Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Cut Out V Neck Dress

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

Rachel Roy Cut Out V Neck DressA gray sheath dress is a definite classic — you can go sedate with a black or navy blazer, but you can also have a lot of fun with colored blazers that look a bit too stark with black. Today, I like this simple sheath dress from Rachel Roy — the “cut out” black panels have a slimming effect on the waist and bodice, and give the back an interesting detail. (Note that ShopBop has it in a red/white combo as well.) The gray dress is $428 at Bloomingdale’s. Rachel Roy Cut Out V Neck Dress

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


  1. PharmaGirl :

    This dress reminds me of the recent Project Runway episode where the designers were tasked with creating workplace attire… most of the designs were totally inappropriate for the average office.

    There’s no way I could get away with wearing this at work. Not that I don’t like the dress, it’s just way too sexy.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I actually think the dress is sort of unflattering. From this vantage point, it makes the model look rather wider.

      • I agree. The dress makes her look poochy. I do like the shoes though.

      • Oh, I just assumed it gave her the illusion of hips where she probably didn’t really have them.

        • PharmaGirl :

          I was thinking the same thing. She doesn’t have the hips to fill out the dress so it looks bulky.

      • I don’t think she looks wide at all. In fact, my thought was “how refreshing that a model’s hips haven’t been airbrushed to be narrower than her neck!”

        • Roberta Panté :

          LOL!!!! I am also on board with models who look like they actually eat food.

    • 1L-2L (formerly 1L) :

      I love when magazines do features on “work-appropriate clothing” with five-inch heels and skintight dresses. Supposedly, we all work for BCBG or in creative fields…

    • But hey, the shoes are super cute.

    • MaggieLizer :

      That episode had me clutching my pearls. Especially when Heidi Klum tried to argue that a dress with large cut outs showing off your back is perfectly appropriate work attire. Not sure if that episode was discussed here already, but if it was I’m sure the thread was an entertaining read!

      • Roberta Panté :

        Wait – what? You mean the way they dress on TV (like on Suits – spray painted on clothes and 5″ heels) is all a fantasy?!?!?!?

      • I thought I might wear Elena’s big shoulder jacket on a Friday and Sonjia’s blue pencil skirt was pretty. Other than that, the pieces were ridiculous for work. I couldn’t believe it when Klum argued that cut-outs were appropriate for work. Joanna’s face in response to that comment was priceless.

      • Also, anyone else on here a fan of Tom and Lorenzo’s Project Runway blog? (It used to be called Project Rungay, but now they blog about a lot more than the show.) I’m pretty sure that is the major reason I keep watching the show–so I can get the jokes on their blog.

    • Yes. Deep V neck, mesh panel, and more-or-less exposed zipper. 3 strikes. Great dinner dress, though.

  2. Cornellian :

    I don’t know if it was someone here or IRL who recommended this service to me, but I’d highly recommend unrollme if you’re looking for a way to keep your inbox a little easier to sort through, and not be constantly tempted with sales, discounts, and promotions. It rolls up all of these e-mails in to one daily e-mail, which I can look at the summary of, or “unroll” any e-mail by clicking on it and seeing it in my email.

  3. What to see in Vienna & Salzburg? :

    Was waiting until this first on-topic post to ask the hive–will be in Vienna and Salzburg for a day each (could possibly extend, but not likely). What are your favorite things to do in each city? Is it worth going to the Opera in Vienna? In Vienna, which palace is worth seeing if I only have time for one–Hofburg or Schonnbrunn?

    • Cornellian :

      Do you speak German? Salzburg may be slightly harder to navigate if you don’t. If I had a day in Salzburg, I’d spend a few hours with a picnic up in the mountains overlooking the town (maybe by the castle) and the river just enjoying nature. It really is a stupendously beautiful area.

      • Yes Salzburg! There’s a great park a little outside the city that makes for a lovely bike ride, with an incredible view of the mountains. The castle is pretty neat too. I’m an “old” junkie – so walking around town seeing shops and homes that date from the 1500’s was just unbelievable to me. My German consists of one word – “ausgang”, so it is possible to get around OK without out.

      • Salzburg is such a tourist town, some restaurants have menus in English.

        • I just ate primarily from street vendors and bypassed the menus altogether :)

    • Yes, the Opera in Vienna is truly worth it! I went twice a week when I was there as a student. Oddly, I lived there for half a year and never went to Schonbrunn, although I’m sure it’s lovely. Go to the Dom and the Karlskirche. A friend and I did a self-directed tour of composers’ homes (Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn) in a day. Mozart’s apartment is near the Dom (cathedral).

      I loved Salzburg but I can’t tell you what I did other than walk around and we walked up to the Abby. I was there at Christmastime and we went to the Christmas market. It is such a beautiful city.

      • I agree! We bought the cheap standing tickets to the opera and LOVED it! One of the best things we did that trip. There’s also a lovely park in Vienna that we enjoyed touring. I wish I had my trip notes with me so I could give you better details!

        As to Salzburg, I also agree that just walking around the city and the surrounding areas is the best way to experience it. We walked through some amazing cemeteries and just soaked it all up. The river is gorgeous. Everything is gorgeous.

        • I think the park is the main one in Vienna, so you should be able to figure it out. It has a gold statue of Mozart at the entrance.

      • The opera is beautiful. We were able to talk an usher into letting us sit in unclaimed seats for the second half. Schönbrunn Palace is worth a visit too.

    • In Vienna, I’d go to Schonbrunn.

      In Salzburg, go to the Mirabell castle. Enjoy the scenery. We just strolled around, to be honest. It was actually a daytrip from Munich so we also enjoyed the drive.

      You will be fine even if you don’t speak German.

    • In Vienna, if you can make the time, I can’t recommend the Hunderwasser museum enough (or at least a quick tour past some of his buildings.) He’s a more modern artist, but his work is amazing and fun and quirky and well worth it. I know its off the beaten path and not the “big” attraction, but it was one of my top three museums in all of Europe. The Hofburg is also amazing. Further, I’d just jump on the 1 tram (I believe its called) and do a circuit on it, its a great way to get a feel for the city.

      In Salzburg, I know its cheesy, but if you are AT ALL a fan of the Sound of Music, the Sound of Music tour is really, really fun. Also amazing is the actual tour of the Helbrunn Palace Water Gardens (and the whole grounds) — not included in the standard Sound of Music tour, but well worth a trip back if you have time. It really cool.

      Those are my quick tips. I absolutely love Austria and both Vienna and Salzburg though, so its hard for me to stop at just those recommendations.

      • Oh and I agree that there’s no need to speak German in Salzburg. Learn to say hello and thank you and people will think you’re a genius. People there were incredibly nice.

        • Yeah, when I went there as a student I knew no German at all. I learned throughout my time there, but it wasn’t crucial. Just say “Bitte schoen!”

        • Equity's Darling :

          In Austria, the greeting for hello is “Gruss Gott”, not “Guten Tag” (which is Germany…and really more northern Germany, if you’re in Munich use Gruss Gott) and I used “tchuss” for goodbye, even though it’s more informal.

          “Excuse me / Sorry” is “Entschuldigung”, which I think is extraordinarily long and difficult to say when trying to get someone’s attention to ask for directions…”bitte schoen” is sort of like “you’re welcome”, “bitte” is “please”, “danke” is “thank you”…umm…those are the most important…oh, and “sprechen sie Englisch?”, which is “do you speak english?”. :)

          • Merabella :

            You would be surprised how important the knowing how to say “Do you speak English?” in the language of the country you are visiting… I learned this the hard way.

      • Oooh yes, hundertwasser museum for sure!

      • The Sound of Music tour is really fun and a good “sight-seeing” tour aside from the movie tria, but takes most of the day.

    • Equity's Darling :

      Cafe Demel in Vienna is amazing, I also really enjoyed the Zoo there, and just wandering around the streets. I also loved Hofburg more than Schonbrunn, but the Zoo at Schonbrunn was awesome. The Palmenhaus is a nice greenhouse type breakfast place near Hofburg, which I really enjoyed. The Museum of Natural History (or something to that effect?), and a Book Museum (again, something like that?) are also near Hofburg, and I loved all of them. I vote Hofburg. AND, get some Manner wafers from the factory there- I’m partial to the lemon ones, which I cannot find anywhere in Canada, so I settle for the hazelnut.

      In Salzburg, I signed up for the Sound of Music tour, and it was 100% worth it. I also went on a tour of the salt mines/caves, which was super interesting and fun. I also really really reallyyyyy recommend getting some MozartKugel from Furst, because seriously, I still dream about those little delicious chocolates and I regret bringing back only 50E worth, I should have imported hundreds of dollars of those stupid chocolates. Do not cheap out and get the Mirabell version of the chocolates, get the ones from Furst, it’s so worth it.

      Both cities are memorable to me primarily for wandering around and enjoying their Christmas Markets, but I assume you’re going soon, not in 3 months….but regardless, both lovely for just wandering. I speak rudimentary German, but I found most people were pretty excited to practice their English, so don’t worry too much about that.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes! Mozartkugel!!! With Wolfie’s face on the wrappers!! I was in Salsburg way back in 1975, and the Mozartkugel, it still haunts my dreams. The marzipan! The nougat! The chocolate!!

      • lucy stone :

        Husband is fluent in German (thank you, Lutherans!) and now I want to take a trip to the Christmas markets.

    • Ladies, I am severely disappoint. I can’t believe not one of you has recommended Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna.

      Do you like chocolate? Eat Sachertorte.


      (And if you’re arty, the Belvedere in Vienna has an amazing collection.)

      • Equity's Darling :

        I had the Sachertorte. Not worth it. Demel was infinitely better.

        Sacher is dry, and too sweet. Sure it’s dark chocolate, but definitely too sweet. I lived in Austria for 5 months, and had the Sachertorte in 3 different Sacher locations. I was disappointed every. single. time. And for the price of their stupid cakes, I expect more.

        (note, I lugged one home to my mother for Christmas- which was tough given the three giant suitcases all stuffed to the brim- because she swore up and down that she loved them. Lies. She didn’t even FINISH IT – not that I’m bitter or anything).

        • Agreed, disappointing.

        • Yeah, I didn’t like the sachertorte (but I’m not a HUGE chocolate person).

          Now — eating as much wiener schnitzel as possible — and visiting the big outdoor food market and drinking beer…that I can get behind. Also strudel. And kaiserschmarrn (basically Austrian dessert pancake…kind of fried with sugar and raisins and stuff, its amazing.)

          • Yes, beer! If you like it, a great cheap lunch is a beer and a sausage stuffed into a roll, from one of the carts. They have tall tables where you can stand.

            I was impressed with the efficiency of the sausage and roll – they basically excavate a tunnel into a long baguette-type roll, squirt mustard or whatever in there, then stuff the sausage in. Makes for much neater eating while standing than a traditional roll with that’s slit along its length.

            Have to agree on the Demel over Sacher, too.

        • Blasphemy!

          Maybe I actually had it in ye olden dayes because I am (relatively) An Old and it’s Not What It Used To Be.

          I can think of no other explanation.

      • Actually, I never had Sachertorte the whole time I lived there. I just don’t like cake and pastries that much. Ate a lot of gelato and chocolate in general (Milka!) but no Sachertorte at all.

    • Vienna – go to the Schonnbrunn rather than Hofburg, and definitely go to the opera (one of my favourite experience in Vienna and maybe ever). Browsing the markets in Vienna was really fun, and I came home with awesome gifts for everyone (Naschmarkt is the biggest, permanent one).

      Salzburg – go to one of the Mozart museums (I preferred the Getreidegasse 9), and the Salzburg Cathedral. And eat all the spinach strudel and strawberry gelato you can!

