Thursday’s TPS Report: Short-Sleeve Dress with Pleat Front

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

Reader B wrote in, gushing about this cute dress from DKNYC:

I am not normally one to recommend something to strangers, but I think this would be so perfect for your readers – it’s like the holy grail of summer work dresses – that I had to email. It does not look like all that much on the hanger or even on the model, but it’s perfect in so many ways: it has sleeves and a work appropriate neckline, it’s incredibly flattering on, it’s machine washable, it feels really great on and it virtually does not wrinkle, oh, and it’s on sale and also comes in plus sizes. I actually bought it in both colors! The red is great true red, perfectly bright for summer. The fabric is light-weight but substantial. It does not cling but is tailored just right. It is polyester, but the nice kind. Normally I am a snob about that sort of thing, but the fabric here feels truly great. Oh, and the compliments — I feel like a billion bucks whenever I wear either one!

For the record, as far as fit goes, I am a curvy hourglass, usually between sizes 6 and 8 in dresses, and the 6 fits like it was made for me. The slight pleats are a great little touch and do a great job of adding interest while also hiding a less than perfect stomach. For your plus size readers, I am sure this dress would be a great find, too. It just works on so many levels!

Wow!  I normally try to edit a bit, but when someone is that excited about a dress that, indeed, is really reasonably priced, you have to share the excitement!  The dress is currently available in black and red at 6pm for $69-$89 (in a broad range of sizes, too).  DKNYC – S/S Dress w/ Pleat Front (Salsa) – Apparel

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


  1. I love Donna Karan dresses!

    The black color is nice but to bad they do NOT have it in BLUE! I LOVE the BLUE color for this pleated type dress, and would grab it!

    The manageing partner want’s me to do a depo with him in Pitsburgh! I have NEVER been there, and I have to take a plane (USAIR). I hope it will be fun. To bad he is coming with me. I have to stay and do every thing with him. FOOEY!

    • Hi Ellen, A few days ago there was a discussion on what to do in Pittsburgh. Report back!

    • PTOOEY!

      • EllenWATCH, do we have a new alter ego in the mix?

        • I think Jill could be a real commenter remembering Ellen’s alternate interjection while eating produce with PITT’S.

          Thanks, though–I will mull. And I like your reversal of the caps in my title. You can never get complacent.

          • Ha! Sorry about that, totally inadvertent. Something about one of Jill’s comments in yesterday’s coffee break thread struck me as off.

        • One day, I may make it my goal to be mistaken for another alter ego.

    • MissJackson :

      Ellen, let’s have drinks while you’re in town! I’d organize a ‘burgh ‘rette meet-up if you promise to show up!

    • Love the dress as well Ellen! If you’re looking for something in the blue family, I just got a similar style dress from Quincy that I just LOVE! It’s called the Ansley dress. You can find it here:

  2. I like that a lot. Question for the hive: A corner-office partner I love working for is getting married this weekend. He’s the kind who gives me good feedback, gives me lots of responsibility, introduces me as, “This is b23. She does great work,” that sort of thing. He’s really great. Anyway, I’ve only been at my firm since January, and I am not invited to the wedding, but should I get him a gift? Like a bottle of champagne or something? I really don’t know, but I like working for him and would like to increase how much I work for him.

    • Jacqueline :

      I think acknowledging the wedding with a card would be a nice thing to do, and a bottle of champagne is always welcomed! I wouldn’t do anything more personal or expensive than that, though.

      It’s very thoughtful of you to think of doing this!

    • I think a bottle of champagne with a congratulatory card, preferably on your own stationery as opposed to something hokey picked up at Walgreens, is completely appropriate and thoughtful. I’m so glad you have a good relationship with your corner office partner – keep up the good work!

      • Great idea about the stationery. I have some nice cards with my initials. How much should I spend on the champagne? I’m still in the $10-to-$15 bottles myself. Would $20 be enough, or should I do something more? Obviously he has more money, and probably better taste, than me, so I don’t want to do something that he wouldn’t consider a nice bottle.

        • And thanks for the good wishes! Y’all are so great.

        • FWIW, when I last had occasion to give my “big boss” a bottle of champagne, I gave a bottle of Veuve. It’s aesthetically pleasing, instantly recognizable as good champagne, and about $35-40.

          • Okay, I’ll probably do the same. Perfect. I’m really glad to have a specific recommendation; I know little about wine and even less about champagne.

          • @b23 – very good choice. FYI – if you live near a COSTCO with alcohol, they sell Veuve Clicquot for quite reasonable prices (comparatively).

          • SF Bay Associate :

            +1 on the Veuve Cliquot, especially from Costco. A very solid bottle of champagne at a reasonable price. I get and receive it as a gift with some regularity.

          • Second the Veuve recommendation. Great for the occasion, and a truly gorgeous bottle (with great labeling.) I think it’s lovely of you to do this!

          • Another relatively inexpensive bottle is Roerder Estate. California sparkling wine made by the same company that makes Cristal champagne in France. It is about $25-30.

    • a passion for fashion :

      i agree that this would be a good idea.

    • Sounds absolutely perfect, and it will certainly be appreciated. I think it’s a lovely gesture.

      One other suggestion — though the Champagne idea is a very nice one. When you have a wedding you end up with approximately one gazillon photos to display. A tasteful picture frame is a useful and not too weirdly personal wedding or engagement gift, in my experience, and they come in a good range of prices.

  3. I love this dress…. might be picking it up.

    • Oh my god, you guise, I totally own this dress in black! FYI, if you live near a DKNY outlet, it was around $50 a few weeks ago, although there weren’t a lot left. I’ve worn it a few times already and it really is quite lovely – feels really soft and comfortable but a bit glamorous, too (there’s something a bit retro about it). I’m now sorely tempted to order the red as well, and I never buy anything in multiple colors except maybe tees and underwear. I love orange-y reds like this. Awesome pick!

      • Locomotive :

        What do you think the fit is like? I’m usually a 2 on top but sometimes more like a 4/6 on bottom (totally pear shaped) and I never know with dresses if the top fits well if it will fit my behind properly.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          I’m built like you. Classiques Entier and Tory Burch fit me much better than other brands.

        • I would order the 4. I am usually slightly small in tops than bottoms because I have narrow shoulders and skinny arms, and that’s what I went with. The bottom is fitted but not skin tight. The shipping is free. Worst comes to worse, you spend $5 shipping it back.

      • What is your height, and how was the length? I am 5-4, and I am wondering whether I need this in petite.

        • I’m about 5’4 and it’s just right in regular size. Hits just at the knee.

      • How does it fit on top? I’m between a 12 and 14 as I nursing now I’m wondering if I should go for 14. Really excited about this one!

        • I’m a 34D and the 4 fits great – not too tight but not loose. Not sure if that helps, but if it’s snug now it will probably work when you’re through nursing?

          • I love this dress!! However, I recently read that the average American spends $1100 per year on clothing and I am over that for the year (who knew that went so quickly?!). So I am on a self imposed shopping moratorium until the end of the month. Fooey! But I’ll be so proud if I make it till the end of the month without new purchases.

  4. anon here :

    You guise. I’m a federal law clerk with another year to go. I wanted to put off starting our family until after the clerkship, taking my commitment to the judge and the temporary position very seriously. I just found out this week that I am 4w pregnant, due in February. (I can go into how this was an accident if you need justification. Don’t judge me for that part please.) My mind is spinning too much to ask for any specific advice . . . general reactions/thoughts/advice from you ladies who seem to have it all together???

    • Congrats! Don’t lose sight of the fact that this is a GOOD thing, even though the timing isn’t what you had planned.

      My judge was so amazing that it wouldn’t have matter a lick. She would have been thrilled for me. I hope that’s the same for your judge!!!

      • What she said. Including congratulations!

      • D. Ct. Clerk :

        This. These things happen. One of my predecessors had a baby soon after she started (I assume it was also not deliberately timed). So there was a baby in chambers – the judge was totally cool with it. Once you are at the point where you’re telling people, you should talk to your judge. If your judge isn’t as understanding as mine, at least he/she should respect you for being forthright.

    • I had an accidental pregnancy while clerking, too. I had the same concerns that you seem to have – what would the judge think? how I am going to manage leave when my job is going to be ending anyway? etc. My judge was an old-school guy, but he never said anything that would make me feel like I shouldn’t be happy and excited about my pregnancy. That’s to say that I over-thought the whole thing and worried needlessly. I did drop a comment about how my husband and I hadn’t expected to be parents quite so soon (or something to that effect, just to hint that this wasn’t a planned pregnancy). Frankly, even if it was a planned pregnancy, like b23 says, it’s still an exciting thing. People will be happy for you. Take some time to think things through. I honestly believe that things will work out for you just fine!

    • Jacqueline :

      No advice to offer, but congratulations! This is exciting news — it’ll take some time to process, but I’m sure everything will work out.

    • Congratulations! The nice thing is that you are already clerking for this judge so you have a relationship already, which is way better than if you were just starting next year and then announcing that you’re pregnant. Every judge is different, and I would hope that yours will take the news for the good news that it is. However, you should be prepared in the small chance that he/she is not thrilled. My judge, who I respect a lot, was less than pleased when one of her former clerks delivered during the clerkship. My judge also never gave us vacation during the year, so she just isn’t the type to like her clerks taking time off. Of course, I’m sure my judge never said anything directly negative to the former clerk (I hope not, anyway). I would try to weave in the fact that this is unexpected and that you’re extremely committed to the job and doing whatever it takes to get the work done.

      • new york associate :

        Eh. I also worked for a judge who didn’t give us vacation and who required insane hours in chambers. While I agree that you should talk about being committed to getting the job done, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Do you want to leave the clerkship early, before you deliver? Do you want to take six weeks of leave and then come back? Figure out what you want and ask for it and have a plan for work coverage while you’re gone. Don’t be so afraid of your judge that you undervalue your own needs.

        • Yeah, I agree with this. I’m just saying that you should be prepared for the fact that not every judge will be completely thrilled. But hopefully my judge was the exception. Absolutely ask for what you want. This is an amazing time in your life and you should be happy and excited.

          • new york associate :

            Two cents, I wonder if we clerked for the same judge. She sounds like the same person :)

          • Maybe. :) Honestly, I do love my judge though, but she’s just set in her ways.

    • Former MidLevel :

      Agreed that you have to be prepared for the possibility that your judge to *not* be thrilled. But what can you do? I don’t think your situation shows a lack of commitment to your judge–as others have said, sometimes life just happens. But we’re all hoping for the best for you. And congratulations!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Actually not a bad time to have your kids, despite the conventional wisdom of waiting until you are further along in your career. Had my first during my clerkship and it was great in terms of making me establish boundaries and expectations from day one of biglaw. I worked in chambers until my actual due date – #1 was a week late – and did some editing etc… at home until I actually went in labor. the only bad thing was I only had 6 weeks leave, but the good part was I was able to find very close daycare where I could go nurse at lunch time, left the office at a reasonable time etc…. My little guy is on my judge’s wall of clerks!

      • Coming to the end of my two-year clerkship, I wish I’d take the following factors into account and gotten pregnant earlier. Here they are, for anyone who has a common situation.

        – already worked 3 years before law school, + school + 2 year clerkship, so I’m 30 now.
        – now need another year or so to be established in private practice, + 6 months on average to conceive, + 9 months cooking = ~33 before I have my first, according to ‘traditional’ schedule. We’d like to have 3-4, so it’s difficult to realize I’ll likely be pushing 40, if everything goes well.
        – I’ll be practicing in a more niche area and my upcoming employer will have less than 50 employees, so FMLA won’t apply and there is no maternity policy in place. 6 weeks = better than 0 weeks afforded until working in private practice for a year.
        – with lots of work ahead, 80% of what happens over a 6 week period in my judge’s chambers can be done in advance. Not so in private practice, I’m concerned.
        – my health insurance is fantastic right now. Less fantastic in private practice.

        • These are excellent points. Looking back, I wouldn’t have had a kid while clerking, but I would have tried to get pregnant toward the middle part of my clerkship, so that I could have delivered shortly after the clerkship ended. I then would have just taken 6 months off and joined Big Law later, when I already had the kid, and I would have been 32 at the time.

          Instead, I did my clerkships, went into Big Law, and will hopefully deliver (if all goes well! ) about 1 year and 3 months into my job. I’ll be close to 34, later than I wanted. But, the huge advantage that I have is that my Big Law firm has an amazing maternity policy so I’ll get about 5 months off paid.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            Full disclosure. I started clerkship very pregnant with #1, and ended clerkship pregnant with #2. Second pregnacy was non-issue with my judge, just amusing when I showed up for my swearing in and the other judges were like wait a minute…… Stopped at two, and so as I have grown more senior and have more responsibility, I haven’t had to step away when my input was more valuable. When very junior – very fungible – so absence was not as noticeable.

