Tuesday’s TPS Report: Peplum Top

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

Theory Peplum Top We featured a peplum top from New York & Co. weeks ago, but this silk one from Theory blows it out of the water. Love the layered pleats, the high waist, and the seamed shape. I will say, ahem, perhaps a better (nude) bra might be in order. (Incidentally: Cusp is having some pretty amazing sales, with an extra 40% off already reduced prices (the discount shows up in your shopping bag).) Theory Peplum Top

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



  1. A very late thank you to DC Jenny and Bonnie for sharing hair stylist recs on the Open Weekend Thread!

    • Try Stephen the tailor in foggy bottom for tailoring. He’s not cheap but does a great job.

    • Kontraktor :

      I used VIP Tailor in DC, right in Metro Center/across from the Macy’s (across from the Cosi and the Payless). They were a bit more than I wanted to pay, but they did a really good job. I think the most expensive alteration I ever needed was hemming and slimming the entire pencil-skirt area of a c**ktail dress. The fabric was extremely difficult and delicate, but they altered it amazingly. I ended up paying about $80 for that. Mostly I took skirts there to get slimmed and I’d say they maybe charged $30 to hem and slim a lined skirt. Again, a bit pricey but they never ruined anything (and I have had quite a lot of things ruined by bad tailors before).

    • Youre welcome! Hope you found a great stylist.

  2. Threadjack, seeking advice:

    Background: My boss is the head of our department, which includes functions A, B, C and D. I am a member of the senior team of our department, and have been the head of function A since 2009. I have a team of two direct reports.

    Last week, during our weekly one-on-one meeting, my boss basically told me that I need to give up half of my star direct report’s time to the head of function D, who has made no secret of his competitiveness and rivalry with me. I pushed back on this, but she made it clear that she had already made up her mind on this.

    This is not how our department usually runs (more collaborative) and not how she usually manages (never received an edict from her before). I’ve been stewing over this since that meeting. My boss is on vacation this week, but should I address the issue with her when she returns? To top it off, she often takes feedback very personally.

    Thanks for any advice you all can provide!

    • Sorry to say I’ve been in your shoes. If you can ask her about the edict and frame it in how function A will be impacted, she may reconsider. Do you have a sense that function D has become a larger corporate priority, separate from the function head’s rivalry?

      • I hope this doesn’t double-post – I got the “posting too fast” error…

        While your boss is away, can you measure the impact of losing 50% of your star’s efforts? If you’re losing half of an FTE, I hope you’ll need additional resources to remain productive. If not, that may explain the switch right there. But assuming that you do, you’ll need to make some constructive suggestions to your boss about how to backfill. Are there any up-and-comers you’d like to mentor?

        • Yep – not only half of a FTE, but 25% of your team. Where is the surge support going to come from? Is this team member on loan or is this a permanent change? Are you able to pull employees from other functions if you need help?

          Other than the questions I posed above, I think you need to work with the head of Team D to manage this employee’s time so it is truly 50/50. Make sure you have specific tasks/deliverables for this employee and coordinate everything with D. E-mail is best that way there is a trail and include your boss (as necessary) and also the employee so they know what’s going on. Include employee in meetings to plan schedule/budget etc. Prioritize tasks with Boss and Team D. Doing this will hopefully focus your energy into something positive rather than stewing over a direct order (I wonder if she did it right before she left on vacation for a reason). And, when she comes back schedule a meeting to discuss your proposal for how to manage your the priorities of your department/team/employee. I find that when I’m placed in a situation like this, it’s better to come up with a plan to manage it rather than push back and be told how to manage it. Good luck!

    • I would approach your direct report first and find out how s/he feels about this move. It’s possible s/he requested it because she’s interested in working on function D, and your boss agreed to only a 50% move. If you foil the direct report’s plans, she may quit. Of course, OTOH she may not want the move at all and be planning to quit if it goes through, and if that’s the case you can share her dissatisfaction with your boss.

      • Former MidLevel :

        I agree. My first thought when I read your post was that maybe the direct report wanted to learn about area D.

