Tuesday’s TPS Report: Milo Waisted Top

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

 Tibi Milo Waisted TopI am loving this blouse from Tibi. Those cool inside out darts… the unexpected sleeve length… the flared sides… very cool. I even like the bubblegum pink. It’s $295 at ShopBop. Tibi Milo Waisted Top

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


  1. Stupid Mistake :

    The blouse is cute! I like the darts sewn to the outside, though I’d have to see the look on a non-model to know whether it would look sloppy and unfinished in real life.

    OK, now for the threadjack:

    I finally got around to starting a Roth IRA last year. I contributed for 2011 and 2012 all at once. Well, as it turns out, I wasn’t eligible for a Roth IRA for either year. I saw that I was below the cap for 2011–but I didn’t realize that there was a phase-out below the cap. While I was eligible to contribute some minute amount to a Roth, it’s actually not worth trying to separate it out. For 2012 I have no eligibility.

    I called my bank and they sent me forms to recharacterize it, which I will do (and eventually pay the penalty to convert to Roth once all this is taken care of).

    I do my own taxes, as they are pretty simple. I can find NO information on the IRS website or anywhere as to whether this is going to have tax consequences, and how complicated they’ll be. I didn’t deduct my contribution, obvs, nor did I take any distributions, so in a no harm-no foul world it wouldn’t have any tax effect at all. But I’m guessing the IRS rules on this don’t operate on a no harm-no foul basis.

    Tax savvy ‘r3tt3s,
    -Does anybody have any information or guidance on the tax consequences of this recharacterization?
    -Do I need to hire an accountant for this? E.g., will I need to amend my 2011 and 2012 (already filed) taxes?

    • Diana Barry :

      Try this


      I would ask an accountant about the conversion and any penalties, etc. etc.

    • ask to be safe, but we’ve recharacterized before…and it’s actually the opposite of a tax penalty. The IRS *may* owe YOU (but it’s probably a wash).

      Roths are post-tax, so if you contributed post-tax income and are now reversing to a pre-tax contribution, you are actually *lowering* your taxable income for those tax years. You probably make too much to deduct your Regular IRA contribution, so it may be a wash.

      I don’t think you should owe additional taxes–you will be taxed on the earnings EITHER when you convert back to a Roth (which you can do, regardless of your income, which is absurd) OR when you withdraw for retirement. Whichever you do first.

      When we were in this situation, it was because we had a $50k 401(k) that we rolled into a Regular IRA, and then we converted a portion of that regular to a Roth (there are no income restrictions for this). But we converted so much it blew us into a new tax bracket, so we had to un-convert a couple thousand. The ONLY time we paid taxes was when converting Regular to Roth. Just one person’s experience…

      • Sorry- yes, you have to amend your 2011/12 taxes. You may show less AGI, which may lower your taxes.

        You can do this via turbo tax, but if you don’t want to deal with the hassle, get an accountant to do it for ya.

        Signed, someone that has a tax return of over 100 pages this year that she did herself and lived to tell the tale.

    • Stupid Mistake :

      Thank you for the input, all. I am so annoyed with myself over this! And it’s all under the gun because I opened it at my bank and put it in a one year CD. I want to transfer it to Vanguard when the CD matures, so I need to get the recharacterization completed before then, and contact Vanguard and let them know that the paperwork I sent them weeks ago that says Roth IRA is wrong and figure out how to fix that before the maturation deadline next week.

      • You can probably call Vanguard to ask them about this. I have found them to be extremely helpful, and they probably know more about this kind of thing than you or I do.

      • Do NOT worry. It should not be to hard to amend your taxe’s (I asked my dad b/f writeing). But he said you might get audited. That is also why I do NOT do my own taxe’s and rely on my DAD to do all of this stuff for me. Yay for dad! After all, I am a WC attorney, duly admitted and in GOOD standeing in NY, but not an accountent, or a tax person. I leave that to the man in my life, and my dad doe’s this for me. But DAD want’s me to find and MARRY another man to handel this (and other finanecial thing’s) for me after 33 year’s so he can go with MOM back to DUKE and be a Blue Devil again. How many time’s do I need to hear this? FOOEY! I want him to stay, b/c mom’s apple pies can NOT be mailed to me, b/c the box would get be all GOOEY! DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • Hire someone to amend your taxes if you do end up needing to. Vanguard will tell you if you will be receiving any type of 1099, which I doubt. Just a note – if this was not a ROTH contribution and it was a 401k contribution you would get killed in taxes. Instances like this are why it is always smarter to go with an actual full service broker rather than just whatever brokerage will charge you the least amount of fees. Your broker should be there to guide you through these situations.


    • this happened to me a couple of years ago. TurboTax handled it, and I seem to recall I had to pay a $50 fine (but I’m not sure about this)

    • I love the shape of this top but wish it wasn’t pepto bismol pink.

  2. Metal Belt? :

    Does anyone know where I could find a metal belt similar to the Dior ones that have been popping up recently?

    For example: http://fashionsouq.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/thismetal.jpg

    • Try Etsy. http://tinyurl.com/by9y9kk

    • Try ASOS.

      • That was me. I hate how the names don’t stay anymore. Anyway, Blair from Atlantic Pacific was wearing a metal belt the other day and she IDed it as from ASOS. I haven’t looked to see if it’s still available.

  3. I’ve been asked to interview candidates for a role that would be peer-level on my team. All of these candidates are 10-15 years my senior, but, from what I can tell, have about the same amount of industry experience.

    I’m on the interview panel to weigh in as a “gut check” and “overall fit”, as this role really doesn’t have much to do with my day-to-day work. What on earth do I talk to these folks about? “hey, you’ll be on my team in the loosest of senses, as we don’t work in the same office or have the same functional role…but we have the same boss and she wants me to make sure you’re not annoying or stupid.”

