn’t bother me that much but because my mom can’t just stop and let something go, they drive me nuts when my mom expresses them.

      That said, MOST of the time, she’s not hurting my feelings. If you feel like your mom is more of a negative force in your life than a positive one, I would say that’s atypical.

      • “I think sometimes, our parents understanding of us is so wrapped up in the innumerable hopes, dreams and expectations they have for us that sometimes, they get frustrated when who we are and who they want us to be don’t line up.”


        • Anon For This :

          Honestly, this is what I’m most afraid of about having kids. I am so incredibly hard on myself that I can’t imagine how I might handle having a daughter who doesn’t live up to my expectations.

          /end terrible person confession

    • Hmm…I’m close with my mom but she can be pretty critical about appearance which is weird because she has a super casual lifestyle and never wore makeup or cared about her hair etc. I think it stems from her personal insecurities and when I remember that, it helps me take it in stride. She wants so much more for me and since I’m a pretty high achiever generally, pointing out physical stuff is how she ‘helps’. However, it’s hard when something is normal to you is viewed by an outside party.

      We’re separated by a ocean and skype makes it difficult to nitpick (or compliment, I’ve lost a load of weight but I find the compliments that this entails a bit difficult to handle).

    • No advice on the mom front because I don’t have that kind of relationship (though I don’t think it is abnormal, based on friends’ experiences), but the boyfriend’s comment is interesting to me. Perhaps it’s that he’s in his 20s and hasn’t learned that being tolerant of your partner’s parents is a big part of making a relationship work (at least with people who talk to their families frequently), but that’s a red flag for me. If this is a serious relationship, you guys need to do some serious thinking about how you are going to all get along, especially if he’s already essentially said he’s going to be frustrated with you as well as your mom.

      I say this as someone who has big issues with her in-laws. I’m gritting my teeth and taking it like a big girl, but if I’d known when we started dating that this was what I was in for, I would have gotten out. If you and your boyfriend are going to end up in a similar place, cut your losses now.

      • I don’t know — I think it sounds like her boyfriend is looking out for her and concerned that she may be running her life based on her mom’s criticism. Critical, nitpicky moms might be “normal” as in common, but I don’t think it’s all that healthy and certainly isn’t likely to foster a loving adult daughter-mom relationship. Maybe I have that perspective because my mom and mom-in-law are both super uncritical and loving, but why would any daughter want to visit her mom if all she hears is passive-aggressive comments and criticism? Parents need to offer advice and suggestions, absolutely, but it’s not their job to examine every inch of you and let you know repeatedly that you really should lose 10 pounds and really should do your hair differently, etc.

        I completely agree that in-law relationships are super important. You might want to talk to your boyfriend about how you view your relationship with your mom, how you deal with her criticism, and how you would like him to support you in that relationship by doing X (ignore her comments, change the subject, tell you after meeting your mom that you’re beautiful and amazing and perfect, whatever you need). But I wouldn’t “cut your losses” and dump your boyfriend just because he expressed concern about your mom’s behaviour towards you.

        • I agree re the boyfriend — my DH wants me to be happy, and when my parents are the source of what is making me unhappy, he is critical of them. I don’t see anything unusual about that. Our respective in-laws, however, are generally not terrible, so we don’t struggle with this issue too often. I have friends with different relationships with their spouses/in-laws though, where they feel like they can’t or shouldn’t say anything against the others’ parents. I don’t understand that because I could not be in a relationship like that (not to sound judgy, but I simply can’t operate like that).

          I also think – OP – you also need to have more discussions with your BF about this seemingly hardline that he has taken. It’s one thing to want your significant other to stand up for themselves (which it seems like what it is that he actually wants), it’s another to say that he’ll be frustrated with you because of it. Perhaps it’s just a poor word choice, but I agree with the advice to explain the relationship between you and your mother, explain the ways that you usually try to shield yourself from this, and also that, you know, you’re human and sometimes our parents affect us.

    • My mom died when I was 24 but she and I always struggled with this kind of thing. I was always overweight or dieting. When I lost weight, I was “good” and when I was overweight, my mom agonized over it. She also desperately wanted me to dress nicely, etc. She was tiny and I am not. It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable with myself and my style and my body. I still struggle with my weight, but I feel like I dress for myself – professionally and stylishly. I work out 6 days a week and I am fit and strong even if I’m not tiny. I do all of this FOR ME, not for anyone else. My family are still utra-critical but I just try to ignore it. But that’s a lot easier for me to say now, in my late 40s. You’ll get there, but you need to get self-confidence from within and keep in mind where this is coming from where you mother is concerned.

    • Anon for This :

      FWIW, my two cents are it’s common but not inevitable from the mom’s perspective – there are mothers who don’t criticize their daughters appearance. And frankly, I don’t blame your husband; he loves you and thinks you’re wonderful – of course he doesn’t want to see someone pick you apart. And of course he doesn’t want to see you feel like you have to turn your life around to respond to it (and keeping your physical appearance a certain way because of someone else is kind of intense from a certain outside perspective even if it doesn’t feel that way to you).

      That said, for some mothers, they’re probably not going to change. That just depends on the person. For me, those kinds of comments from my mother were destructive enough – at least as applied to me; other people probably wouldn’t have been bothered to the same degree – that they had to if I was going to continue to have a relationship with her. But that’s something you and she have to figure out. But if it does bother you, I think it’s something you should think about addressing with her.

    • I don’t think your boyfriend is wrong. I would find it hard to watch you appease your mother that way to. It doesn’t matter if other mom’s are like that. Do you want that to be your relationship? Do you want to do things just to appease her? Sometimes that is a strategy to deal with certain people, but I have never had to earn my mother’s approval.

      My mom is one of my biggest supporters, if you are just looking for other data points. She has only ever commented on my weight when I gained 30 pounds relatively quickly, and she addressed it out of concern for my mental health, since I had always worked out but had stopped and wanted to know if there were other things going on in my life bothering me.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Your mother’s behavior is not ok. For all of my mother’s many, many faults, not once has she criticized my appearance, and my DH would be really angry at her if she did. My BFF’s mom would also never do such a thing, though you are likely to get a mini-rant against The Man when she sees headlines promoting weight loss and makeup on magazine stands.

      The only way your mother is going to change is if you set boundaries and you enforce them. A close friend is first generation Asian-American, and her parents have very “traditional” ideas about what women should look like and do. They criticized her appearance constantly (If you don’t lose weight, you’ll never get married. Why don’t you wear makeup? You need to look nicer.). She now warns them that she will leave/hang up if they do say things like that, and she does. Yes, it causes drama, but their behavior is unacceptable and she’s learned through therapy to finally stand up for herself.

      • It’s pretty common among Korean Americans, that you need to be a size 2 and be 100 pounds.

        It was super hard the first time I told my parents (and my little sister) that my weight/appearance was off limits – but then they finally got the message that it was not okay, and our relationship has been much better since. I’m pretty sure they’re still being judge-y about it, but at least they don’t try to “fix” me.

      • Oh SF, I wish I had your mom! My parents are also very critical of my appearance and weight, and I did exactly what you suggested — I told them if they made any comments at all about my body I would refused to acknowledge those comments, and if they persisted I would hang up/leave. I enforced this for both positive and negative comments, because it was starting to give me a serious complex when I lost weight because of medical issues and they kept complimenting me. It’s not a perfect solution (I know they still think those things about me, even if they don’t say them), but it has allowed me to have a slightly more sane relationship with my parents.

        • Almost There :

          I have the opposite problem and I also hate it. My mom is obese, and when I’m skinny she almost comments how I’m “wasting away” and need to eat a hamburger (I have never been close to being underweight). When I’m on my heavier side, she never says anything. It makes me feel like when I’m skinny, she comments because she’s guilting me because I’m thin and she’s not.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          HAHAHAHA you do not want my mom. Oh my goodness you don’t want her. You may have seen my posts about being in therapy and on antidepressants. Guess why. She is a huge failure as a mother in many ways, but it is true that she has never criticized my appearance.

          • Ha! Fair enough :) I’m right there with you on the therapy and anti-depressants… I guess we all come out of childhood messed up in our own unique and special ways!

    • Other commenters have covered what I was going to say about thoughts in dealing with your mom, so I’ll just add, from my anecdotal experience, no, that’s not a commonly occurring characteristic among mother-daughter relationships I see (mine & close friends). Though my mother and I vehemently disagree with each other about a lot of stuff, she doesn’t criticize my physical appearance or how “together” my life is. And when she does criticize, it’s constructive & not attacking me – likewise for my close friends’ mothers’ criticisms of them (which do include physical appearance stuff).

      • Neither of my parents have ever criticized my appearance. My lefty political leanings, now that’s another story.

        • Anon in DC :

          My mother has never ever criticized my appearance, and I love her for it. We have plenty of other issues, though!

          And my own girls are still very little, but I solemnly vow never to criticize their appearances, jobs, apartments, or clothing. I can’t make any promises on boyfriends yet.

    • I will add that I think this is one of those dynamics that can develop when you are a teenager and your mother is trying to “model” good behavior in the only way she can imagine doing so (by telling not doing) and then you never break out of it. So sure, when I was a teenager my mom would occasionally look at the juniors clothes I insisted on trying on (despite them being completely unflattering on my decidedly not petite figure) and say “oh honey, I don’t think that’s good for you” and I would freak out because I was 15 and hormonal and thought she was saying I was fat. When really I was just built like a line backer (see above).