        • Thanks for the helpful replies. I am pretty sure that my direct report did not request this, because she is very open and straightforward with me and we had a conversation about her development a few weeks ago. At that time, she expressed an interest in learning more about functions C and D, but not this particular nature of work.

          • I would really talk to her directly. She may not have been comfortable telling you the whole truth before her reassignment was finalized. It can’t hurt to talk to her, and if you find out she’s unhappy with the move, it bolsters your case for keeping her in your function.

  3. Anyone know if there’s a jcrew discount code out there now (or if there will be one in the near future)? I’ve decided I must have their dark red pencil skirt, but also that I must wait until there’s a coupon code.

    • Anonsensical :

      Haven’t seen one, but I plan on checking the site early tomorrow morning. I can’t imagine the 4th of July holiday would slip by without any kind of promo.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      Also waiting for a code so I can purchase the no 2 in leopard spots!

  4. momentsofabsurdity :

    For your viewing… amusement? Terror? Sadness for the future of the world? – here is a Twitter which retweets posts of people instagram photos of their debit/credit cards (with the names/numbers NOT blurred) to try and show them it’s a dumb idea. Some of them apparently do not get that.


  5. Always a NYer :

    Threadjack – Anyone have a good slipper recommendation? I’m looking for something along the lines of a clog with a fluffy/fuzzy insole that won’t dye the soles of my feet (I just got rid of my black Ugg slippers because not only has all the fluff inside worn off, they dyed my feet black!). I’m a 10.5 and open to most colors. And slipper socks, I love those, too =) TIA!!!

    • Yes, go to Century21 and visit their fuzzy slipper section. I bought a pair of clog-ish type fuzzy slippers there but I can’t remember the brand.

      Also, does anyone with size 5/6 feet need fuzzy slippers? I have a brand new pair which I bought for my sister but apparently they’re too small for someone with 6.5 shoe size.

    • I have the Skechers clog that is faux fur inside and suede on the outside with a lug sole. I like them because they are warm and cozy, can fit a sock inside, and the lug sole allows me to wear them outside to my laundry room and to get the paper. They’re kind of like this: http://www.amazon.com/Skechers-SKECHERS-Womens-Keepsakes-Cascading/dp/B005IW9LLE/ref=pd_sbs_shoe_6 but mine have more like a charcoal faux fur.

      I’m all over socks with grippers in the winter. I have very slippery hardwood stairs and slipped and fell on them twice before I decided no socks without grippers on the stairs. I like the ones with shea from Bath & Body Works.

    • I feel like a broken record with this rec, but Lands’ End. :)

    • jumpingjack :

      I’m a big fan of LL Bean’s Wicked Good Clogs. They also have great customer service. When my first pair wore out after 3-4 years of heavy use, they replaced them, no questions asked.

    • No Problem :

      LL Bean! So cozy and they will last forever.

    • You want slippers from Shepherd’s Flock. Their website is low-rent, but seriously, these are the best slippers ever. Everyone I’ve given them to as gifts raves, and friends who have seen mine have bought their own pair.


    • I have a pair of Emus that I adore. I got the mocs, but they also have clog versions. Very soft, very warm, very comfy, and hold up well (without dying your feet!).

  6. Hey ladies. I have a problem that’s interesting, to say the least, and I thought the best way to fix it would be shopping, of course. Here’s the deal: when my skin is exposed to the sun, the exposed-to-sun skin becomes very itchy, which I of course scratch and then it turns red and swollen and more itchy. Also, I am allergic to sunscreen; my skin gets covered in this gritty itchy rash when it’s exposed to sunscreen. I’ve been to all the doctors and all that, they have no clue why my body is so contrary.

    Since my exposed skin consists of just my face and hands, I can use my scarf to cover my face. I guess I’m lucky in that I won’t look *too* strange covering my face with fabric? But my hands, in the summahtime, what do I do? I’m thinking lightweight cotton gloves. Something breathable, not suffocating polyester that I’ve seen superconservative types wear. So, today’s shopping challenge is finding me some gloves that I can wear outside during the summer. Help!