    • Eat sachertorte!

    • What time of year will you be there? I’ve been to Vienna in the height of spring and the dead of winter and the two trips had nothing in common.

    • I studied abroad in Vienna, and one of my favorite things to do was to hit a heurige for dinner/drinks – they’re taverns where young wines (both red and white) that won’t be bottled & aged are sold. You get a carafe of wine and a carafe of spritzer and make DIY wine coolers. And eat delicious food. They’re typically outside. I think the most touristic ones are up in the hills around the city, but I’ll plug for the one on Poetzleinsdorfer Strasse, which has an (allegedly) 500-year-old oak tree growing in it. You can take the strassenbahn out there – it’s in the 18th district.

      This is probably a more fun thing to do with someone else, rather than a solo activity, however.

  4. Good morning, ladies. It looks like Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac is coming right at us here. The good news is that it is predicted to land at Cat 1, which shouldn’t be too bad. We will get wind and flooding but no apocalypse. The university is open and today is the first day of classes. We are all in our offices (or classes) waiting for a decision by late morning. We’re assuming that we’ll be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday at least. I have no plans to evacuate. It’s just not worth it unless I have to work from home (which I did during Gustav, from Birmingham). Little cat and I will be at home with lots of food, water, flashlights, candles, etc. I’m expecting to lose power early on. I probably won’t be able to post, but if I have access to network on my phone, I’ll shoot an email to K or zora to let you all know how I am. Wish me luck!

    • Anita (formerly S) :

      Stay safe!

    • Stay safe! I’m in Tampa and all the RNC people are either terrified or excited, but unfortunately our private school hasn’t called off any classes yet! I don’t think it’ll be really anything bad, just a pain to drive through and the power might knock out for a bit. Anyone else in the path, stay safe and have your essentials!

      • NOLA – Stay safe!

        • You too! I hope you got that flooding situation straightened out. Otherwise this could be a total mess for you. Are you staying?

          • I’m going to my folks’ on the NShore. Hubby is essential personnel so he has to stay. We’re prepared for the house to flood – put everything on the bricks and removed everything from the floods, etc.

          • Glad you’re able to plan ahead and move everything. That sucks. My SO is out of town and kind of freaking out that he’s not here. He spent the last storm as essential personnel at city hall but now is retired and feeling helpless.

    • I was actually just thinking of you and MelD this morning while watching the forecast. Good luck weathering the storm! Hopefully, everyone will get through this with minimum damage.

    • Constance Justice :

      I saw that this morning and thought of you! Good luck! Stay safe!!

    • Stay safe NOLA, and any other ‘r e t t e s out there in Isaac’s path.

    • NOLA, good luck to you and all our other readers in the affected area. i was wondering about your SO – I’m sorry he can’t be with you. I hope you have some good books to read – be safe.

      • I was thinking I need to fully charge my Kindle! I hardly have any real books anymore.

        • Merabella :

          This is a brilliant idea. You should also download a few books just in case you can’t download new ones because wi-fi/towers are down.

    • Stay safe and for the love of all things good, make sure you evacuate if you need to!!!

      • There’s no need at this point. A cat 1 isn’t enough to justify it. We are surrounded by water so as soon as high winds start, we can’t get out. You either have to decide early or stay.

        • Shows you how much I know about hurricanes! Stay safe and read ghost stories by flashlight :)

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Yikes! Best of luck and stay safe.

      I’m supposed to fly from New England to Fort Meyers Florida on Friday. The weather reports are confusing. Is there a good chance my flight will be effected? (I know this is super low priority compared to those that live there; just trying to plan ahead.) My layover Friday is in NY. On the way back (Mon) I fly through Atlanta.

      • You shouldn’t have any problems by Friday. Flights are coming in to Tampa today with no problems so far, all our bridges are open, etc. It’s just drizzling out, with a few rain bands and gusts. While we’ve had an “easy” one, I sure hope the rest of the gulf coast doesn’t get hit too hard…

        • I don’t think you’ll have any problems, but everyone down more south of Tampa has been telling me the rain hasn’t stopped and is actually pretty terrible for what Isaac is, so be prepared!

    • Stay safe!

    • Good luck and be safe!

    • *saying a prayer for all folks in the reach of the Hurricane*

  5. Whoa, this dress is way too sexy for any office I’ve ever worked in. Even with a blazer to cover that stretchy black panel and exposed zipper (which are kind of cheap looking, imho), the neckline is still way too low for work.

    • Can't think of a name :

      Agreed. Designers need to think about the functionality of the clothes that they’re designing, not just the aesthetics. Design work wear we can wear *to work*! I’ve seen so many dresses and tops lately that cannot be worn without a camisole under them and it ruins the whole look. Just bring the v-necks up a little and the hemlines down a little and stop making things that are totally sheer or clingy.

    • joining this rant. I’m tired of needing a camisole with everything. Raise the neckline a little and eliminate the “look at me” back panel/zipper (which would probably stick out of the bottom of a blazer anyway), and I’d love it.

      • This. I’ve vowed not to buy any more blouses that are so sheer or low cut that I need to wear a cami – no matter how pretty! I’m done with the camisoles already!

    • I like the color and material, but the cut and the black panel is weird for work. But come on ladies, throw an Oxford shirt underneath the dress and you’re ready for Back to School!

      • I’m definitely tired of clothes that make me either look like a tramp or a child. Low cut! High hemline! Stiletto heels!
        Ok…jumpers! Bows! Ruffles!

        Um. No.

    • I hate exposed zippers. I have a couple things with them because the pieces were just so cute I couldn’t pass them up, but I refuse to buy any more. Soon enough they will go back to looking cheap and being out of style, in my opinion!

    • Uh huh. Holy deep V, batman!

    • do you think Kat even picked this? usually she would address the neckline factor (like recommending a cami).

    • darjeeling :

      co-sign. I love this from the front, but COME ON. I am so sick of the exposed zipper, and that black panel makes it look like clubwear.

  6. Ladies, I am so tired. I worked long days every day last week. I worked long days on Saturday and Sunday. I have meetings all day, every day for the next two weeks, trial every day the week after, and tons of work that will have to get done after hours and on the weekends during that time, so there is no break in sight for a while. How am I going to make it? I am trying to eat healthy so I don’t die of scurvy, but I really just want to consume diet coke and candy to try to keep my energy up. Also I am on an autsterity budget, so I am trying to bring food from home and not buy it at the deli. I have a stretchy band in my office to do little exercise breaks, but I don’t know if I will be able to get to the gym at all. Any tips? Commiseration? People willing to do my work for me for a reasonable outsourcing fee?

    • Ouch, I feel (for) you! Just keep hanging in there and try to be kind to your body. I used to eat all the crap to get me through weeks like that, but it’ll make you feel more like crap… Snack as much as possible. Not meaning to get all the candy bars, but break up your lunch: half a sandwich here and there tend to work better for me when I’m so tired. Drink lots of water, and walk around. I’m sorry, but these platitudes are all I have.

    • You’ll make it – 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day at a time (my mood varies widely on this when I am in a similar spot)
      Drink lots of water – I always go for caffeine when I really need more water.
      Buy a box of Emergen-C at CVS.
      Can you get to grocery store? I know in your endless amounts of free time ;-) Stock up on clif or lara bars, fruit that keeps (apples, oranges, bananas) to stave off candy. I also like Amy’s Organic frozen meals.

      • Clif/Lara bars are a great idea. They’re sweet enough to feel like a treat, but healthy enough to feel okay subsisting on them for a short while.

        • Yes, and trail mix too. Archer Farms has big ol’ tubs of it. I just got one that has almonds, dried cherries, peanuts, and M&Ms in it.

    • I don’t think there’s any way to get around the fact that this sounds awful, but I do think frequent brief walks help as much as anything can – even walking to the bathroom once an hour is good, but a ten minute walk when you’re tired can revive you.

      • Yep, and guzzling large amounts of water doubles as motivation to get up and walk down the hall once in a while. :-)

      • Agree with this. Drink drink drink. And get up and walk to pee pee pee.

        Consider keeping some healthier go to foods in your office, like Luna bars etc.. for when you are crashing. Although I kind of hate those…

        For me, sometimes a 15 minute cat nap on my keyboard can be rejuvinating.

        • Agreed with the walks. That can help a lot – just to clear your head. Sometimes when I feel super tired and stressed I take 5-10 mins to do some deep abdominal breathing. I try to concentrate on that and clear my mind. I always feel refreshed after that. It’s easy and you can do it anywhere.

          I am sorry that your schedule is so crazy. Maybe you can plan a day or two of doing something really fun for after you are done with all the craziness and just keep it in mind to get you through the though period.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Use your support staff as much as you can as well as other attorneys on the case. I’m guilty of wanting to double check everyone’s work before putting my name on it. But occasionally, you have to trust that the work done by subordinates was done right and not entirely re-do their research.

      Take an hour today and look ahead at your schedule and figure out what pieces other people can do or start for you. See what you have to accomplish first for them to do it. I’ve been guilty of doing tons of “non-attorney work” myself because I waited too long to get my piece done that I’m stuck making exhibits at 8 pm before a midnight filing. Re-visit how you attack the piles and outsource outsource outsource.

      If you don’t have any support, ask your bosses if you can hire a temp to get you through this wave. Bonus if you can hire a temp atty to help you. Best of luck!

      • This. Delegation takes advance planning, but it is worth it when you are super busy. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to make a plan of attack for the next day and delegate everything that you can. If you have the resources, don’t be afraid to use them, as appropriate for your office (library staff for research help, paralegals for paperwork, etc.)

    • Cornellian :

      not sure if it’s worth it, price wise, but freshdirect and similar grocery delivery services will deliver to offices. Maybe you want to get a bunch of staples delivered there. Would probably still be cheaper than at the deli.

    • Think of it as survival mode. Exercise for stress relief, but don’t make it such a priority that it causes additional stress. Getting some fresh air on a 20 minutes break may be the best you can do. Same thing with the meal budget. If you have a little wiggle room, sometimes ordering in makes sense. Bonus if you can get something that can make a couple of meals. Can you crock pot something so that you have a hot meal at the end of the day?
      Also, I think scurvy takes longer than that. Candy and Diet Coke for 2-3 weeks straight may make you feel like crud, but your teeth will likely stay in your head. So, no worries there!

      • Merabella :

        I’m just finished reading the 4th book in the Outlander series… They talk about Scurvy. You’ve got a good 3-6 months before scurvy sets in. Coke/Candy away!

    • I’ve become pretty good at sneaking in exercise during busy times, so I might be able to offer help on that front. When I just don’t have enough time for the gym but my energy level is reasonable, I opt for Jillian Michaels workout videos – they’re only 25-30 mins but are very intense and make you feel like you’ve gotten a gym workout. When I’m just not up for that intensity and/or I feel like I need to be devoting every second to work, I try to read documents while walking on the treadmill during lunch or in the evening when I’m not necessarily expected to be in the office. I don’t work up a huge sweat but it’s better than nothing!

    • Focus on packing snacks more than meals. When I’m in trial, I pack a tupperware with wheat crackers, cheese and turkey slices, and cut up veggies and fruit. It only takes a second to put together and gets me through the day much better than sandwiches from the deli. WRT to the trials, focus first on what has to be done, i.e., what do you have to do in order to be able to announce ready. Then, time permitting, do what you would like to do in order to try the case well.

      • Bonnie – what kind of law do you practice? I am jealous because you seem to be on trial regularly!

    • if you need a caffeine hit, go for an espresso shot chased with a ton of water to keep yourself hydrated. try to get outside for a walk around the block at least once – the sunshine should re-energize you.

      and don’t underestimate the power of downward-dog or jumping jacks behind your office door!