      But in the ideal world, you grow out of this dynamic when you move out of her house. But it doesn’t always happen and you have to set boundaries. But avoiding her and just trying to be perfect when you’re in her presence is definitely not the way to go. And its really really great that your boyfriend thinks your awesome, but you need to talk to him about it not being a him vs. her dynamic with you caught in the middle. What about instead it being you guys as a team, working on making you stronger in your dealings WITH her — and trying to alter your relationship with her — in the many healthy ways that others have talked about in this thread. That way he feels like he’s engaged in the process, rather then just shutting himself out of it. And he’s engaged in you in the process and in helping you to feel more confident in it.

      Anyway — those are my two cents. And next time you go over there — don’t worry so much about your hair. :-) I’m sure its beautiful.

    • e_pontellier :

      I hate my mother. You’re not alone. I never voluntarily contact her. It’s pretty irritating that my DH thinks she’s great and will go to lunch with her.

      • transition :

        I’m not sure if this is a detail you’ve mentioned before, but this is a pretty major breach to go out of his way to spend time with someone so awful to you… I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that!

        • Is there any possibility that you’ve somehow married someone with all of the same personality traits as your mother and yet you can’t see that clearly yet?

        • Ditto. I thought, how awful that your husband knows you don’t get along and goes out of his way to hang out with her. That isn’t presenting a united front. I’m so sorry that you are going through this.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Whoa. Yeah. That’s new. Dude, e_p. I’m sorry, but your situation just sounds worse and worse the more details you share. I hope you can go on some kind of retreat for several days so you can be in a safe place to reflect on how wrong this situation is and how you deserve so much more than what you’re getting. You hate your mother but your husband hangs out with her?! That is so far beyond unacceptable that I can’t adequately articulate how much. It really sounds like your husband never has your back, and your mother clearly doesn’t either. And you don’t have your own back. So who is on your side???

          • LadyEnginerd :

            I agree. That’s definitely way, way beyond the norm. It’s normal to follow your partner’s lead with how they deal with their parents (sometimes with a little hesitation. I said normal, not ideal :)). His undermining your boundaries with your mother is absolutely unacceptable. On the other hand, it does make your relationship with your husband make more sense to me (not in a good way). Do you see patterns from your family growing up repeating in your choice of partner and your marriage?

            What does your therapist say about this? If there’s anything you’ve told us you haven’t discussed to your therapist, you should print out your comments related to your personal life and give them to your therapist to look over. As much as I’d like to send Godzilla to rawr and kidnap you to go to a meditation retreat to heal, this is beyond our pay grade and something I hope you’re talking over with a professional.

      • This should be another red flag.

    • I don’t have this sort of relationship with my mother, but my father is highly critical of my (and other people’s) physical appearance. It was really destructive to my self-esteem, and finally I told him to stop. I don’t think this is something that *should* be part of a normal parent-child relationship. Think about it from the perspective of you being the parent telling your daughter that she’s overweight, doesn’t look good, is failing at her job/apartment/boyfriend, etc. Would you do that?

    • AnonBodyRant :

      I think that image, appearance, and body image are issues that a lot of women struggle with. We feel insecure, we tear ourselves down, and we bond over fat talk. When it comes to mother-daughter relationships, where the parental dynamic is already often one of parents transferring issues to children and children defending their own-personhood, it really makes sense to me that it’s common to see this kind of issue; mothers who are insecure want to “help” their daughters by ensuring that daughter has nothing to “worry” about, and daughters who are insecure feel even more defensive about body issues than they would about, say, their current dating partner or the color of paint in the kitchen. The irony, of course, is that mothers then make their daughters even more insecure.

      Arg… it frustrates me thinking about it this much. My own family’s dynamic is definitely this way, and my mom’s mom is still a major part of our lives, so I get three generations’ worth of it. My sister coped with it by developing a devastating eating disorder, which my family recognized was partly their fault (she got so many compliments when she was 100 pounds — she’s 5’7″). I coped with it by gaining weight like there was no tomorrow (at 130 lbs, 5’5″, I was “already fat,” so why did it matter?), and just putting it out of my mind. I honestly had no idea something was wrong with my sister until she was hospitalized. She was “so pretty” and I just thought that all skinny girls ate next to nothing for dinner and exercised for hours a day (one more reason I didn’t mind being “fat”!). I was so naive. We’re both doing better, but it’s been long enough since my sister’s treatment that a lot of the fat talk is starting to creep back in…meal times turn into discussions of how fatty the salad dressing is, I get told I look “beautiful and healthy” when I show up 5 pounds lighter (I’m still overweight, and they have no idea how “healthy” I am or am not). The good news is that I’m coming to terms with this and with my body, and I think my sister is, too (with the help of a lot of treatment). I’ve realized I can be conscious of my body and my eating habits without being them, which is what I think I always feared. Tracking calories to lose weight (that I need to lose!) doesn’t make me body-obsessed. Exercising regularly doesn’t make me a fanatic.

      Sigh. I think that even the best parents can’t help but leave their children just a little afraid of their own demons. We just have to hope that we can face them down and impart a little more strength, wisdom, and serenity to our own children — to help them face our demons.

    • transition :

      A few things…

      1. There is often a complicated relationship between mother and daughter but you mentioned being critical and passive aggressive. Those aren’t healthy in any relationship.

      2. Do you wish you were more assertive? If so, work on this so that you’re happier with yourself since that’s the only one between the two of you that you can change or control.

      3. What was boyfriend’s point? Is he saying that this will be something he’ll always want to take your side on and will have to grin/bear it when he’s around mom in the future or is he saying he sees this as something that will prevent your relationship from reaching the stage where he meets your mother at all? In terms of partner support, could you be truly happy with a partner who handles this mother/daughter relationship the way he’s saying he will or will that not be enough for you long-term?

    • I think standing up for yourself might not make a difference with your mother’s behavior, but it will make a difference for you. I think that it is common for mothers to place their expectations on their daughters in terms of appearance, but you have the right to dress/eat/groom whatever way you want.

      Reading your post it concerns me that you work so hard to please your mom, and that it could easily spiral out of control. I think that your SO sees this too, and may just be concerned for you, and sees your mom as the catalyst for this.

      Working on boundaries with your mom may help you, and work with your SO on trying to not make it a him vs mom kind of thing, but that you and him are a team and you both work together for your common well being.

    • First, it should not matter whether or not others consider this common or normal. Just because other people put up with inappropriate behavior does not mean that you should. If all of your friend have alcoholic parents and put up with all the things that go with that, it would not mean that you were under an obligation to put up with it too.

      I have a lot of sympathy for your boyfriend’s position. He has identified your mother’s behavior as being destructive to you. He is also seeing that you seem to be willing to put up with it. He’s telling you now that he’s not ok with that. I can see his point. Your mother tearing down your self-esteem and you allowing her to changes how you see yourself. It changes how you interact with your boyfriend. He’s identifying this as a deal breaker for him. If needing someone who just accepts your relationship with your mother is a deal breaker for you, then you guys should address this now.

    • Anon for this :

      OP here – thanks all for the support and kind words.

      A few thoughts:
      1. I realize I’ve been avoiding my mom and going home because I’m never sure when I’m going to be criticized, and I’m obviously trying to minimize it. The things she critiques me on are generally always minor and superficial – i.e. my apartment isn’t clean enough, my boyfriend isn’t good looking enough, my bangs are too long – so while I think it’s coming from a good place, it’s not generally constructive.

      2. I don’t want this type of relationship going forward but my mother is the least self-aware person in the world so I feel like grinning and bearing it is easier than explaining to her that her comments are hurtful. I’ve tried in the past, and her response is generally more passive-aggressive and I end up more upset.

      3. And my boyfriend is great, but has very low tolerance for BS. He hasn’t met my parents yet but I’m sure when he does, my mom will be nothing but pleasant to his face (what I hear is likely a different story). And in the future (as this is likely heading to marriage), I’m sure he’ll hear more of it but his reaction will likely be not to say anything in public and leave the room. So I think his reaction is part wanting to protect me and part because he just has no patience for this type of behaviour. Whereas I’m fairly assertive, but have something in me that wants to please other people, so maybe I just need to grow out of that.

      This just all kinda sucks because I’m excited for him to meet my family, and I know he’ll probably get along great with my dad, but he already has this view of my mom in his head, and I’m scared he might not go into this with an open mind with respect to her.

      • Sorry, but nitpicking at you, your choices, people you care about is not something that comes from a good place.

        You do not need to protect your mother from your boyfriend’s opinion of her. She makes her own choices. While you have grown up learning to shield her from the consequences of her actions, you have no obligation to shield her from other people’s reactions — including your boyfriend’s.

        From your posts, it seems you still allow your mother to control quite a lot of your behavior. That is totally understandable, given this is all you have known. But now that you are seriously starting to think about building your own family, it might be time to really think about what you want out of relationships. Because your boyfriend already has such a strong opinion on the matter, you might consider talking to a therapist about this to get a more neutral sounding board to find boundaries you are comfortable with.

        • I should add, that just because your mom does things that aren’t necessarily coming from a good place doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love you or that she is a bad person. These behaviors can be functions of her own issues.

          But just because she is a good person or has great qualities, doesn’t mean that you need to put up with what she dishes out or that you have try to convince others that they need to ignore the bad stuff — especially when the bad stuff hurts someone they love.

      • Do your parents ever come visit you? It’s not a one-way street.

        My Dad and I are pretty close, but on different sides of the country. When he complains that I don’t call enough, I remind him that his phone works, too.

        To avoid criticisms about apartments, etc., you could meet for lunch in the middle on a weekend.

    • Anon for this :

      OP here – thank you all so much for the kind words, support and advice.

