Coffee Break: Small Square Stud Earrings

Pink Earrings: Kate Spade New York Small Square Stud Earrings  These bright stud earrings come in a zillion colors, and I like how they bring a healthy dose of color to your face while still staying small and pretty discreet. There are 13 colors to chose from in flat colors, and seven more in glitter colors, if that’s your jam. They’re $38 at Bloomingdale’s. Kate Spade New York Small Square Stud Earrings



  1. Wow, I never knew I needed hot-pink studs, but . . . I might now!

    Gear question: any good sources for roomy/sturdy/elegant messenger bags? My husband is looking to upgrade and isn’t sure where to start. He thinks he’d prefer leather but is open to other materials. Bag should fit books, iPad, etc.

    • Timbuktu, Tumi, Jack Spade (varying price points for ya there). Tumi is having their annual sale online.

      • Rack is also having a Tumi “event” whatever that means.

        • Tumi is being acquired by Samsonite. If getting a tumi is important to you, get one now, before there’s a change in quality!

    • You might try ebags. They allow you to limit by leather and size of laptop or whatever:

    • hoola hoopa :

      My husband uses a Kenneth Cole Reaction bag for work. It’s about 8 years old and looking great.

    • Calibrachoa :

      How about one of these?

  2. Yay Kat! I love these Kate Spade earing’s and I love that you can choose the color’s! I will choose my birthstone, but will have to go downtown to the Kate Spade store b/c I will NOT be abel to go into Bloomie’s to try these on b/c they are still sore about me tracking poopie into the store. You would think they would have had experence with this, and that I was NOT the first person with poopie on my shoe’s, but I am still BANNED! FOOEY!

  3. I grew up in a Christian church that was very special to my family and me, and while I no longer live nearby, I have continued attending in the same denomination. It’s very traditional, although I now attend a larger and more “contemporary” church. I’ve recently become increasingly bothered by the lack of female leadership within the church. Women can’t serve as pastors or “elders;” they can teach, but from what I can tell they can only teach other women.

    I know there are parts of the Bible that talk about women’s roles in the church, but in researching them I believe that these were cultural issues of the time (women couldn’t lead because they were property, not fully autonomous people, etc.) and not commands meant to literally apply to all women at all times just because they are women.

    Has anyone dealt with this? I don’t know if I should try to change my church, find another more egalitarian church, or maybe I am fundamentally misunderstanding the role of women in the Christian faith (but I really don’t think I am).

    • Anonymous :

      It’s specific to your church. I’m in Canada but many mainstream churches allow female pastors. Like United Church of Canada or Anglican Church of Canada (called Episcopalian in the States I think).

      Definitely explore your options to find a church that better fits your beliefs. You can always attend your historical family church on occasion when you visit your parents.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m a cradle Episcopalian, so I come from a faith that has gone all the way to women in charge.

      My husband is Catholic. They are running out of priests. Catholic schools, staffed by nuns when I was little, now are staffed by lay teachers. The nuns are in church-run nursing homes. I can’t speak to the tenets of their faith, but as a business model, they can’t keep up with their flock. Funerals, small towns, shut-ins: they don’t get the pastoral care they need. Deacons (male, only, I think) pick up some of the slack.

      I think that faiths that ordain non-celibate people (regardless of gender) can thrive, but the less you let women do, the more your faith may go the way of the Shakers. The demographic crisis is there, and I’m not sure how many faiths are going to be able to meet it without having some sort of fundamental transformation along gender lines.

      • Ah, this is a really good point! +1 for the Shakers reference.

      • Also a cradle Episcopalian and a military brat as well, so have attended many different Episcopal Churches. I have been a member of a church that denounced the 1982 prayer book as “too modern” and does not allow female clergy to my current, more liberal church where I am a member of the vestry and our rector is female.

        Having a woman serving the Eucharist was not a requirement when I found my current church, but when I hit a crisis, having a woman who is also a mother to sit with me was important and huge for me. (Not to say that a man would not have provided similar support, but…) I have found having a woman at the helm of the church influences the church, liturgy and my faith in subtle and profound ways that are important to me. I can identify more with aspects of my faith, and I love raising my daughter in an inclusive community where a woman is a respected authority figure and where my voice is not disrespected because I am a woman. I have also found that like-minded families flock to my small church, and so it is easy for me to find true community.

        Have you thought about reaching out to local churches to talk to them about this issue specifically? I would think their reaction could be very telling.

    • Commenting to follow the conversation. I don’t have any guidance for you, OP–I’m a lifelong UU and know relatively little about Christian theology–but I’m thinking good thoughts for you and your search. My church is a huge part of my life, and I know that for likeminded friends in different denominations, this struggle has been very challenging.

    • That’s very interesting! My (woman) minister preached on those very issues in Paul’s letters. She talked about how it affected her when she was appointed to her first church. I go to a very liberal UMC church in a city. The United Methodist Church has many female ministers, as does the Anglican church. But the UMC has not fully dealt with LGBTQ issues, which is disappointing. There is a Reconciling Network and churches that choose to be are Reconciling. Friends of mine moved to another state in the deep south and chose a denomination (I can’t remember which – Lutheran or Presbyterian) where only men can be in leadership. I don’t get it.

      • Ah, could’ve been Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) or the Presbyterian Church in America, to name only couple.

        The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA), on the other hand, both ordain women and some churches therein are fine with gay ministers.

        I never had any idea there were so many sects within each denomination until I became a Christian.

        IMO, the liberal folks have more in common with the liberal folks of other denominations than they do their conservative co-denominationalists, and the same goes for conservative folks in each denomination.

    • I grew up attending a church with the same position on women in leadership. It always frustrated my mother, and it was one of the reasons my parents eventually left that denomination. The last straw, so to speak, was when my mother, a physician, was rejected from a medical mission trip in favor of non-physicians. She felt like the church was hypocritical in accepting her tithe, earned from working in her profession, but rejecting her professional skills.