            Doesn’t work for everyone, just pointing out that there are other ways of doing things. I had classmates who had kids in law school to get the pregnancies out of the way.

            Yup – I was similar in that I had a career before law school so when I had my first I was 33 and had the second at 35.

      • I’m clerking now in a two year clerkship, but would love to start a family. I’m ready except for the lack of maternity leave. My judge has made it clear that he doesn’t “do” babies, so I think I would be expected to end my clerkship early (before delivery) if I do get pregnant. At the moment I’m planning to try to have a kid between the clerkship and starting work, but I don’t know if this is crazy. Unless I’m super lucky, this may affect the end date of my clerkship, but I’m already in my 30s and I don’t want to wait two more years (until I am a year in at a firm) to start trying. I’m just hoping the judge will be okay with it.

        I’m sure everything will be okay!

        • aspiring law clerk :

          It’s ME again! Here to pick the brains of the clerks. I’ve been getting advice from the hive and working on an application to a fed. clerkship for a magistrate judge. The posting specifically asks for 2 writing samples, “at least” 3 references (not letters), transcripts, and their official application form. I’ve secured specific references now from my legal writing/ethics professor (who also supervised my 3L directed writing project) and two past law firm partners.

          I’ve mined LinkedIn and sent a message to my Law School career services office to see if I can network with anyone that can make a call. I don’t hold out a lot of hope for that, but we’ll see. I think I’ve done all I can! It is a two year term, and I think I would love it. Any other tips? What is it really like working for a judge?

          • D. Ct. Clerk :

            Sounds like you’re on the right track. And clerking is the second best job in the law, as far as I can tell (the first being a tenure-track teaching job). Also remember that if it doesn’t work out this time, you can always apply again.

          • I would reach out to some of the professors you knew a bit better in law school to see if they know any judges that they could call for you, and then apply to those judges. Also, have you been looking at clerkships on OSCAR? It is hard to tell from your posts how much you are actively looking for these jobs or whether you just are applying if you happen to see something, but I would recommend making an OSCAR account and seeing what comes up on there if you want to find more opportunities.

        • Ugh, he doesn’t “do” babies? The federal judiciary is really the last bastion of discrimination and sexism. Sort of terrifying, since they’re supposed to be protecting everyone else’s rights.

    • A girl I clerked with got pregnant just after she was hired, so she had to start her clerkship with maternity leave, and she accidentally got pregnant again at the beginning of her second year, so she had to take maternity leave as the end of her clerkship, too. It was a little tough to be short handed, during her first maternity leave, but everyone in the office, including our judge, was thrilled for her. Life happens, and even federal judges know it. Congratulations! It’s going to be fine!

    • Congratulations! It’ll be fine – you’ll be so happy once you meet your baby.

      First, I don’t think you should tell your judge or coworkers until you’re toward the end of the first trimester. Second, when you do tell your judge, it will help immensely if you have a plan. That way, if she freaks out a little about what will happen when you go on leave, you can say something like “My plan is to take six weeks of leave, and then return for the final six weeks of my clerkship. If the other clerks are unable to cover my work, perhaps we could consider hiring a law student extern or two to help out. If you like this idea, I would be happy to help with the hiring process.” or “Since I’m due only three months before the end of my clerkship, if you prefer, I’d be happy to resign a week or two before my due date so that you can hire another clerk to begin as soon as I leave.” It doesn’t necessarily matter what your plan is, but it’s important that you have one so you can be proactive and alleviate your boss’s concerns.

      And of course, maybe your judge won’t have any concerns and he or she will just be delighted for you and your husband. In my experience, this is usually what happens. Congratulations!

      • Along the same lines, I’m thinking of getting pregnant while doing my PhD, ideally delivering the summer after my classes end, while I’m into my research (in science/engineering). Has anyone done this? I like that my work hours will be flexible (Im computational, so no experiments/cells/animals etc to worry about!), there may be daycare on campus (the daycare at my undergrad was AMAZING), as a larger employer the university will provide at least 8wks leave, etc. I just can’t see having an infant at my current job- 10+ hr days, plus a 1 hr commute each way.

        After a PhD, I’ll re-enter the workforce at a higher salary (hopefully making up for the years of PhD when I won’t be saving practically anything for retirement), and my kid(s) will be toddlers and I won’t be worried about leaving them at daycare (plus all the breastfeeding will be out of the way). I just wonder if I am insane to try and do this?

        • Kay, I think your plan to deliver after classes end prior to your dissertation phase is a good one, but I don’t have experience doing that. However, the “Balancing Work and Life” online forum on the Chronicle of Higher Ed site has many people who routinely discuss this topic. Good luck!

        • I had Kid One four months into my Ph.D. program and was pregnant with Kid Two during my qualifying exams, so wrote the dissertation proposal and the dissertation during the preschool-then-gradeschool/infancy-then-preschool years.

          Fabulous. I loved it. Would not redo it any other way. Kid Two was four when I graduated and began teaching full-time and I have watched colleagues have maternity leaves while working and it’s tricky.

        • I don’t have kids, but several of my colleagues had kids during the PhD and I think it works out really well — career wise, the time off for maternity leave and and the like isn’t as noticeable on your CV during the grad school as it is during a one year postdoc or a tenure track job.

    • anon here :

      Thanks, all. I really am excited — and in a way, relieved that the challenge of having to pick the right time to start our family has been lifted (assuming everything goes well). I think my plan will be to wait until the end of the first trimester (assuming I’m not vomiting daily or something) and then propose that I work extra hard to clear off my back burner cases and then either only be out for six weeks, or that I resign prior to delivery and assist in recruiting a replacement.

      Also, it makes me feel better to hear that other professional women have gotten pregnant accidentally. That was making me feel a little ashamed / like I didn’t pay attention in 8th grade health class. My husband, of course, is triumphing that his little guys managed to slip one in. Boys.

  5. Jacqueline :

    Dinner party threadjack!

    I’m hosting a small dinner party next weekend, and I’m a little nervous about planning the menu. Because of various allergies and dietary preferences among the friends I’m inviting, I need to make something vegetarian. Beyond that, the field is wide open. What should I make? I want to do a main course, an interesting salad, and a fun and summery dessert. I was thinking about a spinach, blackberry, and feta salad and homemade ice cream sandwiches (with chocolate chip cookies and hazelnut or vanilla gelato) for dessert, but I’m at a loss for the main course. Any suggestions? And do the salad and dessert sound good to you?

    • That salad sounds great, and I would positively drool if someone served me homemade ice cream sandwiches. How about something like this for a main course:

      Another option–though it would “clash” with your salad (i.e., repeat ingredients), is this pasta dish:
      I made it this week and couldn’t get enough, plus I was totally satisfied without meat. (I used fresh pasta rather than making my own.) Of course, it depends on whether this is the kind of dinner party where you don’t mind being in the kitchen for part of the time. It’s a quick-cooking dish, but you do need to cook it right before you serve it.

      The second night, we ate it with a kale salad loosely based on this:
      Except no pickled onions, and added strawberries, basil, and some balsamic vinegar.

      Good luck! Sounds like you have some great ideas.

    • How about some kind of veggie pasta thing? Like a vegetable lasagna. I think there are some really good recipes on Food & Wine, and Cooking Light had a mushroom pastitio recipe that I made, it was really good.

      • Also – believe it or not, tofu lasagna is amazingly good. The tofu blends really well with the ricotta. YUM.

      • Eggplant parmesean! Make it like lasagna, but with eggplant instead of the noodles. Yum!

    • Stuffed aubergine? Coliflower/brocolli cheese? Veg rissotto? Tapas selection

      I have recipes if any of the above appeal

    • That salad sounds amazing, as does the dessert.

    • The dessert sounds good to me. I’m not picky about salad except that I don’t like feta, so I vote for that on the side. You could also have some toasted almonds on the side.

      For the entree, I really like this pot pie recipe: I add way more veggies, including potatoes, mushrooms, leeks, and frozen green beans, without adjusting the other ingredients. Butternut squash lasagna could be another casserole item. There is a recipe for a nicely spiced black eyed pea and green bea dish in the cookbook Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet that would be nice with rice or couscous.

      • Just a thought – if you’re concerned about allergies, I would leave almonds and hazelnuts outs of anything you are cooking, or have it on the side/as an option.

        • PS: all the main course suggestions sound good. I think a veggie lasagna would be particularly nice since you could make it way in advance and thus be able to focus on your party more. I’ve done meat and veggie lasagnas (one of each) for a few dinner parties and it’s always a big hit and makes everything quite stressless for me.

      • I agree with AIMS about nuts on the side and to be careful with the hazelnut gelato. What allergies are there, exactly?

        And that should have been green *bean* in my post :)

    • new york associate :

      Love the ice cream sandwich idea. Salad sounds good, though I might use spring greens instead of spinach. The texture of raw spinach against feta is a little off to me (but that’s just a personal preference). For a main, I love this harissa ravioli from Super Natural Every Day (a great veg cookbook).

      • a passion for fashion :

        I agree with the feta — though that salad would be delish with goat cheese — particularly an herbed goat cheese — which goes will with spinach

    • Stuffed squash blossoms, eggplant parmesan, risotto, homemade veggie burgers if you want to go more casual, or any kind of pasta dish w/ vegetables (try kale and tomatoes or pesto)

    • The salad and dessert sound wonderful. I’m going to suggest that you go to the whole foods website and check the recipes section. Under “recipes”, click on “advanced recipe search” and then click “vegetarian” and “main dishes”. The Moosewood Restaurant has some good recipes on it, too.

    • Make your own pizzas. You can put out different sauces, veggies, cheeses, and meats, and people can make according to their preferences. Mark Bittman just did a series on home pizzamaking in the NYT, for reference.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      For appetizers:

      I *love* avocado and goat cheese crostinis (and they’re a hit with most of my vegetarian friends)

      For the main course:
      Second the recommendation for pasta dishes – love gourmet mac&cheese and it is fun and summery (and meat is optional)
      MSL suggests a spinach and gruyere souffle which I’ve never made, but looks divine.

    • I ate some tomato cobbler at a potluck last year and it was one of the most delicious summer meals I’ve ever had. And I’m not even usually much of a tomato fan. Here are a few recipes:

    • As I vegetarian, I eat a whole lot of grilled vegetables, pasta with cheese, etc while traveling and out at dinner parties, so I personally would avoid the “pasta with grilled veg” thing. What about a quiche, baked beans/lentils, or a chickpea curry over couscous?

      • Meat Eater :

        Only one of my friends is vegetarian and she has complained to me that she is tired of the pasta or roasted vegetable options at our dinner get-togethers. Part of me wants to indulge her and search for new recipes just for her (everyone else loves meat / seafood). The other part of me feels like she is making a specific choice to not eat everything else that we have available, so she should either have pasta or bring something for herself. Am I being too harsh?

        • Meat Eater :

          To clarify, I am responding to N’s remark, not the OP’s main question.

          • On this point, yes, I think you’re being a bit harsh — especially if this is a good friend and you get together to eat with her often. The problem is that pasta and veg as a meal just completely lacks protein, so it’s really not very filling or satisfying to eat this often. Adding cheese helps, but I’ll tell you, by the time I get back from a long trip of eating carbs and cheese all the time, I’m just dying to see a lentil. Why not just tell her that you don’t know much about vegetarian cooking, and suggest that she bring a side dish (chickpea salad or something) that would round out the meal for her?

        • I think she’s pushing it. You’re not a restaurant.

        • Depends on the friend and how nicely she asked. I really hate it when other people bring a dish to a party I’m hosting (ruins my menu planning) so I’d be inclined to accommodate her.

        • Oh, I would absolutely never comment negatively about a meal at a dinner party that someone has gone out of their way to prepare for me, nor do I expect people who are used to planning meals around meat to know what vegetarians might enjoy eating. But since the OP asked specifically for vegetarian main suggestions, it might be helpful to know that vegetarians get served pasta with cheese/veg all the time and that there are other alternatives that would probably be a welcome change.

        • If it’s really a regular thing, I think you may be being a bit harsh (although, to be honest, I suspect I would have the exact same mixed reaction!). You and your omnivorous friends probably wouldn’t serve each other chicken at every get-together; why should she have to eat the same thing every time? Plus, finding new vegetarian recipes can be a lot of fun and encourage you to try new things in terms of both eating and cooking.

          Again, I’m assuming this is a semi-regular get-together, not just a twice-a-year, special occasion party or something similar. Although, really, when I cook for vegetarians even on special occasions I often do try to find something that is interesting and tasty– something the meat-eaters will want to try, too!

    • Barefoot Contessa has a really great roasted vegetable orzo recipe that is served at room temperature, so it is good for summer. It has been a big hit whenever I serve it. It also makes a ton – so no need to double the recipe unless it is a really big party. It is either in Back to Basics or At Home.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Salad sounds great, and who doesn’t like ice cream sandwiches (other than me, the lactose intolerant :( ). As for mains, check Ina Garten’s recipes. They always work, are often easy, and many are make-ahead. I think a good number of them are vegetarian. And don’t forget wine for your dinner!

