Thursday’s TPS Report: T Tahari Cali Dress

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

T Tahari Cali DressI like the unusual neckline on this blue and navy dress from Tahari, and I like the geometric side insets. I’m a bit torn on the fact that the back of the dress is a solid navy, but I suppose it would be flattering. The dress was $128, but is now marked to $83.20. T Tahari Cali Dress

P.S. It looks like Dillards has it as well, and for $76.

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



  1. Is it just me, or does the model look both unconvinced by the dress and slightly awkward about the midsection? I like her shoes, though.

    Early early gift-buying threadjack!

    The feller and I are wracking our brains trying to think of something to get for his brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. They are in their early thirties, quite suburban, and have a young child; they are extremely supportive of our personal interests (which are many and deeply entwined in our lives) but are not super into hobbies or culture themselves.

    They do like to entertain, so we were thinking of getting them some kind of game or household good that could be fun or useful for parties–for example, if they didn’t already have a bocce set that they love and use often, we’d buy them a bocce set.

    The hard part, of course, is that they already seem to have a lot of stuff that they don’t use, so we’re looking for the brilliant idea of something that will be both new and exciting and genuinely useful and thoughtful. Any thoughts?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      If they are a little snarky, how about a Cards Against Humanity game? Definitely a fun game for adults.

      Also, the model is giving the “I know I look fat in this, please stop taking my picture” look that I have down pat.

      • Just looked this up and now I want the game. I think it would be perfect for Thanksgiving…

      • I just bought this. Can’t wait to try it out.

      • Yes, now I want one, too! Will have to consult with feller to see if he thinks they would be into it–his brother and I in particular are so different that I don’t trust my own judgment.

        Still, thank you for introducing me to this hilarity. Have you ever played Chrononauts?

      • I’ve heard of that game, now I really want it, too!

        For my BIL & SIL, I don’t know what I’m getting them individually, but as a couple I am doing some “sharpie art” for mugs. I’m going to write a few key lyrics to a country song that suits them both perfectly (they love country music & coffee) and do his & her mugs. The first phrase on one mug and the second phrase on the other mug! That game is great idea for a second gift for them though. Whenever I do hand-made gifts I always try to supplement with something store bought.

      • I played this game with a group of friends for the first time this past weekend and it was really fun! I highly recommend it!

      • GlassSpider :

        Snorting coffee — this is perfectly snarkalicious. I’m definitely getting Cards against Humanity for my sis and BIL.

        Also, this conversation on Christmas gifts is vindicating. I was wrapping Christmas presents while watching TV last night while my puzzled husband noted that it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. I just lurve gift shopping though.

    • des-pairing :

      Tickets for shows? I think anyone would love a musical. If they don’t go often, it might be a fun, memorable experience.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Ooh! I want to be on your gift list!!

      • Question on giving tickets as a gift: how do you minimize conflicts? I’m always worried I’ll pick tickets to a one-time event (like a concert) that doesn’t work with the recipient’s schedule. Do you ask the recipient before purchasing? Offer an alternative if they’re busy? Or just cross your fingers that the date is far enough in advance?

        • des-pairing :

          Depends who you’re gifting
          My sister: “Hey, let’s do dinner on __?” She agreed. Then I surprised her with tickets.
          Someone a bit less close and busier: I actually ask them “Hey, I was thinking of getting you tickets to X on this date range. Would that work for you?” Takes away the suspense and surprise of gifting but then you can be sure they’ll be able to enjoy it.

          • This was my inclination. I don’t mind spoiling the surprise if it means the tickets can be used :) Thanks!

        • You can also buy gift certificates for tickets through most theaters. For example, in D.C. you could give a gift certificate to the Kennedy Center along with their performance schedule.

    • Maybe a really nice coaster for a bottle of wine or a coaster set? I have a set of silver monogrammed ones (would work as coasters or a wine coaster) that I got as a present. They look wonderful but don’t take up a lot of space (good for people with lot of stuff or a small place).

      I also think you could never go wrong with Tervis Tumblers, which I love, love, love.

    • What about some kind of interesting entertaining/home item from a museum store? Something like:

      You could also put together a game gift basket. Nice bowl, gourmet popcorn, and a few games (Fluxx and Set come to mind).

    • How about a fruit/meat/other of the month club? Anyone had good experience with this?

      • The Harry and David fruit of the month club is insanely awesome, but really expensive …

        • Good to know – thanks, 312!

        • SF Bay Associate :

          H&D’s pears are seriously amazing. The rest of their fruit is not as mind blowing to me, but it might be really impressive in states without as much of a fruit industry. Given what my aunt in Michigan has said about her supermarket produce, she would probably love all of H&D’s fruits.

          • Just bought the royal riviera pairs with a Living Social deal. $15 plus shipping (usually they are $30 plus shipping). I think the deal is probably still up. My husband loves them, so they will be a treat for us, not a gift :). I was going to get him a single pear as a treat when I was in the H&D store over the weekend, but they were $5 each (!).

          • H&D pears are truly the best. @Rosie – I have definitely paid the $5 for a single pear at the store…

          • Agreed. The pears are wonderful!

        • I will disagree with this if you are giving a gift to someone who lives in a good fruit-growing area or who already shops at farmer’s markets. I got this gift from my mother in law last year and either toss or cook with the fruit every month because it’s so much worse than what I can get locally that it’s not worth eating straight. She lives in the middle of the desert, though, so I can see where she’s coming from with the gift and really appreciated the gesture.

      • I got my husband the Bacon of the Month Club from Grateful Palate (no longer in business, it seems) years ago and it was awesome. It sounds crazy, and I got it partly for kitsch value, but we really did receive a neat array of bacon from around the country, each with its own flavor profile (some had garlic, some cured sweet, some spicy, etc.). There seem to be dozens of clubs like this now. I’d check Chowhound for recommendations.

        • Brooklyn, Esq. :

          Zingerman’s does this–I got it for my dad last year, and he really enjoyed it.

      • In the Pink :

        Omaha Steaks…I have put together my own “basket” once I know they have freezer room/options. The preorganized meal collections have also gotten rave reviews.

        You can give an email address so the receipient knows something is arriving.

    • I think the dress is too big for the model.

      How about a pretty serving dish or platter or pitcher if they like to entertain?

      • I’m getting this for my sister-in-law for Christmas:

    • Oh, and check out Uncommon Goods – we just got a catalog in the mail from them and they have some really cool, unique, and interesting stuff! Most of it’s well priced, but keep an eye on the prices, I saw something I thought would be really neat for my son’s room and then realized it was 1300 bucks. Yikes! Not for a 2-year old’s room, thankyouverymuch :)

    • A gift certificate to a local restaurant where they can take the kids? (e.g. nice pizza place). We did that one year and it was a hit.

      • Or if you live near them, a gift certificate to somewhere they CAN’T take the kids, and an offer for you to babysit for the night?

    • Do they have Apples to Apples? That’s a fun party game. I’m hoping someone will give it to us.

      • Legally Red :

        I often give this as a wedding gift. It’s one of my favorite party games.

  2. My SO has finally realized that the pull-over fleece he wears on days that are cool but not cold enough for a heavier coat isn’t exactly the most professional look out there. I’d like to get him a more professional replacement for the holidays, but I’m unsure of what’s appropriate. My initial thought was a light trench coat, but somehow the ones that I’ve seen look a little too “metro” for his style. Any other ideas of what might work?

    • Lots of men in my office wear Barbour or similar styles as a fall jacket.

    • Try Land’s End for nice quality pullovers.

    • If he likes pullovers and wants one that is equally warm but nicer looking try Vineyard Vines (the shep shirt* in particular) I have seen them with kakhis and button downs looking very professional (if a smidge preppy) I think the only time they wouldn’t work is if he were wearing a full suit everyday.
      *I fully admit to having stolen my brothers’ because they are warm and comfy but still look pulled together if you have the all navy version. (the women’s ones.. meh)

    • kerrycontrary :

      What about a wool pullover 1/4 zip instead? It depends on his office culture, but these can look really polished and great with a pair of khakis. You could also go with a black zip up jacket.

    • I’ve seen some good coats like that at Lands End and LL Bean. You might also want to go to Nordstrom Rack or Saks Off Fifth and see what they have there.

    • Patagonia has some nice heavy wool sweaters that I think are windproof that would look nicer than a fleece but probably have the same feel.

    • I would suggest a sweater or a nice windbreaker? like this

    • If he wears a fleece every day, a trench may be too formal for him. You can try a windbreaker like this

    • Thanks everyone!

  3. Sydney Bristow :

    Is anyone here a member of Toastmasters? I’m not in a position where I have to do any unlicensed speaking, but I’m sometimes intimidated when speaking to a new superior or in groups. I wonder if something like Toastmasters would help me feel more comfortable.