    • Let me first say that what I’m about to say should not be taken to imply anything about the personal religious experience of women who are comfortable in denominations that do not allow full female participation in leadership. The nature of the religious community that enables a person to fully connect to God is deeply personal and people are sometimes surprised at what they find to be the religious home that fits for them. That said, OP, if you are struggling with these issues, I would encourage you to spend some time visiting congregations that allow full female participation and that have female clergy on staff (like the Episcopal Church in the US).

      For me, it wasn’t a thunderclap the first time I had a woman priest in front of me, but rather a slow shift over time in how I found myself thinking about God, gender, and my own status in the world as I continued to participate in this type of religious community. I had the same experience when I became part of an affirming church community – I found my mind opening to and being shaped by sharing my spiritual world with LGBT people who were fully affirmed and whose relationships were honored in the same way as hetero relationships. For me, participating in this type of Christian community changed my life and brought me home to the church again.

    • Does the lack of women leadership bother you because you believe your church is incorrectly interpreting the doctrine and theology surrounding women leadership? If so, then you should find another denomination. However, if you believe the basis of your denomination’s interpretation is sound, then you have to decide if your mortal, human feelings should take precedent over what you also believe is correct exegesis of the scripture.

    • Ally McBeal :

      There are many wonderful progressive churches out there that embrace women and the LGBTQ community. I grew up in a sort of evangelical church environment and couldn’t take the conservatism after I got to college – but really missed the spirituality, the worship, the prayer, and the community. For me, it was an incredible experience to discover progressive church communities. I had spent so many services mentally annotating worship, dissecting it for what I could agree with and what I couldn’t. It was amazing to be able to sit in church without constantly worrying about fighting a battle on behalf of my LGBTQ friends and family, or arguing with the position on women. It opened up my spiritual life and gave me a way to really embrace my faith. I have a lot of respect for people who fight it out to make change in their conservative denominations. But for me, on Sunday mornings, it was really important to be in a place that had already fought those battles and gotten to the other side, in a place where I didn’t constantly have to cringe when sexist or retrograde comments came out of the pastor’s mouth, where I felt like I (as a smart working woman) was valued instead of invisible.

      Bottom line: it’s so hard to shop for another church, but if you find the right fit, it is so, so much better.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve posted about this before, but I left my church because of this. We were only members there for a short time and it was not the domination in which I was raised, but it was a more mainstream domination. Ultimately, I couldn’t get over it. It seemed as though it really infested all parts of the church right down to how husbands and wives interacted and raised their children. I was so not down with that. (I am my husband’s equal, not his prize.)

    • Maybe you can find a better fit, but the world’s religions are never going to be empowering and liberating for women. You’ll always be a second-class citizen.

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t think that’s true at all. The comments above indicate that there are a lot of options for churches that have female pastors and leaders.

        • It’s like fighting to be the first female CEO of a coal company that poisons the water or wanting to head a division of a clothing company that exploits underage women in the factory. Not exactly worthy of the struggle for “equality”, you know?

          • organized religion :

            Except that organized religion isn’t going away anytime soon (unfortunately), so the more moderating influences, the better.

          • Anonymous :

            Or it’s like having someone who shares your spiritual beliefs to talk to about …

            ….your miscarriage and you know that she really understands because she’s had one too.

            ….how to help your husband accept your gay son who just came out because she just officiated at her gay son’s wedding and she remembers what it was like when he first came out.

            …how to deal with the stress of being a working mom and trying to balance career, kids and a relationship without feeling like you’re failing everyone – because that’s the life she has too.

            Maybe, just maybe, it’s more like that then a coal company.

          • Anonymous :

            Also, for someone who strongly believes in their chosen faith, it’s not a coal company that poisons the water. It’s a special and fundamental belief that frames how they live on earth and (in some faiths) what happens after they die. She believes it because it’s important to her, and she’s saying this is one topic on which she disagrees with some people who have the same basic faith. It’s not an exploitative clothing company– it’s a faith that she loves and disagrees on one point. There are thousands of other groups with which she may not disagree, and people here are counseling her to find one.

          • I think that your comment reflects some basic assumptions and facts about how you think about religion that probably means your advice isn’t going to be that helpful to the OP. For people who are believers, faith isn’t optional – the choice of how you express that faith is the only choice to be made, and that’s what the OP is struggling with.

          • Anonymous :

            Totally disagree. My church changed from within. Those changes both cost it members (and parishes) and brought in new members. Change isn’t easy. Leaving your birth choice is a stark choice. Staying allows you to participate in its direction. Staying may mean staying in your denomination (and maybe not your parish or maybe not your original service time) or maybe staying exactly where you are and bringing your diversity to the table.

            [FWIW, I go to a church of 1%ers and I diversify it b/c I am a woman who works. Baby steps, people, baby steps. But tragedy strikes the 1% and people don’t choose their birth family, so I try to appreciate that in my fellow parishioners. I can learn from them; they can learn from me. In my hometown, my church was for my whole town, so it served the 100%. I stay and I have a say. We are on this journey together.]

          • I’m not saying that people can’t find community and happiness in their church. I’m just saying the major religions are never going to be feminist institutions no matter how much you tinker around the margins of reform.

    • Anonymous :

      The traditional role is that they’re less than men. Try asking them why and you’ll probably get an offensive response. That’s how it works in most religions. You will have to find a more modern church if you want more progressive views.

      • What’s interesting about this is that many churches with more rigid views on gender have “hip”, modern, casual services with bands, and many with more progressive theology still have choirs, hymns, and people dressing up for church.

        Also, some denominations that have been around for a while ordain women, while some of the newer ones do not. Age of the church or of the denomination is not an indicator, IMO, of the sort of theology you will find there. Don’t forget that some sects have split because one group of people found another group of people “too liberal”.

    • I believe you’re right that the Biblical injunctions against women in leadership reflect the cultural biases of the time, and not God’s intention. However, some denominations prefer not to take historical scholarship on the Bible into account for their theology, so even if you could make the most learned case in the world for women in church leadership, it might not matter, depending on your denomination.