      • Ina can do no wrong. Check out Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and Parties and Barefoot Contessa Family Style for dishes that serve a crowd.

    • Jacqueline :

      You ladies are amazing! Thanks so much for all the great ideas — off to look up a bunch of these recipes right now. I like the idea of doing a make-ahead pasta/veggie dish so I can focus on prepping drinks, salad, and dessert in the hours right before the party.

      Good call on leaving feta on the side for the salad. I could eat it by the pound, so I always forget that it’s not everyone’s favorite.

      The harissa ravioli looks festive (and not too hard) — love Heidi Swanson. And I want to try the veggie pot pie, Barefoot Contessa orzo… all of it! Whatever I don’t make for the party will be added to my recipe list for future gatherings. Thanks again!

      • Quiche is soooo easy to make ahead. It’s my fave veggie dinner party thing, cause it’s in the oven and not taking a spot on the stove.

    • I made Thomas Keller’s summer vegetable gratin over the weekend. It was delicious (I made two and there were no leftovers). It’s really easy to make and I used store-bought bread crumbs. Also, I used regular eggplant and regular tomatoes and it was just fine.

    • I see vegetarian and my mind immediately goes to Indian food, because it’s one of the few cuisines where I don’t feel like I’m missing out with no meat. You could do one/two curries ahead of time — mixed veg, cauliflower, eggplant, or something with lentils or chickpeas. Don’t forget about paneer, either. I’m all for using a good-quality pre-made sauce if you can get one, or make from scratch if you’re so inclined. I recommend these homemade pastes: I cheat and use pre-ground spices and they still taste good.

      Or you could experiment with some kind of fusion and do an Indian-influenced lasagne with curry sauce… maybe that would need a practice run first, though.

  6. First 5k today and I’m nervous! The run is at night, after work. What should I do/eat/prep in the interim?

    • Cornellian :

      Whatever you’ve been doing/eating so far. Don’t change it up on race day!

      Have you run at night before, or do you usually work out in the mornings?

    • My advice is: don’t try anything new on race day. That includes socks, shoes, foods–everything. Try to relax and have fun!

    • Jacqueline :

      What do you usually eat before a run? For me, a slice of toast with peanut butter and a sliced banana is pretty reliable, but it’s different for everyone. Don’t do anything differently on race day!

    • Agreed on not changing your normal routine. 5k is not a long-distance run, so you don’t need to plan specific nutrition for it. Just hydrate well and pee before the race. The main thing is to treat is like another training run and enjoy the experience.

      A few other thoughts that you can ignore if you haven’t been training this way:

      Start slower than you think you ought to. Adrenaline will be a factor and you may exhaust yourself after the first mile if you take off much faster than your normal training pace. If you’re aiming just to finish, that is totally fine and run at your normal pace/effort level without overthinking it. If you want a more specific race plan and have the means to track your pace, I would aim for a negative split (run the second half of the race faster than the first).

      Take walk breaks. I find that my average pace is actually faster if I run until I’m tired, then walk for a minute or so, then run again — maybe once a mile I might do this. You can do this around water stops if your race has them.

      Good luck and don’t forget to smile for the race photographers!

    • Good Luck and Congratulations!!

      For evening 5k’s, my main advice is to have lunch that is filling but that won’t risk creating any intestinal issues in the evening. I usually go for salad with protein, but you probably know what works for you. Then, at the end of the day, have a snack of whatever you’d normally eat before running. I like an english muffin with peanut butter, but again– do what you know works well for you. Have a great race!

    • anon in tejas :

      I would suggest that you drink plenty of water. Try to wear really comfortable shoes (stay off your feet). consider a caffinated beverage around 4-5 to get your energy up. And have fun!

      don’t stress if you don’t perform as well as you do first thing in the morning. I have realized that stress and work take a toll and sometimes that happens.

  7. Diana Barry :

    I like this dress. Not buying anything that looks like this for a while, though – when I go back to work everything will have to be pumping friendly!

    Threadjack – can anyone recommend a good liquid soap that is (1) not antibacterial and (2) not too highly scented? I have been getting Method, but I feel like it is drying. I like the Origins ginger soap, but it is WAY expensive. Bath + Body Works, etc., are too highly scented for me. Any ideas?

    • Neutrogena Rainbath, traditional formula (i.e., not the new citrus or pear/green tee scents). Times 1000. Love that stuff.

    • I like Mrs. Meyers.

      • Locomotive :

        I LOVE the mrs meyers basil liquid soap. and dish detergent. and cleaning spray. Second this suggestion!

    • I don’t know if you mean liquid hand soap or liquid body soap, but if the latter, try this –

      Available at drugstores/grocery stores. Not expensive. Has a light fragrance in the shower but it disappears by the time you’ve finished bathing (my SO is extremely fragrance sensitive and hasn’t noticed that I’ve switched to using this, which is pretty much the litmus test for how scented something is). Moisturizing. I have acne-prone skin and it hasn’t resulted in any body breakouts (you didn’t ask, but I’m trying to be thorough).

    • If you have Trader’s Joes nearby, their Refresh Citrus Body Wash, is amazing and about $3. Very nice, light scent and not drying.

      • darjeeling :

        the trader joe’s French hand soap (Trader Jacques French blossom something or other) is also great. Love that stuff.

  8. Stinky feet :

    Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on my terribly stinky feet (I’m the one who is preggers and can’t use Drysol or some of the more potent remedies). When I came home last night, I washed my feet thoroughly with antibacterial soap and soaked my feet in witch hazel. Then I put some baby powder and went to bed. Totally clean and smell free. This morning, I put some antipersperant on my feet and I do notice that my feet are sweating less. Unfortunately, all of my work shoes are already quite smelly so I’m sure my feet will smell again today, but maybe less than before. Oh, and I have some cotton footliners coming in the mail today, so I will start wearing those with my heels.

    I’m also thinking about buying one of these shoe sterilizer things to get rid of the odor in my shoes. If anyone has thoughts, let me know. Thanks for all of the great advice!

    • Not sure about this product exactly, but you definitely need to do something about your shoes. Otherwise your feet will just smell from the shoes, which somehow sounds worse to me than just regular foot sweat. I’d spend some time with google and figure out a low key solution. Anything from baking soda to newspaper to freezing them to kill bacteria might help do the trick.

      • Stinky feet :

        Thanks AIMS. This machine evidently kills bacteria so it gets rid of the odors. I do think that some of my shoes are so far gone though that I need to probably thrown them away (and as it is, they are showing big signs of wear, so it’s probably time to toss them). I will also try the newspaper idea.

    • A shoe liner called Silverlinings was recommended here a while ago, supposed to help feet and shoes. I don’t know how they ever worked out for anyone, but at about $15 (I think?) they aren’t too pricey to try.

    • I use 2Toms Stink Free Spray for my running shoes and it seems to work. The active ingredient is benzalkonium chloride (a biocide that is also in Lysol) so it will kill the bacteria in your shoes that is causing the smellies. Because you’re pregnant, I’m not sure if this is OK, but you can check with your doc. We also use it on DH’s shoes and it definitely helps!!

    • Foot powder for your shoes.

  9. Traveljack: I’m going to NYC this weekend. I’ve been there before and have seen many of the major things (MOMA, the Met, Natural History, the circular museum who’s name is escaping me). I like going to NYC, but get overwhelmed by all the choices. So, what are some interesting, low-key kinds of things to see? I saw the Tenenment Museum and loved that, so small, topic-specific museums are good.

    I am also wondering if there is an Eataly alternative. I love fancy over-priced jams and olive oils, things like that, but find Eataly just so overwhelming and crowded that it’s not fun. I also wouldn’t mind doing a little shopping – would like to check out Uniqlo and would love to hear about other fun NYC-centric clothing places. I also like fancy soaps – will probably try to go to Sabon, but are there other places like that?


    • You could try Chelsea Market for Eataly-like options – it’s fun to wander around, and is close to the High Line, another fun thing to do.

    • Have you been to the Cloisters? It sounds like it would be right up your alley.

      • Jacqueline :

        Second the Cloisters and High Line!

        Have you been to Strand? If you like books, it’s a must-visit — it’s an enormous used bookstore.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      If you go to the Uniqlo in Soho, then I suggest stopping in Allsaints. They have some awesome clothes that I just drool over because they are unique without being too out there. I’m not small enough to fit in their sizes yet, but the second I am, I’ll be dropping some cash in there! I do like the newer Uniqlo flagship on 5th Ave better though, so I suppose it depends on where you’ll be in the city.

      For a smaller museum, I really liked the Neue Gallerie. I went to see the painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt because we were studying Holacaust art in one of my classes. It looks like there is actually a 150th anniversary exhibition for Klimt going on through August, so that might be worth checking out.

    • The guggenheim! :)

      For what to do: as far as small museums, I would recommend the Frick or the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art. The Frick is a gorgeous old mansion and has an amazing collection of european art. 70th and 5th. I think admission is free on Sunday mornings. The Rubin has amazing tibetan and indian stuff – really unique. It’s on 17th street in Chelsea. It also has a really great gift shop and cafe.
      The Cooper Hewitt is also nice and has the most awesome backyard.

      For soaps, find yourself a LUSH store. Amazing.

      • Yay! I’m so glad you mentioned the Frick. It usually gets forgotten, but it’s gorgeous and usually not too crowded.

        Another place with a similar vibe is the Morgan Library (& Museum).

      • Went to the Frick for the first time a few weeks ago (first NYC trip), loved it! Afterwards we walked up 5th avenue to Tiffany’s, which was a nice stroll.

    • If the weather is nice, visit the Cloisters. Take the A train to 190th street and walk about 5 minutes to the other side of Fort Tryon Park (there are signs).

      The Frick Museum is a gem. 70th and Fifth.

      The basement of the Plaza Hotel is now a high end food court that sounds like what you are looking for. 59th/Fifth/Central Park South.

      I know you’ve been to the Met, but they just reopened their Islamic Art wing after a four year reconstruction, and it is fantastic. They are running frequent docent tours, which are great.

      I have always wanted to visit the Hispanic Society (West 155th & Broadway ).

      • NYC (second time) :

        Without links this time to avoid moderation:

        If the weather is nice, visit the Cloisters. Take the A train to 190th street and walk about 5 minutes to the other side of Fort Tryon Park (there are signs).

        The Frick Museum is a gem. 70th and Fifth.

        The basement of the Plaza Hotel is now a high end food court that sounds like what you are looking for. 59th/Fifth/Central Park South.

        I know you’ve been to the Met, but they just reopened their Islamic Art wing after a four year reconstruction, and it is fantastic. They are running frequent docent tours, which are great.

        I have always wanted to visit the Hispanic Society (West 155th & Broadway ).

    • A good Eataly alternative could be Todd English’s Food Hall (at the Plaza hotel @ the southeast corner of the park). Typically not crowded and within walking distance of Uniqlo in Midtown!

      It seems like you are focused on some kind of museum, but might I suggest the central park zoo? I really enjoy this zoo because it has a small number of well-done exhibits, so you can really take your time with each one.

    • All of these are great! Especially the Cloisters – I remember reading about that and it sounded amazing, but I had forgotten until now. Chelsea Market sounds good and we are staying in Soho, I think relatively close the High Line (which I visited a few years ago when it was just being built) so hopefully that will be easy to do. I like the zoo idea, too, I think it’s supposed to be really nice this weekend so something outdoorsy would be fun.

      We have Lush and All Saints in DC. I used to love Lush, but started to find a lot of their stuff overpowering, but probably worth a look anyway, haven’t been to one in a few years. We just got an All Saints, too, and I think I have been in the one in NYC (lots of old sewing machines in the window?) and my problem with it is everything is BLACK, which doesn’t provide enough contrast for my old eyes so I walk around the store squinting at everything.

      Thanks for all the suggestions – off to make a list!

    • I recommend the New Amsterdam Market if you are still around on Sunday. Great vendors, just get there early to avoid the crowd (which is never as bad as Eataly!)

      Then you could also check out the newly re-opened South Street Seaport Museum.

    • I like the City Museum of New York. You may also enjoy Ellis Island. It’s more hassle to get out there with the ferry and everything (on a nice day, this could be a bonus), but the museum was interesting when I was there a while back.

    • Love all of these suggestions. One more – take the staten island ferry (free) out to staten island and just turn around and take the next one back. They sell beers on the ferrry so grab a beer and enjoy the free views.

  10. Angela Chase :

    MSCL threadjack!

    I have nowhere else to share this, as I am happy with my BF…BUT yesterday I saw a law school classmate of mine who I had an on-and-off crush on for three years (nothing happened). He was randomly in town for a conference, which he left because he was bored, and called me to meet for coffee. As I rounded the corner near where we were meeting, he was just outside the S’bux, *leaning* against the wall in a gorgeous brown-ish summer suit. And I mean LEANING, Jordan Catalano-style. Hotness.

