Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Proffington Python-Patch Corduroy Blazer

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

The Row Proffington python-patch corduroy blazerHmmn: I feel like a great corduroy blazer is a must for men, and I think this blazer makes a great case for all businesswomen having one as well. I love the sharp lines, the silk lining, and — why hello there — python elbow patches. I like it as styled here, with black pants and a white blouse, perhaps with a colorful torsade necklace. It’s $2,390 at Net-a-Porter. The Row Proffington python-patch corduroy blazer

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.


  1. I usually love your picks, but python patches aren’t doing it for me. Nothing beats a great blazer though! Would be great for python fans. ;)

  2. wow, a $2390 corduroy blazer. It should buy me dinner and give me a back rub at that price.

    • a nonny miss :

      And a foot rub.

      • I agree. Cordoroy should be cheap. I could UNDERSTAND if it was made out of sable, or mabye SILK, but cordoroy? The manageing partner would not even like it if I work cordoroy into work. He did NOT give me my raise! FOOEY ON HIM!

        • (If any other Ellen devotees want details on this, see page 1 of the weekend open thread comments. She posted the story of being declined a raise, and it ain’t bad.)

        • a nonny miss :

          you tell him, Ellen.

        • On a serious note, when asking for a raise do you specify how much you want or do you just ask for one generically?

  3. Always a NYer :

    If I were spending that much for a blazer, it wouldn’t be made of corduroy, it would be tweed and made by Chanel.

    • Diana Barry :


      Also, I hate elbow patches with a fiery passion. Gah!

      Threadjack – what does everyone do about second day hair? I have been washing my hair every other day as per my hairstylist, but on the second day it always looks terrible and I have to put it in a ponytail. Does anyone have a solution for this, or do I just suck it up and have the ponytail for half of the week?

      • i tried 2nd day hair for awhile and couldn’t get it to work. however i have heard:

        – it gets better over time; your hair has to get used to being washed less and will eventually produce less oil to compensate
        – dry shampoo, if you need it
        – otherwise, ponytails, buns, up-dos? actually a nice mix of hairstyles throughout the week ;)

        • Diana Barry :

          Over time – like how long? I have been doing this for 2 years and my hair is still oily on the second day. Grr.

          • Anonymous :

            I have the same issue, and I’ve been doing this for longer than two years. In my case, I think I just produce a lot of oil–I go through 3-5 oil absorbing sheets per day for my face. Sometimes I wonder when the Pres is going to call to ask for my help solving the oil shortages.

          • I struggle with this because I have oily hair and I hate using dry shampoo. One solution that has worked for me is applying an oil treatment on my scalp before washing. I do this once or twice a week depending on how much time I have. Ideally I’d apply oil and leave it overnight but even 15 minutes helps. I sometimes wet a towel in hot water and apply it. This is supposed to be a general restorative treatment for hair, but in my case it decreases the amount of oil produced by my hair after washing and keeps my hair grease free for at least 2 days. There is supposedly some theory behind this about how if your scalp is oiled/moisturized before washing, it will produce less oil to make up for what was washed away.

        • I wash every other day – oil isn’t a problem, unless I’ve been messing with my bangs a lot. When I wear it curly rather than straight, though, it’s a hot mess on the second day. The best thing I’ve found was actually from a suggestion someone made on a thread here a while back – wet it with your hands on the second day. It makes a big difference in taming the crazier frizz and getting the curls back into recognizable form.

      • Always a NYer :

        I feel your pain on second day hair looking terrible. When I started coloring my hair again this year I had to go to washing every other day. I’ll admit, it took my hair a good six weeks to get used to not producing so much oil to compensate but it is better now.

        On the second day, I use Tresseme dry shampoo (spray, rub it in, let it set, then brush carefully) and usually pull back the hair around my face and clip it with a barrette. I’ve never been a fan of ponytails so it’s either down with a barrette or I clip up all of my hair.

      • Try using the hair dryer on your hair when it’s dry to shape it – section it off or whatever you do when it’s wet, but just use the dryer for a very short time. (My hair is not oily, so this may not work for you.)

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        I haven’t been able to master this as yet – even evening after washing hair in morning is sometimes a challenge!

        The problem I have is oily skin, so until I can resolve that, there is little I can do about my hair. Dry shampoo does help, but only for about half a day, so it is really a solution only when I have to work super late and my hair looks a mess.

        So no advice, just commiseration…

      • I can only do day a half hair (e.g. shower late afternoon night and not wash the next morning). I do one of two things. 1) put it up, but use hair spray and bobby pins or something to create volume and texture, so it’s not just greasy hair slicked to my head. 2) using a waving iron or big (1 – 1.25″ on my chin-shoulder length hair) curling iron to create texture and volume, along with lots of hair spray and dry shampoo and put a thin headband on so it’s out of my face and I don’t touch it. If you don’t like the headband you can just clip the front back.

      • I have naturally curly hair and try to wear it down the second day, but always decide by 10:00 am that the ponytail is the only way to go. Happened this very morning…

      • I ALWAYS do second (and sometimes third) day hair. For second day hair I take out the curling iron and just curl, curl, curl. Add a little hairspray and I’m done. Sometimes I need to use the flat iron on my bangs, too.

        For third day hair (which works better in the winter months), I use TRESemme dry shampoo, blow-dry it for a minute or so, and brush into place. If it’s still looking a little wonky, I’ll pull it half-back so it’s a little more tame.

        • This. I wear my hair straight when it’s freshly washed, then add dry shampoo and curl it with an iron (1 1/4″) and hairspray on the 2nd day.

          I will only push to 3rd day on weekends or days when I’m working from home, but then I generally add more dry shampoo and tease it, then pull it back into a high ponytail. The teasing helps add volume so it’s not just flat greasy hair stuck to my head.

      • Are you curly haired? Go to naturallycurly dot com and search for the “pineappling” technique. It’s the only thing that has ever worked for me. I also usually do a sock bun or a Gibson roll if I put my hair up; that looks more elegant than a ponytail.

      • S in Chicago :

        I use a dry shampoo (powder made by oscar blandi–really nice smell) and a 2 inch curling iron. My hair is shoulder length with some layers. The curling iron adds volume with out making actual curls because the barrel is so large.

      • You might try just rinsing your hair with hot water and then blowdrying or styling as normal. I do this on my “non-washing” days after I work out to get the sweat out but also give my hair a break from shampoo, or on days when my bedhead is just not going to cut it and I need the volume that I can only get from wetting and re-drying my hair.

      • Anonymous :

        I couldn’t fathom second day hair for a long time, but recently found a couple of shampoos that make this possible. Perhaps you need to experiment with other products. I have a lot of fine, straight, colored hair. For me, Rusk and Aveeno shampoos work, but others simply do not.
        With these products, I could do “no rinse” when my hair was long, but a recent chop makes that impossible. I still have to rinse the second day, but I still think that is less stress on the hair than washing 7 days a week.

      • Research, Not Law :

        My hair is naturally curly the first day and wavy the next. The night of the first day, I brush out the droopy curls. The next morning, I do the same and wind it into a bun. By the time I’ve finished up at home and commuted to work, I can take it down and it looks quite nice.

  4. Threadjack: I recently just started working with a partner (fairly directly) for the next several months for a big project. I’m normally used to reporting to midlevels and senior associates. So far my work at the firm has been well-received and I have no reason to believe the partner doesn’t enjoy working with me. So, a rational person would just be thankful to be able to get this type of experience and move on with their lives. However, I’ve been experiencing dread and stress over this – dread over the inevitably long and hard hours, stress over the worry that I’ll mess something up and disappoint the partner, etc, etc. For whatever it’s worth, my time so far at the firm (I’m extremely junior) has already been stressful with very long hours and, while I haven’t always handled it well privately (I was extremely nervous and exhausted at the beginning), it hasn’t affected my at-work performance. But it seems like every time I start to get a grip on things and feel calm, a new wrench gets thrown in. I know this is just a part of, you know, being an adult and having a job and learning new skills . . . but any advice as to how to deal with this/react well so the worry isn’t all-consuming? Or does this type of thing just go away on its own after you’ve spent a few years at the firm? Thanks in advance.