      I have a few thoughts:
      1. I know my mom is coming from a good place. That said, her critical comments still hurt and make me feel like I’ll never be good enough – I have a great job, friends, SO etc. but my hair is messy or I can’t keep my apartment clean enough, or my SO isn’t good looking enough. I’m not ok with this, especially when I know I am doing well, and my SO is a great guy that I’m lucky to have. I’ve been avoiding her recently because I don’t want to deal with this.

      2. I don’t want this type of relationship with her, but she is the least self-aware person ever, so whenever you call her on her behavior, she is even more passive-aggressive, and I get more upset that it just seems futile. My coping mechanism is just to let it roll off my back and vent to friends afterwards. I’m well-aware this is not the most direct way to deal with this, but in my mind, she will not change now. So I can only control my reaction to her behavior.

      3. My boyfriend is great (so I don’t think cutting my losses is an option) but he has very little tolerance for this type of behavior. He is very much of the viewpoint that he’s going to do his own thing, and if his parents or extended family complain, he just doesn’t care. I can’t do that – I still care about what my family thinks, and probably always will. He hasn’t met my parents yet – this hasn’t turned him off of meeting them (he knows we’re in this for the long haul and they’ll always be a part of my life) but part of me is scared he’s already made up his mind about her.

      I think he partly wants to protect me, is concerned that I’m going to spend my (and by extension our life) worried and stressed about how my family is perceiving me and us, and also just has no tolerance for this type of BS. He is going to be supportive, but I’m sure if this type of thing comes up while he’s around, his reaction will be not to say anything in public and likely leave the room. I just don’t want him frustrated at me when I’m upset about something my mom said.

      Anyways thanks ladies… it helps a lot to just write all this out and reflect on something that’s been bothering me for a while.

    • My mom has made similar comments about certain things, and our relationship really improved when we had a major conversation about where it was all coming from. I actually sat her down after she was making some comments about my little brother needing to watch what he eats, lose weight, etc. I think since the conversation started about something that wasn’t about me, I was able to be a little more rational.

      Once we talked, I realized exactly what was behind some of the comments, and it really made me more understanding and patient with her. For example, she had seen my dad gain a lot of weight, injure his knees and back so he wasn’t able to enjoy a lot of activities and it turned out she was really anxious that my brother was developing similar habits. She was dealing with the anxiety poorly, but it was eye-opening to realize the comments weren’t mean spirited. Similar things came out for so many of the things that she’s critical about.

      Now, when I get the comments I remind myself that it isn’t about me, it’s about her and try to remember that there’s something else at the root of this. And when I’m able to say please don’t take X out on me, it helps remind her and she backs off.

      Is there anything that could be triggering this comments from your mom? If you BF understands a little more about why it might help him out too.

  13. Diana Barry :

    Dang it, Kat, I looked at the J Crew sale and now I have a couple of pencil skirts and a pair of pants coming in a week! :-0

    Oh well, might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, I suppose – can anyone find me a pair of oxblood booties with a 3″ or less heel in a size 9 wide? :)

    • I did too… my new cardigan is heading my way .. on top of the large jcrew factory order I already have coming

    • Okay. This is hard. How do people with wide widths cope. I hate how many cute shoes I can’t recommend. I have looked at ALL MY SOURCES. And lets see. I think these are cute, but they are cognac not oxblood — I know I know — technically different.

      • You have no idea how much it irks me to say that’s the best I can come up with. Would you consider another color? CAN you wear non wide widths? Rawwwrr. I hate failure.

        • Diana Barry :

          Not failure! Usually what I end up doing is taking the regular widths to the cobbler for stretching, if I love them otherwise. The regular width shoes I can wear are:
          nine west (sometimes)
          ivanka trump (I think)
          clark’s (with stretching)
          gentle souls

          Does that help? :)

        • Diana Barry :

          And actually, I lurve those. Ordered!

        • onehsancare :

          You think WIDE is a problem, try WIDE and needing size 5, too!

      • We buy shoes that are too big and hope that they can doctored into staying on. Or we RAWR at the cobbler when he can’t stretch the shoes enough. Mostly, we stick to “classic” shoes.

      • Ugh, welcome to our world! I have SO. MUCH. TROUBLE. finding shoes that fit comfortably. I want cute shoes, but I can’t spend a fortune, and the options are already so limited when you need wide widths. I can’t even really order online (though I intend to start trying more), because the width problem means that I can literally be any size from 8.5 to 10, depending on width and insole and style. Seriously. Please, some enterprising young fashion lady must be reading this: fix this problem! I promise there is a market for cute wide shoes!! :)

      • Donald J. Pliner fits my wide feet without going to wide sizes. They’re pricey, but I can sometimes find them at discounters.

    • Here’s a potential, too:

  14. Have any of you ladies thought about privately banking your newborn’s cord blood? I’m 28 weeks pregnant, and my OB was really pushing it at my last appointment. I’m somewhat skeptical, especially given the price. We don’t have other children and aren’t planning on having more than one. There was a brief discussion of public banking about a year ago on this site, and it seems to me that the public route would be a better use of the stuff, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

    • Diana Barry :

      We didn’t – my husband’s cousin, who is a neonatologist, advised against it. Basically the things you can use it for are really rare.

    • I didn’t do banking. I looked into donating cord blood, which you can do at some hospitals, but we couldn’t do it at ours. We don’t have any family history of things that it could be used for, which might have influenced my decision. My understanding is that it is expensive and at the time an expensive optional expense was not in our budget. And we did the same for baby #2.

    • We didn’t either. In some cities you can donate it to the public cord blood bank, but you need to sign up pretty soon. Also, they may not need your donation since they can only handle so much inventory at once. Here is some information on donating

      CyroBanks and LifeBanksUSA are some other companies that may work with you if you aren’t at a participating hospital.

    • We thought about it but decided not to based on the cost and the rarity of the reasons cord blood is used.

    • I know this is probably irrational, but I’m actually AGAINST private cord banking. I think it preys on people’s worst fears, and also highlights a huge gulf between haves and have nots. Essentially, it’s selling you (at not small cost) the idea that you can protect your family from tragedy with some amount of money. I think public cord blood donation for research and use is a much better direction to go — it allows for the possibility that your child could be helped, but also hopefully advances disease treatment and research for all people.

      Okay, that’s a little ranty and quixotic, but that’s how I feel. We were planning to donate cord blood with my first, but the cord was too short and the baby was in a little bit of distress, so it seemed like skipping that step was safest. I would definitely do it with number 2, but I think the hospital I’m delivering at isn’t set up for that. Most large urban or suburban hospitals are though.

      • I completely agree.

      • I agree with EC MD and I am a little concerned about your doctor pushing it hard. Was he pushing hard as in “you need to decide whether or not to do this now, don’t wait until the last minute because it takes time to set things up”? Or “you need to do this because it’s the best thing ever” salespitch? Is it possible your doctor is getting somme kind of kickback for signing women up for private cord banking? If that’s the case I would personally find a new doctor as I think that crosses the line on ability to be objective.

        • Research, Not Law :


          We donated our first’s cord blood to a public bank. It wasn’t possible at the hospital where I delivered my second, otherwise we would have done it again.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        quixotic. Learned a new word. Thanks!

      • Agree with this. Although when a friend who is of Norwegian ancestry had a baby with her husband of mixed Korean/Central European ancestry, I kind of wondered if it would be worth banking some cord blood, because in the rare event one would be needed, a matching bone marrow donor might be tricky to find.

        But in general I agree, donating for public research is probably a much better idea.

        • That is one situation (or one example of a situation) that I think banking may be of value — you are right, people of mixed race ancestry have a lot of trouble finding appropriate donors for BMT, etc.

          Also, just a note — I shouldn’t say “public banking” essentially it is donation. I lived in Seattle, and a co-op between the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the Childrens Hospital accepted donation of cord blood for research purposes. I doubt it was truly banked in a way that I could have ever asked for it back had we needed it on a personal level.

    • We didn’t bank. At the time (8 and 6 years ago), I was really uncomfortable with the lack of regulations and any type of GCP in the banking area. I don’t recall that there were public and private banks at the time. I’m a regulations girl and wanted to know that anything we banked would be maintained in the utmost, cleanest practices, with no chance of adverse events. I’m sure things have gotten better with time.

      I also wasn’t sure of the benefit versus our questions. The real benefit of banking is a sense of security against potential diseases-what if our baby were to develop x type of cancer? etc. Again, I wasn’t convinced that the banks would have kept it in proper condition to be used later. This was years ago, I’m sure the industry has made advances since then.

    • Anon for this :

      For a different perspective – we did it, for 2 kids. Our ob/gyn was nuetral on the issue, although had done it with other couples and was familiar with the process. My DH had had cancer 5 yrs before 1st child, and thankfully went into remission after some tough treatment. I think we looked at banking as a ‘just in case’ kind of thing – if ever a serious issue came up, which we had demonstrable evidence that it could indeed happen to us or our kids – maybe, just maybe, having it banked would be helpful somewhere down the road. If not for that experience, I doubt we would have done it, and it is very expensive, both the initial fee and then the annual fees.

    • OP here – thanks to everybody for your input. I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts on this.

  15. I think some other moms are like this—but that doesn’t make it right. I’m lucky that my mom isn’t critical of me, but I have many friends whose moms are or were critical of them.

    You don’t deserve to be spoken to this way. I’m confident you know what you look like and it’s none of her business. If you are complaining to her that you can’t get a date (which apparently you can) or that you can’t get a job and she said that perhaps the problem is that you only wash your hair every month and so you look dirty, I’d be okay with that. But if she’s critical because she thinks you are too fat or skinny or thinks your hair should be brown when it’s red, then none of that is her affair. Likewise, unless she has well-founded concerns about your apartment or your boyfriend (for example, your apartment is not safe, your boyfriend is abusive), then how you live and where you live also isn’t her affair.