    • Sydney Bristow :


      For what it’s worth, I’m generally terrified of public speaking in general. Oral argument day was the worst day of law school for me. I can make it look like I’m keeping it together, but inside I’m terrified and my feet are shaking if they can be hidden behind a podium.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      My friend had similar public speaking terrors and joined Toastmasters so she could handle giving a toast at her brother’s wedding. She didn’t tell anyone she was doing it for months and months, so it was quite a surprise to see how confident and poised she was during the toast. It made a huge, huge difference for her. She still does it.

    • My husband joined Toastmasters about a year ago after receiving feedback at work that he needed to improve his presentation/public speaking skills. He has learned a lot from the experience and has also enjoyed meeting new folks through our local chapter.

  4. SF Bay Associate :

    I really do not care for this “one color in the back and a different color in the front” trend. It’s too Jekyll and Hyde for me.

    • This dress reminds me of a killer whale…or other large marine life that wants to be blend in with the bright surface/sun when things are looking up at it, and with the depths of the sea when things are looking down.

    • I don’t care for this dress at all: the back/front color, the sleeves, and the v-boatneck (plus how it fits this model).

    • Business in the front, party in the back!

  5. Reminder – Toronto meet-up at 7pm TONIGHT at the Black Moon Lounge (67 Richmond Street W).

    • Thanks for organizing this!

    • I wish I could join, but I definitely can’t make it. :( I’m having a bit of a Worst Week in work and life plus need to cook tonight for dinner guests tomorrow. Have fun ladies — hopefully I will join the next one!

  6. Piling on with holiday gift idea requests, what would you get for a 10 year old nephew who is really into sports? Last year all he wanted was sports jerseys. I think he has all the sports equipment you can imagine. His parents take him to games all the time, so tickets wouldn’t be that special. Any other ideas?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      A signed piece of memorabilia, if it’s not too expensive?

    • Does he play video games? I got my cousins that age NHL13 for XBOX and they loved it.

    • When I was shopping for my brother, who’s a die-hard Mets fan, I found out that you can get personalized Mets shirts on their site. Like, a Mets Tshirt, with whatever name you want printed on the back/your choice of a number. I imagine many other teams have the same!

    • Is there a clinic for a sport he’s really into that you could send him to (with parental cooperation, of course)? Also, maybe he goes to sporting events all the time, but if you live nearby, maybe going to a game WITH his Aunt Fiona would be a fun treat. Even better if it’s a sport he’s really into and you don’t know that much about — you can tell him you want him along to help you understand the game better.

    • My little brother (now 25) is and was sports obsessed. Gifts we have given him over the years…

      Non-jersey piece of clothing with team logo/mascot featured on it (hat, T-shirt, tie, socks)

      A wall calendar featuring photos of his favorite team

      A subscription to Sports Illustrated for Kids

      Posters of favorite athletes to decorate his room

    • Biography of his favorite athlete or coach? Or if his favorite team had a winning season lately one of the championship retrospective books

    • In the Pink :

      Starter set of baseball, football “cards.”

      Sports illustrated 50 greatest covers

      Subscription to SI for kids

      Some sort of sports fact almanac

      Maybe there are dvds out there of classic games/playoff series (e.g., Book on the Subway Series for baseball and NYC fans is stupendous)

      Second the idea of books about figures and maybe even books by coaches if some are written a la motivational books for kids

      Jigsaw puzzle of the team’s stadium (maybe Yankee Puzzles makes them)

      Team patches to start his own jean jacket collection of patches

      Book on all the different stadiums in the country … football or baseball seem well suited to the topic

    • SpaceMountain :

      My 10-yr-old has a fleece blanket with a favorite sports team on it. He loves it.

  7. Gorgeous pick. I die.

    Insubordinated: I tried to reply to your post yesterday but it wouldn’t post. I think because it involved a couple of links. I wanted to let you know that the partner you are describing exists as an archetype known as The Cool Partner.

    Point being: stop thinking of this guy as your friend because he is friendly. He is not your friend, he is your boss. You need to be REALLY CAREFUL and not get sucked in.

    • Gorgeous pick. I die.

      Insubordinated: I tried to reply to your post yesterday but it wouldn’t post. I think because it involved a couple of links. I wanted to let you know that the partner you are describing exists as an archetype known as The Cool Partner. I’m posting without the links to avoid moderation. Google it!

      Point being: stop thinking of this guy as your friend because he is friendly. He is not your friend, he is your boss. You need to be REALLY CAREFUL and not get sucked in.

      • Insubordinated :

        Thanks for this! I have actually read this article before and it is so true although thankfully my boss isn’t quite as bad as this. I totally don’t think he is my friend, but the hot and cold thing really bugs me. I am quite happy to be subordinate and defer to him, but he can’t have it both ways – he can’t be our friend and our boss, he has to pick one!

        • Actually he doesn’t! That’s the point. You are expecting consistency but he doesn’t have to play by your rules.

    • Those links are great! I work for the Mindreader / English Professor. It’s a fabulous combination.

  8. This dress makes the model look heavier than she probably is. I’m sure it’s not going to do non model-like me any favors.

    • Yeah, at first I thought “Go Kat with the plus size rec!” But then I realized that, no, this model isn’t even model plus size (i.e., around size 8).

    • viclawstudent :

      Theoretically I think the side darts of the second colour coming through should be flattering, in an optical-illusion way (and it’s hard to tell for sure from this angle that they don’t), but at least in this picture, the dress is pretty shapeless seeming. Might be one of those things that’s different on.

      Also probably better for the small-shouldered as something about the cut of the neckline appears to be widening her shoulders.

      I like the (front) colour and the detail at the bottom of the sleeves, though.

  9. TGit’s almost Friday! Forgot how with the first cold snap, my energy plummets – leads only to self annoyance and hours on the couch!
    Ahhh – airing of grievance over.

    • I am generally the opposite – I love cooler weather clothes! My problem now is that after a weeklong headache, work stress, and continued dental problems, I either don’t want to get out of bed or I want to wear my pajamas to work. Next week cannot come soon enough!

    • I hear you. I’m from L.A. and don’t think I’ll ever get used to Chicago weather.

  10. springtime :

    TCFKAG- help!

    I have a pleated, black + sparkly mid-thigh skirt that I want to wear to some holiday parties. I don’t know what top to wear with it (bottom- heels or booties and tights seems fine to me).

    FWIW, I’m tall and large of chest. Blonde and fair skin if that helps with color choices.

    I want something more dressed up than a sweater, plus I find I get hot at parties, even in the winter, if I’m wearing a sweater.

    • Almost There :

      What is the waistband like, does it lend itself to a tucked in shirt? I”m picturing a semi-sheer silky top on the loose-fitting side tucked into it, with a black cami under, like this:

      • Almost There :

        Oh sorry I didn’t realize this was for TCFKAG.

        • just Karen :

          Almost There – don’t apologize, I think your suggestion was great and I’m sure Springtime is happy for any and all suggestions! :)

        • Ha! I’m fairly certain anyone can answer. And I think a burgundy top like that would be beautiful — and burgundy is so in right now there are probably lots of options out there.

          I also like this burgundy and black button down:

          Other colors I think would be pretty are green, navy, cobalt, or a burnt orange.

          • springtime :

            In terms of weight of fabric, etc.- that’s really what I”m struggling with. silk- too thin? cotton- too non-dressy? the fabric of the skirt is thick.

            maybe i’m over thinking

          • If it were me, I’d probably stick with something relatively light weight and not shiny — like a not shiny silk or something floaty/billowy in texture (sort of like what Almost There recommended). I think anything heavy, like a sweater, would just add too much bulk on top of a heavy textured skirt and anything shiny would be a bit too much going on with a shiny skirt…if you know what I mean.

      • springtime :

        Oh goodness all comments are welcome!

        The waistband is- non-existent? does that make sense?

  11. des-pairing :

    I have a gift question of a selfish nature : this year I’d like to get myself a gift. It has been a year with lots of milestones and personal as well as professional growth, so I’d like to mark that. I love the idea of a piece of fine jewelry, but I also love an actual designer bag (both would be the first of their kinds for me).

    Any thoughts?

    (You’re welcome to talk me out of it altogether as well.)

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think you should totally get yourself a gift if it’s been a year of milestones for you. When I buy myself gifts, I try to buy very classic pieces, that I will wear forever and will always remind me of whatever milestone I bought it for. I don’t want to end up being like, “Graduation was so important and meaningful. Why did I buy myself that super trendy piece to commemorate?” To that end, if you go the fine jewelry route I’d suggest a strand of pearls, diamond earrings, or a beautiful watch (if you wear one).

    • A few years ago when I had a big year I bought myself a new watch. My bday is in December so it was even easier to justify. I’d been dying for a new watch for a while. Almost 2 yrs later I still love it and wear it all the time. Since I wear it so much (like you would with jewelry or a bag) it gives me a little boost every day.