    • Been there :

      I write to validate your experience. I am now a mid-level, but my first year was incredibly tough. I had the same experience as you, I think – I reported to associates, my work product was fine, but I was a complete and total nervous wreck. I had really long hours and I never felt in control over my time. Things get better, they really do. Part of it was that I got used to everything – I still worried about getting everything right, but I was able to send an email after only 15 minutes of review instead of 40! I also started working directly with a partner, who actually seemed to be more laid back and professional than most of the associates I had reported to (maybe they were too close to their own first-year experiences to help me make a smooth transition into firm life). Anyway – you’ll get to a better place, your personal life will even out, you’ll gain seniority and be able to better control your hours, and you will come out with some very concrete lessons learned . . . that hopefully you can apply when dealing with the next crop of newbies. Hang in there! BTW, even if you do mess up and your work product is not perfect – its OK!! I made a big mistake in my first year, got reamed out, and now I get great performance reviews. No one remembers.

    • Part of the nervousness will go away on its own just because things will be more familiar. When you are junior, everything is new. I wish someone had told me that when I was a first year, I will feel stupid all the time and that is normal (not because I am stupid :) – but because law school does not prepare you for work done at a firm). Try to realize, you can’t be perfect. All you can do is try your best. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Realize though that it will be fairly hard to make an absolutely catastrophic mistake when you are that junior. Ultimately, it is the partner’s responsibility to supervise you. Also, try to realize it is much better for you to work with a partner instead of a mid-level associate. You will learn a ton more and it doesn’t hurt to have a partner be able to personally vouch for your work product.

  5. Threadjack . More on hair.

    I have always had thin, straight hair. Now that the greys (really silver) are starting to outnumber the browns, the greys tend to be more wild, stick out here and there, esp. at the top of my head. Sort of starting a frizziness.

    Product suggestions?

    I wear a chin length reverse bob (long in front, short in back) with bangs. I wash, blow dry and that’s it. No products. Nothing has given me volume. I have wanted volume and now I have this! Not quite what I asked for :)

    • North of 40 :

      I have the same problem and the only thing that helps is coloring my hair. The color coats the hair shaft and smooths it. I do a partial foil every 6-7 weeks. I now stretch out haircuts to be able to afford more frequent colorings! I would color anyway because my natural color is rather dull dark blond/light brown, but this is an added benefit.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I have the same hair as you, and am also starting to get the wild greys/whites, sticking straight out of the top of my head. After living with fine, straight, limp hair for years, these crazy wiry white ones are really throwing me for a loop.

    • I have fine hair but a lot of it (many strands) and I find that highlighting and lowlighting are the best way to blend in my greys. They don’t catch all the grays in the foils, but having the variation of hair colors, especially around my face, has helped the grey look less obvious.

      As far as texture, yes, my grey hairs are wirier than my normal hair. (So don’t pluck them! They grow back in standing straight up!) The highlights help a little here, as well, as the strands that my stylist makes lighter also end up having more of a wiry texture.

      I am fortunate to have found a stylist that I trust completely. If Bradley says to do something, I pretty much do it. The high and low lights were his suggestion and they’re working perfectly.

      • All those years I was wishing for curly hair with body, I forgot to add to my wish that it be brown hair.

        I have found that coloring it does seem to help.

    • Anonymous :

      Here is a trick I learned from Allure: Spray a powder brush (I have one from Target dedicated to this use) with strong hairspray (I use Elnett). Then brush down the stand-up grays with the brush. It keeps mine under control.

  6. I HATE elbow patches. H&M has a bunch of these blazers for like $40 and I don’t get it .

    Where do women wear these blazers to? Seriously curious, not being snarky.

    • It would be appropriate for my causual office. I think of it as a slightly more formal, and slightly warmer, alternative to a cardigan.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I wore a blazer similar to this one to a CLE last Friday. I wanted to look put together but not super formal.

      Also, with jeans on the weekends.

      I love the elbow patches!

      • I have a herringbone blazer that I wear to work all the time. I throw it on over skirts and dresses to add a little casual polish.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      I work in a small southern firm with a business casual dress code – elbow patches are full steam ahead here. Most of the time women partners and associates wear cardigans, so blazers (even with elbow patches) are dressed up.

    • I think they look best on women in their 20s who can pull off the trendy-old-man look. I have an assistant who is 24 and she has a blazer with elbow patches. On her it looks young, trendy, and fashionable. On me, it would just look old.

      • Maybe that’s why I don’t like elbow patches, but couldn’t quite figure out why – at 40+, I feel like the elbow-patch blazers were so trendy in the 1980s (were they? or am I just imagining it?) that I think on me they might look like I’ve held on to an old suit I wore when I was just graduating college or something. Plus I think I just don’t like the aesthetic.

    • I may be in the minority, but I love elbow patches and tweed and corduroy jackets. These jackets are less formal because of the materials and the patches just give them a little more whimsy.

    • Backgrounder :

      I bought one of the H&M blazers with elbow patches in nazy with tan elbow patches. I find them kind of cute in a “professorial” kind of way. Wear it with a white tee, dark jeggings and cognac colored wedge boots.

    • I see! I guess my patch-hatred blinded me to the possibilities :)

  7. I like this. Obviously elbow patches are not everyone’s thing, esp. python ones, but I love it. Reminds me of my dad and all his Harris tweed/corduroy/general coziness elbow patch jackets. Maybe that’s a weird vibe to channel at work, but it would make me happy so f. it.

  8. AnonInfinity :

    Did anyone else watch Miss Representation on OWN last week or this weekend? It’s about the way that women leaders are shown in the media. It talks a bit about how women, generally, are portrayed, but I think the point was how women leaders and other powerful women are portrayed.

    I just watched it on my DVR last night. It made me upset to remember things that were said about Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Katie Couric, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan in the very recent past.

    It also got me a little fired up and inspired. After watching, I signed up for my area’s women’s foundation, which has a great program that aims to get junior-high girls involved in science, engineering, and leadership.

    • Betty White :

      Is there anyway to watch it online? The trailer looked amazing!

      • AnonInfinity :

        There’s a website at www dot missrepresentation dot org. I’m not sure if you can watch it there or if it just has the trailer.

    • Saw it at a showing in the Twin Cities last week – very much worth the time. Always good to be reminded that we have to be on our toes and hold advertisers and the media in general responsible via our time, money and our votes. There was also an interview with the producer on NPR that I caught the tail end of this past weekend. Check the website for showings in cities across the country.

  9. Ultimate outfit challenge :

    I have to find something to wear that fits this fact scenario:
    – comfortable enough to be worn to a 3 hour exam, then
    – dressy enough to be worn to a cocktail hour where my boss and other industry execs will be in attendance, then
    – casual enough to wear out celebrating with my classmates after the cocktail hour
    – the class celebrations are on a bus, with drinking
    – the invite to the cocktail hour warns against wearing heels (cobblestones)
    – there won’t be time to change between any of these events, though I could bring a large purse

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I don’t know if this helps but I have a dress from the LC Lauren Conrad line at Kohls, which I don’t think they sell anymore, which would work.

      It’s jersey – ie very comfortable, teal and strapless. When you wear it with a big cozy sweater, tights and flats, it looks casual, and quite comfortable. You could take off the sweater and (depending on the environment, cut of the dress) switch to a blazer or wear just the dress pretty easily and it would instantly be more dressy once you lost the big sweater. If you have time to redo makeup, that would probably be good.