    So…what do i talk to this person about for an hour? To make things more awkward, one of the candidates used to work with my boss– so I have to be delicate about the most important question which is to find out if the candidate is good with working with flaky, scatterbrained bosses who rely on their staff to drive key projects. (I like my boss–but she is very much not for everyone and a lot of folks have floundered under her.)

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think if you’re interviewing a peer that you’ll only interact with tangentially, the thing you most want to get a sense of is their potential cultural fit into your organization. So questions about working in teams vs working alone, how they approach challenges, what their leadership style is like, how they handle working with others, etc.

    • I’ve done this before, and I’ve always used a more conversational approach. If the candidate made it to you, they are probably qualified and have been asked a ton of questions about qualifications. Talk about the office culture generally and be as honest about it as possible. Talk about office politics in a roundabout way.

      For example, instead of saying your boss is scatterbrained and flaky, say that the boss gives the staff alot control over projects and expects the staff to drive the project. Is candidate comfortable taking control? What’s the environment like at candidate’s current job? Why do they love/hate it? Talk about what you love about the job, and the parts that can be challenging. You are basically trying to present them with what a day in your office is like to see how they react. Throw out an example like, sometimes boss comes in stressed out about missing a deadline and you will need to know where we stand on the project right away and be able to give boss a detailed account. The way the candidate reacts – up for the challenge v. annoyed at the disorganization – will tell you if they fit in the culture.

    • Think about what you’d be looking for from a person like this. What qualities, skills, etc. would help you work with this person. Think about is as skills and characteristics that will be required to get the work done. Then think about questions that will gather information about those skills. For example, “tell me about a project you’ve done where you had to work with people at various skill levels” or “tell me about how you would engage staff in x type of project.”

    • depending on how quickly you need to do this. it would be a great question for the askamanager blog

  4. Strange question: I am looking to redecorate my master bedroom, but I am having issues with what kind of comforter/bed spread to use. I love down comforters in theory, but I feel like they always end up looking messy. (I’m not a very neat person, and certainly not very good at making my bed). I have a flat white quilt right now (like the ones they sell at PB and RH), and it is okay but doesn’t look all that inviting or cozy. What are my other options?

    Also, I’ve looked on P i n t e r e s t for style ideas, and they all involve white comforters. I like the look of that, but it seems sort of typical. I also have a dog, and I feel like the white gets oily around the edges (where your face touches it). Any thoughts?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      What is it about down comforters that look messy to you? I always thought that about the ones that wind up with all the feathers clumped into one place, but found that the ones which have squares sewn throughout solve that because the feathers are confined to their own little sections.

      • That’s part of it, so that’s a good solution. It’s also that the duvet never seems to get totally smooth when you make the bed. Does anyone else have this problem? Maybe I just need to spend more time making the bed. (I’m such a slob.)

        • Diana Barry :

          These come in colors


          • So you would use that without a separate duvet? I’ve never really thought about doing that, but that’s a good idea.

        • Diana Barry :

          Or you could get a quilt instead – those look neater than comforters


          • I love quilts. I also really like the look of a few layered quilts on a bed.

            Re: down comforters – I wouldn’t recommend using one without a duvet cover because you want to be able to wash them and real down comforters will deteriorate if washed too often. Not all duvet covers are created equal and some hold their shape much better than others. If your concern is the corners not staying put, this can be solved by just shaking the blanket out before your make the bed holding the corners (both duvet and comforter). Or, just sew a button to each corner of the comforter and little loops inside the duvet corners, and use them to hold the comforter in place permanently.

          • I always vote for quilts, they look so much neater to me.

        • Standard usage in the UK is a duvet with a cover over a fitted sheet – and I usually put a polar fleece blanket on top of those. It’s quite easy to get that flat.

          • And you can hit the alarm, pull the duvet up and flat, slide out from underneath it, them plump the pillows, and your bed is made. : )

            (I keep meaning to change my screen name – we have a lot of Lilly/Lily/LilyB – and I will as soon as I think of a new one!)

        • A duvet with wool inside will appear neater, the wool does not migrate around like feathers do.

        • I put my Duvet cover over the top of the down comforter. It looks better that way, and if I get hot, I push the duvet cover off of me. The cats sleep on the bed during the day so the cover is required or the comforter would be a disaster in no time.

    • down in a duvet? Then you can wash it much more easily. You can also get a down comforter that is much more flat (too lazy to google, but they exist!) and may sit more to your liking. And/or find one that has more pockets– more pockets = less room for the down to move.

      • This would be my suggestion. Duvet covers are easy to wash, but can get wrinkled pretty easily. If you shake them out/make your bed immediately after washing them it certainly helps though.

        As for laying flat/smooth, if the down is quilted, it will hold its shape a little better because the filling won’t shift around as much.

      • phillygirlruns :

        agreed. also nice to be able to change out the duvet cover – it’s cheaper than buying a new comforter and lets you have some variety.

        also it still blows my mind that there are so many people who make their beds. i understand that it’s a pretty normal thing to do, but i don’t see the point.

        • Yeah, I never make my bed. I just mean when people come over, I want the bed to look like it does in the magazines, and I can never get it that smooth. So this is just a once-a-month kind of thing, really.

          • GirlMeetsWorld :

            It’s helpful if the duvet is an exact match for the size of your comforter.. a full/queen blanket in a queen duvet, for example, might be not be a perfect fit. Also, get a duvet cover that has little ribbons or strings sewn into the inside corners which you “tie” onto your blanket.. that helps to prevent against too much shifting and bumps in the look.

