Thursday’s TPS Report: Cascade Wrap Dress

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

Karen Kane Cascade Wrap DressBloomingdale’s has some amazing sales right now — there are a lot of pieces marked from the $100+ range down to $25 or so (with lots of lucky sizes, so sort by your size first).  However: this fun wrap dress is still available in all sizes.  I like the teal, black and white pattern, the draped bodice and shawl collar, and the faux wrap.  If the print may seem a bit much, I think a pair of opaque black tights and a black boyfriend cardigan (or some of the big shawl/cocoon cardigans we’re seeing for fall) would go a long way towards muting the pattern.  It was $138, then marked to $89.70, and is now marked to $53.82.  Karen Kane Cascade Wrap Dress

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

2014 Update: Note that this dress is now in our Hall of Fame — it comes in new colors and patterns every season (usually in long sleeved, short sleeved, and sleeveless iterations), and you can often find it on sale at Nordstrom or 6pm.  Occasionally, you can also find the dress offered in plus sizes.


  1. Olivia Pope :

    This print is just too much for me. Otherwise, this looks great. Ladies, I’m in the final stretch for the bar exam. I need something fun to think about, like all the professional clothes I’m going to buy!

    Tell me about your professional wardrobe work horses.

    The dress that you end up wearing every week. The suit you always wear to court. The pants that work with everything. Tell me so that I can buy them! My goal is to have a wardrobe made of work horses, with some show horse accessories.

    • manomanon :

      Admittedly, I work in development not law but I have a black ponte sheath dress with very well placed pockets that I wear at least once a week. Plus it has the added bonus of a hot pink lining which makes me happy no matter how boring the rest of my outfit is.
      It was a Lilly Pulitzer dress last summer but they may have a similar one now!
      Good luck on the bar!!!

      • Can you post a link to the current version of your dress? I am wading through their site and am lost in prints or tee-weight solids. Thank you!

        • Miss Behaved :

          Not the Lilly, but I have this ponte sheath with pockets in every color:

          • I can vouche for LE ponte knits. I have many long-sleeve dresses and the “fit 2” pants. Washable, not really wrinkly. Not that expensive to begin with, but it is hard not to hoard when they run their periodic 25%-30% off sales.

            So, for the bar study-ee: I am a partner at a huge law firm. LE stuff is awesome and a good value and works for business-casual (erring on the side of business) but blends well into many weekend activities. Unless I am meeting with clients or have something very serious going on, chances are that something from LE is leaving the house with me.

          • Ready to have a LE splurge session soon based on all of the recommendations from this site. I signed up for their email list. What’s the best sale they typically run? Don’t want to buy at 20% off if it’ll be 30% off the next week!

          • I’ve seen 40% off occasionally – worse case is you buy it at 30% off and then there is a 40% off so you buy that and return the 30% off one. The return policy is pretty decent.

            That being said, I’d rather get it at 30% off than have it not be available when the 40% sale comes on.

          • Olivia Pope :

            Yes, I think I am going to go for some LE dresses. I will try on in store before I go insane and buy a ton.

          • Baconpancakes :

            And size down! I’m a “Medium” at LE, and a L-XL everywhere else. Love their clothes, though.

        • In a tragic turn of events not only did they not replicate it this summer, I can’t find it at any of the stores that sell Lilly, or even though google. (Remembering the name would help but it was apparently uninspiring)

      • I lost a dress that sounds pretty similar to that one, and I’ve been mourning it ever since. After I (finally) have this baby, I’m on a mission to replace it. It was a black ponte knit, really flattering, well-placed pockets, super comfortable, a good length, not revealing up top. Basically, it was a dress you could throw on without thinking about anything.

        I’m also contemplating investing in a nice Black Halo dress for when I go back to work. They’re more expensive, but they are really flattering.

      • I have The Skirt in a ton of different colors and wear one at least once a week.
        But maybe you don’t want listen to me. At the risk of causing legions to clutch their pearl, and having my this site card revoked, I have to confess that for the second day in a row I’m wearing what can only be described as a sundress. With strappy sandals. And I’ve decided that today’s dress is probably a little too low cut. And my the-office-is-freezing cardigan does nothing to disguise the fact.

        • Join the club, I somehow managed to shrink all my summer dresses and everything is a wee bit too short for work appropriate. I’m consoling myself that I have one more week left and my male colleagues are in shorts, flipflops, and grungy t-shirts.

        • Senior Attorney :

          +1 for The Skirt, which is the Halogen Seamed Pencil Skirt from Nordstrom. They have redesigned it again this year and I like it much better than last year’s style. It comes in a million colors and is on sale in regular and petite sizes right now. I have it in at least 10 colors. Srsly.

          They also have a great lightweight cotton blend pencil skirt that I love for hot weather.

        • I adore The Skirt as well. I have two, and can’t wait to buy more next year when I’m no longer pregnant. I’m so glad they redesigned it again so it can once again fit people with hips.

          • In the Pink :

            Have they gone back to the original style with the vertical and horizontal seaming? I can’t wait to see it on line tomorrow!

    • I’ve said it here before, but the J.Crew Emmaleigh dress. It’s a basic sheath, and I had to get the top half taken in a bit, but it’s decent quality and I feel amazing in it. Try to wait for a 25% or 30% off sale, because they come along with some regularity, though I bought mine full price and am happy with it.

      • Anonymous :

        Second the Emmaleigh dress. I have two with jackets to match and those are my go court suits. I also wear the dresses with silk blouses underneath when I don’t feel like wearing a jacket.

        I have a ponte knit dress from BR with 3/4 length sleeves that I wear a ton. It was recommended by this site back in 2009 and it has held up wonderfully and is so easy to throw on in the morning. I can add a scarf or a necklace or a belt to make it a different outfit each time.

        Another outfit in the weekly rotation are printed pencil skirts + the J. Crew Tippi sweater. My office is a little more casual, but this is a perfect non-court or non-client day outfit. I have the Tippi in a ton of colors to match a bunch of colors in the printed pencil skirts and I just mix and match. Today, I rebelled even more and I’m wearing a printed pencil skirt with a nicer crew neck tee shirt. (Still a tee shirt . . . its 100 degrees and I just don’t care!)

        One thing that I never, ever wear is traditional button up, collared shirts. I have a couple of silk or cotton-silk blend ones that I like, but I never wear just regular button ups. I also don’t wear a lot of dress pants. They are too hot in the summer and they get mucky in the rain and snow of other seasons. I much prefer skirts or dresses.

      • I have the Emmaleigh dress and love it too, but a word of warning that it does not run big like a lot of other J Crew pieces. I ordered my usual size in other stores and can fit into it, but sometimes I feel like the way it hugs my (larger than average for my size) rear borders on the too-sexy-for-the-office.

        • This is a good point. I think I actually wear a size larger than my usual J. Crew size because I don’t want it to be a really fitted sheath dress. I find it to be so flattering and easy to wear. I love the band around the middle, the higher neckline, the length, and the fabric. I’m talking myself into ordering another color!

    • Veronique :

      I have several Calvin Klein dresses that I bought at TJ Maxx for approximately $50 that I wear all the time. They fall into two categories, knit sheaths and classic A-line dresses. The A-lines are cut similar to this dress ( but in a solid color.

      They both fit really well on my pear shape, because the sheaths are a heavier knit with moderate stretch and are cut slightly wider at the bottom. I wear them at least once a week with either a cardigan or a blazer and they make getting dressed so much easier. They come in a variety of styles (basic, colorblocked, belts, etc) and so far have worn really well (still look good after 2-3 years of regular, year-round wear).

      • Second the Calvin Klein dresses, I have several and wear them all the time. I get them at Macys, often in the clearance rack they are $20-40.

        • 4th Calvin Klein dresses – I’m a pear too and they really look nice on me. And for $20 at Ross, they can’t be beat. I even wore one to a wedding once

      • Third this. Calvin Klein dresses fit my pear shape in a way that no other sheath does. I’ve had good luck picking them up at the outlets.

