Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Superstar One-Button Blazer

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

Nanette Lepore Superstar One-Button BlazerBergdorf Goodman has a great selection of jackets right now, including this fun “shocking pink” crepe one from Nanette Lepore. I like the black details — the button, the zippers — and the generally classic construction. I’d probably wear this with gray, white and navy, but perhaps with an unexpected pop of color in there — perhaps an orange or green necklace. The blazer is $428. Nanette Lepore Superstar One-Button Blazer

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  1. PSA: Ann Taylor is having a 60% off sale promo until 10AM ET. No promo code needed.

    • a passion for fashion :

      and AT has a pink blazer similar to today’s pick for 129, less 40%

  2. momentsofabsurdity :

    Reposting from late in the weekend thread – thank you so much to Bloom and Eternally Hopeful for your advice:

    Some of you may remember that my mom and I were planning a trip to Italy. Plans have changed and it now looks like we’re going to Peru (!)

    We’ve booked a tour which will hit the highlights (Machu Pichu, Cusco, etc) but would love people’s general tips or experience traveling in Peru, or South America in general. We are looking at starting in the Sacred Valley, doing one day Machu Pichu, two days Cusco and one day Lima. We’re considering upgrading to the Vista Dome train for MP – anyone have any experience with that?

    We’ll be going in May and I’m still looking into things like what to pack, safety, sights-not-to-be-missed, etc. I want to make sure my mom will still have a good time, even though it’s a bit more “adventure”-esque than she’s comfortable with or her health may allow. Would love to hear any and all experiences.

    • Anon in sf :

      You will have a great time! I went to Peru in May last year and really enjoyed it. I stayed at the Tambo del Inka in the sacred valley (a westin hotel — if you have starwoods points you can use them to book). It is beautiful, really serene, and an easy place to catch the train up to MP. MP itself is amazing. There is only one hotel up at the top called the sanctuary. It’s pricey, and you have to book way in advance to get in. Though since May is not high season, you may have an easier time of it. A friend who stayed there said it was amazing, and worth the extra expense as you get exclusive tours of the site before it opens to other tourists. I couldn’t get in and stayed in Aguas Caliente, about 15 minutes away. There are two upscale hotels, and a variety of basic guest houses. I stayed at the Sumaq with a view over looking the river and thought it was great.

      I think Cusco was my favorite part of the whole trip. There are a whole variety of places to stay. The nicest is the Montaserio, which also has rooms with oxygen piped in to help with the altitude. I stayed at the Libratador (sp?), which is the 2nd nicest hotel. Frankly, I didn’t think it was that great. I would probably either go with the montesario or save some money and go with a basic guest house.

      In terms of what to pack, remember it is winter there in May, though I found it very temperate. It got down to the high 40’s at night. Bring layers, including a waterproof outer layer, like a gortex jacket. Try to pack light, as you will be hauling your bag with you between all the towns. You really don’t need much, and its easy and cheap to get laundry done. All of the restaurants are quite casual, so there it no need to pack a dress, etc. I brought mostly out door type clothes, with one nice pair of jeans and one nice top. There are lots of cobble stones so bring flat and sneakers, not heels. I always felt safe walking around, though wasn’t out past 10-11 at night. It will get dark early, since its winter there.

      I think it would be totally worthwhile to upgrade to the vista train. The views on the way up are spectacular. For restaurants there is a good Gaston Acurio restaurant called Chi Cha in Cuzco. We also liked Ciccolina. For sites, obviously MP itself, and also probably 1 short hike or tour in the sacred valley. In cusco, the main cathederal, the temple of the sun with a church built on top, and the fort above the city.

      I’m so jealous, I’d love to go back.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Thank you for this! It’s super helpful. Especially appreciate the hotel suggestions. Would (flat) boots be okay for Cuzco, or would you really stick to “good walking shoes” as in sneakers?

        • Anon in SF :

          I think flat boots would be fine. Just avoid anything that would get stuck in between the cobble stones.

          Also, bring a good camera. The scenery is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. And the upside of visiting during the rainy season is that everything it lush and green. (And in fact, it only rained on us one morning…)

          One other thing — I’d avoid peruvian wine. I wanted to try it because that seemed fun, but it was universally terrible! Fortunately, chilean wine is plentiful and cheap, and widely available.

        • Anon in SF :

          Also, I meant to add, in terms of health/altitude — there is a medication you can start taking 1-2 days before you go up into the Andes that really helps. I can’t remember what its called, but your Dr. will know. In terms of lowest to highest elevation, it is sacred valley–> MP –>Cuzco, so it may make sense to start in the sacred valley and take time to acclimate. Hopefully you and your mom won’t struggle with it. I was fine, and my 75 year old father in law went 2 years ago and he was fine so long as he took it easy and didn’t try to sprint up the hill, etc.

    • I used to work with a luxury travel company specializing in South America, so here are my recs: I would upgrade to the Vistadome so you can enjoy the views on the way up. If you’re worried about altitude – start Sacred Valley, then train to MP, then Cuzco at the end (it’s pretty high). Get an early flight to Cuzco, though, b/c it’s about a 45-60 minute drive to the Sacred Valley. Wear hiking clothes on the flight so if you set up a tour in advance you can just go straight there. In the Sacred Valley if you want to be somewhere a little less isolated (lots of the hotels like Tambo and Rio Sagrado, Sol y Luna, are gorgeous but in the middle of nowhere) then Pakaritampu is cute, although not super fancy. It’s in the town of Ollantaytambo. Tambo & Rio Sagrado are high end, and then Sol y Luna is more mid-range, but very nice individual bungalows in a garden, with views of the mountains. I would say Pisac & Ollantaytambo are two of the best SV sites. If you love markets the one at Pisac is huge and crazy and touristic, but still fun with cool stuff. You can take the train straight from the train station in Ollantaytambo, which is nice and convenient. If you want to do Huayna Picchu Mt (might be too adventurous for your mom) you need to get the passes in advance. They have climbing times for 7 or 10 am. The Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is a great option if you the Sanctuary Lodge is out of your price range and/or booked. If you do stay at Sanctuary Lodge, try to get a step up from the entry level rooms, b/c those can be noisy. Keep in mind if you stay there, you’re stuck there in the evening b/c there are no buses after 5. Sumaq is also good, and then a more budget-friendly option is El Mapi (run by Inkaterra). And there are lots of guest houses, too. In Cuzco, Monasterio is the classic option, but keep in mind it’s a historic monastery, so some of the rooms are really small compared to others at the same price. If you like boutique luxury then La Casona (also by Inkaterra), is great, as is Palacio Nazarenas (operators of Monasterio but new and boutique), and Casa Cartagena has huge rooms. In Lima stay in Miraflores. There are tons of good restaurants in Cuzco & Lima if you’re foodies. Have fun!!!

  3. A quick update / thanks for everyone who weighed in on the chronic illness + new relationship thing last week. The boyfriend was incredible, really looked after me and made it clear that it was his pleasure to do so. I got really sick on Thursday night and was in no real position to be making decisions so he dealt with work and took me to the doctor. We had a long talk about what it meant for us and what I need to do to keep well in the future (I’m pretty rubbish at self-care).

    • Sydney Bristow :

      That’s fantastic! It sounds like things are going great with him and he seems so sweet.

    • You are SO lucky to have such a caring BOYFREIND. The one’s I had onley look out for THEMSELF, and onley did thing’s for me when they knew they were goeing to get some benefit out of it for THEM. FOOEY on those kind of boyfreind’s!

      My dad showed me my taxe’s and said he would FRONT me $1,600 for my tax liability. He then showed me that if I was MARRIED and filed a JOINT return with my HUSBAND, I would owe alot less taxe’s, even if my HUSBAND made his own money. So he want’s me to GET MARRIED now and find a HUSBAND that will do my taxe’s b/c he want’s to get a retirment home in DURAM, North Carolina and teach a class at DUKE, where they are giveing him some kind of honoraery CHAIR or something. FOOEY, b/c mom would have to go with him and I would have NO one on LI to visit (other then Margie and the manageing partner).

      I hope the hive can figure out some way I can have them stay but still give DAD the chance to be a big professor at DUKE! Yay!

    • Cornellian :

      yay! So glad it’s working out. This guy seems awesome.

    • It’s great you found someone so caring, although I’m sorry you’re experiencing a flair up. That said, when you’re better/able, please, please focus on the self-care and make it a real priority. It will show him that you care about you and your relationship, just like he’s currently showing you he cares about you and your relationship. I say this as the spouse of someone with a chronic illness. I love that DH knows he can count on me when he has a flair up, but I also love that he prioritizes his health and our relationship enough that he does what he can to keep the number of flair ups at a minimum. When we were first dating, he didn’t always make his health a priority – I had to point out much that hurt me for him to not take his health seriously.

      • This is a great reminder, thanks! I’ve been solo for ages so sometimes I forget that my actions have consequences for other people as well. I was in loads of pain but I think witnessing it and not being able to do anything was somehow worse.

