Thursday’s Workwear Report: Tie Waist Rolled Sleeve Blouse

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

Tie Waist Rolled Sleeve BlouseI recently updated our Guide to White Tops for Work and was intrigued to see how many cute ones Express has this year. I like the casual elegance of this one — it seems like an easy piece to throw on to springify your whole wardrobe. Jewelry can always be a bit difficult with a blouse that has a waist detail like this — my first impulse was to wear a long pendant necklace with it, but I think that will result in too busy of a look. Instead I’d probably stick with a short, round necklace (16″ or so), or skip a necklace and focus on other jewelry like several rings, a non-jangly bracelet like a cuff, or even a brooch. The top is $39, available in five other colors sizes XS-XL, and has a ton of great reviews.  Tie Waist Rolled Sleeve Blouse

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  1. This is cute.

    I’m in the market for a gold locket necklace but having a hard time finding exactly what I have in mind. I basically want something simple, real gold, not too big but not tiny. I found some gorgeous lockets on Blue Nile (Monica Rich Kosann) but they’re all > $1000 and i’d like to spend closer to $500 or under. I also see a lot of cheap options on Etsy but I’d rather something that is real gold and I can keep forever without worrying about tarnishing. Where am I not looking?

    • To clarify I really only need the locket, I have plenty of chains.

      • AnonTechie :

        I like Aurate and Vrai and Oro. They are a little more “fun” without straying too far from being timeless.

    • Anonymous :

      Have you looked at estate/antique jewellers?

      • +1. This option might take longer, but it could be fun and result in something unique. I have an awesome locket that I got at an antique fair. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere, and I think it might be close to 100 years old.

    • I would go to a local jeweler for this, especially if you don’t need a chain. I see them all the time in the shops in my town.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d go antiquing for this. If you’re in NYC, check out Pippin Jewelry.

    • I bought a pretty vintage one a few years ago on Etsy, here’s a similar one from the same seller:

      I wear mine daily – it’s a great piece.

    • In this price range I’d say focus on department stores like Nordstrom or Macy’s that have reasonably priced real jewelry like this. On Macy’s alone (with a current sale, they are in the $300 range of various shapes and sizes).

    • I agree, Kat! I LOVE this blouse, and Frank can NOT peer in with this one! YAY!!!!! And FOOEY on Frank!

      As for the OP, you get what you pay for with gold. If you want quality, you will have to pay more then $500. Some people want to sell you gold alloy or 10K gold, which is cheep. You want 18K to have both strength and color. Anything less (14 or 10) is yucky!

  2. Anonymous :

    Good pick.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Agreed – the other colors are pretty, too.

    • Yes, great pick Kat. For once it’s also available in petite

    • I have this in two colors. Super comfy/easy and super flattering. I always get a lot of compliments each time I wear it.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I tried this and returned it. It’s a very nice thick material, not sheer at all. Personally I didn’t find the style flattering on me, but that’s because I have realized that I don’t look great in a tie waist.

    • I have this in gray and absolutely love it with navy ankle pants.

    • In the plus size world, I recently bought a top this shape from Eloquii. It’s navy blue and looks great with dark pants. It has a somewhat lower neckline. I will try to post a link separately (no promises)

    • I just bought this in the white. Now I don’t have any idea about what kind of necklace to wear with it.

  3. Candidate :

    I have a full-day interview for a leadership position in alumni affairs and development at an East Coast university. The school color is a huge deal in this office–commonly worn in neckties and scarves, tops, and even full suits by women. The office’s dress code is smart business casual to business formal, depending on the occasion. Employees can be casual on Fridays if they wear the school color or university-branded merch.

    My question: Should I wear a bit of the school color to my interview–in a scarf or the like? Or is that potentially cheesy/presumptuous?

    • Anonymous :

      I would do it in a subtle way. Like the thin stripe of your blouse/shell or a necklace in that color. If asked, you can just say that you thought it might bring you luck.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re an alumna (and they will know from your resume anyway), I would sneak it in somewhere – scarf, brooch, etc – but only as long as it doesn’t clash with the rest of your interview outfit, which I’m guessing is the sort of unremarkable-business-formal that won’t be a distraction during the interview. If not an alum, don’t worry about it, but they may appreciate that you are observant enough/ know enough about the office, the school and its culture to care.

      • Candidate :

        Not an alum, but a current administrator with a pretty long history on campus.

        Yes, the rest of the outfit is simple (sheath/jacket), so the most likely way to bring in the color would be scarf or earrings–or shoes? :-) That would require shopping and may be too subtle for the mostly male committee, in any case.

        • Anonymous :

          Oh then def.

        • Do you already work for this University then? If so, then I would definitely try to incorporate it. Since it is red, that should be pretty easy to do.

          • Yes, current staff in another area of campus–a unit not particularly noted for rah-rah school spirit. It’s funny how local the red fixation is to AAD.

            You all have convinced me. I have a silk scarf with an abstract floral print in red and also some coral earrings. I’ll do one or the other (not both!).

    • What’s the school colour? (You can be general about it, e.g., “dark red” instead of “crimson” if it’s Harvard.)

  4. Baconpancakes :

    Wow, first pick in a while I’m strongly considering.

    I just had a piece of jewelry made, and am not super happy with the results. The jeweler was a friend, though, and only charged me for the materials, so I’m calling it a wash and moving on.

    I’m looking for a new jeweler to try to get the piece done the way I want – is there any way to figure out exactly how a piece will look before it’s done? Is getting a detailed mockup sketch something to expect? For the first round, I saw the setting before it was soldered, and had to approve it, but it looked very different once the gems were in place. Basically, how do you make sure you get a custom piece of jewelry that you like?

    • Anonymous :

      Yes. A good jeweler will do a sketch and a CAD rendering of it for you.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Good to know, thank you! I’ve never had a piece of jewelry custom made before, so this is all a little intimidating!

      • Nelly Yuki :

        Agree. For my engagement/wedding ring (same piece), we reviewed CAD rendering and also the wax model before the final piece was made. At my local jeweler, viewing the wax model is not always done. But the piece required refinements after casting, and the only way to see how that would look was to have them do the refinements on the wax model. I recommend asking about every step of the process and whether you can check in at each phase based on your past experience. Also, it took 6 weeks, but normal was 8, so be patient if you can, especially if you have to set appointments to review the various steps.

      • The CAD renderings can even show you what it would look like on, e.g. if it’s a ring they do the CAD mock up of the ring and then show you one on a mock up of a hand.

      • When I had my wedding ring made, the jeweler did a mold that I could try on ahead of time in addition to the CAD design – I’d look for that too.

    • Anonymous :

      Also, if your piece makes sense for lost wax casting, some jewelers can show you the wax mold before its cast, so you can try it on in (blue) wax before the expensive metals are involved.

  5. AnonTechie :

    To everyone that gave me advice on talking to lawyers without getting intimidated a couple of weeks ago, THANK YOU!I remembered to drop emojis and generally skip the cuteness (excessive exclamation points and the gushiness)

    I got over being intimidated and noticed that it was 100% in my head and that they are lovely- not interrupting, directing the questions to me when appropriate and responding to questions in a timely manner

  6. Favorite drugstore eyeshadow :

    What are some good drugstore eyeshadows for everyday wear?

    • I like Almay shadow.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Maybelline Color Tattoo in bad to the bronze. The best way for me to describe it is on a lazy day, I just swipe it on and it still looks like I tried.

    • Veronica Mars :

      One more–MAC lowered their eyeshadow prices about a year or two ago, so a single is only $6 (and they recently had a sale where it was 25% off). That’s squarely drugstore pricing for me, so I picked up a few. My faves are Stain Taupe, Bronze, Wedge and Grain.

      • Um…where can you find a Mac eyeshadow for $6? You mean $16? I see this nowhere on their site. If so, I must have.

        • Veronica Mars :

          It’s the MAC Pro Pan Single Eyeshadow, link below. It’s now showing as $7 per pan. I checked my order history and I ordered on 3/24 during their 25% off sale and they were $6 full price ($4.50 with code). Looks like they just did a hike, what a bummer. They also sell the big compact that can fit 15 (?) eyeshadows for $8 in the accessories section, or there are a lot of discount palette options from other retailers. I have an old Z palette I use, but I know some people are boycotting them now.

    • Maybelline has a Naked palate that’s a pretty good dupe for the Urban Decay one, and they make a small version that is great for throwing into a makeup bag.

      • Maybe I got an old palette, but I was not impressed with the quality of the Maybelline one- colors were fine and very similar to the Urban Decay. Especially compared side by side to my UD.

        • Anonymous :

          This. The colors are the same in the palette, but I have both the Maybelline colors on aren’t as deep or saturated and have no staying power. The palette was still over $10 too, so I’d probably find the Naked one on sale if I were you. It’s worth the extra money.

    • Midlife makeover :

      I have been loving the $10 e.l.f. pallets – the long skinny ones! I spent some time a year or so ago upping my makeup techniques (school of Youtube), especially on nicely blending and coordinating eyeshadows, and these work great and have lots of matte options, which was important to me.

    • As a tip, the color payoff on most drug store makeup is not that great, so you should use an eyeshadow primer to get the color to stick, or else you risk not really seeing it. NYX and Maybelline tend to give better pigment options that stick around for a while. Also, a tip I got from a friend of mine is that the brands specially marketed to WOC tend to have better color payoff when it comes to eyeshadow and blush because of the deeper hues it has to show up on. I’ve been able to get away without eyeshadow primer on those.

      So try giving the following brands a try, which are available at Walmarts, Targets, CVS, and Walgreens (at least in my area): Black Opal, Iman, LA Girl, Black Radiance, and Milani.

    • I know this is crazy, but Wet n Wild. Their 3 color pans are great and are only like $2. I discovered them from my favorite beauty vlogger, Beauty Broadcast.

      • Ginger in Tech Support :

        My cousin is a makeup artist and swears by Wet n Wild eyeshadow. The formula is amazing.

    • I like the Loreal nude pallete 1

  7. Admin Professionals Week :

    My office and government agency are in free-fall in the wake of the last presidential election. I’ve been “promoted” to a position that’s really several positions, which I’ve had to teach myself due to the exodus of higher leadership who knew the work. I directly supervise several people who are older, more experienced, and have more degrees than I do so I guess have enough money not to be willing to take the “promotion.” These past few months have been really hard. Sometimes I cry looking in my closet because I’m too decision-fatigued to make one more call. I’ve started hiding alcohol in my office to calm myself down when I start spirlaing. I’ve had to give up telework and therapy because I need to be on call all the time. I’ve gained weight because I no longer have time to cook for myself. The one day I’ve been out of the office since Christmas was for a doctor’s appointment– checking peoples’ work by email as I cried in the doctor’s office of course– and the doctor scolded me for the weight gain and said I need a psych consult. (The hiding alcohol in my office thing

    Then late yesterday afternoon came an email that there will be a command performance potluck on Administrative Professional’s Day. We’re expected to cook and donate a not-insignificant amount of money. Even setting aside the fact that 50% of the Administrative Professionals have spent the last several months giving me long speeches about how they aren’t going to do any work and pretending that they don’t know I’m in an acting managerial position, I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO COOK FOR MYSELF. It’s well known that I CAN cook because I have cooked for the office on a more voluntary basis in better days. Me not doing it is going to be taken as a statement. I would much rather be “sick” that day (which is not much of a stretch) but it’s been scheduled on a day when a higher up will be there and my reports’ worrk will suffer if I’m not there.