        This one is currently in heavy rotation:

        • Ooh I like the stripes! I think I have this same style in a different color, although mine is more of a woven/stretchy material. I don’t like how high the belt loops are but it’s not a deal breaker.

        • Veronique :

          I also have this same dress in a royal blue color. Love it!

      • Miz Swizz :

        Also a huge fan of CK dresses from TJ Maxx. I get compliments on them all the time and have gotten my money’s worth many times over on days where I need to wear something authoritative but am not in the mood to figure out an entire outfit.

    • I agree that the dress can be dizzyeing to look at, but it is cute! Rosa would look GREAT in it.

      The manageing partner heard that I was going out with Myrna and Sam, and now he has invited HIMSELF to go b/c he think’s I can get business out of it. He says I need to start thinking like a partner, and he thinks we can “mine” their company for mabye $500K of billiengs per year.

      He also like’s Myrna b/c she is very cute and perky, so I am not sure about him horning in on my personal life like this. There should be some sepearation between work and play no?

      • WriterKate :

        Only two caps!

        • My theory is that Ellen’s readership would prefer she try and clean up her grammatical act, and that she is so doing. I wonder what Ellenwatch thinks about all of this?

    • Blair Waldorf :

      Theory Betty sheath dresses. I now have it in all three colors, and wear one at least every week. It’s a really great basic and fits me well.

      Looking at the comments, even if you don’t go with Theory, it seems that a well-fitting sheath dress is a staple in lots of wardrobes here!

      • I love the Betty Sheath. I too have 3 colors, with jackets to match to turn them into a dress sheath.

        I don’t understand the issues with Theory, they are my absolute favorite brand on my body. I actually fall into the “I hate linings, I cut them out of things” camp, so that may be why.

    • I like the print and cut of this dress too but can’t even think about buying anything with sleeves right now.

      I have The Skirt in a few colors and wear it constantly. If you’re just starting out though, I’d focus on more boring basics. Halogen suits fit me well and are very reasonably priced.

      • I ordered The Skirt from the NAS….what kind of material is it? Is it ok to wear year round or is it more of a fall/winter material?

        • It’s a bit heavy for the hottest days (like now, at least in the Eastern half of the U.S.) but essentially a year-round fabric. I wore one last week when it was only 80 degrees, and it was fine — but not today, when it is 94.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I wear it year round. It’s a lightweight wool and it suits me fine on all but the very hottest summer days. For those days I go with its cotton blend sister:

    • The Skirt in a variety of colors and Tahari and Calvin Klein dresses (I find the best prices are at Bluefly or RueLaLa) are my staples.

    • FWIW, there is a LE 25% off regular prices / free shipping >$50, and a lot of summer things are on something like 50% off sale now.

      I am finding that my size (S/6 but 8 in pants b/c I’m a pear) is largely sold out in the things that I’d like to get (sleeveless sheath dresses), but lots of good options still. LE tends to be generous in cut.

      • Cornellian :

        So generous. I’m 5’4 120 with a straight-ish athletic build and can only wear a XXS there (which isn’t usually offered). but good quality!

    • Mountain Girl :

      The Skirt is too short for me but I have found the scuba skirts from the Loft to be my workhorses. They only have black now but I wrote customer service to see if (and when) new colors will be coming and was informed they would be adding cabernet, grey, navy and camel to the lineup this fall.

      • Hooray! I bought it in black this fall and, despite the fact that I’m a fabric snob and typically don’t buy synthetics, I LOVE IT SO MUCH! So happy to hear they’re bringing in more this fall!

      • Ooh thanks for the heads up, I need a new camel skirt. I haven’t tried Loft scuba but I’ll have to check this out.

      • My knit skirts all come from Loehmanns. I am usually able to find something just below the knee, which is my preferred length, at ridiculous prices. Right now there are 2 colorblock skirts on offer by Grace brand (similar to Halogen in quality) for $19.99.
        Well-fitting gray pants that are not part of a suit are my other workhorse. I currently have two pairs – one pinstripe and one tweedy – and am looking to add to my stable.

    • I love the button-front shirts from H&M. Stretchy, comfy, flattering, usually don’t need ironing, and less than $20 each. I own about ten of them and wear at least two of them a week – under dresses, with suits, tucked into my pencil skirts, or untucked with dress pants. Maybe it’s because my law firm and legal market are very heavily male-dominated, but something about wearing a button-front makes me feel more like a “real” lawyer.

      One of my other staples is this black dress, but watch out if you’re tall (I’m 5’5″ and if I were another inch taller I wouldn’t want to wear this to work without tights).

      Just realized how weird it is that my most-worn work clothes are also some of the very cheapest pieces in my wardrobe.

      • I am a banana. :

        Second the rec for H&M button downs. I hate button front shirts but the one I have from H&M is my go-to if I need to wear one. They stay tucked in and are the perfect slim fit without needing tailoring. I was just thinking I need to buy more.

    • – Black sheath dress in suiting material (wool) by a quality brand. Mine is AT but their quality has gone downhill lately. I wear mine weekly in all seasons (with a lightweight cardigan or cotton jacket in summer, with a cashmere cardigan or tweed jacket in winter).
      – J Crew Jackie cardigans in several colors
      – quality cashmere cardigans in neutrals (mine are light gray, navy, and tan)
      – white button front shirts in short or elbow sleeves and long sleeves
      – At least three suits in quality wool (but not too heavy or too light weight), in neutrals – mine are navy, charcoal, and eggplant brown. If you’re a pants girl, make them pants suits; if you’re a skirt girl, make them skirt suits. The bottoms (pants or skirts) will be your go-to on a day-to-day basis and can be worn year round. You can wear them multiple times in a week because no one will remember that you wore the same plain navy pencil skirt Tues that you’re wearing on Thurs.
      – black knit faux wrap dress. This is what I throw on in the morning when I want to feel like I’m wearing a t-shirt all day long and don’t want to worry about trying to put together an outfit.
      – Also think about jewelry. I’d recommend a set in silver and one in gold (faux is fine). I wear my slightly chunky silver chain (which I bought for 2L interviews) weekly and the gold and silver earrings go with everything. Jewelry makes you look polished, and even if you can’t afford much, a simple gold or silver set will go with pretty much everything. Once you can add more pieces in, it’s often nice to pair a more noticeable necklace with simple earrings.

      • Olivia Pope :

        This is basically my shopping list now. Thanks!

      • I second the black sheath dress. Mine is Elie Tahari and I generally wear it at least once a week. Take some time to find one that makes you feel like a million bucks, and you won’t regret it.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Ann Taylor is actually going to stop making their tropical wool suits:-(

      • Ooh, I’d add in a handful of knit shells (sleeveless or with cap sleeves) made of good quality cotton or silk, in mid-bright colors (fuschia is surprisingly versatile). They go under every kind of jacket and cardigan, in every kind of weather.

        • Veronique :

          I agree with colorful shirts for layering, but prefer to get blouses with short sleeves so that I don’t have to clean my blazers/sweaters as often.

    • Forgot to add J Crew Jackie cardigans. I wear them year round (office temp is fairly constant) with dresses, pants and skirts. I also wear my Jackie style cardigans by “Joseph A” and “Cable and Gauge” that I bought at TJ Maxx/Marshalls all the time. The come in brighter colors/patterns than the Jackies, so they’re a great way to switch things up.

    • Odds are, I’m wearing a Classiques pencil skirt (I sale stalk them and own 5 or 6), a solid neutral cashmere cardigan (I get them on clearance after Xmas at Nordie’s, Bloomie’s, Neiman, or Saks), and a Classiques mesh silk pattered top (sale stalk; I own like 6 of these) or Classiques/Elie Tahari silk shell. Add patterned tights when it’s cold. I’m still looking for a black wool sheath dress. Someday I will find one that fits. I may need to try Emmaleigh, but I was so disappointed with JCrew’s quality last year that I stopped shopping there.

  2. Woods-comma-Elle :

    Another house-moving question.