      Not sure of your age but something like this with a sweater or blazer could be really cute

    • Well, I don’t know what you have in your closet, or if you’re willing to buy, if anything. Here’s was I would do if I was in the situation:

      -dressy wedge shoes. I have a pair of patent aerosoles with a one inch wedge that i’d prob wear. however, if you’re sitting for the exam and doing that first, then you may be fine in whatever heels/wedges you want.

      -i see plenty of female lawyers in pants at weekday cocktail hours. I’m assuming you don’t need a suit? I’d wear my comfiest dress pants with a dressy yet comfortable sweater if a suit wasn’t necessary.

      There’s been days where i’ve been in pantyhose/tights and a skirt/dress all day and have been comfortable, but with the exam I’d go for pants, mainly because I sit with my legs in un lady like positions when I’m taking long exams.

    • I would do the following:

      Cocktail type dress, preferably something loose around the midsection. Maybe something like this http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/dkny-sleeveless-print-dress/3224055?origin=category&resultback=459 (presuming its longer) with a black blazer over the top.

      Then you can take off the blazer if you want before the party and switch from black flats to a fun brightly colored heel (maybe red). Or frankly, you could just wear the flats the whole night…its in a party van!

      Don’t know, just one idea.

    • I think this situation calls for a cute blouse that can be covered with a nice blazer. Wear the blouse sans blazer to the exam and the bus event, throw on the blazer with your colleagues. Maybe pair it with flat boots and a skirt or booties and some straight leg pants. Throw some extra fun jewelry in your purse to liven up the outfit when you are out with your classmates.

    • I don’t know if you are a dress/skirt person or not, but I am, so in this scenario I could see myself wearing a plain, black jersey dress with tights and nice ballet flats (of course with a coat and scarf at this time of year). The jersey dress would be comfy enough to sit and write an exam in, and could be easily dressed up with nice earrings, lipstick, and perhaps a long, silver necklace.

    • Black jersey dress. Wear fold-up flats to the exam if you can, and bring a change of shoes (wedges?), jewelry, touch-up makeup (lipstick) and a nice wrap in your bag. You can use the wrap during the exam if you get cold.

    • I’ve been moderated forever, but I essentially recommended a jersey dress (though I think a print would be nice), a blazer, and a shoe change (black flats to red heels perhaps).

      Have fun!

  10. I’m preparing a report to our elected officials explaining why it is foolish to cut my position and outsource it instead. If you are in the Midwest, especially Wisconsin, can you let me know what your hourly rate is?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Don’t know if this will help at all but when I worked in Wisconsin as an undergraduate intern for a big company, my hourly rate was $10/hr.

  11. Barrister in the Bayou :

    Threadjack: I received my Birchbox on Saturday and there was a Zoya nail polish in it. I have to say that I am really impressed. No harsh chemicals and no bubbles! I generally don’t paint my fingernails because I’m somewhat compulsive and I immediately have to remove polish once it starts chipping. The colors are really pretty to boot! I may have to get on this boat and actually buy some!

    • Thanks for the review! I usually stick to OPI, but branched out to Essie this weekend on a whim and did not like it at all. The colour was great (Glamour Purse) but it chipped super fast without a topcoat (it looked atrocious within 2 days), so I redid it with my usual topcoat and it smudged like mad when I went to go make the bed a good three hours later. Ugh. I typically don’t do topcoat until the day after so I’m going to try again tonight and do topcoat tomorrow and see if it lasts a workday in between. In the words of Ellen, FOOEY!
      Anyways the point of that long and rambling story is a) I’m super peeved at Essie, and b) thanks for the Zoya rec, I will keep an eye out for it!

      • Essie also really doesn’t work for me. I far prefer OPI. I think different polish formulas work differently on different people, but I have had the exact same experience you describe with every Essie polish I’ve tried.

    • I like Zoya’s colors, but it doesn’t last as long as OPI and Essie for me.

    • Jealous! I love Zoya. I just signed up for Birchbox, got my first one a week ago – and it sucked! Is there a way to try and rate what you got so future ones are better? Or is it all luck of the draw?

      • I have tried to ask for no perfume (I am allergic) with no luck. I may try to ask again since it’s a total waste for me to be receiving products I can’t use. I’ve gotten Zoya 3 times so far and while I like it, it’s not like there is a significant difference among the colors. I either like it or I don’t, and I don’t need three tries to decide.

        • But yes, it is all luck of the draw. I really liked what I got last month, and some months there is only one item I would actually use.

          • Anne Shirley :

            Ditto. I’ve gotten Zoya three times( love it) and various Ahava products at least 4 times. If variety doesn’t improve, quitting.

      • I got my first Birchbox and I was disappointed as well. Very smelly perfume, a mud mask and the one thing I liked was some foot balm. I would not buy a full size of anynof these samples.

        • just Karen :

          Same here! I got a thick night cream that looked like I could get 1-2 uses out of it, a blue nailpolish, a piece of fancy chocolate (seriously something like chipotle and poprocks), a sample of heavy perfume, and a sample of a body scrub that has shimmer in it…I’ll hold out for another month or two, but I don’t know if I am going to keep my subscription.

        • Just goes to show how different tastes can be . . .

          It sounds like we got the same birchbox this month, and I loved everything BUT the foot balm (although I was happy to try it). The pink lip gloss is awesome, and that mud mask is something I have been dying to try for years (but never wanted to shell out the $60+ to try it). I am officially in Birchbox love!

        • I got my first Birchbox this month, too. Apparently, there were 22 different versions.

          Mine had a Kate Spade perfume sample, a lip enhancer sample, a cinnamon toothpaste sample, a hair tie, and Zoya nail polish.

          • Mine had the Kate Spade perfume, lip enhancer sample, foot balm, hair tie, and Zoya polish.

            My first month and I generally liked it… the hair tie is perfect for my daily pony.

      • I wasn’t impressed with my first one either. Mud mask, tiny bright pink lip gloss, foot balm sample, Shalimar perfume sample – oh how I hate a heavy oriental fragrance on me, and two “coasters”, which were printed paper things like you get under your drink in a bar. I’ll give it another try or two and if it’s no better, I’m out. Frankly, I score better samples cruising through a department store and chatting with sales clerks who aren’t busy.

    • The nail polish was a nice suprise since I was underwhelmed by Sept and Oct. I also got the mud mask, the champagne shimmer body creme (?), and a perfume sample (gave to nieces to play with). I also got a bracelet that is kind of cute. I

      • I got a completely different box from you all. That is so funny. No nail polish, no mud mask. I did get the heavy perfume – I have to say, I really don’t like the perfume samples. You can try thoses easily enough at the stores, I’d much rather have other products to try. I did get the pink plumping lip gloss, which is fine. This month’s isn’t that great IMO, but last months’ (with the lipid serum and hair mask etc) was fantastic.

  12. SAlit-a-gator :

    If anybody really loves this look, Talbots has some awesome curduroy blazers (sans elbow patches) and I think they may still be having their sale – code THIRTY for 30% off.

    • They have a lot at the outlet now for $24. I think I saw brown, camel, turqouise, and plum in a variety of sizes.

      • Saw the same blazer and tried it on. It was very cute in navy. Was TOO shrunken for my man shoulders and rib cage though!

  13. I’m finally going to take the plunge and buy a smart phone. I’m debating between a droid or the new iphone. Anyone have any thoughts on which one to get? TIA

    • Iphone! I love mine and everyone I know with a droid hates theirs and is making the switch. Though I’m sure there will be devotees.

      • I have a droid and I’m not going to switch to the iPhone. I am, however, going to upgrade to a better droid at some point. Mine is outdated.