  4. Sydney Bristow :

    I’ve really been wanting to buy a bright pink jacket lately, but I can’t seem to pull the trigger. I’m normally of the wear what you feel awesome in camp, but I can’t help but think that even if I felt awesome in a pink jacket that it would exaggerate the fact that I look pretty young. But they are so cute! Maybe I should get one anyway and just wear it on the weekends with jeans.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I own a bright pink jacket (it looks like this, I can’t find a full length picture: http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=26632603)

      and I love it. Yeah, it might make me look young but… I *am* young. I’m 25. I love how cheerful it makes me feel when I put it on and it actually looks pretty snazzy (if bright) with most work clothes. So I say go for it!

    • Get one! I think a pink jacket with something basic like navy bottoms and maybe a white top is pretty hard to beat in terms of a “classic” look. Besides, two years ago a bright blazer would have only read as “woman of a certain age” so I don’t think anyone more mature is going to be too shocked by the look. I don’t think you’d look too young, but if that’s a concern I would just stay away from anything that read neon and stay closer to “natural” pinks.

      The gap academy blazer that everyone here always seems to like comes in pink and is on sale for about $50 now ($60 – 2-% promo). It’s a more sedate pink. The gap also has another ponte blazer that comes in a bunch of bright colors, inc. pink.

    • Two thoughts, both of which involve the Halogen Three Quarter Roll Sleeve Blazer at Nordstrom, which I will attempt to include in a reply to this message.

      One is that bright pink is very “in” lately, so if you’re going to do it, now is the time. Just stick to sharp tailoring, and formal details, and I think you’re good to go.

      Alternatively, maybe start by building other colorful blazers into your wardrobe. The purpley blue option of this blazer, which also comes in pink, (I think they call it Blue Royal) is a fun bright color without being as girly. That said, girly is not an inherently bad thing. The patterned version actually has a bit more pink in it than the photo shows, and that may be a way to sneak it in as well.

      • http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-three-quarter-roll-sleeve-blazer/3465932?origin=saveforlater

    • Cornellian :

      I think they can be supercute, but I don’t think they would be smiled upon in my business casual office. Still, you could get a jersey or ponte one and wear it to pieces on the weekend. Pink and navy is classic, but it seems like you could also go khaki, white….

    • I’m team bright, cheery blazers all the way! Right now my closet includes bright yellow, pink, black and white polka dots, a floral pattern, and I’m eyeing a bright blue one for spring…

      Like AIMS said, as long as the rest of your outfit is conservative, a colorful blazer is perfectly classic and appropriate. The structure of the blazer also helps balance a less traditional color. If neon pink is too much, maybe a deeper pink (magenta?) would be a good way to ease in. Plus, with spring around the corner, now’s a great time to start adding more color to your wardrobe.

      • If you want a cheap option to try out:

        http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/style-co-jacket-three-quarter-sleeve-ruched-blazer?ID=776968&CategoryID=120&LinkType=&swatchColor=Pink Cosmo#fn=COLOR%3DPink%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D31%26ruleId%3D2%26slotId%3D18

      • Kind of different, but I like the coral color:


    • Agree. I was hesitant about buying a bright red jacket but get compliments on it every time. I like this jacket but would probably get something more versatile. The black trim would make it look odd with navy IMO.

      • CrimsonClover :

        Soooo true about this; I bought a fire-engine red jacket last spring and literally EVERY TIME I wear it I get a comment about how nice it looks/red really must be my color. Take the plunge- color is a huge component of fashion in general right now!

    • I know what you mean. I’m in my 30s, and in a mid-level position, but I look young (I’m still about 50/50 getting ID’d when I buy wine), so one part of me LOVES these fun, bright pieces, but the other part of me worries that I’ll make myself look too young, and thus won’t be taken as seriously. I’ll probably still go for something bright….but not at $428. I’m sure I could find a fun pink blazer for more like $50 or so.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Ok you guys are such wonderful enablers! Thanks for all the suggestions!

    • I look very young too, and I find coral to be a great alternative for my pink cravings. Maybe a coral blazer would be the in-between solution for you?
      Though I am rocking a very bright pink blouse today.

    • lucy stone :

      Do it! I have a bright green blazer from Talbots that I wear a lot in the spring and I love it.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I love this discussion because I was just literally having this conversation with a friend. I love color and also look very young (probably because I am fairly young) but the practice area I work is in fairly male-dominated so I’m always slightly concerned about how I’ll be perceived in too much colour. I do try to always accessorize though so for example, I’ll wear a simple black long-sleeved dress but with a necklace in shades of pink and purple to make it a little more fun. I wish I had the guts to wear a pink blazer to work!

  5. Diana Barry :

    Interesting article about rethinking corporate jobs to make spending all your time at work less of a requirement:


    • Diana Barry :

      And also, this op-ed about what happens when you spend all your time at work:


      • AnonInfinity :

        This is something I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks, so thanks so much for posting it.

        I’m one of those people (like many of us on this site) who could easily just focus on my career at the expense of everything else. I’m only a couple years into my career, but I’ve certainly already started feeling some friendships and hobbies slipping away. One of my mentors told me a few weeks ago that one thing she sacrificed for her career was friendships, and that made her sad sometimes. This past weekend I met some wonderful and inspiring women who maintain friendships and hobbies, and it made me think, “Wow. I hope I have that one day…”

        Those experiences, combined with this article, certainly make a case for trying to have something else going on. Now if I can just implement it…

        • Cornellian :

          Yup. One year in BigLaw and I’ve more or less stopped getting dinner invitations. There do seem to be some salvageable friendships, though…. I’m trying to catch up with one friend a week now that my life is less crazy than this winter.

    • So the great thing about the billable hour is that you can bill from anywhere, your desk, your beach-chair, a dead-stop in traffic, the possibilities are endless… sigh

    • “I know [a saner, more sensible blend of the things that ambitious women want from work and life] is doable because I run a growing start-up in which more than half the professionals work fewer than 40 hours a week by choice.”

      I am the principal in my own business and I don’t kid myself for a second that I would have had the opportunity to do this if I hadn’t spent the first 20 years of my career acquiring skills, contacts and professional goodwill while working 60-hour weeks at large organizations. While I love the idea of women creating opportunities for each other in cottage-sized businesses, I don’t think it is possible to use the same methods (“break work into projects”) to make decisions and allocate responsibility within large organizations, particularly ones which operate globally or in complex markets.

      Sigh. I’d thought I’d been doing well avoiding all the recent ‘women in the workplace’ debate.

    • Thanks for posting this, Diana Barry .

  6. Cornellian :

    Does anyone live in a co-op? How did you make the co-op vs. condo judgment call? I was originally thinking condo, since I want to pick up the rise in real estate values I think will happen in the neighborhood, and like the freedom, but I found a co-op with quite loose rules about subletting/leasing, and it is SO MUCH space for the money. Co-op v. condo may be the difference between 2 and 1 BR for me if I want to buy this year.

    Can anyone chime in? Thanks!

    • I think it depends on the co-op and your location. I can’t speak for outside of NYC, but in NYC, a condo is basically more expensive and you pay your own real estate taxes. You typically don’t have restrictions on renting the place out or using it as a pied a terre (but double check), there are less restrictions on financing and parents buying for children/co-purchasing, and there’s usually more freedom in terms of other rules like whether pets are allowed, etc. One of the reasons that condos are also more expensive in NYC specifically is because it is much easier for foreigners to purchase them and so that drives up the price, too. With co-ops, in theory you get less freedom because you don’t actually own your own apartment, you own shares in a corporation that amount to your apt, so your ownership is always subject to the coop rules. However, in practice, whether a co-op is a good idea or not will depend mostly on the board of your particular building. So you should look at the rental policy, pets policy, etc. Also, see how much of your maintenance will be tax deductable. Will there be an interview? Some co-ops basically run themselves like a condo and that can amount to a very good deal (they’re called Condops).

      My thinking on co-op vs condo is actually very individualized. I have had friends who had hellish experiences in condos with nosy management boards vs great hassle free co-op experiences in more liberally run co-ops. I don’t think that in NYC your real estate value will be affected much by condo vs co-op except as mentioned above. One thing to keep in mind though if you’re buying in a new development/transitioning neighborhood – check to see re: tax abatements. If your building has one (often the case with new construction condos), you will see a huge monthly increase once the abatement is up and that will affect your resale value somewhat, so just keep it in mind.

      • Cornellian :

        Thanks! I am actually considering a cond-op. No tax abatement, but that’s a good point. I guess I basically just need to worry about the board at this point, and maybe get a copy of all the current rules/regulations.

        • Condops are great! Seriously, it’s like the best of both worlds. In addition to the rules, do a google search for the building – you can get a lot of information on real estate sites like Street Easy, Brownstoner, etc. I would also just talk to people who live in the building. Just say you’re considering purchasing and were wondering what their experience has been like. Most people would probably be happy to talk to you.

    • I think it really matters what the board is like and what the board will likely be like for the tenure of your time in the apartment. I know people in a great, well-run building. Everyone takes turns on the board and there is a lot of stability. It is a lot of work but things run fairly smoothly. Everyone who has wanted to sell has been able to without a lot of drama. I also know people in buildings will hellish boards that make life in the building fairly difficult. I’d recommend paying a lot of attention during the interview process – is it well organized? Would you want to make expensive home maintenance decisions with these people? Are you comfortable with the rules they’d set? Do you trust them to right by you when you’re selling and not reject stable well qualified buyers?