      It sounds like the church is an important part of your life and it seems worth pursuing these questions instead of pushing them aside. As others have written, visiting churches that do things differently could be a useful practice. You might find that at the end of the day it means more to you to stay in the denomination you were raised in, even acknowledging the problems. This is what I’ve done, as a Catholic. Or you might find a denomination that suits you better, even recognizing that no church on earth is going to be perfect, since it’s still made up of human beings. Good luck and you have my prayers.

      • Thank you all for your comments. I’ve emailed six other churches similar to my denomination today to ask about their stance. After that, I think I would branch out to Episcopal and others that I know allow women to lead– but Kate, I really appreciate your comment that it might be ok to remain in my denomination while acknowledging the problems. For a while I have been worried that I might have to leave regardless, and I appreciate the perspective that no church will be perfect. I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts.

        • I have a friend who is practicing Catholic despite some pretty major feminist criticisms of the church. She says that she doesn’t understand when people starting thinking it’s not ok to cherry pick some of your beliefs – that the difference in individual expression of faith within the community matters and is how we get better as people and communities. So, although I understand why many people leave, you wouldn’t be alone in staying

    • lucy stone :

      I am really late to this party. I grew up Catholic and my husband is the son of a conservative Protestant minister. We have both chosen to remain in our churches although neither of us thinks their views on women are great. I think my church is “more correct” than his but I also believe that Catholics will eventually ordain women into the priesthood. His church does not allow women to vote or speak in church, or in any other capacity where they would have authority over a man. He disagrees with this interpretation to the point that we will be raising children in my faith and explaining that it’s okay to question. I don’t think you have to leave, but I also believe it would be understandable if you did.

    • Sorry I am late to this–hope you are still reading.

      Regular reader, occasional poster, anonymous for this lest I out myself.

      I don’t know whether your background is at all evangelical, but the scholarship here is sound, regardless: Get thee to the website of Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE). CBE is too conservative for me at this point (issues around sexual orientation, and more), but it does offer scholarly, reasoned explanations for the verses often used to limit women. I found CBE helpful.

      You do not “have” to leave where you are.
      Having said that…I was in a similar church environment for years, and though I did not buy intellectually and consciously into the theology as it regards women? I am still undoing the effects it had on me. There are so, so many practical implications that are also subtle.

      Also be aware of what they teach about marriage. It’s somewhat soft-pedaled from the time when it was more acceptable to say “The husband is in charge”, but the person who holds 51% shareholder rights still is the one in charge.

      I would say proceed with caution.
      Disclaimer: YMMV
      Also? If there are any kids in the picture? It’s a whole different conversation.

      • Thank you so, so much for this. I had never heard of CBE. Reading their website, I feel like someone finally understands me. When you say kids in the picture make it a different conversation, what do you mean? I think you might be saying that it’s one thing for me to stay in my current church and accept this teaching of female inferiority as a flaw, but it’s another thing for me to allow my children to be raised with that teaching– and I agree.

        • You may miss this, but I want to speak up on the kids issue. I’m a cradle episcopalian whose parents chose the church as a compromise between their Catholicism and Protestant demnomination. I recently had a conversation with my mom about how thankful I was to have grown up in a church didn’t marginalize women, and that it’s made a difference in my life. YMMV, but I wanted to add to the conversation on this point.

        • same Anon who recommended CBE :

          Kids will pick up on things–I read a lot of blogs on these topics and some people end up leaving their church with male-only leadership when their little girl approaches them with a question like,”Why does God like boys better (than girls)?”

          I have read that one parent was approached by their child with that very question. Kids…are affected by things that adults either can or think they can ignore.

          I am so glad you find the CBE website helpful! They offer some useful free resources.

    • Can you talk to the leaders in your current church about your concerns? I am Catholic and attend Mass at a parish with a young, vibrant community, with many highly-educated females (both married and single). Our priest is amazing and has encouraged many of the women in our parish to participate in the Mass as “lay preachers”, where they are invited up to deliver the homily. There are many ways to include women in church leadership, even if it isn’t a formally recognized role.

      Obviously you can go investigate other denominations that allow women to fully participate, but it sounds like you have a special connection with the church you attend. I also find that the church community can help shape the church’s identity. Maybe you could look for a more liberal/open church within your denomination?

      Faith is such a personal journey; I wish you the best of luck finding something that fits you and your family, where you feel welcomed and cherished as a member.

      • Wildkitten :

        Some good authors: Nadia Bolz-Weber, Rachel Held Evans, Sarah Bessey.

        • Seconded!
          +Sara Miles if you’d like to go that direction, as well (she is gay + christian)

          • And the Junia Project–named after the apostle who was a woman–is a good online resource.

            You can always check out a church’s beliefs online. They’re often not up front about it on the website if they have restrictions on women, but sometimes do mention equality in a meaningful way if they believe women are equal in practice (as well as in theory).

            Take a look at, if they post the information online, their leadership. If women are absent, or there’s a ceiling/they’re in only roles approved for women (women’s pastor, children’s pastor, and the like), then you have your answer.

  4. Anonymous :

    Does anyone practice litigation in the consumer financial services area? Do you like it? Considering moving from a regional firm with broad general business/commercial litigation practice to a larger national firm that focuses on consumer financial services with some opportunities to do other types of litigation. Firm would be a great fit for a variety of reasons, but I’m not how I will like the work and don’t to necessarily want to get pigeonholed as a specialist in that practice if I decide I want to go somewhere else in the future. Thoughts?!!?!?

    • not sure****, sorry typing too fast!

    • Anon for this :

      Defense or consumer-side? I do defense and I really enjoy the work. But it is a changing area (as one might expect) and what the cases will look like in 5 years or how many there will be is not clear to anyone. There’s also (surprise, surprise) a lot of client pressure about rates and fees.

      • Defense. Yea, I’m interested in what the future will look like in a few years. The partners have assured me that there will continue to be work, although it’s unclear what it will look like (like what you are saying). Do you feel like it’s becoming a respected practice area? Do you think your practice develops a set of skills that will be marketable in the future if the work goes away? Any other inside you might have would be helpful!

