Thursday’s TPS Report: Juliette Dress

Pendleton Juliette Dress | CorporetteOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

I love the look of this simple black sheath, on sale at Pendleton — the cutouts at the neck add some interest but aren’t overwhelming or inappropriate, and the just-below-the-knee length is perrrrfect.  I only wish it came in more colors!  The dress is on a great sale, too — it was $199, but is now marked to $78, available in petite and regular sizes 4-18.  Pendleton Juliette Dress

Here’s a similar dress that’s available in petite, tall, and plus sizes.

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



  1. Has anyone refinanced student loans through Earnest? It is a relatively new startup, but I am intrigued and would love to hear of any first hand experiences. Thanks!

    • IN ~2007 I refinanced through a startup that was all grad-student friendly (by grad students! for grad students!) and then they got bought by a regular company, anyway (Nelnet? Who knows.)

    • I refinanced through SoFi about a year and a half ago and have been very happy with them so far (and not just because the interest rates are so much lower than my PLUS loans). I’d definitely check them out as well.

    • I refinanced through Earnest this spring, and have been very happy so far. The customer service has been excellent, and they have kept me in the loop every step of the way (notificatinos that we’re processing your application; we’ve sent checks to your old lenders; the old lenders have received our checks; etc.). Their website is easy to use, and even tells me how much interest I’ve saved over the life of the loan when I make an extra payment. The downside is that the application is intrusive – you have to link your LinkedIn profile, and you have to link your bank accounts. It was worth it for me, but others might not be comfortable with giving a bank that level of access to your private information.

  2. New Employee :

    Any advice for the first few days at a new job? I’m leaving my first “real” job out of school where I’ve been for a number of years and starting a new job on Monday. Overall, I feel very comfortable with the work I will be doing, but I’m starting to get new job jitters. Learning a new office culture, navigating a new office, etc. – any tips?

    • Wildkitten :

      Bring a notebook the first day and write things down – especially people’s names!

    • Like Mom said, BE YOURSELF. But, your best self. :) You’ll do great!

    • It’s weird when you start at a new place, especially if you’ve been somewhere for awhile, because you’re used to being busy and suddenly you’re not. Just remember, your job at first is usually to learn the ropes.

      Something I’ve found valuable when switching jobs: Make friends with any administrative staff or office managers who may support you. They know everything.

      Good luck!

  3. I think this dress is cute but if it is Rayon/Polyester would it make that loud noise all day every time you move? Where you walk and there is this loud ‘swish’ sound for every footstep?

    Other people’s noise like this does not bother me, but for some reason if my clothes/shoes make a lot of noise I get self conscious.

    • Uh – no? In my experience, the loud fabrics tend to be the stiffer ones. Rayon is pretty drape-y and soft.

    • I have a dress lined with 100% nylon and it makes a lot of noise, but I don’t think poly/rayon would do that. That said, it doesn’t say what material the lining is made from.

      • Yeah I think I was mixing up nylon with rayon… thats what you get for jumping between work and blogs.

  4. Sydney Bristow :

    I’m maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding in a few weeks and have been tasked with getting breakfast and snacks for the group of 6-8 people while we are getting dressed.

    I’m thinking juice, fruit, bagels and cream cheese, and pastries. I’ll need to be able to just pick it up at a grocery store and take it to the hotel. I might pick up a couple of bottles of champagne in case anyone wants mimosas. You all are so great with food ideas so I thought I’d ask. Any other suggestions?

    • I’d want coffee; I know Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks do “coffee in a box” service that you can pick up that comes with cups, stirrers, creamers, etc. Or maybe the hotel room service can send up coffee service?

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I knew I was forgetting something obvious! I don’t drink coffee so I always forget. I’ll definitely get some. Thanks for reminding me!

      • Miss Behaved :

        My supermarket has the “coffee in a box” service, too. Your grocery store may have something similar.

      • If you have a Panera nearby, they could set you up with the coffee service and breakfast foods. I think they do quiches and breakfast sandwiches too.

        • +1 Their online ordering is the BEST! You can customize what you want, pick what time you want to pick it up, and pay, then it is on a shelf waiting for you when you get there. No lines and you don’t even need to talk to anyone (always a plus for me in the mornings).

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Oohh there actually is a Panera right next to the grocery store I was planning to go to. The bride, one of the other bridesmaids, and I definitely love Panera and used to eat there together frequently. That might be an even better solution and probably faster than getting everything at the grocery store. I might just do that. Thanks!

          • la vie en bleu :

            Yes pre-order Panera, it will be so much easier than picking up things individually. Also, if I was in the wedding, I would request you get at least a couple of quiche/eggey things. I desperately need protein in the morning if I’m going to make it through a long, exciting, crazy day. ;o)
            Have fun!

    • I’d want some sort of protein. A quiche would be good for a group that size

      • Or smoked salmon to go on the bagels! Yum

      • A Nonny Moose :

        +1. It’ll be a long day, probably without a real lunch, and protein is very helpful in staying full!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          The bride’s dad is actually getting us a real lunch. I’ll try to figure out the protein though.

          I’ve always had quiche warm and don’t think there will be a microwave or something at the hotel. Is quiche ok to eat cold? Smoked salmon might be easier and I’m pretty sure most of us would eat it. Hard boiled eggs are a good idea too (or deviled eggs maybe) if I can find them at the grocery store. Some sort of bars like Kind or Lara bars are also a great idea. Those would be easy to eat while running around.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Second the quiche idea. My friend’s getting-ready party before her wedding had quiche from an amazing local bakery (Cafe Besalu for Seattlites), and it was both delicious and filling enough without being too heavy (my argument against bagels or danishes).

        And yes, you will almost certainly want mimosas.

    • Hard boiled eggs are easy for protein. Kind bars, lara bars or alt bars are a good option that are dairy and gluten free.

      • +1 My dad showed up with a dozen hard boiled eggs on the morning of my wedding and it was perfect.

    • Anonymous :

      You didn’t ask, but cups with lids!! For snacks, I’d do cheese (cubes are great) and various nuts.

    • Or what about buying a big thing of yogurt and a bag of granola? People can portion it out into the coffee cups and top it with the fruit you bring and/or granola.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      Grab straws for drinks if you can – my makeup artist actually brought a bunch for us but I don’t know that every makeup artist is that good!

      Does the bride eat healthily normally? If so, she may not be feeling the pastry thing – anytime I eat one of those at a breakfast event, I’m sluggish and bloated all day. Bagels, if she eats grains, with cream cheese and smoked salmon at least have some protein and healthy fat. Fruit, larabars, nuts would all be good. Quiche (even better if crustless) would be great!