  7. Reporting back on my faux-moto jacket from the Gap. It came, I tried it on – and felt like I was a member of the Star Trek Enterprise Fleet …. sadly, it’s a return for me.

    • lol mine arrived too, but as I work from home in jeans and T-shirts 95% of the time, I love it! I get what you are saying about Trek though.

    • Wait…the Star Trek feel wasn’t a plus for you? I may have to go try it now, since I’ve outgrown my Deep Space Nine jumpsuit from 8th grade…

    • Didn’t work for me either. I loved the fabric but the shoulders were just too “out there”.

    • It’s a lot heavier than I thought it would be. Very nicely made, but I get the Star Trek vibe, too. Not sure if I’ll keep it or not yet, I just did a quick try-on last night. I want to use it for a light outdoors jacket, it might work for that.

    • S in Chicago :

      Now I’m going to be saying beam me up every time I put mine on. :)

      I love the jacket. Maybe because I have pretty narrow/nonexistent shoulders? I got it in the gray and felt like it was super flattering the way it was so structured and how it nipped in at the waist. In fact, I recommended it to several friends. I suspect it will be a huge weekend staple for me as weather gets cooler. Much better to wear to a movie or dinner than another sweatshirt or hoodie. I feel like it’s something comfy in disguise.

    • You say member of the Star Trek Enterprise Fleet like it’s a bad thing….

  8. So on topic: I like this dress in theory, but I think there’s a good chance it will be too vavavoom and low cut in practice. I know the low cut aspect can be fixed with a cami, but my goal this year is to stop buying work clothes I have to “do things to” to make appropriate. If it was not quite so huggy, though, this dress would probably look pretty awesome with a silky pr crisp blouse underneath.

    Off topic: Not sure if this was already covered in the weekend thread but I recently discovered this and if you need a smile, there’s a good chance this will brighten your Monday morning: http://guysinsuits.tumblr.com/ Enjoy!

  9. Can we (I) start talking about Downton Abbey for a second? At the very least, the videos are brighten up your Monday.

    6 Best Spoof Videos of the Emmy Nominated Period Drama ‘Downton Abbey’

    • the videos are brighten up? What? The videos will brighten up your Monday. Gosh. I need to unfondue myself.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      There are also 2 brief previews of Season 3 up on the interwebs. Google should get you there.

  10. SF Bay Associate :

    In the vein of wear-to-work dresses, I went to J.Crew to try on their suiting dresses this weekend. I am 5’6″, 120+, and a 32B. I normally wear a size 2 or 4, depending on brand. I was *swimming* in the J.Crew 2 in the Ponte A-line, the Memo, and the Emmaleigh. The sales associate looked at me, and then handed me a size 00. I said GTFO, but he insisted I try it. And it fit. I didn’t buy anything because I refuse to pay full price ever, but J.Crew, y’all are crazy if I’m a 00. I think the last time I was a 00 was before I hit puberty. The Ponte A-line was totally ice capades on me, but the Emmaleigh was cute. The Memo’s a bit low in the neckline for me. And both of the latter have pockets!

    • This! I tried on the Memo in-store last week, and a 2 fit with a bit of room to spare. Usually I’m a 4 but have gained a few pounds recently, so in a sheath dress I should probably be a 6. No way am I 2. It was ridiculous. It doesn’t make me more likely to buy the dress; it just irritates me.

      Usually for J.Crew I wait for sales on everything, but their suiting dresses only seem to go on sale in brighter colors, while the neutrals stay expensive. Do you really think the Emmaleigh and the Memo will go on sale in black, charcoal, etc.?

      • Diana Barry :

        If you are on their email or mailing list, they occasionally send emails with a 20% off (or maybe even 30% off) code. Check j crew aficionada for those. I got a couple of their suiting dresses that way.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      At Van Heusen recently I bought small and extra small dress shirts. I’m a 34DD. There is NO WAY I’m an xs or a s in a shirt. I bought them b/c they were cute and on sale, not because I fit in a tiny size.

    • Yeah, I bought a suit recently *in my vanity size* and had to return it for still and yet a smaller size. It’s not flattering, it’s just annoying.

    • Yup. Bought the origami dress in a size 6. I am 5’9″ and about 160 lbs. I typically sneak into an 8 but sometimes need a 10 in the hips. This is an ongoing trend. I have older J Crew skirts in 10/12 that fit me and now I’m buying them in 6. Same size, different number. Really annoying.

    • I’m wearing a small petite shirt from Talbots. No way am I a small petite.

    • It seems like J.Crew seriously messed with their sizing about a year ago. I used to wear a size zero (5’4, 105ish lbs, 34B), but now even 00 is too large.

    • I’m…uh…much bigger than you ladies. So I appreciate these posts, because it gives me some idea where I might be able to find a 16 that fits me. :)

      • My thoughts exactly!

      • I get this but then people on the smaller end of the scale get squeezed out. Obviously the solution is to just add to the top of the scale – J Crew has proven that its designs can be made to fit larger women, so why not keep the 00 and XXS teeny and just extend the line to 16 or 18? This way no one is left out, so no loss of customers!

        • That would be great, and the calm, rational woman in me completely agrees.

          Although the PMS-y, bloated, beotch in me, who can rarely buy things in “normal” stores (and who can almost never buy anything posted on this site!) has trouble feeling bad for the ladies who have to buy a small instead of a medium. ;)

          In all seriousness, I know this is a real problem for you small gals, and believe me I know how frustrating it is to not be able to buy clothes that fit. And I can totally appreciate how hard it is to buy clothes when the sizing is inconsistent. I really wish all stores carried a wider range of sizes!

        • Yes, this exactly! I’ve posted on here a couple times about how I cannot find work appropriate clothes that are small enough for me (5’5″, 105lbs). I do just fine in the juniors section, but that doesn’t always cut it when it comes to business casual wear.

    • Archivist perspective :

      Ugh I’m so sick of vanity sizing. I went to Loft 2 weeks ago. I’m a solid size 6, sometimes I can squeeze into a 4. I was SWIMMING in their size small dresses, and I could actually fit into an XS. Are you kidding me?

      • LOFT’s sizing is ridiculous. I’m 5’6″ and fluctuate between 125-130 pounds and I can barely fit into an XS or size 0 there sometimes. I also have a pretty tiny waist, which while it’s one of my favorite features, does not work well with this kind of crazy vanity sizing. It’s getting otu of control.

    • lucy stone :

      I’m always an XL in tops and a plus size in bottoms. This is driving me nuts because I order most of my clothes online. There is no way I should be drowning in XLs from some of these stores.

    • I’m tired of the vanity sizing bc I’m a petite 100 lb weakingly and I keep getting sized out! Tailoring is not the answer to everything.

      • +1000000.

      • plus it gets expensive when you need to get most items altered!

      • This is very timely for me. I am legitimately a 00, 5’8″ and 100lbs. I went shopping at Express because I saw that they actually had 00 long and I was swimming in their smallest sizes! Vanity sizing needs to go because I cannot afford to spend $80 on a pair of pants and $50 of tailoring! It is so frustrating.

  11. 1L-2L (formerly 1L) :

    Happy Monday! Two questions today.

    1. I have a question about cover letters and resumes. I am going into the Canadian OCI hiring process soon and am submitting my applications in a day or two. Are there any last-minute once-overs or things I should double check for before they go in? I’m super excited about this process but not getting my hopes up – most students don’t get jobs!

    2. Wobbly heels. How to fix?


    • AnonInfinity :

      For #2 — Get thee to a cobbler!

    • Cornellian :

      don’t know anything about Canadian OCI, but problems I’ve seen with resumes:

      -irregularity in job descriptions: wrote x. drafted y. research z.
      -weird spacing/format issues. It’s silly, but junior lawyers are often tasked with keeping documents in perfect format, and if you can’t do it with your own resume…

      • Sydney Bristow :

        As far as the spacing and format issues go, my last minute checklist is to make sure that:
        1- all months are either completely spelled out or abbreviated the same way (pick 1 and be consistent)
        2- all years are the 2-digit or full 4 digit (pick 1 and be consistent)
        3- either use a period at the end of all lines or none and be consistent
        4- make sure all the indents line up
        5- make sure everything that is justified on the left side is lined up
        6- if I use dash marks in dates, to make sure they are all the same length (Word’s autocorrect feature will be the death of me someday)
        7- check consistency in italics and bolding

        Good luck with the search!

      • Also, if you’re emailing your resume to anyone, make sure it’s a PDF. That way you know that whatever program they open it with won’t wackify the formatting.

    • Equity's Darling :

      The biggest last minute once over is making sure you have the right spelling of the firm name and the firm name matched to the right person. Our firm name is frequently spelled incorrectly. Our firm also generally likes cover letters that show you’ve done some research about our firm, and can tie in your courses/experience to what we do, and we like students that focus on wanting to grow with the firm.

      And honestly, if you have time, try to call articling students, and schedule firm tours ahead of the OCIs. Even if you’re in a different city, and can’t arrange a tour, call to chat to an articling student. I know there is a blackout period and rules around that, but at least in my province, the way it works is that students can contact us, but we can’t contact them.

      A phone call or tour with an articling student in advance can have an impact on whether you get an interview at all, and sometimes whether you get hired. And treat all the staff you meet kindly (i.e. be pleasant to the receptionist, etc.).

    • Re #1 – I assume you are applying for TO summering positions. (If you are replying for summering positions in any other centre, you MUST demonstrate your connection to that centre in your cover letter, preferably in the first paragraph.) Aside from triple-checking that the firm/addressee name is spelled correctly, demonstrate that you know something about the firm and explain why you want to be there specifically. Also, be careful what you say about your experience, interests, etc. in your cover letter – if you get an OCI, the interviewer is very likely to ask you to talk more about it.

      Good luck! (And remember that those who get OCIs will talk about it a lot and those who don’t won’t talk about it at all, so if it seems like everyone but you got OCIs, remind yourself that’s not the case!)

      • TO lawyer :

        the last sentence is so key! Often, Sept-Nov creates a toxic environment around 2Ls and our OCI process (in Ontario as far as I know anyways). Stay positive and remember that you are more than how many OCIs you get! (And if you get a ton, good for you – but remember that this can also be isolating and create weird vibes for you, so it’s probably best to keep that on the DL).

        I think the application hints are covered but make sure to come back if you need advice on the OCI interview process as it unfolds! It’s a stressful process, but it’ll all be over within 2 months.

        Good luck!

        • TO lawyer :

          oh and as a PSA (because career services and other law students make you forget this), if you want a bay street law job (assuming this is what you’re applying for given the timelines), good for you – BUT there are a ton of other options out there, including government and smaller firms that will give you a really rewarding experience too so don’t get tunnel vision if it’s not ultimately what you want.

          • 2L (formerly 1L) :

            Thank you, thank you for the great advice! I’m trying to keep some perspective as I enter the process… I hear it gets nuts.

  12. It's the little things :

    Ladies, I need your help. I’m starting to really hate my MIL. She does all these little things that I find manipulative and weird, but each one is so small that it makes me feel like I’m overreacting and I feel like I’d seem petty if I tried to talk to my husband about it. How do you deal with the little things?

    She ships baked goods to my home and office when she knows I’m trying to cut out sugar. She leaves her belongings in our apartment when she comes to visit “so she doesn’t have to bring them back and forth” even though there’s not space for 2 hair dryers, 2 sets of curlers, etc. in our tiny NYC apartment. She’s constantly remarking on gifts she gave like “oh that’s a nice silver necklace you’re wearing, but don’t you like the gold one I gave you at xmas?” She calls us every single night before she goes to bed. She makes tons of little comments about how the drink I order for my husband isn’t how he usually likes it, the type of restaurant I suggest isn’t the kind of food he used to like, a sweater doesn’t seem like what he used to wear etc.