    I hate this holiday.

    • Make the statement. Don’t do it. Stop working weekends. Just leave. What, they’re going to fire you? Clearly no. Book therapy immediately, leave, and go to it. And get up and dump the alcohol ASAP.

      Stop martyring yourself to this terrible job. Put you first.

      Do not contribute to the potluck.

    • Ugh. Can you take a half sick day for a mystery appointment, where you are there for what matters, but gone for the potluck?

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Hey – I’m sorry you’re going through this. I think you need to re-start your therapy and treat it as a non-negotiable. I know it probably seems like you can’t take a single moment away from the office, but you can and you need to.

      Order something ready-made from FreshThyme or Whole Foods or something. Ignore anyone who makes a snitty remark. I hated the holiday even when I was an admin, so you’re probably not alone there.

    • 1) Hugs.

      2) Since you’re the “manager,” unless you’re in DOD or a health agency where lives are actually on the line, you really do have the power to say, “Hi all, I will be unavailable on email this weekend. If there’s an emergency that absolutely cannot wait until Monday, please call me. I will not be checking my email and I urge you all to do the same.” And then do it. Our smartphone culture says we have to respond to everything immediately, but…we don’t. You are empowered to say no to things. Unless someone is literally going to die or be otherwise physically harmed by not checking your email for 48 hours, Will it build up over the weekend? Yes, but you’ll be so much clearer headed come Monday that you’ll whip through it quickly.

      3) Lean on others more. Tell instead of ask. I have a feeling you’re asking these seniors and admins to do work, but you’re the one in charge now – so tell them to do X. And yeah, I know career staff at agencies are historically intractable. But take this weekend off, call a team meeting Monday morning and get real with them. “Hey guys, we’re struggling right now. We know this political climate is tough. But we’ve worked together for years. We need to band together. I need your help to make our department successful. So Team A, I need you to prioritize X. Team B, start picking up task J… We’ve had good times together. We can do this.”

      4) And in case you’re not doing it already, say no to all but the most urgent tasks in your life. Really look and see what you can say no to.

      5) Hugs.

    • I have a long reply in mod – hugs and take some time off!

    • I’m also a Fed, and I get it. My SO is a Fed manager in an understaffed agency where lives are on the line. We eat sleep and breathe this climate. Hugs and a subtle high five under the desk for making it this far. As with all political climates, this too will pass, and when I’ve called my BFF crying she’s reminded me that eventually the country will need good people in government again.

      You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you can only protect your staff as much as you can protect yourself. Start taking time off. Stop working (every) weekend – if somebody needs to be on call, delegate it down. If it’s this bad, they won’t fire you (depending on what type of employee you are, they won’t or can’t fire you anyway)

      Check in to online therapy so you could skype with a therapist from home – mostly so it’s not just running one more errand. Are you in DC? Look in to something like Territory meals, not cheap but cheaper than take-out or delivery.

      Screw the potluck, bring in a box of cookies if you’re so inclined, and let the judgement fall where it may. Especially if the admins have been awful to you? You not doing it will be taken as a statement and that’s fine – it IS a statement! It’s a statement that this is ridiculous and you’re overworked and no.

      I’m a career employee (I doubt a political appointee would be posting this) and despite the slight against careers above, we will get through this. I’m not here for this administration – we’re here to make a different for the American people.

      I know it’s so so so hard, but sounds like you can’t continue like this. Think about the one thing you need most now – therapy, to leave at 6 pm, to have a day off – and take that one step.

      • You and your type are my beacon of hope. When your Boss and our President is as disgusting as they come I cannot even imagine reporting in every day, but you do. Thank you.

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you so much (and also thanks to the OP) for hanging in there through this. I know this cannot have been easy but this too shall pass, and when it does we will need people who know what the heck is going on to get things back on track. Your sacrifices are appreciated by some if not by everyone. Please hang in there.

    • Get a grip. You’re a government employee. Doesn’t matter if work gets done or not and you can’t be fired. Those were my takeaways from 2 mindless years at a “prestigious” hard to get into agency. If you want to be so self important, go private and at least make $$.

    • If you’re in a managerial position, then manage, ffs.

      Admin professionals telling you they won’t do their work? Do what you have to do for that to be part of their file and in their performance reviews. You supervise people who are senior and more educated than you? Don’t check their work. Either delegate it to people at their level or trust that they did a good job.

  8. Anonymous :

    Can someone who is really familiar with getting dress tailored look at this dress and tell me if you think it would be easy to take in? —- The background is that I’m in a wedding in October and actively loosing weight (and I have a lot to loose). Because my size was out of stock at the time, I bought one size bigger and one size smaller. The bigger one fits pretty well and just needs the straps taken up. I was just going to keep the bigger one and if it got to be too big close to the wedding, order a smaller size. But now the company may be closing and that might not be a viable option. I haven’t returned the smaller size dress and before I do, I want to make sure that the bigger one would be easy enough to take in if necessary. It’s really important I look as good as possible for this wedding, including a very well fitting dress. Obviously I’m not just trying to throw away $150 on keeping 2 dresses, but would be willing to under these circumstances.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah that’s easy to alter.

    • If it’s very important for you to look good, keep both because with the pleated skirt an alteration on the sides may put the pleats in a weird position. And in general, a dress that’s altered more than 1 full size (at most) doesn’t fit right IMO.

    • Anonymous :

      Alterations can be really expensive! It might be worth it to keep both.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      For dresses like that, I have good luck getting the waist taken in so that the dress fits both my boobs and my waist. I have had less luck having the hip area taken in. It seems like that dress is meant to flare out a bit and I don’t think it will have a fitted look in the hips but should in the waist.

    • I just took a bridesmaids’ dress to get hemmed (to be fair it was chiffon) and it was $75 — I could see easily dropping more than $150 on major alterations, so it may just be easier to keep both!

    • Yeah the pleats will be a challenge if you have to take the dress in quite a bit. You can try to sell the one you don’t end up needing on poshmark or ebay or something so it’s not a total waste.

  9. Burned out :

    I am feeling burned out and stuck in life and I can’t see a way to fix my situation and I need some help. I feel like i have to suffer in this alone because no noe wants to hear complaining but I feel like most of my life is fixing other people’s problems or complaints. I’m a senior associate so that comes with all of the usual stresses. I’m trying to plan a wedding and I frankly find it an exhausting mix of feeling like people have too many opinions combined with I wish someone would offer and actually help. I honestly feel like a failure most of the time. The fact spring hasn’t arrived yet also isn’t helping (I really just want to go outside and not feel cold). The straw that broke the camel’s back was last night my FI was out with me and took a silly video of me after me shielding my face saying ‘no’. He does this sometimes and then laughs when I make ‘funny faces’ (not the first person to say this about me) but to me, i just feel like I look ugly. The pressure to look great all of the time as a woman is exhausting. and even though my wedding is months away I feel this crazy pressure to look perfect and I can’t because i’m just so exhausted all of the time. I just wish people didnt expect things from me constantly. If I take a vacation, I will get behind in my billings (I have some other commitments later in the year, including the wedding, so I cant take a vacation now). I hate feeling like my value is tied to how many hours I work, but I dont know what else to do. I feel like I need an escape but the world isn’t giving me any opportunities too. This is on top of several family members being difficult and needy lately. I dont have enough energy for myself let alone someone else’s problems.

    • The biggest thing I wish I knew before my wedding was that no matter how hard I tried, someone would be unhappy. You can’t please everyone, it’s literally impossible. Someone will likely be unhappy but that does not mean you did anything wrong. Do the best you can and forgive yourself for not being perfect.

      Highly recommend you take a half day to yourself and do something relaxing that you enjoy.

      When you are calm, talk to your FI about how you find the videoing business hurtful and you don’t want him to do it again. If he doesn’t accept that, it would be a concern for me. Non-consensual videoing is not something I would be comfortable with in a partner. But if you haven’t sat him down to explain it, he may think you aren’t serious.

      • Burned out :

        Understood. I feel like logically i know how I should react to things (cant please everyone, let it roll off your back) but my emotions don’t always get there.

        I did explain to FI and he gets it. Normally I don’t get offended but i am tired of being critiqued lately. I guess I only mentioned that as the latest thing that is driving me batty.

        • It’s just hard. I’m sorry. To the extent you can hire a wedding planner and not involve people in decisions, do it. But honestly it’s just hard sometimes.

        • I didn’t mean that it should just roll off your back – that’s hard AF to do and I definitely got upset if people were pushy about stuff. I literally had to remind myself via notes to myself on my phone that I was doing my best. (I can’t please everyone, it’s my wedding day so it’s okay to please myself, I tried my best, etc)

      • Agree with this last paragraph. Is he even helping with anything?

        • Burned out :

          He is helping a lot. i really did not want this become blaming him because that’s not my intent.

          I think it’s more societal expectations. I feel like people look to the bride (even when the FI says he arranged that part of the wedding) when things arent how they like it. I feel like the whole world is just critiquing and unhappy with me (biglaw and opposing counsel will also do that to you). And the social expectation to look perfect as a bride is incomparable to the standards placed on men. Even if you dont subscribe to those ideals the fact is they are there and honestly it feels like everyone will be judging (because a lot of women do!) just makes me feel like a giant failure at life.

          • KateMiddletown :

            I totally get it. Even if you have a super supportive partner, the duties (societally) fall squarely on your shoulders.

            Delegate. Get someone, even someone who is a day-0f coord for $500, to take on some of the stress for you. Get rid of some of the decision fatigue and unload it. I wish I spent more money on a coordinator and less money on wining and dining people I don’t really like.

            Re: the faces, etc. Your partner loves you and thinks you’re adorable and cute and funny. You are you and they love you.

            This is your badass moment to get through – wedding planning is a “Season of Sacrifice.” It’s not FUN! or cute. It’s a very hard thing to do, but you’re strong so you can handle walking thru fire.

            You are fun, and awesome, and this is just a job you have to do on top of your other job. It sounds like you’re in the thick of the 6 months out decision making season. Once you get the decisions made, you will feel better just having that pressure off. Prioritize what is important and let the rest happen as it happens.

          • Burned out :

            Season of sacrifice! I love that term! Thanks for your kind words :)

      • Good advice here. Idk where men get taught that this sort of juvenile teasing is ok. Like even when they’re kids, it’s not ok to keep doing something to someone once they say no. As adults they should certainly know better. Yet another way we as a society fail at teaching boys/men about consent.

        If I were in OP’s shoes, I would have a Very Serious Talk about this because consent issues are a really big button for me. I would use the word consent and tell him very clearly that no means no and continuing to do it is violative. I would make it a Very Big Deal in a very calm way. And if he got huffy about it I would seriously reconsider the relationship. But again, this is a really big button of mine and others may feel differently.