    • I vote for a piece of jewelry! What is your budget?

      • des-pairing :

        $500-1K is my budget range. I think of it as the 5 trendy bags or 50 pieces of fashion jewelry I don’t own.
        I have no experience buying jewelry, though. Recommendations?!

        • Oh, you could do both! What is your birthstone? Or do you have a favorite colored stone? Also, do you prefer modern pieces, antique or something else?

          • des-pairing :

            I really can’t answer the first two questions since I’m clueless. I like simple, classic, geometric shapes and white gold… I’m thinking diamond earrings. If it helps the only piece of jewelry I have and wear is a white gold necklace with a square-ish pendant (white gold and CZ) I got as a gift on my 18th birthday

          • Oh fun! What about looking for art deco earrings? You could find some in a gemstone even. is a place I like to look for this sort of thing. Also, post on and ask there. People will have a ton of suggestions.

        • Precious metals are always a smart investment.


    • I’m in team jewelery and have a much-loved collection, mostly bought myself and mostly associated with professional milestones and their related pay-outs. My little collection gives me a lot of pleasure – it affirms both my cultural background (women in my culture typically buy jewelry themselves) and the material success I’ve earned for myself.

      One nice thing about jewelry is that it holds value better and ‘trading up’ is a reasonably straightforward possibility, particularly if you go back to your regular vendor for the second piece. I’ve done this on a couple of occasions – replaced lower-quality pieces when a better-quality one became available and/ or affordable. Can’t imagine doing that for a handbag without a big markdown.

      But enjoy your gift whichever way you decide – am sure it’s well-deserved !

      • des-pairing :

        Can I ask which culture you’re coming from because it sounds wonderful? Mine is sadly the opposite. In fact when my mom heard my plan she gasped and sighed for my poor “feminine ” skill.

        • I’m ethnic Chinese. In the days before women worked outside the house, they would save money from what they were given for the household budget and buy jewelry as a store of value. And I understand from my regular dealer that her business is still primarily with women, but these days it’s a mix of professionals and business owners along with the more traditional buyers. Actually it was my mum who put us in touch, with the suggestion ‘why not buy yourself something nice with your bonus’ :)

    • I vote for jewelry. That’s where my milestones are marked with. When I got the promotion that I had wanted and had been along time coming, I went out and scoured the market for a piece that I could envision in my mind. I ended up creating my own ring with my local jeweler. I wear the ring everyday and always get compliments on it. The ring is my birthstone (amethyst) and diamonds set in white gold.

    • Definitely get yourself a present. I vote for classic jewelry like diamond studs.

    • Have you considered buying some art? for $500-1000 you can get some pretty good stuff. And it will probably appreciate. Not until many years have passed…. but eventually.

      • des-pairing :

        If only I knew a thing about art…

        • Well! Let me tell you, as a passionate amateur, it really IS all about what you actually like! If you go to Zatista dot com for example or a local gallery, look around and let yourself respond without any judging about what you “should” be liking or whatever. You may find yourself drawn to traditional representative art or you may surprise yourself by loving something abstract. And your price range is perfect for an introductory piece.

          I buy what I consider to be quality, not-too-expensive art and the good pieces really give me pleasure every day. I don’t even care if they appreciate. They bring me lasting joy.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          You don’t need to know anything about art. Who cares if it’s considered Good Art by critics? Just casually browse galleries. You’ll come across a lot of objectively beautiful things that still make you say “meh,” and a lot of ugly and/or overpriced stuff, but then you’ll accidentally find something that speaks to you. I casually shopped for art for months and months, just browsing stores I came across. Then one day in a random gallery in a town I was visiting, I saw a piece that I just loved. I don’t know why, and it’s not representative of anything I particularly care about, but it was love at first sight. I walked away, came back an hour later still in love. Walked away again, came back the next morning still in love with it and bought it. It was just under a grand and I still love it every time I look at it. Best use of bonus money ever.

          • brilliant! Exactly this. I actually just negotiated a payment plan for a painting I have been in love with for a few months now. I don’t mind paying installments on it and the painting has been haunting me.

          • des-pairing :

            to SF Bay Associate and moss: by not knowing a thing about art, I really don’t mean history, trends or evaluation, but a lack of personal understanding. My lack of a critical appreciation of art is why I don’t buy it. I can appreciate a piece of jewelry or clothing, at least at a functional level, and then at some basic expressive level (colours, shapes). So art rarely, if ever, speaks to me.

            I’d love to get educated about how to get into it, though. Tips?!

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Girl, I don’t know anything about art either. Lots and lots and lots of art doesn’t “speak” to me. At museums, lots of art is objectively beautiful and I like those colors and that lady’s expression is cool and wow I wonder how the artist did that, but ok what’s for lunch? I am completely uneducated about art.

            But then every so often, very rarely, either in a museum or a gallery, I come across a piece that hits me. I seriously don’t know why it does. I don’t have any idea of the techniques used or whether those techniques were good or bad. I don’t know anything about the artist. I don’t know anything about the style of art. I have no idea if it’s an Important Piece. I have no idea how the artist did it. But somehow, it has that je ne sais quois for me. I don’t care what the critics say, and I don’t particularly care why I like it. I just really, really do. It’s happened to me only a few times, but when it does, it packed a visceral wallop.

          • SF Bay Associate is doing it exactly right!

            Des-pairing, my tip would be to just look at art. Throw out any notion that you can’t understand it or need to know this or that before you like it. Just evaluate it on your own terms: “Do I like this or not?” Don’t harshly judge your “taste level” or anything else like that. Don’t expect to find something you love immediately. Just start looking at things. A website like is a good place to start, just browsing around. Going into local places on your lunch hour so you can see things in person. Eventually you will start to develop a mental language you can use to think about it. “I like the colors in this one” will start to open up to “I like the way the shapes are arranged” to “I like the feeling of this one.”

            Don’t feel like you’re wrong when you think, “Wow that’s a piece of junk right there.” A lot of very expensive art IS junk, it IS a ripoff. Let yourself be open to feeling good or bad about something. When something makes you feel good, try to figure out why..or not. You don’t have to be able to explain why you like something.

            Just give yourself credit for knowing beauty when you see it. And then look for it. And if you find it and can afford it, take it home with you. You will be richly rewarded, every day.

          • you might also try a book like Mary Acton’s “Learning to Look at Paintings”

    • I think it’s a great idea. I’d go jewelry (pearl necklace), but if you are also in the market for a professional designer bag, I think that would be awesome too, except that $500-$1000 likely won’t cover it unless you find one on sale somewhere.

      Happy shopping!

  12. Follow-up from Elie at ATL on the TMI Clifford Chance departure email (i.e., the lady who outlined her entire day from wake-up until falling asleep on her computer to show how being a mom and BigLaw associate were not, for her, compatible):

    I wholeheartedly second Elie’s statements re getting workplaces to make life easier for working *fathers* as well as working mothers, both for the fathers’ sake and the mothers’ (and the kids, too). At my firm, there were terrific paternity leave policies, but it seems that every single guy who took leave got shipped out to India, Japan, or a storage facility in Nebraska for eight or twelve or eighteen weeks the second he got back. Meaning he left a wife home alone with a newborn for eight or twelve or eighteen weeks. Not exactly family friendly.

    • Diana Barry :

      Yes yes yes. I don’t think gendered language is helpful at all. Except for the physical stuff associated with pregnancy/childbirth, it should be PARENTAL leave. Rrgh. How long will it take for this country to get with the program?

      When I was in biglaw, taking paternity leave was also frowned upon.

    • I respect your opinion, and I am well-aware I am going to get blasted for this:
      Biglaw is a grind. For everyone. Men, women, people with families, people without families, people w/ hobbies and people w/ souls.

      If one wishes to make partner, be the CEO of a Fortune 500, be a managing director, famous ballet dancer then it will require sacrifices and dediction.

      Associates in biglaw are well-compensated for their time and efforts starting at usually a young age.

      A friend of mine works at a veryveryvery big firm in a large metropolitan area. He works until 11pm most nights and has all-nighters once or twice per week. He will make around $200k this year and as he advances stands make much more as he advances. Guess what? He just doesn’t get much time with family and friends.

      Everyone chooses a career path, and with that comes consequences. I see no reason why any company should pay for peoples’ life choices.

      • I agree with you. There was a line in that article that was something like “the assumption is that with the salary they’re giving a man, he can afford a stay at home wife or full time nanny.” This makes perfect sense to me and doesn’t seem objectionable in the least, other than the fact that it need not be gender specific. If we want to both be equal *and* rise to high ranks, we need to expect and plan for the idea that this can also mean that we can afford a stay at home husband/father. (And maybe that means that we don’t artificially limit our dating pools to men who also planned to rise to high ranks.)