    What homeware things do you have that you can’t live without but never before realised you needed? I’m making a list of things I will need to buy for my new place, but beyond the obvious (plates, cutlery, kettle, toaster, microwave), any cool/practical stuff you think I should get, but isn’t obvious?

    • Anonymous :

      Vegetable peeler
      Sponge, dish soap, hand soap, dishwasher detergent (if you’ll have a dishwasher)
      Hand towel
      Some sort of rubber thing to help open jars
      Tupperwares / storage for leftover food

      Garlic Zoom by Martha Stetwart (got mine at Macys) — look it up, it’s amazing for mincing fresh garlic

      • I had a garlic zoom and it kept breaking and also was hard to clean/dry well. I now have a garlic twist (here is an example: and like it a lot better.

      • I forgot my favorite kitchen tool. This garlic rocker is awesome:

    • My practice is never to buy anything for the kitchen until I’ve been frustrated at not having it several times; otherwise, my entire salary would go to awesome kitchen gadgets. The things that have most recently passed that test are:

      Fish spatula
      Cast iron skillet
      Enameled cast iron dutch oven
      Nested plastic mixing bowls
      Immersion blender
      Electric kettle
      French press

      • This is my policy too!! Second the Enameled cast iron dutch oven. I got the 6.75 qt one and I use it all the time.

      • What do you ladies use your dutch ovens for? It seemed like something I would use all the time, but so far, I’ve barely used it.

        • The thing I actually use it most for is no-knead bread (I use the NYT recipe – comes up on a Google search). You can do it in other types of pots, but the dutch oven gives it an amazing crispy crust.

          I also use it for any kinds of soups and stews; when I’m making a lot of pasta sauce (for company or to freeze leftovers); braised meats; curries; and risotto. Though I don’t do the latter three as often as I should/would like to.

        • Braised meat, risotto, sauces,carmelized onion … pretty much everything where I want to brown something. I’ll have to check out the bread recipe.

        • Soup. It makes the most amazing soups because you can really saute the onion, carrots, etc., for a long time without them sticking.

        • Thanks all! I make risotto all the time, can’t believe I never thought to use my dutch oven!

        • I use it to make my barbecued beef. It cooks perfectly without burning every time. Anything that has to be slow cooked in the oven would be perfect. But yeah, risotto, too.

        • All of the above, plus popcorn.

        • Kontraktor :

          Braised dishes, stews and chili mostly. We have a shallow one as well that we sometimes use for shallow frying or making pasta sauces or steaming shellfish.

    • My mom bought me a handheld citrus juicer that I thought would just take up space, but I use it every time I cook. It’s nice because there are no extra parts or anything, and it is faster and gets so much more juice out of your lemon or lime. You can just rinse it after each use and then throw it in the dishwasher every few times you use it.

      It’s like this one:

      • Traditionalist :

        If you’re on a budget and only able to grab a few new kitchen items, you can use this trick to skip the citrus juicer (though I agree they are very useful!).

        • That is GENIUS.

          • Word. Also, reminds me of this Martha article from the spring:

            Homegirl has become increasingly awesome since the great jailscapade.

    • Famouscait :

      Tea tongs! Best purchase ever.

    • Fire extinguisher.

    • One good chef’s knife, one good paring knife.
      wooden spoon
      vegetable peeler
      small and large nonstick skiller
      medium saucepan
      large pot (for pasta, soup, etc)
      nesting bowls (I have both metal and glass – use them both like crazy)
      sheet pan (for roasting vegetables, etc.)

      • +1 to a good knife. 1 good knife can do a lot of different things. Hold the knife before you buy. I have a MAC knife that I love.

        Good pots and pans. I got a great deal on some AllClad MC2 last week and am in heaven.

        • +1000 to the good knife. I won’t keep one in my kitchen since it’ll get stolen but I am so much faster with my little cutco paring knife.

        • Yeah, mine is a Henckel’s and I got it as a wedding gift. Still going strong all these years later. We were talking about that the other day – what were some of the best wedding gifts. Another one of mine is a polished pewter round platter. I use it for cakes pretty often and, even though it’s a little scratched, it still looks great.

    • East Coast Anon :

      Basic tools (hammer, screwdrivers, etc.) and a cordless drill.

    • Toast tongs! Mine are $0.95 from Ace Hardware, but here’s a ling to another:

      Also, cutting board.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Silicone oven mitts (2 for $7 at IKEA)
      Glass Measuring Cup (Had a plastic one until I didn’t wait for something to cool oof long enough)
      One of those stands for the sponge so it can air dry.
      Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

    • Diana Barry :

      When moving, I like to make sure I have dish soap, household all-purpose cleaner, paper towels, sponges, and dish gloves. I always want to clean up right away and it is irritating if you don’t have cleaning supplies! :)

    • Crate and Barrel herb scissors, about 9-10$ but most helpful for chopping herbs.

    • Food processor and lots and lots of rimmed baking sheets. I use them all the time. And an apron.

    • Joseph Joseph “Cookbook” folding bookstand. My mom bought it and I thought it would be a waste of money because I rarely use cookbooks. Instead, I use it all the time to hold my kindle fire when I’m cooking.

      Sifter (if you bake a lot)
      Colander and/or large sieve (for veggies, pasta, etc)

      Nice to have:
      Pizza stone (for making/reheating pizza, bread, etc.)

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Aww thanks, I love all these! Tea tongs and funnel defs personal favourites. I’m going to print out this list!

    • Maybe this is just me but number one on my list would be a corkscrew…

    • Potato ricer – it is like a giant garlic press but you can use it to make amazing mashed potatoes. Weirdly satisfying and saves a lot of “mashing” time. You can also use it if you use frozen spinach a lot (I could probably build a small house out of the blocks of frozen spinach I use in a year) because you can put the thawed spinach in and squeeze out the extra water.

    • Jenolen2161 :

      Might I propose a toaster oven rather than just a plain toaster? I use mine constantly to warm up everything from toast to a slice of pizza to finishing off baked potatoes to making a (very) small batch of chocolate chip cookies. It’s really handy in summer when it’s too hot to contemplate turning on the oven, but you still have to make dinner of some kind.

      And I second the crockpot. I just bought one after eying one for a few months. LOVE IT!

      • I love my toaster over, so convenient for heating up frozen trader joe’s naans, come out perfect in 2 minutes.

        • Lady Harriet :

          I agree on the toaster oven! It’s great for reheating leftovers that would get soggy in the microwave, as well as making toast. My family did without a stove for over a year when I was growing up because ours went kaput and we couldn’t afford to replace it. My mom would cook an entire chicken in the toaster oven! (We also had a microwave, electric frying pan, and electric kettle, so we managed surprisingly well without the stove.)

          I highly recommend a curved mezzaluna knife and chopping bowl. It is by far the easiest way to mince anything. I use it constantly for garlic, but it’s also great for citrus zest, fresh herbs, onions, & c.

          A microplane grater is so much better than any other grater for hard cheeses, citrus zest, nutmeg, or anything else you need to grate finely.

          I tend to just use thick produce rubber bands to open jars, and they work well, so you may not need a dedicated jar opener.

          Good silicone (?) spatulas that can withstand heat and go in the dishwasher. My aunt gave us some a few years ago and they’re wonderful. We have red ones so that they won’t be stained by tomatoes.

          A bullet blender. This depends on what you like to cook, but we got one on sale a few years ago and it’s great for smoothies. It’s so easy to clean that I don’t put off using it. It comes with 4 single serving-sized cups, so you don’t create any extra dirty dishes using it.

          I love my bread machine. I have no idea how much they are new, but ours came from a thrift store a few months ago. You just dump the ingredients in and it kneads and bakes the bread automatically.

          • But kneading is the best part. You get to get out all your aggression :)

            Seriously, you like it though? I hate the bread here (it’s sour tasting to me) and have been considering asking for one for Christmas. I’ve been buying bread at the Polish shop but it’s a bit ridiculous to go out of my way for bread.

          • Woods-comma-Elle :

            CB that’s because there is no sugar in it! US bread tastes non-sour because there is sugar/high-fructose corn syrup which, funnily enough, is why I don’t like it, it’s too sweet!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Whisk broom and dust pan. I use mine almost every day.