  7. Anyone tried clothes from Shade, the adult brand owned by Gymboree? I stumbled across their website this weekend and am curious about fit and quality.

    • I think someone else mentioned it here late last week. I just had a look at their website. Cute dresses! I’m really tempted by the faux wrap. I’m always looking for dresses for church.

    • Miss Behaved :

      Never heard of them, but wow, do they have good sales…

    • I ordered a bunch of dresses from them some time last year. I ended up only keeping the faux wrap. I thought the sizing ran small, and the fabric was pretty thin.

      • Hollis Doyle :

        Interesting. I have a knit jacket from there and thought the quality was lovely and the fit was generous enough to fit 6′ tall me.

  8. petitesq - iPad questions :

    Ok, pulling the trigger on an iPad. Going 16GB, wifi only, no apple care. But what to do about cases/covers/accessories? Anyone have strong feelings about this? Or know where to get the case that has a keyboard built in?

    • Targus makes a case with a bluetooth keyboard. It’s not my primary case because it’s slightly bulky, but works well for those times when I know I will be using my ipad as a laptop substitute.

    • I got the smartcover from apple and then picked up a back cover at a streetfair for $10. I don’t care for the bulky covers since I think that defeats the whole purpose of an ipad, but i don’t travel with it daily so it’s only for vacay/use at home/bf’s apt.

    • As of two weeks ago Brook stone had a decent sale on cases with bluetooth keyboards — limited color selections were discounted, but if you’re not worried about that it’s a decent price. I’ve been really happy with that case — the charge on the keyboard seems to last a really long time, and even in orange I think the case is fairly professional-looking. Honestly, now that I’ve gotten to try it out, I’d probably buy it at full price. I’ll try to post the link below.

      • http://www.brookstone.com/bluetooth-keyboard-portfolio-case-ipad2?bkiid=World_Landing_Page_Travel_iPad_Accessories|CategoryWidget|774921p&catId=

    • Think seriously about applecare. My husband left his iPad on the floor one night, I picked it up “so it wouldn’t get broken.” It slipped out of my hand from 18 inches up, landed on carpet and shattered the screen. If we hadn’t had applecare I would have been replacing it; as it was it was 49 bucks for a new one.

      • Seconded. My iBook got horribly sick a couple of years ago and if I hadn’t had Applecare I would basically have had to buy a new one. Cost is minimal and in my view, totally worth it.

    • Highly recommed an accidental insurance policy or AppleCare+ (PLUS).

    • I walk to work and have found my neoprene sleeve to be a lifesaver! It keeps it dry in case I don’t keep my tote zipped/under my umbrella and it also kept some coffee from the bottom of my travel mug from getting to the pad. I highly recommend one.

  9. I was actually thinking about this recently. There’s a great New Yorker article by Jeffrey Toobin about Justice Ginsburg. In it, she briefly talks about how there is, to her mind, a false perception now that to get to the top (e.g., where she is), you have to sacrifice everything else. She points to the two newest female justices as an example that people use since they are both single and childless. But then she talks about herself and Justice O’Conner, who have five kids between them and says how if you want “it all,” you can certainly have it.

    It made me wonder if something has changed in our society in the last 20-30 years. Have we done this to ourselves by constantly upping the stakes? Is it just technology that makes us constantly on call? Or maybe we just feel more free to make certain trade offs? I’m not sure but something feels different.

    • Cornellian :

      I think about this a lot, too. I think blackberrys, e-mails, fax machines, etc. may have created (or at least strengthened) the expectation that you be constantly available.

      There also seems to be almost a martyr game expected in demanding fields… “You think YOU’RE busy? I slept 7 hours last week!” “Oh yeah? Well, I only slept on the floor of my office!” “Oh, yeah?!?! Well I haven’t talked to another human being in THREE WEEKS!” Maybe women internalize it more, or it’s just more problematic given expectations of caretaking at home.

    • That was meant in response to Diana Barry.

    • Does anybody think it’s also because it’s more okay now NOT to have children if you don’t want them/ doesn’t fit into your life goals?

      Also, I think it used to be more affordable to have children before, maybe, and now, children are a luxury? As in, I don’t know how I would afford children with my law school loans unelss I marry rich/or spend the next 3-4 years just paying that off THEN have children.

      • locomotive :

        I agree with this – I’m in my mid-20’s and among my friends, there is a solid contingent (both male and female!) who do not want children. I’m not 100% sure I want children either. My brother already has 3 kids and I love playing with them, but have no strong urge to have my own. I just have been having such a blast being an adult and finally making money and being able to travel and enjoy frivolous things in life and I can’t imagine changing my current lifestyle (even in 5+ years)!

      • This idea that children are a luxury cracks me up. Don’t have kids if you don’t want them but the idea that you can’t afford them is beyond silly.

        • I don’t think it’s silly. I’m at an age where we’re seriously considering having a kid and having done the math, it is a HUGE luxury for us. I would have to change apartments (already paying too much for a small one bedroom in Manhattan), I would have to pay like half my take-home pay for childcare, public schools are not all great, private schools can be $20-40k/year, if I wanted to save money for a college fund, I’d probably never be able to buy fancy shoes again… I’m not saying it can’t be done or isn’t worth doing, but it’s not easily doable without a huge financial sacrifice in our situation. And, yes, I suppose I could move but raising a child away from both our families isn’t exactly how I want to live either…

          • I think what Maribel meant was that it doesn’t have to be a financial sacrifice–in your situation, you could move to a suburb with good private schools and a lower cost of living with more space (I grew up in the Westchester/Fairfield ‘burbs, so i’m not trying to imply it is a LOW cost of living–just lowER).
            The commute is far worse, and you give up city living. But you may actually come pretty close to even in terms of financial outlay. As far as “away from family,” a 45 minute train ride isn’t too bad…unless you plan on relying on family for daily childcare.

          • Anne Shirley :

            The idea that any of the luxuries you have just mentioned are necessary to having a child is what I think is silly. People of all incomes do a great job raising kids, and I think we, collectively over-achieving ambitious women, need to remind ourselves that all the things might be really useful, and what we want, and make life easier, but they aren’t necessary to have happy healthy families.

          • Maybe it’s a situation of (as a grade-school classmate posted on FB recently) some people pray for the problems you have.

            I could have folders for my various complaints:
            First World Problems
            Future topics of “Stuff White Like”
            Laments of the 1%

            Sigh. My grandparents were: 1 of 4; 1 of 9; 1 of 9; and 1 of 5. I know that the 1 of 4 children had one bathroom for the 6 of them. The rest had outhouses. I feel like I’m the family failure — I can make everything really pretty with enough $ to throw at it, but I think I am an abject failure at resourcefulness.

            I know that when I’m about to kick it, I will regret not having had more children (hard to do now since I had a very late start).

          • I’m not going to argue that my “problems” are more serious than someone else’s who is in a worse position. But with the exception of private school –which I would only think about if public schools were truly a problem — I don’t think that anything I mentioned comes close to an extravagance. Is it really unreasonable to acknowledge that in certain parts of the country owning a two bedroom apartment in a safe neighborhood with good schools that is not an hour commute to work has become a huge luxury? I’m talking about 1200 sq feet here. That’s the big dream. Not exactly lamenting that I can’t have a townhouse off Park Avenue and a live-in au pair.

          • There are a few old discussions on the after-tax ROI of various jobs and cities. Factor in your time if doing a serious commute and sometimes big-city jobs aren’t worth the $ after taxes, crazy rent, commuting, etc. I know we’re taught that we should want the big city and the fancy job title and the big salary, but at the end of the day (or a decade or so of the grind), it might not be worth it (not that much $ to show for it, apartment that would shock your parents for both its shabbiness and its exorbitant cost, high stress, harder to see friends). If you really want that, go for it. But if you start to question it once you pick at it a bit, listen hard to that voice.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            And AIMS, its not only that things are more expensive now in new places, they were getting more expensive then, in old places as well. If I were to move back to my hometown, I’d take likely a 50% cut in income, and still have to pay private school tuition that is not hugely different than where I am. I am certain of this because just between my older siblings – who were okay in public school to myself – the schools had deteriorated requiring private. Add 30 years of deterioration, and even the schools I attended have tripled in price and become much more difficult to get into….

          • Diana Barry :

            I agree with Old Fart – the cost of living is a big reason we moved out of NYC!

          • Right there. You think that having a kid means sending him to private school. Listen to yourselves. For real.

        • Silly? I think people have an idea of what they’d like to be able to do for their family and I don’t see anything silly about that.

        • a passion for fashion :

          I agree with both of these comments. (1) I agree that children being a “luxury” is silly (maybe not the word I would have picked, but the idea is correct.) (2) But I also applaude who recognize that they do not want children (at least now) and have choosen to put themselves first. All of the things AIMS notes does not make children a luxury, it means she has thought it out and decided what is more important to her at this time — that is not a silly decision, but it is a decision.

          I knew for a long time, all throughout my 20s, that i was too selfish (not in a bad way, but I wasy putting myself first) to have children. Once I was married and in my 30s, it was the right time for kids for me. I dont regret that decision at all. I think there are a lot more people doing this now. Maybe its because this generation is more selfish, or maybe its because more people are just admitting that it is OK to focus on yourself for a while.