    The women I’ve known who have been successful in standing up to their moms have held a hard line. They’ve said something along the lines of: “Mom. I have heard your comments. These are the choices I have made in life. I am no longer going to listen to you criticize me for my weight/appearance/apartment/job/boyfriend. Now let’s talk about something else.” And the next time she returns to the topic, you repeat “Like I said, Mom, I’m no longer going to listen to you criticize my body/job/etc.” And if she refuses to move off of the topic, then tell her “I see this is not a good time for us to talk. Please call back when you’re ready to discuss something other than my body/job/etc.” And then hang up the phone. Once she finds out she can’t be mean to you anymore, she will stop.

    Consider: Would you talk to a daughter of your own the way your mom talks to you? Would you let someone else talk to your daughter (assuming you have/will have one) the way she talks to you? What if your mom tries to say these things to your daughter; would you put your foot down then? You’re just as valuable as any daughter you have or may have.

    You deserve to be treated well. I’m hoping your boyfriend is being protective of you because he too believes you deserve better. Now you have to believe you deserve better.

  16. Paul Green shoes? :

    Have seen a lovely Paul Green shoe. They are pricey, but have heels that I can live with. No stores with me sell them, although I can order on Zappos. Any thoughts as to how they run and how they stack up against other brands in that range (Ferragamo, SW, etc.)? Thanks!

  17. What kind of jacket do you wear with a camel pencil skirt that is not part of a suit (it is The Skirt)? I have a tweed blazer that I was considering, but I just don’t know. How would you wear it?

    • I have that exact skirt. I’ve actually worn it with a navy blazer, which ended up looking pretty good and kind of winking at the classic preppy guy uniform of a navy blazer and khakis (I wore a white shirt, gold necklace). That said, I think a tweed blazer, so long as it has any kind of gold, camel, or khaki thread to it would be very nice. Any pattern/mix that pics up the hue should be fine.

    • big dipper :

      I’ve worn a navy blazer and a dark khaki blazer (that’s a weird color description but this blazer is a weird color) with mine. I also think any darker jewel tone would work – hunter green, dark red (oxblood?), dark purple, etc.

    • Legally Red :

      I’m wearing a purple-ish maroon jacket today with a camel pencil skirt today.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I wear either a dark brown or a navy blazer with mine. If I had a tweed, dark green, or dark purple blazer, I would wear those, as well (and now want blazers in all those colors).

  18. Cornellian :

    Related to the pull up question!

    How much can you bench press? Once? Ten times? Or, how many proper form pull ups can you do?

    • Confession 2: I can’t bench press for squat. It’s terrible, the way my arms tremble trying to lift that stupid bar. Forget about form. I WILL CONQUER YOU, STEEL MANIFESTATIONS OF MISERY, RAWR.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      When I went into law enforcement I had to bench press 98% of my body weight, unassisted, one time, to pass the test. It took a TON of training, but I did it. Men had to do 110% of body weight. I now can’t do bench presses or push ups at all due to a permanent injury to my ac joint. I can’t say I miss it.

    • Statutesq :

      I haven’t maxed out since high school, so now I’m curious about how much I could bench if I wanted to. Now, I do 3 sets of 15 with 55. In high school the most I maxed out at was 120 I think.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i rarely bench press – i think the last time i did was about 6 months ago, and my 1RM was 125 (bodyweight of 145ish). it’s probably about the same now, MAYBE 5lbs more.

      i did max out on my strict overhead press this weekend, and could not even get 90lbs to my eyes, let alone overhead. i am a hamstring-dominant beast though – deadlift 300 and squat 220, which i’m pretty happy with.

    • I can bench press my weight. (and am working towards 110% but it is SO hard) I can squat almost 2x, but I am terrible at pull ups. I’m really short (T-rex arms!) so I think that definitely helps.

      I’m terrible at any sort of running and after trying the couch to 5k for the past year, I think I’m just going to accept it. My stocky irish genes are built for carrying sacks of potatoes, not speed.
      I really like weightlifting, and wish I had started doing it sooner!

      • phillygirlruns :

        a double bodyweight squat is no joke – i am JUST BARELY at 1.5x and consider myself pretty effin’ strong. weightlifting is amazing – i wish i’d gotten into it years ago, too.

  19. phillygirlruns :

    somehow my boss and i both decided that today is BRIGHT RED BLAZER day. ugh. thankfully we don’t have any meetings or anything together, because we look like the bobbsey twins.

    • Cornellian :

      We are three women with twelve men in my group, and we’re all wearing an identical color today, which happens at least once a week. We really, really dont’ coordinate it.

    • My office staff and I have the uncanny ability to coordinate outfits without even trying. Often times I’ll show up in the same color as my MA or my office manager. At this point, we just laugh. It’s totally like Mean Girls though (which day do we wear pink?)

    • Whatever, my mom and I (both lawyers in the same city) have shown up to bar events both wearing bright red blazers. No prior coordination, obviously. Doesn’t help that we also look alike.

      I have been feeling uninspired with my red blazer lately. What are you wearing it with?

    • This happens in my office with bright colored pencil skirts. A group of women (including myself) always ends up wearing them on the same day, and we look like some office-attired version of the Supremes. Good for a laugh :)

    • I’m wearing a bright pink long sleeved shirt and black trousers today. One of my staff has the exact same outfit on. Doesn’t help that the bright pink draws attention…

  20. Anon for this :

    My boss died unexpectedly yesterday – heart attack or stroke while on vacation in Hawaii. He was a mentor, friend, hard-working and almost universally loved. He was the best boss I’ve ever had. He first hired me in 2000 and was my reference for other jobs before he hired me again in 2010. I am just heartbroken for his wife and grown boys, our team and the larger community. I still can’t believe it.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. Lots of hugs to you and his loved ones.

    • I am so sorry for your loss.

    • So sorry for you, his family, and all your co-workers! Take care of yourself and let yourself grieve and cope in whatever way works best for each of you.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m so sorry for your loss as well. If you are the “fixer” type that can’t sit still and it would be appropriate for you to do so, check his calendar, check with his assistant, etc. to be aware of any upcoming major work deadlines he had, particularly if you are a lawyer, so you can request the necessary extensions. Most people don’t organize their work in such a way that someone else could just pick up with no notice. It often takes a long time to figure out what all is going on and what needs to be done. Just making a list of all the things that need to be covered/done is hugely helpful!

    • I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • So sorry for your loss.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I am so sorry.

    • I’m so sorry.

  21. Regular Poster, Anon for This :

    I’m starting to hate my job. Big law, 3rd year. I keep having moments where I think I could be here forever and go for partner track some day, but I keep coming back to hating the lifestyle. I’m also about to get married. I had a talk with my fiance last night, and he suggested toughing it out for another year or two until we start thinking about babies (so as to take advantage of my firm’s generous leave policy, etc.), and then when I come back from maternity leave, start looking for a new, lower stress job, and enjoy the crazy salary while not worrying about the hours since I’ll be leaving anyway. It was honestly a complete relief to think that this might be a possibility. Is this a completely terrible idea/plan?

    • Why would this be a terrible idea? Sounds exactly like what most of my BigLaw friends did. (And I would have, too, if the timing on babies had lined up.)

    • Big law buddy :

      I think it’s a fabulous idea! (As long as you want to be there through that… honestly, I would also want that cushion so I could stay home with the babies after!)

    • e_pontellier :

      This sounds like a perfect — and perfectly normal — plan.

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      I know that you have every right to do this because the firm is paying you for your time while you are there and you are giving your time while you are there, so it is a fair deal.

      However, let me say this: I have written here before about the misinformation campaign I was forced to wage as a first year at my AmLaw 100 firm to disabuse the partners of their thought that I would have a baby and quit and that they should therefore not spend any effort trying to groom me for partner. In a nutshell, after several partners asked when my then-husband and I were going to start having babies, I told the senior associate who was closest to the partners and could.not.keep.a.secret that I was unable to conceive (not true). The questions stopped. They groomed me for partner. I made partner. All was good and right in the world.

      I was forced to do this because of the common expectation that women will do what you are considering. I know. I know. The plight of all women is not your responsibility. You have all the right in the world to follow through on your plan. But something about it rubs me the wrong way.

      • anon for this :

        I agree 110%. While this is the option best for you, keep in mind what sort of precedent you are setting. This is your choice and you have the right to it but it will affect women who come after you. How would you like it if your future daughter was denied a promotion because her superiors feared she would do the same thing her mother did? For the sake of devil’s advocate, think about it.

      • Diana Barry :

        On the other side, biglaw firms STILL fire people when they are pregnant or coming back from leave. STILL. It’s not all the “women who quit”. Some of them are forced out.

      • Also anon for this :

        In my past I was certain I didn’t want kids. At a mid-law interview I was asked a question about whether I would be comfortable traveling and away from home for a few weeks at a time. I blurted out “oh, that would be fine, I’m not planning on having kids” without even thinking about what I said and the implications of that. I got the job. I got more development than other females I worked with. I then applied for a new job. The boss I told the kid line to was my reference. I have reason to believe he told my current boss I was great, oh and bonus, she doesn’t want kids. I actually am now considering having kids and worry that my old boss, unbeknownst to me, set some standard that I would never be taking a maternity leave or having kids. Totally sucks to have to worry about this. If I do have kids, I plan to come back 100% w/ husband being the primary parent. However, I shouldn’t have to explain that to anyone to stay on the track I’m on.