      • I would go beyond “forgiving yourself for not being perfect.” Forgiveness is for when you could actually do better, not for when you can’t. “Perfect” is a stupid expectation, IMHO. Kids in high school can write a “perfect” paper or do a “perfect” poster presentation, but part of growing up is to understand that there are priorities and time spent on perfection in one area is time not spent at all elsewhere.

        I am getting married soon and flat-out told people that if they insisted on trying to make my wedding “perfect,” they could sit their fannies at home. Harsh, but I have so much on my plate (and several personal tragedies) that my goal is to show up happy and in a white dress, then get everyone fed after.

        • Anonymama :

          Yes, this. It’s not going to be perfect, and people who love you should be happy if you are happy. (Are you perfect? is your relationship perfect? Is your family perfect? I’m guessing no, since you are a human being.) Your wedding should be about celebrating your love, not looking flawless or throwing a perfectly on-trend, pinterest/magazine-ready wedding. But you also sound like you may be a little depressed, have you thought about talking to your doctor? Even if it is just winter blues you shouldn’t be miserable, there are things you can do to help!

    • I feel like you need a break. Maybe an afternoon where you get a massage, go to a yoga class, have some fancy tea, read a book, whatever helps to make you feel like you’re actually getting a break.

      I know you’re busy with work but even if you leave at 3pm one day and spend that afternoon and the evening doing things that are relaxing and soothing, you will feel so much better. Plus you’ll be recharged so you’ll be more productive.

      And I’m sure your wedding will be lovely. I haven’t been through it but I would recommend just ignoring most of the people and making the choices that will make you and your fiance happy. People have so many opinions leading up to it and generally, once the wedding is actually there, they will shut up and enjoy it.

    • Hugs. This sounds like a rough, stressful time. To the extent that you can, I would pull back from the people who are draining your energy. You have enough on your plate, and it’s not your responsibility to fix their problems.

      I completely feel you, by the way. I’m always the fixer and the responsible one, and sometimes it really wears on me. When that happens, and I’m not able to happily give anymore, I know it’s time to pull back and focus on the basics.

    • Are you using a wedding planner? If you’re not, I would suggest it. Best money I have ever spent.

      It’s your wedding. It’s your party. F*ck everyone else’s f*cking opinions. Seriously.

      • ^ This, 100%.

        On the video thing, I’m going to post a different opinion: My DH often takes pictures of me when I don’t think I’m looking my best. Like I’m exhausted and stressed out and have circles under my eyes, and looking at him with an “I can’t” face. Or I’m talking to someone and making a face that gives me three chins. Recently, he showed me a folder of pictures he keeps on his computer and rotates as his wallpaper. 90% were the “unflattering” pictures of me. He pointed to an exhausted one, and said “look how beautiful you look, there’s so much depth there.” Then he moved on to a so many chins shot and said, “I love this. You see all of your sweetness in it.” Let him take the videos, and allow yourself to see you through the eyes of someone who loves you. It’s worth it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Hugs! As far as looking perfect for your wedding, I’ve been married three times and the first time I knocked myself to lose a bunch of weight and look perfect, and I was so stressed out about fitting into my dress that I didn’t even eat at the rehearsal dinner and it was just awful, as you are describing. And what I ended up with was a bunch of photos where I looked super skinny and not at all like myself and then I hated myself for gaining weight every time I looked at them. I am much happier with the photos of my most recent wedding where I look like myself, only gloriously happy.

      So please, give yourself a break on that score, at least. Really.

    • My advise is to prioritize exercise and healthy eating, and stop caring so much about the wedding. Did you pick a venue that does weddings a lot? If so, tell them that you are happy to have them make suggestions/just do whatever they think best.

      I had a wedding for 350 people and honestly it didn’t take much of my time to plan. I sat down with the banquet director once to taste the food. I asked for recommendations on vendors that were familiar with the space, set a budget and told them to do whatever they thought would look nice. I made a song list over a couple of weeks. A friend took photos. Voila. I don’t understand how other brides let this event drive them crazy. You have probably heard from others that the WEDDING itself will be over in a flash – that was true for me too, and at the end of the night I remember being grateful that I hadn’t wasted too many hours fussing for such a fleeting day.

      Good luck:)

    • AnonBiglaw :

      Hi. Fellow BigLaw attorney here. I was about a 5th year and billed 250+ a month the three months leading up to my wedding so I feel you. 1) it’s never too late to call off the big wedding and do something small (wish I had), 2) Vegas is definitely an option or other places like that hat are all inclusive 3) my wedding planner was a waste of money compared to my competence level, 4) the vendors really can do good work if you let them (like let the florist totally choose), 5) wedding dresses are white and that looks “good” on almost no persons, 6) just look good enough/ happy enough so you kids will smile at the pics years later, but the rest doesn’t matter, 7) people who are not biglaw do not understand, so don’t try, 8) stinking it out in Biglaw/ transitioning out well matters and so does your health. Your health and happiness matters. All the wedding Pinterest crap doesn’t matter. Good luck!

  10. fixed income capital markets? :

    Yesterday there was a request re getting into fixed income capital markets positions. I didn’t see any responses and wanted to ask b/c this is an area I’m curious about, too.

    • At the bulge bracket where I was a baby analyst (RIP LEH), this was called DCM, but if you were on the Sales & Trading side of debt, that was a different division. DCM was about structuring and origination (new or follow-on issuances) whereas Sales and Trading had more to do with securities which were already issued.

      For the most part, these jobs are typical path into banking jobs–you either come in as an analyst or associate.
      Not sure what else you’re asking re these jobs, you should have a background in econ or finance or an MBA if you are coming in at the associate level, not promoted from analyst. If you’re coming in at the analyst level, you can have any background, but must attend a school these banks recruit from. You might come in post-law school if you are an attorney who has a lot of deal structuring/deal experience. You can learn more about the path to different parts of a bank on vault dot com. There are typically less seats in a class for DCM or FICC jobs, so they are coveted. You must be comfortable sitting on a trading floor type work environment and working market hours. These jobs are almost exclusively in money centers (NY, London, HK).

      For more, I’d check out wall street oasis dot com (knowing there’s a lot of 20 year old finance wannabes) and for funsies, dealbreaker dot com. Matt Levine’s Money Stuff column (subscribe to the newsletter, free at bloombergbusinessweek) has excellent cap mkts commentary. If you want to read about a non-trad path into FICC or DCM, I’d read Erin Callan’s biography. It was (surprisingly!?!) good. There’s also been a few chick lit books re trading floors in the past few years, “Bond Girl” (Duffy) and “On the Floor” (Campbell). Equities, but I still recommend Turney Duff’s “The Buy Side” memoir and “Buying In” (Hemphill) for more about trading floors. And oldie but goody, “I Don’t Know How She Does It” is chick lit about a fund manager (not really quite on point for what you’re asking, but really insightful and hilarious).

      Hope this helps.

    • Not this exact line. But worked Buy-Side in a boutique firm
      If you were trying to break into the industry with a non-traditional background, I’d look for smaller boutique firms.
      And maybe write a CFA exam or two for signaling interest.

  11. Personal trainer :

    Anyone use one for weight loss? I’m 70 pounds overweight and after general lack of success overall in my efforts, looking at this option as a last resort despite the $$$. Any tips on what to look for? If anyone has recos for somebody in Massachusetts I’ll be very grateful!

    • I’ve lost 60# so I feel this journey —

      Not all personal trainers will be able to help you from a nutrition perspective. You could and absolutely should, if you want, work with a personal trainer to help you get comfortable in the gym and on an exercise plan, especially if you’re not comfortable with lifting weights. Are you working out already?

      But the vast majority of weight loss happens in what you eat — in person, you could look at working with a nutritionist, nutrition coach or something like Weight Watchers. I don’t have any recommendations for in-person in that area, but I worked with two different nutrition coaches online and have had good experiences, and if you’re looking for somebody to work with you remotely I could make recommendations.

      Personally the biggest thing for me is accountability, and when I have that I tend to succeed and do well. If this is a change you want to make for yourself, I’m positive you can do it!

    • For me, diet determines size, exercise determines shape. Diet is going to be the key to weight loss. Have you worked with a registered dietician? Or looked at some of the habit based nutrition coaching (Lean Habits comes to mind). Trainers are all over the board in their nutrition training. Some may be really good, but some aren’t. I’m not discounting the value of exercise and having someone to motivate you may be what you need in keeping the whole picture together, but the diet piece is a large part of this.

      • Legally Brunette :

        You hit the nail on the head with your first sentence. So well put.

      • Yeah this. I’m also quite overweight. I started working with a personal trainer close to 5 years ago. I intended to do it for like, 6 months max. I’m still doing it so many years later because I KNOW I will work out at least those 2 days a week. It forces me to actually go. And I feel so much better about my body now because I see all the great things it can do plus I no longer get winded easily. It also feeds my feminism – you’re d a m n right I can lift that couch just as well as any man! Watch me carry all the groceries up the stairs in one trip and not even break a sweat! RAWR!

        But yeah I don’t see the scale move unless I focus on my diet.

    • I recently started using Myfitness pal to record what I am eating and just get a feeling for what I eat when, and where my calories are spread out. I have never counted calories in my life, and I’m not planning to do it long term, but it was enlightening. It did encourage me to have more healthy but filling lunch and snack foods at hand, as even when I was eating “healthy” (ie. real food) it was amazing how I could easily shoot myself in the foot with a quick “snack” or indulgence that really wasn’t necessary… or at least could be more healthy.

      I have dreamed of having a trainer, and that is my next step after getting my eating habits under control.

      My strategy of cooking myself, set breakfast/lunch foods that are the same every day to keep it simple, less eating out, and eating real food has helped a lot. I just can’t keep any bad snack foods in my apartment. But I am not depriving myself and eat really satisfying meals. And when I indulge it is really good “bad” food, so every bite is worth it.

    • I know losing the baby weight is not the same as what you’re asking, but I hired a trainer to help me work out after I was cleared to work out. I had gained 50 lbs with the baby and a lot of that was poor food choices (see: ice cream sundaes like four times a week). The trainer was 100% worth it. I was the kind of person who went to the gym and kind of participated in the elliptical, but my trainer showed me weights and how to really push myself. He was with a boutique gym, so after a few weeks of 1×1 sessions, I started mixing in 3 workout classes and 1-2 personal training sessions. All of this was about $500 a month. I kept the personal training up for about 8 months, and really made some major diet changes. I was incredibly happy with the results and would recommend this route to anyone if you can handle the cost. There’s just no way I have the discipline to push myself that hard. The trainer was a great person to hold me accountable.

    • I lost about 50 pounds about a decade ago (and have kept off the weight). I started with exercise because after that helped me feel good and stronger physically, I was more inclined to eat better. I tried a bunch of different options for exercise and what I liked most was pilates reformer small classes. The studio I like best is “boutique” style, with a maximum of four people in a class. Sometimes I am the only person or one of only two in a class. With well trained instructors, I get a lot of individual attention but for the price of a class (~$30) rather than a private training session (~90?). The trainers really get to know clients and their goals. The accountability factor of the personal relationships is useful to me. If you’re in Boston, I highly recommend Pilates Back Bay. But there are likely good studios all over.