    I feel like she is constantly marking her territory and I find her efforts somehow both completely ridiculous and exhausting. Each of these things sounds crazy to complain about, but when it’s cumulative I feel like she’s driving me crazy. What should I do?

    • Do we have the same MIL? Could you just disengage? I mean, don’t react…as she probably thrives on getting you mad at her. Maybe screen her calls at night (your husband should do this). Ignore the ” he likes my drink better than the one you made him” comments. Have you spoken to your husband? What does he think?

      • She calls every night? I would be very tempted to say something naughty, like “I’m sorry DH can’t come to the phone right now, he is literally tied up. Maybe he’ll call back when we’re not so busy. Bye!”

        • P.S.–please don’t really do this, it probably wouldn’t help the relationship

    • Ignore the petty comments, she will either stop from lack of reaction or escalate it to getting a response from your DH and then he handles it.
      Spiteful baked goods? Donate them to the office break room or destroy them in some satisfying way. Although your husband might be concerned if you are running over cookies in the driveway.

      • It's the little things :

        So far I haven’t engaged at all. I ignore the comments and roll my eyes to myself at the cookies and left belongings. But I feel like she has slowly been escalating it, almost as if she wants a response, and I’m having a hard time even finding a way to articulate WHY these things bother me so that I can have a productive conversation with my husband.

        • Maybe because she’s implying that you’re “not doing it right” and that your husband was much happier when she was taking care of him? Because you feel she is trying to undermine the trust between you and your husband? Because leaving belongings behind implies that maybe she wants to move in with the two of you someday?

          That’s what I’d be thinking. I might realize on some level these thoughts are irrational, but constant picking has a way of eroding rationality, at least for me. I think you should talk about these things with your husband, although I’m not quite sure how to start that conversation.

      • I agree. You need to just ignore it. You cannot change her. She has been who she is since before you were born (most likely) and certainly before you ever met your husband. And I really don’t think talking to your husband about it will do any good and it may do some harm. He can’t change her either. None of the things you mentioned are worth him arguing with his mother over, with the possible exception of her leaving things at your apartment. I would pack them in a bag and hand them to her on her way out the door next time, with just a simple “I’m sorry, we really don’t have the space in this tiny apartment. I’m sure you understand.” No room for debate. Of course, if you can find the room, you may as well just stick them in a box under a bed or in a closet somewhere.

        • I disagree. You must talk to your husband about it, because you two need to present a united front. He needs to be on your side of boundary setting, and you two need to determine those boundaries together. This is not something you should have to face alone. He needs to be on your team, and if he’s not, there are bigger issues at play.

          • Completely agree with Circe.

            It may also be helpful to think honestly about what sort of relationship you really want with her. If you’re content to just ignore this stuff (if DH is on your team), that calls for one approach.

            If you want to have a hard but honest conversation with her to set boundaries, that calls for a different approach– as well as an understanding that it’s a higher risk – higher reward strategy. The ignore approach won’t change her behavior, but it’ll keep her sort of in your orbit. The tough love convo can either spur her to change or possibly make it so that she never wants to have anything more to do with you again. If the latter, decide how big of a loss that would be.

    • Do you think she’s having trouble making conversation, so she just talks about “the way things were” by default? If she’s the conversationally inept type, she may not know what else you have in common besides your husband.

      • Most people who have trouble with conversation don’t spend their words marking their territory and engaging in p1ssing contests.

    • emcsquared :

      MIL Bingo! You and DH each get a Bingo board where each square is something annoying MIL does, for instance:
      “Disapprove of little things’s drink choice”
      “Disapprove of little things’s clothing choice”
      “Guilt trip little things about past gifts”

      You’ll have to figure out how to be discrete about marking your boards, but at least then you can laugh at the behaviors instead of being aggravated. My DH has been lovely about finding ways to laugh off my mother’s challenging behaviors (for the most part), and it has made my relationship with her so much more manageable.

      • I need an iPhone app for this. It would get me through every family holiday with the in-laws.

        • + 1. Could be played discreetly under the table! And might be safer than drinking games, as liver damage could occur.

        • Merabella :

          I will gladly donate money to anyone interested in creating this app. I think it would make family gatherings much more fun!

      • I’ve heard this suggested before for ways to get through holidays with family, and it sounds brilliant. For mine it would be like, “MIL complains about waking up early and not being able to fall asleep. Complains about having to cook. Complains about knee hurting her. ”

        Whenever my MIL makes a really ridiculous comment, I find my SIL’s eyes meeting mine and can tell we are both laughing on the inside. That helps.

        • ChocCityB&R :

          I hate to be “that person” but this seems really mean. I am annoyed by annoying people as much as the next person, but playing a game that makes fun of the person with other people in the room? I think if it were a game I played with myself, maybe then it wouldn’t seem so mean, but inviting others in on it…just ouch. I can imagine that when I get to be a MIL I’m going to be annoying in some way, and to discover this was going on would really hurt me.

          • Eh. I have a hard time being sympathetic, since Annoying Person is being overtly rude. But I supposed if the behavior is unwitting it would be polite to point it out to them and give them a chance to mend it before making light of it. Otherwise, the rudeness is intentional, IMO, and fair game for mockery.

            Perhaps I have warped ethics.

      • Bingo Sex :

        We do this with my husband’s former wife, and it cuts the aggravation really well. We try to predict how she will try to blow something up. Whoever wins the prediction bet wins the s*[email protected] act of his or her choice. I highly recommend this game. I recently won a [fill in the blank here] for correctly predicting . . . ugh, I can’t even bring myself to type it. But it was fun to win.

    • (1) Give away the baked goods.
      (2) Put the things she leaves in a box and ship them back with a note “oh, you forgot these”.
      (3) Stop answering the phone every night.
      (4) When she says the things about how he’s changed, say “yup…” and say no more (this is my MIL’s only passive aggressive tactic and I just smile and nod…she’s just upset that her little boy blossomed outside of her influence).

    • Exagerrate :

      Are you possibly just soo annoyed at a few things that you now think everything she does is some sort of annoyance to you? Some comments about thats not how her son used to like them, etc. I can understand as being annoying and get on your nerves. But some other things I think you are completely overreacting over. Someone taking the effort to send you sweets should not be offensive or thought of as mean. . . it should be a nice gesture (and that’s possibly what it is). You don’t have to eat them, just lie and say you liked them. Same thing with I understand NYC living spaces are small, but a hairdryer so she does not have to lug it there is not her moving in. Further, if you enough space where she can stay with you (i.e., not a studio apartment), then a hairdryer should really not be that much of a convenience.

      I think you need to take a pause and just breathe. Not everything everyone does is meant to be mean or annoy you. The bigger person sees the beauty in it all.

      • Actually, while I’m with you on the baked goods, I don’t think she’s blowing this out of proportion at all. These are really annoying things (and an extra hairdryer and curlers in NYC is really a big deal! I’d be peeved.) I doubt any of them are meant as intentional slights, but it sounds like this lady feels left behind as her son grows up and starts a family of his own. OP, can you expressly include her in certain things, or make a few comments like “I wish I made mac & cheese like you do — husband just raves about it every time we visit you!” or get her to tell you stories about your husband’s favorite things to do with her when he was little? Just to make her feel like you appreciate how big an influence she was — and still is — in your husband’s life? Maybe if she feels appreciated, she’ll stop being needy. (It’s also possible she’s a black hole of need. In which case, bingo cards out!)

        • Exagerrate :

          I’m in NYC too, and I would just let the dryer and curling iron be a small inconvenience for a family member, especially my significant other’s mother. . . that’s all.

          • Exagerrate :

            I should further clarify re the dryer and curling iron, you do not have to keep them in the bathroom under the sink. . . just keep them in a shoe box on a top shelf or under the bed and take it out when she’s visiting.

        • In that same vein – is there anything you actually like about the woman? Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the stuff you don’t like about someone that it starts to color the lens you see them through, and then that’s all you see. So, if you can find a few things you like about her to focus on or talk about (especially as a re-direct when she starts getting picky about other things) it can help balance out the irritation at the minor (yet still annoying) stuff.

          Also keep in mind that some mothers feel like they lose their sons to the wife when the son gets married, so she may be feeling some of that with her remarks.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      Word sister. I’ve been contemplating posting about how much I can. not. stand. my MIL. She was here for a visit and said she wouldn’t come back unless 1. we hired a maid to do a “deep cleaning” before she came, 2. we bought new bath mats for her, and 3. we bought new towels. The assumption of course being that we are unclean and that our stuff isn’t good enough for her. My husband was ready to entertain her but all my response was WTF? As far I’m concerned she can stay home. (For the record, we have very nice bath mats, fluffy towels from Costco and a decently clean house- but not perfect house.) She also makes exceptionally derogatory comments about my background which my husband told me to ignore “because the visit was going so well!” I’m still pissed off about this. And as far as stupid piddly sh!t goes, she constantly was bringing me clothing 2 sizes too big to try on when we went shopping together- saying “don’t you think this will fit you better?” Urg. How do I deal with it? I haven’t really figured it out yet. I guess I try to interact with her as little as possible. Sorry I don’t have better advice.

      • omg. I think my response would be to: 1. Not hire a maid, 2. Not buy new bath mats, and 3. Not buy new bath towels. If she’s good on her word, that should take care of the problem!

      • HOLY SH*T. That is cray!

        • Also, I don’t think ANY of what you described stupid or piddly. It seems like she’s going out of her way to be disrespectful. I don’t understand people like this. She must be deeply unhappy.

      • Sounds like she should stay a hotel from now on.

      • Just…wow. Don’t do any of the above. If this were my situation, I’d let her know that I’d be happy to pay for a hotel. Keep the peace but keep her out of the house.
        Make sure you schedule an all-morning hair appointment next time she’s in town to give yourself a break.

      • One thing I’m (trying) to understand about my ILs is that they are 65 years old, and have been pretty comfortably wealthy for the last 25+. They forget what it is like to be young and not be able to have a maid and fancy Egyptian cotton bath towels. At least, that’s what I try to tell myself when I get similar comments (mostly critiquing our 900 sq ft apartment in an inner ring suburb, because it’s not a 4 bed, 2.5 bath McMansion with an acre of grass surrounding it). She refuses to ride in our cars because they have cloth seats (not leather OMG!). But I mean, there *must* have been a time when she and FIL couldn’t afford leather seats on their Mercedes? right??? ugh. I feel you.

        • I’m sorry, there is no excuse for that sh*t!! Won’t ride in your car because your seats are made of cloth?! You should tell her that billions of people live perfectly fulfilling lives without ever having set foot in a luxury automobile.

          Where do these repulsive in-laws come from? Were they raised by wolves? My MIL is a doll. She has political views that make my eyes hurt from rolling them, but she’s very sweet and would never say anything even close to anything mentioned here.

      • Geez, that’s beyond passive-aggressive and just plain horrible. I’m sorry you have to deal with that.

      • LakeShoreDrive :

        Re: comments about your background.
        Just had a chat with a friend about what Michelle’s parents might have said when she brought Barack home. “He’s from a broken family! No good can come from this!”

    • Anon for this :

      I don’t know, but I’d love to know how to deal with passive agressive MILs too.

      I got a note card a week after my Dad’s death that said: “Although we did not agree with you and (my son) getting married, we’re glad you have him at this time.”

      …Why did that first part even need to be said?

      • AnonInfinity :


      • Oh my god. That is awful, I am so sorry. I hope your husband read his parents the riot act.

        The passive aggressive person in me wants you to mail this back to them with a post it note saying “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

        • Anon for this :

          Yeah, it was pretty offensive to me.