          • Down/duvets just aren’t going to get the same level of smoothness that a quilt will, but that’s also part of what lends the warm and cozy feel to it.

            I would suggest, if you were inclined to make your bed everyday, to go with the quilt, but then have a blanket/throw that you fold at the foot of the bed to soften the uncozy-ness that you’re feeling with the quilt. You could even stick with the white. That way you have continuity of color, but with different textures.

            Or, do a thin down comforter/blanket UNDER the quilt, but on top of the top sheet. And if you’re getting a dirty edge to the top of the quilt/comforter, when you make the bed, start the top sheet high enough that you can fold it over the edge of the quilt/blanket.

            You could also think about doing a bed skirt (ruffled, box pleat, matelasse) to soften the quilt as well (Unless the quilt goes all the way to the floor?)

            Just some thoughts.

          • phillygirlruns :

            my cleaning service makes my bed, so it gets made twice a month. when i wash my sheets i still don’t really “make” it, but i do pull up the sheets/comforter. i have an army of throw pillows that just sit on the floor…

        • I pretty religiously make our bed every morning. It takes about 30 seconds and I do it while brushing my teeth. No matter how messy and cluttered the rest of the room is, if the bed is made I feel a little calmer.

          And there’s nothing like the feeling of pulling down the covers and comforter at night and crawling into bed.

          • I’m impressed that you can make the bed while brushing your teeth! I feel like that would be a recipe for toothpaste-covered sheets in my case :)

          • I knew I liked you! I also make the bed while brushing my teeth and some people think it’s weird. I call it “productive.”

          • I’m with Coalea. I’m impressed with myself when I can brush my teeth without getting toothpaste on my shirt…making a bed is WAY above my level.

          • How does this work? I’m like a – if I can brush my teeth without getting toothpaste all over me, I consider my morning to be a win. If I could find a way to be more productive/efficient while brushing my teeth, I would be elated!

          • I also make my bed every morning. I only have a sheet and duvet to pull up and smooth out, so it’s not too difficult. It makes me feel so much better to come home at the end of the day and see a nice pretty bed.

          • I have a sonicare toothbrush, so I just kind of hold it and slightly move it around while I pull up the duvet, the cotton blanket, and the sheet. We don’t really use throw pillows, so I just smooth out our bed pillows at the top.

            I also lay out so much stuff on my bed each morning/at night, making it daily gives me even more usable space to pile things before I put them away at night.

          • I’m the same, didn’t quite make it this morning (flat sheet, 2 blankets, quilt, throw) and it is in the corner taunting me with its messiness.

        • That was my thinking, too. Never got the point of it (though I do when people come over).

          I have a waterbed, because my house is located in 1977, and we just yank a comforter type thing over it when we get up. Well, at least, we intend to do that, because it keeps it warmer. But it’s not to make it pretty.

        • In my case, if my cat barfs on the bed, if it’s made, she just barfs on the quilt. If she barfs in the sheets, I have to change the whole bed.

          • +1

          • I just laughed out loud at this! I have the same philosophy but in reverse. We have a comforter that must be dry cleaned, so if the bed is made and the cat (or my large dog who gets on the bed only when we aren’t home) pukes on the bed, I am forced to dry the comforter. But, if the bed is not made- I just wash the sheets. :)
            Usually we just close the bedroom door when we leave (making sure neither animal is in there).

          • +1 to this. And my cats won’t sleep in my bed if it is made – if it is not made, well then they will snuggle on in- and while I can handle them on the bed- I really prefer them not to be in the bed.

        • I am a self-professed slob, but about 6 months ago, I started making my bed every day and now I can’t imagine not doing it. It encourages other good habits, such as folding / hanging and putting away clothes and shoes at the end of the day, tossing dirty pajama clothes and socks in the laundry in the morning and putting jewelry in the right spot on the dresser. I also think its nice to get into a made bed at the end of the day. It really only takes 30 seconds to make the bed and I actually feel proud and accomplished when I do it.

          I also started doing dishes immediately after eating dinner / during cooking and that is a huge improvement in my life as well. Not having to do dishes before bed, or — even worse — waking up to a dirty sink is fantastic.

          Now, I’m going completely off topic, but I also throw away (recycle) uneeded mail immediately when I get home and toss the day’s newspaper as soon as we’re done reading it.

          • Made my bed every day growing up and then got out of the habit.

            Just started making it again lately. It does seem to make me feel like things are less chaotic and it makes a big difference in the way the bedroom feels.

            However, my standard for making the bed is pretty low — pull up and straighten the sheet & comforter. Put the pillows neatly across the head of the bed. Fold the quilt at the end of the bed. It wouldn’t pass a military inspection for sure and might not be completely company-appropriate (the comforter doesn’t cover the bed pillows and they don’t all match), but it’s what is getting done right now.

        • My army of throw pillows also stays neatly piled in the corner unless we have company. I do always make the bed in that I pull up all the sheets/blankets/bedspread taut and neat, and fluff up the sleeping pillows. I loooooove the feeling of sliding into crisp sheets. Plus, then it’s easier to use the bed for laying out my outfit for the day and any other unusual items I need to put in my work bag (shoes, clutch if I have after work plans, etc.), which I pick after bed-making but pre-shower.

        • Miss Behaved :

          I went to boarding school. If you didn’t make your bed, you got a “transgression”. Your whole room could be a mess, but your bed had to be made. I got in the habit then and I still do it now.

        • Kerrycontrary :

          Making the bed keeps germs/dust/pet hair out of your bed during the day. That’s one of the original reasons for making your bed. There are also a lot of articles that suggest that making your bed sets the day up for success. I started making my bed when I went to college (dorm rooms are so small you need to keep things neat!) and I’m 25 now. Can’t imagine not doing it. Plus, I live in a studio…so I can’t have a messy bed.