      Later, I also used MyFitness Pal to track what I ate, using a calorie goal that corresponded to the weight I wanted to be that would be healthy for my height and body type, rather than a more aggressive calorie goal that arguably might have led to faster weight loss. For me, that approach worked very well as sustainable. I eventually gave up the tracking but subsequently have a clearer sense of calorie implications and portion sizes.

      Good luck! You’ve got this!

  12. Someone recently posted on the woman who founded minted and how she had written a book about MBBs/management consulting. I clicked around Minted’s board — it is ~100% Standford MBAs. I was a little shocked — all of a sudden, my BigLaw office seemed diverse.

    It also left me a little deflated — I live in the SEUS and wonder how many trajectories are automatically weeded out for the rest of us who have different resume pedigrees? [I ultimately don’t think it matters — my cousins who all went to Random State U / in-state at SEC schools all seem to be living the lives they wanted to live. I just don’t know how you can really weigh all of this when you’re 18 and maybe have no idea what doors are that may be closing on or opening for you.]

    • The reason it’s Stanford MBAs is that she’s in the Bay Area (and so is Minted) and there are more Stanford MBAs than you can shake a stick at in the Bay Area. I don’t know what the stat is for grad school, but when I graduated, something like 65% of undergrads from Stanford stayed in the Bay Area for their first five years after graduation.
      So…why diversify to a Wharton guy when you know a Stanford guy? ;)

      JKJK–I think Board diversity is very important, and having ALL Stanford MBAs doesn’t sound ideal.

      I don’t think you can possibly know your life trajectory when you’re younger, but I have some really awesome friends from Wall Street and fancy law firms who went to Montana State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, etc. I am a huge believer that smart people get where they want to go, and doors open a little more easily for alums at the interview stage, but once you start working (anywhere) and get a good reputation, you can certainly make a name for yourself. That said, there are certain super-prestige-whoreish industries (law, finance, academia) where your school _does_ matter, but again, I’ve seen some very driven folks blow right past that, get in the door, and of course they did great, because they’re really smart!

    • I think you would find people who say the same about schools in the SEC – that it’s near impossible to get a job at X firm if you didn’t go to Y school or advance with Q boss if you didn’t go to Z school, his alma mater. Schools have their tribes and faithful alumni all over the country/world – from Stanford to Yale to Notre Dame to USC to Texas to UGA.

      • +1 to this. Until rather recently, South Carolina, and specifically Charleston, was like this for lawyers. There was only one law school in the state (at University of South Carolina) and if you didn’t go there, good luck getting a job in Charleston. Also, it’s still very hard to even sit for the bar in South Carolina if you didn’t go to law school there. I don’t know the exact requirement, but you have to do something like 15+ hours of state court observation as part of your bar application process.

    • There are many paths that are only open to graduates of top schools, but I have a theory that grad school pedigree matters more than undergrad. I wish I’d known this before accepting a scholarship to a law school of middling rank. I will be advising my daughter not to go to grad school unless she can get in to a top-10 program, preferably top-3.

      • Yes, I think there is some truth to this. I went to highly ranked undergrad where I floundered for the first couple of years academically. I righted course and went to a mid-ranked law school. I wish someone had sat me down and talked to me about the long game and aiming for the grad school pedigree over the undergrad. I adored my undergrad so maybe I would have made the same choice, but at least I would have understood what that choice meant.

      • Anon for this :

        This has not been true for me. I went to HYS undergrad, and a state school for law, but graduated in top 10% of the class. I got into top Big law, federal clerkships, etc. I now work in the fed gov’t in a prestigious group where most everyone is an Ivy except me. BUT, I will say that I certainly talked up my undergrad and that brand name probably helped.

        • Same for me – and I went to a top 15 law school, but people are still way more impressed by my undergrad.

      • this has been true for me too. Went to a top 15 undergrad but HYS for law school. Even now, more than a decade after graduation, people are still really impressed by where I went to law school and don’t seem to care that I didn’t go to an Ivy/Stanford for college.

  13. Do you wear a ring on your index finger?

    I’m not sure if it’s a trend, per se, but I’m seeing it so often that I’m starting to feel a little stodgy with my single thin band (not wedding ring) on my right hand ring finger.


    • Anonymous :

      It would look weird to me. It looks less weird (but more pirate) if you have rings on both the ring finger and another finger.

    • I do, but that’s partly because I have very tiny fingers and need a size 5 for all fingers except my index finger, which can support a size 6. (Or my thumb, I guess…) It’s not always easy to find smaller sizes. I happen to be wearing one on each right now because I really like both and they’er both size 6s.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Just seems like it would be annoying to me, but I wouldn’t think anything of it on someone else.

    • Anonymous :

      It’s pretty trendy, but I don’t think you need to worry about it unless you really like the way it looks.

    • Yes, I have one ring that only fits on that finger and while I don’t wear it every day, I wear it regularly.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Sometimes, but only because they’re very old rings I inherited that are too big for my ring finger and I don’t want to get them resized.

    • It’s a 90s thing, so yes it’s now trendy again. I used to have a spinner ring that fit my index finger. Ah memories. I wonder if thumb rings are going to come back soon?

      Fwiw I usually wear rings on my middle finger. My ring finger is a half size and most on-trend but inexpensive rings tend to come in only full sizes. My good jewelry is sized for my ring finger.

    • Nah, I go ring (architectural band) and middle (statement) on my right hand. I’m not opposed to adding an index ring for full pirate status–I’ve always been a ring person and I feel like they’re having a moment, so I might as well capitalize–but I’m out there looking for one.

      FWIW, I did add the statement ring in the middle because I was feeling a little too boring with just the band.

    • Yes. I bought a ring intending it to wear on my right hand ring finger, but it is too big. So, i wear it on my index finger on the right hand. I didn’t know this was trending now!

  14. recs for black boots? :

    Any suggestions for simple black knee high boots? I don’t like buckles, weird zippers etc. I essentially want a pair of Nine West boots that I saw (link to follow), but with better grip on the bottom. Recs for brands or specific boots would be very appreciated!

  15. MLM question :

    If someone used to post lots of Rodan and Fields promos on her Facebook page, and no longer does, is it safe so assume that she got out of it and is no longer selling? I don’t want to ask her directly because I was never interested in buying and know it might be a sensitive topic if she lost money (as most do).

  16. Wondering if anyone here has experienced ovarian cysts? I’m having pelvic pain and my GYN suspects a cyst. Having an ultrasound Friday to confirm. The GYN told me to use a heating pad for pain which sounds like advice my grandma would give me. Anyone been through this? How long until your pain resolved?

    • Your grandma was right! A heating pad provides wonderful pain relief for ovarian cysts. Have you tried it yet?

    • Diet can resolve the pain. Check online, specifically FLO Living’s blog and FB, for information.

      • Just want to second the rec for FLO Living. I developed a mild case of PCOS–not traditional PCOS, rather due to thyroid/adrenal issues, which involved some cysts–and between FLO Living and a little bit of medication was able to clear everything up within about 8 mos (including getting off meds). For me the cysts themselves weren’t particularly painful (though heating pad was great when they did act up) but they caused super painful periods.

    • I have had ovarian cysts my whole life. I figured out I had them in high school as a result of intense pain (like roll on the floor in agony /pass out pain). They were confirmed via internal ultrasound and I was put on birth control to see if that resolved or shrank them. One shrank the other did not and I ended up having the larger one surgically removed. The smaller one they left (would have required a more extensive surgery to remove it) and being on birth control has prevented it from growing. Not entirely sure what happens when I decide to off birth control if I want kids. In terms of pain I agree heating pads really help, and for me ibuprofen helps somewhat.

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you for the responses. I’ve been using the heating pad at night – maybe I should consider dragging it to work with me during the day!

        • For during the day, these are awesome.

          • Anonymous :

            you can also buy heat wraps at the dollar store (it’s in the first aid section). I stick them to my shirt so they target my lower abdominal area.

    • KittieBiscuits :

      Been there. Ow.

      Love heating pads for all my reproductive parts pain. (Thanks cysts and endo)

      I have a red rubber one i use at home, fill up with hot water, and the single use ThermaCare pads for out of the house times.

  17. Donor assisted fund :

    Has anyone organized their charitable giving through a donor assisted fund (DAF)? I read about it online and it sounds intriguing, but I had never heard of it before and am not sure who really uses them.

    • I haven’t, but our main local community foundation has used them for small donors for decades. I’d do it, but prefer to give directly and already have strong bonds with which groups I support.

    • I’m on the other side (in fundraising), so while I don’t have one, I’m familiar. You can think of it like a charitable savings account – you can put money into it on an ongoing basis and you can make gifts from it as well. I assume you are looking at something housed in a local community foundation? (My assumption is because all of the DAFs I know are housed that way.) It’s a nice way for your charity pot to grow with the foundation’s endowment or investments. Happy to chat more if that’s of interest to you.

    • Anon for this :

      Yes, we just created one. We are high earners and realized that we’re not contributing enough to charity as we would like. The donor assisted fund ensures that we will be giving a generous amount every year since we can’t use it for anything else other than charitable donations. With our fund we’ll be giving in the order of $15-20K a year. There are also some important tax advantages but I’m honestly not sure about what those are because DH handles all of that.

    • I have one and think it’s a great option – especially with the new tax law. You can make lump sum contributions and then essentially dole it out over the course of time to your favorite charities. The reason why it’s a good option for the new tax law is that many people will end up using the higher standard deduction that starts for 2018 and therefore, any small charitable gifts may not actually get deducted because you won’t itemize. But you could give a bigger gift to the DAF in one year to push yourself over the standard deduction level (along with home mortgage deduction, limited state income taxes, etc.) and then use the DAF to give out gifts in the following years that you are going to take the standard deduction. And in case you couldn’t tell from this geekery, I’m a tax attorney now working in charitable giving ; )

    • Yup, I have one. I am a bit of a Fidelity wh0re, although my goal is to move to Vanguard. I have Fidelity IRAs, brokerage accounts, MyCash account (ie. my bank/checking account) and their credit card (2% off everything). So I have a charitable giving account there as well. In some ways, it is easier to keep records of giving, since everything is out of one place. And it is less “painful” to give, since once money is in that account, you can only give it away. And I love giving it away.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Talk to a financial planner or advisor or CPA. It’s so specific to your income/asset level whether it makes sense. DAFs are great if you have a pot of $ you want to hide from taxation, but they’re inflexible and hard to unwind if you ever need the funds. If you go directly to a community foundation, yes, they’re going to suggest it because that’s what they do. Figure out what your yearly giving budget should be (based on itemizing) and then your CPA/FA can help you pick the most tax efficient way to do it.

    • Anonymous :

      I have some very highly appreciated stock inherited 10 years ago (thanks for buying Apple, Mom!) I donate a chunk of stock once a year via my Fidelity DAF, thereby avoiding capital gains tax, and getting a deduction for the current market value. Doling out gifts from the account is simple.

      Another DAF advantage is the ease of giving anonymously, if you want to avoid getting on the charity’s mailing list. For example, I’ve heard that the ay see ell you is relentless once they get your name…so I give anonymously through the DAF.