        I have heard the rates/fees issues.

        • Anon for this :

          Do I think it’s a respected practice area? It depends on your audience. I have a hard time convincing some of my non-lawyer friends that I do anything other than help banks screw people. And even among lawyers, it’s not super sexy or seen as sophisticated. That said, I like what I do because I am in court a lot and my clients are institutional clients/in-house counsel, which makes the day-to-day easier (in general). I do think a lot of it is transferable to other types of litigation, but there’s not a direct path to a certain secondary type.

          • Thanks. that’s all helpful. You’ve basically confirmed my impression of the practice area. More money, better commute, and great people is what is making me lean towards yes.

  5. CV Help - Germany :

    I posted late on the weekend thread, so I’m reposting in hopes that one of you might be able to help me.

    I’m putting together a CV for a legal research position in Germany. I’m currently in private practice in the US. Any tips on creating my CV for this purpose?

    I’ve looked at general CV samples and advice but haven’t found advice on point. I’ve seen that the advice varies by field and location, hence asking for advice here!

    So far I’ve rearranged the order of experience and education. I did also see that they like only a few bullet points per position, so I’ll edit that down a little (since mine currently are a little more detailed, but not by much) and obviously to this field/legal research.

    Other than an interests section and breaking out my (one) published article, I’m not sure what else to do. I’m very young in my career, so it shouldn’t be long, but I don’t want to miss anything! For instance, should I include a section of professional organizations and positions?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Yes, memberships and positions should be in there. Is this in English? If so, you’ve got more leeway anyway. If you’ve reversed the order of degrees/experience so it’s oldest to newest I wouldn’t say it’s essential nowadays either – the last set of CVs I saw (for a university job) were 50/50 on this.

      Germans like evidence and proof – if you have a certificate or transcript attesting to skills in X, then mention it directly. No-one will extrapolate for you, so I’d err on being very clear about what you’re done relative to skills needed for the new job, even if it seems like overkill.

      German references are often open and public – if you haven’t got something to submit with the app, then I’d name drop a bit in the CV – worked on Big Case X with Important Lawyer – if it’s appropriate.

      With the caveat that I’m in academia, not law, so ymmv, but I do see a lot of CVs. Good luck!

      • CV Help - Germany :

        Thanks, Snoozy! This is very helpful.

        Yes, it is in English, and many applicants are from the US, so they likely get a variety.

        Very good to know about proof. I’ll be sure to make things very clear, as I tend to be a humble/let them extrapolate person (and have worked to avoid that for the rest of the application)!

        There are letters of reference being submitted with it, so I take it I should leave that off for this position but on for others. How many references is typical?

        Thanks so much, especially since you know a lot about it! Being in academia is perfect for this, actually.

        • Traditionally, Germans get formal recommendation letters with every job they leave, so it wouldn’t be considered overkill to have one per relevant position. More than one from the same job would be a bit odd unless you had non- or minimally overlapping responsibilities.

          Simply listing referees is indeed uncommon, though you can name them in your cover letter if enclosing – eg. Professor XYZ can attest to my experience in Key Area – and you don’t overdo it.

          • CV Help - Germany :

            Oh, that’s interesting. The application only wants two LORs, but I wonder if I should have more for other positions. That also explains part of their requirements about the LORs – I was confused before but it makes sense if Germans typically get one each time they leave a job! I’m not letting my current employer know that I’m applying, so I won’t have one from the most relevant position. I know I’ll have two strong ones for this application, just not from my current position!

            I had seen somewhere that I should list references on a CV, which is the only reason I was thinking of doing so for the others. That wasn’t German-specific advice, though, so it might vary as well. I honestly felt a little odd doing so, but there are other parts of the CV that make me feel odd as well, so I figured it’s just not being used to it yet! None of my references or work has been with internationally known individuals (yet, fingers crossed!) so no need for name dropping!

            Thank you so much for all of your time – you’ve been a big help one this and future applications! I’m very hopeful for this position, as it’s a long-term goal of mine to live and work in Germany.

    • One thing that’s a little odd is that CVs in Germany typically carry a photo of the applicant.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 definitely photo

        and a robust interests section – they want to get a sense of you as a person and what you might be like to work with.

      • Mostly, though this is changing and I’d be surprised if a company advertising internationally in English expected it. We ignore them. It’s a tricky call, particularly if one isn’t young, white and conventionally attractive. (OP, if you use one, get one taken or find something serious and business-y but with a smile – it’s a distinct genre.)

      • CV Help - Germany :

        I’ve seen this for CVs in that region in general and am debating one. I do have professional pictures matching that description (and am young and white) but feel strange attaching one.

        Thanks to all!

  6. I recently left a very restrictive, conservative religion and at 40 years old have been exploring alcohol for the very first time. This Friday is both a co-worker’s retirement party and my birthday. The party s at a golf course in the afternoon, and I want to have cocktail, but I have no idea what to order! I work for a construction company that is based in an industrial park – think casual. I doubt anyone will be judging what I order as not professional enough. I was thinking of a Cosmo? Anyone have any other ideas? Needs to be at least a little sweet, and I don’t know enough about wine right now to order that. My non-alcoholic drink of choice in these situations was ginger ale & cranberry juice.

    • First Year Anon :

      I wouldn’t have my first drink ever at a work event. Cosmos have lots of alcohol (2 oz versus 1 oz for normal drink). Do it on your birthday with friends. Start with something light and fruity. Ginger ale and rye/whiskey is common.

      • Don’t worry, it’s not my first drink ever! Dh and I have been experimenting at home with different bottled stuff (I really like hard lemonade) but I’m a little clueless when it comes to cocktails.

        • Meg Murry :

          Remember that mixed drinks are typically more concentrated than bottled – so you will be getting as much (or up to 2x as much) alcohol in one drink, with half the volume. So with bottled drinks you probably sip slowly, and it takes a little while to hit you. With a mixed drink, especially if it’s a hot day, it’s very easy to have it go down fast and not hit you until a little while after you finish the drink. So drink your one alcoholic drink slowly, and then alternate it with a non-alcoholic one.