    /end randomness/

    • Kontraktor :

      I understand. Watching Suits on TV makes me wish I could have the hot smarmy lawer with the beauty mark on his eyebrow all to my very own self. He looks so delicious in his (I’m sure very expensive) suits. Some men just rock that whole look so well.

      //Oksy I’m off to stop being a bad wife now and go fantasize about my husband in his uniform. ;-)

      • He’s gorgeous. Suits is returning tonight! Just in time for my birthday. Yay!

    • Many many years later… still upset that MSCL was only one season…

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Me too, Blackbird. I still clearly remember the image of Angela driving off with Jordan in his red car looking back at Brian Krakowski on his bike watching her drive away… argh. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?!

        • Confession: I had way more of a crush on Brian Krakowski than Jordan Catalano.

    • This story totally made me smile and want to rewatch MSCL :)

    • anon prof :

      Jordan Catalano. Tim Riggins. Mmmmmm mmmmm.

  11. How do people without a significant other (or a roommate) where a dress like this that has the zipper all the way up the neck in the back? I can’t zip a dress like this by myself. I notice this to be an issue for me with a lot of the dresses featured here. Is there some secret trick I am missing?

    • Search for zipper pull cord on Amazon. There are a bunch of options.

    • Become flexible and get into odd positions. That’s my solution… which only rarely results in pain. ;)

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I hop around awkwardly with my hands behind my back to try and grab it. I succeed about 80% of the time. The rest of the time, I give up and wear a different dress.

      So no secret for me.

    • Equity's Darling :

      A lot of shimmy-ing, and trying to increase the flexibility of my shoulders through yoga and stretching.

      It’s an ongoing problem I have, you’re so not alone.

    • Maybe you have a limited range of motion? Just reach behind your waist and zip as high as you can, then over your shoulder to finish the job. You may have to shift the fabric a bit to reach the zipper, easier if the dress is not too tight.

    • Zip it up as far as you can go from the bottom of the dress (pulling down the hem with your other hand to get it up as high as possible), then reverse the process (reach to the zipper from the top, using your other hand to pull the dress up). I’ve never not been able to zip my own dress.

    • Give yourself enough time to dress when you’re wearing something like that. Things that others suggested do work, but it can get really frustrating when you can’t get done soon enough. I sometimes get it done quickly, but sometimes I just get frustrated as it takes WAY longer to zip

    • Maine Associate :

      All of the above but I find my bigger problem is getting out of the dress at the end of the day.

    • Tired Squared :

      I reach behind my back and up to get the zipper from the lowest point to as high up as it will go, and then I reach behind my neck and down to get the zipper the rest of the way. There is definitely some twisting/back-arching involved!

    • Advanced yoga moves.

    • Safety pin a shoelace to the zip pull, then use the cord to pull the zipper up. When you are done it is important to take the cord off the zipper and not walk around for an hour with a string hanging down…

      • I was going to suggest put a string through the zipper hole and pull up.

        For those zippers with no hole, zip up from the bottom with arm bent around the waiste and then reach behind the shoulders and zip up from above the head.

    • Ha, I have an SO (although he’s not always home when I’m getting dressed/undressed) and he finds it much more entertaining to watch me try to contort my body to reach than to actually step in and help. Entertainment like that keeps a marriage fresh, people! But seriously, if I can’t get it all the way zipped, I usually get it as high as I can, then throw on a cardigan until I get to work where my awesome paralegal (who’s also a close friend), will also laugh at me and then finish the job.

      • This (only no husband). It’s important to have a woman-friend at work who can help out with zippers. I’ve needed help at the black tie Holiday party for BigLaw.

    • Lots of shoulder openers in yoga. Also, pre-zipping and smooshing my boobs down as I pull it over my head.

    • Constance Justice :


    • MaggieLizer :

      Get dresses stretchy enough that you can slip them on when the zipper is still up? I feel like there should be a Youtube montage of women dancing and shimmying to zip up their dresses. Maybe set to Single Ladies?

    • I used to recommend using a safety pin and some string but was unable to get that to work on an invisible zipper in a dress I just bought, which had very small zipper pull.

      Solution: Waxed dental floss, which is easily threaded through the head of even small zipper pulls. Use a long piece, knot the ends and toss it over your shoulder and pull up. It was very quick too.

      I don’t usually have trouble getting it back down, using contortionist movements.

  12. How do you all deal with bullies? I had a really weird experience yesterday and want a little group feedback on whether I handled it appropriately, or should have done something else. This was nothing to do with work, just a random encounter with an unpleasant stranger in a public area.

    I attended a public event involving large crowds of people standing behind barriers. I arrived about 90 minutes before the scheduled start time and found a gap behind a woman who had staked out a spot by blocking a lot of the railings with her purse/other belongings. She was with a couple of other people standing around away from the barrier, but there was plenty of extra space. We (my mom and I) stood for a while and then I leaned over her bag onto the barrier for support.

    She went crazy shouting at me that she had reserved this place for various children and other adults who were on their way, and how dare I arrive so much later than she had and impose on her spot. She was making a big scene and a lot of people were watching. I said a few things to the effect of us all wanting to get a good view, and when the kids arrived I would obviously make sure they could still see. Absolutely no effect, and she was getting pretty rude. Some of the shouting was at me but a lot was general “can you believe what this girl is saying?!” outrage. No one was coming to her support, including the people with her. They looked embarrassed. At one point she had tears coming down her face, and I said that I didn’t want her to cry and be upset, but it was a public event that required a bit of give-and-take on space. She said she had some kind of illness that made her cry, and kept on shouting.

    I had decided it was a lost cause, and I made a parting comment about how it obviously wasn’t only her eyes she needed to get checked out, and then we left to find another spot. I could hear her shouting about me while we walked away (and had a very nice day afterwards). My mom later told me she thought the woman was close to hitting me.

    Does this sound appropriately handled? I am wondering if I should have just walked away immediately, and not have had such an extended confrontation, but I’m not sure if that would have been any better. I know there are people like that out there and you have to ignore them… but I also strongly believe that you can’t just let people think that kind of behaviour is okay. I was bullied as a child, and my abiding memory isn’t of the bully herself, but of all the other kids who were too scared to stand up to her. What would you have done?

    • Whoa! How embarrassing. She needs to go to a doc. I think you handled it very well. Who’d know she’d go off that way. Must be some illness.

    • It’s harder to gauge with strangers, but I wonder — is she really a bully or someone with mental illness?

      In my own experience with bullies, they push to test your boundaries and how much they can get away with, and then, they light into you for the sheer enjoyment of their power over you. There’s often a calculated malice about it. Whereas this woman just seemed so out-of-control and so deeply emotionally invested in this outcome that I wonder more about the mental illness angle.

      Normally, I take a fairly confrontational approach to those who I think are bullies, because I believe they have the power to control their behavior and choose to do evil instead of good. And sometimes, they need their @sses handed to them. People with mental illness get a pass from me, because they may not be able to control their behavior or reactions. But they also need to be given some distance– it’s just not worth getting beaten up by someone who might be out-of-control violent, and who will not have to suffer much in the way of penalties, possibly because of their illness.

      You didn’t have an “extended confrontation,” in my opinion. She reacted inappropriately, you tried to explain your actions in a normal way, she overreacted some more, and you moved off, but made a slightly snarky remark. I think you were pretty restrained overall.

      • I agree with Susan’s assessment. Most bullys will back down when they’ve been confronted back and realize that they don’t have the power of you they think they do. But when you stood up for yourself, she didn’t stop. I don’t think woman’s a bully, I think she might be unbalanced.
        I think you did the right thing by walking away when you did. You made your point, but it wasn’t worth ruining your day and/or a physical confrontation.

      • I agree. I encounter people with serious mental illnesses on a fairly regular basis as part of my job, and this sounds more like that than bullying. You handled it as well as could be expected, given the circumstances.

    • I think you handled it very well. Better to stand your ground and make it clear that she is out of line, and then, before escalating into a fist fight, walk away. I hate the “just walk away” approach, which lets people like her think they can always bully others. By standing your ground, just for a bit, maybe others learn a thing or two about standing up to bullies. But of course, always best to walk away before it gets violent.

      In an ideal situation, when you defend yourself in a reasonable way, others would back you up. I would have, had I been present.

    • Sometimes, in big crowds especially, people go nuts. And at that point I find it’s best to walk away calmly before things go further. Letting people know they’re being rude is one thing, but you have to look out for your own safety and peace of mind too. Strangers in a crowd can become violent pretty easily. You definitely did the right thing here by first stating your case and being reasonable, and then leaving before more craziness could happen.
      All this to say I’m sorry this happened to you! Stuff like that can make an otherwise exciting event really horrible.

    • She said she had an illness. She probably did not mean her eyes…she knows she has a problem. You can hope the people with her can discuss the matter later. You did all you could.

    • I don’t think you did anything wrong, but I probably would asked if the whole space was taken before deciding to stay there, if only because if it turned out it was and the reserver was nutso, it could be harder to find another spot later.

      I think her reaction was totally inappropriate. I have been on the receiving end of things like this, and it sucks and I am sorry you had to deal with it. Once a woman cursed at me in the grocery store in a self check out line. Another time at a street fair I asked a couple sitting at a picnic table if they could shift a little so my parents and I could also sit and eat (it was very crowded), and another lady at the table (not part of the group I was asking) told me that I was a brat and the world didn’t revolve around me.

    • This story reminds me of a time that I got exceptionally terrible service at a restaurant. We discussed what happened with the manager- the owner’s wife- as we were settling the bill, and after she was less than apologetic, I commented that we would take our business elsewhere in the future. On my end, this was all calm and matter-of-fact. She literally flew into a rage, cried and hollered insults and profanities after me as I walked out. (The restaurant abruptly closed a week or two later, and I heard it was because the owner’s wife had some severe health problems and was on medication that made her mentally unhinged.)

      I think you handled the situation just right. You were assertive (and correct) about her needing to share space, but there comes a point when she’s making the situation miserable and it’s better to leave for your own enjoyment than stay to make a point. You don’t know what was going on in that woman’s life that may have contributed to her actions, and since you (hopefully) don’t need to interact with her again, it’s not worth your time.

    • I think you handled it approriately. I had something similar happen at a big water park of all places. I found an empty lounge chair on a crowded day, no towel or anything on it, asked the woman sitting next to it if anyone was using it, she said not that she knew of, so I picked it up and moved it over to my children to sit on (they were just sitting on the ground). About 15 minutes later, a young woman comes up, talks to the same woman I spoke to (who apparently ratted me out, thanks lady), then comes up to me and starts shouting (immediately, no polite lead up), that I had taken her chair, how dare I, and on and on. I got a little angry, and said if nothing was left on the chair, then it’s open for anyone to take, I asked if anyone was using it, etc., and that really set her off. But she did that same kind of thing, turning to the other people around us, still shouting, Can you believe this? She stole my chair and now she’s trying to keep it? I finally got up and gave her the chair, and moved to the other side of the park. I figure with psycho people like that, the best thing to do is get away from them.

    • Thanks so much, everyone! I thought in the moment that I was behaving okay, but then I started second-guessing myself and trying to decide if she was being psycho because of me in some way, or if she was just a weirdo. All those responses were extremely reassuring. To this posters who had similar stories — I’m not glad they happened to you, but I am glad they don’t just happen to me!

      I hadn’t considered mental health issues, but that’s definitely a possibility. If so, perhaps the woman’s companions should have been more involved, but who knows what issues there could have been there. I too would like to think they told her to back off a bit once in private.

      My other hesitation was that she didn’t look particularly affluent and was a lot older than me. I was a bit more dressed up, maybe how I would for casual Friday, and I wonder if that might have somehow triggered some dislike of me. It was just so out of place for the event and the rest of the friendly crowd.

      It’s one of those things where you just wince and forget about it, I suppose, but thanks, all.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I’ll second the comments that you handled it well. I had something similar happen on a plane. Somehow there were no seats together, so my husband politely asked if a man traveling alone would mind moving back 1 row (to the equivalent empty seat) so we could sit together. He did, and all was fine for the flight. As we were waiting for everyone to get off the plane (that awkward “wait for the right moment to grab your bag out of the overhead bin” moment), my husband was reaching forward to grab the nice man’s bag for him since it was out of his reach. Suddenly, a woman several rows back yells “GOD! THE LEAST YOU COULD DO IS GET HIS BAG FOR HIM, SINCE YOU MADE HIM MOVE FOR YOU!” My husband politely pulled the bag down and handed it to the man with a smile. The woman was not travelling with him or anyone else. It was bizarre, and the only thing that prevented me from reacting badly with some snarky comment was my sheer exhaustion from spending the weekend with my in-laws.