        With that, of course, I have no problem with the Ms. X family making a family decision (and I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that it was somewhat a family decision) that the best course for *them* was that she wouldn’t rise to high (or as high) ranks, but instead would be that stay home parent.

        • laura holt :

          The problem with this is that there are many, many women who are happy to be a stay at home mom/wife and almost no men who are happy to not work at all. Until this cultural/societial problem is fixed you can’t just say “Choose a stay at home partner” because this vastly favors men, who have much more opportunity to do so. I have a husband who is just about as far away from the high-powered, Fortune 500 career path as you can be, but he has a not-super-well-paying job he loves and isn’t willing to give up to stay home full time. Yes, anyone in BigLaw can afford a full-time nanny (although for many associates the difference between your take home pay and what you pay a nanny is so small you’re working for pennies), but many people (myself included) feel that a nanny is no substitute for a parent at home.

      • I’m confused. You seem to think you’re disagreeing with me, but what opinion are you disagreeing with?

    • Lady Enginerd :

      I had very mixed feelings about that piece. I don’t think that the husband’s absence in the daily grind is excusable, if only because it indicates that his wife feels alone. Her description of ‘losing’ the negotiation made me feel really bad for her – she asked for help and it was denied. I run major, lifechanging emails like this one by my SO, and I’d imagine that if she felt comfortable asking her husband for support she’d have had him look it over and have told her not to send it.

      What’s that? I’m projecting? Well so is the author who attributed a ton of unsung housework to the husband. Maybe she wanted help so *she* could do the dishes because she’s all interacted out for the day. The argument that husband feels so totally drained from working a full big law day that he can’t possibly pitch in at home is bogus, because it’s not like his wife has had a moment to catch her breath either and his not “getting” that and forgoing unwinding just like his wife seems selfish.

      • Meg Murry :

        I feel really bad for the wife too, on the losing the argument aspect, but what threw me was that she had 2 kids. Don’t get me wrong, going from 1 kid to 2 was definitely a much harder transition than I thought it was going to be, but didn’t all these problems exist (division of labor, rushing to get out of work before daycare closed, etc) with 1 kid? Or did the daycare costs of the 2nd kid price out outsourcing chores?

        I know this is a blog for people that are generally high acheiving (and high earning) and while I feel for the woman that she wasn’t going to be able to acheive her dream of being a high powered lawyer – as someone who absolutely can NOT leave her job because of health insurance and the cost of housing (my husband runs his own business and has no health insurance and has chosen not to expand the business in order to remain flexible for our family) – I am extremely jealous of anyone who has the choice to not work. Not saying I necessarily want to be a SAHM, but most of the women I know IRL don’t have the choice whether they want to be SAHMs or WOHMs – one option makes financial sense for their family, the other absolutely does not, no matter how much they cut (unless they are willing to risk defaulting on the mortgage and going on food stamps). So while I feel sorry that this woman’s life was hard, I am envious that she had a choice to make. The number 1 reason I hope this country can acheive true healthcare reform is so that I no longer feel trapped by “the man” in order to maintain my family’s health insurance. With the rise of SAHDs and parents working flextime, I wonder how many parents (moms AND dads) feel the same way I do, but don’t have an outlet to discuss it in?

  13. Almost There :

    Political/ethical commentary aside, does anyone else think Jill Kelley wears some pretty great dresses? I wish I could pull off this hot pink one!!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/kelley-2.jpg&w=635&h=547&ei=QQqlUJjzN8zI0AHxzYDYCg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=229&vpy=257&dur=996&hovh=208&hovw=242&tx=180&ty=188&sig=117189393930554853598&page=4&tbnh=138&tbnw=151&start=65&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:66,s:0,i:344

    • Disagree on this, and I thought that the pink one floating around a day or so ago made her look headlight-y. And the first few pictures in the WSJ reminded me of Dante’s girlfriend from Clerks, with bad age progression photoshopping.

    • The two I’ve seen (your pink and the neon green she’s typically seen wearing on the news) are a way too bright for me, but I do like the silhouette on both. I think it helps that she is in FL. With the exception of the height of summer, I think both of those would look a bit out of place in NY, where I am.

      On an aside, am I the only one who finds Gen. P. about the un-s*xist man imaginable? All this talk about his s*x life is really squeeking me out.

      • Almost There :

        I’m interpreting that as un-s3xy, not un-s3xist, amirite?

        • Oops! I meant “uns*exiest” — trying to figure out where to place the asterisk congused me!

      • I keep resolving to stop following the story, and then I keep meticulously following it. It’s the pictures especially that I’m finding depressing for some reason. It’s so incredibly cliched for the old, accomplished man to betray the woman he went through adulthood with for someone 20 years younger, who was making her entire career around how amazing he is.

        None of my business, but I say this after every high-profile male cheat: I hope she bails without any hesitation if that’s what she feels like doing. I would.

        • In a weird twist my family recently experienced something way too similar (minus the publicity). Interestingly, the wife of the cheater (the couple is slightly older than the Gen. & his wife), not only stayed but is now basically completely ignoring the whole situation. The young woman with whom her husband is having an affair (my age, so gross!) is still coming to all family functions. We can’t even bring it up (though I was not supposed to know of it all, but that’s neither here nor there).

          Likewise, my mother also has a friend who is in her early 60s, her husband recently retired and started having a super torrid affair with his married tennis partner and that didn’t break them up either. She literally walked in on them naked in her shower and the husband didn’t even get kicked out of the house for one night. I can’t figure out whether this is generational or if, perhaps, once you reach a certain point in your marriage (both of these are 40 years +), you just stick it out no matter what. It’s depressing to think about.

          • I’m sorry about both of those situations near to you. My second dysfunctional reaction is: I hope she’s banging all kinds of other men behind his back, too! (Two wrongs, greeeaaat.)

            I hope by the time I reach that age I will have some kind of enlightened attitude about it–as of now I just waste energy being angry.

          • Thanks, it’s sad but I have resolved to not let it get to me because everyone is entitled to their own choices and I really don’t know anyone’s life but my own. Luckily, as far as my family situation goes, these are not relatives that live close by, so I have to deal with it only on the most limited basis. I did cut off the mistress from my birthday & holiday card list, but not really an immediate problem for me otherwise.

            BUT – I had a similar dysfunctional reaction to yours when I first found out and I am sad to report that as far as my family member goes, none of that is even close to happening. She has decided to collect cat figurines instead. Which I guess makes this all a bit harder to judge because when you have one person who has more interest in cat porcelain than s*x and another who apparently still has a libido capable of keeping up with a 31 year old mistress, it’s sort of tricky.

            The other woman hasn’t started a collection yet but is planning to get a face lift, presumably to facilitate some revenge banging. Both things are so sad I can’t even. Here’s hoping we all become more enlightened about these things.

          • Anonymous :

            Ditto here, sort of — we have a family friend whose husband “takes Tuesdays off” in that he (retired) leaves the house at 7 am and does not return until 10 or 11pm. No one has any idea where he goes, and he does not volunteer the information. His wife (the family friend) is fine with it. As she says, they’ve been together for 45 years and she really does not need to know every detail of his life.

    • Is it me or does Jill Kelley look like a Kardashian? Especially in that picture with the Petraeuses and her twin? She doesn’t look like a “socialite” to me.

      • Sad but true – she looks exactly what passes for “socialite” in Tampa.

      • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

        She’s tacky in the Real Housewives* kind of way to me.

        *overmade-up, be trussed up like a chicken due to overly vampy bebe or Arden B clearance-looking clothes and str*pper heels.

    • I’m not a fan of the pink dress she’s wearing either. It looks like there is also a belt loop on the front.

  14. Insprired by Kat’s recent post on velvet blazers, I bought my first velvet clothing item ever: a pair of pants in a teal-y green color. I love them, especially the color. I’m imagining wearing them to holiday parties and the like with a black or grey sweater and a sparkly necklace. Or maybe with a sequined top if I get really brave. My question is: are green velvet pants ever appropriate for daytime or non-hoilday wear? If so, how would you style them?

    These are the pants I got:

    • I think they’re ok for daytime, but only on weekends in November and December. They seem fun though!

    • des-pairing :

      (Know your office, etc.)
      I’d wear it with a sharp, plain black blazer, black (or white) turtle neck or blouse, and black pumps.

    • Super cute, I’d wear them for daytime! Brown booties or riding boots with a creme or rose flowy top, gold accessories. I think you could easily wear them all winter. I’m in my mid-twenties FWIW.

      • This is what I was thinking too. I think it would be gorgeous, but casual/weekend wear only.

  15. momentsofabsurdity :

    I’m going to squee again. Fair warning because I KNOW it’s annoying and I am sure my friends are sick of hearing me, but I want to melt to someone.