        Honestly, the apps are mostly comparable. The only one I’d like to have that iPhone has is region-specific. There’s no app that accurately predicts when the T is going to arrive.

    • Personally, I think they’re both good. Especially if you haven’t had a smart phone before. I’ve had both, and currently have a Droid phone (T-Mobile’s G-2) because T-Mobile has the best coverage where I live and the cheapest rate plan for my needs. Honestly, I’d choose a provider and rate plan first – phones are all cool and the technology changes really fast. Whatever you buy today will be outdated in a week. But you’re stuck with your contract and all those monthly payments longer than any of the technology lasts. :)

      • Agree with this.

      • I have the G-2 Droid as well and it’s amazing. Also T-Mobile’s price and coverage are great. Everyone on my block with an AT&T iPhone stands in his or her driveway (or my driveway) to make calls. Definitely get a Verizon iPhone if you make that choice.

        • Yes, back when my husband had an iPhone and AT&T, he used to have to stand with his head pressed to the front window of our house to make calls. It took him a while to get used to being able to talk anywhere in the house after we switched to T-Mobile.

        • Funny. It really does depend on your service area. Everyone in my family (mom, brother, sister, bro-in-law, sis-in-law) has an iPhone except for me. For several years, when we went up skiing in NH, my phone was the only one that worked on the mountain.

          My dad doesn’t have a cellphone. He hates phones.

          • Doesn’t that depend more on your service provider (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon) than your phone?

        • We have the same problem with my husband’s I-phone (and we’ve even had to go back to a limited distance landline some so that he can actually use the phone at home), while I’ve almost never been out of coverage range on my Sprint GalaxyS (which uses the Droid network/apps).

          I don’t know much about the Droid, but my phone is better in most every way than my husband’s I-phone 3. He just got the 4S, and I think it probably out-ranks my phone now, but of course it’s a lot newer, and I think there’s a better version of my phone out now, too. I-phone has more and somewhat better apps, but Droid has all the ones that you could ever need (the I-phone just sometimes has fun silly ones that I can’t get).

          In other words, I’d go with Droid unless you’re absolutely sure that you will get good phone coverage with an I-phone. Though even then it’s a toss-up.

        • Yep, I have Verizon.

      • Agree, absolutely check around to see which company has the best coverage / service where you live before deciding on a phone. I’ve used many different providers and by far liked Verizon the best. Then hubs wanted an iPhone + family plan (before Verizon had it) so I switched to AT&T and really really dislike it.

        • sorry, “really really dislike [AT&T]” not “really really dislike [iPhone].” AT&T coverage is terrible in my area.

      • I have a family plan with my parents who pay for it so I’m not concerned with providers and plans unless my parents want to change it.

    • Diana Barry :

      I just ordered an iphone. DH has a droid, which he likes, but it is 2 years and has problems (not hanging up, calling itself, etc.). Have played with both and they seem fairly similar to me, but I didn’t try the new voice thing on the iphone.

    • Love my iPhone. I have friends that are Droid users and many love their phones, but have heard of many having problems as well. I know one of my friends got a Droid because Apple is “so proprietary”, but that hasn’t ever bothered me. I have had my 3Gs for about a year and a half and couldn’t be happier.

    • found a peanut :

      I have a Droid and it works for me. All the google stuff you’re used to using (gmail, maps, google calendar, reader) is integrated into the droid, which is really convenient. And the Droid has better/more free apps because the software is open. Plus, there is a HUGE selection of Droid phones so you can probably find one to suit your needs if you have specific requests (i.e., if you want a big screen or a full keyboard). And the Droid is cheaper.

      • I have the iPhone and I love it for everything except taking on the phone. There’s no way to lock the screen when I’m on a call, so I am constantly hitting mute, putting the call on speaker or trying to add a call or doing something [accidentally] ridiculous with my face. Its beyond annoying and I have tried to google and find a solution, and thus far, it doesn’t appear as though one exists.

        • You might want to get your phone checked. I believe the phone is designed to “know” when you’re talking on the phone and should lock to prevent hat from happening. I don’t have anything to back this up, but I think I read it somewhere a year or so ago. I’ll look around.

      • Getting a Smartphone was one of the best things I did — made me WAY more efficient and productive. I work part-time, so I need to be able to check my e-mail, calendar, to do list, etc. while sitting at my son’s baseball practice, etc.

        I have a Samsung Droid and love it — all the Google stuff works seamlessly with my computer. I have Cricket which is $55/month for unlimited talk & data — can’t beat that. No contracts, but you do have to buy the phone. Iphone-fans are amusing to talk to — they get this look of love, devotion, obsession in their eyes when they talk about their phones. It’s still just a piece of plastic & wires, right? ;-)

        • I think metal and glass and wires. And probably microchips. See how tech smart I am?

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          I think those people are Mac fans in general!

          I have extremely reluctantly ordered an iPhone recently (hasn’t arrived yet), and now I am thinking that I should have gotten some sort of Droid phone. My main reason was to be able to play Challenge 24 on it, as it is no longer supported on my 2007 iPod touch.

    • I looooove my iphone. Really. Love. It.

      • same here. love my iphone – just upgraded to 4G and its wonderful

        • I think the IPhone 4S is actually 3G. The 4G Iphone is rumored to come out next summer.

    • For me, this is one of those decisions that is entirely dependent on your location — for coverage reasons. I don’t have anything against Apple, or even AT&T (whom I used for 8 years with RAZR-type phones very happily). But in the Bay Area, at least when I was shopping for my first smartphone, so many people have iPhones that dropped calls and non-connections are extremely common. I was in a car with a friend driving from San Mateo to Monterey; he was trying to participate in a conference call, and over about 45 minutes his call was dropped *four* times. Also, with AT&T I could talk on the phone only in my apartment’s living room or office, not the kitchen or bedroom — and there was an odd dead spot for about three blocks on two nearby streets. So . . . way too long story to say that I chose to go with a Droid and Verizon, and I’m very happy I did. Verizon also had the advantage (at the time — about a year ago) of offering an unlimited data family plan for myself and my husband. Not sure whether that’s still an option for new customers, but it’s worth asking if you think you’ll use a lot of data. Of course, you can now get the iPhone on Verizon and Sprint as well as AT&T . . . so my bottom-line recommendation is to talk to local friends who have various phones and carriers and find out what their experience has been.

    • iPhone! It’s amazing. I love it like a child. Unless you have serious coverage issues (and now that it’s available on 3 networks, you shouldn’t), I really don’t see any reason not to take it over a droid.

    • iPhone. I got my 4S on Friday and it was so easy to transfer everything over – just did it from my last backup of previous iPhone. Also, I really like how all my apple products (iPad and MacBook) sync with each other. It’s dead easy. And I’m really happy to have iMessage since most of my family also has iPhones.

      Definitely try a few out in the store and go with a good network. A bad network can render a good phone useless.

    • Do you have an ipad and/or macbook? If so, I’d say iPhone for sure. They all sync, such a nice feature.

    • I have an iphone3 with AT&T for work and a Droid Bionic with Verizon for personal use. I find myself only using the iphone when I really have to (for work). I find the iphone navigation to be really inferior to nav with google maps on the droid. I also have a bunch of stuff through google (school and personal email, picasa, calendars) and I like being automatically linked to all of that!

      • iPhones also have Google Maps integration. Its called the “Maps” App, on the home screen.

        And once you set it to sync with your google accounts, it’s fully integrated. On my iPhone, when I press “Mail,” it goes to my gmail. When I click “Calendar,” it goes to my google calendar. My contacts are my gmail contacts.

        I agree that this decision should be mostly based on coverage in your area.

    • Droid! I love that all of my google stuff is seamlessly integrated, g maps navigation is great and it even uploads my pics automatically. So far I’ve been happy with the selection of apps that I’ve used.