      • Anonymous :

        THIS is the really, really smart way to use your charitable giving fund. The best tax benefit.

  18. minipill/progesterone -- GI issues :

    My OB put me on the minipill (it’s all progesterone; no estrogen) b/c I was having irregular periods / bleeding.

    It knocked my GI system for a loop. I was only on it 2 weeks due to sever GI distress (gas / bloating / etc.). Now, I am finding that I can’t eat apples (just an example; other things are triggering now which never bothered me before), which I love, even a month later b/c the gas is overwhelming (like 4-5 gas-x can’t fix it). Yesterday, I ate nothing but yogurt and refined starches and wasn’t bothered at all (this is not what I usually eat, but was burned by the apple situation on Tuesday).

    I suspect that I am some weird outlier on this, but wanted to poll the Hive, especially if anyone has helpful annecdata / advice.

    • I definitely think it could be the BC. I was on BC pills for years and several years ago started having GI issues, which a dr generally diagnosed as she thought it was IBS. It seemed to get better after taking probiotics and then eventually I went off BC when we started TTC. Years later, during fertility treatments, I had to go back on BC pills for 3 weeks and it immediately brought back my GI symptoms. I finally realized that maybe BC had been the problem all along. I also had to take estrogen pills and do progesterone injections during IVF and those gave my stomach fits as well. My FS acknowledged that they can cause “stomach discomfort.” So I don’t think this is all in your head or a coincidence.

    • I definitely think it could be the BC. I was on BC pills for years and several years ago started having GI issues, which a dr generally diagnosed as she thought it was IBS. It seemed to get better after taking probiotics and then eventually I went off BC when we started TTC. Years later, during fertility treatments, I had to go back on BC pills for 3 weeks and it immediately brought back my GI symptoms. I finally realized that maybe BC had been the problem all along. I also had to take estrogen pills and do progesterone injections during IVF and those gave my stomach fits as well. My FS acknowledged that they can cause “stomach discomfort.” So I don’t think you’re alone.

    • Seconded. For example, tons of women get digestive issues in early pregnancy due to the high levels of progesterone.

    • When I started BC years ago, I suddenly couldn’t eat apples, dairy, shellfish, and a myriad of other foods I always ate. I took them for years (in ignorance), have been off for over a year, and things have not changed. I think once you lose your digestive ability like that you can’t get it back. Probiotics, ferments, etc., have not helped.

    • Have you talked to your doctor about this? That would be my first step if I were having side effects from a new medication.

    • I read a book ( I think it was called GutBliss) that talked about the effects of hormonal birth control on the GI tract. It’s a thing.

  19. Email is not that hard :

    Just venting here but does anyone feel like sometimes their coworkers fundamentally misunderstand the purpose of emails? I’m having a rough week where one partner I support is just not reading anything beyond the subject line of emails (and then sending questions that are clearly answered in the body of the email). They’re traveling and I know this happens when you’re juggling a lot. But I’ve had three different projects now where I’ve had to come up with a nice way to say “I think that analysis is included here.”

    I also have another partner that requires his assistant to create a daily spreadsheet of his emails and color code which ones are outstanding. This spreadsheet is then printed out and put on his desk. Pretty sure that’s the point of an inbox…

    And on top of the high-priority, all-caps “COOKIES IN THE KITCHEN” emails I’m just over this week.

    • Unimportant high priority emails make my eyes twitch. I know you’re not really supposed to do this, but the last time I got a high priority email asking what I wanted for lunch in 3 days, I responded something like: Thanks for being so on top of this, I really appreciate it. I’d like to order the chef salad no dressing, please. Also, could you please avoid sending me emails with the high priority stamp unless there’s a true emergency? Thanks.

      Fwiw this is the same lady that sent all-office emails with instructions about how to use a sink, how to sit on a toilet, and how to make coffee — when we had issues with these things when we had huge numbers of guests coming in and out of the firm, so obvi it’s a guest doing it and not someone actually on the email. I let the powers that be handle those.

    • “This spreadsheet is then printed out and put on his desk.” This gave me an aneurysm. That poor assistant. My god.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I have an employee who does such weird things with email. She changes the subject line when she replies which makes it hard to track an item. She arbitrarily adds her initials to subject lines for no clear reason. Thank god she hasn’t changed her email background to, like, pink plaid with teddy bears. The spreadsheet you mentioned is pretty astounding…lol!

    • I live for “Per my previous email” and a passive-aggressive forward of the email in question, but then I’m a soulless b*tch.

    • Yes, and I only wish people would actually read and think before send.

      I work in medicine.

      How many times have I had to reply back…. “You did mean the tumor is WORSE, not better, yes?”

    • givemyregards :

      Absolutely. My personal pet peeve is when people request a read receipt notification for every single e-mail they send you. It just feels like they’re trying to guilt you into responding immediately and I always click no.

    • Ugh. I also can’t stand when people don’t keep their outlook calendars up to date. I shouldn’t have to ask every person if they are available for a meeting next Wed at 1pm. That’s why we’re able to share calendars.

  20. Data science :

    Any data scientists out there who can provide some advice? I currently do applied social science research in a highly specialized field. I don’t have a Ph.D., but I have J.D., a quantitative master’s degree, and tons of training and experience in quantitative and qualitative research methods. I hold a Ph.D.-level position and serve as PI. For a variety of reasons, I’d like to rebrand myself into a data scientist.

    My current skills include statistics, cross-section and time series econometrics, multilevel analysis, panel data analysis, survival analysis, structural equation modeling, and quasi-experimental design for causal inference. I use SPSS, Stata, R, eViews, and MPlus and learned SAS once upon a time. I have done a ton of data cleaning and flattening of relational databases.

    To call myself a “data scientist” and become more attractive to the for-profit sector, I think I need to pick up machine learning and Python. I would also like to get more current on data visualization and begin to connect with the data science field, which didn’t even exist when I graduated a decade ago. Any ideas or suggestions for where to start? How to market myself to overcome the lack of a Ph.D.? And is there anything else I haven’t thought about?

    • No idea, but all two of the data scientists I know were former DBAs. I would think you would need a solid understanding of different types of databases (and not just relational databases) to be able to store and wrangle the data efficiently.

    • AnonTechie :

      If you don’t already have one, I’d start a github and maybe stalk people on Kaggle.

      Python is pretty friendly if you have ANY scripting/coding experience- i like Datacamp but you would be okay with pretty much any MOOC.
      If you use R at work and have time, it might be worth trying to move to python in your job as a more time efficient way to learn because you’ll be working with data that is meaningful to you.

      Ignore the PhD requirements, I’ve met plenty of amazing DSs with nothing beyond a BS-describing your work more precisely from the math/nerd perspective (eg. Used k-means clustering to identify malfunctioning rainfall sensors- or whatever else)

      Also, looking at firms specializing in data analysis for legal markets (eg Cornerstone research in DC) may make it easier for you to get your foot in the door

    • People with half your achievements are calling themselves data scientists. There are some short programs at good schools that would help you pick up on the jargon. A small investment of your time learning Tableau will pay off for data presentations. This is such a new field, I think the people who are successful presenting confidently are rewarded. It’s not an established career path.

      • Donor assisted fund :

        +1. You’re already ahead of the field big-time. UC Berkeley just put out a free online version of its extremely popular Data Science course for undergrads, so maybe check that out or something similar just to get an overview of the field/current directions.

      • +1

        The data scientists who I’ve worked with who added the most value to companies and were regarded as super-great data scientists were ones who could present information well. This includes visualization to some extent – you don’t need to be a graphic designer, but being able to take complex analyses and present them in a way that is visually comprehensible is critical. Along those same lines, being able to explain your analyses in simple terms (without sounding condescending) is also great.

        I wouldn’t worry about adding additional technical skills at this point and instead focus on some of the softer skills. That said, I think you could probably get a job right this minute as a data scientist without any additional work/training.

        • Data science :

          This is encouraging–a big part of my job is explaining really technical analysis to people who are afraid of math. Thanks for all the responses so far.

        • +1mm
          If only I worked with Data scientists who could communicate and present well! And had, y’know, some understanding of the world outside their computer screens.

    • There are a couple of *free* but quite selective data science bootcamps. Their business model is to take a finders’ fee on the first job you obtain, so they do have a strong incentive to ensure their alumni get jobs. They have a very large number of applicants, so the applications process for a bootcamp is basically a job application process in itself (several steps, a couple of months).

      My SO did one of these bootcamps (Data Incubator) and successfully obtained a job as a data scientist. He was a PhD transitioning from academia, but a number of his classmates had masters degrees. From what you’ve said about yourself, I don’t think you would be out of place!

    • The term data scientist always makes me twichy as 2/3 times the title should be statistician, or quantitative modeler, machine learning modeler or database programmer.

      That being said, it sounds like you’re already a functioning statistician, and could pick up GGPlot/visualizations pretty quickly. I feel like learning an additional programming system would be less valuable than learning high dimension visualization.

  21. Another backpack question – I saw the thread yesterday afternoon. I’m also looking for a backpack for travel; it’ll need to double as a personal item and a day pack for short-ish hikes. I’ve been thinking about getting a Fjallraven Kanken and I just love all the colors, but some of the options from yesterday’s thread looked great too. Now I’m torn! Help!

  22. Piggybacking on all the jewelry posts this morning:
    Any recommendations for a creative jeweler in the Plano, Texas or surrounding area? I have some old Navajo jewelry I would like to have remade into something wearable.

  23. Fight with husband - probably minor and boring, but genuinely can't tell if i'm overreacting :

    I was supposed to send something to our state tax agency a few months ago to get a small check – it required me to call and send some documents. My husband handles our taxes but this piece was in my name, so he asked me to do it. I let him know I’d called and that the check should be on its way.
    Since then he’s asked a couple of times where it is and I said ‘you know I thought I sent the info, let me call and find out’ – I’d meant to do this over the last few weeks and didn’t yet. Last night I came upon the folder which contained the documents – I’d never sent them. I said to him ‘oh crap, it looks like I actually didn’t send this, I’m sorry! But it’s good we have it, will send now.’ He reacted by looking away and sighing deeply, saying, “G O D,” and rolling his eyes.
    I was so startled – it was the kind of reaction you’d get ABOUT someone, when you’re irritated; not something you generally do in their face. It’s almost the kind of reaction you’d have about a bureaucratic screw up or something, at a faceless entity – but this was his irritation directly at me. In front of our two small kids, no less.
    It felt disrespectful and hurtful. I brought it up later and he basically rolled his eyes again, saying this was something he’d been asking me about and he can’t believe I was upset with him.
    I imagine this sounds minor but I’m trying to figure out if I’m being unreasonable and whether I should better learn to let things go, or if instead this is objectively disrespectful and thus merits more than a tossed off, irritable non-apology. We’ve gotten into fights much bigger than this that actually haven’t bothered me like this – I think it’s the fact that I was apologetic and his eye-rolling came off as contemptuous.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I can see both sides. I can understand his frustration with you for not sending off the item, and I would be hurt by his reaction too. Is he generally respectful and understanding? Are you generally good about following through with your commitments? If the answer to both of those (especially the first one) is yes, I’d let this one go.