          I don’t think my husband knew about it at the time, and he didn’t really believe me when I told him about it later. So no riot act read. I wasn’t in a position to bring it up and potentially start a fight when it occured, but it definitely gave me a clear picture of what his mother was like.

      • Migraine Sufferer :

        At a loss for words. I guess I just lost the sh!tty MIL contest.

    • Wow. Every time I see stories like this, I am so thankful that my MIL is both a normal human being and living 2,500 miles away. In fact, of the two, it’s FIL that drives me batty…and it isn’t a personal attack; he’s just an awkward, crotchety old man.

      Specific to your situation:
      Give them to coworkers. If/when she asks if you liked them, you can say you appreciate the thought but you’re working hard to drop a few pounds so you gave them to friends/ DH. They appreciate it, too!!

      If you really don’t want her in your apt (presumably you don’t), pony up for a hotel. You can even tell DH he’s welcome to stay with her. If she visits too often, you need to talk to DH about it. Tell him to go to her if he’s unwilling to cease the visits.

      Either way, toss her stuff in a shoe box and throw it in the least inconvenient spot for you until she comes over. It’s absolutely annoying, but I don’t think this is as passive-aggressive as the rest of her behavior.

      I was always taught to make an effort to wear a gift someone has given you in their presence (inc. the hideous sweaters sewn by my aunt that embarrassed me to tears and caused MANY fights in my adolescence)…I guess this is why. You can either wear her gifts in her presence to keep the peace, or simply say “I love it! I wear it all the time with my gold earrings!” when she comments on your silver one. This is annoying behavior, but I wouldn’t call it above and beyond for a generally annoying family member. DH can’t help you.

      Nightly Phone calls
      This is ridiculous. Don’t answer her calls. You can talk to DH about this one.

      Comments about how whatever you do is not good enough/not right:
      I think you have to deal with this one, but know that it’s her and not you. Put on the big girl pants and simply say “okay.” Don’t feed the monster.

    • lucy stone :

      I just posted downthread about mine’s latest crazy move. I feel you. Mine won’t come visit us because it’s too far to drive up and back (three hours each way) and they won’t stay with us because we lived together before we’re married, so instead we have to go to them and they have never once in the eight years we have been dating inviting us to stay at their house. We end up using my poor mom and dad as a hotel. I think we need a Corporettes with crazy in-laws support group.

    • My DH is an only child and survived a serious illness in his early teens so he is very precious to his mother. I totally hear ya.

      BUT, remember that you are now the most important person in your husband’s life. Your husband knows that, you know that, your MIL knows that. Your position is secure, your “territory” marked, and you don’t need to feel threatened. Whereas your MIL’s perception that’s she’s losing her son is correct (He lives far away! Eats different food! Wears different sweaters!). Your MIL’s actions and comments are irritating but not egregious. Speaking from experience, if you can find it in her to feel her loss and do what you can to facilitate a continued active and happy relationship between your husband and MIL, they will both be grateful to you. Your husband and his mother are your family now too, so you might as well do what you can to promote family goodwill. You can’t stop your MIL from missing her son and doing what she can to deal with that sense of loss, and Embracing your MIL rather than pushing her away will be much less exhausting.

      P.S. Try not to get mad about people who present baked goods while you’re dieting. They’re almost always meant as a gesture of goodwill, not sabotage.

    • Re the cookies:
      Oh, mom, it was so THOUGHTFUL of you to send me cookies. I really appreciate the time it took…I know you’re about conscious my weight, so I gave them away to some of my favorite people. I KNEW you didn’t want me to botch my diet!

      Re the accommodations;
      As we’re poor law students/public sector employees/just starting out, I KNOW you don’t want us to go into debt; we’re carefully watching our budget! We made sure to take time out of our very busy schedule to spend time with you when you visited, and we didn’t have enough time to deep clean. Oh, and the dirty spots in the house you pointed out? DH, your son, cleaned them…

      Kill her with very pointed kindness…

    • I was also wondering if we have the same MIL…

      I just try and believe that it’s not about me. I let her be slightly crazy – I don’t think she does any of it maliciously, and try to recognize when I may be being more sensitive to the perceived slights than I need to be. It also helps that the hubs can laugh about it too (at times). No real advice – but this is what I do to cope. Think zen…

    • Why couldn't we elope? :

      I have only limited experience with borderline inappropriate behavior. Perhaps fortunately, my FMIL doesn’t do subtle and so her attempts at passive-aggressive come across obviously manipulative/not existing in reality. This backfires for her quite spectacularly: my FH then puts his foot down and she not only doesn’t get her way, but she loses credibility for the next time she wants something that’s borderline unreasonable.

      I do think that it’s your husband’s job to set boundaries with his mother, and that it doesn’t matter how petty these things are: your feelings are hurt and it’s your husband’s job to set boundaries so you aren’t hurt (within reason). This means that her hairdryer lives in his side of the closet/bathroom cabinet/whatever, and that he speaks up when she undercuts your choice of restaurant. The underlying problem is that you don’t feel this woman respects you and is trying to compete with you – you need your husband to simultaneously reassure her that he’ll always be her son, but that he won’t allow her to cross the line of being disrespectful towards you. If your husband won’t do that, then your problem is with your husband tolerating disrespect towards you, not with your MIL.

      For those who are interested from this weekend’s open thread, as of yesterday my FH went to bat for me with his mother on the wedding planning front. Calmly pointing out in person how I feel I’m being steamrolled and why my feelings are hurt (by both him and his mother) instead of blubbering incoherently over the phone goes a long way. Don’t want to totally threadjack – I’m just in the throes of boundary setting too!

      • Yay for your FH and yay for you for enlisting him to support you in boundary-drawing.

        I have an absolutely wonderful MIL and FIL and find all these rude behaviors described above as really unacceptable.

    • financialfashionista :

      +1 on having crazy in-laws……

      When my husband and I first started dating his parents were ALL ABOUT me. 6 months later everything I did was wrong. Spending the weekend with my parents meant I was convincing him to spend less time with his parents. Saying “no thank you” when MIL offered to send all kinds of junk food home with us meant I was depriving him of treats. Not coming home for his little sister’s 17th birthday dinner because we both didn’t want to drive 3.5 hours one way for a 17th birthday dinner meant I was cutting him off from his family.

      That then escalated into me trying to change everything about him, and his parents telling lies about me to his brother/SIL to try and convince them I was a bad person. Luckily, his SIL went through the same thing when she married his brother and we are now really close – we joke about who’s turn it is to be “in the dog house” with our husband’s parents.

      My husband and I just had to learn to say no to his parents – BOTH of us. No, we’re not driving over for a birthday dinner you told us about 2 hours ago. No, we don’t need you to send us groceries (seriously?!?! I don’t get this….). No, we’re not driving an extra hour out of our way when we see my parents to have lunch with you on our way home…

      For the record – it’s actually mostly my FIL. He still has yet to accept that his son is married, and we just had our 1 year anniversary.

  13. Los Angeles recommendations? :

    Starting a new job near DTLA, and I could really use your expert recommendations for (1) a nail salon which offers clean and quality mani/pedis for under $40, and (2) a great hair salon within a couple miles of downtown (bonus points for Chinatown or Little Tokyo), again in a lower price range (can’t do regular blowouts costing more than $30-40). I belonged to a “blow out club” at a salon in Miami: I paid $10/month, and $15 per blowout. It was amazing, and I’d love to hear if such a thing exists in LA! Thanks in advance!

    • downtowner :

      Try Neihule– not as cheap as you’re looking for but close… they do nails and blow-outs… There’s also some little places in Little Tokyo that do blow outs or nails — just Yelp them– that might be cheaper.

      I think Dry Bar may do a blow out club or frequent customer program but it’s not in DTLA.

  14. Ok I was going to say I love this dress, but then I saw the back…..why? Why?

  15. Shoe searching threadjack. I tried on a pair of burgundy patent leather pumps at DSW, and I loved how they looked, but they rubbed me pretty bad in one spot. I could order them in a size up, but I tried a different color/material on in-store a size up, and they were too big, so I’m hesitant to do that. Can anyone suggest anything similar? I would do better a little lower (if they were comfy, I would have tried these, but I generally don’t go higher than 3”). Thank you!


    • Stuart Weitzman Platswoon would fit the bill, but its about $300 *sad face*


    • How about these Michael Kors? They’re more expensive, but I bet the quality would be better and the height is right.


      • Also, these Talbots shoes are more expensive than those, but I’ve been very happy with the quality of their shoes. (I’d at least try to get a discount or a coupon or something though.)


      • Just a word of warning, Michael Kors shoes can be horrendously uncomfortable (at least for me). The only shoes I’ve just totally given up on and donated practically unworn. I also find patent leather in general to be a bit stiffer than regular or suede, so maybe look for a different leather in that style?

        These are pretty similar and have great comfort ratings. I have generally found that in the $100 and under category, EA shoes are pretty well made and comfortable; among the best for bang for your buck. http://www.zappos.com/enzo-angiolini-dixy-wine

    • Thank you for all these options! I think I’ll order the EA and MK shoes to see what’s comfortable. Not sure I’m ready to pull the trigger on the Stuart Weitzmans. I like how the EA description says they’re the perfect complement to my sophisticated style…I’m home sick today, but I’m sure they’d look great with my sweats!

      • I think you’re on the right track.

        I bought the Tahari Colette earlier this year in a blush color. I wore them to a wedding and found them to be fairly uncomfortable. They felt fine when I tried them on and even at the beginning of the night, but they left pretty deep indentations in the top of my foot. It was strange though, as I didn’t get any blisters or cuts, and my feet felt fine the next day. I’m hoping they’ll stretch if I wear them again, but I wouldn’t really recommend them either.

  16. I know it’s only Monday morning but I’m desperately wishing this week was already over. My SO is coming to visit for the long weekend but getting there feels like torture.

    The rational part of me knows that if I just buckle down and focus, time will go by so much quicker but it just feels like it’s been SO long since we’ve seen each other, that everytime I try to do something, I think about this weekend and get all excited and unable to focus again.


    • I don’t have anything special to look forward to, but I am also already counting down to the weekend. Blech.

    • I feel ya. I am seriously lacking motivation now that I’m leaving in a few weeks, and rainy weather makes me want to drink hot chocolate and buy sweaters online.

      I hope you have a great weekend with SO!

      • +1. Even though it’s 90 degrees here, sitting in my freezing office and watching the rain is enough to get me excited for Fall, and thus sweaters and hot drinks.

    • We are buying our new house tomorrow and get possession on Saturday. I just want to fast forward through the next few days to then!

    • First Year Law Student :

      I understand completely how you feel. I get to see my boyfriend about once every four months or so (woo six hour flights!) and every time I try to get stuff done beforehand, but it doesn’t always work out so well. Good luck, and I hope your weekend’s lots of fun!

  17. Diana Barry :

    Dry cleaning threadjack: why, why do they shrink things? I am wearing a skirt I last wore when I was about 8 weeks pregnant, and it shrank up by about 2 inches from the dry cleaner. I had to unzip it in the back (luckily my top is long enough to cover it) so that I could wear it lower. Grr! Argh!

    • I am so glad I’m not the only one with this problem. Sometimes I do wonder if I am just wearing the clothes so many times between cleanings that they stretch out, or if there is actual shrinking going on.

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      this is happening to me recently. does it mean I need a new dry cleaner?
      if so, can someone recommend one in NW DC where this does not happen?
      it is VERY annoying – especially with suit jackets and pants. I have my pants hemmed specially for heels, why can I only now wear pants???

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        “now wear pants with flats?”

        wow. it is only Monday and my brain has already melted . . .