          • I just want to point out that not everyone who chooses not to have kids is doing it out of self-interest. Some people have personal issues (think mental and physical health problems) that they think would make them poor parents and/or that they don’t want to pass on genetically. Some people are toughing it out in difficult relationships but know that they shouldn’t bring an innocent child into the mess. Some people had such bad experiences with their own parents that they feel like they just don’t know how to do any better a job of making a family. In their own judgment, people like this are actually putting the theoretical children first–by not having them. I’m not saying this is the right answer in any of the above situations, but it shouldn’t be ruled out.

          • a passion for fashion :

            I actually think all of these things you describe Monday are putting the potential parent first — but this is a good thing, and is really the point I was getting at. It is OK, and even good, to think about yoruself and put yourself first. And there are many, many reasons one may do that. But in the past, it was just considered being selfish, and being selfish had nothing but negative connotations.

          • I think you’ re right. “Luxury” may have been used a bit too creatively above. Sometimes I forget the internet rules. What I meant was so more akin to “so expensive in certain environments that it becomes a serious question as to whether one should have a child due to the high cost it imposes on one’s lifestyle and career.” Or something along those lines…

            And on a slightly different note, I would agree that not having children is not a selfish choice. I think a lot more thought can often go into the decision not to have a child than its inverse.

          • Monday : agree. I’m on the fence about children because I don’t think my genes are all that great, and I don’t think I’d be a good mother as well (I’m pretty much a copy of my own mother so I have first-hand experience).
            In addition, if I have children one day, I want to be able to give them the best of everything : the best food, the best environment, the best school … and all that cost money.

        • Divaliscious11 :

          I wouldn’t use the term “luxury” but the cost and expense of having children and giving them either the same or greater opportunities given to me by my parents is certainly a financial consideration and a huge part of why we only have 2 versus three. And I promise you, my income alone is more than my parents ever made in a year or even two years together.

          • Anon at 12:42. You can’t afford a kid because you only want the best for him. That’s what we all want, dear. But I guess you are special?

        • I agree that this type of thinking is ridiculous. My brother in law recently told my husband that it’s crazy to have kids if you make less than $250k. Um. What? Nearly everyone makes less than that. That is ridiculously unattainable for nearly everyone.

          Obviously you should be responsible in deciding to have children, but if you want to have them, you will make it work on (nearly) any budget. My family growing up (I am 26) had a total income of about $60k and my sister and I were well-cared for, loved, and happy.

    • Don’t shoot me.. but before starting to read this website very regularly, I always thought that Justice was a first name, as in Justice Sotomayor (her given name is Justice)..Oh well..

      • :)

        It sounds like some of those old New England names: Mercy, Prudence, Patience, etc.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I worked with a guy once named “Justus.” I kind of hope eventually someone named Justus becomes a SCJ so he can be Justice Justus.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          (I’m sure there already is a Justice Justus out there somewhere, but if he was in the SC, at least I’d hear his name in the news pretty often!)

      • Senior Attorney :

        That? Is awesome!

        Back in the day there was a very distinguished judge named Learned Hand. It always cracked me up thinking of his mother cooing over the little baby in the crib with such a portentous name. But he certainly lived up to it!

        • As did his cousin Noble Hand :)

        • I can only imagine what it was like to appear before him… what a name :)

        • Senior Attorney :

          The thing that always gave me pause about Mrs. Hand the Elder was “how did she KNOW?”

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          His twin brother was “Augustus Hand”. I mean, seriously? Also, I thought that was a made up name before law school–like an archetype.

      • I can’t judge you – the first 2 months of law school I was convinced that all the justices had the first initial J. (you know, like the Duggars) because…well, they were all LASTNAME, J. in the cases.

        Thankfully my confusion with them all having J. names did not limit my ability to learn.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        There is a new Justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court who actually has a son named Justus. His campaign commercials involved puns on this (We have one Justus in the family, let’s make it two! sort of things)

  10. http://www.zagg.com/keyboard-cases/index.php. This is a great, thin, very strong case that is a keyboard for your IPad.

  11. For the ladies who workout regularly, how much of your routine is cardio and how much is strength/resistance?
    I lost about 25 pounds last year through diet alone and I’m now at a point where I want to start to seriously include fitness in my weightloss efforts. I still have about another 20-30 pounds I’d like to lose. Right now, my routine at the gym is to start with 15-20 mins of cardio (intervals on the eliptical), resistance/weight training for about 30-45 mins (making an effort to hit all the major muscle groups), and then another 15-20 mins of cardio.
    Is this a good routine? Should I be doing more/less of cardio/strength? Any input is appreciated!

    • locomotive :

      Honestly, the easiest/most effective way to lose weight is to control your diet. But you asked about gyms, and I think that the majority of people agree that strength training is actually the most efficient way of weight loss. I train with a PT doing olympic lifts/strength training 2x a week (1 hour of 3-4 lifts like front squats, back squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press), do cardio 2x a week (biking or running a few miles) and 1 yoga day and lost 25 lbs in half a year and have kept it off. The weight lifting is the thing that has really sculpted my body/gave me results though – lift heavy!

    • Cornellian :

      It seems like you’re spending plenty of time at the gym. I think a good strategy is to go as hard as you can. You may not even have to spend as much time as you currently do at the gym. My comment should come with the warning that lots of my experience in fitness and nutrition comes from gymnastics, which aims for a certain type of fitness.

      I’m not sure how much you weigh, but I’m about 125 and I aim to burn at least 350 in a half hour cardio session. I also do easier cardio walking my dog around and buying groceries on foot, but my experience is that getting your heartrate really high a couple times a week is a great idea. I find that increasing resistance on a machine (or running up hills, etc outside) is more effective than going faster, but your mileage may vary.

      I would also consider moving to higher weight, lower reps on resistance training. If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably have enough stability to move to free weights (barbells, etc), which involve more muscles in each move (as opposed to machines, which isolate a single muscle group or two). I’m not at all ripped, but I always bench press 80 lbs. Women really do not bulk up easily, so you don’t really need to worry about that, and putting more muscle on your frame makes your base metabolism SO MUCH HIGHER that you’re basically burning calories for free the rest of the day.

      I’m also not sure why you’re splitting up the cardio. What’s the thought there?

      • The logic to splitting up the cardio was to avoid monotony. I know it sounds like I spend a lot of time at the gym, but I only go 2-3 times a week. I’d love to work out 4-5 days a week and spread it out a bit, but I find with my schedule it’s easier to commit to few days with longer sessions.

    • locomotive :

      oops, I also wanted to say that it sounds like you’re trying to do it all (strength training, cardio) in one day, but maybe think about splitting up your workout types? the most effective/efficient workouts really push you and I find that it’s easier to do a strength day, a cardio day, a light workout/active recovery day, etc.

    • I think it is a good idea to do both strength and cardio, but to mix it up some. So do a hard high intensity cardio workout one day, and then do abs and legs another day, then cardio the next and then arms and back the next day. Also incorporate a good stretching routine or yoga and have a dedicated rest day. Your muscles need to rest in order to get stronger–something about the muscle fibers and how they rebuild. (I don’t exactly understand it…)

    • I have lost about 120 pounds, and have a personal trainer, and watch my diet pretty closely. I see the trainer for 45 minutes, 3x per week (MWF), and we do nothing but strength training, or balance and flexibility exercises on occasion. I then do cardio on Tuesdays ( about 45 minutes) and Saturday (about 45 minutes) along with some “easy” weights on Saturday.

      For what it is worth, my trainer prefers that if I am going to do cardio and weights the same day ( like Saturdays) that I do the weights first. He says that the goal is to have more muscle, whcih burns more calories at rest, and you get the most out of that by doing weights first.

      It’s just great that you are wanting to exercise though. It look me a LOOOOOONG time ( sorry for the Ellen caps) to get to that point.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Congratulations on the incredible weight loss you’ve achieved! I’d love to hear more about it if you’re willing to share. Particularly how long it took for you to get into the exercise portion and how you got to that point. I’m trang to get the exercise portion going myself after having lost 55 pounds through focusing only on food.

      • Your weightloss is so amazing! Seriously, good on you, I am so inspired by people who are able to change their life in such an important way!

    • I’m an ultra-distance runner so the majority of my workouts are cardio. I put on muscle fairly easily, and most of my toning is just body-weight type – kickbox 1x/wk, pilates 1x/wk, yoga 1-2x/wk. I only do actual weights about once every three weeks.

      • Cornellian :

        That’s interesting. I’m not an ultra runner, but I’ve done a marathon and trail 30Ks, and I find that although distance running that much limits my weightlifting time, if I don’t keep it up a bit, I’m much more injury prone. Runners notoriously have weak abs, for example, which messes with their form.

        • Anonymous :

          I’ve had a similar experience. I’m a runner and have always been prone to sore knees/IT band/hip flexor pain. I started Olympic-style weightlifting about six months ago and the minor nagging injuries have almost entirely disappeared.

          • Whoops, that last comment was me.

            For the OP, I would also caveat the recommendation to start lifting heavy. If you decide to try lifting heavier weights with fewer repetitions, it’s important to get guidance from someone who really knows their stuff and can teach you the correct technique. It’s easy to get injured if you’re not maintaining the proper form.