        • transition :

          Can you just pretend you don’t realize the current boss probably knows about your statement? Or if asked, could you just say that you meant that you meant that you weren’t planning to have kids at that time, while in that position? If someone is 20 and says they’re not planning on kids, she can certainly change her mind at 40, right? Not guessing your age then or now but I don’t think people can truly expect such a statement way back when to automatically remain forever, especially when some people wed or partner later and that often impacts their plans to procreate.

          • I would be surprised if her current boss said anything at all. I’m sure he would not want to give the impression that he hired her because she did not want kids.

        • Hey – plans change! If he even mentions it to you say that x years ago, at the time of that initial interview, you didn’t plan on having kids. It’s not like you signed something saying you would procreate. (Nor is it reasonable to hold your life hostage to something you said many years ago, in an interview for another job.)

        • There’s always the approach of getting pregnant, then mentioning “yes, I didn’t want kids, but, well, whoops!” Obviously better worded than that. Sh!t happens. Don’t feel bound/stressed by something you said a decade ago to a previous boss.

      • I hear what you’re saying and I even considered taking off my wedding rings for interviews for this reason, but it seems like this is just the reality. I know firms were pushed to offer more for maternity leave and I *wish* I still had the option of close to six months’ paid plus up to six weeks of vacation time (my current job offers 3-4 months unpaid — yes, not one day of paid leave). But ultimately I’m not sure the long leave is a good idea just because it does encourage this behavior. The only way to prevent this would be to have some sort of clause that requires repayment of salary paid during leave if the women quit the firm within X amount of time after returning from leave. In the end, I think the truth is that the majority of women (1) will have babies and (2) will seek less stress/fewer hours once they do. Quitting before having a baby instead of shortly after is not going to change the fact that women are more likely to leave BigLaw around the time they get married (give or take a few years) than men are.

        • Former Partner, Now In-House :

          I did take off my rings for my interviews when we were in law school, both because I was older (late 20s) and married (so didn’t want to leave the impression that I was about to have kids) and because the rings were pretty big and expensive looking (they came from my family, but I didn’t want the perception that I had lots of money and didn’t need to work).

          Perhaps this is a generational thing. I was born in 1966 and graduated law school in 1995.

          But here’s the thing: not all women are, or want to be, moms. I wish people could focus on this. It applies in the professional settings we’re discussing. It also applies elsewhere. I just read an article about politics and voting trends that discussed soccer moms, waitress moms and something-else moms. And Ann Romney’s convention speech about the moms in America doing all the work. Why can’t people (employers, colleagues, politicians) speak to me as a woman, not as a mom or future-mom or not-mom?

          • Oh, definitely agree on that. I hate the whole “mom mom mom” thing. (Although in her article, Slaughter talked about how she insists on including “mother of two” in her bio. But overall, why are women so often identified as “38 year old mother of two” or “40 year old mom” when men are almost never identified this way?) And ultimately, we’re talking about prejudice — you are a member of group X and therefore you will behave in Y way. Each person should be judged based on his/her individual choices and traits. But I also have talked to BigLaw partners who are really grappling with the issue because the truth is that it is difficult to retain female attorneys and most who leave do so in connection with starting a family.

            (And I think the ring thing is generational. I was born in 1977 and graduated law school in 2005. I considered taking off my rings only recently, maybe because I was actually planning to have a baby soon. But no one at my on-campus interviews in school took off their rings. At least, not at the law school. We did hear about the B-school ladies doing it.)

        • Anon in ATX :

          I adamently refused to take off my ring during OCI despite my husbands repeated urging. I had a lot of Big law interviews but no offers. Granted I admit interviewing is not my strong suit but I always wonder if this played a role or not. My rationale was that if that was why they were going to ding me I did not want to work for them anyways. I think that I would not have liked big law given what I know about it but there’s a tiny part of me that wishes I would have had the chance to find out. But the rest of me appreciates my govt. job with easy hrs.

      • AnonInfinity :

        It might be an unpopular opinion, but I agree with this so much.

        I wish that the perception was different, but this is reality. I truly believe that every time a woman does this, it adds to the perception that all women will do this. The fact that bosses assume that one woman will make the same choice as another (as many others!) is not fair. It stinks. But it happens. I don’t know how to fix the problem other than to say that our society needs a massive overhaul of its perception of women, child bearing, and child rearing. But in the meantime, it makes my heart hurt every time a woman does this because I truly believe that it’s one thing that holds us all back.

        • Do you feel the same way if she leaves before taking maternity leave as opposed to after? I feel like the fall-out is similar (isn’t it really the lack of mentoring for partnership that’s the issue — if that’s the issue, whether she takes a few months’ paid leave before quitting doesn’t seem to really matter in the grand scheme of things). But how can you tell someone not to quit a job because she wants to take care of her kids? Even an extreme position like saying that women who plan to have babies and then leave shouldn’t take the job in the first place couldn’t even be implemented. Some women think they’re going to want to come back after having a baby then realize they don’t. Some women think they’re going to get married and have kids and leave, but then decide to stay (or their family plans don’t work out and so they’re happy to stick around). Individual women’s choices are not where the game is. It’s much bigger than that.

          • AnonInfinity :

            No, I don’t feel the same way if the woman leaves before taking the maternity leave vs. after. I agree that the fall-out is similar, but I don’t think it’s as large. I work in a much smaller firm than a BigLaw firm, but this happened at my job recently. The perception was that this woman worked the system (in a bad way) because she knew she was going to quit, she pretended like she wasn’t, then she quit 3 days after her leave ended. The perception that we will game the system AND leave is worse than just that we will leave.

            This is a different situation from a woman who doesn’t know whether she wants to leave and realizes on mat leave or shortly after that she doesn’t want the same career path. Things happen, and that’s fine.

            I also don’t think that women should turn down a job because they want to have children one day, even if they plan to leave after. I just don’t think that a woman should plan to leave, take the benefit, then leave (or purposely not do a great job until leaving).

            And I do agree with you that this whole issue is bigger than individual women’s choices. I just think that sometimes individual women’s choices reinforce perceptions in some people’s minds, and the rest of us can suffer because of that. Maybe my position is inconsistent, but there it is.

        • I almost wish that new Dads were given a mandatory paternity leave and mandatory reduced hours so that this didn’t fall on women exclusively.

          • I had a discussion with one of my professors about this in college, and apparently at my school it had become an even worse double edged sword. Women were NOT taking maternity leave because it was hurting their career trajectory, tenure-wise. So they put new tenure rules in place saying maternity & paternity leave couldn’t hurt your tenure and highly encourage men and women to take it.

            But here is what actually happened: women still didn’t take much (if any) maternity leave, because when they came back they were “mommy tracked” and had trouble getting tenure. Men tended to be older than women and already tenured, and they DID take paternity leave – but rather than actually use it as paternity leave, their wives tended to be SAHMs and the men used it as a time to do consulting work and go to conferences – using it more like a sabbatical, and actually making themselves more valuable after taking the leave, but not necessarily doing the childcare duties.

            Not saying its that way with all maternity/paternity leave policies, or that all men and women will follow the above pattern, but I was horrified when I heard about that. So I’m opposed to “mandatory” paternity leave policies, because I don’t think it would necessarily help the situation.

          • Maddie Ross :

            Ditto to Meg Murry’s comment. Same thing happens at my firm. Many men take paternity leave, but still bill 5-6 hours a day at home. However, the time they are out on leave still gets annualized the same way maternity leave does for a woman. While I am in favor of paternity leave, I am adamantly opposed to allowing the same annualization or not somehow recognizing this time issue. It is simply not possible, especially within the first few weeks, for a woman to bill 5-6 hours a day immediately after giving birth, even if her husband could.

        • I should clarify my response below that I am NOT saying that women shouldn’t leave The Firm around the same time they are having kids. The vast majority of associates do leave, men and women, and childbearing years often overlap with that exodus. BUT the “let me soak up the maternity leave, come back to collect a few paychecks” attitude is the one that hurts the remaining women the most. If you come back, actually come back and pull your weight for the time you are there.

      • anon for this :

        Also agree.

    • A lot of people do this. I’m torn about it (perhaps because I’m not there yet, but putting that aside…). Every time another woman leaves like this, the remaining female associates in similar circumstances (either married and childless, or pregnant / with young kids) feel under heightened scrutiny for a while – like, huh, it’s probably only a matter of time for you too. I’m not at all defending that attitude, but it sucks to have to doubly prove your commitment to The Firm (usually accompanied by picking up the slack of the one-foot-out-the-door mom) because so-and-so down the hall gave her notice during her last month of maternity leave.

      In your own self interest, though, you’re obviously entitled to take your leave and make your plans as you will, and The Firm maternity leave is likely more generous than what you would get after transitioning in-house. Which is probably why so many women do it, as others have mentioned.

      • transition :

        It’s funny, I get the opposite feedback… anyone I’ve ever said it to (not going to have kids) disregards it and presumes I just haven’t met the right guy yet or haven’t heard my biological clock yet or am just too young to know what I want yet or blah blah disregarding what you said blah blah.

        • I actually do plan on having kids someday – but what you said fits right in with my experience. Even women who are sure they are not going to – and are open about it – are subject to the same skepticism after someone else’s departure. It’s really quite exhausting.

        • Former Partner, Now In-House :

          This is EXACTLY why I waged the misinformation campaign to which I alluded before. It worked beautifully.

    • Granted, I’m a little biased because I work at a big firm that actually values women and actively promotes policies that help women advance equally to men (and is generally family-friendly). But, it’s not your responsibility to help set or defy some sort of precedent. It’s your responsibility to do what’s right for your family, full stop.