    • I can’t put up a link right now as i’m on my phone, but I have a great pair of nike running gloves that are super breathable (they have a few little slits in themt that you velcro shut or open)…i’ve seen similar things at stores like EMS or REI. they may not be the best looking, but maybe you could find a plain black or gray pair, and since they are ‘athletic” in nature, they’ll probably breathe better than regular gloves? just a thought to start your search.

    • This isn’t related to your actual question, but have you tried both chemical and barrier sunscreens? Barrier sunscreens have an active ingredient of zinc or titanium dioxide. You may be allergic to something in the lotion (not the active ingredient) but more people have a chemical sensitivity to the chemical sunscreens than the barrier. But I think light cotton gloves would be fine too.

      • Yes, I have tried both and I am allergic to something in the lotions themselves, not the actual sunscreens. And the scents in all of the products give me sinus headaches.

    • Check out Coolibar, which is a store based in Minnesota that sells sun-protective products. I have several of their jackets because I have skin that’s incredibly sensitive to sun, and I stay nice and cool in the sun-protective fabric. They also sell gloves. If gloves seem too weird to you you can get an SPF-fabric umbrella, which would keep the sun off your hands (not sure if people use these umbrellas in NYC much but I see people using them in DC).

      • By the way, there are several other similar stores – I’ve seen Solumbra recommended on this site, I think, and REI and other sporting goods stores usually sell a limited selection of SPF fabric. Keep in mind that regular fabrics do not protect much against sun at all, so thin cotton gloves may not actually resolve your problem. I think the umbrella is the best idea to keep your hands and face cool, or you could put an SPF hat over the hijab for your face instead of draping fabric over it.

      • Link here: http://www.coolibar.com/

        • Thanks! These look cool, I could be a mime http://www.coolibar.com/07002.html. While regular clothing is enough of a barrier for me in terms of sun-related itchiness, it’s probably a good idea to get something stronger for my hands. My wrists have very defined tan lines.

          • I actually have a coupon code for Coolibar – WAVE15 for 15% off a $75 order.

    • cornellian :

      I would look at athletic brands…. simple white cotton gloves may really not block much sun at all. Living in Texas I got burnt through clothing more than once. I bet ther eare running brands with SPF in them out there.

      As a stopgap, there are gloves at CVS/Duane Reade/etc that could be a good stop-gap measure. I’ve found simple white cotton or patterned gloves there that could be used for keeping lotion on overnight.

    • RU, your problem sounds very much like a disorder that runs in my family. I will link below with information regarding the disorder…

      As for gloves, my brother wears these gloves, along with a “bee-keeper” hat, long sleeves, and pants. He’s not had a “reaction” in a long while, and he says the gloves stay pretty cool.


      • As for the disorder, ask your doctor about Porphyria. There are a number of different types–I can’t even really spell the type my brother has. He can only have sun exposure for very brief periods of time, otherwise, he gets “tingles” which then turn into itches. And then whatever skin was exposed swells into a huge red/purple rash that itches until the reaction subsides.


        • Thanks for the info! That led me into a reading spiral which lead me to the following:
          1. Wikipedia totally justified me calling myself a vampire
          2. nSAID’s can lead to photosensitivity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          3. Obviously, I need to spend more time with more doctors.

    • cool gloves :

      when i was in vietnam ten years ago, all the women who drove vespas were wearing these terrific long (opera length) gloves made of silk to protect their hands and arms from the sun. maybe you can find some of those. i bought two pairs: one was silk and they felt great and were cool enough to wear in the sun, the other was fake and is not comfortable. so be careful.

    • Ru, there’s also something called Sun Guard by Rit. Rit makes fabric dye in the US and this product is for washable fabrics. Available on amazon dot com. “Sun Guard puts an invisible shield into clothing that helps block more than 96% of the Sun’s harmful rays from reaching your skin!” from the ad.

      So with this you could wear white cotton gloves or silk or whatever and up the protection factor.