          I agree with others that cranberry juice and vodka is going to be your best bet for something that isn’t too different from what you are used to. Or you can watch and listen at the bar for a little while to see if they make anything that looks tasty to you.

          Or since it’s your birthday, just have a non-alcoholic drink, and then go out to dinner with your husband and order a cocktail at a restaurant, where you’ll have him to take you home if it hits you hard.

    • Anonymous :

      Vodka cranberry juice because that’s basically the alcoholic version of what you used to drink? I also think you can order wine without knowing anything about wine. The alcohol is usually pretty limited at these types of hosted bar things. Often, there’s just one variety of red and one of white. Even if there are multiple varieties, you don’t have to order by name and year number. You can just say “I’d like a glass of whatever red [or white] you’d recommend.”

    • I would probably go with a rum and Coke – a golf course bar may not be prepared to make a Cosmo. And you can always ask the bartender to take a light touch with the rum so you can ease into it :-)

    • In these situations, I let the bartender be the expert. Tell him or her that you’re looking for something sweet to wet your feet for the evening and let them take it from there.

    • Ally McBeal :

      How about vodka and cranberry juice? Sweet, alcoholic, close to your prior choice. In this situation I’d pick a gin and tonic, but tonic might be an acquired taste.

    • What about a hard cider? Most places that sell beer and wine have at least one variety available. Less alcohol than a mixed drink and plenty sweet.

      • Anonymous :

        I was going to suggest this as well as a lower abv option. Another sweet drink I enjoy is an amaretto sour. (Although my tastes now trend more toward a whiskey sour.)

      • CV Help - Germany :

        If you do this, you’ll want a sweet cider rather than a dry. The bartender should know which they have. Something like an Angry Orchard is common and sweet.

    • Do you have any friends who are experienced drinkers? If so, I would have them fix you some small drink samples so you can try some things ahead of time. I have a full bar (defined here as most liquors and a variety of mixing ingredients) at my house and would be happy to have someone like you come over to try stuff.

      I personally love gin and tonics with extra lime, but I know that gin can be an acquired taste. If you like lime, you could do a vodka tonic with extra lime. Definitely stick to vodka, because it’s sort of the chicken of liquor. It can be “hidden” in anything and doesnt have a strong flavor like scotch or gin. When I started drinking in college, I drank a lot of screwdrivers, which is vodka and orange juice. Those are very easy to drink. If you like savory flavors and tomato juice, try a bloody mary.

      I hope when you say “very first time” you don’t mean this party is going to be the first time you are drinking ever– I would not do that, just to be on the safe side in case it makes you feel sick or you accidentally get intoxicated more quickly than you expect.

      • CV Help - Germany :

        I have friends come over and do the same as well! I love experimenting with my bar. :)

    • Hah, I was in the very same place earlier this year — recently left a no-alcohol religion at the age of 30, interested in exploring but unsure of where to start. I’ve had good luck with simply asking the bartender for something light/sweet/fruity, and even explaining (depending on my comfort level) that I don’t have much experience with alcohol. Tequila Sunrises are good (though I admittedly still prefer the taste of the nonalcoholic “mocktail” version) and white wine is MUCH better than red. If you’re comfortable with your coworkers, perhaps ask their advice — it’s a great conversational topic for the event and you can get a lot of input.

    • I also second the advice not to have your first drink, or even your first drink of a certain type, at a work event. Stick to your non-alcoholic drink of choice or light beer at the work event.

      At the birthday party, or another good occasion for liquor, I would start with mixed drinks rather than a martini or cocktail. You could try a vodka cranberry with lime, a moscow mule (vodka, ginger beer, and lime), or rum and coke. If you want to drink slowly, you can ask for another glass with just your mixer. (DH and I do this at local sports games, where doubles are way less expensive than singles but are too strong to taste good in the cup they’re served in.)

    • Meg March :

      You probably don’t need to know much about wine for a golf course c*cktail party– they will probably have 2-3 white and 2-3 reds at most. Ask the bartender for a white on the sweeter side– it should be light and fruity.

      • TO Lawyer :


        if you want wine and there’s a Reisling on the menu, there’s a good chance it will be sweet!

        If you do want to learn more about wine, my city has these awesome wine classes where they give you an assortment of different wines (and cheese) – it’s a really fun, low key way to learn about what you like! I would suggest googling your city and wine class and see what comes up.

    • Anonymous :

      Vodka soda?

    • I think that it’s fine to listen to the bartender, but if you want to be no-fuss about it and not draw too much attention to your inexperience, I would just go simple. Since you typically order a cranberry and ginger ale, stick to one of those mixed with one liquor – either a vodka cranberry or a whiskey with ginger ale. Simple, fits your tastes, and will be available at any bar. Another good option might be a 7 & 7 (7 up or Sprite with whiskey (Seagram’s 7)) – very traditional (i.e., I associate it with my parents), but tasty and light, so friendly to a new drinker.

      Don’t do a Cosmo – they’re too strong, too fussy, and they were super-trendy 10 years ago (so, dated).

      If you have little experience with hard liquor, keep in mind that it can hit a lot harder and more quickly than wine or beer. Drink slowly, limit yourself to one, and eat something with fat and protein.

    • Anonymous :

      Ask the bartender if they have a cocktail menu – maybe you can get something fancy. If it’s not an extensive bar, or is one of those little bar tables, they should probably be able to handle a request for a cosmo, a malibu bay breeze, or an amaretto sour. They may also be able to make a mojito for you, but that will depend.

      • Oh, amaretto sour is a great drink for a new drinker! Super sweet and tasty, and not very strong. I forgot how much I used to love those.

        • Anonymous :

          Another +1 to amaretto sour and also to cranberry vodka above. Those were my go-to drinks in college when I was first getting used to mixed drinks. Gin and whiskey both gave me terrible pucker face, so I’d personally steer clear of those if I were OP. I like gin now (still hate whiskey) but it took a while.