      If your firm actually cares about keeping women (or associates in general) happy and not losing them to other alternatives, they would have or consider policies that assist in that. If your plan makes you happy and makes sense for your family, then go for it. There’s a reason multitudes of associates have made the same plans prior to you.

      • Amen.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        JJ, is your firm hiring? That sounds nice.

        • We happen to be headquartered in San Fran…

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Are you coming to Rosamunde’s on November 4? I really like my firm but I don’t think it’s super lady friendly. I’m fascinated to hear that there’s a firm that’s actually walking the walk as well as talking the talk. I don’t mean to pry. We all value our anonymity here. I think I have friends at each of the big firms headquartered in SF so I will inquire in their directions.

          • Ah. The firm is HQ’d in San Francisco, but I live and work in Dallas. But, feel free to shoot me an email at jjcrette at google’s email address suffix.

  22. DH and I will be spending a long weekend in SFO in a few weeks. Any must see/do/eats? We are staying downtown but also there to visit assorted family.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Ferry Building Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. Sushi – Zushi Puzzle, Sebo, Eji, Tataki (soup nazi style – don’t do anything to his fish), Ino (soup nazi style), or take the ferry to Sushi Ran in Sausalito. Also consider Perbacco, Barbacco, Cotogna, Prospect, Bar Crudo, State Bird Provisions, Dosa, Baker and Banker, Canteen, Flour & Water, Zero Zero, Una Pizza Politana, Tony’s Pizza, Tartine Bakery, Knead. Sounds like you’re going to Humphrey Slocombe for bacon gelato. Also consider Bi-Rite, Mr. and Mrs. Micellaneous, and Smitten. House of Prime Rib. Alexanders’. Atelier Crenn just got its second Michelin star and was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Chapeau!, Prospect, Zuni.

      See also:
      http://[this site].com/2012/09/25/loeffler-randall-tamsin-mid-heel-pumps/
      http://[this site].com/2012/10/11/coast-london-patti-knit/
      http://[this site].com/2012/07/25/suit-of-the-week-basler/
      http://[this site].com/2012/03/21/wednesdays-tps-report-tweed-lena-dress/
      http://[this site].com/2012/03/07/wednesdays-tps-report-tweed-stand-notch-collar-jacket/
      http://[this site].com/2011/04/06/wednesdays-tps-report-loryna-silk-ruffled-blouse/

    • locomotive :

      Do you like coffee? If so, blue bottle or philz is a must. I love blue bottle so much. I miss it…

  23. I have that jacket, it arrive a few weeks ago, and every time I wear it I get compliments on it. (I have a 36D chest/short torso but it looks fine anyway) It goes with everything. LOVE!

  24. Okay, here’s one for TCFKAG (or anyone who cares to chime in!) – I need a pair of booties that I can wear with both skinnies and straight leg jeans. Casual use only. Preferably leather, with either a flat heel or up to 2″. Has to be able to take walking around in the Wisconsin winter (snow, ice, wet, etc).

    I just bought a pair of Pikolinos “Turin” bootie (on the Nordstrom site) and I like them … but I don’t love them (not that love is a prerequisite, but for $200 shoes, I would LIKE to love them). Can be oxford/brogue style or the more traditional booties. I’ve been looking for months and I’m just not seeing anything.

    Grey or black is preferred, but I would also do a nice rich cognac or burgundy, I think.

    • These are probably not what you’re looking for (in fact, reading your requirements, they are definitely too high of heel), but I’ve been eyeing them for weeks and really want someone to buy them so I can live vicariously through you. I’m on the hunt for dress booties (in wide, as discussed/ranted about above), and these keep coming up. They’re cheap, and they’re frequently on even bigger sale, but they’re too casual for my needs (though I’m this. close. to buying them anyway). They just look so comfy and cozy and cute!

    • Well, I’ve officially looked at too many booties today — but here are a few ideas — I’ve tried to keep them cheaper then the Nordies ones.






      • Praxidike :

        I really like those BP Rally ones, a lot. I’ve looked at them several times and maybe I should have just bought those in the first place. I was turned off by some of the reviews that said they look cheap, but I guess I can evaluate for myself and then return them if I don’t like them.


        • So I just also bought a pair of knee high boots that are sort of similarish to the BP Rally ones (also from Nordies) and the only negative reviews they got is that people thought the leather looked “cheap”. And I sort of wonder if in Nordie review speak, when people say that, they’re just confused that the leather is pre-weathered and weren’t expecting it. Even if its clear from the description and the picture. Because the leather on mine is definitely not cheap, just intentionally weathered.

          Le shrug.

          • Praxidike :

            True. You can never be quite sure what people want out of leather when they purchase boots. I just bought the Born Lira boot (love it) and there are reviews on there that say the leather looks cheap. Well, duh – it’s intentionally weathered and cracked, which is quite visible from the photos on the site.

          • THOSE ARE MY BOOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I just bought the Born Tati booties and love them!

  25. applesandcheddar :

    ladies, it’s been so warm lately that I decided to skip tights today. I have been regretting it since I left my apartment… cannot stop shivering :(

    • Me too! I was so sure last night that I’d regret it if I wore tights. Then was early to meet my boss and stood in the wind for 20 min regretting regretting regretting.

  26. Almost There :

    Sorry I’m all over this thread today, but…

    I’m going to a Conference & Career Fair tomorrow and I’m SO nervous. Like, unreasonably nervous. It’s not like I’m terrible at small talk or anything, I am just so intimidated by “the 30 second sell”/”elevator interview.” And I am scared of standing in line for table talk with hundreds (probably thousands) of other eager young job-seekers – staring my competition in the face, as it were. I did re-read Kat’s recent posts about networking at conferences. Does anyone have any tips to share – how to win at career fairs, or how to just calm the f down about it?

    On the plus side, I feel really awesome about the outfit I have planned!

    • Aw, being so nervous sucks! ;o)

      I haven’t done the big career fair thing, but just in general for high-pressure, fast-moving things, I would recommend, practice your ‘elevator interview’ in the mirror a bunch. Practice what you will say as your intro of yourself, and what you might say to the major questions you will get. Spend your time in line deep breathing and going over in your head what you are going to say. Take A DEEP breath before you start speaking and just focus on speaking slowly, smiling and looking calm and together ;o) that will go a long way to making you look competent and confident.

      And then give yourself time in between line ups to go to a quiet place, breathe some more, take notes on what just happened, look over your materials again.Think about what you might say differently and try to calm yourself down before going ot the next line.

      My other recommendation involves valium or a glass of wine ;o) but that might not work.

      And your outfit will be AWESOME! YOU will be AWESOME! Go Kill It! Godzilla RAWR!

    • karenpadi :

      As someone who now attends career fairs to attract recruits, please don’t be nervous! The worst career fairs are when all the law students sit around talking to each other and I have no one to talk to (then I start talking to the other attorneys at the event).

      At career fairs, there are a few stupid questions: why my firm hadn’t extended a permanent offer to one of our summer associates (it happened); if you can have a job (uh, we aren’t authorized to do that at a career fair); and if you can take a piece of swag (unless we’ve already had a conversation, I’ve forgotten to offer it, and you are walking away from the table).

      In general, just approach the table and say hello. I think most attorneys and recruiters are used to taking the conversation from there. Keep your elevator pitch super simple and only 5-10 seconds long: “Hi, I’m karenpadi. I’m a 2L interested in transaction/litigation/undecided. What does your firm do?”

      Don’t try to pronounce the firm’s name and don’t say “I’m looking for a summer job.” or “Can I take this (piece of swag)?”

    • Do not feel badly if you walk away with nothing. I don’t mean that in a doomsday way at all – just keep your expectations in check. I’ve been to several and my experience was so “MEH” about it all. At least, like you, I liked my outfits.

      I do think you should go, because it’s worthwhile and you never know what will happen. Good luck!

  27. Threadjack: I could use some advice. I am currently 9 weeks pregnant (unplanned as to this time, very wanted). Because I have a condition that makes the pregnancy high-risk, I’m having to switch OB doctors to a specialist further away, and as a result will be having (1) more frequent visits, and (2) will be gone at ~3 hours per visit, instead of currently having visits scheduled during lunch with a nearby OB.

    I work for a small firm (no FMLA, etc, in a state with no pro-pregnancy laws). There is no maternity policy in place. I was really hoping to keep this under wraps for another 6-8 weeks, but I am going to need to tell my employer within the next week as to why I’m taking a half day every two weeks (I’ll be coming in Saturdays and keeping my billables the same). Further, I have about a 60% chance of preterm delivery, although I’d like to not share that until we are further along. We have not told anyone else of this pregnancy, including immediate family.

    Long story short, my employer is someone who is going to be very disappointed to find out I’m pregnant, and I’m very concerned my ability to get work will suffer. I know we’ve had threads about telling employers generally, but I’m wondering if anyone has any specific advice or tips as to telling a highly unenthusiastic employer of your pregnancy, especially so early in. I’m going to take this weekend and put together a game plan.
    Thank you in advance.

    • I just read the thread that occurred above while I was drafting this, and wanted to add: I freaking LOVE my job. I want to come back to my job after I have this baby. I want to still be working here 10 years from now. That’s why I’m concerned about making sure I inform my employer (‘s’ – there are four managing partners) – in the best manner possible.

      • Former Partner, Now In-House :

        I would suggest that you tell your employer clearly and explicitly that you love your job and that is why you are planning to do everything you can think of (i.e., working on Saturdays) to pull your weight. Sometimes we think those things are understood, but it can’t hurt to say it out loud.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      No experience but I think vagueness could work here. People have therapy, chiropractors, physical therapy, medical tests, etc all the time. I would just say “hey boss, I’ve got some medical stuff going on and will be out of the office for half a day every other week. I’m going to work on the weekend to make up the hours so you will still see my usual productivity. I’d rather not discuss the specifics of this right now but I will update you when and if this changes.”