    Hung out with New No Furniture Dude last night, and he literally talks to me like the love interests in rom coms. Last night, I was telling him he really ought to either buy furniture, or bring the furniture from his storage unit out here (he moved here from another state, and left everything he owned that wouldn’t fit in his car, in a storage unit). I said it was kind of silly to live somewhere for 10 months and still be saying, “Oh but I have plenty of furniture back home!”

    He replied, “I know. But when I moved out here, it was kind of like… this big adventure. And I didn’t know where it was gonna lead or if I really wanted to stay here or I’d move back quickly or what. So I don’t know, I guess I’ve just held onto the storage unit because I just didn’t know.”

    I was like, “Well, if you’re planning to move back to [Home State] soon, I feel like I would want to know that. Because it doesn’t make any sense for me to get invested in someone who’s not actually available, you know?”

    Then he said, “No, of course. There’s no official, concrete plan to move back or anything. There isn’t anything back there for me, even. But moving here was just this lark, and I guess at the time, I didn’t know why I’d stay here, or if there was anything for me here. But then I met you.”

    He also called me a “breath of fresh air in his life, that came in at exactly the moment he really needed one.” Squee. Melt.

    • Squee away. Love it. I also pictured you two sitting on the floor of an empty living room having this conversation. With stick figure art taped on the walls. Super cute.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        This is exactly how it happened. Eating sushi cross legged on the floor in front of his computer (which is also on the floor). He said it was okay because “this is basically just authentic Japanese.” I said, “I think in Japan, they at least have pillows for you to sit on.”

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Squee! I really like everything I’ve heard from you about this guy. Adorbs.

    • Awwww. That’s sweet. Now my boyfriend is in the doghouse.

      Actually I’ve been having a really stressful time at work lately and he’s been so sweet. The other day I was working late and he went to my place and fed my cat. It was totally a little thing (and my cat would have survived another 2 hrs until I got home) but it was thoughtful, although he is really spoiling my cat when I truly didn’t think it was possible for him to be any more spoiled. I know he wants more commitment from me but he doesn’t say a word about it or give me any pressure, which I really appreciate right now.

    • Awww. Squee!

    • Almost There :

      ohemgee that is so adorable. so happy for you!

    • This is super extremely cute. He continues to sound incredibly sweet. Hurray for you!! (Plus we get a serialized adorable rom awesome!)

    • des-pairing :

      Squee! Keep us posted on his progress in furnishing his apartment ;)

    • Aww!! this is super adorable! Lucky!! ;o)

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      This is lovely. Keep enjoying the company of Mr.Romcon-with-no-furniture. :-)

    • Senior Attorney :

      Totes adorbs! So happy for you!!

  16. Random foot-related TJ…

    I know there are several women on [this site] who suffer from bunions and other foot-related problems. I’m hoping one of them can help me out.

    At the base of my big toes, there is some kind of knuckle-esque joint. I’ve noticed that the bone(s) in this area stick up a little and is irritated by some of my shoes. Based on my highly scientific Googling, I don’t think these are bunions, since the protrusion is upwards and not out to the side. Would others agree? And is this an actual _thing_ or just an idiosyncrasy of my anatomy? I’m hesitant to show it to a doctor if it’s just my normal feet. TIA!

    • SoCal Gator :

      Sounds like it could be a hammertoe. They often go with bunions. I have one. It makes shoes hard to fit. Check out barkingdogshoes dot com. She has a hammertoe and often discusses dealing with it. She also has been a lifesaver on finding shoes that work.

      • Hmm, I checked online (good old Dr. Google again) and it looks like hammertoe is related to what’s called the proximal interphalangeal joint, whereas my problem is something called the metatarsophalangeal joint. Sounds like it’s probably worth getting it looked at – and checking out recommendations for comfy shoes :)

    • I have the same thing (although mine are a bit outward, but my toes are parallel) and podiatrist said these are bunions all the same. And that I can’t do anything about it (except wear Crocs … ).

    • might be Hallux something – check this out.

  17. Official Lo & Sons price adjustment report:

    They gave me the 10% adjustment for the 30% off coupon code.

    I have had a couple of issues with my Lo & Sons bag, but I must say that there customer service is on point. I’ve had the strap to my bag break twice and each time they have sent me a new one immediately, for free, and with no questions asked. I don’t love that it keeps breaking, but the great customer service makes me a repeat customer.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      They are doing 30% off through the end of the year with HOLIDAYS2012.

    • *THEIR customer service. Omg, what is wrong with me today?!

    • Speaking of customer service, I found out yesterday I stupidly had some clothes I ordered online sent to my old address (I moved out of state in July 2011) and have contacted LOFT customer service to see if they can get the package back. I didn’t catch the mistake until it had already been delivered to my old rental so I don’t know what’s going to happen or how long it’ll take. A couple of the items are still available online, do I reorder them or wait for this process to play out? Has anyone else done this or am I just an idiot?

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I did that once. My old apartment complex signed for the package and never notified me that they had it. Once I realized what had happened, I asked them to hold onto it for a week until I could come get it. Luckily I was already planning to make the trip to that city because it was 2 hours away. If your old rental is close, you might see if you can contact them and go pick it up there.

        • Driving to my old rental isn’t an option and it’s a house so either they’re well-meaning and haven’t had a chance to return to sender or a lady who also likes LOFT and wears a large is enjoying my purchases. Worst case scenario, they refund my money. Best case, I get the clothes I really wanted.

      • Almost There :

        If the complex manager has it (rather than it being left at the door of the apt), you could just contact UPS or what have you to arrange for them to pick it up again and fwd it to your current address.

    • Thanks for the update! That’s good news.

  18. Any recommendations for a long-sleeve t-shirt, that’s also long length-wise? The only place I can think to buy one is American Apparel, and I have mixed feelings about supporting Dov Charney.

    • Land’s End? They have LS t-shirts and ladies tall sizes.

    • Always a NYer :

      Lands End cotton modal tees.

    • My mom likes Eddie Bauer for long length t-shirts.

    • I just got this one from Nordstrom and I really like it:

    • des-pairing :

      Maybe I’m short but Jcrew tees have always been on the long side for me. The vintage cotton tees are amazingly soft and have become my non-work uniform, day or night. Yes I do wear them to sleep.

      • e_pontellier :

        I’m 6 feet tall and I was just going to recommend JCrew Factor long-sleeved tees. Unfortunately they’re crew neck, but they’re slim (which I like) and the sleeves are long enough!!!! Also, the one I got only cost $8.

    • I have some nice ones from the Gap, if I wasn’t in the office, I’d twist it around and check the label. JJill also has some pretty things although they run quite large so definitely size down.

    • Limited Perfect Tee. I don’t buy anything else from the Limited, but these are perfect.

    • Old Navy has Tall T-shirts. I would look there.

    • Mountain Girl :

      I buy GAP favorites in tall

  19. Any advice for dealing with your own stupid eff-ups? I was running behind schedule this morning, totally forgot about a meeting I had scheduled, went to two wrong buildings for the meeting, tried calling the person I was supposed to meet, couldn’t get in touch, and now I just gave up and came back to my office. It’s nothing earth shattering, but I just feel like total sh1t. I’m on a temporary assignment that I am hoping to turn permanent, and this is NOT how I want to perform. Blerg.

    • I’d play it off. Ideally, I’d stop by the person’s office to find out how the meeting went and jokingly fess up that I went to two wrong buildings.

    • Contact the person ASAP, apologize succinctly, make it clear you know you made an error, reschedule, and indicate that you’d like to make it up to them (something small – take out for coffee?). Rescue the situation quickly, if possible, and turn into as much of a positive as you can.

      I’m sure you’ve thought about this already, but is there a change you can make in the way you manage and keep track of scheduled appointments (ie if you’d gotten an alert on your phone an hour before the meeting was scheduled would you have been able to make things work out), etc. Taking proactive steps to make sure the same problem doesn’t crop up again always makes me feel better about the problem – plus if anyone gives you grief about it, you can just say, “Yes, I recognized that there was a problem, and I have taken X step to address it for the future. It won’t be a problem anymore,” case closed.

  20. Legally Brunette :

    The dress is a really pretty color. Not sure what I think about those black insets.

    Threadjack – I’m in my third semester and have lately been experiencing intense muscle spasms with my feet. Last night, I was standing up for about an hour and suddenly felt excruciating pain in my foot. I had to sit down and it took about 15 minutes to get my feet back to normal. Later that night, I made the mistake of sitting in an awkward position on the couch and experienced the same problem.

    Anyone else deal with this problem, and any solutions? My feet are not swollen at all. Thanks.

    • (1) I assume you meant trimester :)

      (2) I’m not a doctor and am in no way qualified to give you medical advice

      (3) That being said, I get foot cramps/spasms when my potassium is low. Try a few days of making sure you get enough potassium (bananas, coconut water, etc) and see if it helps.

      • +1.

        I’ve also read that eating a huge tablespoon of yellow mustard is supposed to make the cramp go away.