    • Thank you all for your input. I have Verizon and will stick with it since my parents pay for it. I’ve never had any problems with Verizon before. At this point I am leaning towards the iphone 4, since I cannot afford to spend $200 on the 4s. However, I will probably go to the store and play around with a bunch of phones since I cannot fully commit to it yet! Thanks again.

      • I’m not sure whether you’re still reading this thread, but I wanted to weigh in on the Android options. I tried out many types of Android phones this summer. My hands-down favorite is the Nexus S. I think Nexus S is better than the iPhone (I find the apps more intuitive), but iPhone is better than most of the other Droid phones. I think this is because the Nexus line is a product of Google engineering. The other handset makers just don’t have the same sort of engineering talent as Google and Apple do. The latest version of a Google phone is the Galaxy Nexus; not sure when it comes out.

        Oh, and I got my Nexus S for free when they were doing some sort of promotion. I think it normally retails for around $100 with contract. But I would have paid more for it than an iPhone. Bottom line, don’t settle for an iPhone before checking out something from the Nexus line.

  14. Follow up to last week’s question about healthy lunches. I made some delicious salads at home as well as some turkey chili.

    My new question is this: is it cheaper to make salads at home or to spend the $7 it takes to buy them fresh? I realized that I’m not saving much money by making them myself, but I’m wondering what others’ experiences are with making lunch. Maybe salads are just one of those things that are easier and cheaper to buy out than to make at home?

    • I find not just for lunches (but def salad and sandwich stuff), but other dishes as well, when you’re only preparing for one person it’s about the same cost or slightly more to buy prepared. And that’s assuming you use everything that you bought. Inevitably a lot of it goes bad and gets wasted, as meetings etc come up and you end up out at lunch anyway.

      I’d also factor in your personal aggravation factor of making the salad, versus running out to get one at lunch. But you’re definitely not alone in thinking this!

      • Yes, it’s kind of a sad realization (but also a happy one in that I get to indulge w/out feeling lazy?) that it may be costing the same.

        • I would imagine that is much more true with regard to salads (particularly if you put lots of goodies on them) than other lunches you bring. I’m not a salad eater, so I don’t have a lot of experience with that, but I know I save money with the things I bring. In particular, because what I usually bring is leftovers, I’m definitely saving money. Today, I have leftover enchilades verdes (tomatillo sauce) with corn tortillas and no cheese on top. That’s very healthy and cheap, because otherwise it would have gone in the trash. For tomorrow, I have a balsamic chicken pasta that I made in the slow cooker. Again, I know it is super healthy because I made it – there is no oil in the pasta and, again, no cheese. The only somewhat bad thing is the pasta, but if you limit your portions and use healthy pasta, that’s not so bad. (On that note, after many taste tests of various whole grain pastas, Barilla Plus is my clear winner. It’s really good and not only whole grain; it is also fortified with protein, etc.)

          • Anyway, I know that didn’t actually answer your question, but my point was that you could bring leftovers several days a week and splurge by buying a salad the other day. That would still result in significant cost savings.

          • yeah it’s def difficult for salads and sandwiches (lunch meat +bread +tomato+lettuce for one person = not worth it). If you’re not bent on salads you can do cheaper alternatives. Leftovers are always great. Today I had a pouch of tuna mixed with some salad dressing I keep at work on a box of all bran crackers I keep at work. Other days I just have greek yogurt w/ fruit and pretzels or something. I gave up on buying salad or sandwich materials for lunch, unless it’s PB&J.

          • V from Iowa :

            I do the same. I always make really large batches of “real” food (meaning non-“diet,” cooked-on-stove, all 3 food groups, etc.), and have it for several days.

            Also, there is nothing wrong with pasta. Pasta (well, in reasonable portions, he he) is awesome and not “bad” to consume!

    • Maybe I am unsure where you get lunch or what you put in your salad, but I save a ton of money buying and making my own salad and this way I also get to ensure it’s organic, clean, healthy, etc.

      In NYC, a salad will run me $8-10 dollars for lunch. For the weeks worth of lunch salads I buy the following:

      1. Organic Spinach ($6)
      2. ORganic tomatoes ($4)
      3. Free Range eggs I hardboil ($3)
      4. Peppers and onions ($4)
      5. Cottage cheese ($3)

      This makes around 4 salads (will have some extra eggs). Total cost ($20). Total cost if I bought 4 salads with these ingredients ($32-40). Total monthly savings = at least $40.

      Also, on days I do not bring a salad I bring some other really cheapo lunch such as cereal or oatmeal or peanut butter and jelly.

      • I guess it all depends. I’m in NYC but my salad place is a flat $7. So this is what I bought and I think it would make about three or four salads:

        1) spinach $4-5
        2) cherry tomatoes $3
        3) chicken breast $5
        4) black beans $1
        5) carrots $3
        (and I’m not counting croutons, dried cranberries or sliced almonds that go further than 3-4 salads)

        That comes out to about $16 which is about 2 pre-bought salads. I’m still saving some money–my point was it’s not as much as I thought.

        I do make other lunches, though. I just try to get lots of veggies in during the day when I’m not as lazy as I am at night.

        • to get veggies in I leave a bag of baby carrots at work and snack on them, or I bring in sliced peppers to snack on. While I don’t recommend eating canned soups often bc of the sodium, a lot of them have 2-3 vegetable servings in them.

        • That’s a 50% savings. Not sure how much you expect to save, but 50% is quite a lot in my book.

        • trader joes has prepared salads that are *cheap*… i get them for my lunches, i get 2 per week, to rotate with other frozen microwave meals. They are mosly 3.99-4.99 with a bit of chicken, and they are yummy…

    • I think if you’re making salad about once a week and not using up the leftover vegetables then it’d be expensive to make salad. If you’re making it every day, I really can’t see it costing $7 per day. My salad today is cabbage, carrots, and parsley with hardboiled egg in a peanut sauce and I’m pretty sure the whole cabbage, dozen eggs, and bag of carrots came to maybe $10 in total (because I buy local, free-range, SPCA-certified eggs) but will make far more than a single meal.

    • I think it can depend on how you prepare the salads. If you purchase romaine that you have to chop/wash, it’s significantly cheaper than pre-washed/bagged lettuce. If you add “pantry items” (e.g., ingredients that you normally have on hand – chicken, tomatoes, eggs, beans, etc.) it might not be that expensive, because those are staples for you and you’d spend the money on them anyway. But if you’re adding more expensive ingredients then it probably makes sense to purchase a salad that has those ingredients.

      I generally find it annoying to bring a salad for lunch (prep time, multiple containers, etc.). I will bring sandwiches, but only if I know that I can commit to eating 1/2-1 lb of deli meat in a week (I usually can’t). I much prefer to bring leftovers… I don’t have to think about it and all I need is a container!

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      After carefully calculating this for a couple of weeks, I’ve found it cheaper to buy fresh. Here are my caveats on that, however:

      My go to salad is lettuce, chickpeas, and roasted peppers. These are fairly light ingredients, and I buy a separate bottle of dressing to keep at work. The salad bar by my grocery store at work is $7.99/pound, and I usually end up with about half a pound, so about $4 a day. The trick is the salad bar. If I go somewhere like Chop’t or Just Salad, they’re always way more. Better salads, yes, but like $8 or $9.

      when I buy the stuff to make the above salad, the lettuce inevitably starts to go bad before i eat it all, usually because I get bored with eating a salad every day and have to eat something else once or twice a week.

      So for me, it’s cheaper to buy fresh. Your mileage may vary depending on what you like on your salad and if you have a convenient grocery store with salad bar instead of fancy salad restaurants, but try it out for a week or two and see what ends up being cheaper.