        I was doing the second guessing thing too. My husband finally told me to let it go because some people are just crazy. Maybe we ran into the same woman!

    • I’m amazed at the tendency of people to come unhinged. I was in a turn lane on an extremely busy street waiting to turn into my residential neighborhood when the guy in the car behind me came unglued. So unglued that he got out of his car, stuck his head inside of my window and repeatedly called me a dumb b*tch. All I could do was make eye contact with the pedestrians, drivers with the red light on the cross street, and wipe his spit off my face until he got back in his car. After I was able to turn, he followed me down my residential street and through several turns while I tried to come up with the best public place to stop. He lost interest and drove away after a few minutes. It still makes me wonder if I should apply for a concealed handgun permit.

      • Did you call the police?

        What he did was criminal.

        I am agnostic on the handguns, but in general, I keep my doors locked at all times, and windows up. (You can tell I’ve been an NYC-girl for many years, because even when driving outside NYC, if I see any person get out of their car, I make sure all my doors are locked and windows are up; ditto if I see any pedestrians approach.)

        It’d have taken all my self-control if I were you, not to drive off with his head still in my window. Although I’m sure that wouldn’t have been possible because of the heavy traffic (car & pedestrian).

  13. I own this in the black colour. It is amazing. Polyester, but nice fabric. Perfect neckline, sleeves, length (5″3 and hits me just below knee), defined waist and the subtle pleats hide my tiny tummy (after two kids, I’ve almost given up on a flat belly:(

    I didn’t know they had it in red, I will be getting this….

  14. As I mentioned this weekend, I got laid off on Friday. I have two weeks, but my last day is actually today and I have to “work from home” next week while the rest of the company is at a retreat that I have been disinvited to. Additionally, my last meeting with my supervisor – who left the conversation to HR on Friday and didn’t contact me at all either Friday or over the weekend – is in an hour. A meeting I had to set up myself; if I hadn’t, he probably would have avoided speaking to me entirely.

    So. Happy things. It’s time again for ways life doesn’t suck. Um. My parents are in town?

    • *hugs* In the same position as you, so I’m obviously totally frazzled/fried and have nothing meaningful to say.

    • Good luck to both of you!!!

    • Joan Holloway :

      I’m so sorry this is happening this way, but it sounds like you are being very strong. Schedule something into your weekend that makes you happy to reward yourself for getting over a difficult hurdle.

    • “So. Happy things. It’s time again for ways life doesn’t suck. Um. My parents are in town?”

      Life doesn’t suck: I was able to change the broken deadbolt door lock all on my own last night.

    • Awww, been there. I’m so sorry. It’s not fun. One of the best things I did right after was schedule a (low-budget) road trip with my sister. I was just so overwhelmed by the whole thing. The trip not only gave me something to look forward to, but also really helped me clear my head and think about what I wanted to do next. Kind of helped me see myself as someone other than who I was in the context of my old job. If you have the means to do something like this, could be time and money well-spent.

  15. Have any runners out there tried minimalist or barefoot shoes? I used to run a lot but always got shin splints. I want to get back into running, and I’m thinking of experimenting with barefoot shoes. I know you need to start slow with them, and since I can barely get out a mile now, this might be the time to start if I am going to try them.

    • Based on my personal experience, I would caution you against the minimalist shoe if you have dealt with shin splints. I have been running in Asics for years (about 20 mi per week, with half marathons roughly twice a year) and have had few problems. Switched to the Nike Lunar because I love the way they look/feel, but ended up with severe tendinitis (I basically have posterior shin splints) and haven’t been able to run for a month…. I am going back to a shoe with more support.

    • I just made the transition from clunky New Balances to a pair of Saucony Kinvara 3. They are minimalist (the in-between from reg sneakers and the vibram toe things) — they have good support so that you don’t feel like you’re all of a sudden running on the ground. For me, my old sneakers contributed to my heel striking (coupled with little knowledge of running). With my new ones, it’s so much easier to do a forefoot strike. I went from running barely a mile before my shins and legs were dying, to running two miles with legs feeling good — literally only when I switched sneakers (no extra training or anything).

    • I have used them for 3 yrs now. I find that I don’t get shin splints or achy knees with the minimalist shoes, which I did get with previous shoes which where padded but with minimal drop. They don’t make me faster and my muscles ache just as much but my joints feel better.

    • no barefoot for someone with shin splints!!! please!! barefoot shoes can be great, but its for a person with an almost perfect stride that does not get injured

      a minimalist shoe could be good for you if you dont pronate but see a good shoe company before you buy. (btw every great running store ive been to, absolutely cringes whenever anyone tries to get the vibrams.)

      • I’ve been fitted for shoes before at a running store, but I swear they made things worse! Plus they just feel so heavy on my feet!

        Okay, done whining now!

      • This. Take it from someone who had minor shin splints, switched to POSE/barefoot, and went from running a 10k to barely running 100m and walking down stairs (then gaining 40lbs).

        Barefoot shoes are great for lifting and casual walking, and Nike Frees are great for the gym, but to run, get running shoes.

    • Nike Free Runs. That is all.

    • I would advise starting to learn how to run on your forefoot using your old shoes before transitioning to the minimalist, and take it very slow. I’ve known multiple people who suffered fractures in their feet or legs because they tried to transition too quickly.

      I started learning how to run on my forefoot last fall. The first time I tried it, I went about a half mile (integrated into a longer run with my “normal” gait). The next few days, my shins were really aching. It’s a big shock to the feet and to muscles that are rarely used, so start slow slow slow. After a few months, I could run several miles on my forefeet fairly easily. Although I’ve found that I can’t run as quickly on my forefoot as I can with heel strike, I have fewer IT band/knee issues with the forefoot strike.

      The NYTimes also had a really good article on some good exercises to do to strengthen your “barefoot muscles.” Search for “100 ups” and it should pop up fairly quickly.

      Good luck!

    • imho, you’ll probably get more relief from changing your gait than your shoes. (And there are tons of tutorials on TheYouTooobes for barefoot running gait.)

      That said, I really like my Merrell Pace Gloves.

    • I have the Nike Free Run, which are not near barefoot, but are still on the minimalist end of the spectrum. I love them. I started with those and a forefoot strike about 8 months ago, and my knees stopped hurting and I very rarely have muscle pain. For reference, I usually run about 3 miles at a time.

      Also, I think a forefoot strike would help greatly with the shin splints, as it engages that muscle (could be off here, I only have an amateur’s knowledge of physiology!).

      • Oh yeah, and just like Maru, I had to deal with a lot of pain when I first switched my gait. For me, it was mostly foot pain as the small muscles in my feet grew accustom to being used. Lasted prob 3-4 weeks.

    • Yes, Vibrams have been amazing for me. I haven’t had shin splints at all. I suggest checking out the blog BirthdayShoes for lots of tips, ideas and reviews. If you do decide to go minimalist, give yourself time to ease into it and adjust your stride slowly. If you try to go for a long run the very first time you wear your new shoes, you’ll probably hurt yourself.

    • FormerPhotog :

      I used to get awful shin splints and knee pain from regular shoes, and I transitioned to Newtons (which I loved, but have such short mileage, I couldn’t justify keeping myself in them, sadly), and now I have a pair of NB Minimus roads with a 4mm drop. I can’t do a full barefoot shoe because of some other foot issues, but I love having a minimal heel toe drop – it’s been really good for those particular issues for me.

    • My physical therapist said that the vast majority of people she sees these days are people who made the switch to barefoot who either (a) shouldn’t be running barefoot in the first place, or (b) did the switch wrong. She said that if you have a foot/knee/leg/hip structure that can support barefoot running, you still have to start by running barefoot for only three minutes at a time to make sure you don’t get hurt. Supervision by a professional can keep you from injuring yourself.

    • FWIW my physical therapist said that she is treating many people because of those shoes.

    • Esquirette :

      I switched to raelly light weight New Balance trail shoes and haven’t had issues since. That said, I also pay a lot of attention to my stride and posture. I read Chi Running around the time I made the switch and, while it gives you a lot of things to think about, I found it to be just what I needed to amp up what I was doing and not get injured.

    • I don’t know about you, but my awful shin splints are caused by pronating. So what I need to not get the splints is strong arch support.

      Those minimal shoes don’t have them.

  16. Interview TJ–
    Is it old fashioned to have materials printed on thicker stock paper at an interview? Does a thicker stock paper make a better impression?

    • Former MidLevel :

      I would use resume paper (which is what you seem to be talking about) for your resume and cover letters and normal paper for writing samples.

    • I’d only do this for the resume and only if you’re actually mailing it or bringing it. But, I also gave up on this after awhile because honestly HR keeps the heavy stock one and just gives copies to all the interviewers, so not sure it matters.

      Wouldn’t bother with longer things like writing samples, both because of cost and because I think it looks a little odd. But this is all just my humble opinion, I’m happy to be overruled by the hive.

    • I think you’re okay either way on this one. I think these days both nice paper for cover letter/resume and regular paper are seen pretty often. I do agree with those who said attachments like writing samples are generally always on regular paper. But like TCFKAG said, just my humble opinion.

  17. Any thoughts on this dress for an apple shape? Will the pleats make me look pregnant?

  18. Random housekeeping question…

    Does anyone have any great tips to reduce / manage household dust? I feel like my furniture is constantly coated with dust, even 1-2 days after I have attacked it with my trusty Swiffer. I have used Pledge on some pieces, but I find that it leaves a residue that looks even worse than the dust.

    • It may help to check out if you have specific reasons for the dustiness – maybe an air-conditioner with a filter in need of cleaning, open windows to a high-traffic road, construction work nearby ?

    • long time lurker :

      I read in I think Real Simple magazine to take Bounce dryer sheets and rub them along the trim along where your floor meets the wall. I live in an older building with nice thick white trim that gathers a lot of noticeable dust (also have a dog), and I tried this and it appears to work on repelling the dust. I think the idea is that instead of sticking to the trim, the dust falls to the floor where it can be vacuumed up. Not sure if this would work for other areas but probably worth trying, good luck.

    • I find Swiffers aren’t the best for dusting – they don’t live up to their claims of removing all the dust. Some of it gets removed, but some just gets redistributed. I live in a dusty house as well, and hate to dust, so maybe it’s partly because I don’t dust as often as I should.

      Anyway, I find that using a damp cloth on surfaces that can handle moisture works much better at getting rid of all the dust.

    • SpaceMountain :

      Feather dusters work well, but also maybe check your furnace filter. My house has a pretty sophisticated air cleaning system, and so almost no dust.

    • Am a terrible housekeeper with no advice to give, but with a related question – anyone have an effective, quiet air filter that they like? I’ve read that the ionic breeze ones are pretty bad for you, but would love to have some kind of a filter helping with the dust/dog fur issue in my house.

      • Yes–Any of the GE Whispure filters are ‘da bomb. They always win the Consumer Reports awards. They have great white noise. They are pricy but last years and years. If you suffer from allergies or live somewhere “dirty” like a city, they are a godsend. You heard it here first!

    • Use a HEPA filter and keep your windows closed at all times. Also, clean your AC filters.

    • Endorse all the recommendations to change your filters.

    • You could have a leak in your return air duct, that can cause excessive dust in your house. You might want you hvac person to look at it.

  19. Woohoo! We got the money allocated for our big project so work is no longer in a holding pattern. Now the fun starts…

  20. Weird question: where should a pencil skirt sit? The smallest part of your waist? At your belly-button?

    • Kontraktor :

      I think it depends how you like them to look and fit. Personally I think pencil skirts tend to look best when worn in the middle of your ‘poochiest’ part, at least that is how I find they look best on me and a lot of other women. But, for some, wearing at the natural waist might be best. It really just depends. I happen to think I look thinner when I wear the skirt hitting at my poochiest part because the skirt then drapes over the rest of my pooch, rather than accentuating all of it it (which happens if I wear at my natural waist). I’m also sort of short-waisted anyway so I honestly find that wearing the skirt a little lower elongates me a little.

      • Tired Squared :

        Fellow short-waisted commentator here; I agree with Kontraktor.

      • I am also short-waisted and agree.

      • ChocCityB&R :

        Wait I’m short waisted and wear it hiked up at my natural waist. Am I doing it wrong?

        • Goosebumpy :

          I’m short-waisted, too, and I like mine hiked up as well. I’ve got abnormally long legs for my height, and I find it makes them look insaaaanely long while giving me a nice shape as well. I think I read somewhere that yes, it’s counterintuitive, but high-waisted bottoms can be very flattering on the short-waisted. I say you’re good!

        • Kontraktor :

          I think it depends what looks good on you. Obviously people are different heights and carry weight differently, etc. I seem to be bottom heavy, so I look mildly pregnant when wearing my skirts higher up. But, if my shape were different it probably would require wearing my skirt in a different way!