          • I think there’s also research showing that making your bed encourages growth of dust mites…just for an opposing view:


    • I actually think duvets are easier for bed making. They have some loft in them and can hide lumps from wrinkled sheets. Just grab the edge and fluff them a bit to re-distribute the filling. Using a patterned cover will minimize the wrinkles that you can see. I do love that crisp, starched look, but its not going to happen in our dog-friendly house. I think you will need to go to a mattalesse/quilt/comfortor route if you want it to look smooth. Or be like my parents and use comfortors/duvets for made-up beds only and then they remove them to actually sleep. Yeah, way too fussy for my taste.

    • Down duvet for comfort with a thin cotton quilt on top for tidiness?

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      My old flatmate accidentally bought a duvet that was too big (king for a double bed) and she ended up being able to tuck it in around the sides and this made it look really neat and tidy so this may be an option.

  5. Thinking about joining Mint. Before I do I remember someone saying that certain banks or credit cards don’t let you use Mint- is that true?

    • Nordstrom and certain branded visas, I think.

    • downstream :

      joining mint was the worst decision of my life. i never look at it and i get biweekly emails regarding having to “update” my account.

      I recently started using slice (slice.com) and I greatly prefer it for tracking my online shopping.

      • you can change your email notification settings to not receive email. It’s under profile/Email $ Alerts. You should be able to customize it to the level of alerts you want (which in your case I presume is “Never”)

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Slice is awesome! I use it to track my packages. They have an iPhone app as well.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Also, not all student loan providers use Mint.

  6. Really good article on Above the Law today about law grads not getting jobs/the decline of the profession/etc: http://chronicle.com/article/Pop-Goes-the-Law/137717/

    Some pretty staggering numbers in there. I will be sending this along next time one of my friends asks me if they should go to law school.

  7. Anyone have a coupon code that works for Gap jeans? I have one that excludes denim, the one thing I want to purchase. I just can’t spend $70 on maternity jeans. Boo!

    • wait a day or two, they have sales all the time

    • hoola hoopa :

      Yep. Sign up for emails, too. You probably won’t have to wait more than a week for a sale.

      You can also pick them up at consignment shops, fwiw. They are a very standard item (around here, anyway).

  8. Lazy Lousy Liza Jane :

    Not to get too big for my britches (as someone who hasn’t yet started at a Biglaw firm), I was wondering if any of you had any insight on firm politics as a general matter. I’ve seen it referenced in passing that some committees are considered to be fluff, for example–anything not involving comp or money, basically. True everywhere? I’d hate to do all that work to keep my nails one uniform, non-blue color only to be hoisted by the petard of wanting to meet summer associates!

    • it all comes down to whether you are engaged in a money-generating or money-using activity. The summer associate committee, while obviously the firm does need to keep enlisting new fee generators, would fall into money-using, especially in this economy — unlike 6 years ago, law students aren’t really in a position to b*tch and moan about not enough c*cktail parties and lunches out, and there’s plenty of supply. sorry.

      that said, if you have a good book (and/or good hours) and are also involved in summer associate recruiting, that’s not going to hurt you, although you might get face-time with higher powered decisionmakers by trying to get involved in a more “serious” committee. whether you care or not depends on your goals, though.

      • new york associate :

        It’s hard for associates, at least at my firm, to be involved in any committee that is money-generating. So I think this is a know-your-office question. I’ve benefited from being on a handful of fluff committees – the Women’s Committee, for example — mostly because it’s gotten me access to senior partners that I don’t ordinarily work with. I think the same can be true for recruiting or summer associates or whatever. The key to committee success as a younger associate is just to consistently find a committee where you have meaningful interaction with partners.

        Now if I were to make partner, I wouldn’t be psyched about being relegated to the women’s committee. But as an associate, that’s about as good as it gets (at least at my firm.)

    • FWIW, at the two firms I’ve worked out, none of the associates who regularly did committee work ever were promoted to counsel or partner. The associates who worked really hard all the time were. As such, I never saw any reason to join a committee. I’m not saying anything about causation versus correlation, just that I would not make committee work a goal or priority except for its own sake (i.e., because you enjoy it).

      • new york associate :

        Or if you want to network with partners and move out of the firm. Your internal firm network can be a helpful way to get a non-big-Law job. Not everyone at BigLaw is gunning for partner.

  9. Can anyone recommend a website that can print some photos for me and mat/frame them? I am not happy with any of the options I’ve found.

  10. Diana Barry :

    Rrgh – I am starting to get that seasonal-clothing-fatigue that hits every March and April. It is still cold out but not that cold, and I don’t really want to wear my winter clothes any more, but I can’t really bust out the bare legs yet. I end up wearing pants all the time instead of skirts/dresses because it feels too late for tights.

    • espresso bean :

      Same here! I find that incorporating brighter colors helps get me through this awkward between-seasons time, especially in the form of lighter scarves and jewelry.

    • I don’t mind the tights too much, but I am sick to death of sweaters and layers, particularly of having to put on a thermal undershirt and a heavy sweater to relax around the house, and still feeling cold. Bring on the t-shirts and tank tops!

    • I had the same problem this morning and ended up going for a very sheer pair of tights. Although I’ve seen a number of ladies with bare legs at the office this week so maybe I should start fully embracing the warmer temps.

    • I’m soooo there. We had such a beautiful weekend, too, that it’s making it all that much harder to switch back to winter stuff. I want to wear sundresses, dammit!

    • me too! I was just thinking about this exact issue yesterday.