        • I guess I’m lucky. I started running cross country 15 years ago, marathoning 8 years ago and ultras for the last 4 years. In that time span I was out once for a few months with an ankle sprain (trip and fall on a trail) but no other injuries or layups. At age 31, my hips, knees and ankles feel great.

  12. recent grad :

    Shopping challenge: I will be celebrating my 29th (eek!) birthday out with some friends Friday night at a trendy wine bar. One problem – I have nothing to wear (yet anyway)! So I am looking for either a fun top to pair with dark blue skinny jeans or a reasonably priced fun dress that I could re-wear for a wedding later in the year. If it helps, blues/greens look much better on me than pinks/oranges/reds. I am tall and slender (J.Crew size 2), but my hips are much larger than my waist. Thanks!!

    • Miss Behaved :

      Just checked out Shade because of the question above…

      How about this? http://www.shadeclothing.com/shop/dept_item.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524445998188&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374306256426&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=1408474395917465&bmUID=1363015084224&productSizeSelected=0&fit_type=

  13. Any suggestions for best way to get teeth whitened? I paid for trays at the dentist a few years ago and the bleach made my teeth so sensitive that I couldn’t finish. What is the difference between getting it done in the dentist office and going to a mall kiosk? Dentist wanted to give me the trays again and I don’t understand his reluctance to do it in-office.

    • I think any whitening is going to increase sensitivity, but if you reduce the amount of whitening you are trying to do in any one step, the sensitivity won’t be as intense. Or do the whitening issues less often (don’t know how often you are doing now).

    • S in Chicago :

      Just want to say avoid Zoom laser whitening if it is an option you are considering. I don’t have sensitive teeth normally but did Zoom at a dentist in my office building (not my normal dentist) prior to my wedding. It didn’t hurt at all while they were doing it. But by that evening, it felt like there were zings of electricity running through my mouth. I honestly thought I was going to have to go to the emergency department. It was literally to-your-knees pain. I’m sure not everyone has this experience, but it was bad enough that I try to warn every person I can. Far better to deal with trays over time.

      I can’t comment to sensitivity with trays (I normally am OK) but will say for the whitening factor that the ones from my dentist don’t seem all that different than Crest white strips to me. I’d save your money and get strips instead.

      • Cosign. I did Zoom off a groupon with a dentist that was reputable (he happened to be my friends’ regular dentist). I had an 830 am appt, done by 10am. Dentist told me that “only people who are really pain-sensitive should need any meds, like Advil.” By 4pm I was literally writing in pain in bed due to my breath going past my teeth. It was agony. Went on for hours. I am NOT normally a baby when it comes to pain, but your teeth have a ton of nerves, so…it was bad. Gone by the next day, but I have never been in so much pain in my life. If you do zoom, definitely “get ahead of the pain” with Advil before and after. The actual results were good….

  14. phillygirlruns :

    ugh. started my morning by spilling eggs laden with turmeric down the front of my white t-shirt, all before 9am. just ran out to the j.crew down the street and picked up a new shirt, plus an extra backup to keep in my desk drawer for the next time i spill something on myself. WHY are all of their shirts so thin? no way could i wear this without a blazer.

    better topic: going to montreal next month! will be there for a long weekend. we have reservations at europea and the “easy” list of food-centric stuff to do (maple donuts at tim hortons, bagels, smoked meat at schwartz’s, poutine everywhere, joe beef, pied de cochon, etc.) but i’d love any recommendations, either for other stuff to eat or for stuff we need to see in general.

    • There are lots of old posts about this topic, if you do a google search for this site and google, but, I’d highly recommend enjoying the museums, the old city is lovely to walk around, walk up the mountain, perhaps consider a trip to the Jean-Talon Market, and maybe wandering up St. Denis, which is a lovely part of town. Oh, and I think Simons and Ogilvy, both on St. Catherines, are worth a looksie, even if you don’t buy anything, both are institutions, and Olgivy is like the classiest store ever. I also really like Rockaberry’s pies. They’re amazing.

      Also, don’t forget St. Viateur bagels – a hot poppy seed right out of the oven is…incomparable(don’t settle for Fairmount bagels, they’re not nearly as good). Now all I want is a warm Montreal bagel, curses. I was on the fence about my homecoming in Montreal this year, but clearly my bagel love will win out, and I’ll end up going.

      • Sorry my first sentence isn’t clear – do a google site search and the search term “montreal”

      • TO Lawyer :

        I may have just clued in on this now but did you do your undergrad in Montreal? I did too!

        Also – I love Montreal SO much. I’m so excited for you. When I go back with my undergrad friends, we tend to do a lot of reminicing and wander around the old places we used to love, which I don’t necessarily recommend if you’re a grownup with money.

        But I will recommend checking out the McGill campus because I may be biased but I think it’s beautiful! Also a lot of walking around in general – it is a great city with a lot of hidden boutiques that you generally only stumble upon if you’re wandering.

        Have fun! And if you’re a fan of meat, the smoked meat at Schwartz is actually worth it. Don’t let the lines and the look of the place freak you out. I’m not a huge meat person but I love it.

        • Mhmm, sure did. And it’s true, McGill’s campus is lovely, I loved walking through the gates and the path that goes up lower field (though I was usually over on the far west side of campus, on McTavish, so I didn’t frequently get to walk that way, I’d wander through the University gates then over to McTavish).

          I didn’t mention it because I definitly feel like I’m biased when I say I love the campus, and I worry that it’s a weird suggestion for those that didn’t go there…

    • Anne Shirley :

      You started your morning with eggs and turmeric? That sounds awesome and worth a new shirt.

      • phillygirlruns :

        yup – on sunday nights i make a week’s worth of breakfasts. eggs seasoned with fish sauce and turmeric, scrambled with whatever veggies i have on hand – this week it’s red peppers, lacinato kale and mushrooms. last week i had a bunch of leftover shredded pork shoulder that i threw in there. it reheats reasonably well in the microwave, surprisingly. breakfast like a boss, yo.

        thanks for the recs guys – googling for prior threads now.

  15. Long Hair? :

    Do any of you ladies have tips to increase hair growth? Or do any of you have extensions?

    Honestly, I’d much prefer to just have my own hair grow faster and with more volume, but it’s just not happenning. I do take folic acid and zinc for helping my hair and I’ve been so careful and gentle with my hair for the past 2 years or so, and my hair simply does not seem to want to grow, and it’s driving me insane. I’m debating extensions, but I feel like there’s a stigma around faking it?

    • I think my hair started growing more quickly when I began massaging oil into my scalp. I started doing it as a way to prevent dandruff, and it worked for that, but increased growth seems to have been a side effect. I’ve read elsewhere that it does help with growth. Initially I was using argan oil but have found that baby oil from the drugstore (way cheaper) has the same effect. I do it the night before I plan to wash my hair.

      • second massaging hair. Grapeseed oil is notorious for encouraging hair growth. Also many people take Biotin supplements

        • Third massaging hair. Coconut oil is also great (and has been used for centuries in Indian haircare). I use Vatika oil, which is coconut oil enhanced with beneficial herbs and love it. You can buy it online or at your local Indian grocery store.

          Are you sure your issue isn’t breakage, rather than lack of growth? Unless you have some type of medical issue, hair grows (6 inches per year on average), so if you haven’t seen any growth in two years you probably haven’t retained the growth due to breakage. Try incorporating protein treatments into your hair care routine to help strengthen your hair. You may also want to consider checking out websites like long hair care forum dedicated to growing longer hair. Some of the tips are kind of crazy (Monistat on your head!) but there is lots of good, practical advice there too.

          • Can I ask how you use this? Pre-shampoo? Post?

          • Massage into the scalp and throughout the length of hair before shampooing. Ideally leave it in overnight (sleep in a plastic cap), then shampoo in the morning, but leaving it in for any amount of time is better than nothing.

          • wintergreen126 :

            I’m Indian, and my mom used to oil my hair when I was a kid, until I asked her to stop. For reasons I can’t remember, I hated it. My mom has since stopped, too, but I know she she used to do it like Veronique: she would use it pre-shampoo, and leave it on for at least a few hours, then wash. When possible, she left it on overnight and rinsed in the morning.

            She used to use either coconut oil or some hair oil that had coconut oil along with some other herbs. She picked it up at the Indian store.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            Or try Amla oil

    • You can also try Biotin ( vitamin) for hair and nails. . . . I don’t know anything about extensions. They cost too much for me to consider !

    • When my hair began shedding a LOT, I started taking the Phyto brand hair & nail growth supplements from Sephora (link to follow). I’ve been on them for about 5 months now and have noticed a significant difference not only in the amount of hair falling when in the shower/blowdrying, but also the speed at which new hair grows in. My nails are also growing a bit faster. They are not the cheapest, but I highly recommend them.

      • Here is the link: http://www.sephora.com/phytophanere-hair-nails-dietary-supplement-P2884

      • SoCal Gator :

        Let me second the suggestion to use this Phyto supplement. When I went on a medically supervised very low calorie diet (and lost a ton of weight), the almost complete absence of fats in my diet made my hair start to thin and fall out. They told me this was not uncommon and would stop once I went into maintenance. It did stop and I started taking this supplement to help. I now have a full head of hair again and it looks better than it did before I lost the weight. I highly recommend this supplement — it has made a huge difference for me. You have to give it time to work — several months at least. But once it starts to kick in you will see the difference in your hair.