    • short-legged, average torso person here, I wear pencil at my belly button or the smallest part of my waist (~ 1″ above my belly button).
      I haven’t noticed a difference in how my pooch looks. I have a pronounced high hip/shelf area, and there’s really no camouflaging it.

    • anon in tejas :

      depends on how the skirt is cut for me. I am wearing one now, and it’s at my belly button. But I have a relatively flat stomach.

  21. anon for now :

    Long time reader but first time commenter with a threadjack.

    I am currently a fourth year litigatiin associate in a large firm for my mid-sized city. I have been here exactly one year. For a host of reasons, I am not happy but they can generally be described as fit issues. An in-house position is open that I am interested in although it is a bit of a reach.

    I am wavering on whether to apply because I am concerned I will be seen as a job hopper because I have been in my current position only one year. However, prior to my current position, I was at the same firm for five years if you count working during law school. I realize this is most likely an inconsequential worry but it is nonetheless a worry I have. Do I go for it or stick it out in my current position longer?

    • Former MidLevel :

      If you think the in-house job is one that would be a good fit and you would stay there a while, go for it. (There is no use in worrying about your future potential resume until you have an offer in hand, anyway.)

    • Angela Chase :

      Go for it. If they have job-hopping questions, they’ll ask.

    • I wouldn’t worry about it. A lot of people do a lot of job hopping out of BigLaw after a year (myself included).

    • In this day in age (is that the right turn of phrase) job hopping is practically the rule. They’ll just assume, if they wonder about it at all, that the new firm didn’t work out/wasn’t a good fit, whatever.

    • In-house positions don’t open up as regularly as law firm spots. You kinda have to catch those as they come so I wouldn’t worry too much about the job hopping issue. If it bothers them, they will ask you about it and you can easily deflect it in the interview.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Go for it. I subsribe to the 1 year rule – I would feel conflicted leaving after less than 1 year, but after that I’m open to new opportunities. This sounds like an opportunity you should not pass up.

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      My mom: “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

      Sheryl Sandberg: “Don’t leave before you leave.” and “Sit at the table.”

  22. Just have to vent to get it off my chest and get on with my day…

    I have had two phone calls this morning with a super b***y client who I know isn’t going to pay her bill. Dear God, PLEASE let me find a gov’t or in house job soon so that when I deal with awful people it doesn’t count against my collections!

    • My sympathies.

      I know you just wanted to vent, but I am very, very curious, like a cat.

      So I have to ask, in your assessment of this problem client, do you think she’s just an obnoxious prat all the time? Or is this a tactic, as in, she’s playing up this trait to lay down groundwork to have ‘complaints’ against you and your firm, so she can feel less bad about being a deadbeat on paying her legal bills?

  23. What does one wear to a “business casual” networking reception, held on a Sunday night at the aquarium?

    A suit feels like too much, but suit dress with cardigan feels too casual. O HALP!

    • How about a pretty day dress (I’m thinking something less than a suiting dress, but more than a sundress) with a sport jacket (preferably in a summery color)?

    • Suit dress with non-matching blazer?

    • A dress and blazer would be my vote too. You could have some fun with brighter colours if the event is not especially formal, depends on the situation.

    • Agree with the above and have also done dress pants with belted cardigan and heels look for something like this too.

  24. Tired Squared :

    Guys, I’m going to preface this with acknowledging that I’m a huge nerd, BUT… yesterday I was browsing through the streaming TV available on Netflix, and I discovered that there is a show called “Legend of the Seeker,” based on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series!

    I started jumping up and down gleefully … and I’m pretty sure my boyfriend thinks I’m insane now.

    • That series is awesome. I also found it on Netflix and watched the whole thing. It’s very tongue-in-cheek in parts, which I love. Thought the rockin’ metal during the awesome sword fights was pretty funny, and just generally thought it was a fun show. Haven’t read the books though – worthwhile, I take it?

    • MaggieLizer :

      Loved that show! I was so sad when it went off the air.

    • Not to rain on your parade, but per wikipedia, “The story depicted in the television series greatly differs from that as portrayed in the written series.” Beware?

    • I looooved that show and am so bummed it didn’t get picked up. It is really well done, Richard is so freaking hot, and Kahlan totally kicks a$$. I mean, it is slightly cheesy, but I freaking love it.

      I am so glad you jumped up and down gleefully… and I think we need to create a C o r p o r e t t e Nerds Subcommittee, cuz, Nerds Rule!

  25. Wannabe Ex-Pat :

    Ladies, I had that second interview for the job I really wanted in the UK and just now found out I didn’t get it. While I knew that was a possibility, I’m really upset with why. The HR manager told me that while I came off as competent and professional, I lacked the technical knowledge that only comes with experience. WTF?!?!?! How on earth am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire me without it?! I just received my master’s degree and the only job experience I have is my one year internship with the company I had the interview with and two years of club president, yearbook editor experience from my undergrad days.

    As I push forward with the job search across the pond, I feel like this Catch-22 will continue to haunt me. Other than saying, “Give me the experience and I’ll do a great job for you,” how else is there to address this?

    I am now going through a list of companies that were named “best to work for” and hope to find something entry level that I have a shot at.

    • I’m UK based – what sort of work are you seeking?

      • not the OP :

        I’m not the OP, but I’m also looking for work abroad. Any advice? I’m looking into both project management and international development. I also have an MA and 5 years experience. Would love to chat :)

      • Wannabe Ex-Pat :

        My internship was with sourcing (supplier management, contracts, operations) but I’m open to any form of project management that isn’t dependent on an engineering or financial background as my undergrad degree is International Business/Management and my master’s is on Labor Relations. I’ll love to take this offline and discuss, thank you!

      • Not sure how much help I’ll be but feel free to email I’m Gemma dot benson at rubyhorizons dot co dot uk

        How wierd to ‘out’ myself

    • wrong name! :

      No advice, just commiseration. I’ve gotten several rejections in favor of a candidate with a few more years of experience. I’m actually trying to figure out how I’m going to deal with this in a second interview that’s just around the corner. The HR person flat out told me that the biggest concern was my years of experience. So, I’ll just be honest and try to show that though I haven’t been doing this as long as some others, I’d still do a great job in the position. If they’re willing to move me on to a second interview, they see something in me, so I can’t let my career stage get me down!

      • girl in the stix :

        Hmm, they always tell people to pick younger doctors because their education is more up to date–depending on the field, can you frame yourself as cutting edge, having been educated in the most up to date theories and practices of your field? That you are not entrenched in the same old ways of doing things? That sometimes “years of experience” can just mean tunnel vision? Then you can give examples of more current ways of accomplishing job duties–sometimes something as simple as taking advantage of social media (Facebook, twitter, blogging)–which can be slightly foreign to people with years of experience–can turn you into a player.

    • Kontraktor :

      Not much advice, just comisseration that this is the catch-22 story of my life. It has happened to me quite frequently in many contexts. I think part of the problem these days especially is that the economy is so bad that companies feel they can be so choosey. Like, maybe 10 years ago they would have to take the 80% solution involving somebody who didn’t have the skills 100%. But now with some positions garnishing hundreds, if not thousands, of applications, I feel companies feel that they deserve and can find the 99.99% solution, which is silly and impractical, but that’s how they are seeing it.

    • I’m getting these rejections as well. It’s so frustrating when the explicit question is “can you do the job?” (to which the answer is yes or you wouldn’t be applying) but the implicit one is “can you do it better than the other 300 applicants?” In entry-level jobs, the answer to that is usually no, because you don’t have years of specialised work experience, but you would still be an asset to them.

      I’m in a similar boat — US-educated, but recently back in the UK (place of birth, and leaving the US was not my choice). I couldn’t get a US job because of the visa requirements, and now I can’t get a UK job because of lack of relevant experience, and it is really depressing.

    • Its the catch-22 of basically everyone under 30 or 35 at this point. Nobody wants to hire people without “sufficient” experience, thus making it impossible for the younger generation to gain experience.

      My best pitch is this…I’m motivated, smart, hard-working, I do xyz very well. I am also at a stage in my life where I can commit to this position 100%. I just need the opportunity to show you that (or something along those lines.) Hasn’t worked yet though, as the market is saturated with people with experience. Ah life.

      • wrong name! :

        THIS! That approach has gotten to several second interviews, but then the final decision is still “no”. I’ve even asked what I could have done, and basically the answer is, “nothing but gain more experience.” I almost wish there was something horribly wrong with me, and that, once fixed, my phone would ring off the hook. It’s almost worse to be told that you’re good… just not quite good enough at this point, but give us a call back in 5 years, because we’re just sure you’re going to do great things! Can we just fast forward to my supposedly awesome 5-year-wiser self?

        • The crazy thing is, according to management and leadership books, particularly those written by Jim Collins, the best companies are those that hire the people that are the best fit and have the right attitude. These are the people you want; sure, experience counts, but you want the person that you can count on that you can teach the business. Someone that is honest, respectful of others, can manage other people, work towards and convey an organization’s goals etc. etc.

          Meanwhile I went on a job interview several months ago for a position that I was overqualified for in terms of education and experience. The description was a good fit as was the salary; the only reason I went is because the hiring manager contacted me and asked me to apply. Anyway, point is, I asked why they wanted me to come in when I was overqualified in several areas. Their response was that they wanted to train me to do things their way. Go figure. JSFAMO.

  26. An entirely looks focused TJ:

    I’m looking for new hair and makeup – 30 this year still wearing my long blonde hair in a bun as waist length is just too much to style fast and pretty much the same story on the makeup front. I’m sorted (ish) on clothes but I’d love to feel sophisticated and s*xy from the neck up.

    Help please?!

    • What is your hair texture like and what is your current makeup routine?

    • Your hair is waist-length? Cut it! You will be a whole new woman.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. Really.

      • This. You don’t even have to cut it ALL off. Just cut it to a few inches past your shoulders. Back in the day I too had waist-length hair. A few inches past the shoulders is enough to make a drastic difference but is still feels long.

    • Look for hair tutorials on Joanna Goddard’s blog, A Cup of Jo. She has posted about 10 great updos that would be perfect for someone with long hair like yours.

    • Hair, reasonable condition, loads of it, wavy probably curly ish if it werent so heavy. It’s always been long, when I was military it made it easy – bun and go – but now maybe it’s making me lazy? Problem is I’ve no idea of what cut. I know, I’m a fail on this one. But seriously once every six months I get someone to chop a couple of inches that’s it. So guidance?

      Makeup – foundation, powder, mascarca. Red Lippy occassionally. Eyeliner helps when I do it.

      Hmmm – I may need more help than I realised!

      • Find a hair stylist you can trust and ask their advice. A good one will be able to tell you what will look best with your hair texture and face shape.

      • Research, Not Law :

        I have similar hair! I’ve had my hair everywhere between two inches long to mid-back, straight and curly. There are pros and cons of each length. I’m currently wearing my hair long (to bottom of shoulder blades) with long layers and face framing, either with my natural ‘beach waves’ (or ‘rock star hair,’ as my husband calls it) or with smooth curls from jumbo curlers.

        I think you should start by thinking about how you want to care for your hair. Would you enjoy styling your long hair if you knew how to do some fresh dos? Do you want something wash-and-wear? Do you want to try short style? If you want to keep it long, I agree with others to go to about 3 inches past shoulders. If you want short, then I’d do a little past chin (think nape of your neck). Shorter will give you more curl and be easy to apply some product when wet and let air dry (google ‘curly girl method’), but you can’t put it up on bad hair days. Long takes more work for defined curls, but it gives you more styling flexibility.

        Either way, you need to find a good stylist. The cut is crucial. Saying that you get someone to chop off a couple of inches every six months suggests that you don’t have one yet. They should know how to cut hair like yours to thin it out and give it layers. I’ve found the best way to do that is to start asking people with similar hair (and good haircuts) who they use. I’ve literally asked strangers on the street before.

    • Cornellian :

      I’m going to ride on this… I have just about waist length (maybe a 16 inch long pony tail) dark honey blonde/strawberry/auburn/light brown hair. It’s naturally very straight, relatively fine, but I have a lot of it. I’m going to chop it and donate it at some point, but until then, I’m not sure what to do with it. There is a more senior woman in my office who has even longer hair she wears loose, but I still feel like a long ponytail is not the most professional way to go. I sometimes do French twists (well, if I do say so myself), but I can really only do that once a week because my hair is so heavy! My weekend styles often involve braids, but I don’t think that’s work appropriate, really.

      FWIW, I’m 25 (for a few days!), fair, wear mascara, tinted moisturizer, sometimes gloss.

    • Second all the comments on a good hair-cut. Maybe get a fringe cut in if your hair and face would suit it. Perhaps some highlights or lowlights?

      Re make-up, I would go to a big department store (you said you’re UK-based, so I’d suggest Debenhams or John Lewis) and get a consultation done for some colour recommendations. Start with foundation/tinted moisturiser, a three-shade eyeshadow compact, mascara, blush and a lip-gloss. Powder if you think you need it, but I never use it day-to-day.