        Likewise, if you’re getting them in bed, putting a bar of soap under your fitted sheet at the bottom of the bed is supposed to stop this from happening (I know several people who have had success with the soap trick).

    • SF Bay Associate :

      My friend is a ballroom dancer. I told her I was getting terrible foot cramps and I couldn’t figure out why. She said that it was probably because my calf muscles were too tight. There’s a tendon (?) that runs down our leg and up our foot. When it is too tight, it expresses its ire in our feet. I did a lot of stretching and she was right.

    • My mom was telling me how she had really bad pains in her feet during her third trimester (thanks mom, as I JUST hit 28 weeks!) and the only thing that would work was trying to walk and stretch. A friend who is 28 weeks is having the same kind of pain though I don’t know what her answer is–just wanted to say others experience the same thing!

      • Thanks everyone! I walk 45 minutes every day (commute to work) but I probably need to be better about walking/stretching more during the work day.

        Goirishkj – I’m at 28 weeks, 5 days. :) We’re right around the same time.

        • 28 weeks, 4 days for me–how fun LB! Hope you are otherwise feeling OK!

        • PharmaGirl :

          I had horrible leg and foot cramps throughout pregnancy, plus restless leg syndrome. Walking made the cramps worse for me but helped the RLS so I was in a pickle. I basically sat on the couch int eh evening with my legs completely elevated on the back of the couch and my husband had to massage my calves and feet nasically every night. I slept with soap in the bed as noted above. Not sure if it actually helped.

      • One more thing–just be careful they are just leg cramps and not a blood clot. My first clot felt like a cramp. So if you have swelling, redness or it is hot to the touch, call your doctor immediately as pregnant women are at higher risk for clots. Sorry to sound alarmist as it probably is just a cramp, but just keep an eye on it.

        • Wow, just a day apart? So cool! Hope you’re feeling well also. I’ve had a great pregnancy so far (knock on wood), this muscle spasm thing just started in the last week. Good point on the blood clot, I will keep an eye on it.

          • goirishkj :

            Aaaack, I had a reply to you and lost it, so who knows where it ended up! Yes, very cool just a day apart–I have a friend IRL who is due the day before me and it is really fun to have someone to share pregnancy stuff with. This is my first so nothing to compare, but it has been pretty easy so far. I have to take shots because of my clotting history (which is why I’m a big of a clot freak–the friend who travels frequently gets reminders to wear her compression socks on long flights!) but otherwise it has been good so far. I am a bit of a nutjob and had been worried that it was *too* easy until I found out this week I need to take more B12. In some odd way that made me feel like it was OK and that was my “bad” thing. Here’s hoping everything keeps going well and that you get some relief from your foot/leg pain soon!

        • Thanks for leaving your comments and a big congratulations. I am a long way from thinking about kids and have some health issues that might preclude it. I’m fairly sure lupus + a severe clot a few years back + pregnancy = bad news bears but it is helpful to see how the process works.

          • goirishkj :

            You are selcome Cb–glad to help. Autoimmune is tricky. My mom has lupus and I have ulcerative colitis so I understan the concern. For me, I’ve had periods of remissison and one lined up with the onslaught of baby fever so it worked out. If life leads you towards babies, you may find that your conditions can be managed. I was honestly shocked with how encouraging my doctors were, so it is worth exploring if babies become something you want. The clotting history is a pain, but also easily managed. Wherever life leads you, good luck and I’m happy to chat if you have any questions.

          • goirishkj :

            You are welcome Cb–glad to help. Autoimmune is tricky. My mom has lupus and I have ulcerative colitis so I understan the concern. For me, I’ve had periods of remissison and one lined up with the onslaught of baby fever so it worked out. If life leads you towards babies, you may find that your conditions can be managed. I was honestly shocked with how encouraging my doctors were, so it is worth exploring if babies become something you want. The clotting history is a pain, but also easily managed. Wherever life leads you, good luck and I’m happy to chat if you have any questions.

          • goirishkj :

            Um yeah, sorry for the double post!

  21. Kontraktor :

    I have 4, pristine condition size 4 Brooks Brothers button down shirts that I want to rehome to a nice place. I have one white, one light pink, one very light blue with very subtle/thin white stripes, (it looks almost solid light blue) and one tht is light blue with thicker white stripes and a white collar/white cuffs.

    They a) don’t quite fit me the right way anymore and b) I never ever ever wear button downs, so they are taking up space in my closet.

    Does somebody want them? Please say yes because I really want to know they are going to a nice home. No charge, I’ll just send them.

    • I’ll take them!!! I almost ordered some this week, but cheaped out. Please email me if they’re still available: [email protected]

      Thank you!

    • Me! Me! How can I contact you to provide info?

      • Kontraktor :

        Hi ladies, glad there are takers. Which would you like? Maybe I could send 2 to each of you?

        Email me at cheshercat at hotmail dot com. I can try to get them sent off this weekend. So happy they will have homes. They are seriously in great condition (I think they are even all pressed right now) and I am happy they will likely get good homes where they will be used.

      • Kontraktor :

        Hi Me, the pink one and the blue with thicker white stripes/white collar and cuffs (my favorite, it’s a really sharp shirt) are still available if you want them. Email me at the below address and I can get them sent off!

  22. random law student :

    Can anyone provide some insight on Theory sizing? I’m looking to buy a dress (which btw they have some cute ones on RueLaLa today!). I am a 0 in the Jcrew Super 120’s pencil skirt and in any of their dresses that I’ve tried – I think around a 24.5-25″ waist and 33-34″ hips? Thanks for any help! : )

    • Size up about 1-2 sizes. I am 2 sizes bigger in Theory dresses/bottoms than I am in JCrew anything.
      I would actually look up measurements on either Theory’s website or somewhere else that sells them, like Bloomingdales, and just compare.

  23. definitely anon for this :

    Okay this is really embarrassing. But does anyone else feel like they are really bad at oral s*x (on men)? I think I am just not very good at it and dudes have never really given me a lot of encouragement with it. I’m not very confident in it, it kind of hurts my jaw and I don’t ever feel like I get a good rhythm going.

    Am I the only one that feels this way? How can I get better at this? I really have no idea where to start, and even when I had a regular partner, I felt like they were trying to be nice so as not to hurt my feelings and didn’t give me a lot of direction. How do people learn to do this? I feel like a failure, especially when my friends tell me they LOVE it and think they’re excellent at it.

    • Not going to bother to go anon. Whatever. I didn’t really enjoy it, didn’t feel like I was good at it, didn’t initiate it, until current guy and that has changed completely. I don’t know exactly how – partly it was getting better at picking up on what he responds to and not being afraid to be creative. Don’t give up!

    • Another Zumba Fan :

      Watch adult films for pointers.

      • Actually my SO says that adult films are completely unrealistic as to what feels good. He says you need to take your time, which they don’t.

    • Alsoanonforthis :

      Ok here’s the way I see this. I don’t love doing it but I love seeing my boyfriend’s reaction to it so I persist. I’m never received any particularly glowing feedback (although I’ve never received any negative feedback either). I find with a lot of enthusiasm and focus, I can generally get a good rhythm going. I like to mix it up and it’s not always the main event but often a precursor so I’ll do it for a few minutes and then try to move on to something else. In my experience, if you’re enthusiastic and don’t use your teeth inappropriately, there’s not a lot of ways can go wrong.

      Sometimes I feel like I’m not great at it either because my boyfriend doesn’t always react loudly but I can tell he’s enjoying it, even if it may not be getting him off (because that’s not the goal) so I figure it does the trick.

      Also – guys are different. The techniques that used to be really successful with past guys don’t necessarily do much for my current guy so explore a little bit and he’ll give you an indication of what’s working.

      Hope that helps!

    • Anon for this :

      Oh, yes, indeed. After YEARS of suspecting I was bad at it, despite trying my best, I finally said to my husband… I’m bad at this, aren’t I?!!! He gently told me well, it’s not the BEST thing we do! I wasn’t even offended at that point, I was just glad I wasn’t crazy. I still do it, occasionally, and make efforts based on what my husband has told me…but I think it just will never be my forte!

    • you don't have to :

      Hey, if you don’t like it, then don’t do it! I hate it and just do regular ladygarden parties

      • definitely anon for this :

        I feel bad refusing to do it at all, especially if the guy really seems to want to do it. It seems not very GGG of me. And I am never gonna get better at it if I just keep refusing to do it. But I think I’ve only ever done one in my life to … completion and the rest have been foreplay-esque as described above.

      • Anon doing work :

        So…I LOVE oral s*x on me, so I feel bad not reciprocating.

    • soooo anon :

      I have the opposite problem. I’m pretty sure I’m not that good at it – in terms of what results and how long it takes them to occur, and that I’m sometimes turned down in my offer – but I love giving it. I mean, I feel like a freak. If someone knew of a video or book or something out there that would give me tips so that it would make him as enthusiastic as it makes me, I’d amazon that in a heartbeat.