    • Stick blender and electric knife sharpener. I heart both of those things.

      Also, silicone hot pads — they double as jar openers, and they take up very little space.

    • chi squared :

      A stick blender (I have a Cuisinart brand). I use it to puree soups (no need to ladle scalding hot soup from the pot to a blender!) and beat egg whites for waffles and pancakes. It doesn’t take up much space, and was only around $60-70. Also, stainless steel nested mixing/prep bowls, and the All-Clad “odd sizes” measuring spoons and cups (use these ALL the time).

    • Nordies Lover :

      Immersion blender (so handy for smoothies, soups, salad dressings) (I bought the cheapest one at Sur La Table (I think it’s a Cuisinart) for about $30 and it kicks a$$)

  3. Famouscait :

    Based on recommendations from you ladies, I happily made the switch from Expensive Brand Conditioner to Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle. It’s just as good, and so much cheaper and easier to come by (at the drugstore).

    Now, I’m looking for any ideas on a good moisturizing shampoo…… I currently use Redken’s All Soft, but would gladly switch to a just-as-good-but-cheaper alternative. Any recommendations?

    Thanks ladies!

    • Piggyback – I’ll give extra points if anyone can recommend a shampoo/conditioner sold at costco! I use head and shoulders 2-in-1 right now so I’m easy to please.

      • The Kirkland brand shampoo and conditioner is awesome. It’s sulfate free and not tested on animals, and it leaves my hair feeling good and smelling nice.

        • big dipper :

          +1 I switched to this when I started dyeing my hair because it;s sulfate free and it’s amazing.

          The Nexxus brand at Cosco is also great – that’s what I used previously.

      • I haven’t tried the Kirkland brand yet, but plan to when I run out. I love Nexxus Humectress (Humectant?) at CostCo.

        Another great moisturizing shampoo by Shea Moisture. It’s not super cheap (around $10-13) for a drugstore, but much cheaper than salon brands.

    • Trader Joes Nourish Spa Moisturizing Shampoo. Also conditioner (separate, not a 2-in-1). $3 per 16oz bottle and awesome.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I co-wash (wash my hair using conditioner rather than shampoo), but I think the Aussie Moist conditioner is the absolute stuff and have a friend who uses the shampoo and says it’s just as great.

    • has anyone used a home keratin treatment that you can recommend? I want my hair to be more shiny :)

    • Blair Waldorf :

      I’m a big fan of Dove Daily Moisture shampoo, paired with Suave Keratin Infusion conditioner.

      After trying these, I’m OVER purchasing expensive shampoo. The Suave conditioner is far and above the best conditioner I have tried, and I can get it on sale at Walmart for $1/bottle.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Mane and Tail shampoo and conditioner – I buy big bottles from Amazon. It’s awesome.

      • I like Main & Tail, too. I use the Conditioner only (wash & condition with the Conditioner).

        CVS has the 32 ounce bottles here and I think it ends up being as cheap as what Amazon carries.

    • longtime reader :

      skip the shampoo altogether and wash with a light conditioner. Saves so much time in the shower

      • Famouscait :

        Thanks for all these ideas, ladies! I will try some out and report back. Not so sure about that whole “wash your hair with conditioner” philosophy, but it’s worth a shot… and goodness knows I could do with one less bottle in the shower!

  4. Splurges? :

    I am planning on buying some fall things in the N*rdstrom sale, and need some advice on budgeting for splurges. I haven’t spent a lot on clothes in a while and don’t know what is reasonable!

    Looking at:
    Suits – 600 for a suit – jacket and pants
    Jacket – 450 for a leather jacket
    Dress – 250 or 300 for a black sheath

    I usually get suits closer to 300 (J.Crew). I don’t have a leather jacket but really want one. And I don’t usually spend that much on dresses.


    • I’ll be following this question – are there a lot of suits on sale during the NAS?

    • There’s really no objective guideline on what is “reasonable.” If you can afford it, you like it, and will get a lot of use out of it, then go for it. Don’t feel guilty about spending “a lot of money” on quality pieces that you can reasonably afford and will wear.

      • This. I’m wearing a pair of Ferragamos I bought at full price ($500? $550?) four years ago and have worn at least once a week every week since then. Something quality but very expensive that I’m still wearing regularly years later is a good value.

    • My order arrived last night and I played dress up, so I’ll put my reviews here. For the record, I’m a size 2 32B pear.

      Halogen pleated chiffon dress 530835 $64.90 in blue is wonderful. It’s darker in person than online, so the colors aren’t quite as bright and crazy as on my screen. I ordered a size 0 and it fits snugly but flatteringly in the bodice. The waistband is a bit elastic, which will be more comfortable at the desk all day. I put it on and was so delighted that I twirled around. I’ll try on a 2 in store when I return all the stuff below to see if I need to size up, but I’m keeping this dress in whatever size.

      La Marque Funnel Neck Leather Jacket 689446 $298.90. Great rich color, soft leather, fits pretty well. I’ll need to shorten the sleeves and it’s a little big in the body for me, but most things are… I’ll probably keep this as I’ve been wanting a colored leather jacket for a while. Still debating somewhat.

      Nadri Long Bezel Station Necklace 580217 $99.90. Simple, pretty. Why this has to cost so damn much, I don’t know. I will have to peruse Etsy and see if I can find a much cheaper alternative.

      Nordstrom Graphic Print Wool Scarf 658243 $37.90. Fabric feels good, colors I wear a lot.

      Fails for me:
      Eliza J fit and flare 689109 $64.90 looked only ok on me. The fabric was kinda thin and a little too shiny to be workish.

      Classiques Entier Italian Ponte Surplice Dress 665398 $149.90 was not super low cut in the front as I had feared, but I couldn’t fill it out, so it didn’t work on me. Nice thick fabric. Someone else would rock this beautifully.

      Classiques Entier ‘Rachel Weave’ Dress 665403 $149.90 had a schoolmarm vibe on me. I think the neckline was a little too high to flatter me and combined with the textured fabric, just no. I could see this working for someone who had a faint Mad Men vibe though.

      Trina Turk Ponte Knit A-Line Dress 690328 $180.90 fit weird. The skirt poufed out and looked a bit ice skatery. Strange fabric. I am not confident this would look good on most people.

      DvF ‘Gabi’ Stretch Sheath Dress 697654_1 $229.90 also a fail for me. The ruching just looked like the dress was wrinkly on me, instead of being intentional looking. Slightly contortionist effort to put on. Nice thick fabric.

      Bernardo Zip Trim Leather Scuba Jacket 677748 $259.90 didn’t fit. Despite being advertised as a snug fit while the La Marque as a regular fit, the Bernardo fit more loosely than the La Marque jacket. The leather wasn’t nearly as soft, but more importantly for me, the color was a bit too pale and soft, and too close to brown. I was hoping for a rich, very dark red, but no such luck.

      I’ve just ordered the Kate Spade dress 693850, the Ivy & Blu dress 687341 and the Classiques Edith suit 665327 and 665995, so I will report back on these when they arrive.

      • This was extremely helpful. I am the same size and was considering a lot of these options… If you see someone walking around with identical Nordstrom purchases, it’s probably me.

      • also plz do report back on the kate spade and CE suit– I want that kate spade dress in pink so badly, but I fear it will not fly in a NYC biz formal office.

        • Will do. That stuff will come next week. The UPS man must think I am insane. Anoooon, if you try on other things, I’d love to hear what you think. And I am always on the lookout for flattering patterned tops/cardis, so I’m looking forward to hearing from the ladies here on what they found at NAS.

      • Haha! Melyssa chose the Classiques Entier Italian Ponte Surplice Dress 665398 $149.90 for me! I am getting it tailored to fit my less than ample bosom! I’m sad you don’t like it–we won’t be twinsies!

        • ORLY k-p? Melyssa really knows her stuff so I may need to take it to her to see what she thinks, but I’m a lot less busty than you are so I’m not sure it could be altered THAT much. It’s a really pretty dress though. What else did she pull for you?