    • Long Hair? :

      Thanks for the tips everyone- and Anon, I note that the Sephora supplements are still way cheaper than extensions. I do use a protein mask once a week to stop breakage, it has helped a lot, I no longer see shards of hair all over my sheets. I also started using a satin pillowcase, which helped. Maybe I’ll try a couple months of massing in coconut oil, and biotin, and the Sephora supplements and see what happens?

      No ladies with extensions that have comments? I’m really curious about people who have them and whether they’re happy with them, because I’m very very tempted.

      • I have extensions and I LOVE them. Mine came in a set of five different “pieces” varying in size. Sometimes I wear all five, sometimes I just wear two in the back to give me a longer ponytail. They clip into my hair very easily, and no one has ever been able to tell I’m wearing them.

        If you are interested, I recommend you try to find a salon or wig store in your area where they can “fit” you for extensions – i.e., try on different lengths, color-match you, etc. My set was pretty pricey but it was some of the best money I ever spent!

      • Sephora used to sell the supplements in a two pack (2 x 120 caplets) for $75, which is a lot more cost effective than purchasing one bottle for $59. I can’t seem to find it on their site, but it looks like Amazon has it, if you want to go that route. FWIW, I have pretty long hair (mid-bra length) and I think at that point, some breakage is inevitable, but this product has really helped decrease the amount of breakage & shedding.

        Another thing to consider might be your diet; I find that when I am diligent about eating plenty of vegetables, whole grains and good protein, my hair and skin behaves much better.

        WRT your question about extensions, I have never used them but know a couple friends who have had the clip-in kind. The cost for these is relatively lower as you don’t have to pay someone to sew them in, and if you don’t use them every day they last quite a bit longer. My friends keep theirs for special occasions to add volume (the length of the extensions are not much longer than their real hair, so it isn’t completely obvious that they have them in). As far as I know, they shampoo them separately in the sink and blow dry, then clip in and style as normal. Hope that helps.

      • I have known a few people who got extensions and their hair was wrecked after they used them. They didn’t use the clip kind and it each of them afterwards had significantly thinner hair. I’d talk to a trusted hair expert before doing anything drastic.

        • Long Hair? :

          Oh yes, this is not a poorly planned impulsive decision- my regular hairdresser has been doing various kinds of extensions for over 20 years, I have a consult regarding the matter in a month, and she knows my hair pretty well by now, so she said she’ll likely be able to guess how my hair will react.

          I’m surprised clip-ins are so common…but I’m intrigued.

          • Oh good. I had a friend who did it on an impulse and lost a number of inches after taking them out.

            I will also say, if you haven’t already, explore new styling products. My hair has thinned out some over the years and I’ve started using new products (volumizing foam, etc) and it has definitely helped with the appearance of having fuller hair. Right now, I’m using aquage and really like it.

  16. I am struggling with an email and I was hoping I could get some advice- I am following up on a job lead. I spoke to one parter 10 days ago and he said the next step would be for me to come in and meet the rest of the firm once their trial was over (ended Friday). Do I email today? (I want to catch them before anyone goes on vacation), and what do I say? Everything I’ve drafted sounds awful. Serious writer’s block going on here!

    • How about this? short and sweet…

      Dear Partner,

      I hope your trial went well. I am just writing to follow up on our conversation about the potential new opening at FIRM. I am very excited about this opportunity and would love to learn more. As we discussed, I would like to schedule a meeting with you and the rest of your team. Is there a time that works for everyone next week?

      Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

      OPTIONAL- after “…learn more,” add a sentence that says, “I am particularly interested in FIRM because of your _____ practice. ” or something like that.

      • Cornellian :

        I’d second this language, but maybe wait until tomorrow. My impression is that life is crazy and litigators want a day or two to catch up after a trial is over.

        • I agree with this language, and with the advice to wait a day, but in the second sentence I would eliminate the word “just.” I’ve become conscious over the last couple of years that I use “just” to soften sentences that don’t really need it, and I don’t think there’s any reason to soften this sentence.

  17. Looking for Recommendation :

    I’ll be in Chicago, staying in the South Loop, in a few weeks. I’ve never had my eyebrows shaped and would like to see whether it makes a difference for my appearance. I’ll be busy during the day and, because my evening schedule will be chaotic, would like to avoid a set appointment time, if possible. I’m willing to travel a little distance for a great place. Any recommendations?

    • Backgrounder :

      I really like Thredz Brow Bar on S. Indiana and 21st. The shop is small but I’ve always been able to walk in and get my eyebrows threaded without too much of a wait. Plus it’s $10 which, IMO, is pretty cheap. Also, if you aren’t that far south I used to go to Asha at Threading Plus which is on S. Plymouth and W. 9th near Chicago Curry. She does a great job as well!

    • espresso bean :

      I love Azam at Spa di la Fronza. You can call and make a same-day appointment. She does waxes and threading, and it’s cheap!

  18. Countdown to Baby :

    For all you moms: I have 6.5 months before our first baby is due. What should go on my/our “bucket list” of things to do before our family grows? Are there things you wish you had done looking back because now that kids are in the picture they’ll never happen?

    We’ve done enough travel to be able to say we’re not depriving ourselves, and I don’t think that will really be in the budget for 2013. We have also been trying to shove as much $ as possible into retirement because we figure it can only get harder to save….and we have a goal of knocking out another $15k on student loans before baby comes on (aggressive for us). we also have a running list of household fixes/wants that we want done (ie we’ve been wanting to paint the bathrooms since we moved in 3 years ago- if we don’t get it done in the next 6 months, it aint gonna happen).

    • Diana Barry :

      DEFINITELY fix the house. We did that and the one project (closets) that we did not do is still undone after 3 kids.

      Particularly toward the end, I would go out by yourself and with your spouse to the movies, to dinner, etc., which you won’t be able to do after baby comes.


    • Fun topic! Definitely do your house projects, and spend time on hobbies that might have to be back-burnered with a newborn. Most of my best girlfriends live a plane ride away, so I made sure to squeeze in 1-2 weekends with them during each of my pregnancies. Oh, and pedicures! Lots of pedicures.

      Congrats on the pregnancy!

    • Congratulations!!! I’m due with baby no. 2 at the end of the summer, so I totally understand the feeling. Here’s my list:

      -Go to the dentist (its one of those things that is hard to schedule once the baby comes)
      -Get your haircut/highlight/whatever a month before your EDD. Also, a prenatal massage in those last few weeks can feel so very good. In general, do last minute pampering of yourself while you can.
      -Any of those household tasks/updating around the house (car? washer/dryer?)
      -Enjoy sleeping in and lazy days
      -Spend lots of time with your significant other (I would also add to this to talk about expectations for after the little one arrives. What do you expect from him/her and vice versa? What do you think it will be like?)
      -Go out to the movies and date nights

    • 1. Enjoy sleeping in.
      2. Go on lots of dates with your DH.
      3. Spend time doing whatever activities YOU love.
      4. Work on projects that you won’t have the time and/or energy for after baby is born: home repair, scrapbooking, artsy stuff.

  19. Hello Hive;
    Professional ego question: Have you ever deliberately stated that you have no idea what you’re doing?
    As you know, after a very rough couple years, I ended up getting a high profile job within a tiny team which I love.
    I have not been shy to request support fro different people (not necessarily within that team) for various questions ranging from getting funding for one of my projects to work-life balance.
    Meanwhile, being grateful for having found so many people answering my questions, I decided to pay it forward and became a coach within my organization and am too, providing mentoring on a need basis on top of other organization/team spirit projects.

    2 months into my new job, I am much more confident. However, I am about to tackle a humongous project: the sinking type of project where so many people failed before but now has inevitably fallen within my scope. There is no way, I can back off from this one and I take it personally to be the one who will finally do this monster-project right.
    Truth is, I have no idea what to do and from where to start, and now because people heard Houda is the project point of contact, then I am copied in ever-escalating chains of emails.
    When is it appropriate to pick up the phone and tell my manager (whom I literally adore): Hi manager, about project M (for monster haha) I am fully motivated to make it happen, I just don’t know from where to start or how to break it down into pieces.
    I do not want to look like a complete incompetent who has been asking for help for 2 months straight. But I believe each time I got a piece of coaching/mentoring, I made great use of it.
    I just think that being in a very small team, maybe I should stop bugging my colleagues who are already too busy, and maybe just bite the bullet and ask my manager.

    Sorry for writing a novel, but as I keep my iron-lady face at work, this is the only forum where I can vent my professional insecurities.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I think it is totally ok to do this, but I would caveat the ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ with some ideas (no matter how crazy you think they are) about how you would propose to approach it. Even if have thought about it, but you genuinely have no idea where to start, try to still come up with some suggestions that you could take to your boss so as to give the impression that you HAVE thought about it. If those suggestions turn out to be completely wrong, it doesn’t matter, but it’s better to have something, rather than just ‘help, don’t know what to do’.