      • definitely anon for this :

        Don’t feel bad. I rarely get requests for a repeat performance. But I don’t really enjoy it – I think because I feel so self conscious about it, and maybe that comes through in my enthusiasm. I would also buy that video/book/whatever.

      • springtime :

        I do it and get positive responses, although I only do it for guys I’ve known for awhile. for me, its the most intimate thing I can do with a guy.

        I don’t MIND but I certainly don’t love it. How does one ‘love’ doing that? I’m genuinely curious…

        • definitely anon for this :

          I have friends who say it essentially gets them off, and they would do it entirely unprompted, just for fun, because they enjoy it so much.

          • springtime :

            ahh i c. I’m definitely not that person!

            let’s be honest- i do it because i enjoy getting it so it ensures the guy keeps on giving!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      There is actually a book on the subject called Tickle His Pickle.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh, also, there is a funny podcast called Sex Nerd Sandra that has at least one episode about it as well.

      • If someone buys this book, reads it, and tests its proposals/suggestions, please provide a review.

    • Anonforthistoo :

      I’d second watching adult films. I’d also search the Dan Savage archives for some tips (his older stuff has some good articles on the topic). And otherwise, just talk to your guy a bit about it. But as a general rule, some people enjoy it I think as its own right, but other people enjoy it as part of a larger ladygarden party with other stimulation ongoing (if you know what I mean). And some people just don’t really like it, but view it as a price of admission (so to speak). (And just to be clear, when I’m talking some people, I think this rule applies to both genders and that mutuality is expected).

      Anyway — personally its not my favorite activity in the world, but I sort of enjoy perfecting the technique and seeing the results…if you know what I mean. But I’m type-A like that. :-P Oh and if it hurts your jaw, the key is to make ample use of your hand as an additional helping well…hand. Okay, that’s all I’ve got right now. Lol.

    • Thank you for this… i am 1000% this. I hate it, I feel like I’m too old to be acceptably unexperienced and I’ve been given such complements about other things that it makes this seem even worse. I have a small mouth and an easy gag reflex and I just don’t think I was made for this but I feel awful outright refusing.

      • I have a similar problem. I’ve only ever done them as part of the “warm up” but never to completion. Partially bc I just don’t want to do it as the main act, but also partially bc I feel like I’m too old to be inexperienced and I’m worried I would gag or pull away too soon if I tried.

      • Just use your hands! ;)
        I have gotten a lot of positive feedback, shall we say, and I always do. And second whoever said to read some old Dan Savage columns. I think there was one on this very topic.

    • MaggieLizer :

      This is just my impression and maybe I’m off, but I think a lot of guys approach it as more of a way to relax than a means to an end. He doesn’t have any pressure to perform, no physical exertion, he gets to watch, and it feels good. If your guy thinks of it like that, then do it for as long as you’re comfortable and then move on to something else.

      Also, find a position that’s comfortable for you. I cannot for the life of me do it with him lying down, it just hurts my neck and jaw too much, my hair gets in the way, the covers get twisted, all of these annoyances get distracting, and then it’s this awful, uncomfortable chore I now have to finish rather than something nice I want to do for him. I find it’s best with me sitting and him standing (I have an ottoman that’s the perfect height, or the edge of the tub; you know how Super Nanny has a naughty spot? yeah, so do I), but play with it and find out what works best for you.

      Finally, have you asked him what you can do better? Or can you try different techniques and ask him what he likes best? Maybe make it a game?

    • I read something a long, long time ago called “S*x Tips for Women from a Gay Man.” It was so long ago I don’t remember if it was a book or an article or on the early internets. However, it improved my technique and attitude a LOT.

    • Yeah, my husband has flat out told me I’m bad at it. He’s frustrated b/c after having been married for so long, he thinks I should have perfected my technique.

      It’s frustrating for me too, b/c it seems like techniques I’ve used in the past don’t always work. It’s like the sun, moon and stars all have to be in alignment for him to finish. I’m either too slow or too fast or he gets numb and doesn’t feel anything.

      I do it for him but I don’t always enjoy it b/c it ends up with him getting annoyed with me.

      It doesn’t help that our marriage is in a bad state and I think we both have anger and resentment towards each other, and that definitely affects things negatively.

      However, I’m glad to see some resources others have posted. I’ll check some of those out to see if it will help my technique.

      • MaggieLizer :

        This is so sad to read, big internet hugs to you. I think it probably has more to do with him and how he’s feeling about your relationship than your technique.

    • Also not bothering to go anon.

      I suppose there’s no real metric for this, but I think I’m pretty good at it. I’ve gotten compliments from every recipient, and my current boyfriend is really into it. (Lots of requests and praise.)

      I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to get good at it, but there’s definitely a certain level of awareness and mindfulness that helps. I know that for me, I’m certainly aware of what does and doesn’t work for me during the reciprocal act (if you catch my drift), so I have to assume that for any given dude, there are likewise some things that will be really great and other things that will be kind of meh and other things that will be actively uncomfortable or ticklish or weird. Some people will counsel you to be really open and ask your partner what he likes–I have never really gone for that, because the guys I’ve been involved with have not been people who were super explicit or comfortable giving that kind of instruction.

      Still, you can gauge the impact of different techniques. I sometimes deliberately experiment and try to listen for, uh, vocal responses or changing in breathing or even to feel muscles tensing up–this is especially easy to do if you’re not trying to cross the finish line (so to speak), so you can just kind of do the same thing for a few seconds and see what happens.

      If you’re feeling really stuck about getting into a groove, you can also think specifically about what elements are in play during regular ol’ lady garden parties and think about recreating or embellishing on them with your hands and mouth: close pressure, slickness, rhythmic movement, etc.

      Never underestimate the effect of things like different pressure and pace, but remember also that certain areas might be more sensitive and susceptible (in good and bad ways). Different angles might make a difference, too–I find that him sitting on the edge of a couch or chair and me kneeling is really effective, even though it is a pretty tired stereotype. Also, don’t ever feel like you can’t use your hands! Hands help a lot.

      One other thing to just keep in mind is that should you cross the finish line like this, the moment of finish-line-crossing is actually a moment when you will probably want to scale down whatever you were doing–there’s a lot of action riding up to that point, but many guys hit a point of hypersensitivity at that peak, so if you carry on, uh, *during*, it might be uncomfortable or even painful.

      My god, you guys, I just basically wrote a dissertation about this. So glad to be working from home today.

  24. Brooklyn, Esq. :

    I would like to buy an elliptical machine for use at home. Do any of you have recommendations about specific brands or models? I am particularly concerned with sound level (I’d like it to be reasonably quiet) and size (on the smaller side, if possible).


    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I used an older version of this elliptical for a couple of years.

      It was a great price and super small (I half disassembled it and transported it in my two door car a couple of times). It was definitely a bit noisy, and needed regular WD40ing to keep it quiet, though.

    • We have a SOLE elliptical. Sold online or also in Dick’s. It was about $1000, if I recall correctly. Not sure how small it is, but it is quiet, and it seems to be very sturdy and well made. We’ve had it for at least 2 years without any problems. I think we have the E25.

    • Anon Analyst :

      We are happy with our NordicTrac. We bought it from Sears. Our model is kind of large, but I think they have different sizes and it’s pretty quiet. We tested it out in the store before buying.

    • Merabella :

      I have one that I got from my uncle that I love. I can’t remember what it is called, but it is a smaller model, and it really doesn’t make a sound. I’ll check when I get home. If you didn’t live so far away I’d even sell it to you, since we have been utilizing the gym at work it has been hanging out alone at our place.

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      I have the Octane Fitness Q35 (forget the letter after it) Elliptical Cross-Trainer

      Was about $2K when I bought it.

      I’m a sporadic exerciser, but my DH loves it.

  25. Does anyone have any recommendations for a chiropractor in Manhattan? I know, know, they’re not endorsed by the medical community, their practices are not scientifically based, etc. etc. But my back is in tremendous pain and I’m getting desperate. I’ve always been prone to knots/tension in my back but lately the tension has been so bad that I feel a sharp, deep pain in the mid-left side of my back when I breathe in. I’ve had this kind of pain many years ago, and I went to a chiropractor, and the pain did improve. (Even though I’m still skeptical that it was the chiropractor that did it, and not random chance that it improved around the same time I saw the chiropractor…)

    • springtime :

      I’ve had that exact type of pain. Massage therapist- someone good. It will hurt, but it fixes it for me.

    • Brooklyn, Esq. :

      If you’re skeptical of chiropractors and more inclined to trust the mainstream medical establishment, I went to my regular primary care doc when I threw my back out and got a muscle relaxant (take at night) plus prescription strength naproxen (an anti-inflammatory), which fixed me up pretty quickly.