    • This is me too. I went to the mall on Saturday and everything was so pretty and bright and springy that I wanted to buy everything. I’m so over winter but after a nice weekend, it seems to be getting cold again. I think I’m going to get through it by buying a few colourful pieces right now (and shoes I can wear in a couple weeks hopefully) and just hope it gets warm soon!

    • I went bare legged yesterday and regretted it. I’ve started wearing my warm-weather shirts but layering cardigans over them.

    • It doesn’t help that I hate all the clothes in stores. Why are they so ugly?

    • It’s been snowing in the UK. ARRRRGH.

      • Ugh, it’s horrible, isn’t it? It was lovely on Sunday but trudging to work on Monday am was pretty miserable and this morning was terribly icy. It’s melted now but I’m headed to the Lakes at the weekend and keeping my fingers crossed for decent weather.

  11. Good morning, ladies! I’m taking a poll. Does anyone out there use Pinterest as a professional tool? If so, can you tell me how? I’m particularly interested to know if any lawyers are using it, but I’d love feedback from non-lawyers as well. Thanks in advance — I’m trying to research exactly what Pinterest is useful for without getting sucked in (because, seriously, all I’d do is search for roller-derby-related things).

    • Lawyer here. Don’t use Pinterest either professionally or personally. Not on Facebook or Twitter either.

    • Pinterest is really just a bookmark organizer, but with the benefit of storing the bookmarks by picture, which makes it perfect for recipes, craft projects, home dec, fashion, dance, etc.

      The idea is that you find something on the web and then “pin” it to a particular board of yours. You can think of boards as labels or folders.

      If you’re going to use it professionally, then you need to decide whether it’s for outreach or whether it’s for organizing things for you personally.

      If you’re using it for outreach, then you’re trying to get people to follow you (you would provide links to your Pinterest page in e-mail, blog posts, etc.). You would need to add things to your boards on a fairly regular schedule. You would probably also want to add a Pin It button to your blog/website/tumblr/whatever because that would encourage others to pin your stuff on Pinterest, which could drive people to you.

      If you’re using it for yourself, then I think it’s best for organizing things that a picture is better than a textual description AND the website where the thing is actually has a unique picture for it.

      Note: You can actually pin things that aren’t on the web (pictures you upload locally), but they’re not as common and not re-pinned as much.

  12. Can anyone recommend a couples’ counselor in Manhattan? Thanks.

    • I can’t (never lived in Manhattan) but am sending you caring thoughts and hugs – I hope you and your spouse/partner benefit from counseling.

    • I’d recommend searching the profiles on psychology today.

  13. Courtroom question… I am named as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit against my employer by virtue of my title and responsibilities. The case is assigned to the Federal District Court in my region. The magistrate for the case assigned us to Settlement Week mediation and the mediation hearing is later this week. I know many of you may have experience in this type of setting. Any words of wisdom? Will I likely be called upon to answer questions or speak? And on a scale of mediocre to fantastic, what level suit should I wear?

    • You probably won’t have to speak — that’s the lawyer’s job. However, depending on your job duties and the kinds of things being discussed for settlement, you might be asked a question. (E.g., if the settlement would involve a change in payroll administration and you have responsibility in that area you might be asked whether the existing system could handle the change.) However, most of the time a client’s comments/input would come in the separate sessions when the other side is not present. (In many of these mediations the magistrate or mediator does “shuttle diplomacy;” after an opening when everyone is present, he or she puts the parties in different rooms and goes back and forth for disucssions, offers, etc.) You should find out in advance from your lawyer if you will have to say anything to the group.

      And regarding dress, it depends somewhat on where you are (are you actually in Ohio? dress would be different in Cincinnati than Manhattan) and the issues in your case, but I would say dress nicely and professionally but not in your most expensive suit. I had a mediation case several years ago where the federal magistrate made a snide remark to me about the other side’s principal officer and his “$3000 suit.” To be fair, the guy was an arrogant jerk, but it didn’t help that he came in looking like a snobby rich guy in a case involving overtime for lower-paid workers.

    • You should talk to your lawyer (or the company’s lawyer, if you don’t have your own) regarding what to expect, and particularly the plan for whether you will be called upon to speak. I tend to decide on a case-by-case basis regarding whether my client should talk to the mediator.

      On what to wear, my big advice would be to make sure that you look professional but also are comfortable in the clothes you select. Mediations can last a long, long time, and you may still be wearing your outfit very late at night. I make a point of not wearing skirt suits that would require tights or hose, for example, because by 11:00 at night said tights or hose have long since become a torture device. I also wear shirts that don’t *have* to be covered by a suit jacket (i.e., the shirt has to have sleeves and be completely opaque), because the suit jacket is going to come off at some point.

      Good luck!

    • It is unlikely that you will be addressed personally. You will be present but the magistrate’s questions will be addressed to the company’s lawyer. What they will want to know is whether settlement is possible and what company’s position is on settlement, so you and the company’s lawyer should be up to speed on that. Your outfit should be professional and doesn’t need to look cheap, but I would shy away from the other end of the spectrum as well.

  14. Alanna of Trebond :

    So, I know we talked about the WSJ article yesterday (I’ll post the link in a response) about women needing more flexible workplaces, but I would like to discuss it some more. I think that the article is completely wrong. There is a great benefit to having a single or few people be aware of all the facts in a particular matter that cannot be duplicated from having multiple people work on discrete projects. This may work in other industries, but I cannot see it working in litigation–I can already see the issues on a team when someone leaves or goes on leave and that institutional knowledge about a case is gone.