          • Oh lots of stuff. :-) I posted some of the things last Wednesday on the pre-sale.

            I’m really looking forward to the gold earrings (that I can’t find on the site–gah!).

            BOSS BLACK Tulia Trousers $163.90. CE Tie Neck Stretch Silk Blouse $104.90 (she pulled, but I didn’t buy, the CE Print Silk Mesh Blend Top $78.90). A few that I posted here last Wednesday (sorry, I don’t have the patience today), the AGL Moccasin (comfy!), a ballet flat with a bow that is lined with a zipper that I can’t find, shimera camis and assorted intimate items. A bright pink le pliage tote to replace my falling-apart knock-off (I didn’t know the le pliage was a thing until after I bought the knock-off–oops!). A dark blue skirt (I really don’t remember–it was towards the end).

            She is really too good at her job. I had to shop the pre-sale bc she’s out for a while due to a health issue.

      • I’m keeping that dress too but in red.

    • downstream :

      For that money my brands are DKNY, Lafayette 148, Theory, DVF and Kate Spade. Personally I would skip the NAS pieces from these designers as I have found that the pieces are not the usual quality but are lower quality to reflect the lower price. For example, the DVF wrap dress on sale does not have buttons on the sleeve cuffs, a detail that all my full price dresses have. I would wait for the full price stuff to go on sale (which it inevitably will).

      • SoCal Gator :

        Yes. Bought and kept:

        Lafayette Sleeveless Punto Milano Dress Item # 693891 in both black and red. Bought size Small but had it shortened and taken in at the sides. Beautifully cut basics. The size P was too tight in the shoulders and cut too high under the arm but fit in the body so sized up and had it tailored. Picked them up last night and they are perfect.

        Lafayette ‘Bentley’ Tweed Jacket Item #693905 Size 2
        Lafayette ‘Delancey’ Stretch Wool Pants Item #228409 in Toast size 2 (large at the waist but I like it that way) I have the matching jacket that I picked up at the Rack

        Trouvé Shoulder Patch Blazer Item #651770 in Purple size S

        Calvin Klein Black Leather Moto Jacket Item #688480 in Small

        Halogen Trim Sweater Jacket Item #665933 in Black/Gray colorblock in S

        Haologen Quilted Front Ponte Knit Pencil Skirt Item #665933 in size 2

        Two Natori Jacquard Underwire Bras Item #327026 — new favorite

        Tried on but did not buy a DVF wrap dress in a zebra pattern, a Vince sweater coat with leather trim, an equipment blouse in black and white pattern, Classiques surplice ponte dress (too low cut for me as I am small of chest), Lafayette Leather Trim Punto Milano Dress Item #604782 (gorgeous but impractical, would not get much use out of it), Lafayette ‘Ansel – Chantilly Jacquard’ Dress (ditto).

        A couple of knit tops: Item #696228 in red S; Item #676337 in white S; couple blouses: Item #676337 in purple size s; Item #676323 in red/ivory dot size S.

        2 pairs of skinny jag jeans — one black flocked Item #688483 and one metallic coated Item #688484 size 4

  5. Anyone have a good gazpacho recipe? It’s blazing hot and also vegetable season. I’m looking for something more traditional (i.e. not watermelon gazpacho). The internet has tons of recipes, but I’d love to know if anyone has a favorite.

    • I usually make variations of this one: 3 pounds tomato (peeled and diced), 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 cucumber (peeled), 4 garlic cloves, 2 tbs red wine vinegar, 3 tbs lime or lemon juice, 1 tsp hot sauce, salt pepper, parsley, basil. Puree everything together, chill, and serve with croutons. It’s not the most sophisticated recipe but darn tasty and easy.

    • I like the Mark Bittman recipe (

      For additional substance, I sometimes add a hard boiled egg.

    • Thank you for the reminder! I need to make gazpacho. I use the same general recipe as Bonnie (I always include olive oil and skip hot sauce though) and puree till smooth – don’t really care for chunky gazpacho.
      I like to serve it in nice wine glasses, like we had it at one restaurant in Spain.

    • anonypotamus :

      might be too late for the morning thread but my favorite non-traditional gazpacho is Tyler Florence’s watermelon gazpacho. It’s the perfect start to a dinner or a light lunch. It’s spicy and sweet and with a bit of feta is delicious!

  6. TJ: Just signed a lease for a new apartment in a big city- yay! The lease requires me to get written permission for all sorts of basic things – getting a microwave or AC unit, for example – in addition to more standard things (pets, subletting) that I could see myself wanting over the term of the lease. All contact thus far has been through my broker. Would it be crazy for me to stop by the property management office introduce myself to the landlord… and even crazier to come bearing baked goods of some kind? I just want to start off on the right foot, since I foresee semi-regular contact going forward. Somebody please give me a reality check if this would be way over the top and inappropriate.

    • Stopping by and introducing yourself is fine. I don’t think baked goods are necessary, although would be nice in the future if they really give you exceptional service. Is the landlord an actual person or a company?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      No advice except that I have been suppressing the same impulse to do this with my new landlord (who runs a store down the street from my current apartment). I’ve never met him, only the broker.

    • Brooklyn Paralegal :

      I’ve found that stopping by the management office doesn’t yield much good. I live in NYC and have for the past 6 years. I’ve never–and I mean never–had a positive experience with the landlords of a building if they’re a large company. Perhaps I’ve just had terrible luck, but my broker even made it pretty clear to my fiance and I that the management company would prefer us to contact them via mail specifically. Most management companies are pretty hands off.

      I would, however, recommend getting on good terms with the super of your building. We have a lovely pre-war apartment in south Brooklyn, but there were a number of things that needed fixing right away. We gave the super a bottle of nice bourbon, and it was among the best $30 I’ve ever spent; he helps us with everything we need, no questions asked, and is always friendly. He describes us as “that really nice couple” and takes care of all our repairs in a very timely manner.

  7. Random writing question: I absolutely DESPISE, with an irrational loathing, the phrase “have your cake and eat it too.” However, I’ve been trying to think of a phrase that means the same thing (only preferably without being grammatically annoying and incredibly cliched), and I’m stumped. Does anyone have a good substitute? Thanks in advance!

    • Have it both ways? Seems too similar, but maybe not quite as annoying?

    • Seriously. What is the point of having cake if I can’t eat it? Obviously I would just choose to eat cake that isn’t “mine.”

      • I can’t remember where I saw it, but I read somewhere recently that the original phrase got mangled up for some reason. It should actually be something more like “You can’t eat your cake and have it,” as in, once you eat it, you won’t have it anymore, which makes much more sense. Not sure why the reverse is the one that stuck.

    • This Wiki page has some options for alternatives.


        My personal favorite is the Italian:
        to have the barrel full and the wife drunk.

        • Or you can’t ride two horses with one ass.

          • Actually that one is not true, I’ve seen it:

        • These are excellent — thanks! I love the Tamil one, “desire to have both the moustache and to drink the porridge.” Hee.

          If only it weren’t for a legal brief, I would so TOTALLY use the horses and ass one. Sigh.

  8. Threadjack – I bought this really cute coat from the NAS. It’s north face and it has one of those collars that you can flip up and button so that it covers your entire neck and goes up to your face. Any recommendations on how to prevent makeup from wiping off on that collar? I have another coat with a similar style collar, and I just never flipped it up because I was afraid my makeup would wipe off on the coat. TIA!

    • darjeeling :


    • Set your makeup with powder

    • Wrap your face with a scarf so that your coat is protected and your face has a more comfortable shield.

      • This. If it’s a fleece type lining, I haven’t found it to be a huge issue, but if it’s some kind of nylon-type fabric, this is the only thing that I’ve ever found to work. Thinking about my experience with down coats.

  9. Has anyone else been watching Mistresses? (Summer guilty pleasure!) I think I’m in love with Alyssa Milano’s character’s wardrobe of interesting sheath dresses. My new wardrobe goal is interesting sheath dresses, I think.