    • Cutting off some hairwould make a difference, both in routine and look. (But I have no emotional ties to my hair so deciding to chop it doesn’t scare me). You could donate it if you wanted a bigger than you motiviation.

      I like Sephora and Ulta for playing with lots of makeup and generally being left alone to do so. For a new look, you might want more guidance. I have had nice makeovers at MAC counters as well as Sephora and then you can just buy a few items that you like (say, stuff for the eyes) and they will give you a card that shows you what to put where. I Smashbox and Bobbi Brown both make nice palettes that are great for every day wear and Smashbox has a little sticker on the back and online tutorials that instructs how to get the looks.

  27. I really, really want to find a mentor to guide me professionally. I don’t have any family or friends that I can turn to for advice in the area so I think a mentor would be an enormus help to me. The trouble is, I haven’t met anyone yet that I would like to mentor me. I understand these relationships should grow organically but I haven’t made that type of connect yet and really want to. Any advice on how to seek out potential mentors and develop the relationship? I am looking for mid level females that are savvy and successful in the corporate world.

    • What kind of help are you looking for? Toastmasters can be a good resource. You may want to visit more than one club to find a group that suits you.

      • I am looking for someone who has “climbed the ladder” so to speak, and can offer me some insight and advice on how she did it, what made her successful, pitfalls to avoid, etc.
        I also have a lot of questions about where to take my career and what to consider while managing a career and a family that I’d like someone to be a sounding board for. It would be invaluable to me to learn this from someone who has already been there. I am the first in my family to go to college and have a corporate job so I don’t have anyone to turn to for advice. I really want to move up the ranks in my field but I am not quite sure how to best do that.

        • Think of all the people you admire. Your granny. Boss at work. Awesome woman you heard speaking at a conference. Kick A colleague. Go tell them you think they are amazing and ask for their time. You might not get all the mentoring from one place. So spread your net.

        • What field are you in? It’s perfectly reasonable to find someone whose career you admire, and call them up and ask them for coffee. I think being a “mentor” is kind of scary if they have to commit up front. But it’s ok to tell them that you’re in search of some career guidance, and would love to pick their brain.

    • Go to networking events, talk to people. And if you find someone who would work, ask if they would e willing to have coffee with you, to talk about their career. If you hit it off, you can grow it into a full mentoring relationship.

      Or join a local organization that provides mentoring as part of its structure (AIPLA, ABA, etc.) and find someone through that.

  28. Senior Attorney :

    Is there a Rotary club in your area? Lots of savvy and successful types there, although many clubs skew older than you may be looking for.

  29. Heeeey everyone. I put this question out there last week, but wanted to ask it again just in case.

    Is anyone else attending the Farm Bureau Legal Execs Conference in Biloxi, MS, this weekend/early next week? If so, let me know! I will be there and won’t know anyone else since I am the only lawyer at my company.

  30. newassociate :

    Someone please give me a virtual hug and tell me it will be okay. I covered a hearing on a mundane matter this morning but at the very end opposing counsel threw in a request to take our MSJ off calendar. I froze like a deer in the headlights, stumbled and stammered and my mind just could not form an argument as to why they shouldn’t do that. The judge, after giving me a funny look, agreed and took it off calendar. I feel like the biggest idiot in the world, my stomach is in knots and I’m dreading reporting back to my boss. Someone tell me it will be okay and that rookies make mistakes? Please?

    • Rookies make mistakes. It happens. Your boss was a rookie once and probably made more mistakes than he/she would prefer you to know.

      That being said – can you just re-notice the MSJ for a later date?

      • Ditto. In my first year in practice I screwed up some deadline that resulted in our case being dismissed, and I was despondent. The really great partner I worked for first made me take a breath, and then had me file whatever motion was needed to get the case reopened and back on track. 20+ years later I don’t remember the details, just the calm way the senior attorney responded and helped me through it. JessC is right, everyone makes mistakes and you’ll fix this one and move on. (Maybe we need a new abbreviation — JFIAMO, for just fix it and move on.)

    • Our office is usually pretty cooperative about changing hearing dates to accomodate opposing counsel’s schedules, was it something like that? Anyway, it shouldn’t be a big deal, just tell your boss they made the request and the judge granted it, and you’ll get a new hearing date.

    • There is nothing you (we) can do that cannot be un-done. We all make mistakes, and your boss will know that. Report back to your boss, but try to think of a solution so that you can say “This happened; the judge seemed persuaded because (counsel’s arg). Would it be appropriate to (whatever – file a motion, call opposing counsel, whatever makes sense) to get it back on the calendar? Is there anything I can be doing?”. Presenting a problem/error with a possible solution, even if not the “right” one, shows you care and refocuses the discussion on how to fix it, not what you did wrong.

      You’re ok, and will be ok, I promise :).

    • It will be okay. Rookies make mistakes. That sounds exactly like something I would have done (and might still do, given the level of surprise sprung on me). This is what I would say in explanation, if you haven’t already:
      Opposing counsel asked the judge to take our motion for summary judgment off the calendar. I was so surprised that I didn’t have time to respond before the judge granted her request. I will do whatever needs to be done to get it scheduled again as soon as possible. Now I know what to watch for with opposing counsel and I won’t be surprised again.
      Hugs to you. I hate the feeling when I am driving back from court, knowing the I effed something up and will have to explain myself. You are expected to make mistakes. This isn’t an error that cannot be rectified, so don’t beat yourself up about it too much.

    • Anonymous :

      Thank you all so much. I made the dreaded march into the boss’s office and explained what happened as best as I could and he was MAD, but more so at the judge than at me. He explained that in the future when oc brings up things that are not on calendar and thus I’m not prepared to argue it to just tell the judge that. Such a simple, eloquent solution! Why couldn’t I have thought of that in the moment! I am really trying hard to focus on the positive- I did a great job in the argument we were supposed to be there for, and the worst case scenario is we do have to renotice it and I learned a very valuable lesson. One more millimeter gained on that learning curve…

      • newassociate :

        Er, previous comment was mine forgot to put the name. (It’s that kind of day!)

      • Former MidLevel :

        You got blindsided–that’s why you didn’t think of it. It is okay–really. And now you know how to handle it in the future. Be glad the boss took the time to teach you–not all of them do.

      • seniorish :

        And now you have a new trick in your bag for the future. You will someday spring a new issue in a case when opposing counsel sent in the new guy . . .

      • You did your best. Of course you didn’t know how to handle it, it was a curveball. The best you can do is JSFAMO. And keep the advice in your pocket for next time.

  31. Man, i love this dress so much and would buy it in both colors if they weren’t totally out of my size.

    • Maddie Ross :

      This! I’m depressed I wasn’t quick enough, as I totally needed some good retail therapy today. And other suggestions ladies?

    • Me too. I’m on the west coast, so by the time I get up, get dressed, and get myself situated at work and ready for a break, most things I like aren’t available in my size anymore. Not sure if it is the power of Kat, or if the item was never available in my size. The 8-16 they have is a broad range, I just don’t fall into that range.

  32. Another Associate :

    Ladies, I need some advice on whether (and how) I can approach a summer intern to gently let her know she is alienating the attorneys in the office.

    I am a mid-level associate at a firm with 40-ish attorneys. The summer intern started 3 weeks ago, and she is acting in a way that gives everyone a negative impression of her.

    For example, I stopped by her office to casually ask how things were going. The Intern said, “oh, I have two projects, but they’re easy because you don’t have to think too much.” Keep in mind these two projects were the bread-and-butter type work our firm does. On two difference occasions, two different senior associates reviewed her work and said, “Partner A suggests you revise this part to read x, y, z.” Both times, the Intern said, “No. That won’t work.” When asked by a partner whether the Intern was interested in legal field M (the partner’s specialty), the Intern said something like, “Yeah, I took a class on it, but it was boring. There’s not much to legal field M that I can’t learn on the job.” Even if she is right on substantive matters, is it appropriate to tell her that she could express herself in a way that is a little less abrasive?

    In addition, the Intern does not seem to want to do anything with the firm outside of work hours. The first day on the job, she declined a social outing (baseball game) with a senior partner. The second week on the job, she said, “do I have to go to lunch with attorneys every day?” She has also declined several other social events, including impromptu cocktail hours and scheduled firm-wide events. This is even after another associate reminded her that she is essentially on a 2-month long interview, both for the firm to assess her and for her to assess the firm.

    The Intern is a bright person, and has prior legal experience, so on paper seems like a good candidate. But her attitude is driving people crazy! Ordinarily, I would keep my mouth shut, but we are in a male-dominated field, and both of her attorney mentors are men, and so might not be comfortable saying anything to her. Should I say something to her? Maybe she doesn’t realize the negative impression her statements and actions are making?

    Thanks for your comments!

    • My fellow summer associate was something like this (though instead of telling people he didn’t want to do their specialty, he would say “oh…this specialty is my passion” no matter what…and it was not a big enough office for that to work.) He also was just an odd duck and did little to suppress his odd-duckishness around the office. He didn’t get an offer.

      I mean, if you want this girl to get an offer or want to help her out (though she sounds fairly intolerable), why not just ask her to coffee. I’d avoid mentioning things that are more personality based (i.e….you’re abrasive) and focus more on things that are work based (you need to take partner suggestions more as commands or senior partner x is very influential here, you should make an effort to get to know him.) That sort of thing.

    • new york associate :

      I think you should intervene. (In my firm, you would need to check with someone on the hiring committee first.) I would start by saying, “Intern, now that you’ve been here for a few weeks, I want to ask you a question: Do you want to work here after you graduate?” If she says no, then don’t bother. If she says yes or maybe, then say, “I ask because your behavior is suggesting that you actually don’t want to work here. I want you to be successful here — you’re bright and your work product is good. But that’s not all it takes to be successful in an office. You also have to do a better job of communicating your interest in this field, and your desire to work here.” Then you can explain that it’s important to convey 1) interest in the firm; 2) receptiveness to criticism; and 3) graciousness. (For example, if the firm organized a cocktail party on your behalf, then SHOW UP.)

      • Yeah, this is exactly what I was thinking. It sounds like she has no interest in getting an offer, but…that’s precisely the problem, isn’t it? Find out (preferably in a private lunch or something) if she wants an offer, and if so, I think it would be great of you to tell her that it doesn’t seem that way. Frankly, it couldn’t hurt to remind her that the legal community is smaller than it seems, so even if she doesn’t want an offer with your firm, it would be to her benefit to be making a more positive impression– that of someone who is bright, curious, can learn from others, and is a pleasure to be around. Even if she doesn’t want an offer, the people supervising her now can help or hurt her attempts to do anything else.

        Clearly, you don’t have a responsibility to intervene, but I think it’s really nice of you to want to. It may not go well, but then at least you’ll know you tried to help a sister out, as it were. ;)

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Personally I would say something. I know it’s not an easy thing to do, so I applaud you for stepping up to bat for her when the two other male partners will no. Her behavious is eggregious so she may 1) be totally clueless; or 2) not give a s**t. If it’s the second, you’ll know soon enough and can stop wasting valuable partner time on her. If it’s the first at least you gave her a second chance.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I echo what other commenters have said. Talking to her about this is the kind thing to do. Also, it’s possible that your kindness will not be appreciated. Her lack of social skills might be unknown to her and accidental, or a part of her personality that she is unwilling to change. But as a young up and comer, you will be doing her a great service by pointing it out now.

    • Please intervene. I like the above suggestion of asking her to go get coffee with you and focusing on work stuff and how to interact with partners (i.e. take their suggestions, go to events with them, and don’t belittle their area of practice). If she still doesn’t get it (or obviously just doesn’t care), at least you did your part to help out a young C*****ette and be a good unofficial mentor.

    • seniorish :

      Oh, you all are nicer than I am. My view is that everyone knows these summer positions are like long interviews. She is not doing anything to get hired and she’s a bad fit for your office. Her problems do not seem fixable in the short time frame. Just be happy she’s not a permanent hire.

  33. Just got told that I have earned a promotion based on my work, but I won’t be getting it because I’m going on detail for the next 6 months.


    • And I can’t sit in my office and cry because I have to be on camera in 10 minutes.

    • Oh, I remember when you were posting about whether to apply for a job when you had a detail coming up… I’m sorry it hasn’t worked out perfectly. I hope your detail turns out to be awesome, and I’m sure you’ll look beautiful on camera.

    • Leslie Knope :

      Blerg indeed! What an unhelpful thing to tell someone. I don’t really understand what “on detail” means, but is it possible they’d give you the promotion in six months?

    • oh that stinks!

      they may be able to make your promotion effective date as-of now, even if the pay won’t be adjusted until after your detail. that way you’ll make time-in-grade sooner at the promoted level. (they could also do this in 6 months, to make the effective date retroactive.)

  34. Merabella :

    I am going to use some bonus money to get a Cole Haan bag. Any suggestions? Which is your favorite?