      • Yes. That makes sense; I indeed am drafting an action plan and am advancing in it. Just need to make sure I am doing the right thing because I do not want to cave in because of the pressure

    • Agree – always bring problems and solutions to a supervisor.

    • Can you look up the folks who used to look after project Monster and take them out for a coffee and their take on its history/ lack of success ? And perhaps ask for the earlier project docs – the original scope and subsequent variations ?

      • sadly, all people who attempted to work on this M project resigned.
        There was no handover so I am starting from scratch

  20. I’m going to Vegas in a few weeks and staying off strip (to the South, if that makes a difference). Any suggestions on what to see, do, eat, etc? I’ve stayed on Strip before and have done some of the touristy stuff, so off the beaten path suggestions are especially welcome.

  21. Awkward: A coworker got married over the weekend. I wasn’t invited to the wedding, which doesn’t hurt my feelings in the least — we’re not really close, I don’t actually like weddings at all, and I firmly believe that people should be able to invite whoever they want to their weddings. BUT it seems that (a) I was the only associate not invited, and (b) the question “Why didn’t Matilda come???” is considered a legitimate topic of gossip this morning. By people who apparently don’t realize that I can hear them.

    So…this is going to be an awesome week.

    • kudos to you for not being offended and being mature about it. on the other hand, it strikes me as mean of your co-worker to invite every other associate (I’m assuming there are more than 4 or 5 associates at your firm?) and not you- seems the right thing would have been to invite you even if you aren’t close. not sure what you should do about it other than trying to avoid the topic.

    • The coworker created an awkward situation, but I suspect the problem is going to solve itself: gossipy fellow associate tries to cluck to the bride or groom about why you didn’t go to the wedding –> bride or groom then has to say that you weren’t invited –> gossipy fellow associate immediately tells others and the info circulates. I don’t envy your position, but at worst you’ll just look like you were left out, not like you were somehow too good for the wedding that everyone else attended.

      • True! That will take till the end of the honeymoon, though. I’ve been here for five years, and I hope people know that I’m not that much of a snob — I just don’t like being a topic at all. And to answer Monday’s question, there are actually only a few associates — less than 10 of us — but I’m not in his practice group or his associate class, so I really wouldn’t have expected to be invited.

    • I wonder if you could ask one of your fellow associates how the wedding was, in the hope that he/she would ask why you didn’t make it, to which you could answer that you weren’t invited. The trick to that is to not sound bitter/upset that you weren’t invited or make the groom look bad, even if he should have invited you etiquette wise.

      As a side note, as someone who has been on the who to invite side, it could very well be that your co-worker was concerned that inviting you would be an imposition and/or look like a gift grab. That was my fear when I was contemplating inviting co-workers who I’m not close with.

      • That’s a good point — and really, I am completely cool with the lack of an invite, no matter what the reason. If my brother hadn’t invited me to his wedding, he might owe me an explanation — otherwise, I truly do believe that the people getting married are absolutely entitled to invite or not invite anyone they want, and shouldn’t have to apologize to anyone (especially not a coworker they see once every 2-3 weeks, at most) for their decisions. I just could have done without overhearing the conversation this morning.

        I assume people will find something better to gossip about soon enough, though. Fingers crossed.

  22. AnonInfinity :

    Where did we land on the possible this-site discussion of Lean In? I remember it being a topic of conversation a week or so ago, and now I can’t find it.

    The book came out today, and I downloaded it on my Kindle before I even rolled out of bed this morning. I’m excited to talk about it with folks! (no matter if I end up liking it or not)

    • DC Baby Esq. :

      Agreed! I actually got it Saturday (sneaky Amazon getting it to me a few days early) and am dying to talk about it with someone!

      • AnonInfinity :

        Awww man! I wish I’d ordered a hard copy. They definitely did not release the e-book early at all. I whined all day yesterday about how I wish I already had it.

  23. Women in the Law :

    Someone posted a few weeks ago that she is attending the Women in the Law conference in Miami Beach this week. Anyone else??

  24. Hi! Anyone have a recommendation for a moving company in DC/NOVA?
    Ive seen a ton of good reviews for Gentle Giant on Yelp, has anyone used them?

    • locomotive :

      I used two marines moving and was pleased with it. I also got a quote from bookstore movers, and two marines was a bit cheaper, and was really efficient.

    • I used My Truck Buddy and I was really happy with them. You have to pack yourself, but they were fast, careful, and efficient with all my stuff.

      • My Truck Buddy is absolutely great, although I’ve only used them for smaller (2br and less) moves, never a full or large house.

    • East Coast Anon :

      Quality Services Moving. I’ve used them twice for local moves.

    • Rapport Relocators. Kenny is amazing!!

    • R in Boston :

      I used Gulliver’s both for an in-town and a long distance move and they were great and professional both times. They got a little lost getting to me, but I had a tricky address at the time.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve used Bookstore Movers before, and plan to use them again.

    • Two Men and A Truck did a good job as well.

    • In-House Optimist :

      Suburban Solutions – we used them twice. Decently priced and did a great job; came in exactly on-estimate.

    • lurky-loo :

      I used Gentle Giant to move from Hampton Roads up to DC and chose them based on Yelp reviews plus their Better Business Bureau accreditation. They were fantastic; I’d absolutely use them again.

  25. Can anyone give me advice on how to style a dress with tights without looking childlike? Styles of tights, shoe/boots to wear and good colors?


    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I do dresses with tights all the time. I think in general:

      – Dark colors look less childlike. I have never found a way to wear white tights without feeling like I’m 5 years old in an Easter dress. Maybe other people have more luck with this? I usually do black, charcoal gray, and navy, and I have a couple pairs of hunter green and maroon tights that get thrown into the mix.
      – Subtly patterned tights also dress these looks up a bit (caveat – only really works with a pretty simple dress, IMO)
      – I often wear ankle booties with a small heel, when I wear dresses with tights. I rarely wear flats in general, but if I did and was trying to look more mature, I would maybe go with a slightly pointed toe (instead of rounded), and definitely not mary jane style.
      – The “louder” my tights are the quieter my shoes are, as a rule

      I love the look, and don’t usually feel too “little kid” like, but it’s generally super dependent on both the dress and the pair of tights.

  26. I received a small inheritance from my grandmother’s estate, and would like buy a classic pearl necklace of somewhat heirloom quality in remembrance of her. Any tips on 1. what pricepoint i should be considering to get something nicer than costume, but not tens of thousands of dollars 2. sites/stores to shop at?

    Ideally, I’d like to spend under $500, but can go higher–I’m going to put whatever I don’t spend toward loans.

    • Anonymous :

      I bought pearls I’m really pleased with online from Pearl Paradise. I think it was recommended here.

  27. Mom update:

    I will likely repost on the afternoon thread but: Looks like move to Baycrest (the original plan, one of the best retirement facilities in Toronto) is happening on Thursday. I fly out Wednesday to finish the packing up. Everything seems to be in order. She is being super rational and amazingly upbeat about the whole thing. Even more reassuring, she is talking about putting the money from the house sale in my name, which would be AMAZING re: worries about her changing her mind and doing something crazy like buying a new condo…

    FIngers crossed for me, please!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Fingers crossed! This sounds positive and not too far off into the future, so hopefully it will happen before she reconsiders again. Once she is in and settled I really hope that it makes a huge difference for both of you! Thinking of you this week!

    • Big fingers crossed as well!

    • Wooh! This is a great update. Glad to hear of her positive outlook :)

  28. Interview wear question- does a blush pink shell under a charcoal skirt suit sound ok to people? This is DC and non-law.

  29. Very excited about something fairly frivolous: I just made an appointment to get my hair cut on Friday evening. My hair has been waist-length for eight (count ’em, eight) years, and I’ve decided to go for a shorter-than-chin-length inverted bob. Woo change!

    One of my friends pointed out recently that talking about hair always feels like talking about bigger, deeper life decisions, and I think she’s right. So much of my understanding of my appearance is bound up in my fairy princess hair–I am really jazzed to meet the spunky short-haired version of myself.

    • Cornellian :

      I just did that! I’ve done it several times, and every time I go bob, I immediately want to lob off another inch. My bob already feels too long. Once you take the plunge, it’s sort of addicting.

      have fun! and donate!

      • Is donating still a thing? For some reason I’ve had this notion that there was some kind of scandal in which all the hair-collecting organizations were actually found to have been using way way less of the hair than they took in. I guess I need to consult with Google.

        Cornellian and CBM, thanks for the good wishes!

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I’ll be donating mine in a few months. It is still a thing. My stylist prefers a Pantene program over Locks for Love. Not sure why.

    • I also like changing my hairstyle to coincide with a bigger life change. As a bonus, when you look back at pictures, you know when they were taken based on the hair style. Hope you love the new look!

    • That’s great that you’re planning a change!
      Please don’t take this the wrong way, but at least around here inverted bobs seem very mid-2000s. But maybe you live in a different part of the country where they’re still the rage. I just thought I’d mention it in case you were open to considering other short styles. Regular bobs are very in though, as is the kind of “messy bob” or whatever they’re calling that style.

      As for me, who’s worn bobs for years, I finally have hair past my shoulders for the first time in over a decade!