      • Agree. You have a medical condition, and you’re going to be ok, but there are a lot of follow up tests. Once you do announce, be very explicitly clear about assuaging their fears.

      • Diana Barry :


    • I would be vague about your medical condition that’s necessitating these visits. Agree 100% with Blonde Lawyer.

      It’s hard to do this, but I’d wait and let the rest of it unfold more naturally. You don’t need to tell your boss right now, for example, that you have a 60% chance of preterm delivery — just be prepared early for if that does happen.

      Do you have a mentor (female especially good) at your firm where you could take that person into your confidence about negotiating some of this stuff once you’re further along in the pregnancy?

      Good luck! This stuff is hard, but that’s why the R E T T E community is awesome :)

      • Anon for family issues :

        +1000 for talking it through with a mentor. When you meet with her (or him) present a proposal for how to handle the maternity leave (who will handle your cases, etc etc). You don’t need to mention that you are high risk for preterm delivery, just mention that its a possibility in ANY pregnancy, and how you intend to make it easy for someone else to be able to pickup where you leave off (keeping clearly labeled files, all due dates on a calendar, etc etc) if that were to happen. The mentor hopefully can help you make adjustments to your plan and help you determine who else to tell and how.

        I worked at an extremely un-family-friendly company in the chemical industry, and when another employee went to HR and said “I’m pregnant, I can’t work with chemicals right now” they told her that since she couldn’t do her job description she had to take unpaid leave until she could do the job again – they didn’t fire her, but they didn’t give her ANY option to do other work either. So when I got pregnant, I FREAKED OUT. Luckily, my boss was great, and she & I hammered out a plan (including part where she told upper management how much she needed me) and then presented it as “this is how its going to work” and everyone was generally ok with it. We also told as few people as possible, and reminded HR that pregnancy was considered a medical condition covered under HIPPA confidentiality laws. I also had an understanding with my boss that due to the previous employee’s situation I should NOT have my doctor write me notes with restrictions so I was never “officially” restricted, but she wouldn’t assign me to any projects that I couldn’t work on and she would respect when I told her I couldn’t handle something (being on my feet for more than 1-2 hours toward the end). I would also recommend that you not get anything in writing from your doctor (travel restrictions, etc) unless you are really being pushed to do things against his orders.

        Good luck to you and congrats!

        • LadyEnginerd :

          You just addressed my biggest fear of pregnancy in a lab type work place. If you’re still checking this, perhaps you have some concrete tips for anyone else who might have to deal with this (namely, me) and who will have to come up with some sort of plan with my supervisor?

    • I had early pregnancy complications during a time when my industry and firm were in turmoil. I went in to the seniormost person I felt comfortable talking to and told him that I had it appeared that I had some medical developments, that might nor might not be quite grave, and that I did not know how things would turn out. At that point, he told me to take care of myself and I promised to keep him posted. Some months later, I told him that I was pregnant but that there were complications even though I was able to continue working. The bottom line was that I wanted to give them a head’s up re: something serious going on, but that I also didn’t know the resolution. I also didn’t want to seem to be AWOL, either.

      Good luck!

    • goirishkj :

      Agree with the other advice for dealing with the job so I’ve got nothing to add there. I’m technically a high-risk pregnancy as well, and it can be scary, so please take care of yourself. Hugs to you and congrats on the baby–timing might not be ideal, but I’m a hopeless optimist who believes things work out eventually the way they’re supposed to.

    • I’m in a similar situation in that I work at a small firm that I love but there’s no maternity leave policy in place. I ended up having to notify my bosses at about 8 weeks (much earlier than originally planned) because I was going into court to schedule a trial that another attorney and I would both be on. I’ve also had a lot of issues with morning sickness so in the end I actually felt a huge relief after I was able to explain why my hours had been down, why I had been out of it, etc.

      I basically told them I was pregnant then immediately launched into a speech about how I was coming back after the baby was born and had every intention of continuing with the firm for the long haul. Of course, I’m still going to miss work which creates problems but I think everyone realized that, in the long term, it’s better to be supportive now so that I’ll continue to want to work here. I expected my bosses to not be overly enthusiastic either but it really did turn out to be much better than I was expecting. Good luck!

  28. Rural Juror :

    What do you get a 1 year old for his birthday? I don’t know things about babies. I was thinking clothes. Is there something better? Books? Some sort of learning toy? Something practical that the mom would appreciate?

    • I got a one-year-old a set of soft “blocks” in the shape of cars and buildings (like a little town set). I got it at Buy Buy Baby and it came in a nice soft plastic carrying case with a handle. I later learned that the family had to buy another set, because the one-year-old and his similarly aged cousin kept fighting over the first set.

      I am also considering getting for another one-year-old these stuffed vegetables I saw at IKEA. I think they velcro together and can be pulled apart, like you are “cutting” them. I got a wooden set of vegetables like this (velcro together and cut with a toy knife) for my nephew, but he might have been turning 2. I like soft toys for one-year-olds since they are still sort of wobbly and uncoordinated and I don’t want them bonking themselves in the head with something hard. I think the wooden vegetable were from Amazon, maybe the Melissa and Doug brand?

    • My son got this and loves it still. He’s 2 now. Music is decent and it has volume control.

    • As the parent of an almost-three-year-old, I can definitely vouch for the awesomeness of the soft play fruits and veggies found at IKEA.

      At that age, books are always great — especially less common ones, or ones you enjoyed reading as a child. My daughter loved stacking cups when she was a year old and you can get those pretty inexpensively.

      I got my niece a Plan Toys Dancing Alligator (not including link to avoid moderation, but just do a search for it) and she has three older siblings (translation: access to TONS of toys) and yet this has been a consistent hit in their house.

    • Books are always good! You can get board books, plastic books that are good in the bath, or traditional picture books. Pop-up books aren’t good for this age because they’re too likely to get torn.

      Other ideas:
      * Shape sorter
      * Stuffed animal or doll
      * Ball (plastic or fabric — texture is good)

    • I have a one-year-old. One of the best gifts he got was a set of small board books (like 3″ square.) Small is good because they’re easy for little hands to hold, and I can throw a few in the diaper bag and keep pulling different ones out to keep him occupied when we’re out. You can find boxed gift sets at the big book stores. The one he received is Elmo and probably came from Walmart.

      He is also loving toys he can push/pull around, like the classic little people school bus, et al.

    • I’ve had a rash of one year old birthdays in the last year and anything by the little people seems to be a big hit. They like the little people and the cars/trucks/planes they go into. I’ve also gotten board books and clothes. One of my friends kids received a push toy at his first birthday and loved it- similar to a popcorn pusher. Shopping cart or pretend “vacuum” would also probably work.

    • I like to get cutie-cute clothes because they’re just so darn adorable, and the kid is too young to be disappointed not to get a toy. But I think you can really get whatever you want or think is fun – books, toys, stuffed animals, etc. It’s incredibly difficult to guess what sort of toy or book a kid will love or just kind of be meh about, and, to be fair, the kid is pretty unclear about the whole birthday thing anyway.

    • My godson/nephew turned 1 on Sunday. I agree with others that books are good. I got him an NFL jersey (Go Patriots!). Other favorites from his gifts: (just saw a pic of him playing with it)

      Also, his longtime favorite toy is Walter from The Muppets:

    • I have a 13 month old. She loves stacking things so something like the Nest & Stack Buckets from iplay is a great idea. Little books are a good idea, as are wooden puzzles with 3-6 pieces that have little knobs on the pieces. She also likes her shape sorter and pop-up toy.

      Here are some links:

      Nest & Stack Buckets:


      Shape Sorter:

      Pop-up Animal Toy:

    • The Melissa & Doug Cardboard Blocks are wonderful – big, primary colors, indestructible (my toddlers stood on them) and great for creative play. Ours have been everything from castles to zoos to superhighways etc. etc. They will last through toddlerhood both in quality and interest.

      • I should have said, also good for sitting one year old babies to begin learning stacking sorting etc.

  29. I’m drafting a cover letter for a job I think would be perfect for me and want to step up my game. How do I customize it without paraphrasing my resume? I want to highlight the skills I have that are listed in the job description but am unsure how to word it… Do I write, “I can do xyz-skillset because I’ve done xyz-skillset in job a,” or do I write, “I have acquired xyz-skillset in job a, b, and c”? Please, any advice is so welcome as I’m starting to freak out after so many months unemployed.

    • transition :

      A cover letter is the place to flesh out behaviors and skill-sets, not to rehash the resume in a wordier way. What are your skills? How have those skills benefited your past bosses or colleagues or clients?

      Or how about this… let’s say you’re looking at a job posting. If I looked over your shoulder and said, “Oh Newbie, you could never do that job. You’d be horrible at it!” What would you say to me to argue that I am wrong and you would be a rockstar at the job and they’d love you? THOSE are the things that should be in your cover letter.

      Hope this helps!

    • Meg Murry :

      Have you checked out ? There is a lot of good advice on careers, resumes, cover letters, etc on that site. She also has a few books would probably be good if they are anything like her advice on the site, but I can’t speak directly to them as I’ve never read them.

    • just a lurker :

      I pretty much paraphrase the job posting. “I can do XYZ because I have experience doing XYZ at Job A. In addition, I can do LMNOP because I did it at Job B”.
      I don’t know if that’s the best method because I’ve been unemployed for months, too.