    • Ha I love that show!! And that’s so funny that you mention the sheath dresses because I was thinking the exact same thing. When I saw this wrap dress that Kat posted, my first thought was hmm but I want more sheath dresses…

      I can’t think of the character’s name right now, but the black woman in that show is insanely beautiful.

    • Yes! It is SO good although insanely soapy. And she actually dresses in a way that would generally be work-appropriate!

    • I also love the show, but holy cleavage! I would never wear some of the low-cut outfits she’s worn–and especially not to work. Aside from that, I love her wardrobe.

  10. LackingLuster :

    Excited to say that I am making the transition from BigLaw to in-house at a large, well-established nonprofit organization. Excited, terrified, looking forward to learning about a number of different areas of the law I am unfamiliar with. Yikes! But just thought I’d share the good news.

  11. This morning an angry driver, obviously in a rush, gave me the finger and yelled me to eff off out her window for pushing the crosswalk button, and then pausing to make eye contact with the drivers so I could ensure I wouldn’t be hit.

    It basically ruined my morning. Drivers, there’s no reason to hate pedestrians, we’re all just trying to get to work and go about our daily lives, so, ease up.

    • Ugh, sorry to hear that. Aggressive drivers can leave you really shaken sometimes. It’s scary how vulnerable we are as pedestrians to cars. In my imaginary ideal world, there would be no cars, just bikes, walking, and superfabulous public transit (I realize this makes no sense, but I just find cars extremely terrifying if I stop to think about them).

      • I’m with you Marilla, and this is the precise reason why it took me until my late 20s to even get my driver’s license. As a frequent pedestrian, I generally see cars as indiscriminate death machines. My primary goal when I drive is to make sure my car doesn’t become one.

        To the OP – so sorry this happened to you. Some people are so rude.

        • Time for some True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – I still don’t have mine and am in my late 20s. I learned to drive when I was sixteen but living in Montreal with great transit (and one car shared among parents and siblings) didn’t see a need, and didn’t love driving, so I never went for the license test. I’m hoping to kick myself into action soon and get my license. Did you find it hard to go for driving lessons as an adult?

          • Eh, my bff is 28 and had her permit and 5-hour driving class expire. She has to redo all of it again. The hardest part is actually scheduling the driving classes. She’s fine with taking lessons.

          • I was in a similar position to you – I just took public transit everywhere and didn’t mind (I still take public transit to and from work every day), but it was a bit of a pain at night when I had to rely on people to drive me around. However, once I actually bit the bullet and decided to learn, I didn’t find it hard. I did Young Drivers, which I highly recommend. I don’t recommend having your boyfriend teach you, which is what I tried first. :-)

            Also, definitely take lessons on a standard, even if you are planning to drive automatic. Knowing how to drive standard is a really good skill – you never know when you might need it.

          • Thanks ladies! Yeah, I can imagine having my husband teach me might not turn out well.

    • Don’t let some random idiot have the power to ruin your morning. You control how you feel! Who knows what is going on in her life to make her so pissy – maybe her husband just told her he wants a divorce? My point is don’t take it personally.

    • Olivia Pope :

      That driver probably gave three other people the finger this morning, because of craziness. Her being angry and late have nothing to do with you. Sorry you have to deal with such jarring aggression.

    • In situations like this I always wish people would just remember the stakes for each party involved. For you, it was a matter of avoiding being hit by a car. For her, it was a matter of being a few seconds slower on her drive, and at worst missing a green light. I’d be shaken too, but you did nothing wrong or even out of the ordinary, and I suspect she’s having a much worse day (week/year/life) than you are, to be reacting in this way.

    • Houston Attny :

      I live in a car-happy place and I rarely see people honk at pedestrians. One time, however, when I was turning on a street and stopped short to let a pedestrian finish walking across the crosswalk, the driver behind me became enraged. Honking, screaming, etc. I’m sorry this happened – people with their crazy anger can really throw me for a loop. Lately, I’ve tried to remember when encountering unfriendly people that it could be worse – I could be married to them! (Can you imagine?!)

  12. Purse help :

    This is probably a huge stretch but can anyone identify this purse?

    • It looks sort of like the Lanvin happy medium purse, but it’s not. Maybe you could put that into shopstyle and go from there?

      • Second thought, maybe rebecca minkoff swing bag? not quite the same, but a cute alternative

    • I could not find that exact bag but here are some similar ones:…&ncx=n&uEm=%%affiliates%%&ci_src=14110925&ci_sku=prod15810009skuBLACK

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Oh my gee I have way too much time on my hands. I am 99% sure it’s this bag.
      …You’re going to buy me one as a reward, right? ;)

      • A Nonny Moose :

        OK looking again it’s not exactly that bag.. but based on the hardware design (the three small imprints on the gold clasp), it does look like a Mulberry bag.

  13. Career Fear TJ:

    I am the CFO of a mid-sized entity. I love my job. I work with great people and enjoy what I do. I have a good bead on work/life balance and am mostly able to make the right amount of time for myself and my family. I’m compensated well, have a short commute, blah blah blah. You could also say that I’m “comfortable.” Not particularly challenged. And I’m 35.

    Jobs in my field open rarely, and the career ladder for someone in my shoes is not well-defined. The most common next step would be a larger, more complex entity. In the past few weeks, CFO openings at two highly regarded larger entities have come up. Substantially higher pay, the “new job” challenge and excitement, all that.

    I always used to be the type that just kept climbing–which is why at 35 I am where I am. Now I have 2 young kids, a home and family I adore, and a desire for stability and calm that I didn’t use to think much about. I feel compelled to apply for one of these positions–like I’d be letting myself down if I didn’t. But at the same time, I have no desire to upset the apple cart.

    The complicating factor is that where I work now is changing–we are on the cusp of a significant restructuring with many layoffs if additional revenue isn’t found. Morale is dropping, people are leaving and the energy is dulling. On the one hand, I see it as my challenge and responsibility to right the sinking ship. On the other, I wonder if maybe I should jump too.

    (Of course I know that applying in no way suggests I would actually get the job… but I feel like just dusting off the resume is a big statement about my future with my current employer and that’s why I feel so conflicted.)

    Any thoughts, advice, btdts to share?

    • I just faced a very similar conundrum–My current position provides all the same benefits you mentioned and also has a somewhat unknown future. I also was faced with an opportunity for the next-big-step job, which may upset the comfy balance, and I have similar loyalty issues at the current place. But as soon as I dusted off the resume and submitted my application, I knew I want to move on. Maybe going through the process of updating the resume and applying will provide you similar clarity. You are not committing to anything simply by applying, but you will certainly miss the opportunity if you don’t. Good luck!

    • Manager by Day, Mom at Night :

      +1 to what AFS said. You will one day regret not applying and trying for the roles; if you do get the position, you can decide then whether it will give you a comparable sense of flexibility and calm, and whether you actually want to take it. Going through the process will help you evaluate whether you want to stick it out in your current position and aspire to something more (CEO? common move for midsized company CFOs in my experience) or move on to a larger company, different challenges, change of pace, etc.

    • You should go for it. What have you got to lose, anyway?

    • No real advice, but commiseration. You basically described me to a T except I’m a couple of years younger than you. All I can say is good luck and that you’re not alone.

  14. I’m a second-year lawyer in a transactional biglaw practice, and I’m burnt out. There are people at my firm who work more than I do, vacation less than I do, and seem far happier at their job. How do they do it? What is the secret to avoiding burnout?

    FWIW, my hours aren’t extreme (I’m probably on track for 2200-2400 this year), but the inability to control my schedule has been getting to me. I’m also wondering if I just need more sleep than other people, and I’m so behind on sleep that it’s affecting my ability to enjoy life. Or maybe it’s that I’m too sensitive to criticism, and I feel resentful that I put more hours in than a lot of other people and all the feedback I receive is for the mistakes that I make. Or maybe it’s because I don’t see this job “leading” anywhere, since I know I’ll never make partner. In any event, all I want to do is pack up all my belongings and relocate to a cabin in the woods without an internet connection. Any thoughts — or success stories about how to recover from burnout — are very welcome.