    • long time lurker :

      If you are prone to knots and tension a physical therapist may help with exercises to strengthen your muscles and help posture, etc. They also will do massage. You may need a referral from primary care depending on your insurance.

    • Merabella :

      Not to be an alarmist, but you might want to go to a primary care doctor to rule out kidney infection.

    • Physical therapist! Seriously. Covered by insurance – a good one will diagnose what your doing to create pain and give you exercises to strengthen targeted back muscles in a safe way. Plus the heat treatment while there will be an immediate help. Try yelp.

      • style advice needed... :


        Strengthen your core.

        Heat (and sometimes ice if it is a new pain) can be very helpful.

        And to get the script for PT, pop by your PCP to make sure everything is ok.

        Save the back. It only gets worse with aging…. sorry!

    • If you do want to go to a physical therapist, I recommend Dr. Antell. He has 2 offices, and his website is I’ve used his practice for many issues over the years.

    • Everyone else had good suggestions regarding physical therapy or a regular doctor. If you’re still interested in a chiropractor, I’ve been very happy with my experience at Westside Comprehensive Chiropractic Care. I’ve been going there a few years, and they’ve helped with chronic lower back pain and chronic headaches, among other things. Both Dr. Watins and and his partner are great. 212-765-6470

  26. Holiday baking question — my go-to pie crust has always been the one in my mother’s old Betty Crocker cookbook (circa 1968). The problem is that it’s made with Crisco. It also has instructions for using lard instead. Does anyone know if the process for baking pastry with lard is any different from using shortening? Do you still cut it into the flour the same way, sprinkle in water the same way, etc.? I’m sad to have to give up using Crisco because I worked hard over the years to make a delicious, perfect, flaky crust and have to learn all over again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • My go-to used to be that recipe as well, but I have gone to the Cooks Illustrated recipes. They have one that is just butter, and possibly one that also uses shortening. I love them all, and their tricks for getting the crust into the pan perfectly are very helpful too!

    • Diana Barry :

      What’s wrong with Crisco? I use it for my pie crusts also. :) I think pioneer woman has a post on using different fats in pie crust. Lard may be even more flaky than crisco!

    • Anon Analyst :

      With pie crusts, I think the basic technique to cut in the fat with the flour regardless of the type of fat being used. My understanding is that the small pieces of butter/shortening in the crust are what help make the crust flaky.

      If you have access to any Cooks Illustrated books, they usually do a good job with explaining why certain techniques work. Good luck!

    • I’ve never used lard, but the process is the same with butter. You just need to be more conscious of not overworking the dough/letting it get too warm because lard and butter melt at lower temperatures than Crisco. Most people find that butter makes for a flakier– though less tender– crust than shortening. That said, if you like Crisco, just use it. I understand the arguments for eliminating “manufactured” foods, but it’s not like you’re baking (and eating) pies every day.

    • Not sure I understand – why do you have to give up using Crisco? If you have had success with it in the past, I would say stick with what you know.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I usually love CI recipes, but I have tried all their pie doughs and hated them all. I think we have a different idea of an ideal pie crust. I was also raised on the BC classic recipe.

      If you’re looking to go to butter, I *highly* recommend this recipe: I have cut it in by hand and used a food processor, both work well. After adjusting to the slightly different feel of the dough, I find it much more manageable then the BC classic.

      I really wouldn’t worry about using Crisco, since I’m assuming pie isn’t a prominent part of your daily diet. The BC classic is an superb crust.

    • Look up the Serious Eats pie crust recipe for instructions. It recommends all butter, but I use half butter and half lard. You can use lard just like you would have used crisco.

  27. Apologies if someone has already brought this up and I missed it, but the Slate XX column on Channing Tatum as “sexiest man” made me laugh out loud – especially the opening paragraph.

    • Link:

    • Channing Tatum does nothing for me. I don’t understand this pick at all. The 2 previous picks, though… Ryan Reynolds and Bradley Cooper? Yes, please.

      • I always assume these things have more to do with the quality of the celebrity’s PR person than with anything else.

        • Merabella :

          This. I’m mostly shocked because Magic Mike was such a bust. There was no where near enough hot guys dancing.

          And what about Michael Fassbender? Or Tom Hardy? I’d much rather watch them do anything – seriously, I would watch them brush their teeth.

      • I think it just means there’s someone for everyone. CT, Ryan Reynolds and Bradley Cooper all do zero for me – but I know lots of ladies who absolutely love them. But then again it was up to me George Clooney would win almost every year.

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      The blocky, square shape of CT’s head and his big broad face offends my sense of aesthetics. Also, I see no spark of intelligence whatsoever in his eyes. But that’s just me. YMMV.

    • I thought he was a good pick, but I have a thing for meat heads with poor acting skills.

  28. Ugh, I just had to fail my first student. Painful despite the fact that he’s a thorn in my sie. Makes me sad but I offered feedback and made myself available outside of class for people who had questions or concerns.

    • goirishkj :

      Ugh, sorry. My husband is in grad school and teaches as well and he’s still upset whenever he fails a student. He also makes himself available and really takes it personally. No advice, I just have seen him upset and it sounds like you are a lot like him based on this post. My take is that it is because you care which is a GOOD thing, thought it sucks that it makes you all sad.

    • Sorry about that. It does suck, even if you really like the student. I have a kid in one of my classes who diligently made up work and I was beginning to think I should give him the benefit of the doubt, then he missed class AGAIN yesterday. I give up. 60 kids in the class and 4 of them are failing. It’s actually better than last year! I have even had students who emailed me right before Christmas to ask why they failed the class. I answered, “Remember when I emailed you back in October to ask why you had stopped attending class?”

      • Thanks! It sucks but the rest of my papers are surprisingly good. Got through 10 today and am headed to the countryside for the weekend so at least the rest of my marking will be done in a pretty environment. I need to get cracking on my own research so I’m determined to finish it all up this weekend.

  29. transition :

    Alright Ladies… so I’m beginning to think about decorating my office so it’ll be all set when I start seeing clients in January. I’d love to go with a beach feel/theme without it seeming like a high school homecoming level of cheesiness. Also, I’m on a pretty tight budget. I have a few pieces of art and my diplomas will go up, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to post here and ask for suggestions of your ideas?

    Currently, the office has dark wood floors and doors, cream colored walls. There are 4 wingback chairs in the room but I hate them, they’re this brown/red color of leather with brass nail things as decoration, very 1970s man chairs, but I doubt I can afford to replace them now. Not sure about covering somehow or understating them in some way…

    • Amelia Pond :

      I actually found Southern Living to have some good ideas/inspiration on a beachy vibe without the fake palm trees. Lots of airy blues and creams with a touch of coral maybe?

    • Merabella :

      You could make slip covers for the chairs. There are tons of tutorials on pinterest for this. I would cover them in some kind of linen or canvas to evoke the beachy theme, and use some aged wood frames around the office.

      What kind of beachy look are you going for? Cape Cod or Miami Beach?

    • In the Pink :

      What about introducing a small sisal rug in a toffee/caramel color? Or maybe a soft rug in navy and caramels … going dark enough to have the similar color intensity as the chairs.

      You could possibly put a throw over one of the chairs … to diminish the heaviness. Or even put a large sized pillow in it (covering as much of the back rest as possible) … even if the pillow get moved when the chair is used.

      If you are doing some sort of work with clients, I would think the softness of a throw would be best though.

      Bring in a tall decorative container with tall, willowly green silk fronds or even tall twigs … the green of the silk or the dark brown of the twigs would be a good contrast to he cream walls and give some sense of fluid air movement/breezes.

      Check with Karen Padi about a faux aquarium alternative in the decor.

      Don’t think that a capiz shell (even faux) lampshade would work as the dark floors and dark chairs seem just that – dark. But you could consider it.

      Big glass containers filled with lovely shells? On bookcases, credenza, end tables, desktop?

      If you emphazise the blue and tans in colors, maybe that really will make it feel more beachy.

    • Coastal Living is another magazine that may have some ideas.

  30. @Susan (edna_mode_nyc) – I emailed you about my trip. Did you get it?

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      Yes. Got it this morning. (I was away on a business trip for the past 4 days– couldn’t get into my yahoo account there, ugh).

      Sending you a reply tonight when I get on my home computer.

      • Awesome. Figured you were away since I hadn’t seen you post. Glad you’re back!

  31. Anon for thisss :

    Ladies, I’m sorry if we talk about this all.the.time, but I need some advice. I came off hormonal bc about 6 weeks ago and I have felt seriously ill for about 3 days (headaches, backaches, extremely thirsty, lightheaded). Is it likely this is all just from coming off the pill? I’m married so being pregnant would just be unexpected, not catastrophic. Thanks in advance everyone.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I had a hard transition off BCP. It passed after about three months.

    • Probably normal, but why not take an OTC pregnancy test to ease your mind a bit?

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