      • Hey anon,

        No worries–the “inversion” part of the bob will probably be pretty tame, and I’m not much of a trendy gal anyway. (The aforementioned waist-length hair is also all one length–no layers!–and air-dried.) The thing that first made me think to cut my hair was actually a Man Ray photograph of Lee Miller in the early ’30s, too, so I’m definitely not pegging the plan on any particular recent style.

        Anyway, congratulations on your long hair! Equally exciting to have a change in the other direction, I’m sure.

  30. Pippa Modalu question :

    If anyone has ordered a Pippa Modula and had it shipped to the US, how long did it take for delivery?

    • Not Long. (about a week). If you’re looking for the gray longer handle Pippa, in NYC or want to do PayPal anywhere else, I have one, NWT. $200 OBO.


    • Thanks, appreciate the offer, but I already ordered mine (in Black). I only carry black handbags so that I don’t have to fear putting them on the floor :)

  31. I’m a senior associate at a big firm, a few years away from partnership decisions, and I’m preparing for my first maternity leave. I’m also struggling to figure out whether I really want to do this job in the long term. There are a lot of aspects of it that I enjoy. The hours are long but surprisingly flexible. The pay is great, obviously. And, for the most part, I like what I do and have a sense that I’d enjoy partner level work (ie, more managerial responsibilities) even more. My reviews have consistently been raves – I was told last year that they were the best in my class and that I’m considered a “very strong” candidate for partner.

    The problem is that, especially since getting pregnant, I am an unbelievable, ridiculous ball of stress. I live in absolute terror that I have messed something up, sometime years ago, that it will be discovered eventually, and that Something Terrible will ensue. To be clear: it’s not like there’s a specific mistake I’m hiding. I do my best, but I’m sure I’ve made mistakes at some point. Because I generally do a good job, I’ve been pretty lightly supervised. And I’m suddenly terrified there’s an awful problem lurking somewhere, that even I don’t realize, which will come to light eventually and ruin everything I’ve worked for. No doubt, the prospect of surrendering control of my files to someone else (who presumably would blame me for anything they could, to avoid looking bad themselves) is contributing to the paranoia.

    What can I do? I literally wake up at 3am worrying about things I worked on two years ago, wondering if I could have forgotten/overlooked something important. I have nightmares about this all the time, to the point that I consider quitting before my (incredibly generous) maternity leave, just to insulate myself from the potential fall-out of a mistake that might be discovered. I recognize that this is completely insane. And I worry that the self-created stress isn’t good for me, or for the baby. Has anyone else dealt with this? How do you put these crazy thoughts out of your mind so they don’t completely wreck your life?

    • chi squared :

      I think it would take more than 1 big mistake to ruin everything you’ve worked for. You’ve built up a lot of good will at your firm, and that won’t evaporate in an instant. Partners aren’t perfect either, and even though you work independently, ultimately it is a team effort. And, even if you make a mistake (unlikely), it is highly unlikely that the mistake is not fixable, and that it will be 100% your fault.

      It sounds like you are really, really good at what you do. Just remember that! Don’t quit, don’t lose sleep. If the heightened anxiety is b/c of pregnancy hormones, maybe talk to your OB about it?

    • First, congrats!! Don’t discount the fact that your body is going through crazy hormonal changes that also impact your mental state — anxiety and worry is just as much a part of pregnancy as pickle and ice cream cravings and may change/go away once baby comes. Don’t rush to act and close off options when your mind might, quite literally, change.

    • I could have written this. Unfortunately this has been a problem for me for a few years now. No advice, just sympathy.

    • It sounds like you are experiencing irrational, intrusive thoughts that are interfering with your quality of life. This calls for a talk with your doctor and/or a few sessions with a cognitive behavioral therapist. It sounds like it’s your anxiety that is the problem here, not the job, so you should at least try to work on the anxious thoughts before you do anything drastic. In addition, you might try one of the first two breathing exercises on this list: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html
      I find them to be very effective at reducing anxiety, and I’ve used them so much I find myself doing them unconsciously in moments of stress or panic.

    • Diana Barry :

      This sounds like hormones, definitely. I used to have the same kind of catastrophic thinking (based on nothing!!!) while pregnant. Could you get some therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, that would teach you how to deal with the irrational thoughts and put them away? See if your OB’s office can recommend someone. Hugs!!!

    • I sometimes feel this way too and I think being pregnant (and the lack of control that comes with that) compunds it. But what I have done is recognized that yes, I probably have made mistakes, but I honestly have always done the best job I could at the time. Now, years later I certainly know more and am a better attorney. And there is a huge difference between making a mistake and owning up to it and trying to hide it. So basically just relax and accept that yes, you likely have made mistakes, but they are not going to ruin your career unless you then lie, etc. to try and hide them.

  32. Seeking advice on how to ask for a raise…

    I work at a non-profit where raises and bonuses are typically given at annual reviews. For the first time this year, we are also doing six-month reviews which are coming up in a few weeks. Just before my last annual review, I made a lateral move that has put me in a better position to work to my strengths.

    At my annual review I received a 5% raise but was disappointed with the size of my bonus. I question whether the small bonus was in part due to that it came out of my former boss’s budget after I had just switched jobs. He didn’t have much of an incentive to give me a great bonus after I had moved to a new team.

    Would it be out of line to ask for another raise at my six-month review even though that’s not when they are typically given? I’ve had easily quantifiable success in the past two quarters. If this isn’t out of line, I would appreciate any and all advice on how to ask for a raise and how to build up the confidence to do so. TIA!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I wouldn’t say it would be out of line per se (the worst they can do is tell you “no”) but my instinct would be to not do it.

      I think six months into a job (since that’s how long you’ve been doing the job you lateraled into right?) is a bit early to ask for a raise. I think (correct me if I’m wrong) that in the nonprofit world, a 5% raise is fairly generous? (this article seems to indicate ~3% is where most businesses are this year: http://www.cnbc.com/id/49853787/Three_Percent_Pay_Raise_the_039New_Normal039_for_2013 )

      If you are being paid relatively fairly to the market, I don’t know that I would ask for a raise at 6 months in a new position. Instead, I’d take the lower bonus info from last year and bring it up at your review – not to ask for more money straightaway but to say, “I think I’ve done some great work these past two quarters, as evidenced by X, Y and Z. As you probably know, since I switched teams, my bonus was lower than anticipated last year. If I continue to perform this well, I just want to confirm that my bonus will be in line with what I have received in prior years on Old Team.”

      • depending on the type of non-profit you work for…but back in my NFP days, 5% was for stellar performers.

        I would suggest you make sure you are being paid market rate–if not, that’s another discussion. But assuming you are, 6 months in seems too early to ask for a raise–presumably your salary was discussed before you came into the new position?

    • Thank you both! I think I am holding on to a bit of disappointment over the below-average bonus for a year when I thought that I did very well and received no negative feedback. You’ve both put in perspective that I need to let this go to focus on this year’s work and being recognized for it.

  33. chi squared :

    Looking for some advice from the Hive.

    I interviewed as a lateral candidate with a law firm last week. I haven’t heard back yet, but the interview went well. If I do get an offer, I likely will accept it. However, I just found out that I’m pregnant (5 weeks). I had an early miscarriage at 8 weeks last fall, so I really don’t know if I’ll stay pregnant. Should I disclose the pregnancy to the hiring manager now, or wait until after an offer is extended? What level of detail should I go into in disclosing?

    If they don’t rescind the offer, would it be crazy for me to switch firms while pregnant, not knowing if a year from now I’d still be willing to put in 2200 hours a year for the next few years?

    • I’ve never been pregnant so maybe I’m off base, but I think you can accept the offer now and wait until the usual timeframe you would tell an employer you are pregnant (at 3 mos?). Just be aware that you may not be entitled to the same paid time off.

    • “If they don’t rescind the offer…”

      Well, first of all, if they rescind the offer because you are pregnant, then that is against the law and you don’t want to work there.

      Second, (1) tell them whenever you’d ordinarily tell your employer (ie 12 weeks or whatever your personal comfort level dictates) and (2) it would be crazy for you to stay in a job that you don’t like as much as the job you are interviewing for, regardless of whether or not you think you’ll want to be a super biller for the next few years.

    • Do not disclose now. Just see how it plays out and figure it out once you get an offer.
      You are interviewing at a place you like. You already know you don’t want to put in 2200 or even 22 more hours at the place you are at currently given that you are interviewing. Parenthood likely wouldn’t change that. You might as well cast your lot with a place you like and then re-evaluate once you are actually in the position.

    • Diana Barry :

      Don’t disclose until you get the offer!!!

      • Upon further thought, yes telling during the interview process puts your potential employer in a very awkward position – ie. if they don’t hire you it raises the appearance of gender discrimination

    • Don’t disclose until you would disclose to your existing employer. One consideration is to make sure you are covered from an insurance perspective…with decent group coverage it shouldn’t be an issue but wanted to throw it out there that pregnancy is a pre-existing condition so there is a CHANCE you won’t be eligible for certain medical or short-term disability benefits if you join the firm pregnant.

  34. narcissistic? :

    An ex has had “you haunt my dreams” as his GChat status for several days now. When we were together, we GChatted pretty much all the time (LDR); it was probably the main medium for our communication. On a scale of one to ten, how narcissistic am I being by wondering if he’s wanting me to see that message?

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