    • Alanna of Trebond :


    • new york associate :

      I completely disagree. I think that litigation is always better — for clients, associates, and the court — where there are multiple people who know the case. I work at a firm that staffs very leanly, and I often think that we would be a much better place if we double-staffed everything. I have a handful of cases where I’m double-staffed with an associate of my same rank, and it’s awesome. We coordinate seamlessly and I think provide much better client coverage than any one person could.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        So, I can agree with this a little bit–if you have multiple people who know EVERYTHING about a case, that is more useful. But I don’t think that’s what the article is suggesting–it is suggesting that everyone know a little bit, such that they can do a discrete project. And if everyone has to know everything, I think this may be beneficial for the client, but a system that is unlikely to take hold given how expensive each associate is for a firm and for a client.

        • a passion for fashion :

          I agree with you to some extent about the application of the suggested method put forth in the article, HOWEVER, I generally do not think the problem with flexible work places is the same for lawyers — particularly in biglaw. We are all big boys and girls and we can control our schedule. We know when we are needed in the office, or in court, at a dep, closing etc, and when we are not. Whether on a reduced schedule or not, we can work at home and do a good job of it. Sure, there are still some folks who like “face time” but in my experience, they are becomming fewer and farther between. We are judged by our productivity and if we are not getting our work done, someone will notice. So unlike some large companies where people can slack and might not be noticed — and therefore it may become a problem that people are taking advantage of a work from home policy — as a lawyer, you are responsible for your self.

      • That’s only practicable if the client has nearly unlimited funds to use for legal matters. Most clients simply can’t pay for multiple people to put hours on end into learning the case, and, I agree with Alanna, that it doesn’t work if everyone just knows a little bit.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      That is an interesting point. There at least needs to be someone involved (ideally more than 1 in case someone is out or leaves) who understands the big picture and all of the moving parts. I think that is probably true of many industries.

    • I missed yesterday’s discussion, but here’s my take:

      This honestly makes me mad. It flies in the face of everything that I’ve ever understood about equality between the sexes and what I understand feminism to be in general. The last thing that I want an employer or potential employer to think when they see that I’m a chick is that I’m going to need special hours or to work less.

      That is practicable in some fields, but often not in others. I think that many of us are blinded by working in big organizations where there are limitless bodies and possibilities. Remember that most of us work for small or medium sized organizations, that don’t necessarily have the manpower to fill in all the gaps. For those organizations, it would be incredibly stupid to hire a woman who needed special care when they could hire a man who would be there when needed.

      When I decided to become an “overacheiving chick”, I did it because I can do anything and everything that a man can do. That’s what I thought feminism was about.

      • a passion for fashion :

        This is exactly the opposite of what I have always believed to be the substance of feminism — feminism is not about doing things like a man — it is about doing it like a woman! It is about changing the status quo so that “doing things like a man” is not the norm. It is about not needing special hours or to work “less” becuase the hours you, as a woman, work are what is appropriate. “equality between the sexes” as you have described it is not equality at all — it is taking the way men do things and making women meet that standard. But women do things differently — not better or worse, just different. And this is what the WSJ article is trying to express. And why should a woman have to do everything a man can do — most men are certainly not capable of doing everything a woman can.

        • I second a passion for fashion – the status quo reflects male standards. Especially when it comes to families – whether it is pregnancy, birth, or childcare, women disproportionately are impacted while men have the option to just carry on while getting the same benefit (kids). If equity and families are priorities in our society then the workplace must account for this disparity in experience. I would also add that the dinosaur system of ‘at your desk for long hours’ is no longer needed or relevant in the modern workplace and that applied for both genders.

    • I was very irritated by the article and said so earlier. The writer is extrapolating from her own very specific circumstances to recommend solutions for everyone else.

      In specific response to Alanna, the benefit of having 1 person in charge is primarily about accountability. You can hold a person accountable for deliverables, whether they are revenue or safety standards. Holding a team accountable dilutes each individual’s accountability and hence their level of commitment, and a team made up of a bunch of free-floating part-time multi-tasking project resources is even worse.

      More generally, accountability gets ever more concentrated as you go up an organizational hierarchy and a person is expected to acquire the necessary skills, credibility and leadership experience on the way up. This is true for men and women. While it is fantastic to have more options for women who want careers without aspiring to make it all the way to the top, it is also unhelpful to pretend to an audience of women that there are somehow many viable alternatives to a traditional career path of long hours, superb delivery and constant navigation of office politics, at least when it comes to leadership roles in complex or competitive fields.

  15. Theory maternity pants? :

    Has anybody tried the theory maternity pants? (link in reply). I would appreciate any opinions. I’m thinking of getting the straight leg “Rosel” style instead of the wide leg “Max” style. How long were you able to wear them for? Through the second trimester/early third?

    Also, how does the sizing feel? I normally wear an 8 in theory, and would think of ordering a medium, but according to the size chart, 8 = large? That seems big to me.

    I know there are less expensive options, but these are the only natural fiber ones I can find, and I like theory.

    • Theory maternity pants? :

      The Rosel style:

      The Max style:

    • Your link hasn’t showed up yet, but I hated the Theory maternity pants I tried. The reasons: the ones I tried had a non-maternity like front (with a zipper and a button, not the normal maternity pant wide elastic band) and at the time I couldn’t handle any pressure AT ALL on my belly. Plus I couldn’t handle the wool – pregnancy made me itchy enough so the wool drove me CRAZY. I do know I had to size WAY UP for maternity clothes, not just in Theory but in every brand.

    • anon for this :

      I have the Max style maternity pants and I LOVE them. They match my regular black Theory suit jacket, so I can wear a suit without having to buy a new blazer. I also love the belt loops — I was able to hide my pregnancy well into the second trimester with a combination of Brooks Brothers classic fit button downs (very blousey in the middle) tucked into those Theory pants with my husband’s black belt.