    • also use your cover letter as an opportunity to explain any gaps on your resume or anything else that you’d like to draw attention to.

      When I wrote my cover letter I kept it to 5 paragraphs and to 2/3 page.

      -P1: 2-3 sentences. Introduce myself, reference position title and number, if any. Briefly describe why I am a good fit and why I would add value in this position.
      -P2: 4-5 sentences. My background; specific markets/industries I served. I really talk to the job description here. I do use their words, but say “mywork includes managing ____, developing ____, and leading _____. I have experience in _____.” You get the idea.
      -P3: 4-5 sentences. Discuss successes broadly and highlight my contributions and what the results of my contributions were. This is my SHOW OFF paragraph.
      -P4: 2-3 sentence – discuss any education/degrees/certifications/memberships that I think are relevant to position.
      -P5: I would appreciate opportunity to discuss yada yada….last sentence includes my contact info.

  30. Blonde Lawyer :

    With all the baby posts, I’ve been thinking of the poster whose coworker was pregnant and learned there was no maternity leave allowed, even unpaid, and the poster learned this while also pregnant but she hadn’t yet told. Poster, how are you? Were you able to negotiate a leave or were you given the same “you will be fired if you are out more than your vacation/sick days” spiel? Your post struck a chord with me because really, what are you going to do if you already took a job with a small employer without asking about leave? If there is no HR, it seems totally impractical to go to your boss and say “hey, I’m thinking of getting pregnant, let’s talk leave.” (PS: my husband does not understand why this would be a bad idea. How easy it is for the men . . .) I think the only option is to wait until you are ready to tell and then try to negotiate the best leave you can. So, please, tell us, how are you????

    • I’ll 2nd that request. I’ve wondered about that poster often.

    • goirishkj :

      Me too. Poster, I’ve worried about you too and hope that you were able to work something out and that the rest of your pregnancy has been smooth!

  31. Ok, TCFKAG. Here’s a wedding dress challenge for you:

    This is my perfect ideal wedding dress, except for the length.  I love the bodice shape and the shiny material and the look. I think it would look fantastic with ivory gloves and a birdcage hat.

    I’m looking for one that looks the same, but is floor-length. Size 12. And I’m not a fan of trains. (Although I or my mom are handy enough to cut/hem off a train if the perfect dress had one.)

    Nordstrom would be ideal, because I live near one. Or a place with free or cheap shipping, as I live far away from a lot of other things.

    Also, if I don’t go with a birdcage, what other kids of creative, classy headpieces are out there? What’s the classiest fascinator you can find? Otherwise I may just go with a fake big white flower in an updo.

    • transition :

      Why not a big real flower? What about something colorful… like a headband with a peac*ck feather or a hair colored headband with a larger colorful broach that you love (or that has family significance)?

      Never been married, only ever in one wedding, so maybe this is silly, but I thought I’d try :)

    • Hi dear, I’d be happy to help you with both these things — but wading through the vast swath that is wedding dresses (a quick peek at Nordies didn’t show anything) doesn’t reveal anything right off the bat. Could you submit this to Tumblr so I could work on this when I’m not, you know, at work.

      Another idea would be to simply take this dress design to a dress maker and have it made. Its relatively simple and I’ve known friends who have had that done to happy effect. But anyway — even if you don’t submit, keep an eye on my tumblr and I’ll try to find you some ideas.

      • I’m not tumblr-savvy. What does submitting it to tumblr mean?

        • Go to my tumblr page (click the link on my name) and you can submit either an ask (that’s “ask me anything” on the right) or if you want to include the link you can do a submission (“submit” on the right) and then just right in the question that you wrote above. Though if you wanted to split it into two questions, one for the dress and one for the hair piece, I wouldn’t object since that would be easier content wise for the blog.

    • Research, Not Law :


      JCrew’s Larissa gown has a similar neckline.

    • Okay — I’ll include this later when I do a more thorough post. And I don’t know what your budget is. But this one form BHDLN ? reminded me of what you were looking for.

      • And for fascinators/head pieces, there are literally a billion of these from designers on etsy. If you could give me some guidance on whether you’d like some color or something white or off white.

        I really like this headband I found on Etsy, its simple but beautiful and would show up in frontal shots.

        But, that whole shop has a bunch of beautiful fascinators and other combs and such things — so it would be worth checking out all their stuff.

      • For a true fascinator, I kind of dig this one that’s pearl and crystals:

        Her whole shop is fascinators and she does some really interesting work — so you should check it out.

      • I also like this one, though I’m not sure why the model insists like looking like that in all her pictures…

        • These are awesome. I’m always so overwhelmed with etsy. But you’re right – know more kind of what I want is much easier.

    • Notalawyer :

      If you do choose to go to a dressmaker, I wonder if any of the Vintage Vogue patterns would work for you? I don’t see anything exactly like what you posted, but there are some very similar in style. And, as a seamstress-in-my-sparetime, adapting a short-skirted pattern to a long one should be simple for a pro.

      Here a link to Vintage Vogue patterns:

      And, you can find more of the old ones on E-bay.

  32. transition :

    I have a free flight via jetblue to use and I think I’m going to use it in December when I’m already traveling (since there is no jetblue near me anymore, it’ll be a trip within a trip). Am thinking of going to Los Angeles for the first time. I have a few friends there whom I’d love to see and one I can stay with. Because of the friends I’ll be visiting, I’ll likely spend some time on a film set and will be touring the play b*y mansion, but that’s all that’s on the agenda thus far. I’ll likely be there mid-December, from a Thurs-Sun. Budget will be limited but I don’t know when I’ll ever get to go back so I do want to enjoy the experience.

    Things I should see/do?

    • OC Lawyer :

      Getty Villa and Getty Center Museum are both free and wonderful. You have to go online and make parking reservations in advance, though. (If you go to the Villa, you can have lunch after at The Reel Inn in Malibu. Seafood, casual, outside, typical California but reasonably priced.)

      La Brea tar pits/Page Museum is also free and great.

      Ditto Griffith Park and the Griffith Park Observatory.

      Be prepared to be disappointed by the PB Mansion.

      Dim Sum in Chinatown?

      If you like Middle Eastern food, Sunnin on Westood Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd is great and reasonably priced. It is pretty close to anything you’ll be doing on the Westside.

    • I love walking around in Griffith Park (home of the Hollywood sign, but you can’t walk up to it). The observatory there is free. The Science Museum in Expo Park is also free (and you can get there on the subway) and I think the Endeavor will be on display (but you might need separate tickets to see it). My husband’s favorite museum is the La Brea Tar Pits ($6 admission) which has the skeletons found in the tar pits, but you can see the tar pits themselves for free. The Getty Center is also free, has good art and amazing views if you are up there on a clear day (but parking is $10, although you can get there by bus or if you are weird like me, walk from Westwood). I’d also recommend walking around some of the beach communities. (I figure that since you are visiting from somewhere cold you should spend as much time outside as possible.) When I have company, they always want to walk around Hollywood (walk of fame etc.) but I hate it because it is too touristy. You could go window shopping on Rodeo drive.

      For food, there is lots of great cheap, ethnic food. I’m a big fan of Ethiopian cuisine, and there are some great Korean places too. LA is the home of the gourmet food truck movement, so you could try to visit some of them. I love the grill cheese truck, but I’m a sucker for cheese in any form.

      I would recommend renting a car if you can’t borrow one from your friends. Public transportation is getting better but it’s nowhere near on par with an East Coast city.

      I’ve only lived here for a couple of months, but I’m sure that others who have been here longer will have more ideas for you.

      • OC Lawyer :

        Thanks for sparking my memory about a few things.

        1. You will need a car. Not negotiable.
        2. Ethiopian food! I like Meals by Genet on Fairfax.
        3. If you like spas, I recommend the Korean Spa experience. My favorite is Natura Spa on Wilshire. Very cheap. A several hour experience that includes playing in many different jacuzzis and steam rooms, a killer exfoliation and a great massage. You will be toast for the rest of the afternoon. Or maybe do it late in the afternoon and then go home for bedtime.


          Lots of smaller interest specific museums-I really like the A & D museum.

          If the weather is nice a trip down the Venice boardwalk is always interesting.

          Ditto on everything else. The observatory is cool at Griffith Park as well.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Venice Beach is a real trip and I always like to take out of towners there for a walk and lunch.
      If you like Klass and Kulture, either of the Getty museums — the big one on the hill or the villa in Malibu — are awesome. You need reservations but they’re free.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      Watch the sun set over the pacific. Blew my mind the first time I saw it (I was never awake for sunrise when I lived on the east coast).

      See live theater or comedy. There are so many talented people out here it would be a shame not to see some of them in action! The Laugh Factory is a safe bet, but if your friends are in the industry, ask them what they’d recommend. (Specific recommendation: google Lost Moon Radio. They’re awesome, and have shows every few weeks.)

  33. Atlanta ladies, it is looking difficult to get us all in the same place at the same time this weekend/next. Because we’re a small group, I would love to be able to make it work for everyone. Can folks reply here or email me to let me know how brunch (seemed to be everyone’s preferred option) would work for you on:

    1) Saturday the 10th?
    2) Sunday the 11th?
    3) Saturday the 17th?
    4) Sunday the 18th?

  34. Thank you ladies for the encouragement yesterday. Today has turned out to be slightly worse, but my husband has surprised me by making plans to take me to lunch!

    I hope all of you have a great day, since you helped me so much yesterday. :)

  35. I totally have this jacket! I bought it at my local J Crew a few weeks ago – but it was priced to ~$70. Super cute and quite a steal. :)

    • I’m also tempted to wear it tomorrow in a similar manner as the model…

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