    • Omg y’all are nuts! Buy a bag of bagels some cream cheese and coffee. They’ll survive without an optimal Paleo protein rich fiberfill nutritious soy free green juiced meal for one damn day. It’s like 4 hours max. You do not need to bring a quiche and nuts and avoid sugar.

      • (Former) Clueless Summer :

        Haha ok, guilty…but honestly, I dieted for months before my wedding. I was not gonna ruin that flat tummy with croissant bloat the morning of. I just wasn’t!!

        • My guess is that any bride who is super-concerned about what she’ll be eating the morning of her wedding wouldn’t just ask someone else to bring food without giving her guidance. The fact that she didn’t give any suggestions/directions leads me to believe she’d be happy with…food.

        • In the suite getting dressed for youngest daughter’s wedding: A hunk of Mt. Tam cheese in the midst of all the munchies on the coffee table. She looked at it longingly and sighed: “But I’m off carbs so I can’t have a cracker.” bridesmaid #1 said: “for goodness sake, you’re getting married this afternoon you can give up that diet for a day!” bridesmaid #2 said: “let me spread it on a radish for you.” She did and we all decided it was delicious.

      • +1 (and I say this as someone who does eat a lot of protein, and not much in the way of refined grains). You do not have to cater to everyone, you do not have to have a healthy option and an indulgent option and a low-sugar option and a gluten-free option. It is ONE DAY. Unless someone is shooting the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition the day after the wedding, everyone will be fine.

        If I were you, I’d provide: coffee (!!) with fixings, a big fruit bowl/platter, yogurt, granola, coffee cake (so I know Entemann’s is full of crap ingredients but it is also delicious) and then maybe some of those cheese stick things wrapped in prosciutto that they sell in every grocery deli nowadays.

        • I agree. Don’t overthink it or drive yourself crazy. I’d just add champagne and OJ because that’s honestly the best part of wedding prep as far as I’m concerned.

          • Ah, yes. I forgot champagne (because I don’t personally partake) but you should definitely provide that, too. And something for those who don’t drink alcohol but still want to toast the bride (fancy sparkling lemonade, maybe)?

        • I agree IF the people in question have the ability to bring their own food. If they just flew in, went straight to the rehearsal dinner, have been on an organized shuttle without a rental car, have to be at the bride’s locations for EVENTS in the morning and have dietary needs, then you need to cater to those dietary needs. It is also on them to tell you about their dietary needs.

          Its also a know your audience situation. If your friends all eat healthy then a box of donuts are not going to go over well. If you don’t eat that normally and eat it on a rare occasion you are likely to feel crappy. Not fun when you are on display in a tailored bridesmaids dress all day.

          I bring my own food whenever I can and if I can’t, I make sure someone knows what I need. But, it really sucks when you think you will have a chance to get your own food and then you don’t and there is nothing there you can eat.

        • If being in a wedding party isn’t a good excuse to eat Entenmann’s, then life isn’t worth living anymore…

          • I know right? :)

          • For me it’s not that the stuff is “junk”, it’s that it’s just not filling. I can eat an entire box of Krispy Kremes and I feel like I’ve just eaten sugary air and am still starving. The bride is going to pass out later if you don’t put some real food in her, whether that’s on top of the junk food or in place of it. (ETA: I think OP’s list below sounds great!)

          • I agree with Anonymous at 11:20. I can eat me some Entemann’s, but I need some real food too. Is a hard boiled egg really so much to ask?

    • If you’re in NYC, order a few catering platters from Fresh Direct (quite reasonably priced and good), and call it a day.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Thanks for all the ideas!

      The bride is completely laid back and generally eats reasonably healthy but also likes some baked goods. She isn’t dieting for the wedding.

      I think I’ll do OJ, champagne, coffee, bottles of water, cut up fruit, bagels and cream cheese, muffins or pastries, hard boiled eggs if I can find some (or yogurt and granola if I can’t), cheese, and nuts. I’ll also get cups with lids and straws. Edited to add, I don’t think anyone in the group has dietary restrictions. I’m pretty close with all of them. Hopefully if they do have an issue that I don’t know about, this will cover all the bases.

      Trying not to overthink it, just want some options so everyone will find something they like. Thanks for the suggestions and reminding me of some obvious things I forgot!

      • You’re a good friend! Have fun. And do make sure the bride eats– that is crucial.

      • Probably super obvious, but FORKS. Nice dresses and squishy fruit.

  5. Wildkitten :

    Where can I get a pretty and professional mouse pad and keyboard wrist rest? I want to replace mine with something new and See Jame Work and the Container Store are failing me.

    • There’s few new fun office supply sites. Urban Girl and Popple are coming to mind, but I swear there is one more I can’t remember..

      Editing to say POPPIN, not Popple, haha. I wish I had a Popple on my desk.

  6. House sitters :

    I am travelling for work for about 10 days and I asked one of the students at my office if she wanted to housesit while I am gone. She will get free run of the house and can use my car, parking space at the office, etc. I offered to fill the house with food and drinks for her. I have a cat who she will be responsible to feed but is otherwise low maintenance. This student lives in an apartment with roommates and I thought she might appreciate a housesitting gig (I used to love doing it when I was in university). I didn’t offer to pay her in the initial ask, just said hey, I’m looking for a house sitter if you are interested and gave the above details. I do want to leave her some money but I am struggling with how much. She may want/need food above and beyond what we leave her, and may drive the car so much she needs to put in more gas (but this is unlikely, my house is not far from work). So I want to leave enough money for that, and also to function as a thank you. How do you normally pay a house sitter in this situation? TIA!

    • House sitters :

      I should add I am not very senior in my organization and I’m not her boss, so there’s no weird dynamic there, and also I don’t want to give her an outrageous amount of money that makes it seem like I am some kind of baller or like I am flaunting my wealth (which I am not (wealthy, or flaunting it)).

      • I’d do $25-$30/day. That’s the going rate for cats on both coasts where I’ve lived.

    • I am not sure why you wouldn’t pay whatever market rate for housesitting is. You might think of it as a sweet gig, but it also means she has to change her normal routines, maybe pack up several days of clothing and personal items, and yes, take care of the cat.

      • House sitters :

        Yes I agree, I am looking for input on what people pay their housesitters. And I should also add that I threw the idea out to a bunch of people and she volunteered, so I don’t think she is feeling obliged or anything like that.