      • French’s dry cleaners in upper Columbia Heights is great: http://www.frenchscleaners.com/

    • I’ve heard that sometimes happens because of the fiber content in the material itself, but who knows, maybe that’s a dry cleaner just trying to cover his back. :) It’s so annoying, though. There is a dry cleaner in my town that I flat out refuse to go to because five years ago, it shrank my clothes. Lesson learned: If you’re trying out a new dry cleaner, give them one item to begin with. Letting them experiment with 3 skirts and 3 sweaters is a bad, bad idea.

    • Exagerrate :

      I used to think this, but now I really do think it’s (1) water weight/bloating, mixed with (2) they get stretched out after wearing them a little bit.

      • ditto. Especially if you’ve had a kid. You may get back to the same weight, but things move around (at least in my experience, YMMV).

        • Diana Barry :

          It’s definitely not for me – I wore this after kid #1 (when I was chubbier than now) and after kid #2 as well. Just from the dry cleaning!!!

      • I dunno. The clothes fit when I buy them and then they come back from some dry cleaners at least a half size smaller. It’s annoying. I definitely think it’s fabric content and dry cleaning method. It happens with wool and cashmere, not so much silk.

    • This always happened to me, and it definitely wasn’t a result of things “shifting around” because I’ve never been pregnant. It’s happened at multiple dry cleaners, so I just gave up on dry cleaning except for those pieces that I actually want to shrink. I wash the rest at home using Laundress products. It’s worked pretty well on all of my nice suit fabrics so far–my only minor complaint is that I have to iron once the clothes are dry because the wash leaves wrinkles that won’t come out with the steamer.

  18. Frequent reader, rare commenter here, looking for advice.

    I am fairly happy in my current position. I work 5 minutes from home, 4 minutes from my son’s school, 1 minute from my daughter’s daycare. I was recently promoted. I like my boss and I have a good gig. There are little things of course that could be improved, but overall my work-life balance is good, my team is good, and I make decent money. I’ve been here 2 years.

    I got a call from a recruiter last week about a similar position with a better title, better pay, and higher visibility in the company. The new company is in the same office park as the old company, so there would be no change in my commute. I’ve told the recruiter that my number one priority is work-life balance and the company seemed unfazed by that.

    Would you go for this opportunity? Torn on what to do.

    • Considering that your work-life balance would be the same and the commute the same, I’d go for the interview and be very critical (privately) of both the proposed job and your current job.

    • Absolutely. It can’t hurt to check it out, and you may be able to leverage their interest in you into a counter-offer from the current gig.

    • Go for it. There’s no guarantee they’ll offer it to you, and you can cross that bridge when you get there. Good luck!

  19. I’m wondering what people do re: special event/evening shoes. Do you spend $$$$ (whatever that is for you) and get 1-2 pairs of event shoes, or do you go discount and buy a pair especially for an event?

    Browing shoes for a wedding I must attend in a month…. late September, upstate NY… chilly but not winter and wondering what to put on my feet!

    • I have crazy feet, so my only choice really was to spend $$$ on 2 pairs of “event” heels (silver strappy sandals, go with everything). If I wanted closed-toed shoes, then I have black and brown nice pumps that I could wear, but those are technically business shoes.

    • What shoes would you wear with this dress? (last spring’s BR “MadMen” floral sheath)


      • I’d wear burgundy/wine heels since the dress is somewhat floral but your event is in late September.

    • I’m sooooo cheap. I buy el cheapo heels (which can be really hard to find in a size that fits my wide feet– I usually check out bridal stores first), suffer through the evening with the help of Dr. Scholl’s for Her, and then put them away never to be seen again– or, if at all possible, to be trotted back out the next time I need an evening pair. I still haven’t been able to convince myself or DH that I should spend money on any shoes (I know…I’m working on it!), let alone a pair I’m going to wear once every six months, tops.

    • I have three pairs of $$$ event shoes – black satin d’orsay peep toe heels, muted gold strappy heels and black satin slingback closed toe heels. Because event shoes = standing around during c*cktails and then dancing, it’s worth it to me to have spent the money on just a few quality pairs that really fit.

    • my trick is 1 pair of light colored metallic pumps (think matte gold or silver) and one pair of dark metallic pumps (think black or dark bronze) they go with everything, work all year round, and cut out the drama of knowing what to wear with event dresses.

    • I have event shoes and have been known to buy dresses/plan outfits around the shoes. I figure that it’s easier to find clothes than it is to find shoes that are both comfortable and festive. My current roster of event shoes include:
      – silver strappy heels (SH is right – they go with everything!)
      – grey/chocolate/black colorblocked platform mary janes (very ’20s vibe)
      – red-orange suede sandals with flower-pom-poms on them (much cuter than they sound, and bought on mega sale… I’ll try to link for a pic)

      • Link to the badly described festive shoe #3:

  20. springtime :

    I’m frustrated with friendships and I would like help.

    I just had a friend cancel on long weekend plans for the second long weekend in a row. It’s too last minute for me to find anything else to do, and usually when she cancels it’s because other things that rank over me in priority come up (as in, her bf is more important type of ranking). Also, since she’s gotten back together with her bf, I’ve definitely noticed that our hangouts are not a priority. When she was single and wanted to go out and have fun, I was the first she’d call. Now, if I want to go out on a Friday, it always ends early or she’s already made plans for the bf. When I wanted to do something fun for her birthday she just said she was hanging with the bf and snubbed me.

    I’m so frustrated because I’ve dealt with a lot of bad behaviour from people lately. Part of me wants to make it known how upset I am, and part of me doesn’t want to start a fight. I don’t even think addressing it will change her behaviour, which is the worst part. Help?

    • Sad to say, I think this pattern is part of the process in finding a long-term partner/spouse. If I were you, I would make fewer plans with this person and when I did make plans, include the BF. Otherwise, unless there has been blatant snubbing or rude behavior, let it go and find some more unattached friends to make plans with.

    • I don’t have any real advice, but I can commiserate. I was telling my mom yesterday how wonderful it feels when it seems like none of your friends could give a crap about you.

      I’m in a strikingly similar situation with my friend. She has had an on again off again relationship with her boyfriend of the past 2.5 years. This time, they have been back together for about 3 or 4 months, but I think I made it too clear that I didn’t like him/think he was right for her the last time they broke up. Then they moved in together about 40 minutes away from where I live/she used to live and now we hardly see each other and I get canceled on a lot. Which makes me sad. I know addressing it wont change anything with my friend, because I have tried and it just ends up sounding nice and reassuring but ultimately getting back to her SO feeling like I don’t like him and me not having an SO for him to hang out with so it is hard for her to spend time with me, but hopefully your friend is a little more open to what you have to say.

      • But also, don’t let your plans all revolve around her or any other friend that cancels a lot. In practice, I feel like this means I’ve been alone a lot more recently than I would like. I’m pretty much the only single one in my close (geographically) group of friends, and I’m not going to lie, I feel pretty lame, and bitter sometimes, when I realize I spent both Friday and Saturday nights at home and was in bed by 11 because everyone else was out with their SO or I was not invited on group events where it is a group composed of my friends + their SOs. Maybe I need new friends, too.

        • springtime :

          Even just the fact that you acknowledged this happens to you, too, has made me feel so much better. Thank you.

          • Same. Logically I know I’m not alone in this, but it sure feels like it a lot of the time.

        • emcsquared :

          Wow…it never occurred to me that my single friends think I am spending my Friday nights in some magical place where couples stay out partying until the wee hours of the morning enjoying their couple-ness.

          The reality – DH and I are usually in bed by 11 on Fridays and Saturdays. Let’s be honest; we’re often in bed by 10:30. And so are most of my other married/coupled friends. (And I’m pushing but not quite 30…so make your judgments as ye must).

          Have you suggested brunch instead?

          • Typically I agree with you. I only think that they do this because they tell me. I’ll try to make plans for dinner and they will say “Oh, these 3 mutual friends, their SOs, and me and bf are going to dinner at restaurant.” Which I think they have picked up on as being kind of rude and that doesn’t happen as much as it used to. But the actual thing keeps happening, which I find out the week after through an email chain (“Remember how funny it was when X happened at dinner the other night?” which was the same night I asked one of those ladies if they wanted to go out/hang out.) or through talking to another friend. I get it, people place a lot of value on their SOs, but I have always tried to maintain friendships outside of my relationships and I don’t feel like any effort is being made by these people to have non couple friends.

          • soulfusion :

            I don’t think the point is that couples are off partying on the weekends but that when you are single there is this assumption/pressure that you are the one out there living it up, because if you are home alone you are in danger of turning into a lonely spinster with cats. It feels more like for couples staying in is a luxury but for us singletons it is thrust on us for lack of options. At least for me, I often feel like I am the last (wo)man standing in the single zone of every group of friends. It sucks and is exhausting to constantly have to refresh and revive and create new friendships.
            Springtime, you are not alone. Part of the issue sounds like normal coupling off. But the last minute weekend cancellation is just flat out mean. I’ve had to mentally put friends like that onto a limited trust level and often end up deeming them toxic and cut off contact completely. Because I would much rather have no weekend plans just because it turned out that way than the disappointment of a last minute cancellation. Hugs and understanding from someone who has definitely been there far too many times :(

          • “It sucks and is exhausting to constantly have to refresh and revive and create new friendships.”

            + 100

    • Stop relying on her to fill a whole weekend. Next time, make plans that require less of a commitment and where cancelling wouldn’t create problems for you. No point in yelling at her over it- I can’t imagine that will inspire her to want to spend more time with you. You might have to accept that the friendship is distancing a bit as her romantic relationship gets more serious. This isn’t necessarily a character flaw on her part (though cancelling last minute is bad form, I won’t defend that).

      • springtime :

        Well, I wasn’t “relying” on her to fill my weekend- we planned to go out of town for the weekend. So it wasn’t a “let’s paint our nails all weekend!” it was a planned trip. A month ago. A trip I already arranged transit to get to. Sigh.

        • For what it’s worth, I think people are being way too easy on your friend. I think what she did is the worst. It’s not just part of finding a spouse; I have a spouse and would NEVER EVER have done that, even when we were first together. Yes, I wanted to spend a ton of time with him, so I might not be as accessible, but I would NEVER cancel a trip at the last minute, or really any pre-made plans.

          This sucks. Sorry.

          • springtime :

            Thanks so much :). I did kinda feel like people thought I was being the unreasonable one.

          • Jacqueline :

            Agreed. I think this is more a bad friend issue than even an SO issue — having an SO can magnify it, but I wonder if the symptoms are always underlying.

            Many of my friends have SOs, but they never pull this on me (and I’d definitely be upset and hurt if they did). It’s not you, springtime. You’re right to be upset. Take this as a lesson learned and scale back on the friendship a bit — maybe put some of the effort you would have put into this friendship into making new friends. You’ll find people who won’t do this to you; I promise! They’re out there.

          • Anecdotally, I am married but still insist on spending a lot of time with my single girlfriends, including “let’s paint our nails” nights and weekend trips.

            I’m not surprised by springtime’s friend’s behaviour, because I have a LOT of coupled girlfriends whom I only hear from when they come up for air after a break-up.

          • I agree, barring some sort of emergency (or maybe if I hadn’t seen him in a really long time for some reason (like, a he was at war reason) and he suddenly came back, but that would be an odd situation), but even then, I’d apologize like crazy and feel terrible. I’ll admit that I’ve been in the situation several times where I’ve wanted to cancel (I’m just more of a stay home and cuddle on the couch person than a go out with people all the time person), but even then, I don’t unless I’m sure that no one’s counting on me.