    • I have this one:

      The color is lovely (though it comes in other colors) and the size is really nice for just days when I don’t have to tote a laptop or files or am just running errands or whatever. The basic straps fit over my shoulder fine so I can wear it that way, but it also comes with an extender long enough for cross body use.

      • Merabella :

        Ooh that is lovely!

      • SV in House :

        I have that one in green and marine blue — love them both!

        • TWINSIES! I have it black. I got it in the Nordstrom anniversary sale last summer. It’s a little heavy, but I can report that it can hold the following: iPad, phone, wallet, makeup bag, charger, keys, snacks, pens and other random stuff.

    • Whichever bag you get, don’t pay full price. If you sign up for emails at colehaan dot com they’ll send you additional coupons and notify you of sales. They’re also frequently on sale at Nordies and in the sale section of neimanmarcus dot com. Happy shopping!

  35. I have a question about bullying coping too. For some reason it never occurred to me to ask for tips here, but I think some people will have pretty good advice!

    I’m going to a family type wedding this weekend and there will be about 15 people that I have known since I was born attending. Two of these people are women who I have serious issues with, one more so than the other. I’ll call them Sarah and Nicole. As a kid, we were the only 3 girls who were the same age and always played together when our families got together every week or so. When we were about 4, Sarah (the one I have serious issues with) and Nicole figured out how to bully people and I was a frequent target. At a summertime picnic when I was 5, Sarah pushed me so hard that I fell and broke my leg. Between 5-12, when I was old enough to opt out, I got good at just ignoring them, playing with other kids, and got really good at socializing with adults. My parents were very proactive in trying to help me and do what they could to fix the situation, but there wasn’t really much they could do. In high school, Sarah became even worse and began to internet bully me, telling me I was a horrible person, didn’t deserve to be alive, was a disappointment to my family, etc. With massive amounts of therapy, I got over this as much as was possible. It’s not really something that I think about, but if anyone (or your kids) have experienced this, it’s not something that totally goes away. Obviously Sarah and I don’t see each other anymore if we can avoid it, and our parents are no longer friends. I see Nicole much more often, as we are in the same area of work, and she is sort of tolerable. I do know that she tried to tell Sarah that what she did was out of line.

    So this weekend is likely the first time I will see Sarah in years. The last time I saw her was at a similar event, where it was like we were 8 again. When I saw her, I smiled and said hi and was very cordial. Later, she called everyone over to where I was sitting with my brother, said everybody’s name except mine and said, “Since we’re all in town, wouldn’t it be fun to all go out to dinner and catch up WITHOUT [my name]?” I didn’t know what to do. My brother just sat there and had no idea what to do. Afterwards, he told me that she only did it because she wanted to see if she could rattle my being cordial and that I couldn’t let it bother me. Obviously, it worked and I still think she’s a horrible person.

    Writing this out I almost feel like this is really embarrassingly dumb, because why am I letting this girl from my childhood impact me so much? I don’t really want to hear that I need to get over it and move on, because I’m reading this and can see that and I have. What happened, especially in high school, was really damaging to my mental health/psyche. Like last time, I will be cordial, cool, collected, and not engage. What I do want to know is how to react when I am baited like that.

    • I would literally not speak to her at the reunion. I mean — this has got to be a big thing right, just spend time around other relatives and avoid her.

      If she comes up to you and pulls sometime like the above (which is so juvenile as to be laughable) I’d just smile, roll my eyes slightly, and say something like “Hmm…hope you have a good time with that.” Or even “wow…time warp. Its just like middle school.”

      As for coping with it, just try to remember that its HER that’s the immature sad person. Try to think of it as though you were outside your own body, if you saw someone acting that way in another situation, you’d pity them and perhaps find them a bit sad. Go in with that attitude and you’ll do better.

      • Merabella :

        This. Ignore her as much as possible. If she pulls this crap again, calling her out on her behavior as being juvenile if it comes to that would be the best approach IMO.

        Are you still in therapy? Maybe your therapist can give you some tips on how to deal with this person since she knows your history.

      • I agree with ignoring her, but I think a much better response to any snide comments from her would be “Go f- yourself.”

        • haha. Well, I was trying to be vaguely polite. But go f- yourself would work too. Or an eyeroll and saying “Sarah — in case my not speaking to you wasn’t clear enough, I don’t want to f*cking deal with you right now.”

          And if she doesn’t stop after that, JSFAMO.

          • I wish I wasn’t too polite to say that. Obviously I’ll be thinking it and I’m pretty sure some others will be to. She’s not worth any of my mental space, so I’m going to stop thinking about it and just see her as the sad pitiful person I think she is. And if she tries anything, for the sake of the bride & groom, I will turn on my heel and JSFAMO but in my head be telling her to f off.

        • This is the correct response. Say it to her as many times as you need to. Seriously, you do not owe this miserable b*tch any courtesies. You owe her nothing, especially if she tries to start any stupid nonsense. Bullies get off on prodding people with little verbal needles, and they think it’s great because most people are too polite to do anything about it.

          When they prod the wrong person (occasionally happens), and thee person responds not with a needle, but a verbal sledgehammer, then they learn to STFU. This is what Sarah needs. If she prods you in any way, tell her off. Harshly. It’s not like you need this b*tch to like you, and she doesn’t like you anyways, so you have nothing to lose.

          But, do go into this prepared.
          1) How many of your friends and family know about her bad deeds to you, past and recent?

          2)Why is she included? Is she special friends with someone in this wedding? Knowing who is deluded about her real nature (or just hasn’t seen it), or who is her ally helps you know the lay of the land.

          3)For those who know about her bad deeds and are sympathetic to you, and who will also be at this wedding, TALK TO THEM.

          Let them know that this is meant to be a nice event for the people getting married, and you want their help in making sure that Sarah doesn’t create any sort of situation that would mar the event. They will be more inclined to put the kibbosh on whatever nonsense.

          Be specific– as to some of the exclusionary (and other tactics) she’s used against you. Sometimes nice people are clueless and don’t understand the game. Explain it to them and if they’re not idiots, they’ll get it and want to help you, if only to help maintain harmony.

          Also, don’t let her be the de facto social leader. Get your allies to not join her, or, even better to say, “no, Sarah, you’re not leading the show. You don’t get to call the shots on where everybody goes afterwards.” If I were there, I’d do that for you. I really hate it when some fussbudget/bully type thinks s/he gets to automatically tell everyone what to do next.

          People are generally pretty passive and complacent, and if someone takes on a bossy pushy role, a critical mass tends to follow until someone says, “Enh. I don’t like that idea.” Then, people feel empowered to NOT FOLLOW HER automatically.

          4) Going to back to Bluejay’s comment. I am in earnest when I say this next thing:

          If she starts crap with you, don’t restrain yourself in telling her off. And don’t let her guilt you into thinking you’re ruining someone’s event. She’s already done that by starting sh!t with you, and like most bullies and psychopaths, is banking on your good manners to prevent you from defending yourself. Don’t appease this Queen Hitlerbee.

        • girl in the stix :

          In the South when we want to say go f**k yourself, we say “Well, Bless your heart!”

    • naijamodel :

      I think that if she baits you, you should stand up to her.

      “wow Sarah, this is a bit sad! Have you not grown up at ALL?”

      “Sarah, nobody is impressed by you acting like you are 3 years old”

      “Sarah, kindly remove yourself from the presence of adults!!!”

      Ok, not the last one obviously :-P
      But seriously, if she comes looking for trouble, engage her and give her what for. Then walk away to someone you really like and begin a normal conversation (even if you are tearing up, lol). I think that this Sarah person sounds awful and public shaming might be the only thing that helps…she will continue to bait you if you don’t fight back.

    • I would avoid her but be cordial if you do run into her and if she pulls that “let’s go to dinner without you” crap, look at her and in front of everyone, say “Really, Sarah? Wow.” with your best raised eyebrow and then just keep staring at her. Everyone else will probably be shocked she said something so rude and will be glad you called her on it.

    • Others have good ideas you could use but in addition I think that -ahead of time- you should ask your brother (and other siblings or parents who you know are going to be there) to be ready to come to your aid if she pulls any of her stunts and/or if you look like you need help. They should have something ready to say or physically come to your aid by getting between you and aggressive Sarah. I don’t want to criticize your parents, but from what you’re saying no one protected you back then but you can ask for help now. Good luck!

      • I actually give my parents a lot of credit for everything they did. For many reasons, I didn’t go into full detail, but I do believe that they did absolutely everything they were capable of doing at all stages, including police intervention with the internet stuff. Without them, there’s no way I would be a sane, balanced, successful, happy person.

        • Bullying, I should have realized you left some things out. But my point is that having allies (even if they are silent) might help you get through the event more easily.

          • Definitely agree. I have already enlisted my brother and I know that he will help if need be.

    • The only thing I can add to what others have already said is that it might help to shift your mindset. I can’t tell to what extent you already have, but you do say/recognize she is a horrible person. Bullying is about power. She can’t have power over you if you don’t let her. What I’m saying is, you need to think of her not only as horrible, but as beneath you. And treat her as such. Like the way teenagers think of annoying younger siblings. If you were a teenage girl with a pesky younger sister who would run around and say awful things about you, you wouldn’t be dreading what she’d do next so much as you’d just roll your eyes and ignore her. Not sure I’m explaining this well, but minimize her. You are better than her in every possible way and don’t let yourself doubt that for a second.

      Was the one childhood incident the only case of physical aggression? If not, she sounds a bit sociopathic.

      • I totally agree with this, KK. Bullying is all about power and I need to let her know she no longer has any over me. I do completely believe that she is a horrid person and beneath me and that I am so much better than she is.

        From what I know it was the only case of aggression. At least it was to me. God knows I stayed 50 feet away from her after that.

    • If you have told other family members about this behavior, then you are not alone in this. I’m assuming the rest of your family is not sociopathic themselves. I assume other aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. know she’s awful. I would focus your attention on staying away from her (for the sake of the bride and groom) and walking the other direction if she attempts to walk toward you.

      But you’re independent and better than her now. There’s nothing she can say that will bring you down. That’s what bullies do – try to make others miserable. It’s not going to happen with you. You are going to have a fabulous time and it will be as though she’s not even there.

    • Not sure if you’re still reading but here’s another way to call out the bully :
      Sarah : Let’s go out without Bullying !
      Bullying : I didn’t hear what you just said – can you repeat it ?
      Sarah : I said ‘let’s go out without Bullying’ !!
      Bullying : I still didn’t hear – you want to try again ?

      Many bullies will stop when asked to repeat because they realise how bad they sound. Even persistent ones will stop after a couple of repeats when they realise they are not achieving anything. And this gives time to the audience to absorb what’s been said and step in against the bully, instead of just standing by and shuffling about in embarassment.

    • I’d be tempted to go with “Sarah, is your rudeness caused by some sort of mental illness, or merely feelings of inadaquacy? I’d hate for everyone to be judging you if this is a disability”

      Obviously don’t go there if she has a history of mental illness.

      Following that any nasty comments can be responded to with sincere offers to boost her obviously low self esteem. “Sarah I went to collage with a women who’s a brilliant therapist now – want her name?” “Sarah have you considered charity work” etc

  36. new york associate :

    Sarah sounds like the worst person ever and I think you’d be entirely justified if you decided not to go to the wedding at all based on her presence there. If you want to go, then more power to you. Your brother’s advice — that she wants to rattle you, that she’s trying to reassert her dominance — seems like a good appraisal. I might suggest a “Bless your heart, Sarah, we’re not in seventh grade any more,” followed by an immediate change of subject or change of venue.

  37. Anonymous :

    Dumbest question ever.

    I know nothing about pregnancy and stuff (I never bothered to pay attention) but I’m meeting somebody today for the first time and she’s 6 months pregnant. Can you please throw in some questions to ask her just to break the ice?

    • Don’t assume she wants to talk about being pregnant. Talk to her like you would a regular human being you are meeting for the first time, because pregnant women are regular human beings after all.

    • Just tell her congrats and hope she’s enjoying it. Tell her she looks great (even if she doesn’t).
      If you really want to ask about it, you could ask if they have found out the gender (if she wants to share it, she will) and if she’s having fun shopping for tiny clothes. Those are pretty non-controversial.
      You could ask if they have started thinking of names, but I wouldn’t specifically ask her what the name is, as many people don’t want to share it.
      If it’s not her first, you could bring up that the big sister/brother is probably so excited, or something like that.

      But mostly, just ask her about stuff you would ask her about if she weren’t pregnant – has she taken any great trips lately, has work been busy, where did she get those great shoes, etc.

      I’m pregnant and am getting a little tired of hearing “how are you feeling?” because I’m feeling totally fine. It’s nice that people ask, but it usually comes from people who wouldn’t normally ask me how I’m feeling, so it’s weird and seems ungenuine.

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