      • Yay! I love this sheathe dress, but the hemline is a littel to l0ng for me — I prefer it to be at MOST at the knee b/c I am NOT all that tall, even with 4″ pump’s I can still look squat with a longer dress that does NOT show off my leg’s! FOOEY! Everyone alway’s tells me to show more of my leg’s and even my gam’s so I recomend all women work on their leg’s by walkeing alot and tracking their milage useing Fitbit and Breeze like I do. Unfortunately it will NOT make your tuchus get much smaller, but walkeing will help it NOT to get bigger.

        As for the OP, I agree with TESYAA (whose always right even when I do NOT second her motion). But here, you are getting a service from someone who at best will be sleepeing over and eateing some food. If you give her the market rate, she will be so grateful that she will think twice b/f bringing over her freind’s and possibly makeing a mess of your home.

        When I was in college, my freind Laurie got a 2 week housesitting gig on Wisconsin Ave, and they had a dog she was to watch and walk. They thought she would love to be abel to have the run of a townhouse instead of a dorm, but she did NOT have alot of cash. So when she went there and found out she would NOT be getting paid, she decided to invite her boyfreind to stay over there to have privacy. They were young and after totally turning the master bedroom into a mess, they ruined the washer/dryer and all the bedding by trying to wash the down comforter. FOOEY! So in reality, NOT paying caused all of the mess that was alot more expensive then if she had kept her boyfreind out of the house and the bedroom. Also, b/c of all of their bedroom activity, the dog was NOT walked enough and wound up making poopie and peepee all over the house that they did NOT clean up properley. DOUBEL FOOEY!

        So follow Tesyaa’s wise council and pay her to house sit, and NOT bring in her boyfreind. YAY!!!!!

      • Wildkitten :

        Agree with Tesyaa. Pay her money. It’s not that sweet of a gig to have to disrupt your life to look after someone else’s house and pets.

    • What I would do is instead of filling the fridge, give her what you would have spent on food. She’ll have her own eating and cooking habits.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      This is a sweet gig and I’m sure any student would be happy to do it for free. If you do want to leave some money, I think…$150 which should do groceries and a tank of gas. I think the nicer/traditional thing would be to bring back a gift from your trip for her as a token of thanks.

      If there is some reason the housesitting is less than desirable (long commute, high maintenance house, high maintenance cat) than I would pay, but otherwise, it’s usually a great gig for students.

      • I was going to suggest $150, but I’m in a low COL area.

      • House sitters :

        Great idea about the gift from my trip! I will do that also.

      • boston anon :

        I used to do this for $80-100 a weekend with a dog in the DC area for a postdoc in my lab.

      • Baconpancakes :

        It might be a great gig, but it’s still a gig. I’m really sick of the whole, “Well it’s less terrible than what you could be doing so you should be grateful to work for me for free,” mentality. I know you probably weren’t trying to say that, but the “any student would love to do that” part doesn’t negate the fact that she’s doing a job and should get paid for it.

        If it’s your friend, sure, leave a couple bottles of wine with a note and call it a day, but any time there’s an imbalance of power, it’s not a favor, it’s a job.

        • +1. I never understood the appeal of housesitting/catsitting for free. It’s a job and kind of a pain in the butt!

          • House sitters :

            I know it’s a gig! That’s why I am going to leave her money, and am here asking for input on the appropriate amount to pay her.

        • Gingersnaps :


        • Lawl student :

          I agree completely. I’m a student and I live “in an apartment with roommates” and I would personally dislike being approached like this. Not everyone feels comfortable hanging out at someone else’s house – and even students have obligations that can make additional tasks difficult. It’s also kind of awkward being asked directly to help out with such a personal favor. The OP says there’s no imbalance of power, so I’m sorely hoping that the student is a part-time worker and not an intern (or even worse – an unpaid intern)

    • houston, we have a problem :

      Ive done this for about $10/day to take care of 1-2 dogs (which is much more) or a six pack of beer and about $35 for a friend who was dog-sitting one of my dogs.

    • My friend pet sits as a side business and she charges $25 a day. LCOL area, for reference.

    • We pay $30 for our dog-sitter (not a professional, just someone who likes dogs and doesn’t mind watching ours on occasion) when we have the person stay at our place. We don’t specifically stock the fridge, but say it’s fine to eat/drink whatever. Our dog is low maintenance, but still requires walks, pets, feeding, etc.

      Editing to clarify, $30 per night.

    • I paid my house/cat sitter $200 for a similar time away (9 days I think?). I hired a grad student and, yes, she normally has roommates and my house is very comfortable and quiet, but she did have to take care of my cat (who was just getting over an illness). She enjoyed it because she could hole up and finish writing a paper/article, but it was also nice for a grad student to make a little extra $$ and I was willing to pay a bit more for someone ultra responsible. She didn’t use my car and I didn’t leave food, although she was free to eat whatever I had.

  7. Need to Improve :

    I am looking for recommendations for a family reunion locations in December in the Southeast. My grandmother is traveling a long way to come to the US and my mom wants to get us all together for Christmas. Factors:

    -Husband and I are in California with small children. We would like a direct flight somewhere. We have the most money to spend on travel.
    -Mom in NYC
    -Grandma is old, traveling from far away, and not at all used to cold climate
    -Other relatives in Georgia. They have limited $$$$

    I was thinking we all should go somewhere relatively near Georgia where we can rent a big house. Miami? Anywhere else in the Southeast that would be relatively easy for us to get to and will be relatively warm in December?

    • Clementine :

      Miami, Orlando (yes, the cheesiness of the Mouse, but honestly, they have some setups around there that make for really easy family vacations), Savannah?

    • I would rent a house or condo either on the panhandle (Rosemary Beach) or near Jacksonville (Amelia Island). Not sure about direct flights from California to the panhandle, but you can definitely fly direct to Jacksonville. Even if your relatives are in far north Georgia, it’d be a max 5-6 hour drive.

    • (former) preg 3L :

      By “relatively warm” do you mean mid-60s? Or 80s? Miami seems like it will be very expensive, since that’s peak travel season. I’d consider a non-beach location if you’re really just looking for family time. Maybe outside Tampa?

      • Need to Improve :

        My grandma is coming from a year round warm climate where it rarely gets over 65 and usually is much warmer. She was terrified the first time she saw snow. 60s would be fine but 80s would be amazing if such a thing exists!

    • Need to Improve :

      Also, Georgia relatives are in a rural place, not sure where exactly, but they will be willing to drive 6 hours for this. I probably will end up paying for the house for everyone.

    • Orlando or maybe Tampa would probably be the best combination of (relative) warmth, affordability and ease of travel. Miami area can also be reasonable if you avoid the more high demand (ie expensive) areas. Try looking for a condo or beach house farther out from the city.