          • Agree completely. I’m married with kids, so I may make less plans in general with my girlfriends. But, if I do make plans like a weekend trip or going out, I’m certainly not going to cancel for anything short of a work or life emergency. It’s just part of being a good friend…

        • Ouch. That is really terrible. I guess my point is just that you might have to accept that she is not a reliable person anymore and plan accordingly. I have flaky friends and I treat them as such- which means that I won’t be planning any weekend trips with just myself and flakyJane anymore- I always include a third, more reliable person.

          If her cancellation cost you financially, I do think that’s worth mentioning to her. Not necessarily as a demand for reimbursement, but just to make the point that this wasn’t exactly a “no harm, no foul” situation.

          • Second on reminding her that she’s leaving you in the lurch. You could say that if you had known earlier, you would have made other plans.

    • college + 20 :

      So sorry for you. I had a college bestie to do this routinely. She was a great friend, but when she got a boyfriend, she vanished. She’d always be back though. She was so fun that I always gave her another chance. I even went to her wedding and baby shower and look forward to seeing her at homecoming.

      A month ago, we were going to get together when I was on vacation. We planned it. I was really looking forward to it. Months ago. E-mailed about it. Then on the weekend before we arrived: oops, kids are busy. I can’t tell you how time / distance don’t ease how much that just sucked (I guess it sucked to be reminded that you’re always second or third to them, plans and promises notwithstanding).

      There’s nothing to do but build a full, happy life for you without FunFriend. If FunFriend drops in, that’s great. But they’re too unreliable otherwise.

      • This happened to me when a friend and I arranged for me to visit her in the UK. I booked flights according to the dates she gave me, I emailed her my flight details. When I emailed the WEEK BEFORE to confirm pick from the airport, she responded that she would be busy because her husband was taking a golf vacation and her mother was coming to visit.

        There are not enough expletives in the whole world to adequately describe my reaction.

    • Gurl, JSFAMO. For serious. Friends and friendships change. Your number one priority is you. Book a spa weekend somewhere fun and relax the angst away.

      I understand wanting to keep friendships open and allowing for the possibility for them to grow deeper and stronger. Keep inviting her to things, maybe you will become texting/email friends, whatever. But don’t set yourself up to be disappointed again. YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THAT.

    • This is the worst. It is one thing for her to bail on a group event, but a long weekend trip for the two of you is unacceptable. I would seriously talk to her about this. Explain that you had planned and prepared for this trip and how much it hurts for her to cancel at the last minute. A friend does not do that to another friend, unless something very important came up. (Full disclosure, last week I cancelled my Labor Day trip to visit a good friend who lives four hours away, because I need to fly out to visit my hospitalized Grandmother.)

      Now, for the hanging out at night and ending the night early. I think you’ll have to give her a pass here.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve totally been there. A friend and I are now better described as acquaintances because of it. My issue was always that she was canceling on me because her boyfriend’s (now husband’s) plans were cancelled for the night so she needed to be with him. They were living together and talking about marriage, so (fair or not) I had trouble understanding why she couldn’t spend 1 night away from him when they’d be spending the rest of their lives together. It only got worse when I moved a few hours away and we would have plans for when I came to visit and she would cancel n me for the same reason. Now that I’m in a relationship myself, I try my best to be aware of that potential and not cancel on friends unless something serious is happening that requires my presence. I encourage my boyfriend to do the same. I try to remember that having strong friendships outside of the relationship is very important. Or at least it is to me. But some people seem to not agree, so I’ll continue to be friendly with them, but if canceling becomes a habit I’m less likely to make future plans.

    • Boo.

      I have a large-ish group of friends and get togethers (for birthdays, etc.) are often a source of contention because everyone assumes that everyone else is going so it’s okay if they don’t go and the result is that half of us cancel! Your friend may be assuming that it’s okay if she cancels because you’ll have other people to hang out with? If you say anything to her, I’d communicate that she’s an important friend and you feel hurt when she cancels plans with you. Unfortunately, people usually prioritize SOs before friends, so I don’t think you can expect your friend to be the exception.

      • This is why I don’t really celebrate my birthday. I totally agree with all those birthday threads that it causes me so much grief and anxiety to plan a birthday and I’d rather just skip town and/or do something for myself. This year, I’m going to see The Book of Mormon and going to dinner with a relative who is in town. I always feel so bad when people don’t care enough to show up or there are so many people who RSVP no that I’d rather not put myself in that position.

        • lawsuited :

          Agreed. Last year only 1 person from my very close group of 8 girlfriends made it to my birthday dinner :(

          • Im sorry! I just can’t understand why people do this. At the most basic level, don’t their feelings get hurt when that happens to them? I know that I am a person who has few close friends rather than a bunch of acquaintances. It makes me wonder if they don’t value our friendship the same way as I do. But, JSFAMO. I can’t change them, I can only do what works for me.

    • Francie Nolan :

      Hi Springtime,

      I am sorry your friend did that it stinks. I am on the other side of the coin after this weekend and am feeling awful.

      My best friend is having a milestone birthday next weekend and her family is throwing an open house style party in another state. Her Mom called and invited us to the party the weekend before her birthday. The party is a Sunday afternoon, which means I would have to drive 3 hours in no traffic each way because my kids have school the next day and I have work. Not to mention over a month ago we invited out of town guests for that weekend, my sons first day of soccer is that Sunday, and we committed to attend a christening all before we were invited to her party.
      I talked to my friend and explained that we made these commitments prior to the invitation. Now she is sad and hurt that I blew her off. I also told her I want to celebrate with her and for her to pick a weekend that is good and I will come up and stay overnight so we can really visit and have fun, and she said she doesn’t think she will be free for a long time.
      I understand that she is hurt I won’t be at the party especially because we have been friends since freshmen year of high school, I feel awful about it, are these “good” reasons to miss the party or am I being selfish and should I juggle more to be there?

      I must state that I would not have planned the other things and son would miss soccer if I had recieved the birthday invitation before the other invitations.

      • It’s rough but you’re not wrong, you had other commitments first! Send your girlfriend a meaningful card/gift and call it good.

      • springtime :

        That is totally acceptable- you had other commitments before you got invited! Do not feel bad at all!

    • springtime :

      Wow so many thoughtful responses! Thanks everyone. I guess what I learned is that I need to quietly distance myself. I’m on a soccer team and I’ve started to build friendships with those people outside of our weekly games, too. :)

    • 1. Your friend is behaving like a jerk. Being with a bf does not make the behavior non-jerky. Only you can tell whether she’s going through a rough patch, or if she’s actually been a jerk all along. I’m inclined to believe it’s the former, or something out of ignorance. But if she’s ignorant, make sure she gets the following:

      The rules are simple. If you make plans with someone, you don’t get to drop them last minute because you think something better comes up. The offense is even greater if the plans you bailed on involved someone booking tickets and incurring expenses.

      You get an out if something worse comes up, like you break your leg in 3 places and suddenly have a “date” weeping to the triage nurse at the local ER about what happened.

      She knows there’s a bf-maybe in the picture, so the ethical thing to do would be to not promise to do anything in case bf calls her maybe. She should also think about whether she’d like to be jerked around by an unreliable bf who makes last minute plans, but that’s her problem. When she make that your problem, that makes her a jerk.

      2)Fighting is not the worst thing in the world. If by “fighting” you mean a non-hostile but difficult discussion where you lay out frankly that she’s shafted you and you’d like to know why and you’d like it to stop. Don’t fear confrontation merely because it’s confrontation. Confrontation isn’t fun, but do you really think it’s worse than being jerked around and steamrolled? If you think it’ll change her, confront her (calmly, politely, but firmly).

      If you don’t think it’ll change her, don’t bother, just don’t ever make plans that make her a necessary part of the group, and don’t sweat it if she doesn’t show.


      • erk….posting fail. there wasn’t a third point. must….refuel…must…have….more…caffeine…

  21. Ugh. Interviewed for two jobs last week and hoping to hear back from at least one of them soon. I’m anxiously waiting for the phone to ring and jump every time I hear it, but so far all I’ve gotten today are random spammy calls. This is going to be a looooong week.

  22. lucy stone :

    I offered to host a bridal shower for my sister in law. My mother in law decided it should be held on one of the days I said I wasn’t available. Why do I try?

    • since you’re the host, you get to decide when the event is (provided the bride is available). Send out your invites and be done with it.

    • Almost Desperate Housewife :

      I hate (being in) weddings. My sister is on the verge of getting engaged and I know I’m on deck to be the MOH. I’m thinking of giving her $5k to elope. It is going to be a disaster that is 70% my mother’s fault.

    • Just talk to your mother in law and explain that this is a day you cannot do. Since you are the hostess, as Anonymous pointed out, you should have a say as to when the shower will be. Do you think that your mother in law just forgot about the fact that you are unavailable or is there more to the story?

    • What Anonymous @ 12:02pm said.

  23. A co-worker just explained a better way to approach a case I’ve been working on. Should I feel dumb for not seeing it myself or just happy that there’s a way out of this? Sigh. I feel like I should be better at spotting issues by now. :(

    • This is why we work in teams. Sometimes you just need fresh eyes and a new perspective. Unless you are missing all the issues for every single project, I wouldn’t worry much.

    • Thank co-worker profusely and feel glad right now.

      Later, you can analyze why you didn’t see this approach, but I’d set a time limit so you don’t drown yourself in “why didn’t I….?”

    • Ugh, honestly, it’s a stupid case with less-than-stellar attorneys who have been making a lot of arguments that I now see are a bunch of red herrings. I had the right result, I just wasn’t getting there as efficiently as I could (and should) have. Thanks for the support — will definitely give this some more thought.

      • AnonInfinity :

        I feel this way all.the.time. I’m trying to feel positive and think that I’m learning, but it gets me down sometimes.

        No advice, just commiseration. Wah.

      • I find it hard to accept that some arguments are really poor and not worth my time to dissect and address. Part of it, for me, is being naive about the people making the arguments and part of it is being afraid I’ll miss something (a confidence issue for me). If that’s what’s going on with you, be glad that your coworker saw it and don’t worry about it, but keep it in your mind for next time.

  24. Target beauty products? :

    I don’t have a Target near me so only get to go to one once or twice a year when I am visiting family. I know it has some beauty product lines that are not available elsewhere easily – Boots, Sonia Kashuk etc – so what products would you recommend? I am looking for serums, anti-aging creams, lip and eye makeup etc. What are your favorites?

    • Boots No 7 Beauty Serum
      Sonia Kashuk eye pencils

    • ROC Night Cream, with retinol

    • Revlon ColourStay Lipbutters! They are the besty best!

    • Merabella :

      I love Sonia Kashuk’s cream blush. Not what you asked for, but it is seriously THE BEST!

      I also love all of her brushes, and recommend them highly.

      • Ohhh Maybelline just discontinued my favorite cream blush. I may have to try this one.

    • hellskitchen :

      Thank you all! I am def picking up the serum and will check out the other things too. And Merabella, I am a blush junkie so will check out Sonia Kashuk’s

  25. Almost Desperate Housewife :

    DH and I just bought a house in the Boston suburbs. The suburban suburbs. The kind with minivans and golden retrievers and stay at home yoga moms.

    We don’t have kids (we’re getting there, eventually). We don’t really know anybody in town. Most of our friends are still living in downtown Boston.

    How do you make friends in a new (towny) town when you don’t have an “in” like kids? We have a dog, and I’ve met a couple people walking the dog around…but not friend material people. I take the train/boat into work a few times a week and there are definitely people my age(ish)….so I know they live here! I just don’t know what they do!

    • Church, if appropriate for you, is always a great way to meet people. Also, get involved in community organizations that interest you. Volunteer, or join a community choir, or look into the local Rotary Club, or sign up for fitness classes where you can be a little social?