    • Beer beer beer :

      I vote beer only b/c I’ve never gotten a mixed drink that was suitable for someone who had to drive home afterwards. With beer, I know what I’m getting, content-wise. And I don’t love beer, so I’m not likely to overdo it by accident. Doubly-so at a work event.

      Mixed drinks are just such a wild card. I love them, but not at work events and not when I have to drive home.

    • Veronica Mars :

      An Arnold Palmer is the perfect drink for a golf course in my opinion. It’s half sweet tea (or sweet tea vodka) and lemonade. Refreshing and delicious!

      • AnonInfinity :

        YES! I was reading through this, wondering if I’d find my soul mate.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re in the city I think you’re in, Caesar’s are a really common go-to drink here, since legend has it they were invented here, BUT, they’re not sweet, and can be spicy.

      Whisky sours are really common here also. Personally, I’d go for a glass of Riesling and call it a day.

      You can also tell the bartender to “surprise you”, and just make you something not too strong and a bit sweet.

      • Anonymous :

        Caesars are a distinctly Canadian drink. If you order one in the US, they will have no idea of what you are talking about. A Bloody Mary is similar, but made with tomato juice instead of Clamato.

    • Anonymous :

      I recently did the same thing!! After drinking with colleagues at a bar a few times, I was disappointed to go to my first (as a drinker) catered event with an open bar and find out the selections were really limited. At these types of things, I usually drink the wine (they usually have 2-4 choices, and a sweet white [moscato, reisling, chardonnay] is a good bet) or go with a really simple mixed drink (whiskey + ginger ale [“Jack and Ginger”] or bourbon + coke).

      If this is a real open bar, though, my Mormon tastebuds really like Moscow Mules (vodka, ginger beer [which is a strong soda, not a beer], and lime). Other easy choices are a Pimm’s Cup, a Singapore Sling, a Mojito, a Tequila Sunrise, or a Long Island Iced Tea (careful, though, as these last ones can be really strong). If it is a full bar, it’s also likely that they will have a few signature cocktails to choose from, at least one of which will probably be fruity.

      Either way, bring a few dollars to tip the bar tenders, and have a great time!

      • Long Island Ice Tea where I live is all booze and no “tea” at all. It’s the “let’s get really drunk” drink.

        • Anonymous :

          It’s like a 5-shots-of-liquor drink. Not something I’d drink at work.

        • Anonymous :

          Ha, good point. I live in Utah, so they’re legally limited to 1.5 oz of liquor (no long pours) in any cocktail and all drinks are the same strength. I’ve heard Long Islands can be dangerous elsewhere, though, hence my warning.

      • I am now going to try ALL of these.

    • I agree that your options may be limited at this type of event, so I wouldn’t go all out on the cocktail front. (Though I hate to deny you the opportunity to have a cosmo, if you really want one. Maybe a girls’ night soon?)

      Have you tried a summer shandy yet? It’s kind of like a beer/lemonade combo, which might sound gross, but it’s a little lighter on the tastebuds than straight beer. It’s also popular in the summer.

    • Thanks everyone! To reiterate what I said above, this won’t be my first ever drink, but my first not at home chance to drink (except for one strawberry daiquiri I had with Dh at lunch when we both had the day off). I won’t be drinking on an empty stomach. The party is at 2pm and will have appetizers – probably mostly fried stuff. I plan on having one drink, early, so I should be fine to drive home. I think I’ll probably go for a vodka cranberry or rum & Coke. It’s not an open bar – small company in a tough economy = buying our own drinks. I’ll definite keep in mind the other drinks you guys mentioned. There is so much to learn! It’s going to be fun.

      And how fun to see at least one other former Mormon here. :)

      • Former Mormon here! :) Well, was raised Mormon anyway. I basically became non-Mormon when I went to college, but never did the whole drinking thing until my late twenties. Love fancy cocktails/fruity martinis now! Those are normally only at nice bars/nice resetarutns though. At a normal bar, my favorite drink is a sloe (slow?) screw – sloe gin + orange juice.

        • Hi there! :

          Try a sloe gin fizz if you haven’t. This is my new favorite drink of all time. Sloe gin, soda, a bit of lemon. Sweet and slightly tart and fizzy and refreshing.

          I’m not formerly Mormon, but my husband is. His journey into the universe of alcohol has actually taught me a lot and encouraged me to try some things I hadn’t before.

      • Little sweet? I’d say bourbon and ginger. (You’ll find most people find booze they love and booze they hate. Please don’t ever come near me with gin, but bourbon? Yes please!)

        That said, and not to beat a dead horse, I have been drinking alcohol for 17 years and I still play it very safe when it comes to driving after a cocktail. Sometimes I can do it well and safely after one drink; other times not. Don’t assume you’ll be okay. There are so many variables–how generous the pour is (and that is tough to control), how dehydrated you are, etc. In these cases, a bottle of beer is almost always the safest choice–you know exactly how much you are getting. You can always postgame at a bar with your hubby (and Uber!) and experiment in honor of your birthday. Just a thought!

      • OfCounsel :

        One quick suggestion,if you drink about half and find yourself feeling the alcohol (or even if you don’t) you can ask the bartender to top you up with just mixer (whether cranberry or OJ or whatever). This has always been my way to stretch my one drink out for hours at work events.

    • Shots. Shots. Shots. :

      Welcome to the family. I’m thrilled you are here and look forward to meeting you on that trip you’re taking to Punta Cana next year, and not a day sooner. For a work event, I recommend my cousin “a glass of white wine.” Unlike fun and fruity cocktails, you’ll know you are drinking alcohol and be less likely to gulp it down like iced tea.

      • Mrs. Jones :

        A wine spritzer may be a good choice here.

      • I keep telling dh we need to go somewhere all inclusive so we can do some real exploring/experimenting!