    • So, he reminded you repeatedly to do one small task, when he does the big stuff, you repeatedly said you did it even though you didn’t, you left it lying around, you only noticed because you stumbled across it. The mind boggles that you are defensive enough to turn this around on him. He expressed his completely reasonable irritation briefly. He didn’t yell. He didn’t berate you. He’s not holding a grudge. Move. On. You completely screwed this up! Sure his response wasn’t perfect but it was fine.

      • Word. You screwed up and he expressed his annoyance. Move on.

        • +1


          An eyeroll is nothing for this. Fall on your sword, and be grateful you have a calm and loving husband who didn’t erupt in front of the kids…. like I may have done (not good….)

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I agree. This was a pretty big mistake on your part. He’s allowed to be annoyed by it.

    • Is it possible that his eye roll felt extra hurtful because you already felt embarrassed for having dropped the ball? I tend to internalize criticism or negative responses when I already know that I’ve messed up, so it feels more painful. Maybe next week, after you’ve sent off the documents and it doesn’t feel fresh, reassess whether this was a big deal. It might be worth mentioning to him, hey, I understand I screwed up but eye-rolling and huffing felt contemptuous and it isn’t the example I want us to set for our kids when we’re frustrated.

    • I think you’re overreacting. You screwed up and didn’t realize it until he’d nagged you a bunch of times. As someone who handles the finances and has been in similar situations with my sweet-but-spacey husband, I don’t think a little eye-rolling is out of line.

    • I mean you’re right, eye rolling is contemptuous. I’m sure you’ll get comments about how contempt is one of the four horsemen of divorce. His dismissiveness when you brought it up later is imo the bigger issue. When your spouse tells you, hey you really hurt my feelings, you don’t eye roll and tell them they’re dumb. Not cool at all.

      OTOH as the designated Planner of most of my relationships (currently single, maybe for good reason!), I can really relate to your husband here. Like, dude asked you to take care of this one thing. He followed up multiple times – which he shouldn’t have had to do in the first place – and you brushed him off and didn’t do anything. Then when you finally decide to turn to it, after more nagging from him that I’m sure he didn’t want to have to do, oh shucks look at that I never actually did it. This kind of thing drives me up a freaking wall. I’m positive I would sigh and eye roll in response to this – if not more. And then for you to say that reaction wasn’t ok? Like ok you want to hear my actual reaction that I kept to myself – I can’t trust you to take care of anything, I asked you to follow up but you dismissed me and did absolutely nothing, why do I have to be the one to take care of literally everything to keep our lives together. If I’m being honest I probably would’ve reacted similarly, even though I acknowledge that the after-the-fact dismissiveness isn’t ok.

      Ask yourself – is this a one time thing (and his reaction was over the top) or is it a habit (and his reaction wasn’t about just this one thing but more generally about you dropping the ball). And be really really honest here because no one ever thinks they’re dropping the ball. Also try to talk to him – are there ways you think I’m failing this family because your reaction was really out of step with a one off mistake and it makes me think this is a bigger issue.

      • Yes. He was irritated. He felt contempt. Reasonably.

      • +1. Oh boy, I can relate to absolutely every thought in paragraph 2.

        I’ve been asking DH to change the beneficiary of his life insurance and IRA from his sister to me since I got pregnant. Our son turns 3 in two weeks. We’ve received all the paperwork and everything we need.

        • Oh my God.

          This is terrible parenting.

          It takes 2 minutes to change.

          I have a family member that was sloppy like this for not renewing his life insurance through work by literally, just checking a box and sending it in. Then he was hit by a car when he was walking across the street. He is a paraplegic now, and never worked again. Paraplegia = loss of two limbs for many life insurance plans and he would have had a million dollars. Instead, he got nothing. And has no job.

        • Anonymous :

          Um, this sounds like a way bigger scr*w up than what OP did…this isn’t a delay in getting a small check, this is a huge mistake that potentially means you and your son could get nothing if he dies. He needs to change this TODAY. I would literally stand over his shoulder and make him do it tonight.

      • anonshmanon :

        I was going to say something similar. I too am the planner, and in theory I would like a more equitable division of these things in the relationship. But when I leave the logistics of something to SO and we find ourselves running late (which is a big stressor for me), it makes me resentful and like I cannot drop any balls because my SO will not catch them.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Your husband is not a robot. I wouldn’t expect him not to be annoyed at something objectively annoying that you did. Let it go.

    • This is all so helpful, thank you! Including the tough-love ones telling me that I’m being way too defensive – it’s genuinely helpful and makes me feel better, that i’m not being all walked over or something, and that maybe his reaction is somewhat justified. That it’s justified makes it seem less disrespectful, if that makes any sense.
      Many thanks for every one of your very thoughtful replies, and the help you’ve given me in seeing where he’s coming from. I woke up seething, now I’m feeling pretty sheepish…(as I should)

      • I should clarify, though — I did actually make the call in the first place, and got the documents we needed. I’d just thought I sent them after filling them out and drafting the letter, and then discovered they were still sitting in the envelope in the folder, and I’d not actually mailed them.
        Anyway! I realize I should move on, and now will do so, with a little more grace. Thanks again, all.

      • Anonymous :

        Not to pile on more, but take a look at how you acted when he asked you. If you were perfect sweetness and light every time he asked you then maybe you have a moral leg to stand on re: manners in front of the kids. If he ever asked you if you’d sent it and you expressed impatience or frustration with him for asking? Then you have no high ground here at all.

    • Sorry, I’m Team Husband on this one. Yes, eye-rolling and sighing deeply is disrespectful, but I would be so frustrated if I were him – he usually handles the taxes but asked you to do one thing, you didn’t do it, he asked about it, you said you’d follow up but didn’t, etc. And then later you tried to make him the bad guy because you didn’t like his “disrespectful” reaction when you told him all of this? Come on.

      My guess is that you know you’re in the wrong on this one, feel guilty about it, and are trying to redirect those bad feelings into your husband somehow being the bad guy. It’s a very natural reaction to try to find away to relieve the negative “Ugh, I messed up” feelings. I’m guessing that the reason this upsets you more than other fights is that you’re feeling bad about the whole situation and would really like (subconsciously) to find a way for this to be his fault somehow, or that he has also messed up, so that you can feel on level footing.

  24. Confidence :

    I recently posted about really ramping up my wardrobe and appearing more professional. I have been reading a lot about executive presence and I am so excited about the changes I have made to my wardrobe and being more professional.

    However, while I am generally a very confident human and I love how I look now when I step out the door, I am feeling super apprehensive about the perception of my peers during the day. In particular, some associates who do not like to dress up have made comments about how I am dressing up, etc.. Not necessarily bad comments, but obviously they’re noticing. Similarly, I feel apprehensive about how the older associates I work with will perceive the changes. These older associates are generally dressier and basically, it is obvious to everyone that I am trying to emulate them in how they present themselves, including clothing, particularly since it is a male-partner heavy place.

    I feel like it has become more and more obvious that I am doing something new/different, since I never wore blazers or added anything more to an outfit than a cardigan. Also often testing the boundaries of “business casual.” I am loving this new style, but feeling like I want to hide in my office for fear that my peers will make more comments. I know I should not care, but, I do and don’t know how to manage those emotions.

    So, what would you say to a young associate who is doing her part to be more professional and finally dressing the part?

    • Own it! The feedback you are getting indicates that you are meeting your goal of looking more professional, so what’s wrong with that? Say a genuine and graceful “Thank you!” when you get a compliment, then go on with your day.

    • That if you are this distressed by showing up for work wearing appropriate professional clothes you should get therapy for your insecurity because you can fix this. No one really cares. Sure, they notice. And? That’s it.

      • Yes. It’s way better than the young women in my business casual office that wear cold shoulder tops, patterned leggings, high top Converse with skirts/dresses. Nothing wrong with a little gravitas.

      • AnonInfinity :

        I disagree with most of this. Some people don’t like others paying attention to them in this way, and it makes them uncomfortable when folks make comments. She didn’t say that she has debilitating anxiety or anything like that–just that she’s feeling self conscious about some comments. Probably because she perceives the comments as implying something the others could see as negative about her– that she’s a copycat or that she’s trying to one-up her peers or whatever. This is a completely common reaction to feeling like you’re being criticized, so I totally get it.

        The part I do agree with is that, at the end of the day, probably no one cares as much as you’re thinking. It feels like a big change to you because it is a big change internally. But these people aren’t in your head. They’ve noticed, and that’s good! You want people to notice that you’re stepping up your game! If they do care that you’re showing them up by dressing nicer, then that’s on them. It was very freeing to me when I had the realization that everyone is so wrapped up in themselves that they don’t really care that much about what I’m doing.

        Also, once you wear these clothes for a couple of weeks, people are going to stop making comments about how dressed up you are. Soon the only comments you’ll hear will be if they like a particular outfit. I bet it’s like wearing bright lipstick out for the first time. You think it’s SO INSANE and obvious and different from what you usually do, but by the end of the night, you love it and feel more confident wearing it.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to this. Seriously, nobody cares.

    • They are noticing because it’s different, but soon, your new look will just become part of who you are. Own it!

      • Anonymous :

        This! A colleague in a casual workplace did the same thing you are, and bumped her dress up to business casual regularly because it made her feel good. She got a lot of comments for the first few weeks, but after a month or two no one noticed anymore and that look became her new normal.

    • One point, however: by dressing up do you mean over dressing? Or do you mean wearing higher quality more tailored clothing that is more polished?

      They may have a point if you are dressing business in a business casual environment, it’s too much and stands out like you don’t know your own workplace. No one likes the girl that wears matching suits and heels everyday in an environment where 90% of people are in true business casual (khakis and button downs with no tie / flats, sheath, and cardigan type of environment).

      • +1

      • I started working again after 20 years, and put several hundred bucks into business clothing because I’m in DC and just assumed EVERYONE wore business level clothing (think BAH or law offices).

        Starting out, I’m in a contract job at a cybersecurity firm and everyone is in business casual – with the exception of the M-suite execs, whom I work for. I’ll dress business casual (cords, blazer, Frye boots) on Fridays, but the rest of the week, DVF wrap dresses or suits and heels.

        I figured I spent enough money on it that I’m gonna wear it, and my next job might not be so casual.

        I should add I’m an EA, and some folks seem to have an ingrained bias against “just the admin”, but I also think I act more professionally when I dress the part.

    • As a senior manager who also dresses on the business side of business casual, more power to you! I am so tired of counseling younger staff who are not appropriately dressed for business casual (actual thing i have said “you’re not in college anymore – go buy some pants that don’t have holes in them”) that I would be grateful that you’re dressing for the job you want, and would probably subconsciously take you more seriously.

      It’s pretty hard for me to take seriously the guy whose pants drag on the ground or the young woman with bra straps showing.

    • Not everyone in your workplace either wants to or can advance. If you want to advance, dress the part.

  25. Excel vs coding :

    I used to do some coding a LONG time ago. Now, I do a lot in Excel. Would it be hard to pick up coding again? I think if you can figure it out once, you can figure it out again, but maybe I’m missing something.