    • I’ve struggled with this question as well. I’ve found that when I buy salads out (I go to the Whole Foods salad bar near my law school), I can spend anywhere between $5 and $9 depending how hungry I am. But, this includes a great variety of toppings, and to buy all those things myself would be very expensive. Today’s salad included organic spring mix, shredded beets & carrots, sunflower seeds, red peppers, peas, lots of quinoa, sprouts, tomatoes, and possibly some other things I’m forgetting. I would never be able to buy all these things reasonably and use it all up. Do I need all these toppings? No. But they’re delicious, and a very healthy variety.

  15. Question for the group. Strange question maybe, but we just got a Wii from the in-laws and I was wondering if anyone had any favorite games. I bought Wii Fit and I love it. Does anyone have the dancy game? Do you like it? What other games do you recommend? Thanks in advance!

    • The Just Dance series are great for dancing. Just Dance 3 just came out.

      And I play EA Sports Active II every single day. It’s awesome. The workouts combine cardio, abs, and strength training. The cardio activities include boxing, dancing/aerobics, soccer and basketball exercises. It’s a great workout.

    • anon prof :

      We don’t have a tv set and don’t have a place to put one if we took the plunge. Can you hook a Wii up to a computer?

      • by the looks of this, you can do that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfhACiBCx5g.

        • anon prof :


          • Youngster :

            We used to have our Wii hooked up to a computer monitor.

            Wii Fit is great, I also like the Wii Play, not for exercise, but because the games are fun.

    • There are some great non-fitness games. World of Goo is awesome and only $10 or so. I also love the Bit.Trip series, especially Bit.Trip Runner – it’s inspired by the old arcade-style games and the moves are very simple and set to music that builds as you move through the levels. Very cool.

    • Anastasia :

      This isn’t an “active” Wii game, but the Zelda games for Wii are great! New one comes out Nov 20th, and Twilight Princess is probably on super sale by now because it’s a couple years old.

      • MeliaraofTlanth :

        I am so super excited about the new Zelda game.

        Also, Wii Sports and Sports Resort are fun games that don’t take a ton of time because you can just play one quick little subgame (bowling is my favorite of all the mini games in it)

    • We like Wii Resort (the sword fighting game is so fun!) and Just Dance.

      • Thanks everyone, looks like I will be ordering a few games tonight. Zelda used to be my favorite game when I was a kid, so I will definitely get that on Nov 20!

  16. Accountress :

    Attention all Corporettes who may have a gentleman in their life who also enjoys the finer things- Birchbox has a limited edition men’s box- $45 for $240 worth of stuff, free shipping.

    I already let the classy dude in my life know about it.

    • Accountress :

      http://blog.birchbox.com/post/12792505040/now-available-birchbox-man (le blog post)

      http://www.birchbox.com/limitededition/man/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=statusupdate&utm_campaign=20111114&utm_content=birchbox (the list of the goodies)

  17. This is my first-ever threadjack…feels oddly momentous.

    Quick backstory: I graduated from college in 2010, with a very low-paying two-year position. Said two-year position is wrapping up this July, and I’m applying to graduate programs that will begin next fall.

    So, the question. Since being done with the college lifestyle, I have dropped what is, on my frame, a considerable amount of weight, and am swimming in my work wardrobe. I did a count this morning: I have one pair of pants that fit, two skirts, and two dresses. Tops aren’t as dire, fit-wise, but it appears that most of them go with the bottoms I can’t wear anymore. It’s gotten to the point that I dread walking to my closet in the morning, and trying to cobble together a week’s worth of outfits. In other words: gray chinos + gray button-down = an Eeyore-esque day that no scarf or statement accessory seems to brighten.

    Considering the fact that I have a very tight budget, and am trying to bump up my savings in anticipation of grad school poverty (or, god forbid, to tide me over until I find a job if it doesn’t work out), what would you do? I keep telling myself to just deal with it, since it’s unlikely I’ll need a ton of professional clothes as a grad student, but I feel more miserable about my wardrobe every day. Thanks in advance!

    • You can buy a few pieces without breaking the bank. Look for pieces that you can wear to work now but that you can incorporate into your student wardrobe. You will always need a good pair of black pants, for example.

    • Being miserable in your clothes is an actual problem, especially as you enter a new phase (grad school) or a job search. So don’t try to discount that. I say for at least a few pieces that are good quality and that you like, go to a reputable tailor. It’s one of those things that seems like a pain, but is SO worth it–and much cheaper than doing a major shopping mission. If all of your old clothes are beyond tailoring, then Bonnie’s suggestion. But make sure you get some things that look perfect and that you absolutely love.

    • Does your area have clothing swaps attended by professional women? Some are open to the public, while others are for members of a particular women’s organization. That would be an affordable way to get rid of your clothes that do not fit, while adding clothes in your current size to your wardrobe. In addition, if you have friends or relatives who are willing and able to help, perhaps you can ask for gift cards when people express an interest in being generous. Consignment and second-hand clothing stores in wealthier neighborhoods is another source of affordable professional clothes. If your tops still fit, perhaps a few bottles of dye can brighten your wardrobe.

      • Ebay-
        I just bought a used cashmere sweater on ebay for $20. Its in really good condition. If you are willing to buy used, buy from sellers with good feedback history. Certain brands are still expensive, but if you put in, say black wool trousers, you’ll probably find a lot of options and brands you wouldn’t have thought of searching for but are totally acceptable.

    • Frugal Friend :

      I live in Dallas and have found some surprisingly nice pieces at…wait for it…the Salvation Army that is closest to the really nice part of town (where women love to buy expensive clothing and change their fashions every season). I’m not saying you could build your closet around their stuff, but I’ve picked up a couple of skirts, tops, and accessories for under $5 each (particularly good deals if you go on half off clothing days).

      • CPA to be :

        I completely second this. I have had amazing luck at the goodwill thrift stores in my are. Brooks brother button front shirts, cashmere sweaters, barely worn blazers, cute casual clothes, etc. Today I’m wearing a wool herringbone tweed j. crew skirt that I got at goodwill for about $4. My husband and I went on two complete benders where we bought enough work clothes to fit in a giant lawn and leaf bag… grand total? $125. It was amazing. I buy pretty much all of my knitwear new (on sale, though), but I think that about 75% of my work clothes have come from goodwill.

        • Third thrift stores. Some Goodwills are “better” than others. Many public sector workers I know, including attorneys, do some thrift store shopping.
          – every time there’s some outcry about public workers and how good they’ve got it, I just want to go wring somebody’s neck. While shouting, “you idiots”. That is all.

    • found a peanut :

      What about tailoring your bottoms? Most pants and skirts can be tailored in the waist to fit better. I’m not sure how much weight you lost, but if you’re only down a size or two this could be a viable alternative.

      You can also stalk sales and find some pieces that will work. For instance, I bet you could get a completely serviceable black skirt for less than $50 if you work at it. If you set a budget of, say, $300, I would think you could find at least 5 new bottoms.

    • Look for new tops in bright colors, particularly short sleeved ones (much, much cheaper and you can throw a cardi or blazer on over them) at sales. Just about any given weekend, you should be able to find one or two by hitting the sale racks at your local mall (Old Navy, Limited, BR, Ann Taylor, Express, Gap, etc.) for under $20, and often under $10.

      I’m pretty sure that I could wear the same 2-3 pairs of pants over and over again, as long as I have fun and pretty tops to go with them.

    • grad student on a budget :

      I highly recommend scouring the thrift stores of the trendy/wealthy neighborhoods in your area. Most of my wardrobe consists of brand name clothes in awesome condition, prices between $7 and 20 a pop. (Exceptions: I usually splurge on shoes and outerwear because I’m really picky about fit and quality, and it’s rare for me to find second-hand items that meet my requirements).