    • Blair Waldorf :

      Still at the beginning of my career (first year, big law), so no success story yet, but just to put it in perspective – 2200 to 2400 hours is a lot! It’s normal for that to feel really hard. Also, it feels worse when the hours aren’t steady and beyond your control. Not being able to plan your life is a really hard thing.

      It seems like you are experiencing a variety of issues at work. Is there any way you can work with people who are more supportive/give compliments and not just criticism? How about instead of feeling like the job isn’t leading anywhere you reframe it and think of it as a freeing opportunity? You know you’re not going to stay until you’re up for partner, so you know you will have other options and your path is up to you!

      I also know that I have found a few exercises that have helped me regroup from burnout but don’t take much time. Going for a short bike ride, going to a meditation class, just grabbing a drink with a friend I haven’t talked to in awhile. Video chatting with friends who aren’t in the city. Those have all felt “restorative” to me and don’t require a full weekend away.

      But I know the feeling, just sending my support!

    • First, 2200-2400 is a lot of hours. Maybe now in the 2500-is-the-new-2000 world it doesn’t seem like it, but it really is.

      Second, yes, there are weird animals that inhabit law firms that need only about 4 hours sleep. I worked for one. It was bizarre. He never. ever. slept. No one tells you this when you apply for Big Law jobs. You figure your academic accomplishments and drive are all the credentials you need, and no one asks “how much sleep do you need to function” as part of the screening process. But I was amazed at how everyone simply assumed that you should be able to pull two all-nighters in a row (well, maybe the second one you could “cheat” and grab 40 min sleep on your office floor) and still be expected to function at full capacity.

      Third, every lawyer wants to move to a cabin in the woods at some point.

      Fourth, I’m not sure about transactional lawyers, but I know that for litigators years 3-5 are the golden period for moving on to the next job. Whether that’s a smaller firm, in-house, government, or non-profit, that’s when you’ve had enough experience to be useful but are not yet so set on your ways that you’ll be a pain to re-train for the new job. So if you have no interest in making partner at your current firm, this would be the time to start activating your network, brush off the resume, and start thinking about what you want your next step to be. In the meantime, you do need to keep up the good work.

      But please, please, please realize that Big Law requires perfection at all times of inherently imperfect humans. It’s not the partners’ fault; they’re subject to the same impossible standard (blame the skyrocketing billable hour if you need to blame something). You’re probably not more sensitive to criticism than most people. You probably just spend your days getting it heaped on you and that breaks anyone’s spirit eventually. (Yeah, yeah, there are some of you out there who have had nothing but positive experiences in Big Law. It happens. The more common environment is one where everyone is way too busy and under way too much stress to pay attention to juniors except when they screw up.) Try to desensitize yourself to it by realizing that every day you don’t get criticized is a day you did AWESOME! (I’m totally serious.) Learn to rely on your own sense of self and ability to judge your work. You’re not going to get kudos from the partners or senior associates. So figure out when you feel your work is worth of you, and when it’s not and you need to buckle down.

      In the end, you’re going to come out much stronger for this, even if that sounds like a cliche. It’s unlikely that you’ll work anyplace else where the standards are quite this demanding (yes, some places outside firms are that demanding, but the majority are not). Think of it like training for a marathon at elevation.

    • Do you need to be in Biglaw? If so, for how long? Are you actually interested in your work?

      If you can exit Biglaw and aren’t thrilled with the work, then leave. Even a second year associate has many opportunities available. Alternatively, if you want to stay in Biglaw but maybe transition to a more stable practice or a firm where you’d have more growth potential, perhaps consider clerking for a year and then re-interviewing at other firms.

    • Here’s a dirty little secret about Big Law: there are some people that enjoy all that work and live for it. They will always excel simply because they’re willing to make the sacrifices necessary.

      There are others (like me, and apparently, like you) that need balance in their life and can’t live to work. For perspective, 2200-2400 is a lot of hours. 2200 is certainly a point where work has intruded on your life and affected it.

      If you actually like what you do (practicing law), but the firm culture and the hours are what are causing you to feel burnt out, look at lateraling. I was in a very similar place to where you are now–and about 2.5 years out of law school–and lateraled to a different firm with a different culture (incidentally, my new firm is much larger than my old firm, so not all stereotypes are true). I have a MUCH better work/life balance, better advancement opportunities (I expect to make partner here), I love what I do, and I enjoy the people I work with.

      In the short term, schedule a vacation. Take it without apologies. Even having a vacation to look forward to on my calendar will ease me through the tough periods.

    • Acceptance is a big part of it. Accept that you will not get feedback unless it’s negative, that you will make mistakes, and your schedule is not your own. Remember that probably everyone you work with has made the same type of mistakes, and probably way worse mistakes. If you know you don’t want to stay in this forever, think of yourself as a kind of archaeologist getting a unique view into a part of the legal industry that not many people get to experience.

      Be selfish with what little free time you have. Sleep needs to be your #1 priority right now, and everything else that can be put on hold needs to be. Change your relaxation routine so that you can go from your front door to fast asleep in under 30 minutes. Hopefully your commute is short, but if it’s not, keep an overnight bag in your office and get a hotel room nearby on particularly brutal nights (and consider moving when you have time to think about it). Come into work later in the morning if you can. Stop waking up early to work out. Do not let friends or coworkers talk you into a late night out when you need to work the next morning. Basically squeeze every minute you can out of every day to maximize your sleep.

      • +1 And if you haven’t done it already, throw money at any problem susceptible to money-based solutions. Hire a housekeeper (even if you have a 600 sqft apt). Have groceries delivered. Have the housekeeper do the laundry or at least have it sent out. Take cabs/Uber whenever. Get take-out. Pay for upgrades that increase convenience. The only reason not to do all of this is if saving money helps you get out of Big Law sooner (e.g., you’re furiously paying off student loans to have more flexibility in what your next job can be). But seriously, they pay you crazy money because they’re buying all your time. Use the money to off-set that loss.

  15. Have any lawyers successfully transitioned out of legal practice entirely? Do any practicing lawyers have an exit strategy?

    • See Kat, every legal journalist, many small business owners, many food truck operators, etc.

    • Ugggh. I tried my hardest for about 6 months. Resumes, resumes, resumes, resumes. Applied for jobs way below my qualifications, education and experience level (and frankly, pay level). Didn’t get ANY non-legal job interviews. One recruiter explained to me (possibly to simply make me feel better) that in this poor legal market, a lot of non-legal hiring people see a lawyer looking for a non-legal job as a person who is going to jump right back into law once a legal job comes along. But that didn’t make sense because I had a legal job at the time I was applying for these non-legal jobs. Anyway, I ended up getting a new legal job that is better than my old one, but still its being a lawyer, which I didn’t really want to do.

      I also have 7 years of experience prior to law school, which granted was a long time ago, but I didn’t think that it would be so entirely irrelevant.

      • I’m in the exact same place. I’ve been applying for jobs in the field I left to go to law school. I have interviewed with one place and was told that I would know in the next 48 hours. I still have like 36 hours, but I cannot take the suspense. IF it’s no, they should have just told me to my face. I really couldn’t read these people. They asked about both my home address and my email address. I assume letter=no, email=yes. I have to quit my current job for sanity reasons, but I would be way more comfortable if I had something lined up. I may lose that one last remaining bit of sanity in the next 36 hours.

    • I’m not someone who’s done this personally (not a lawyer) but I’ve worked with many lawyers who become planned giving officers at nonprofit organizations. Not all of them had tax or estate planning backgrounds, either.

  16. Would anyone be able to recommend a good IT recruiter in the Seattle area? I’m looking to relocate and sifting through Dice/LinkedIn etc is overwhelming.

  17. GMAT study :

    How did you begin studying for the quant portion of the GMAT? I am 10 yrs out of college and don’t remember anything – where do I start? Also, I am not naturally good with numbers so I need a lot of help.