    • Miami is not very close to Georgia, plus would be pretty expensive. I agree that North FL is probably your best bet. It would probably be too cool for beachgoing, so you might be able to rent a house in one of the beach locals (Daytona, Panama, etc.) for cheap. Mobile Bay (AL) has some nice beach areas for cheap, too.

      If you can handle colder but not likely freezing temps and your GA relatives are on the northern side, the Smoky Mountain National Park area is really nice, too. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in TN are cheesy as heck but really pretty that time of year all dressed up for Christmas and good for families. But you’d be likely looking at temps in the 40’s, give or take. (It can be very unpredictable.)

      Savannah is a really cool city, too, though I’m not sure where you could rent a house around there.

      • Tybee Island

      • Tybee Island has rentals and is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Savannah. Obviously it wouldn’t be swimming weather, but you could walk on the beach/dunes and they also have a lot nature trails for walking/biking.

        • That sounds like it would be lovely. (I haven’t been to that area since I was a kid, but I know it’s nice.)

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Miami is not close to Georgia. It’s not going to be a less than 6 hour drive unless they live right on the southern border of Georgia. I’d look in to the islands on the Georgia, or the South Carolina coast depending on where they are in Georgia. My family is from Georgia and always went to St. Simons growing up and we love it. Jekyll is also very nice and has had some new hotels built in the last year or two. There’s also Savannah/Tybee. You’re not going to be able to get a direct flight from California to any of them, I don’t think–you’re going to either have to transfer in Atlanta to either Savannah or Brunswick or rent a car in Atlanta and drive. For South Carolina, check out Charleston and the surrounding islands (Isle of Palms is where I’ve been, but there are others). I’ve also never done this, but have family friends that have and love it–if you have the right size group (I think 10-15 people?), you can rent the Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo island for not an outrageous amount. It requires a ferry to get to, though.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Oh, also check along the Panhandle in Florida–Seaside and St. George Island are the only places I know, but there are other options. I’m not sure where would be your best option to fly into from California, but there are options (pensacola, tallahassee, I think there are a few others in that area)

        • I know there are rental beach houses on Santa Rosa island (I think on the end of the island closer to Pensacola). Or condo possibilities on the keys off of Mobile Bay. None of those would be a direct flight from CA, but easy for your relatives and warm.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        I forgot about the Jacksonville airport– if you do Jekyll or St. Simons, you can fly directly to Jacksonville–St. Simons/Jekyll are about an hour drive from JAX (and the Jacksonville airport is kind of cute and has the really comfortable rocking chairs…)

    • What about Hilton Head? Or Savannah? Neither are too far from Jacksonville, to which you could take a direct flight. Amelia Island and St. Augustine are also close.

    • Must be Tuesday :

      Tampa will be warm, less expensive than Miami and a closer driver for your Georgia relatives, plus it has an airport with a lot of direct flights from northern cities.

    • Pawleys Island South Carolina! Off season rates on big houses on the ocean are very affordable and it’s reasonably accessable (45 minutes from Myrtle Beach airport, about an hour plus north of Charleston) and just a really mellow vibe.

      • sweetknee :

        South Carolina coast is great. Pawleys Island or Litchfield Beach are both great. They are fairly quiet, but only a 20-30 minute drive from the more touristy Myrtle Beach where there is fun shopping/shows. Check out Lachicotte company for rentals.

  8. Deleted – wrong place

  9. Book Suggestions? :

    I just finished reading “French Kids Eat Everything” and really enjoyed it. I really liked the in-depth exploration of how a family changed its food culture and lifestyle dramatically but sustainably. I would love to read similar books – any ideas? I have already read Bringing Up Bebe, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and Dinner, A Love Story. Thanks!

    • Kind of a terrible title, but the best parenting book I’ve ever read: How to Get Your Kid to Eat: But Not Too Much by Ellyn Satter

    • Omnivore’s Dilemma (re food)
      Free-Range Kids (re kids)

      Enjoyed both a lot.

  10. New DC Mom :

    Hi ladies – ready for some shopping help?
    I need a nursing-friendly cocktail dress to wear to weddings this summer. I am 5’1”, so petite styles would be helpful – but they are rare!

    • I’d encourage you to consider dressy separates, because hardly any one-piece dresses are nursing friendly.


        • I’m not recommending the pants in the link, just throwing out the top as an example of something you can pair with a coordinating skirt.

    • Would a lacy wrap dress work? (It’s $75 less with code Shop25)

    • I like Seraphina’s dresses and I also ordered one once from zulily, but I can’t remember the brand.

    • I think my comment disappeared (and will probably reappear right after I post this) but google “Diane von Furstenberg Juliana Sleeveless Lace Wrap Dress” (on sale at Bloomingdales) and the DvF “Amelia Lace Halter Dress” (on super sale at Saks Off Fifth) – one of those might work for you.

  11. I'm a terrible friend :

    So 3/5 of my closest friends just announced they are pregnant. I know it sounds terrible but I have zero interest in babies or the nuances of pregnancy. I said congratulations, asked about due dates/gender/will you name it after me and sent a present. But now, I’m basically out of baby talk and I feel like I’m supposed to be like checking in or there is some sort of expected baby dialogue for the next 6+ months. I feel like I’m missing this whole chapter in my ‘how to be a girl’ instruction manual. Help me not be a lousy friend, how do normal people handle this stuff? (to hopefully sound less horrible, I’m great with actual kids of the walking/talking variety, I just have a mental black hole when it comes to babies!)

    • AnonInfinity :

      I’m the same way. If I make an effort to ask about the pregnancy, I feel like that’s all I ever ask about, which doesn’t seem right either. I’ve decided to just talk about normal things with my pregnant friends. If they want to talk about the pregnancy or the baby once he or she is born, then I’ll contribute as much as possible. My reasoning is that once a woman is pregnant or has a baby, a lot of people just see them as PREGNANT or BABY MOM, so I figure most people want some normal conversation sometimes?

      My least favorite part of this whole experience is the visit shortly after she returns home from the hospital. I am thrilled to bring food and see my friend, but I don’t love holding newborns because I’m just not really sure what to do.

      After writing all this out, I’m wondering if I need tips, too!

      • If you want to do something else, ask if you can run errands, fold a load of laundry, walk the dog, whatever. It’s totally ok to decline holding the baby. Or, if you want to but are afraid, ask your friend for tips. She doesn’t want to hand over a child to someone who may not be comfortable.

      • Honestly? Not wanting to hold the newborn is probably WAY okay for the new mom. It can be really stressful when you have a million visitors come JUST to hold your new baby when the baby can be really finicky and wanting its mommy. I would’ve loved if my friends came over just to hang out and talk about whatever. Having a new baby can be really isolating, and it can be great to have some influx from the real world so that a new mom can live vicariously through her non-mommy friends (or get great advice from her mommy friends who are a few months or years ahead of her).