      As a grad student you really only need 1-2 pair well fitting jeans, enough tees to get you through the week, and 1-2 pair cute/comfy shoes. Your work clothes will probably be fine until you get a new job. You can get by on not very many clothes as long as they are (1) well fitting, (2) decent quality, and (3) classic shape/style. Ex: a solid tee with jeans can be worn almost every day, varying it up with a scarf, necklace, boots, etc. If you go for trendy over classic, you will have to replace your wardrobe much more frequently and it will drain your wallet.

    • Congrats on the weight loss! If it were me, I’d try to buy 3 or so strategic new pieces to get me through to next July.
      1. Black trousers (go with everything and are useful outside the work context). I find the Gap Perfect Trouser a good cut (they have several other options as well if that’s not true for you) and they often have 30% off offers/specials.
      2. Pencil skirt (in black for most versatility or in a different color if you already have a black skirt you can have a tailor take in).
      3. Another pair of work trousers in a color that you don’t already have that goes with most of your tops that still work.
      Again, for 2 and 3, I’d hold out for a 30-40% discount coupon at places like Gap, AT, etc.
      And remember, even if you don’t want to spend the money to have a tailor take in or remake a pair of pants, you can always just safety pin the waist as long as you wear a top or sweater that goes outside the waistband! If it’s a ton of fabric, do one safety pin on each side. I’ve done this more times than I can count . . . but I also like the look of wide-leg pants with lots of fluid fabric, so YMMV!

    • I am usually all about enabling people to shop, but if you’re really facing joblessness, I think it’s a bad idea.

      When you describe your grey-on-grey outfit, it does sound boring, but I think what you need is a “third piece” – a blazer, suit jacket, cardigan or vest – to complete the look. You probably have some of these in your wardrobe already, but they are too big now.

      Have you tried belting them? What about moving the buttons on a blazer to close at the side, for an asymmetric look? You can do the same with a brooch or a safety pin if you don’t want to permanently move the buttons.

      Are your belts too big now? Can you use them instead to belt over bulkier items, like over a blazer or a chunky cardigan to add shape? If you are in your twenties, this intentionally oversized look can come across as quite charming.

      Do you sew, or do you have friends or relatives who do? Can they take in the side seams of a couple of your favorite skirts?

      If you do go thrift shopping, perhaps you should concentrate on a couple of toppers (jackets, cardis) to spruce up what you have?

      Last, check out the viviennefiles DOT blogspot DOTcom
      It probably skews a little old for you, but she is really good at showing how you can mix and match just a few key pieces.

      • Thanks for all of the suggestions! I also wanted to say that I love the Vivienne Files…even if her idea of a “column” in one color was the only reason I tried the gray-on-gray thing ;)

    • Research, Not Law :

      Agree with Bonnie and Monday. How you feel about yourself is important. And professional clothes can fit into a graduate student wardrobe with a few changes – plus, you’ll need outfits for presentations, conferences, interviews, etc.

      When I was in a similar position, clearance racks at Nordstrom and Ann Taylor/LOFT were my go-to. I also did well in consignment/thrift stores in high-income areas.

      Congrats on the weight loss!

    • Thanks for the suggestions, everybody…looks like I’ll be diving into some thrift stores when I go home for Thanksgiving (I live in a pretty small town right now).

  18. If you can afford to get your pants and skirts taken in, do that (dresses will be more expensive to alter.) And/Or look for professional skirts and dresses on clearance at marshalls, kohls or other cheap stores, or at consignment/thrift stores. Skirts and dresses are much more forgiving with weight gain. I’m pretty short and small/medium framed, but can wear the same skirts and dresses in a 10 pound range.

    You’re in a low paying job and only need the clothes to tide you over for a little while, so quality isn’t as important. Since you’re slim you can probably find good deals on juniors clothes.

    Also, do you have any girlfriends you can get some hand me downs from? Or post on here your size and the general area you’re from, maybe someone can help you out!

  19. Hopeful Temp to Perm :

    Has anyone had any luck turning a contract gig into a staff attorney or full associate gig? BigLaw, full associate duties, a step below associate payscale if OT isn’t factored in. My work is viewed favorably, and I get along well with everyone. Thoughts? Suggestions? Strategies? Thanks!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m interested to see the responses here as I’d love to become permanent at the firm where I’m currently a doc review attorney.

      I was offered a permanent position at a company where I was temping. It came about because I had been talking with my supervisor about my desire to find permanent employment in that industry and a permanent position happened to be created while I was temping. I think it was a combination of expressing my interest and luck.

    • Anonymous :

      I did, but it was a very hard road. I had to be absolutely blunt about my desire to be here permanently, make my own financial case, be competitive with the associates with whom I worked side-by-side (as nicely as possible, but to create a comparison), demonstrate that the firm was actually taking advantage of me, and ultimately threaten to leave with a job-in-hand. I don’t know that this is good advice, but it is an indication of the reality of the situation in many firms. It was made very clear to me, over and over, that the firm did NOT view me to be an equal of the associates I was outperforming, and their only basis for that was my “contract” status. The partners I worked for saw my potential, as did the staff with whom I interacted, but no one else did – especially non-lawyer admins with a lot of influence in HR, recruiting and budgeting. It also has taken me a long time to rub off the “tarnish” of contract status. I know this doesn’t make logical sense, but it has been my reality. It can be done, though.

      • Hopeful Temp to Perm :

        I’d like to hear a little more, because this is the situation I’m facing. How long did it take you to convince them?

        • Anon from Above :

          In case you are still looking at this — I worked for 18 mos in the contract position. When I took the job (over other opportunities), I unwisely believed the recruiter who told me the intention was for the job to become permanent. I was performing the same tasks as other associates assigned to the cases, including taking depositions and writing briefs. This was not a document review position with an end date. The sole difference between my job and that of the associates was that I ALSO had some organizational/data management responsibilities.
          After about 9 months, I made it clear to the firm that I was unhappy with the agency that was employing me and I had no intention of continuing to work with the agency, even if I could no longer work for them. I meant it – the agency was awful – but I liked my job. At that point I thought they’d offer me employment, and there was a suggestion of that by the partners I worked for, but management intervened and ultimately we just severed the relationship with the agency. I worked another 9 mos as an independent contractor — making more money but paying a lot of taxes and my own health benefits, and still not employed by the firm. Throughout that 9 mos, I made it very clear that I had expected, and still expected, them to make me an employee, at least as a staff attorney if not as an associate. At the end of the 18 months, I found a job as a full associate at another firm, gave them my notice, and only then did we enter into real discussions that resulted in an associate position offer. I am pretty sure I was somewhat low-balled on the pay, and the firm refused to credit me with some of the experience I had — WITH THEM, ON THEIR CASES. Also, there was no official public announcement I had joined the firm, even though they made an announcement about two laterals who joined the same day. The entire experience was infuriating, to say the least, but I do like the firm on other grounds and have been very happy since.
          For me, for a variety of reasons, it was really important to me to get a job at a firm of this quality, so I did not negotiate as much as I would now. (My bargaining position was probably stronger than I thought.) Ultimately, I felt I had to put my ego aside to get what I really needed.
          When they brought me on, a lot of staff I barely knew came to me and said, essentially, “Finally!” They’d been following my “plight.” On the flip side, some of the partners in the firm, and most of the associates, took a very long time before eventually treating me as a part of the firm. Two years later, I can say that the perseverence was worth it – completely.
          I also agree with the advice of MJ below.

    • My brother did it, in corporate, in a secondary biglaw market. He was a staff atty for over a year, and worked his booty off, proved himself, and is now on track to be partner…five years later. I think the key is being hungry and telling anyone with influence who will listen about your ambitions. Also, and my brother just fell into a good spot, but find a mentor or champion. That made an enormous difference for him.