    • Not helping OP, but I was in Tequila yesterday. Went on a Jose Cuervo distillery tour and tequila tasting and my first tequila shot ever…!!! I was kind of drunk after tasting five to six varieties and it was lot of fun. Just wanted to say..

      • And..many of our friends have tequila bottles as gift in their future..!!!

      • Anonymous :

        I am not a big drinker at all but I’m going to Mexico in two weeks and I’m excited to do a tequila tasting and have some fruity mixed drinks at my all-inclusive!

        • Tequila and pineapple juice and lots of ice! Honestly I drank these every day in Mexico, and while the bartenders were super confused (and probably super offended that i would ruin a good tequila) but it’s so delicious.

  7. Perfect belt :

    I have been trying to streamline my work wardrobe, choosing most of my colors for pants as navy blue, grey and black, with jewel tones or white/black outfits being my mix. No browns.

    What is the perfect belt to be wearing with my navy pants? I have been wearing black, but not the best and doesn’t always look right.

    I do like tortoise shell/snakeskin etc.. but more wary of mammal prints.

    What is your favorite?

    • I usually do silver or gray for a belt…if I’m feeling crazy, pink or leopard :)

    • I'm Just Me .... :

      I have a navy patent leather belt I wear with grey and navy pants.

  8. Heel height :

    I bought the very nice Aquatalia Zana wedge “pump” shown here recently for 1/2 price and wow, what a well made shoe that is comfortable and weather hardy. A good investment for me, as I am on my feet all day and do love a heel.

    But I put them on, and look at my feet…. and WOW my BLUE VEINS are like popping out so much that I feel that I aged 30 years by just putting on the shoes. I realized this heel height is just a bit higher (3.5″) than my usual 3″ heels, and this must be the cause.

    Now I can’t decide if I should return them, or keep them?!?!

    Am I the only one that has discovered a heel height limit this way?

  9. Anonymous :

    I am the one who posted earlier about a mistake having been made in the brief I’m about to argue. I just want to say how awesome this group is. I literally copied the suggested wording into the letter, and we are filing it shortly. Thanks!!!

  10. real estate :

    How do I find a home appraiser?

    My home has substantially increased in value (due to market, not changes we’ve made), and I’m confident that we could re-appraise high enough to drop our mortgage insurance early. Do I need to get an appraiser with a relationship with my insurance company? Do I just call someone with good reviews online?

    • I’m not 100% certain, but I’d bet that it has to be ordered via the insurance company…. FIRREA and all of that stuff. The legislation applies to banks, and the insurance company/policy is bank-required, so I bet it’s all interconnected.

      • Further explanation… among its mandates, FIRREA requires that appraisals be ordered independent of those who benefit from the end valuation. This is to prevent the end-user from influencing value inappropriately. As in, you want your appraisal to show your loan is 80% of value. If you hire the appraiser, who’s to say you couldn’t persuade the appraiser to inflate your value to get you your desired outcome?

        Banks often have in-house groups that are functionally independent of the actual lender and the client (you/borrower). Appraisals are ordered and reviewed/accepted as good and true by this in-house appraisal group, thereby preventing the end users (loan officer, client) from influencing the value. Banks that are too small to have this in-house group often contract out with third-party appraisal review companies to do this as it’s a federal regulation.

        I suspect this same concept holds true for mortgage insurance/your question because, in theory, you are motivated to influence value. That, and the insurance policy is a bank-mandate, so that further leads me to believe that you cannot order independently to influence a bank-related insurance policy.

      • real estate :

        Ah, that would make sense! I know there was some sort of blind lottery assignment for when we bought this house. I have no idea how to schedule through it – but I bet the insurance company submits the request.

        I’ll call the mortgage company.

    • Would love to know how this process goes for you if you go through with it! We’re thinking of dumping some bonus checks into the mortgage to get rid of PMI early (also likely our house has appreciated a bit), but not sure what the potential for them actually accepting the no-PMI is.

  11. I’m mid 30’s and have started getting grays on my temples and at the back. I could dye the hair but I’m wondering what to do about other areas e.g. down there. I usually shave but there’s always places you can’t reach. Suggestions?

    • A) Why can’t you reach? B) Is anyone who’s already getting intimate down there going to even notice a gray hair or two? and C) Waxing and lasering are way better than shaving anyway…

      • +1.
        Shave what you can, forget what you can’t. Nobody is going to notice but you (and not even you if you can’t see it!).

  12. Anonymous :

    Anyone here with experience freezing their eggs? I’m married but my spouse has a degenerative disorder that won’t allow us to have kids. I’m not in a position to have kids now so want to look into egg freezing. I’m 37, no history of infertility. This would likely be with donor sperm.

    Interested in costs, process, any advice, risks (OHSS seems scary), and any alternatives that would allow for bio-kids in the next 5-6 years.

    If anyone has a good infertility specialist in the DC area that’s helpful too. Particularly Northern VA.

    • IVF perspective :

      No experience with egg freezing, but if the process is anything like an egg retrieval for IVF, then there have been lots of advances that prevent OHSS. For example, using a Lupron trigger instead of HCG. You also get monitored every day leading up to the retrieval and you can tell them that you’re wary of OHSS and want to be more conservative.

      If you know you’re going to have to use a sperm donor (we did), you might also consider picking the donor and fertilizing the eggs immediately upon harvesting, and then freezing the embryos for later use. My understanding is that frozen embryos survive better than frozen eggs (95% of frozen embryos survive the thaw process, so if you know you’ll have to use a donor anyway, you can rest easier knowing that your embryos have a very good chance of survival–I just looked it up, and about 75% of eggs survive thaw). To put it in perspective, for IVF, I had 16 eggs retrieved, 15 were mature, 13 fertilized, 10 made it to Day 3, and 5 made it to Day 5 (the preferred timing for an embryo transfer). Of those five, only two were chromosomally normal (we had them tested). We transferred one and froze one. But if we’d only done egg freezing, I’d be thinking that I had sixteen eggs, which is very different from two healthy embryos. Just something to think about since it sounds like you know who your spouse will be, just not where the sperm will come from.