        • +1. Also, I was a little neurotic about my baby catching a cold/flu from all the people who wanted to hold him, but usually felt too awkward to say no.

      • Can’t remember if it is safe for work viewing but here is a really funny Funny or Die/College Humor video about “why did you make me hold your baby.” It articulates everything I’m silently thinking every time one is thrust upon me.

        • AnonInfinity :

          THIS IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Also, that’s good to know from people who have babies that you don’t always want everyone holding them. I’ve always been afraid that I’d insult someone and they’d think I don’t like their baby for some reason.

    • There’s no reason to specifically bring it up, but your friends might want to talk about it. Ask how they are, and if they want to bring up their pregnancies (or babies when they have them), listen patiently. Ask natural follow-up questions, but you don’t have to voluntarily come up with questions about the babies’ various milestones. It’s like if you had a friend who loved, say, fishing, but you didn’t know anything about it – you wouldn’t go research the various types of bass in the lake where she went fishing, but rather ask her how her latest fishing trip was.

      • +1
        I think a simple, “How are you?” is plenty. If she wants to talk about pregnancy and upcoming motherhood, she will. If she wants to talk about work drama instead, she will. Listen and ask follow up questions to whatever she talks about.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I am not and have never been pregnant so YMMV but consider the fact that they might want to talk about something other than babies – like whatever has grounded your friendship for this long? I have found that small talk with strangers/acquaintances is typically taken up by these life milestones (ask me how many times people I sort of know at work asked about my wedding and honeymoon – I’m sure it is the same for pregnant women), which is nice, but when it comes to talking to people who actually know you, it’s nice to talk about something else. I have a bit of a pet peeve about multi-faceted women becoming “mom” the minute she gets pregnant :)

      If these friends are desperate to talk about their pregnancies, they’ll bring it up and you can make appropriate responses.

      • Yes! I had a baby recently, and while I genuinely appreciate people’s interest in my pregnancy/new baby, sometimes it feels like that’s all anyone wants to talk about. It starts to feel like all you are is a mom and none of the other things you used to be. So absolutely continue talking about all of the normal things you’d usually talk about!

    • I’m kind of the same way (didn’t grow up around young kids, don’t have a ton of adult experience with babies), so I focus on questions about my friend- “How are you feeling?” or “What changes have surprised you the most?” I try to let my good friends know that they don’t have to do the “pregnancy is sunshine and rainbows” thing with me if what they really need is to vent about feeling lousy or having gas or whatever.

    • I’m currently pregnant and I still have little interest in talking about baby stuff. I think it’s nice to ask how she’s doing, but otherwise, if she wants to bring something up, let her, but she may just want to have a non-natal conversation.

    • They are probably surrounded by people who only want to talk about babies/pregnancy/parenting. Merely being pregnant or a parent doesn’t mean you’ve lost the rest of your personality and interests. You can acknowledge that they are pregnant in scheduling activities; maybe don’t plan a day of roller coasters followed by a sushi and sake dinner for the next get together. Otherwise, feel free to talk about whatever you talked about before.

    • You’re overthinking it. Pregnant people are still the same people they were before, and I’m sure you’ll still naturally have a lot of non-baby things to talk about. The pregnancy may come up occasionally, but I don’t think you need to worry about bringing it up or “checking in.”

      • I'm a terrible friend :

        I’m sure I am overthinking it, I just went from zero friends with babies to 3 in less than a month. My mind is a bit blown at the moment.

    • I don’t think you’re a terrible friend (or if you are, so am I). When my friend was pregnant, I didn’t really engage in “baby talk” mostly because I didn’t know what to say. I just kept talking to her like normal and every once in a while, I would ask her how she was feeling. I think it probably did the trick

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’m pregnant and I don’t want to talk about pregnancy all the time. I think remembering to ask about the pregnancy occasionally is good enough. I think of it like wedding planning – your friends can probably talk in detail about the various things that are happening and maybe sometimes you’ll ask or they’ll want to share, but they probably don’t want to talk about wedding planning in each conversation.

      • I'm a terrible friend :

        See, I think that is my problem. When it came to weddings that was the ONLY thing anyone wanted to talk about for the whole year before, I was afraid babies is going to be the same thing. Maybe I need to get new friends more like you all…

        • You’re actually right, it’s pretty common for first pregnancies to become all-consuming.

    • I’m recently pregnant. So is another good friend of mine, though she’s further along, and another friend I’m less close with. In our group of mutual friends, I actually sort of really felt weird about the whole pregnancy announcement thing precisely because I didn’t want to turn every brunch/dinner into a baby talk convention and I have as little interest in talking about cosleeping or nursing or prenatal vitamins as my friends with no plans to have kiddies. Take the lead from your friends. If they aren’t pushing to talk babies, don’t feel the need. I am pretty happy to talk about pretty much anything else.

    • Just ask, “How are you FEELING?!” to a pregnant woman and she will interpret it to mean an inquiry to her pregnancy and she’ll respond, and you’ll have covered it, and then you can move on from there, ok, but how’s work/movies/restaurants, etc.

  12. I’m applying for a job that’s nearly identical to my current job, just on a grander scale. When writing my resume bullets, should I copy the language of the job posting or should I use a smidge of originality (like using a synonym for an action verb, for example)?

    The jobs are so fundamentally similar that my bullets will be substantially similar to the job posting no matter how I word it.

    The resume will be read by the person I’m replacing whom I know personally (and encouraged me to apply), not a computer, not HR.

    • I’d go with something similar, but not a cut-and-paste job. Just put the job posting away and write your resume. If I read that and noticed (but most people probably won’t notice), I would think it was strange. Like you couldn’t write your own resume, and who knows if you just cut-and-pasted what you think we want to hear, or if you really do those exact tasks, worded exactly as we put in the posting.

      • +1 – I’d make sure you address each of the bullet points, but would try to use wording that felt more natural to me. If that lines up with the posting verbiage, great. If not, no big deal.

  13. Stylist help? :

    I’m in final stages of a job offer for Company X – nothing is official yet but it’s been said the job is mine if I want it, and I know some approvals have already been granted. I was invited to Company X’s major event next week, which I obviously see as a good sign, but I don’t know what to wear!! The dress code of the event is a little unclear – there will be some celebrity special guests who will likely run the gamut from Pharrell shorts to sparkly gowns, and I have no idea what anyone else will wear. If I was a man, it would definitely be fashionable suit. If I already worked there, I would go for something fun, somewhere between fashionable business casual and c0cktail. But since I’m still hoping to get this job, I’m not sure. I obviously want to make a good, professional impression – what should I wear??