    • AnonTechie :

      The syntax will be a little bit of a learning curve, but the new languages are way friendlier than older ones :D You got it :)

    • programmer :

      I agree. If you have the type of mentality that can do boolean logic then no matter what language you need to write in, you can do it. If you’ve been keeping sharp in excel you can switch to whatever fairly quickly (more quickly than someone just picking it up with no programming experience). Go for it!

  26. I need suggestions for a new work bag. I am trying to eat cleaner which somehow means I have tons of containers to tote to and fro.

    I don’t want a backpack. I am currently using a giant lululemon gym bag but I hate the look. I want something sleeker and more polished but can fit some tupperware containers (probably 2-3). I’m okay carrying my lunch separately in the morning but would like to be more consolidated on my way home.

    Any suggestions? Thanks all!

    • When I do this I just use a standard tote bag (camel colored leather, so it goes with everything) of the type that gets recommended here all the time, capable of holding a 15″ laptop. The one I have is 7 or 8 years old or I would link to it. Caveat: I don’t carry a computer on the daily. If I did I would need a bigger bag or even a backpack. The tote holds wallet, keys, sunglasses case, phone, coffee thermos and 2-3 containers for lunch pretty comfortably.

      • I got a Thermos branded bag at Target because I too bring my lunch and a thermos of tea and inevitably something “tumps” over or leaks and the insides are sticky. Maybe have that within a bigger bag?

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I would get a bento box or tiffin, the kind with multiple containers that stack up but also fit inside each other (once you take the lids off). Or the rubber kind that collapses, which you can get in lunchbox or general tupperware form. Example links in followups :)

      • Lana Del Raygun :


      New brand. Styles made after bags the designer would make with his grandmother to sell in the market in southern france.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I had a horrified reaction where I thought “eat cleaner” meant you were trying to eat Simple Green or Borox, and wondered if that was a new, deadly diet fad.

      Fortunately, I have tomorrow off, so this is my Friday…

  27. I’ve seen a couple stories lately about school administrators or school board members being paid $150k – $200k. (One was in Louisiana – remember the viral video where the teacher was escorted out? And there’s a local story this morning in the WaPo about something similar in PG County.) I don’t have school-aged children, so what I’m basically curious about is, is whatever these school administrators do worth $200k? It seems completely egregious to me, but I don’t know what they actually do. IMO, whatever they do cannot be as tough as what teachers who get paid $50k do, but I’d love any insight anyone can provide.

    • Top school administrators – superintendent level positions- manage budgets in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, manage staffs of hundreds of employees, deal with hundreds of regulations. Yes. It is worth 200k and more. Schools are businesses, the top admin is a CEO type role. (Board members are usually not paid though?)

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        YES! I’m an administrator. IMO, half the problem with US education is that we are afraid to treat it like a business. We have a product we need to deliver just like any other business does. If we want to attract and retain good talent, we need to pay like a business. Good administrators are making tough decisions with huge consequences, and good school districts work hard to compensate those administrators. (which of course…educators are horribly underpaid, certainly including teachers but administrators too)

        • I agree that teachers are grossly underpaid in most places, but I’m not sure the business analogy totally works. While you are delivering a service (one that is much more important than what most businesses deliver), schools – at least public schools – aren’t producing revenue. It’s all cost. So you can’t justify huge executive salaries based on profits the way a business can.

          That said, I don’t think $150-200k is outrageous in most places based on the credentials and work required of a school admin.

    • I think you’re looking at this wrong. In our society, salary is rarely tied to how tough the work is or what it is “worth” in the way you’re suggesting it.

      Administrators are paid a lot because they can make a huge difference in how a school district runs in terms of financials, test scores, etc. – and in order to attract top talent to do that, you have to pay a competitive salary. They also typically have higher level degrees, in some case PhDs. Most of them work long hours, year round (which I understand is true of a lot of other jobs that are not paid as well.) Their are fewer people qualified to handle the position, and getting a top person can make a huge difference to the district as a whole.

      It’s a market issue more than an objective assessment of what a certain job is “worth”.

      School board members are typically not paid; if they’re making $200k then I agree that that’s odd.

    • My brother has worked in school administration in multiple large school systems (NYC, Chicago, Detroit etc…) for 20 years after being a teacher for 10 years. A lot of bloat, many old timers who are overpaid for their value, lots of built in raises/seniority as with public service jobs, and often terrible ongoing struggles for increasing teacher pay and cutbacks instead currently in these systems. My brother has seen both sides as a teacher and administrator and he freely admits the system is not fair. He makes a lot of $$ now for less stress as an administrator.

      The examples the other posters are giving are for a small sliver of the top administrators, who really have a large managerial roll. Many of them will have lucrative retirement packages and stick with the system for years to lock it in. And they can never be fired, and are just shuffled around if there are issues.

      • As one of the posters above, I definitely was thinking of a superintendent-level position. Are there lower-level administrators that are paid on that scale?

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          Yes for sure. In medium and large ISDs. Think asst superintendent or immediately below that.

    • Anonymous :

      Teachers deserve more than 50K. But that doesn’t mean admins should earn less to fund it. We vastly overpay medical professionals and vastly underpay educational professionals.

      The best education systems pay teachers well so that it is considered a prestigious career like law or medicine. DH’s brother in Europe is a high school teacher who earns 100K. BIL’s wife is a doctor who also earns about 100K.

      • But European doctors don’t spend $250K to go to medical school, after spending 100-250k to go to college. And European doctors make better salaries as residents and work better hours. And European doctors don’t have the same malpractice insurance costs.

        And there are a lot of American doctors that earn 100k.

        Can’t compare the two systems. And you can’t compare the training/time investment required for medicine with the training needed to become a high school teacher. That alone requires more renumeration. I would argue European doctors are underpaid for the daily stress/risk and long term investment and training required for the field.

        But Europe is where we are going. Medicine is slowly becoming female dominated as it is in several European countries (especially in the East), as the salaries drop. So we like to pay women less….. But until we have a relatively free educational system for higher ed and medical school in this country (which will never happen)…. you have to pay doctors enough to make up for the huge investment and sacrifice for training. Or else the quality of doctors will continue to drop and most of our doctors will be foreign trained immigrants from eastern europe and India…..

        I would say we vastly overpay a lot of corporate/financial/legal sectors compared with the value doctors have to society, but that’s another can of worms. And I admit our medical/insurance system is a mess and has a long way to go.

  28. Shower invites? :

    My sweet friend is throwing me a baby shower and asked for a guest list. Sounds easy, but I’m having a hard time figuring out who (or even how many) people to include.

    I don’t have a tons of friends locally, but I have a short list of family/close friends who live close by who should be invited. I also have one friend who has specifically said she wants to try to come from out of town.

    Should I invite other family and close friends who live out of state, even if I know they probably can’t come? I don’t want to exclude anyone, but I also don’t want it to seem like I’m trying to force them to send a gift when I’m assuming they probably can’t attend.

    • I wouldn’t invite anyone non-local unless they’ve specifically said they want to come.

    • Diana Barry :

      FWIW I usually get invitations to showers even when I am out of state. I RSVP no and don’t worry about sending a gift. Just invite the people you would like to see there, even if they are out of town.

      • Agreed with Senior Attorney. I’m doing this in 3 weeks – going back to hometown where most of my friends still are (I moved about 3 years ago to the other coast). I only invited local folks. My best friend lives in the middle of the country and I didn’t even invite her (I told her about it – but also said I’d love to just see her another time just the two of us instead of have her travel for that). I would tell anyone who you might want to know, but that doesn’t have to mean sending an invite (or “gift request” lol).

    • Senior Attorney :

      I think a shower invitation is as close as it gets to an invoice for a gift, so I wouldn’t invite anybody who realistically wouldn’t be likely to come.

      • I viewed it this way too, and declined to invite out of town friends and family. Then apparently I hurt feelings by not inviting the family members. Being all pregnant and generaly bleh about keeping other people happy, I tasked my mother with unruffling feathers and explaining the position, but might be worth asking the family powers that be what they think the approach should be on family (I expect you know your friends).

      • I’m pretty surprised by these responses. I would definitely invite good friends who lived out of town, even if they might not make it. I’d feel bummed if one of my closest friends didn’t invite me just because she lived across the country. Having a baby is a big deal and I would do my best to attend if I could.

    • Agree – don’t invite the out of town friends/family unless they’ve said they’d like to come. You can always include them in your list for baby announcements.

      • Definitely include those friends and family in your baby announcements. Do not invite them, unless they have said something specifically. I hate being invited to out of town friends’s showers. I generally can’t go (and frankly don’t want to! if I want to see friend, I want to see friend when we can hang out, not when I’m at a shower with 25 other women and I’m just one of the crowd and friend has other family to entertain). And then I feel compelled to send a gift not on my own schedule.

  29. To Do List Methods :

    I’m a new attorney, and I haven’t figured out a good method for keeping track of my to do list for various cases. I’d like to keep all my tasks in a central place. In my personal life, I use a combo of iPhone lists, gmail calendar alerts, and handwritten lists, but that method is not efficient for my caseload. I spend more time typing the list into my iPhone than accomplishing it! And my handwriting method is totally inadequate to keep track of status and intermediate deadlines for work products. What works for you? I can’t download any software (thanks, IT!) and I can’t use the cloud (confidentiality reasons).

    • Outlook tasks.

    • Outlook calendar alerts.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I use my Outlook calendar and a handwritten list. Anything that pops up during the day typically gets written on a piece of paper I keep in the same notebook in the same spot all the time. When I calendar a deadline, I’ll back up a couple of weeks from it and calendar a reminder about a draft of whatever document it is. I know some people who use an Excel spreadsheet with a different tab for each case, but that’s always seemed too complicated for me.

    • I was in the same spot when I started my first job out of law school/clerking. Outlook Tasks has been my savior! I have it organized not by date but by priority (to do today/tomorrow/next week/next month) but find a way that works for you. Then I put important deadlines on my Outlook calendar (which could be “Draft Brief” 4 weeks before it’s due, etc). Again, you have to figure out a system that works for you. But Tasks/Calendar has been the best.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I keep a running list in OneNote.

    • anonshmanon :

      Like you, I am also prone to a mix of methods. In an addition to the electronic list that tracks all the to-do things, I often hand write a list of items for today. In my not-so-junior-anymore role, I am gradually juggling more projects and meetings. Currently, I am trying to develop a habit of actually checking my to-dos and my calendar each morning.

    • Not sure if you will see this so late, but I use outlook tasks to track assignments and I also make a handwritten list every day of things I want to get accomplished that day and cross off as I get through them (gives me something in front of my face on my desk and I feel accomplished when I complete something). Every day, I throw it out and make a new list for the next day before I leave work, which signifies the end of my day and directs my attention first thing when I get back to the office in the morning.

    • AnonBiglaw :

      whiteboards!! And Outlook

  30. Resume advice? :

    I’m a 6th year transactional associate in big law, applying for an in-house role. What is my CV supposed to look like at this stage? Do I make it a multi-page resume with a bullet list of illustrative transactions? For what it’s worth, the in-house role would be working on similar deals.

    • Standard resume of 1 page + 1 page deal sheet. On the deal sheet, bullet point list of transactions with no more than 2 lines per transaction.