  20. just Karen :

    Off topic: I went to a med spa this weekend for a consultation to get my already totally decent skin in better shape for my wedding in the spring. I have light acne on my chin that never goes away and one dark spot on my cheek about the size of a dime. Things that drive me crazy, but that I am pretty sure no one else notices. After 15 minutes with the lady with beautiful skin I drank the kool-aid and blew almost $500 on the Obagi Nu-Derm skin system and Retin-A. From all of the reviews I have read online, I can expect to look like a monster for a few weeks with beet-red skin and shedding like a snake. Awesome. Has anyone used these products? Was it worth it?

    • I use retin A daily and never had the peeling thing discussed. Retin A micro is what I have. They are way better than teh products of 5-10 years ago that many of the peeling skin people complain about.

    • Always a NYer :

      This is slightly off topic but here goes. I had very bad acne on my chin and the right side of my face. After trying everything under the sun, and seeing the rest of my face clear up while these two areas remained the same, I finally got a breakthrough when I went for a facial. The esthetician asked me if I sleep with my hand/arm on that side of my face and I realized that yes, indeed, I do. It seems really silly but now that I’m aware of it and making a conscious effort to keep my hands under the pillow when I sleep, major improvement!

    • Congrats on your upcoming wedding. I’m sure you will look beautiful. The Retin-A was a godsend for my skin. I have light acne on my chin too (hormonal) and while it did not cure that, I rarely have a day where someone does not tell me how gorgeous my skin is. It really brightened me up and faded the small amount of discoloration I had. Make sure your skin is dry, dry, dry before you apply, just use a pea size amount and make sure to place a tiny bit under your eyes – my wrinles there have vanished.

    • S in Chicago :

      HAven’t used Obagi Nu-Derm. My response to Retin-A has really varied and usually not been good–I think the concentration has been too strong or something because the red and shedding part never gets better. (Some of my friends have had fabulous results though.)

      I’ve peronsally had much more success with getting routine microderms. And if the issue is discoloration, you may be better off with a laser treatment. I did that at the beginning of summer and it completely evened out my skin tone and eliminated some freckling. If what you’ve tried doesn’t work out in the next month or two, you may want to talk to an actual derm.

      • S in Chicago :

        I sounded more negative than I meant to–what I’m trying to say is that a lot of skin care is pretty personalized. And reactions vary. Hopefully you’ve found the right fix on the first go round. But if your response to the Retin-A is more like mine, keep in mind that there are more options.

        • just Karen :

          Don’t worry, I took what you said as you meant it – the med spa I went to is run by my dermatologist, which is why I am paying more to do the products through them than through another office I visited. I didn’t actually see the derm when I went in over the weekend, though, and the aesthetician recommended I do so, so I’ll go ahead and make an appointment to cover all my basis. Thank you everyone for your feedback!!!

      • I was using prescription Retin-A and had too much peeling and flaking. My skin was a disaster and very chapped and painful. I took a break, and now use OTC Retinoid (in a neutrogena product) at night and a Vit C serum in the morning. The Retinoid hasn’t melted my milia yet, but my face isn’t cracking and bleeding either and my acne has gotten better, so I’m pleased overall

    • I used it for about 9 months. Definitely had peeling (but not redness) for a couple weeks. My skin did have a nice tone and glow, but I started to get worried about the long-term effects of the chemicals in the Obagi Clear. So, I recently switched to Philosophy Miracle Worker Retin A pads and dark spot remover. I am hoping to keep the results going by using these products. So, on the whole, I would say I was pleased with the results, but it is quite expensive to keep up, and I was worried about the long-term effects

    • Yes, I’ve used both the Obagi system and Retin-A. I no longer use Obagi but have stuck with the Retin-A. It has not cured my acne (hormonal, chin only) but it has made my skin look really, really good. The Obagi was good, too, but I didn’t have any dark spots (hyperpigmentation), and at least two of the products are focused on getting rid of those, so I stopped using them. However, as you say you have a rather large spot of hyperpigmentation, I think you’re going to like how the hydroquinone addresses that.

      I think I was a bit red and flaky for a couple of weeks, but more than that, I was dewy all the time. All the layers of the Nu-Derm system really added up to a glowy somewhat moist look for me, which my friends loved but I kind of hated. :) I found it ideal to use powder foundation during this time to tone down the shininess.

      Retin-A is the bomb, though. Really.

    • One thing that doctors “forget” to tell you about Retin-A is that it reacts a lot with water. I have been on and off it for like 20 years (inherited awesome skin, clearly). Anyway, finally a derm told me to do my normal nighttime face wash, WAIT 10 MINS, and then put on the retin-a. It made a huge difference in the peeling and redness. I cannot recommend this enough.

      Also, another derm told me not to freak out about “mixing” my Retin-A with very mild face lotion (like plain Oil of Olay or similar) to “cut” it if it was really making me peely. Both of these are great tips for me, YMMV.

      Congrats on your wedding!!!

  21. This isn’t too my taste, but I do like corduroy with elbow patches – it channels my inner librarian, I think.

  22. anon for this :

    Advice on graciously accepting an offer from choice #2, when you’re still waiting on choice #1? I just read the “accept a job offer on the spot” and “post interview anxiety” threads, but I’m still unsure! Also, I’m a recent law graduate (both are law firm jobs), so I don’t know how terrible it would seem to choice #2 if I don’t accept on the spot and ask for a week or so.

    • anon for this :

      *and did not summer at either firm, so my only interactions with them have been through interviews

    • AnonInfinity :

      I’m also a recent graduate. I have no hiring experience, so I don’t know how the folks on the other side of the table (so to speak) feel about this, but what I did worked for me.

      I got an offer from Choice 2 — Asked a million questions about the offer and then told them I needed to think on it. I then called Choice 1 the same day and told them I had another offer and was just wondering about their timeline for a decision. I ended up getting an offer from Choice 1 a few days later, so I called Choice 2 and rejected their offer.

      My thought is that it’s better to do that than to accept an offer and then later go back on your word.

      • anon for this :

        Thank you! I was hoping I could do that, I just didn’t want to seem insane for not accepting RIGHT AWAY. How did you act when you got the offer from your second choice?

        I read in the other threads about talking with SO as a delay tactic, but I told both interviewers I’m single so the relocation/possible travel is not an issue.

        Also #2 is a small firm, so I was hoping it wouldn’t seem odd if I asked a ton of questions about health insurance, retirement accounts and other benefits and ask to mull that info over. They know I currently work for large employer with awesome benefits. Firm #1 is mid-size and has already told me a lot about their benefits.

        Both firms are specialized in the same practice area so throughout my career I will be interacting with the other one, so I want to make sure I handle the situation professionally.

        • AnonInfinity :

          I was on the phone, so that was much easier than if I had been in person (I’m not sure which way you’re thinking it’ll go). On the phone, I just took notes and did my best to sound grateful for the opportunity, but not like I was definitely going to accept the position. They voluntarily gave me as long as I wanted to think about it, but I’ve talked to some friends who did something similar and the first offer only gave them a couple of days to get back.

          It will not seem odd at all if you’re asking questions about the benefits. You have to make sure that you know exactly what is on the table, and I think they know that. I asked all my questions and then said I needed some time to think about all the details.

          I think you’re very right to try to do this as professionally as possible. A few months after I accepted my offer, I was talking to a partner from Choice 1 and he told me that he’d talked with a VIP from Choice 2 about me, and how they were sad that they didn’t “get” me. So, I learned first hand that firms do talk, and you don’t want to start off seeming unprofessional.

          • AnonInfinity :

            Also, you could try reposting this on the Coffee Break thread if you want more responses. I have no idea if I handled it the “right” way, just that it worked for me!

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