    • You can never go wrong with an LBD and fun accessories. I’m thinking a dressier sheath style (one step down from cocktail, one step up from business) with jewel toned peep toes (fuchsia, emerald or eggplant would be my choice) and a statement necklace or fancy cuff bracelet. Maybe pair it with a blazer that you can leave on or remove depending on how “business” everyone else is.

    • I’d wear a fashionable suit, as opposed to an interview suit. Something age appropriate but not stuffy and a statement necklace or fun blouse. Colorful shoes, perhaps, if you have them.

  14. I know a couple of people have asked about comfy shirts/sweatshirts lately, so I just wanted to plug the Lou&Grey line at Loft. I’m wearing a cute, fitted sweatshirt from them today (working from home) for the first time and it’s extremely soft and comfy.

  15. I’m in the market for a new hairdryer. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

    • I have the infiniti pro by Conair and so far I really like it. I used to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional blow drier, but mine died on our last trip and I needed something right away, so I picked this up at Wal-Mart intended to replace it right away with my old expensive blow drier, but so far I haven’t wanted to because this one works just as fast and is just as powerful!

      • I’ve had the infiniti pro for 7 years now, and it works pretty well. It takes longer when my hair is longer, but for however much I spent then, it has definitely been worth the money.

    • Babyliss – available on Amazon

    • Rusk Weightless, it’s SO fast

    • Thanks so much, y’all!

  16. (Cross-posted on the Moms site, but I feel like this question might get more traction from those parents who have done the childcare thing, rather than the newer/newish parents, which seems to be the bulk of Mom commenters)

    We are about three months into a nanny, and I’m struggling with whether she’s the right fit for us. There are a whole bunch of issues, some little – some more frustrating – but nothing really rising to the level of “fireable.” Things like – there is a language barrier, so nuanced instructions aren’t understood or followed; she is very focused on the upkeep of the house, sometimes over the care/attention to my son (he’ll be in a bouncy while she cleans the playroom, for instance); and doesn’t seem super in tune with my guy’s signals (he’ll be fussing b/c he’s clearly tired and she’ll stick him in the bouncer, not get him down for a nap). I observed all of this in her first few weeks, but assumed it was related to being new. I just spent a day at home with her, and don’t think things have changed much. We had a nanny for my older son, and she definitely did things we didn’t love – but she was so warm and engaging with him, that it didn’t bother me as much (so it’s not really a case of just not liking that someone else is caring for my child). She’s also a little older, and doesn’t really take him out for walks, etc. which I feel like will be more important as he gets older.

    But, I feel paralyzed with indecision here. This is someone’s livelihood, and she really does seem to care for my son. I’ve never had to terminate someone, and she has a great track record of employment. Terminating her would be a big blow (especially as she is older, and I know the transition away from her last family – over 10 years – was difficult). I would have no issues with recommending her – she’s wonderful, I just don’t think she’s the right fit for our family. It’s making it incredibly hard to move forward. I also am reading nanny ads, and thinking that the accolades written in other nanny ads would apply to our current nanny. That is – I’m having a hard time trusting my gut about whether our situation could improve. Any advice or experience would be helpful here.

    • Have you made it clear to her that she is not responsible for things like cleaning the playroom? If she had housekeeping duties at her previous job, you need to make it clear that either the parents or the cleaning lady (if you have one) will do housekeeping.

      In terms of napping, not all babies go down easily for a nap. Maybe he seems happier in the bouncer than in the crib or bassinet. You can’t exactly compare this nanny to your previous nanny since the babies are different babies.

      An older nanny who is in good shape can take a baby out for walks, so maybe it’s really a function of the weather not warming up enough yet.

      Finally, it sounds like this woman has many good qualities and you may not find someone you like better. Of course you have the right to search for a better fit, and if give the nanny appropriate severance (at least 2-4 weeks) and good references you really don’t owe her anything else.

      • Have you communicated this to her? Ask her to go on walks with him and see if she does. You could also try to get him on a nap schedule and see if she would follow it plus just tell her when he’s fussy, it’s usually because he’s tired, so put him down.

        I was bothered that my son would sit in his chair while our nanny cleaned the kitchen, but then I realized that’s exactly what would happen if I were a stay at home mom. And it really is only about fifteen minutes a day. At first I thought I’d rather her do it while he napped but it would be too loud in his nursery.

        You deserve someone you really like but I would try a bit more communication first.

      • I have told her several times that she does not need to clean the house. She assured me that it only happened when my son is napping, but I’ve observed that’s not the case. The chores are typically things like folding laundry, scrubbing the floors, vacumming, or wiping down surfaces – not just dishes. On one hand, it’s great to have such a clean house, but I did not hire her to do those things.

        But, a lot of this actually falls into the language barrier problem; it’s very difficult to communicate the issues with her. I’ve pointed out that he’s tired and that he needs to go down for a nap, and she’ll typically respond something to the effect of “Yeah, you look tired.” She really does not seem to understand my directions. For instance, when watching my older son, I told her to feed him dinner, and that he could have a cupcake that night at 7:30, provided he finished his dinner. I came back 3 minutes later, and he was eating a cupcake. It was incredibly difficult to tell whether she did not understand me, or just chose to ignore me.

        • Oh, thanks for the update – she *definitely* doesn’t understand you, and you NEED someone who speaks and understands English well. Remember that she may need to deal with emergencies, and she must be able to understand and make herself understood. Time to start looking.

          • Ha – this is what my husband keeps saying. Also, that it trumps anything else going on w/r/t activity levels or cleaning or whatever. The emergency point is extremely well-taken, and something that may become a serious factor, as my child has just presented with some food allergies, which may or may not require an epi-pen. I’m now cringing thinking about how little she probably understands of the “explanation” I gave her regarding its use. Ugh. She’s a very nice lady who seems to want to try very hard, and has an excellent employment record. I guess I know what I need to do, but am dreading it.

          • Diana Barry :

            +1, language barrier that big is a problem!!

          • The language barrier may be solvable though… can you ask someone who speaks English as well as your nanny’s primary language to sit down with you guys and set out some ground rules?