    • Shady Grove Fertility is probably your best bet in NoVA. Last I heard, freezing costs are probably around $8k per cycle, not counting meds. Plus a couple thousand to thaw and transfer the frozen embryo in a few years (btw, you will be freezing embryos, not eggs, if you intend to use a sperm donor, no reason not to fertilize the eggs now, let them grow for five days, and then freeze when you know what you have). Expect more than one cycle to be necessary to “bank” enough. Also expect to have to sit with a social worker first — I found it obnoxious, but it’s required. Storage costs are cheap by comparison — something like $400/year. It’s highly unlikely that your insurance will cover anything other than maybe some of the diagnostics first. The process itself isn’t scary, just unknown. Risks of OHSS are extremely low without prior indications, and once they see a cycle going wrong there are ways to short circuit the problem while still getting the eggs out.

      P.s. if you know you want to do this, don’t dither. Months can count sometimes.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m not in a position to freeze embryos right now – just eggs. I see you both recommend. Is the 95% thaw success versus 75% really that material?

        • Anonymous :

          CapHillStyle had a post with multiple links in May (the 25th, I think) where one of the links went to an article about egg freezing…and the numbers were not good. I would take a look and see if it lines up with other information you’ve seen. IIRC, embryos had better vitality than the eggs when it can to thaw.

        • In part that depends on your peace of mind. These rates are all averages, and you’re multiplying chance of surviving thaw, chance of successful fertilization, chance of successful implantation, etc. I’d personally be more comfortable knowing I had X embryos, because it means the calculus on my chances of going from there to a live infant is just that much less variable than having X eggs.

  13. Calling makeup experts :

    Makeup question! My face has huge pores and they seem to have gotten worse in the last year or so (post pregnancy and through nursing; almost done with nursing now). I’ve had some luck covering them up with Too Faced: Primed and Poreless. The only downside is that it doesn’t solve the problem, is just a cover up, very uniformly colored, and it doesn’t include sunscreen or moisturizer.
    Is there anything that can actually shrink pores? Not just makeup, anything I can do with respect to diet or cleaning my face better?
    How do I conceal my pores? I’ve had good luck with Bare Minerals powder so should I layer that on top of the Too Faced? (includes sunscreen). Or perhaps Laura Mercier tinted foundation? I hesitate to put on too much of gel-like stuff on my face because it’s hard to wash off completely, so powder seems preferable.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t know if this is true, but my facialist says that wearing primer or foundation results in larger pores. I can say that in the 6 months since I stopped wearing foundation, my pores have shrunk considerably.

      I also did a series of professional peels which helped with pore size and overall skin tone.

    • I swear that the clay mask from Keihls did something to my pores even though I didn’t really have huge ones to begin with. Perhaps you can get a sample to try? I bought the mask based on reviews and really like it.

    • Think of your pores like a drain. When the drain gets clogged and the black stuff starts appearing around the edges, it looks unsightly. Once you’ve cleaned the drain the drain hole looks much less offensive…even smaller.

      Pores cannot “shrink” exactly, but they can be “normalized.” If you remove the dead skin cells and other junk from the insides, the skin inside the pores starts to grow back, thus making your pores seem smaller than they were, so they go back to what they were supposed to be. (Yikes, does this make sense?) They normalize…they get smaller, but they don’t necessarily become smaller…

      Oh never mind. How to do this. First, you need to exfoliate. An AHA will begin to dissolve the dead skin cells and a BHA will break up the oil in the pores. There are dozens of exfoliating things on the market. I cannot use BHAs (which is salicylic acid i.e. aspirin and I am allergic to it) but I have had wonderful luck with clay masks. Clinique and the Body Shop (which are really the same company) make a good one. You do not need to spend a lot of money on clay masks; clay is cheap.

      AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) can be liquids, gels, pads, whatever. Paula’s Choice makes several strengths in several types. I suggest looking there first. Acids can be harsh so you may not want to use one every day. Or build up gradually. Good luck!

      • Oops, not the Body Shop…Origins.

      • Extending on what EM said, an acid toner used 5ish days a week dependant on strength will exfoliate without scrubbing. I like the First Aid Beauty pads or the Clarins Brightening Toner. I personally refer to Caroline Hirons, goddess of skin, for all my recommendations.

  14. Manhattanite :

    Not a fan of the earrings. Looks cheap to me. Like something you’d pick up at Claire’s.

    • Agreed. May as well find an actual Claire’s and pay the reduced price.

      • I’ve seen these in person and they are nicer than they appear online, but they are also bigger than they appear online.

        • itsme1987 :

          They do look better in person. Also, my Nordstrom Rack tends to have them for $20ish in a variety of colors.

        • I have several pairs of these Kate Spade studs, but the larger version. Nordstrom has these and the larger one, and I’ve found them at Kate Spade outlets and Nordstrom Rack for under $30. They make great gifts for girlfriends/moms/aunts/etc.

    • Anne Elliott :

      Earrings look cheap and plasticky.

  15. Paging KT :

    I checked the morning thread again and didn’t see the shelter name that has the male Samoyed, do you mind posting it?

    • Anonymous :

      Try posting an email address for her to contact you directly. Depending on the circumstances and the shelter, she may be worried about doxxing herself by posting the shelter name/complaining publicly and non-anon about the shelter.

      • Anonymous :

        Doubtful, considering she has posted her full name and personal web s i t e here loads of times….

  16. favorite notebooks and journals? :

    What are your favorite notebooks/journals? I’m always in the market for a good new notebook. I like lined paper and a slim profile, but besides that, I’m open to designs and styles.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I found these a few years ago and haven’t looked back. They are my perfect notebook.

    • Anonymous :

      Muji notebooks and pens are the best. Order online if you must, but if you live in NYC go to the store.

    • Appointed Co. Beautiful and they monogram as well!

  17. Paging Wildkitten :

    The DC Hairpinners facebook group has had a lot of job postings recently. Seems like it might be your kind of crowd:) Sending you good thoughts.