      I agree with PP that the wool can be a bit itchy. If they bother you, you can try wearing thin cotton leggings underneath. I’ve done that a few times on cold days and it’s nice and soft with no itch.

      As for sizing, I’m normally a 6 in Theory and I ordered the M. They’re still big on me (at 5.5 months) but I’m hoping they’ll last until the end.

      I also ordered the Rosel and they were not good on me at all. Very tight in the bum and hips, in a vavavoom kind of way. Not what I’m looking for at work! The Max fit like regular suit trousers.

      • Theory maternity pants? :

        Thanks! The ones I’m looking at don’t have a button or zipper, so hopefully they changed the design.

        @12:26 — Thanks for sharing your experience. This will sway me toward ordering the Max style. I really appreciate the advice. I’m going to chance it and go with the medium.

  16. No matter how much protein and fiber I try to get into my breakfast, I’m starving by now (10:30). Do I just need to resign myself to snacking mid-morning? What do you eat for breakfast, and do you have to supplement that to get through to lunch?

    • goldribbons :

      I find that the coffee I drink soon after getting to the office throws me into another round of stomach-grumbling. A banana or a granola bar really helps. (I try to remember to bring a banana, but I keep a box of those green Nature Valley bars at my desk too.)

      • Speaking of bananas: http://lifehacker.com/5988300/eat-a-banana-to-remedy-over+caffeination

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Snacking is good!! You should do it! It’s better to eat frequently and in small portions because it keeps your metabolism moving,BUT the main thing is to snack on healthy things like nuts rather than like a giant Mars bar. Totally ok to resign yourself to snacking but just making sure the snacks are fun and healthy.

      • What’s hard is that I’m a PhD student, so most mornings I am in a seminar, TAing, or working in the library (no food allowed). I can’t quite figure out when and how to snack!

        • Make about 8 oz of a smoothie at home in a blender, pour into insulated thermos to keep it cold. (Assuming that beverages in closed containers are permitted in library). Quiet, filling.

          • This is a great idea. Thanks!

          • No problem! Also prevents snack-fatigue as you can vary the ingredients depending on what flavors you are in the mood for that day!

        • If snacking won’t work for you, maybe try incorporating more fat into your main morning meal. When I switched from 1% to 3.25% milk on my cereal in the morning I found that I lasted much longer without feeling hungry again. Same goes for yogurt. Even switching from 1% to 3% made a huge difference for how filling me breakfast was.

        • Sneaking food under the desk? I’m a PhD student too and am forever irritated that I cannot eat a non-messy food on a desk without a computer on a floor without books.

    • Miss Behaved :

      I’ve been having this problem lately so I have one of these at about 11 am:

      I buy them in bulk from Amazon and have them shipped to my office.

    • I do an EAS Lean protein powder shake using 4 ozs milk and 4 ozs of water plus 2 cups of coffee with cream and sweetner around 7. It generally gets me to 11:30 or so before I get hungry. If I have lots of carbs in the morning, I am hungrier, even if it is high protein/ high fiber cereal. Drinking lots of water helps too. Can you find 2 minutes to eat a piece of string cheese or a hard-boiled egg as a snack?

    • Anon in NYC :

      What time do you eat breakfast? I usually eat breakfast anywhere from 9:30-10:30-ish, and can usually hold out for lunch until around 12:30-1pm. I typically eat some sort of oatmeal (steel cut oats, farro, etc.) with dried fruit. On the days when I eat an egg sandwich I can usually last slightly longer. If I ate breakfast earlier though, I imagine I would start getting hungry earlier!

      A friend who knows more about nutrition said that after eating properly sized portions of fruits/veggies, you typically start feeling hungry after about 2 hours. With whole grains, it’s around 3 hours, and with protein, it’s around 4 hours.

    • springtime :

      On particularly hungry mornings I add peanut or almond butter to my oatmeal (put a spoon in and cook the oatmeal in the microwave), and I use more milk instead of water.

    • I have 2 breakfasts – usually some type of bar around 8am when I get to the office, and then around 10am some oatmeal. So, why not try splitting up your breakfast into 2 smaller parts and eat one mid morning?

    • Cup of yogurt for breakfast at my desk (usually around 8:30 or 9) followed by some almonds around 10:30 or 11 to tide me over until lunch. It’s okay to snack as long as what you’re snacking on is reasonably portioned and healthy to begin with.

      • Have you ever heard of bulletproof coffee? google it. If you don’t find it off-putting, it’s worth a try. For me, I find that when I have it in the early morning I’m not hungry until well after noon.

    • Thanks for everyone’s suggestions! I’m pretty sure that I am going to try all of them.

  17. I don’t know what i did to deserve this punishment, but I have a stack of resumes to go through and interviews to do and I am about to lose my cool after the first three (of….30). I am also going to send hate mail to HR, who apparently screened all of these and found them to be “top contenders.”

    PSA: If you are applying for a job in senior level product strategy/management, i can appreciate that you have a 2-3 page resume, even though I hate you for it and will flaunt my equally impressive but still only one page resume. I cannot, however, understand why you still list your business school projects from a decade ago, the fact that you are a practicing realtor, or the fact that you were the co-head of the aircraft engine club in 1990 (note: my field has nothing to do with airplanes, or even engineering). This guy’s resume is three full pages, with what has to be 1/6 inch margins. 10pt font. I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Ugh, I’m sorry. I’ve had to do this and it’s no fun at all.

      Skim all the resumes. Grab your top 10 (or 5, or whatever) from the skim and read those ones in more detail. Discard any obvious bad fits, and then call up those people (or some portion of them) for a phone or in person interviews. Once you do that, if you still feel like you can do better, go back and get #s 10-20 from your original stack. Etc.

    • Interviews... :

      You’re seriously interviewing 30 people??

      Why wouldn’t you screen down to top 5 or so before bringing them in?

      • Kerrycontrary :

        It sounds like she has 30 resumes to go through…Not 30 people to interview

      • hahha, no. not interviewing 30 people. Also, i’m just here complaining, but appreciate your advice :)

        got 30 resumes from hr saying “these are the ones i like” and have to pick out a bunch to start the process. The specific resume I was complaining about above was someone that has already made the internal “short list” because of a colleague’s recommendation…so he has to make the interview pile, despite his lack of qualification, organization, and ability to articulate (IN THREE PAGES OF TEXT) why he is qualified.

        Anyway, like I said, just complaining. If you are a 1-page resume person, I truly appreciate your style.

        • Brunette Elle Woods :

          At least you don’t have to read through the ones HR didn’t like! I can’t imagine how bad those must be!

    • goldribbons :

      I would just stop reading after page 2. If they’re qualified, it’ll be on those first 2 pages.

      • it was more out of gross fascination that I continued. But the undergrad (which was 1990) stuff was up on page 1. ::eyeroll::

        • goldribbons :

          Now that’s just unnecessary. If you can write on the resumes, I would take a red pen and just cross out everything that you feel is unnecessary, and then at the end, interview the people with the least red pen. (Perhaps that’s immature, but hey it would make me feel better.)

          • Done tactfully, that could also be a good teaching tool for HR in what you are screening for in this type of position.

          • Or, since you have the interview the offender, let him see a glimpse of his marked up, bleeding red, resume during the interview.

    • Just because they submit a 2-3 page resume doesn’t mean you have to read the whole thing. If you can toss it after reading 1/4 page or skimming then do so.

  18. Pretzel_Logic :

    Yesterday’s Bauble Bar pick has me just DYING over all the stuff on that site (and it’s in my price range!) Anyone have any experience with the quality? I know jewelry is usually a get what you pay for kind of thing, but some non-name brands hold up better than others. I’ve been looking for a cheaper go-to and this looks like a good spot…

    • I have quite a bit of jewelry from Bauble Bar and have found the quality to be decent. And if you don’t like something, they have free return shipping. I get lots of “where did you get that” comments. I would recommend.

  19. espresso bean :

    Has anyone bought anything from ShoeMint? I recently signed up for their emails, and some of the shoes look really cute. Any thoughts on quality or sizing?

  20. Anon Momma :

    I have a question for moms. Before I had a child, I read stories about child-related tragedies just as I would read any news. I found them sad, but not more sad than other bad news. Now, I cannot handle these stories at all. I’m afraid to open news sites or even my F*book feed because of all the stories I have seen lately about children that are sick, have been injured, or worse. Is this normal, or indicative of an emotional issue? My daughter is one, so I’m still a pretty new momma.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I’m the exact same way. I don’t read them. I don’t avoid news sources anymore, because I’ve gotten pretty good at catching key words in headlines, etc, and moving on quickly enough. Although I still get hit by one now and then that I can’t shake it and haunts me for a while. Affects fictional media, too. My husband and I one time stopped a movie part-way though when it involved some child abuse that we just couldn’t handle, for example. I’m not an anxious person or have ever had PPA. I used to watch pretty violent movies, etc. While not every parent experiences it to the same degree, I do think it’s in the realm of normal.

    • Totally normal for me, DH, and my friends. (If it becomes all encompassing, then it might be a sign of something more serious). I just hide those stories when it gets to be too much. Back when I was pregnant, I started crying when a pediatric ambulance went flying by because omg, someone’s baby is in there and that baby is not ok. I realized then that parenthood changes a lot of things and this newly fragile heart is one of them.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I’m not a mom, but I think it is pretty normal. Since I moved away to Big City, my mum has a hard time watching anything that involves young single females being attacked/murdered.

    • Anon Momma :

      Thank you! I am generally pretty calm and not overly emotional, so this territory is new to me. I was pretty anxious a couple of months ago due to some health problems, so I want to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary. But it’s definitely not all-encompassing, so it sounds like it’s within the realm of normal. Thanks for the reassurance.

    • Violet's Fan :

      I’m a mom of three – ages 9, 7, and 4. For the last 9+ years I’ve been avoiding news stories, movies, books, television shows, etc. about tragedies involving children. It was much harder for me at the beginning of motherhood, but I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out what I can and can’t handle and not letting my brain go there when I know thinking about something will upset me too much.

    • new york associate :

      Completely normal. My child is now 3 and I still read those stories differently, but I don’t feel quite as exposed as I did in the first two years after I gave birth. I think that as you grow up you develop this protective veneer – an armor – that protects you from really feeling all of the pain in the world. And having a baby just rips that armor off and leaves you totally exposed and feeling vulnerable. Stories about children are the worst, but even just generally, bad current events or news or stories of human misery are all difficult. I kept looking at grown adults, even the ones who did terrible things, and thinking that those people were once somebody’s baby.

      • Anonymous :

        “I kept looking at grown adults, even the ones who did terrible things, and thinking that those people were once somebody’s baby.”

        Yes. My male family members are fond of war stories (like the series that covers a different fighter plane / air fight every episode, etc) and I have had to leave the room to cry because I couldn’t stop thinking about how the ‘bad guy’ who was shot down was some mother’s child.

        The first year of parenthood is the hardest. You’re skin will get a bit thicker again, but you’ll also get better at filtering.

    • I’m the same way. Motherhood has made me feel about 1000% more vulnerable.

  21. All of my questions sedhnet-ttalks!

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