          • Must be Tuesday :

            The language barrier alone, as you describe it, would be a dealbreaker for me, especially with a child who has food allergies and needs to use an epi-pen. If she’s disregarding you intentionally about food instructions (the cupcake), that’s bad. If she’s misunderstanding you about food instructions, that’s not intentional on her part or a sign of bad faith, but it’s still bad for your child. Also, your nanny doesn’t seem to realize (or care) that she’s not understanding you. I would be much more tolerant of a language barrier in someone who knew they were not understanding me, and could communicate that clearly by asking me to repeat myself or simply by saying “I don’t understand”, so that I could try to explain myself again using different words until she was able to understand me. It drives me nuts trying to work with someone who doesn’t understand me, but just nods along, not knowing or caring what my instructions were, and then doing whatever she wants. And that’s without considering the harm that could come to your child from the nanny not understanding food, allergy and epi-pen related instructions.

          • I have to admit, the more I type it out, the more I realize she just isn’t right for our family – particularly given food issues (my husband has taken to literally hiding food b/c he’s concerned that she will inadvertently feed it to him). I had said “no new food,” and she arrived about a week later with a new food for him to try (appropriate for a baby his age, but still). As nice as she is, the kids’ safety trumps the difficulty associated with transitioning her out.

            Diana Barry – I’m curious, when you interviewed the nanny that ended up being a great fit for your family – was it apparent from interviews? That is, could you tell immediately she was a better fit for you? Or did she just settle in better?

          • Meg Murry :

            I think you need to get communication help immediately if you have a child with food allergies to the level of an epi-pen, and also look into replacing her.

            For the food allergies and communication help, is her native language one that is common in your metro area (for instance, is it Spanish and are there are lot of Spanish speakers) or is it one that is not very common? If common, could you hire someone to come over for a one-time translation session, to get it through to her that your child can not have [peanuts, peanut butter, eggs, whatever] and that giving it to him could actually kill him? Maybe there is a local ESL class that you could call to ask for a reference for a translator, or ask your pediatrician’s office what they would do if they had a parent there where English wasn’t the first language and they needed to communicate something serious like a food allergy.

            But yes, how she would handle an emergency would definitely put her on the “replace now” list – and you might want to order your child a medical alert bracelet or anklet so if they do end up in the ER the doctors know what is going on.

            ETA- you need to not just hide the allergy food, you need to get it out of your house, or the older kid might try to “share” it with the younger one.

        • Anonymous :

          So I have no idea if this would be offensive, possible or a myriad of other issues, but if all things considered she’s a good nanny and has a language barrier, could you consider something like Rosetta Stone for her?

          • I’ve thought about it (or using the opportunity to improve my pathetic Spanish); however, I think this is where the other (admittedly less important) issues come into play. If she was taking him outside all the time and engaging with him, I think I’d be more inclined to keep her on. At the end of the day, I think she’s just hardwired to be a more traditional house-keeper, and an active, on-the-go nanny fits our lifestyle better. We also would prefer to have the nanny keep our older son more often to offset his tuition, but she can’t *really* keep up with him.

            I think I just feel extremely guilty letting her go b/c she’s older (mid-60s), and she works very hard and is coming off of a very long term placement with a family. Especially after writing all of this out, I know she’s not right for us, but I hate that she has to go through another job search within 6 months of her last hunt (and I know leaving the other family was hard for her).

          • Meg Murry :

            Would she be a better housekeeper who happens to watch older kids after school for an hour or two than someone that is primarily a nanny? Could you help her find a position doing that in your network?

            Is older son in daycare or regular school? Could baby go there instead, and then you wouldn’t have to nanny search or would only need an evening nanny?

    • Diana Barry :

      You know, if she’s not good after 3 months, I think the likelihood is low that she’ll get better. You want someone who is FANTASTIC with the kids.

      We also had an older nanny who was not as active as we’d like with the kids. She was GREAT with them as babies, but as they got older she would park the kids in front of the TV so she could watch HGTV with them, too often for us. We spoke to her about it and it didn’t get better. So we switched. I also had a hard time with trying to fire her and talked about it with my DH for like 6 months before we pulled the trigger.

      And we got a new nanny, who is SO MUCH BETTER IN EVERY WAY. This was 2 years ago and she has not stopped being fantastic – she is just great with the kids, little and big – it was such a huge step up, and in retrospect we should have gotten rid of the other nanny way sooner than we did.

      In your case, I would find someone else. You should be able to hire someone who can understand instructions and who will put baby down for a nap when he’s tired! (Note – if you are not getting the right candidates, it may be a question of increasing what you will pay them.)

      • I feel like your former nanny situation is similar. My older son is incredibly active, and his former nanny worked so well in part b/c she got him outside every day – rain or shine – to a local bookstore, to parks, etc. To Blonde Lawyer’s point, I agree that there is some differences in style here, and while I don’t necessarily want constant stimulation for him, I do want a caregiver who prefers to go to parks, set up playdates, and can be more active with him than having him confined to a bouncy or in his crib while she cleans the house. She does have physical limitations, which were not totally apparent when she was hired, that seem to prevent her from walking long distances with him or carrying him a great deal.

    • I don’t have kids so this could be out of line but it sounds like a different style of child rearing. Some people feel kids need constant attention, holding and stimulation (the attachment parenting types) and others think babies need to learn from a young age to self-entertain (the French parenting types.) Is this a safety issue where the baby is out of her sight for long periods of time? If it is just that she puts him in a bouncy in the same room as her for 20 minutes of cleaning then this could really be good for you. The room gets cleaned and baby learns to self entertain a bit. You definitely have the right to request the type of child rearing you want. However, sometimes that has to morph with the needs of the kid and the situation. Can you objectively say you are open to being flexible? If you ask her about it, does she give reasons why bouncy time works well? Just a few things to think about.

    • Oh man I am in the exact same situation – the nanny we hired is nice and hard working but just doesn’t seem to fit or jive with our household. I am going to give her one more week but will start looking for replacements as well. I feel bad but it will probably be better for both of us to move on if it is not going to work out. I feel like this is a position where its ok to be picky.

    • Stop thinking about it as “firing” her, which makes it sound like she’s incompetent, lazy, dangerous, etc. Just set a date (such as Memorial Day weekend) and say to her that you won’t need her services after that, but you are more than happy to provide references and will be giving her some severance. Then look for a new nanny.

      (I do a lot of tutoring in addition to my “real” job, and I am not at all offended when a family wants a better fit, and I also understand that some people found me after trying another tutor who wasn’t a good fit. In personal services, fit matters. A professional understands this, and she should.)

  17. Networking etiquette :

    My boss’s brother works at my BF’s dream company. Several months ago I mentioned offhand at work that BF was applying to work at this company and she mentioned that her brother worked there (doing the sort of work BF hopes to one day do) and offered to put them in touch. BF and the brother had what sounded like a really nice phone conversation, and the brother said to let him know when BF ended up applying and he’d look at his resume and talk to him more about the application process.

    About 6 weeks ago when BF was polishing up his resume to begin applying for jobs he reached out to the brother and asked if he’d be willing to look over his resume before he submitted it. The brother never replied. Now BF has applied to the company and has gotten a phone interview (!! squee!). Should he reach out to the brother again? On the one hand, I’d be worried about him coming off as a pest. On the other, it’s possible that he just missed the other email and wasn’t intentionally blowing him off. Thoughts?

    • I’d drop it. This is a tenuous connection at best:
      husband – you – boss – boss’ brother

      Just encourage husband. That’s the part the applicant (and you) can control.

    • I don’t think it’s bad to drop one more note and say – hey, just wanted to let you know I have a phone interview on X date, thank you for discussing the company with me previously.

      I wouldn’t ask for another conversation or a favor, but keeping the relationship friendly can’t be bad. Maybe brother will reply, maybe not.

      • Wildkitten :

        +1 Tenuous connections are the most useful since you and your besties have the same networks but tenuous connections really open up opportunities.

      • This. People often lose track of networking-type e-mails (even when they appreciate them and intend to follow up), so I wouldn’t take the non-response as a snub. Additionally, if he doesn’t reach out, he could feel awkward later on if he runs into the brother and it turns into a “Why didn’t you let me know you were applying?” Finally, I find it’s rarely bad to keep in touch with someone who’s helped you: people like to know their efforts were useful and appreciated, and they like to hear what you’ve done. Very little to lose with the kind of no-ask note Anon recommended.

        • I agree too. Those sorts of networking emails easily get lost in my inbox if I’m not able to respond to them right away. If he was already willing to take the time to talk to him once, I think he would appreciate knowing about the interview.

  18. Need advice on supporting spouse :

    Any advice on supporting someone (spouse) with anxiety issues and low self-esteem surrounding job issues… with actually finding a job-for-now and also a good-job-for-long-term?

    Past 3-4 job losses over 3 years have not been his fault or his decision, and he’s feeling at a loss, unmoored. He’s in therapy, on low-dose medication. I don’t want to stress him out that we need the money – but he knows we need the money.

    Thoughts on what I can do to support/encourage without stressing him or me out?

    • 1. Ask him what ways you can be helpful
      2. Offer to help proof documents (CL, resume, etc.) or find someone who can help write these
      3. Establish when you’ll have regular job hunting check-ins and outside of those times drop it.

    • We are going through this too. I don’t have great suggestions but I wanted to say you are not alone! Hang in there and know that you are providing valued support to him, even if he can’t always tell you that.

  19. Hi, can anyone suggest any techniques I could use to improve my communication skills (and confidence) in meetings? I feel I’m not very efficient and effective in conducting my meetings. I don’t seem to own my meetings while I’m supposed to and it feels like I’m slowing fading into the background at work. I was fairly confortable few years ago, but this is a new job with a slight change in my responsibilities so that is what is perhaps causing it. I’ve also become extremely self conscious and get very nervous when I know that people are judging me for the way I talk and conduct myself. Some help will be really appreciated.

    • Yo, I bet you’re awesome. I’m sure lots of people will recommend therapy and skedaddling on over to askamanager but let’s discuss a few basics:
      1. Always have an agenda – if you can’t figure out an agenda, there’s really no point to having a meeting
      2. Invite pertinent people only.
      3. Short meetings are gold – don’t be afraid to keep things moving, jump in when ramblers finish a sentence and move on to the next point.
      4. Follow up all of the things that need to be followed-up on.
      5. Rehearse. Visualize the meeting beforehand.
      Last but not least – you’re the monster in charge. All those people showed up because you wanted them to.

      • All of the above is great advice. I am a big fan of the agenda, and then on my copy I jot down the 2-3 points I want to register on each item.

      • Also, at the end of the meeting:

        1. What are the takeaway points.
        2. Clarify assignments and deadlines that come out of the meeting.
        3. Plan the next meeting or follow-up, if that’s appropriate. It’s always easier to schedule the next one while you have people in the room.
        If you’re working on a larger project together, take time to map out, in advance, the steps it’ll take to get from beginning to end and benchmark meetings for specific agendas or outcomes.

        Being organized about how you plan meetings and use peoples’ time is really important.

    • I will plug Mary Munter’s Guide to Meetings. It’s slender but awesome. Buy it. It’s like $35.

  20. I am so not fashionable and need some help please. I am attending a dinner for the mothers of multiples club I am a member of. It’s being held at a local comedy club from 630-9 pm. I’m waiting on a basic black sheath dress from AT that I ordered online. I also ordered a halogen dress (links to follow). I thought these either would be fine and then I found pictures online of last year’s event and people were dressed pretty casual (read: sloppy). How do I dress these dresses down? Do these even work? Maybe I should just wear ankle pants with flats and a nice top? Help!

    • See links on next page. Oops

    • From my POV as a fellow mom of multiples who has no connection with this particular event, my guess is that anything goes. Ankle pants, jeans, whatever. BTW, love that Halogen dress and might get it to wear to work with a blazer.

      • Do you think the dresses are too much? I’m 7 weeks post partum so I’d need to go buy ankle pants and a top.

        • Seven weeks postpartum with multiples? You can wear whatever you want, and you’re amazing for even getting out of the house! Wear what’s comfortable and makes you happy. Anyone who thinks less of you for wearing a nice dress or wearing anything else you like to wear wasn’t going to be a real friend anyway. And… congratulations!

          • Meg Murry :

            Are you wearing clothes? Do they have a minimum amount of spitup or other bodily fluids on them? Then you are winning and doing just fine.

            If you want a new dress because you want a new dress, then wear what you bought or go crazy ordering a ton online and returning what you don’t wear. Otherwise, I bet anything in your closet that fits and makes you feel happy would be ok, IMO. I would probably default to a wrap or faux wrap dress because that’s what I have in my closet but I don’t think you need to go on the hunt for the perfect unicorn dress for this occasion.

        • My reply is on the other page, but I think the Halogen dress is fine (and cute!) if you wear it with flat/low wedge sandals.



      • The AT dress is too much. The Halogen dress is cute and would work if you dressed it down. I’m thinking flat/low sandals and non-evening jewelry. No clutch bag. Maybe add a cardigan. I would wear a dress like that anywhere and I think at most you’d come off as one of those “dressier than average” people.

        • Completely agree with AIMS’ advice. This is almost exactly what I was going to say.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I think she could wear the AT dress with a jean jacket and sandals and be ok, even if other people are wearing jeans, but I’m a person who prefers to err on the side of dressier. Also I just really like the AT dress so I’m rooting for that one.

          A couple examples:

  22. Thank you for listing an alternative that comes in a tall!

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