    • goldribbons :

      I found Princeton Review courses much better than Kaplan for the LSAT. You can get a private tutor, a small group course (with 3-4 other people), or a regular group course (with 20+ other people). I would start by taking a free practice test — plenty of test prep companies offer them — so you can at least look at a test and find out how you do without any prep.

  18. I’m too intimidated about putting my style sense (or lack thereof) on display to use my name, but would any of you wear this to work? How would you style it?

    • Neither I nor my colleagues could/should wear that in our office nor any other law firm I am familiar with, but I don’t know what you do or what your office is like. See re Know Your Office.

      • Agree. To me, this dress is super casual. As in, wear it with flip flops casual. If you can wear flip flops to your office, then this dress is probably fine. Otherwise – no.

    • Sorry but this looks like an outfit more appropriate to play tennis in than wear to work.

    • Diana Barry :

      No, too casual, also too short for me. If office is casual instead of business casual, it might work. Should be worn with a cardigan (grey, navy) on top and maybe a bubble necklace and printed ballet flats.

    • I’d only wear it in a casual (not even business casual environment). It really looks more like weekend/running errands wear to me.

    • I might be way off base, but I don’t think it’s that bad, but my office is not formal. I think I’d pair it with a light structured jacket or a colored cardigan with a belt and cognac heels. If you keep the rest of your outfit ‘formal’ (hair, makeup) I don’t think it would be inappropriate. But again, depends on how formal your office is.

    • Generally, anything you can buy at R.E.I. is not going to be appropriate for work.

  19. Emergency Fund :

    I am living with my SO, and we’re planning to get married within the next year. Should my emergency fund contain 6 months worth of half of our living expenses? Or should the “emergency” fund cover 6 months worth of costs, assuming that my SO was either unemployed, or otherwise out of the picture. FWIW, our relationship is extremely stable, so there’s no rational basis for the second scenario. But still, I wonder how all of you plan your emergency funds. Is the emergency fund enough to cover job loss AND relationship implosion?

    • My husband and I have an ER fund for 6 months of our combined expenses (rent, student loans, bills, food, etc)

      • Diana Barry :

        +1, we have 6 months of combined expenses in the emergency fund. Are you combining finances at some point? If not, I would say that both of you should have a 3 months’ worth emergency fund.

        • Emergency Fund :

          I expect we’ll combine finances when we get married. I guess the real question is emotional, not financial. At what point did you become confident that you didn’t have to prepare to support yourself, by yourself?

          • When we got engaged. I mean…I felt more confident before that, but once I had a ring (and a ring that was many months of living expenses), we started to combine our accounts. Prior to that, we lived together, but kept finances separate.

          • just Karen :

            This is terribly cynical, but never. Both of you should have at least a small emergency fund – not just in case one of you steps out, but in case something terrible happens to one of you and that person was forcibly out of the picture.

  20. break-up holiday :

    I’ve been through a break-up of a 6 year relationship and would like to go on a 2 to 3 week holiday over Christmas/New Year. In the past I usually spent this time with him and I know I will (still) be at mess if I don’t have anything planned. I don’t have many friends and am not close to family so I’d be looking at a solo holiday or perhaps group travel (though I’m an introvert so would like the flexibility of opting in and out of activities if group travel). Has anyone got any ideas of places which aren’t too christmassey, where things are open and where I won’t feel like a loser for being alone. I’m open to any ideas. Thanks

    • goldribbons :

      A cruise might be perfect because everyone on a cruise knows they have to make friends with other people on the cruise to some extent, and then you’ll have lots of activities to keep you distracted and in a group. I think a longer cruise would be good, particularly one with lots of off-boat excursions (maybe a Mediterranean cruise?). My aunt spends 2-3 weeks travelling over the holidays every year since her divorce, so there are no custody issues for the kids and no awkwardness with the ex about that time of year. She usually does group trips through a travel company (unfortunately I don’t know which one), so that she is in a group the whole time. Good luck.

      • goldribbons :

        Hopefully k-padi will chime in on this, as I think she takes solo vacations.

        • awww, thanks! My solo travel is almost completely scuba-diving related. I don’t like groups–the people who annoy me outweigh the people I like. As someone who only celebrates Christmas every-other year, it’s hard to avoid the Season. I think the same solo-travel rules would apply at the Holidays–have plans to do things, brings a few books, and safety, safety, safety.

          Europe is actually very happening over Christmas–things are open. I was in London and Ireland one year at that time (backpacking with my brother) and we had a blast! Things were open and Christmas in Europe isn’t quite as stifling as Christmas in the U.S. Think more street festival and less pious observance and gift-grabbing.

          I have friends who go to the Caribbean that time of year to go scuba diving. It’s fun and I’m told that Christmas in Latin America is a blast.

          If you really want to avoid Christmas—Asia, maybe? Africa?

    • First of all, I think it’s great that you are proactively looking for ways to stay busy and enjoy time on your own over the holiday, whether or not you still feel like a mess by then.

      In terms of locations, what do you like to do on holidays? Are you looking for outdoor/adventure activities, city/cultural activities, relaxation?

    • I travel alone a lot, am also an introvert, and like k-padi, don’t like groups.

      I think that no matter where you go around that time of year, you will have difficulty avoiding Christmas altogether, but let me put in a plug for Bangkok or Singapore, where “Christmas” is more focussed on things like pretty lights than anything more substantive. I spent New Year’s by myself in Singapore one year. I don’t remember exactly what I did but I do remember having a blast walking around, looking at the lights on Orchard Road, having yummy food, etc. As well, since Christmas isn’t a big deal in that part of the world, things don’t shut down to the extent that they do in North America and Europe. The warm weather is also a bonus.

      • Love the idea of Bangkok, Singapore. I’ve never been but what about Vietnam or Nepal?

        • Also consider the Maldives or Morocco where christmas is not a formally recognized holiday per googlefu

        • Absolutely. Vietnam is great – the only thing is that if you are travelling on your own, I’m not sure I would choose to go to Vietnam by myself if I’d never been there before. Based on my personal experience in that region, I think the level of personal risk is just that much higher than Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.

          I’ve never been to Nepal, Maldives or Morocco so can’t comment on those destinations, but they all sound fantastic.

  21. To GMAT: I took a review course through a local college for the GMAT. Four weekends, half verbal, half math. I was out of school for a while, too. I found the math very hard and I really stressed over it. I can’t remember my score, but the math score I got was low. My school wanted me to take a remedial math course. I fought that and I went on to get an A in each quantitative course I took in grad school. So the GMAT score is not a reflection of success, but a low score may keep you out of the school you want, or require you to spend money on a course that gives you no credit!

  22. Random TJ: What are your favorite fitness/weight loss blogs?

    • I really like The Fitnessista (not linking to avoid moderation). She doesn’t discuss weight loss, but shares healthy food suggestions and offers a lot of workouts to try. She has a child and often shares photos, but not really a mommyblogger.

    • Anonymous :

      Losing weight in the city, meals and miles, run eat repeat, squat like a lady

    • Peanut Butter Runner. I basically want her life, discipline and habbits.

  23. This makes me a little nauseous and definitely makes me shake my head:

  24. Miss Behaved :

    PSA, Ladies…

    Bluefly is having a special $39 sale for 10 hours. I just got a birthday gift for my sister-in-law: A turquoise clutch that is usually $150 and turquoise and sapphire blue Kenneth Jay Lane drop earrings. Total price $70

  25. Brooklyn Paralegal :

    I have The Editor pants from Express in three colors (black, dark grey, lighter grey) and they’re amazing. Washable, not too expensive, and fit me perfectly. I’m 5’6” and hourglass shaped, and they are so flattering and super comfortable, and are exactly the right length. They come in long, regular, and short and have a huge range of sizes.

    Also, my black Anne Klein suit jacket. It’s really nicely cut, slimming, and comfortable.

  26. Arial 10pt :

    Conspicuous dress
    Not for the shy or reserved
    Wear with fierce caution

  27. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting
    my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get set up?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty
    penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% positive.
    Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos