Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Cotton Cummerbund Blouse

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

Akris Punto Cotton Cummerbund BlouseHello: love this blouse. Admittedly, the color is half of it — I have an entire wall of my bedroom painted this color — but it’s the little details that I love the most: the interesting shape to it, the stand collar, the hidden placket, the cotton eyelet. I’d wear a black camisole under this, or perhaps (perhaps) a dark purple camisole. It’s $795 at Saks. Akris Punto Cotton Cummerbund Blouse

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  1. I’m not a fan of this one at all. The cummerbund looks like a belly band to me.

    • Aww, I like it–the color’s fantastic, and I think the cummerbund looks cool and quirky.

    • I like it too. The cummerbund is a tough look to pull off, though.

      In general I’m looking for more structured tops (although not for $800) so appreciate looking at things like this.

    • I like this look. I have a button-down from Zara that has a wrap around the belly in matching fabric, which I think is pretty flattering.

      This shirt is not in my budget, and while I like the color, the armholes look a little gaping. I am self-conscious about having broad shoulders, and I feel like those little sleeves would make them look wider.

    • Does anyone else remember those mall stores in the 1980s that sold mix-and-match ladies’ clothing, and the signature piece in the collection was this stretchy cotton tube thing that could be worn as a skirt or a tube top or scrunched over a tunic as an obi belt, etc.?

      Just me?

      ‘k I’ll just sit over in the corner. Being old.

      • Totally remember that. There were two competing brands — Links and Multiples. I had a complete wardrobe of both.

      • Weekenders? Or something like that? It was all this double knit fabric, but would include this length of fabric that could be wrapped, or braided into a belt, or something.

      • i absolutely remember that. i thought it was called Units. but whatever, same concept.

      • southanon :

        Not just you. I wore a navy blue jersey faux wrap dress with a band across the waist to work a few months ago and our HR director said to me – “Remember those stores in the 80’s that had the tubes of cloth you could wear different ways? Your dress reminds me so much of those clothes.” We googled it and the store was called Units. There are entire websites dedicated to the rememberance of Units. I particularly like the pictures where you are supposed to wear the jumpsuit backwards and belt it with the cloth tube.

        I have to say it took me a few weeks to wear the dress again after that comment, but I really love the dress.

        • Sweetknee :

          I had some of those. .. In my neck of the woods, they were called “Links”. God, I am old.

      • And along those lines…


        Click on “flirty” for the best pics (safe for work, no worries).

      • I remember that….for some reason, I am thinking it was Cotton Ginny.

      • I had a few outfits from there. Miserable, in retropect. Maybe the garish colors of my Units wardrobe is what scared me straight into my adult browns, blacks and greys.

    • Exactly!! Or else the blouse looks like you tucked it into the top part of maternity pants.
      I’m 7 mths preg and I would look like that if I tucked my blouse in (well , a lot chunkier than that but you get my drift).

  2. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    Love the blouse. I use obi belts to get the cummerbund effect and conceal my tummy. I just wish it wasn’t $800. C’est la vie.

    On another note, I was browsing Etsy last night and came across a shop I just had to share. Everything is just so bright and pretty.

    www [dot] etsy [dot] com/shop/BearandtheHoneybee?ref=seller_info

    • I love that jewelry! Thanks for sharing. It reminds me of Stella & Dot but at a *significantly* lower price.

  3. It is 85 degrees in my office. I need coffee, but it’s too hot to drink coffee. I think I’ll go to the shop across the street so I can cool off and drink coffee.

    Maintenance is working on it, but geez. 85 degrees in February is not a good temperature for an office.

    • I am freezing here, there is a cold wave that came from Europe and is hitting all North Africa.
      I wish it were 85°… I thrive in 85° weather

  4. Does anyone own Second Yoga jeans? I tried them on in a small boutique in RI this weekend and they looked great, but I just couldn’t pay full price ($120). Full disclosure – I was there returning a gift from my sister. I got $100 credit and ended up getting a gorgeous Laundry by Shelli Segal sheath for an extra $47.

    Apparently, the jeans are mostly sold in small boutiques – the kind that don’t have websites and are located in small towns so they can charge big bucks. Now I’m obsessed and I’m stalking them in a number of stores, but would love to know if anyone owns them or knows a place that sells them. I’ll post a link to the jeans below.

    • http://www.secondclothing.com/product.php?id=3

      • They look fab but are they just trendy pajama jeans? Why are they called yoga jeans?

        • Second Jeans in Canada :

          I own a pair. I think they are great. Comfy but not dowdy.

          This brand is sold in a couple of places in Kingston Ontario. One is a small boutique, but the other is a chain store: Cassis. The website indicates that the stores are only in Canada.

  5. Travel Purse? :

    I am planning a trip to Europe this spring and am looking for a functional but stylish purse. I’d like something lightweight, large enough to hold essentials for all-day sightseeing, neutral colored, zips shut, and compartments inside (at least one inside zippered pocket for my passport). I was initally thinking of my Longchamp tote, but it doesn’t satisfy the pocket requirement. A crossbody strap in addition to a shoulder strap is a plus, but not necessary. Any ideas?

    • Lo and Sons has a cute cross-body one.

      • Travel Purse? :

        I own their OMG bag which I love as a carry-on. Their crossbody purse is cute, but a little small for me and I’d prefer a shoulder strap to a crossbody. I was thinking earlier how I wished they made a purse-sized bag for travel! :)

    • I have seen LeSportsac recommended here a few times. Vera Bradley also makes a variety of purse/totes, which usually have a compartment or two inside and are always lightweight because they’re cloth – before you judge, I’m mentioning because not all of the offerings are the bright prints – I think there is one line with just solid colors like black or navy with some subtle quilting.

      • Travel Purse? :

        Ha, no judgement – I carried a VB around France while I studied abroad in college! I forgot about their microfiber line (I think that’s what you mean although I’m not up on their line anymore), but I will check it out!

      • I love my LeSportsac and it sounds like it’s exactly what you’re looking for!

      • I was going to suggest le sport sac also. When I went to Europe on a school trip as a teen I carried a crossbody jansport bag that met your requirements; probably too casual for you though, and that was 10 years ago!

    • Tumi stuff lasts for years, and I’ve seen a lot of their totes and crossbodies at TJ Maxx lately (check out the luggage section). Not sure if it meets your style needs, but they really perform function wise. I’ve had a Tumi laptop bag that’s practically been to hell and back over the past couple of years and still looks none the worse for wear.

    • I have this travel bag and love it: http://www.rei.com/product/786591/overland-equipment-auburn-bag-womens
      It’s comfortable, has a ton of pockets and is made from a material that is hard for thiefs to cut through.

    • I personally try to avoid any purses that scream “travel purse” too much when I travel, because I think they scream “I’m full of valuables steal me steal me” … especially in Europe.

      This one might be cute and meet your needs:


      • Travel Purse? :

        Yes, exactly :) I am not necessarily looking for a purse marketed for travel, but a purse to wear while traveling that fits my needs.

        • I should say, I don’t own this purse. But I do think its cute, and at $32, kind of a bargain. I’m thinking of picking it up myself actually…

    • I have this bag: http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/tignanello-handbag-multi-pocket-organizer-crossbody-bag?ID=525564&CategoryID=46011#fn=BRAND%3DTignanello%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D8%26ruleId%3D65%26slotId%3D2

      I’m not sure if it has enough space in it (I bought it for Mardi Gras parades, just to carry the essentials). I’ve used it very successfully on vacation as well. Mine, being a Mardi Gras bag, is hot pink, but it comes in many colors.

    • I’ve lived in Italy and have traveled extensively in Europe, and would strongly advise against carrying your passport in your purse. Get a passport carrier (yes, one of those annoying things that goes under your clothes) and keep your passport in there, as well as most of your credit cards and the bulk of whatever cash you have. I prefered the belt style that go around the waist – I tend to wear pants with a higher waist, and would tuck it under the waistband.
      Keep it on you at all times when staying in hotels/hostels/B&Bs, even if you just go down for breakfast or for a drink at night. You just never know who might have access to the room and what they might go looking for (keep a little TSA-approved combination luggage lock on the main compartment of your suitcase, for that matter). Keep a copy of your passport and all of the credit cards you have with you locked in your suitcase; I zip them underneath the lining. In my purse, I would normally carry 1 credit card, as well as a pre-determined amount of cash – whatever I thought I would need that day. You can always pop into a restroom if you need to get more cash out of your passport belt.

      As far as a bag goes, I had a classic, nondescript small black leather crossbody that zipped closed at the top. I think it was Etienne Angier, and I carried that thing everywhere. It was big enough for a wallet, water bottle, guidebook and a little room to spare for small souveniers. A full zipper is key. Places like TJ Maxx, Marshall, Nordstrom Rack, etc, should have lots of options.

      Even if you go to great lengths not to look like a tourist, people will always be able to tell you’re not a native, which can make you a target. Two of my friends (both fairly savvy travelers) have had their purses stolen, in different countries. A little extra security and planning up front can go a long ways towards making sure your trip isn’t marred by something unpredictable.

    • I have this bag in solid black leather

      It zips, has an inside zippered pocket, and fits a lot–though I haven’t needed to use them, the side zippers actually do open to expand the bag another couple of inches.

  6. Interesting, and I like the color, but this is definitely a “not my life” piece of clothing (aside from the price) – I’d need to wear a cardigan or blazer with it at work, because (1) I’d be cold, (2) to mitigate the slight peek-a-boo factor, and (3) the stiffness in the little sleeves reminds me of old-school nurse outfits, but that would ruin the lines of this blouse IMO.

    • “Not My Life” piece of clothing– Ha! I love that turn of phrase, and am stealing it!

  7. super anon :

    Healthcare threadjack–I went for an annual exam at a new doctors’ office (recently moved). During my appointment, I mentioned an issue that I’ve had in the past and wondering if I recently had a recurrence. The NP suggested I schedule a sonogram for some other time and then we could discuss changing bc pills. I didn’t do either–I don’t have time to go back to the office, wait 45 minutes, and do a test that won’t really tell me anything useful, IMO, and I wasn’t pleased with her mannerism/professionalism/knowledge during the visit, so I didn’t really want to troubleshoot with her, anyway.

    This is a highly recommended office, so I was planning to schedule my next exam (or go to them if anything comes up), but ask to see a different NP/MD. Then, I get the explanation of benefits, and I was charged for preventative care, testing, and an office visit. The office visit had a copay, which is why I noticed it (preventative care should have no copay for me), and when I called to inquire, I was told that because I asked about a pain issue, it was also billed as a problem visit.

    The appointment was very short overall, and I don’t think we could have spent more than 2 minutes discussing the past pain (that’s a generous estimate). Does this seem like an inappropriate extra charge to anyone else?

    • Jacqueline :

      That seems a little over-the-top to me. Have you had this kind of issue with her in the past? I’ve had similar situations with my doctor where we’ve discussed more than one health problem on a visit, but I was only billed for the price of one visit. Could you leave a message for the doctor to ask more about this? Sometimes I find that the phone staff at my doctor’s office will be very adamant about something that they’re told is office policy, but doctors are sometimes willing to make exceptions.

      • super anon :

        I may try calling the NP directly. I don’t have any relationship with her, though–new patient, and I don’t think we really hit it off.

    • that’s pretty annoying. one would think that inquiring about potential issues before they become problematic is the very definition of “preventative”.

      that said, not sure what you can do about it. i’m not very well-versed in healthcare battles – maybe others can tell you whether calling your insurance company, etc. would be a good use of your time.

      • super anon :

        I was thinking about writing a letter to the practice group and cc-ing my insurance company. I paid the copay by credit card (they required a deposit to hold the appt, so they refunded me the deposit less the copay), so I am considering disputing the charge, although that sounds extreme, and I think I should tell them that is my intention before I do it.

        • Diana Barry :

          I would call the dr’s office first, and ask that the charge be taken off. If they don’t do it, then write the letter to the office and the insurance co, and dispute the charge.

          • Magdeline :

            Usually, the credit card company requires you to contact the company that is charging you before they will take the charge off anyway. It might be worthwhile to let the doctor’s office know that you are not happy with how they billed you, anyway.

        • I had something similar happen once when I went to my former primary care physician for a flu shot (should have been entirely covered). My primary wasn’t available so I saw a different guy, and since I hadn’t seen him before, he flipped through my chart. He commented on the results of my latest blood test – I had something a little off but not worthy of intervention. Imagine how surprised I was to see I was billed for a full office visit for that discussion, as if I had brought it up. I called and spoke with the billing office, and after verifying it with the nurse or doctor, they ended up removing the charge. I think your case is pretty similar, and if they don’t remove the charge I wouldn’t go back.

          I’ll add that my gyn NP (different practice) has never charged me for an office visit, only my covered preventative care, and she frequently wrote me prescriptions for allergy medicine and referred me for tests for a few concerns.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      The same exact thing happened to me under very similar circumstances. I discussed some pain issues with my gyn and was told that was the reason I had to pay a co-pay although it should have been classified as preventative.

      I’m generally with-it when it comes to that kind of stuff, but I’ve just been so busy that I blew it off… but I have to say that after reading this post I’m aggravated all over again and will make sure it does not happen when I go back for my next annual.

      • super anon :

        Sorry to make you aggravated again! I was so mad when I got off the phone with the billing people this morning. If I remember correctly, the discussion of pain was in the context of talking about the recent history of my menstrual cycle (sorry if TMI), so it wasn’t even like I was asking her to work on a diagnosis or treatment plan.

    • Call and ask to speak directly to the doctor. She probably did not realize that reporting that you spoke about a pain issue would result in your being billed for a problem visit instead of a preventive visit. Probably she is the only one who can direct that the charge be removed.

      I wouldn’t go to this practice again anyway. You didn’t like the doctor, and they seem unprofessional (insisting on a deposit for an appointment? I’ve heard of cancellation fees, but a deposit?).

    • karenpadi :

      This has happened to me. I am on a high-deductible plan where preventative care is actually 100% covered. I get a bill for $400 for having a conversation exactly like this. I think it’s miserly, unprofessional and a horrible thing for a doctor to do. I never return to those doctors.

      I’ve found that I don’t get billed this way if I tell the doctor at the beginning of my appointment about how my insurance is structured.

    • Anonymous MD :

      I’m a primary care MD, and unfortunately this is how billing works these days. However, I understand where you’re coming from and agree it’s off-putting. (This happens because insurance companies don’t completely reimburse for visits — for example, I recently saw my gyn for an annual exam and while she charged ~$180, the insurance company paid her ~$130. This is also why appointment times are so short now, but that’s another issue!)

      I agree that you should contact the office and speak to someone in billing or the business office, and if that doesn’t work to try to speak with the NP directly.

  8. Diana Barry :

    I like this a lot (whenever Kat finds Akris pieces I love them) but of course it is too expensive. Sigh.

    I do wonder whether the bottom part is knit or woven. I would hope it’s woven – mixing the 2 kinds of fabric never goes well.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Agreed. I hate the mixing of fabrics, whether it’s silk in front and cheap cotton in back (like I’m never taking off my jacket??) or like this, which appears to be silk on top and some kind of knit bottom. Mixed fabric tops often look like the manufacturer was too cheap to give me a whole piece of clothing made of the nice fabric.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Oh, I hadn’t thought about that yet, but I hate that. I do love the look of this shirt, though!! The color, neckline, sleeves… and I suspect the cummerbund part may look good on a not-as-flat-as-it-used-to-be mom belly.

  9. Jacqueline :

    Threadjack — I’m trying to decide between a Macbook Air 13″ and a Macbook Pro 13″ to replace my dying, five-year-old HP laptop, and I’m really torn. I’ll primarily use it for word processing, photo/music storage, and web browsing. The Pro comes with 500 GB standard storage, and the Air only comes with 128 GB… Do I need 500 GB? Will 128 GB be enough? I was leaning toward the Air, but it’s actually a little more expensive than the Pro, but with less than half the storage, so I guess you’re just paying for its lightweight nature. Thoughts?

    • Look at how much storage you are currently using. I was trying to make this decision myself a few months ago and ended up with the Macbook Pro 13” (had a 4+ year old Macbook Pro 15”). I use my personal laptop basically for the same things you described. I was using slightly more than 128 GB on my old laptop, and I like to be able to put some music on or lots of photos without having to move things around. Also, the Macbook Air doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive, so that’s something to think about (would you buy an external one? carry it around when you travel?).

      While the Macbook Air is very light, both were lighter than my old computer, and I don’t carry my personal laptop except on travel, which is realistically not that often (no more back and forth to class, etc.).

      I am a Mac person, but I felt that I just could not justify paying for the Macbook Air without comparison shopping. My husband has a Lenovo that is very lightweight, and it seemed like that would have been by far a better value.

      • viclawstudent :

        I have the Air (actually, the 11″) and I love it because it’s so small – I can shove it into my purse and carry it around all day and barely notice it’s there – but I think for your needs you should go with the Pro. I use mine for word processing for school and Internet browsing, but I have a desktop computer I use for photo/music storage and think that the Air is somewhat underpowered to try to handle that sort of stuff.

    • Well, am not particularly tech-y, but FWIW, I’m not using anywhere near 128 GB on my Air (no movies, no games with fancy graphics etc) and love the weight plus sleekness (I take it lots more places than I did my old Macbook). Minuses are that it is a tad less robust than the old one in terms of seizing up between tasks and needing a reboot, plus no built-in CD drive in case you use this for music and pics.

    • I have the Air — my husband and I prioritized portability over almost everything else. I don’t store a ton of stuff other than music on my actual computer (I have a external hard drive for movies) — but I do have tons of music on it as well as an entire windows set-up for work. The things I love about the air are: (1) the solid-state hard drive (it starts so very, very fast) and (2) how nicely it slides in and out of my purse. I have to bring my lap-top to and from work every day and I travel a fair amount, so it was important for me that it travel well.

    • I had to make the same decision about a month ago. Because it was going to be my only computer, I went with the MacBook Pro. I don’t regret it for one minute.

    • I love my Air and my decision is reaffirmed every time I pick up a friend’s Pro and feel how heavy it is compared to mine. But like others, I use a different computer for music. I also went with the fully maxed out version that has 256MB (not sure if you knew this was available or ruled it out b/c of cost?).

    • I was going to get an Air, but the Apple geek at the store talked me into a Pro because I wanted to use it to store my photos & music. This was pre-iCloud. Now you can simply store to the Cloud, so this issue has been resolved. I would go with the Air for portability. No sense in buying a heftier computer then you really need.

      However, the Air cons have been discussed: no CD/DVD drive, lacks a little “zoom” hard drive speed when multi-tasking.

      Try going into the Apple store and booting up an Air and running 10 things at once. Talk to some of the Apple geeks. They will let you know what they think. They’re pretty unbiased considering you are debating between 2 Apple products. Obviously they are useless if you are asking Apple v. PC. ;-)

    • SouthernLegal :

      I just bought the Macbook Air 13″ about five months ago and absolutely love it. Yes, it’s more expensive, but I travel frequently, and being able to pack everything up and weigh less than 4 lbs is a complete livesaver for me. I use it primarily for work – standard word processing and web browsing. I was worried about the extra memory for trials, etc., but for short trips, a simple flash drive works well, and (at least in my area) you can get a 1TB external harddrive for around $120.00 if you need the extra storage.

    • I got my Macbook Air a little over a year ago (Christmas 2010) and I love it. I use it for work and home as my primary computer everyday for all the things you’re using. I bring mine back and forth from work every day, and I love the portability and how lightweight it is. If you’re going to be taking it with you quite a bit, I really recommend the Air.

      • This is not snarky, but a legitimate question: Has anyone paused on buying any Apple products after all of the recent publicity they’ve gotten about their factories? I’m curious if that’s made a difference at all. I know I would pay a little extra for better conditions. I read the other day that each product would cost $65 more to pay for U.S.-type conditions in the Chinese factories.

        an iPad owner

        • I listened to the “This American Life” episode on this topic (aired just a couple of weeks ago), and the trouble is, it’s literally everything we buy that is made under those circumstances, not just Apple. I haven’t had to make any big electronics purchases since then, but from what I’ve read since then, it’s endemic. I don’t know if any company will step forward to make their conditions a selling point, but if they do, I will definitely take that into consideration.

          • I haven’t heard anything to convince me that other electronics companies aren’t doing exactly the same things.

        • I have been following the news about this stuff. I agree with Whit, that there aren’t really any other brands of electronics that you can buy that are any different. But, it does upset me.

          I do two things: one is to be very careful about buying new electronics, I stretch the life of the things I have as long as I can (I just replaced my iphone 3 after 3.5 years), I put off buying new gadgets, (I have not bought a tablet, or a Kindle, even though I kind of want one, for this reason) and I buy refurbished or used whenever I can. (Apple has a great ‘refurbished store’, plus you save money)- Altho, I’ve done these things since before I heard about the Apple factories, but I’m being more strict now.

          And the other thing is to sign the petitions, send the emails when organizations launch pressure campaigns against Apple or other electronics companies. I might be buying their products, but I am going to let them know how I feel about it.

          I’m not willing/able to give up all electronics entirely, but I feel like I have to do the best I can to reduce demand for now, and like Whit said, keep informed so that if any company does make a change, I could support that by purchasing their products.

    • I decided on the pro, because the (iirc) the Air doesn’t have a DVD/CD drive, doesn’t have the ability to plug cables in, etc. If you need to be able to use wired internet, and if you use CDs/DVDs and don’t want to invest in an external drive, the Air isn’t a good choice.

    • Jacqueline :

      Thanks for the feedback, all! It sounds like I can’t really go wrong, since the responses are evenly divided and everyone seems happy with their respective purchases… you’ve given me a lot to think about. I lean towards the Air, but I’m going to go to the Apple store to check them both out in person.

  10. Somebody posted last week asking whether it was appropriate/beneficial to negotiate compensation by email. The poster was concerned about sounding authoritative in asking for an increase in salary. I think that there was one response pointing to the benefit that negotiations would be recorded for future reference. Do you have any other opinions about the positives and negatives of negotiating by email?

    • Jacqueline :

      I don’t see many advantages (for employees) to negotiating over email. It’s so much easier for the company to say no to you when they don’t have to face you down or wait you out on the phone. I think at the very least you want to do it over the phone so you have more leverage. A long pause can be a powerful thing!

  11. Frustrated Friend :

    Not a fan of the blouse, something about the cummerbund reminds me of a pregnancy top.

    Threadjack – one of the articles in the Weekly Roundup on Friday got me thinking. I have a friend from junior high that I’ve seriously been considering cutting ties with for some time now. We were close throughout high school and college but there have always been times when she would speak before thinking and say something hurtful. I used to let it go because I understand that her mother is extremely overprotective and she’s been way too sheltered (example – not “allowed” to drive on highways or take public transport into NYC because it’s too “unsavory”).

    But now, she’s been working in the real world for two years now and there’s no reason for her to be so nasty to me for no reason. During college and the start of grad school, we would both call each other a few times a week to catch up and vent. Her calls became more infrequent when she got a full-time job, and I completely understood. However, when six weeks would pass and she wouldn’t call or text, I’d wonder. I’d usually text her saying we need to schedule a phone chat and her response would be, “Too busy, raincheck.” Again, I understood until she’d be unreasonable about me having to reschedule because her proposed time didn’t work for me. Really, WTF?! We both have lives, can’t we make accommodations for friends?

    Something that really stung was when I went to visit her and as we were getting into our cars, I said, “We need to do this more often, it’s been too long since we’ve hung out.” Her response, totally serious btw, was, “Some of us have jobs.” Ouch. She knew I’d been sending out resumes for over a year at that point and her comment was mean and unjustified. I was in grad school at the time so it’s not like I was sitting around watching soaps all day while she was out “working.” I had coursework, plus taking care of things around the house and sending out resumes.

    The last straw for me was something she said to me when we spoke back in December that should have been trivial but isn’t. There’s a tv show we both watch and used to discuss but lately I haven’t been able to watch it due to my schedule. Now I have two internships plus I’m in my last term of grad school. I asked her if she could send me a quick text after the episode aired to catch me up on our favorite couple and she told me, “Why would I waste my time when you can find that out online yourself?” What happened taking 90 seconds to send one of your oldest friends a text because she asked? I’d do the same for her, no questions asked. That was it for me, I was livid and found a reason to get off the phone shortly after she said that.

    I’m finding myself increasingly frustrated with her lack of comprehension for how she’s hurting my feelings and not wanting to deal with the aggravation. I have come at her point-blank and said, “That hurt my feelings, why would you say that to me?” I’m met with silence each and every time.

    My group of core friends has trimmed down since college and I’m beginning to realize who I can truly count on when the chips are down. As someone wrote in that NYT article, if you want to make time for someone, you will, no matter how busy you are. There have been times when other friends have said, and I myself have said at times, that they’re really busy but will let me know when they’re free. That’s all I’m asking for, the acknowledgement that our friendship is still in tact and our busy lives don’t mean we’re not communicating.

    I haven’t spoken to my friend since December except the random FB message with previews for the show we watch, that she’s too busy to send me recaps of. This is really sad because we’ve been friends close to ten years but I know it’s something I need to do. I spend too much time upset with her careless attitude towards our friendship that it must end.

    I don’t want that awkward “break-up talk” and as we really don’t talk much, that hasn’t been an issue so far. But when she gets it in her head she want to talk to me, she won’t stop calling. First it’s a text, then it’s a call to my cell, and then it’s a call to my home. If I don’t answer, she repeats the cycle as well as inquiring with mutual friends where I am and how I’m doing.

    Have any of you ladies gone through this? If so, what advice do you have to share. Thanks in advance, I’m pulling my hair out over this and really want it resolved so I can move forward.

    (apologies for how long this is)

    • First, stop tearing yourself up over this. You used to be friends, but the friendship isn’t doing anything for you anymore, you’ve moved on, end of story. No need to apologize or feel bad about that. Things change and life moves on. You have permission to move forward!

      Second, when she starts her incessant campaigns to get in touch with you, respond with a simple “I’m sorry, but I can’t.” After a few of those, she’ll get the hint – and might be angry at you, but if your goal is to end the friendship, well, then that’s perfectly fine.

      FWIW she sounds like a nasty person. I wouldn’t think twice about ending this.

    • I don’t think it’s time to cut ties with her; from your description, I think it is pretty clear she is already trying to cut ties with you. I wouldn’t bother to confront her and would just let the relationship take its natural course without any intervention from you. A few “too busy, rain checks” the next few times she calls or texts you should do the trick.

      On a broader point, I don’t know why we put up with friends like this and keep making excuses for them. I’ve done it many times, and every time I look back and kick myself for not cutting them out sooner. They are just a parasitic influence on your overall happiness.

    • I accidentally responded as a new thread below.

    • good lord what a weird friendship, she doesn’t sound nice or like a good friend. But in the other direction, you seem like you have a weird codependency too. Asking her to send you texts about the show does seem a little much, it seems like you are both using things like shows in common to keep a friendship going that really died a while ago. if she starts with a text, just text her back something like “hey! yeah everything good just soo busy. hope everything is good with you” and eventually I have to believe the contact will just kind of fade. It is always hard losing a friend, and I think if you reread what you wrote pretending you are not the person, you’ll see that it is not much of a friendship. Start moving forward now, and regulate her to an old friend that is no longer a current friend.

    • Gurl, why do you keep trying to maintain contact with her? You do not need someone who doesn’t want you. No formal convo necessary. Let it go and peace out.

    • When I was in high school, I had a best friend break up with me. At the time it was devastating. And for years I took the lesson way TOO far, i.e., I became hyper-sensitive to any sign that maybe someone didn’t like me and then I would pull back, which made making friends (especially in the “adult” world) kind of hard. But I think now (10 years later), I’ve come to a good equilibrium, which is this, I’m not out here trying to MAKE anyone be friends with me. I listen to what they’re telling me — if they want to hang out and are nice to me, I assume they like me. If they don’t want to hang out or aren’t nice to me, I assume they don’t like me so much. None of it has any huge impact on me as a person (I always assume its them and not me…if you know what I mean).

      I think its hard as an adult, but sometimes friendships just….end. And you just have to let them go. And then sometimes they start up again. For no clear reasons. But its better not to torture yourself over it and to just focus on living your life as it is now. And making new friends, friends who fit into your life NOW — like maybe start a club with some of your graduate school friends to watch your show or something. :-)

      • I had the same high school experience and later reaction to it. I must have gotten over it though because now it’s been 12 or so years and I honestly forgot about it until I read your post. Of course, adult friendships are a lot different than high school friendships. I wouldn’t have a formal breakup talk, just let it drift apart naturally.

        • Oh yeah, I don’t recommend a break up talk, I’m not sure those would ever be appropriate in adult friendships.

          I only think about my high school “breakup” because I think it shaped my approach to friendships for a long time in a bad way. So sometimes if I’m getting into a bad headspace about a friendship, I have to check myself and say — hey, you’re being a little crazy there anony. :-P

    • Frustrated Friend :

      Thank you so much for all the responses so far! I have been cooling things off with her and she was the one who reached out to me in December. As for the show we used to watch together and asking her to send me a recap, that was part jest on my part because I thought it was no big deal, but when she gave me the response she did, that was the dealbreaker for me. I’m done trying to contact her and if she reaches out to me, “Sorry, too busy.” Subtle hints don’t work so I’m going to be blatant, even if it is mean, I’m done.

      Wow, typing that and telling myself that really helps. Thanks, Corporettes!

    • She’s just not that into you.


      • Agreed. Sounds like she may be trying to get out of the friendship and you’re just not taking her cues.

    • soulfusion :

      I think everyone goes through these friendship growing pains in one form or another. The decision you need to make is this: do you want her out of your life completely or do you want to leave the door open for the friendship to evolve. A very good friend of mine – one I describe as a best friend – is absolutely flaky and never there for me. In the beginning this was extremely difficult for me because I was constantly let down. But then something clicked – if I want to preserve the positives of the friendship I needed to accept the negatives. And accepting the negatives meant teaching myself not to rely on her at all. Ever. In many ways we have a very one-sided friendship where I give and give but don’t receive a lot back. But since I don’t have any expectations of getting anything back, it works for me. I learned to look to other friendships to be my support. It may sound like she is using me but she has never said anything negative or nasty about me and she doesn’t neglect me with malice and the times we are together are amazing, so I just accept that as our level of friendship even though years ago, in the beginning it was much more balanced. I just protect myself with no expectations and let her be the one to take the lead in communication and it works for me.
      It sounds like your friend is more than just flaky and isn’t uplifting at all – right now. She may be going through a phase. You both may have moved into such different stages of life that you struggle to relate to one another. If you let her go for a while – no harsh words exchanged, no break-up talk, just untether for a bit – you both may find your way back to each other. Or you might not. But ultimately, I don’t see the point in having a back and forth over everything that is wrong in the relationship and breaking up because you may ultimately regret it. Set your own boundaries and stick to them. I hope this all makes sense, I just wanted to offer another perspective since I have come to believe that not all friendships worth keeping are evenly balanced. That being said, every friendship worth keeping must bring more positive than negative to your life.

  12. I had a longer post, but the site told me I was ‘posting too quickly.’ A little frustrating since it is my first post in several days. However, it’s helped me to shorten my post:

    Does anyone have tips/advice for getting out of private practice as an attorney into another professional position? Specifically, I’m looking at education, either as an administrator or in higher education. I feel so boxed-in by my JD, and am trying to figure out what steps to take in order to be considered a viable candidate in another field.

    • Master’s in Higher Ed Administration, School Administration, or one of their affiliated ilk. You may also be able to meet the minimum qualifications for some higher ed positions without the degree. If you’re not aware of it, the Chronicle of Higher Education has a comprehensive employment section–I’d look around at various job listings, to see whether you feel like you can apply with what you have, or whether you need the Master’s.

      If you want to be able to enter higher ed admin at a higher, management-type level, though, I don’t think there’s a way for you to get around the Master’s.

      I am not aware of a path into public secondary-school administration without the degree, at least not where I work. Private schools would be more flexible.

      • Oh, forgot to say–at least for School Administration, it’s very common for people to get this while they’re working full-time. Part-time, night, or online programs all exist and are perfectly acceptable in my school system. Particularly with online programs, though, you should be careful to do your homework on accreditation.

      • Just wanted to say – this was incredibly helpful. You might not realize how helpful this was to me, on the outside trying to get in. Thank you!

    • Look into the Broad Fellowship – It’s for MBAs, JDs, etc. who want to move into education.

      • Not relevant to me, but thanks for posting that! I know of a lot of programs that facilitate career switches into teaching, but that’s the first one I’ve seen for administration.

  13. I’m sorry. I had a friend who I decided to let go because she kept humiliating me in front of our peers–announcing that my jokes weren’t funny, always implying that I was naive or clueless, and generally ridiculing things I said (as a habit). She was not responsive to my demonstrations that I was hurt.

    I didn’t share as long a history with her, and when I stopped contacting her she did not resist, so for those two reasons my decision was easier. But I still think you need to let this friend go. I’d say you only have the “breakup conversation” if/when she insists on contacting you AND specifically asks why you haven’t been in touch. I put “conversation” in quotes because I actually think this should probably be pretty one-sided. The reason is that I can’t think of anything she could say to excuse (or even explain) this horrendous record of hurtful behavior. Thus, I don’t think you need to really invite any input from her. Just say you’re consistently hurt by the friendship and have decided it’s best to let it go and start healing. It’s not any more up for debate than it would be if this was a guy you were dating.

  14. Job question :

    My clerkship is ending this fall and I’ve begun my job search. I love what I’m currently doing, but there aren’t any other clerkships available in this area. Someone suggested that I contact some of the bigger firms in my city (I’m in the Midwest) and ask if they would consider hiring me to just research and write briefs for 40-ish hours per week. If I can’t get another clerkship, this idea sounds wonderful to me because I’ll still be able to do what I enjoy (research/writing) and maintain a government-like schedule (I have an infant at home). Do you all think any firms would go for a set-up like this? If so, how would I approach them and word my request?

    • Former MidLevel :

      I have heard of firms doing this with ex-associates or ex-partners. I’ve never heard of a firm that hired people to just write briefs from the start. It is a brave new world, though, so maybe some firms will be open to alternative hiring ideas, but just be warned that firms tend to be extremely adverse to change in the way they hire/promote/evaluate people.

      Btw, if you love research and writing, have you considered applying for an appellate position with your state AG? That might be something you would enjoy, with better-than-BigLaw hours.

      • Along these lines, your state public defender as well. Or in the federal system has positions that just write and research. I don’t think you have to be licensed because you don’t actually sign anything or argue in court so the pay is less, but the work is essentially research and writing. Also our state appellate courts have staff attorneys who research and write. Maybe your state has something similar.

        • Former MidLevel :

          Good clarification. I definitely did not mean to slight the PDs!

    • Although they are not officially called clerkships, administrative law positions are often posted at usajobs.gov. They are typically under the heading “attorney-adviser.” The work is essentially clerking for Administrative Law Judges or Administrative Appeals Judges.

    • AnonInfinity :

      There are some people in my area who do this, but for small firms or solo practitioners. I think they primarily get their clients through word of mouth, though I’ve seen small ads in the local bar magazines.

      If you are more interested in working for a bigger firm (rather than being self-employed), your best bet might be talking informally with folks you know at the big firms. They’ll be able to tell you whether the partners seem to be open to such an idea or whether someone else at the firm is already doing that.

      • I’ll second that you might have better luck doing this for small/solo firms. When I was sort of-solo last year, I connected with one solo and primarily did things like that for him on an hourly basis – earned about 12K last year (over the course of 6 months) doing it, which wasn’t bad for the amount of work I was doing. It’s stressful, though, because you do have to work with their schedule a bit and things can be very uneven (i.e., super busy for a week, then nothing for another week or 2). I didn’t put a lot of effort into finding other opportunities like that, but if I could have found 2-3 firms like that, it would have been a great gig for the lifestyle you seem to be looking for. (I’m assuming that you have a partner also earning, so a constant stream of money and/or benefits might not be as big of an issue – if that’s not the case, it might be a rough way of doing things.)

        • Lyssa,

          I’m doing something like this right now and its making me really anxious/stressed out not knowing when the next time I’ll get work is, and having to drop everything when I get an email from the attorney I’m working for. It’s really hard for me to turn work off and on like that. Do you have any tips for handling the stress?

    • Staff attorney positions are sometimes available at a variety of non-federal district courts–I know people with this job at the state trial & intermediate appellate levels, and with the 9th Circuit. It sounds like a great position for someone who enjoys research and writing on a variety of topics.

      Our firm does have a contract attorney to whom we farm out occasional research and writing projects, but this person has a long-standing friendship with one of the partners.

  15. Any tips for dealing with menstrual cramps while in the office?

    I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had cramps in my life, but this month they are here with a vengenance. I took two ibuprofen but it’s still all I can do not to go home and curl up in bed with a heating pad, which is not an option today. Help please!

    • Always a NYer :

      Coffee and ThermaCare heat wraps.

    • Heat up a mug of coffee or hot water, hold it against your stomach (or wherever the cramp is). Don’t spill. Good luck.

    • Take more ibuprofen. Seriously. Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, you are not going to overdose by doing larger dose once in a while. When I feel mine coming on, I usually go straight for 3 or 4 (of the regular, over the counter strength) pills per dose. 2 won’t do cr*p for me.

      Drink lots of water – get up and walk so you aren’t just hunched over your achy abdomen all day.

      • This. My doctor told me that 4 ibuprofen is considered “prescription strength.” Also, caffeine may help.

        • I take that back – caffeine + ibuprofen helps with headaches, but could make cramps worse. Sorry!

        • Exactly. On my bad cramps day, I take 6 Advil. It hasn’t killed me yet, and it’s the only thing that touches the pain. Take more ibuprofen.

      • Yep, two days a month I take massive doses of ibuprofen and it’s the only thing that keeps me functional.

      • Going to take more ibuprofen stat – thanks, ladies! No time to go run out & get Thermacare wraps today, but I’ll make a note to grab some after work.

        Dear goodness, this is brutal. I have a high pain tolerance, but this is something else. Serious props to you ladies who deal with this month after month!

      • Yes! I take 3 Advil if I have cramps and I can manage on 2 if I take it before the pain sets in. Previously I only took 2 because I didn’t want to take too many, but a friend suggested I increase the amount to 3. It has made such a difference. Seriously I am in love with my Advil! I have one big bottle at home and of those smaller travel sized ones so I will never be without it!

    • When the ibuprofen’s dose runs out, pop an Aleve (or two, but be careful, the max dose per day is 3 pills). 12 blissful hours of uninterrupted pain relief. Add some caffeine of your chase and ditto the sticky thermacare wraps. Sometimes, I boost my office chair and push into the desk as closely as I can to deal with the cramps. Pushing a manual or other heavy book into my abdomen would sometimes help, too.

      • oooh I do that too. Or I’ll put a big manual between my low back and the chair and press into that too.

    • Diana Barry :

      My dr told me to take 3 Aleve. That usually helped.

      • Magdeline :

        I just keep a heating pad at my desk and use it. It is extremely cold in this office, and I often have back pain, so it is very helpful to me. (I know that you said that you can’t go out today, but for future reference.)

        No one really comes into my office, so this works for me. In other offices, I might not feel as comfortable doing this.

    • Tra la la :

      I get cramps like this every month. You have to “stay ahead of the pain”, or at least I do. This usually means I have to take 12 – 15 Advil/Motrin per day. (Any doctors out there? Please tell me I’m not poisoning myself by doing so.) If I fall behind with taking the Advil, I will usually pass out or nearly pass out. A heating pad also helps, but the pain medication is most important for me. I don’t ever let myself get caught without some Advil nearby.

      If it’s any help, I have cramps today, too . . . good luck.

      • that seems like a ton of advil/motrin. can you talk to your doctor and get something that is higher strength? A gf of mine used to take prescribed 800 of ibf. That way you wouldnt have to take so much

        • Um – what’s the difference? OTC is 200 mg of ibuprofen. 4 OTC pills would be 800 mg (as noted above, prescription strength). Ibuprofen works for 4ish hours, so you’d be taking 3 or 4 dosages thru the day to stay ahead of the pain. You’d still be getting about the same amount of active ingredient.

        • she says she sometimes forgets a dose and almost passes out, less dosages would be better i was thinking

          • She would be taking 800 mg every x hours; I don’t see how it matters if that’s in the form of 1 800 mg pill every x hours or 4 200 mg pills every x hours. The frequency doesn’t change.

          • I didn’t realize she was taking a lot of pills every number hours- she just said how many pills she was taking a day I thought she might be taking one or 2 every hour or two hours. So I was thinking a stronger dose to get her through 3 or 4 hours.

      • That much advil/motrin per day can completely destroy your stomach lining. Please make sure that you’re eating enough so that the advil and stomach acids have something to chew on besides your actual stomach.

        I used to have cramps like this EVERY SINGLE MONTH. You know what helped? Birth control pills. They feel like a miracle. No pain.

    • So… are you sure they’re just cramps? Like you, I’d only had moderate cramps in my lifetime, The one time in my early 30s I had severe cramps I was actually having an early miscarriage. My period was about 3 weeks late and I had taken pregnancy tests, which came back negative, but then my “period” started and I had cramps so bad I had to stay home in bed, which I had never done in my life. I ended up in the emergency room & passed the bulk of the miscarriage in the waiting room.

      Sorry if this is TMI.

      • I’m 98% certain they’re just cramps, but I’ll keep an eye out for anything abnormal. Thanks for the warning!

      • This was my first reaction to this post as well, as I had a similar experience while studying for the bar. I hope it isn’t a m/c though. Feel better soon!

    • Hot chocolate made with real milk. The warm is soothing, the calcium in the milk and the chocolate are known cramp fighters, plus the whole combo is just comforting and delicious. I hope you feel better soon!

    • No science to back it up, but this is what I do:

      I take 1 motrin, and go buy one of those mini-tubs of Haagen-Daz ice cream. Eating the ice cream distracts my brain temporarily from the cramps. Repeat as needed.

  16. People, I have some bad news. I feel presumptuous doing this, but KinNYC and puppy didn’t have such a good weekend. Please share some good mojo with her to boost her mood. Thanks.

    • :-( Boo.

      Poor K in NYC. Thinking of her and the pupster this morning.

    • Oh no. This makes my heart hurt. I will be sending good vibes her (and her pup’s) way.

    • Oh no, poor K in NYC. My thoughts are with you and good mojo coming your way from the West Coast!

    • I’m sorry to hear that. Hope things will be OK, and I assume she will be back to let us know what’s up.

    • Oh no! I’ll be thinking of K in NYC today. Dealing with a sick pup of my own today, and K’s situation just makes my heart ache for her.

    • I’ll be thinking of them both. Thanks for posting an update even though the news isn’t good. *crosses fingers* in the hopes that it will get better.

    • Oh no! I’ll be sending good thoughts their way.

    • MissJackson :

      Oh no — so sad to hear this. Keeping her in my thoughts, and sending all of my good mojo her way.

    • Hugs to K and her puppy. We’re thinking of you and here for you!

    • Big hugs to you K!!!!

    • Seattleite :

      K, I’m so sorry. Big internet hugs and vibes are winging their way east.

      • In search of Bunksters bark :

        Yes, big hugs! I think the hardest thing I’ve had to do as an adult was facing the “it’s time” decision. It’s agonizing and heartbreaking at the same time. Thinking ’bout you, K.

    • EmpLawyer :

      Thinking of them… Bad weekends wrt pets are the worst.

    • Oh, dear. Sending positive thoughts and all good wishes from the west coast to K and her pupster . . . .

  17. Need some advice… please tell me if you think I am being overly paranoid.

    Two years ago, when I was researching my next step, I had lunch with a male senior attorney at XYZ federal agency to learn more about his work, which was exactly what I would like to do. He was super nice and very encouraging, but didn’t have any openings at that time.

    Fast forward to present day. I am currently unemployed, spotted and applied for an opening at XYZ federal agency and dropped the senior attorney a line to say hello and let him know that I applied. Today, I got an email from him saying that we should catch up… he’s busy at lunchtime this week but will be available for dinner tonight and tomorrow.

    How would you interpret such an email? Is this inappropriate, strange or just very nice? And do you think it means that I am out of contention for the position? What would you do?

    • Very nice. But, trust your gut.

    • I think it’s a little strange, but given that your contact with him involved letting him know you applied for the position, I would give him the benefit of the doubt and accept the dinner invitation. I don’t have any clue as to whether you are out of contention for the position, but it’s my opinion that going to the dinner has more pros than it does cons regarding your employment.

    • Its a teensy bit strange, but I’d go for it. I have no idea what it means, but I’d take it at face value, dress in a suit, and hope for the best.

      Good luck!

    • I’d say go for it, with an early dinner. This is one of those things that varies so much from region to region and with agency to agency. But in my experience, moving back to an area and trying to reconnect with professionals who *might* be able to help me find a position, dinner was as likely to be suggested as lunch by both men and women. I definitely don’t think it means you are out of contention.

    • I would say not inappropriate, but informal. Actually, I think you may have invited his response. Of course, without knowing exactly what you said in your email/voicemail, I can’t be sure.

      It sounds to me like you maybe came across as casually reconnecting in an informal, friendship/mentorship capacity. Especially given that it sounds like your meeting 2 years ago was in such a capacity. If your message was what you indicated it was, primarily that you wanted to say hello, drop him a line, get in touch . . . oh and btw I applied for the opening at your agency, then he may have taken your message as more of an invitation to reconnect than a request to help you get a job.

      • The main reason that I was concerned is because it is a federal agency, with super formal procedures and processes.

        Upon my second contact, he had asked me to email him my resume, then indicated that he wasn’t sure if he would be involved in the interview process. He may have looked at my resume and realized that I am currently unemployed and is just trying to be nice.

        I am probably overthinking this.

      • karenpadi :

        I think you missed the issue. I think the issue is that a male attorney invited her to dinner alone instead of lunch for a mentor/mentee-type meeting. Usually, these meetings are scheduled over lunch to avoid the appearance of impropriety. If she accepts, dinner might be interpreted by him as indicating romantic interest.

        I don’t see how dropping a note to say hi and to let someone know you applied for an open position indicates any kind of romantic interest in that person. But that’s how creepy men (like Herman Cain) roll.

        DA, if you haven’t gotten weird vibes from him already, I’d accept dinner. Like someone said above, schedule an early dinner. On this site, someone previously mentioned bringing along a notepad to quell romantic overtures in this kind of setting.

    • If you didn’t get any weird vibes two years ago, I would just treat it as a business meal and go. Suit or business casual, pay your own check, etc. I don’t know that it will help you get this specific job – government hiring is so byzantine – but it can’t hurt to have a friendly face on the other side of the process. Good luck!

    • I don’t think it’s strange at all. He obviously wants to make time for you, and he’s busy during the day. Working dinners aren’t unusual for people who work 70+ hours a week.

    • I agree, just go. While I was networking an older attorney asked me to dinner; I went and it was fine. Dinner allows more time and a less pressured environment. I don’t know the agency or workload, but in most places it’s hard to even take an undisturbed half hour lunch, especially if there’s a big project or deal going on. Plus, you’ve at least met the guy; my dinner was a blind dinnerview!

  18. Any tips on negotiating severance with a large company? An SO was laid off on Friday and is evaluating a package from a public company. Is there typically any room to negotiate here, or is it take it or leave it in these situations. FWIW, it was a Director-level position, and the person has been with the company for 5 years with positive reviews.

    • Perhaps... :

      Does the package mention severance? Usually the company will make the first offer.

      If SO is starting, then s/he should pick a number and negotiate from there. Large banks sometimes give 4 weeks and then went down to 3 or 2 depending on seniority, but at a Director level, I’d think the laid-off person could get at least 20 weeks. So start higher – say 10 months and work down. Good luck!

  19. I just want to thank everyone for giving me advice a few months ago about staying focused in the home stretch of my PhD. I successfully defended my dissertation last week, and I don’t have to make any revisions! Someone mentioned that it was a little anticlimactic, and she was right. Nevertheless, I am so relieved to be done, and I appreciate the thoughts that all of you shared!

  20. I’m excited! I’m going to NYC in May for the first time, and just bought 2 tickets for The Book of Mormon for a Sunday matinee, which will be my first Broadway show!

    • SO freakin’ funny!!! I’m jealous even though I saw it already. Needless to say, not for the easily (or normally) offended, guaranteed to offend but you’ll be laughing so hard it won’t matter. Loved it!

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