    • Oh no, don’t make a multi page anything. Do a crisp, one-page at the most resume that explains what you do. Poke around on Linkedin for how others in your practice describe their work as a starting place, but clean out filler words and phrases. The shorter, cleaner, the better.

    • Anonymous :

      CV and Resume are slightly different things (though they share similar goals). CVs are more acceptable to be multi-paged, but resume are expected to be 1 (MAYBE 2) pages.

  31. Unwrapped gifts at bridal shower :

    I was invited to a bridal shower where we were instructed via the invitation to bring our gifts unwrapped. Their reasoning was to cut down on the time that would get sucked up by having a formal unwrap session by the bride to be. Is this something new? I plan to bring a bottle of nice champagne and then send them a separate wedding gift, so doesn’t really affect me in a way that I would be embarrassed of what I bought. However, I could see someone who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on a gift being uncomfortable.

    I’m interested to hear the hive’s thoughts on this practice.

    • Yeah it’s new I hate it. A bottle of champagne is a really odd shower gift? Usually you just pick something from the registry. Don’t really see your point about embarrassment that’s an issue with her way.

      • Unwrapped gifts at bridal shower :

        Pardon my ignorance (none of my close friends had showers), if you buy something off the registry for the shower, do you buy a second gift for the wedding?

        I am of the thought that for drinkers, champagne is never not appropriate to celebrate something, but I have been wrong before!

        • Anonymous :

          Yes. Or give cash at the wedding. I’m not saying it’s horribld or inappropriate it’s just not a typical shower gift.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Unfortunately, yes, the custom is gift at shower AND for wedding.

      • I disagree, I think a bottle of champagne is a nice shower gift.

      • I’ve done a bottle of champagne + glasses as a gift before.

      • Champagne is a popular wedding gift.

    • Tacky. An invitation should never mention gifts in any form.

    • Gross. This crap has gotten so out of hand, I’d consider not attending the shower, seriously. And I’d drink the champagne myself. ;)

    • That’s so weird and kind of tacky. Like, “just give me the stuff, I don’t care about the stupid wrapping.”

    • Yeah, it’s called a display shower. I prefer it, watching people unwrap gifts for hours is boring AF. Without it, you can actually socialize. I don’t see how it would be any more uncomfortable bringing an unwrapped gift than one that’s wrapped that someone unwraps in front of a crowd.

      • So much this. I am actually trying to make “not watching the bride unwrap stuff” a thing.

        • Linda from HR :

          Yeah, I’m not married but I just imagined unwrapping a bunch of presents in front of everyone and it doesn’t sound like a fun time. And as much as I like pretty wrapping paper, I can see some people wanting to avoid it for a few reasons, like wanting to be eco-friendly or not wanting to clean it up after.

          But, eh, I’m not big on feeling like there’s a “right” way to do this stuff. If someone wants to follow tradition, let ’em. If someone wants to break tradition and follow a trend or try something new, let ’em. Rituals having to do with weddings, especially when gifts are involved, tend to carry a lot of sentiment with them and I think that can fuel strong reactions, both positive and negative, but it’s important to remember that how a couple (or how a family) chooses to do things is deeply rooted in their background and values, so while I am a huge etiquette geek, I think it’s best to avoid harsh judgment and give people the benefit of the doubt when they do things you don’t understand.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes. It wasn’t fun at childhood birthday parties and it’s not fun now. At least back then we got to ogle everyone’s cool new toys. Your China set does not hold the same appeal.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Just have the gift shipped ahead of time and bring a cute card. Don’t worry about the champagne.

    • I thought the whole point of a shower was to watch the bride unwrap the gifts? I guess I am an Old now.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        Solidarity, sister. I enjoy ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the bride’s shower gifts.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I think that’s really weird! I like watching people unwrap gifts (how big are these showers where it takes so much time, anyway?). The ritual of thanking people is important, so you’d want to present them all anyway, so unless everyone uses as much tape as my grandmother, the paper is not going to make much difference anyway. That said, I don’t see how it would make givers of smaller gifts more uncomfortable than unwrapping would.

    • Delta Dawn :

      My hometown has done “gifts unwrapped” showers for at least forty years. Every shower is hosted by the same group of church ladies; they all make the same foods and rotate who is hosting. They place the gifts in a front bedroom, or office, or somewhere everything can be displayed. Guests can pop into the gift room and admire the presents, or not go in at all. I didn’t know this was weird until my friends started getting married and I learned that most people make the bride unwrap every gift in front of everyone.

      When I got married, I had my hometown (gifts unwrapped) shower and a shower in my husband’s hometown. I vastly preferred the gifts unwrapped shower. I got to circulate and visit with everyone at the shower without a large block of time spent unwrapping. At the “normal” shower, I didn’t get to spend much time talking to guests because I was unwrapping most of the time. I ran out of different ways to say “This is lovely! Thank you!” while unwrapping plates. (I know it’s lovely; I picked it out!) Of course, it was exceedingly thoughtful of both little towns to throw us a shower, and I appreciate them both so much. But, for a gifts unwrapped shower, don’t knock it til you try it!

  32. For those of you who have enthusiastically recommended Penzey’s spices – thank you.

    I just received my second, rather large order. I ordered a bunch of empty jars too so that I could transfer my other spices into the same jars so that I can find everything in my tiny spice cupboard.

    Unfortunately a couple of the lids of empty jars were cracked. I just called them, got someone on the phone right away, and she was SO NICE. She’s sending me five lids just to be on the safe side, and some free spices as well. Mainly I’m just impressed at how nice she was about the whole thing – sometimes I dread talking to customer service, but they took the service part of that phrase seriously.

    Also, for those of you who are fans, did you know you could buy preprinted labels for the jar lids from amazon, that fit the penzey’s jars perfectly? I really needed that because in my tiny, dark cupboard, the only way to store the spice jars is standing up.

    • This is nice to hear. I’ve been thinking of ordering but I am over-spiced at the moment and it’s like Jenga – pull out one and others fall over. I do like his emails though. They are always so moving so I definitely want to do business there.

    • Anonymous :

      Have you looked at vertical spice racks – that is a brand that I learned about from someone on here. They are a little spendy, but oh so amazing. I have three that fit my very small 60’s kichen cabinets. They pull out and I can actually see my spices! Love them soo much.

  33. My wedding is coming up in a few weeks and I s2g if I make it through without committing matricide, it will be a miracle. Tips for dealing with a mother who has a different opinion on basically everything? (I mean, this has basically been true my entire life, but I usually don’t have to deal with it)

    • anonshmanon :

      Avoid discussing any details with her. You are too busy, so you skip the next phone call/visit. Make her talk about herself. What is she going to wear? I would even ask about her own wedding choices, listen to her reminisce about the music/flowers/etc. and say “oh that sounds lovely”. Then just do it my way.
      A lot of people here give the advice that your expectation has to be that she will disagree. Your choices earning her approval is not one of the probable outcomes, so you should not expect that outcome.

      • Do you have a sibling or close cousin or old friend who can deal with her? If so, delegate communication to that person for the next two weeks.

    • Hugs. I dealt with this by eloping.

    • ‘How about X? You know that Y is totally unacceptable’

      ‘Thanks I’ll keep that in mind’ or
      ‘That’s an interesting idea’ or
      ‘Let me think about it’ or
      ‘We’ll see’

      followed by a quick diversion.

      Alternatively, eloping

    • I can’t remember where I saw it, but “bean dipping” is a great way to avoid these back-and-forths where differences of opinion happen.

      “OK, thanks for telling me. Want some bean dip?”

      “Oh, good to know. Want some bean dip?”

      “I’m glad you shared your opinion with me. How about some of this bean dip?”

      Obviously, “bean dip” is shorthand for changing the subject to whatever else so that the thread of conversation is dropped, but it works fantastically well. Even with folks who continue it on…

      Mom: I don’t like those chrysanthemums. I think they’re tacky.
      You: Good to know. Hey, did you talk to Melissa this weekend? She said she was going to call.
      Mom: I’m serious, I hate those flowers. Why would you pick them? So ugly.
      You: I hear you. So, what did Melissa say?

      Polite repetition goes a long way, I’ve found. Especially if you show that you heard what they said (good to know, I hear you, etc.) and then move on.

      This dovetails with the insistent friend/family member who asks WHY when you say you can’t/don’t want to do something – the ones that aren’t asking why because they’re genuinely curious, but so they can tear down your reason or make you justify yourself.

      The best response for that is, in a neutral tone, “I’m sorry, that just won’t work for me.” When they start with the aggrieved WHYS, repeating variations of “Hmm, just won’t work” or /face scrunch, sigh/ “Yeah, that just won’t work for me, sorry.”

      Helps me to not be either passive/aggressive or fly off the handle when someone is being deliberately obtuse to get their way.

  34. What is going on in my academic career? :

    My university is in a huge mess. It seems like daily that we are hit with one more blow from the administrative and financial disaster around us. I am tenured faculty, but also have a foot in administration. My job is theoretically safe, but how much more can we all take? I’m thinking about job hunting, but my job has gotten so diverse that I wonder what to even look for. I’m also thinking about jumping ship from the craziness that is academia and going to work for a vendor or a consortium. I need someone to help me think this through and to analyze my prospects. Career coach?

  35. Barcelona? :

    I have a chance to go to a conference in Barcelona in October. I could take a day or two of vacation afterward – would that be a fun thing for a non-Spanish speaker to do alone? Any tips for the city or surrounding areas?

    • Anonymous :

      I would just stay in the city and do the touristy stuff – Gaudi, Las Ramblas, tapas, etc.

    • Anonymous :

      I recommend it! I was there on my own for a couple days not too long ago (non Spanish speaker). Highly recommend the Rick Steves Barcelona guide and particularly his walking tours.

    • Anonymous :

      Omg yes the most fun

    • Absolutely! Barcelona is a fantastic city, and the weather should still be relatively nice in October. You can hit the Gaudi highlights and just wander the city. Since you will be alone, you could do a food tour one night so that you have a chance to try a wider variety of food. (I did one through Taste Barcelona, which I highly recommend.)

      There is lots to see in the surrounding areas, but for a couple days, I would absolutely just stay in the city. Pick a hotel near El Born!

    • Anonymama :

      Most people in Barcelona speak English, and some actually would rather speak English than Spanish if you don’t speak Catalan. It’s a great city, all the Gaudi stuff is my favorite. And the food.

  36. ATT fraud :

    PSA – if you have AT&T, check your accounts for “device sync”!

    I saw a number of posts here in the last month about ATT accounts being hacked and devices being purchased. Well, today I got notice from ATT that my autopay for $15,665.06 did not go through (I should hope so!!). There were about 100 calls from my number to Morocco and Chad which of course I did not make that racked up this astronomical bill. Apparently, the perps logged in online (as me? I’m not sure) and asked for a “device sync” on my line. At that point, they were able to add other devices onto my account and make calls as if I had made them. I will credit AT&T for handling the entire situation very well but the security seems like a real problem.

    • I have nothing useful to add but HOLY COW that’s an insane bill. I would have had heart failure! I’m glad you got it all sorted out.

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