      • Also, maybe bake up some cookies or something (from a roll of dough, or store-bought if you prefer!), and visit the new neighbors? I think that right after you move in is the easiest time to meet people nearby, because it’s a great time to introduce yourselves around. Depending on your circumstances, some of your neighbors may be curious about what your house looks like, what you’ve done with it, and what you’re planning to do with it, too.

    • So we live in a suburban Boston suburb. And we became friends with our neighbors. They’re not our age, necessarily, and they’ve got kids and we don’t — but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly with them. And when you’re out walking your dog — be super friendly.

      Plus, do you take the same boat in every day — I met a bunch of people on my train who took the same train every day. You just have to take initiative. But again, they may not be exactly your age or in exactly the same life-place you are. Its kind of part of growing older I think. I also like the idea of a local club — there is in our town a running club and a couple other orgs like that, though I haven’t joined one yet. (Oh…and pro-tip…if you call someone a stay-at-home yoga mom, they won’t want to be your friend. :-)

      • emcsquared :

        Agreed on the “new friends might not be your age” – I live in a townhouse development that caters to middle-age gay men and wealthy empty nesters, as well as driven single professionals. I’m the youngest owner by 10 years and married. But I can name at least three people in the development who I consider “friends” because we walk our dogs at the same time, because we showed up to the HOA meeting and sat together, or some other accidental reason.

        Just make sure you spend some time outside in your yard, comment (postively) on neighbors’ dogs/life events/renovations/landscaping, and be open about your interests so people can find out about you. And have an open mind about the people you meet – someone who looks like a crazy cat lady might share your hobbies or interests.

    • This would probably never fly in NYC but have you tried smiling and saying hello to everyone you pass by? I’ve noticed people everywhere else do this. Or even just smiling.

    • “I take the train/boat into work a few times a week and there are definitely people my age(ish)….so I know they live here! I just don’t know what they do!”

      Oh man, I always feel this way. Especially when I see the same exact people every day on the bus I want to be like, we should hang out! And I don’t even live in that suburb-y of a suburb.

      I did join a gym, but the clientele was much older and/or yoga-mom-esque so that didn’t really help (and it makes more sense to belong to a gym near my office). I bike, and joined a club that does rides out in the suburbs (Lexington, Concord, etc) so that has been a way to meet people who live out here. Otherwise I don’t have any brilliant ideas except to say I know how you feel!!

    • I’d find a local organization (like the library or local community garden or something along those lines) to get involved in. Something up your alley and where you can interact with others.

    • Diana Barry :

      We didn’t make friends in our new town until our ‘old’ friends from the city moved out near us and started having kids. Until then we just hung out with our old friends all the time!

      Most of the people in our neighborhood (we live in a kind of tony suburb, Newton/Wellesley/Weston-ish) are older, so we are making new friends as people move in, kind of.

      • Almost Desperate Housewife :

        I used to live in Newton, but we had a lot of friends living downtown or in Brookline, which was still pretty accessible. Now we’re on the south shore, which feels a lot more insular.

        But… the views! And the commuter boat! Time to suck it up and start doing yoga or something.

    • Anonymous :

      A lot of suburbs have a newcomers club or something similar. It sounds dorky, I know, but I know folks who have made good friends through those groups.

  26. Question/things I have noticed here/just wondering:

    The commenters on this site are strong, confident, successful women — the overachieving chicks, as Kat says on her header. So why are there so many “my MIL or SIL drives me crazy” posts? Use your management skills to MANAGE these difficult people! Find ways to be firm yet polite. Put your foot down.

    Not judging, just an observation. And I get that we need a place to vent – I’ve been there. My own MIL has passed but I have 5 very very strong, confident, bossy, and some annoying SILs. I use the stuff I learned in management training with my SILs on every.damn.holiday.

    • Some of us are Baby [email protected]#$#$ttes, so we’re learning how to RAWR from the more seasoned pros =).

      • ChocCityB&R :

        Godzilla, I so love your unique perspective. I plan to spend the rest of the day RAWRing.

    • Am going to assume you’re not a troll…

      Because people have other people that drive them crazy. It’s just that one MIL/coworker/etc that knows how to get your goat or rubs you the wrong way AND, one of the things us strong confident successful women know how to do is ask for advice and know when we need to vent. It’s part of how we become who we are.

      (Sorry for run-on sentence and ellenCaPs today!)

    • I also think work relationships are different from personal relationships. People in our personal life get a lot more leash and those people may mean a lot to the people we love, even though we can take em or leave em.

      Me, I am at the stage in life where I either 1) JSFAMO with personal relationships or 2) direct approach. If you’re not in between where I am and where I want to be, I really don’t care what your opinion is. Plus, I also know that most of the time it’s not about me, it’s about them.

      • Why couldn't we elope? :

        This. I care about whether the people in my personal life like me and it hurts if they don’t. I want my loved ones (and the people they love) to love me too. With my coworkers, I’m ok with choosing respect over popularity and it doesn’t make me feel like a bad person if I’m not besties with my coworkers (after all, NGDGTCO).

    • Glad you’ve got your situation under control. Your situations aren’t the same as other people’s situations.

      Please don’t assume that just because you’ve fixed a problem, that others have the same problem and that they’re somehow lazy/weak/missing the point of their great management skills.

      People and situations are unique. People here also have different things at stake than you and can’t necessarily use your approach. It’s good to see all the different solutions that the “brain trust” here comes up with.

    • Elle Urker :

      A lot of defensive responses here! OP, it’s because people don’t really achieve work success through their own initiative.

      If you’ve been to good schools, good colleges, gone through hiring programs and are now in the workplace, you’ve basically made it. But these milestones are like an escalator. You basically start on the bottom step and are moved up by the momentum of previous choices. You are not actively and neutrally choosing your success on each level. Many people in America who have to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” don’t have the benefit of this momentum and cannot.

      So when it gets to actually achieving something which is not eased by cultural momentum, so called type A successful women (and men), fail just like everyone else. Since communicating well is not tested in school, marriages fall apart. Since self-awareness is not on the SAT, it’s impossible to detangle yourself from that dysfunctional family of origin. Society actively pushes us towards models of family and behavior which make us unhappy (requiring women to be perfect, gorgeous superwomen) and most “type A successful types” don’t have the internal fortitude to resist these messages. But they think they should (because they believe that they “achieved” all of this other stuff themselves). This explains the continuous “guilt responses” that women have (for no real reason) and likely much of the higher rate of depression.

      The real question you should be asking is why you think being born to the right parents would equip someone with greater emotional intelligence than an average person.

      • Exagerrate :

        I totally agree with OP and find many of these posts childish, selfish, and come off as a spoiled brat winey. WAAAAAH Me, my mother in law sends me cookies. Seriously ladies?

  27. I agree that the dress is kind of unflattering, but man do I love that it’s paired with those blue shoes.

    New colleague help TJ: I have a new colleague! I need help figuring out how to help her.

    My new colleague has been on the job two weeks, as of today. During her first week, her boss was gone; during her second week, I was gone. I do not supervise her in any way, but as a youngish person who has trained a lot of new people lately, I was asked to hold her hand as she got settled in. Because she and I went to the same college (although we didn’t know each other there), there’s an added level of chumminess.

    Although this young woman is lovely, smart, obviously capable, and very enthusiastic, she seems a bit clueless about how to behave professionally. My boss got materials routed from her with a sticky note saying “To [His First Name] :)”, and she drafted a letter to a foreign company with whom we work that began, “Hello! I’m [Her Full Name], and I work in [department] at [my company].” Nothing she does has been egregiously wrong, of course, but it’s all just a little bit off. (I wish I could also cite her for wearing flip-flops–!!!–to work, but unfortunately our dress code is incredibly lax.)

    I realize all this is to be expected for someone who graduated from college this spring, but how can I gently guide her towards a slightly more polished approach? She’s the only person on her level in her department, so I’m the closest thing she has to a professional peer, and I’m not sure how to tactfully ask her to dial down the exuberance without making it sound as though she can never have any fun at work or be friendly or express her natural enthusiasm.

    Thanks in advance, friends.

    • I had the same thought about the shoes– I really like that styling.

      For your colleague, maybe you could demonstrate by example? For instance, maybe give her some samples of similar work that you’ve done that have the right tone. You could put a few things together in a folder or binder, then tell her that one of the things you found trickiest around your office was getting the tone of correspondence right, so you wanted to give her some examples to follow. If you want to be more straightforward, maybe tell her that you think the work she’s been doing is great in terms of content, but that you want to give her a few examples of the way that your office likes things to look and sound.

    • Okay, as for the first two, I don’t think it would be out of the realm of appropriateness to take her out to coffee and just say something like “when you’re communicating with clients, or even within the office, you need to make sure you’re maintaining a certain level of formality.” I’d cite the external letter as the issue and leave aside the post-it note, but hope that she gets the idea.

      Otherwise, I’d just model good behavior. And take her out to coffee, chat with her about stuff around the office, offer to help out when she needs it, and ignore the flip-flops if they’re within the dress-code (really…you gotta pick your battles, I think.)

      • AnonInfinity :

        I agree with this suggestion combined with ChocCity, below. I also agree about the post-it note. A senior partner at my firm routinely authors post-its like this, complete with smiley faces. (I know that’s a little different than the fresh-out-of-college new girl, but it shows there’s no reason to be a completely lifeless drone.)

        I think I was too eager at first in my job and could still end every sentence with !!! on most days because I love it here. It took a little bit for me to realize the office culture, but I do an ok job of dampening it now. Reading blogs like this and NGDGTO helped because I learned to actually observe the behavior of those around me. Now I get good feedback about my enthusiasm and how it makes people want to work with me. All this is to say — be very nice in your critiques and emphasize that she still needs to be herself, just with fewer !s. You don’t want to kill her spirit and make her feel weird for being excited to be there.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Suggest some books, like Great on the Job, and just be up front with her. If you have a good relationship, I’m sure she will appreciate it. Make sure you aren’t just telling her the stuff she does wrong–that could easily impact her self-esteem.

    • hellskitchen :

      I would go beyond just modeling because she may not pick up on the nuances. If she has just started, she will likely be open to feedback and I’d be direct in giving her that feedback. Just say, “I want to make sure you understand our general communication approach and style… we lean toward formality as a rule, here’s how we email clients etc” Send her samples of your emails to learn from. Just give this f/b right in the moment instead of saving it for one conversation. And if you are modeling something, be clear about it – e.g. tell her you are doing a call with a client and if she wants she can join to see how you lead the call. Even though you are not her manager, she will appreciate your feedback, but do her a favor and let her know that you are giving her feedback, instead of expecting her to pick up on it.

    • I feel a little bit sorry for you ladies if a sticky note saying “To [First Name]” and a letter that says, “Hello! I’m [Full Name] and I work in [department] at [company]” are inappropriate. Really now? Do you call your bosses ma’am and sir? How else would you introduce yourself – ok, maybe lose the exclamation point, but what’s wrong with “I’m Mary Smith and I work in XYZ at ABC Co.”?

    • Exagerrate :

      If you are not her superior/supervisor and some of what she does is within the realms of the company (i.e., flipflops are allowed, I’m a midlevel at a biglaw firm and routinely use post-its – they are completely allowed in many offices) then I would not say anything. In the end, she will blaze her own path and really, some of what you are mentioning seems to be your personal opinion of how a young lady in the office should act/dress . . not the companies opinion.

      Advice is cheap, everyone wants to give it and thinks theirs is the best. She may not agree with you and then you kind of just sound like a bossy/judgy co-worker

  28. I so agree!! FOOEY on peeple that look down on us for bieng women with MOXY!

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