  7. Small threadjack: Just curious how other readers told their office they were pregnant? Obviously I will start with my supervisor, but from there, it seems sort of awkward to walk in to people’s office and tell them. It also will seem awkward to not tell them as I get bigger and start waddling around here. I think the super-awkward (to just beat that word to death) part of it for me is that all my colleagues are men, over the age of 45, and I am a woman, under the age of 35. I have only worked here for a few months also, although I think I have developed good rapport with my co-workers. They are not “chatty” men though – they pretty much stick to their offices and get their work done with the occasional “how was your vacation” or “hey it’s hot” small talk.

    Seems odd to just walk in to their offices and begin a conversation with – so I’d thought I’d share the news I’m pregnant? Am I over-thinking this?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      One of my colleagues sent out an office-wide (I would assume this would have been department-wide, in a larger office) email after telling the people she wanted to tell in person. Seemed fine to me.

      • That is definitely an easier way – although we only have about 10 people total in our office.

    • My colleague just walked down the hall telling people – it was fine.

    • Professor Chic :

      In similar circumstances, I asked a gossipy male colleague to gossip about me. That worked.

      • Haha I like that! I have a gossipy paralegal – she might do the trick!

        I was also thinking we have small staff meetings about once a month I could just announce it to everyone else then.

        • Professor Chic :

          A meeting does sound like a good opportunity, and the gossipy paralegal would be a good method too — she’ll tell all the other support staff, who will tell your peers.
          I felt weird at first being pregnant around all those male colleagues, because it emphasized our differences so much, but honestly, almost all of them turned out to be very supportive & helpful.

          Good luck.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        In my office, the attorney usually tells her assistant, and gives her the green light to let the office know.

    • I told the top of my food chain and my secretary. Things will go from there (or not) and then you start showing up in maternity clothes. It explains the peeing all the time!

      And congrats!

      • Thank you! I am looking forward to being able to not judge every shirt by “do I look pregnant in this?”

        • I am haunted by that every time I see something that has an empire waist.


          But maternity clothes are awesome: comfy and with a tendency to be machine washable.

    • Is it so super non-chatty that if you tell one or two people, everyone else won’t know by lunch? Usually that’s the kind of news that travels so fast it seems like the entire world figures it out before you get a chance to announce. Even in my male-dominate office, people noticed my sudden aversion to coffee and figured it out before I said a word.

    • Leave a box of doughnuts or breakfast bread in the break room with an announcement note? Or does that seem too self-congratulatory?

      • Pretty un-chatty. They don’t go around talking about each other, ever, really.

        But I do make some good muffins. I could bring them in to share, and then send an e-mail saying there are muffins on the table for everyone to enjoy, in celebration of our news… That’s a good passive-ish way that is more than just an e-mail but less awkward then going door to door. They go, they get a muffin, they give me their obligatory congratulation – could work out well.

        • I like this.

        • I don’t really like this – it makes too big of a deal of it. If you have a small staff meeting, just say that you’re expecting on date x and are working out the details of your leave with HR and will let everyone know your plans when they are finalized.

    • I second the “tell a gossipy colleague” approach. If your office is small, word will travel. As for all the men over 45, unless your office is highly unusual, I would guess the majority of those guys have wives and children. That means they had pregnant wives at some point and so probably are less weirded-out by the whole thing than you might think. Once you get wide and waddly, they’ll think “huh, looks like [wife’s name] back when she was pregnant with [kid].” And then they’ll just wonder who’ll pick up your work in 5 or 6 months while you’re on leave.

      • I think they all have kids – but no one has kids under about 12. So maybe it will be a throw-back for them.

      • Professor Chic :

        TBK’s comments totally fit my experience.

    • I have a really small office. I did tell my assistant first, when it was still kind of iffy (I like her and trusted that she would keep it quiet – which she didn’t actually do all that great a job of). After I got confirmation, the actual telling was a little bit awkward, but not too bad:

      I work with 2 partners, both male (there’s a third, but his practice is mostly separate). I sort of just went to both of their offices and asked if I could speak with both of them. Then, even though our office is almost never “got to finish this right now” about things, one of the partners had something that had to be finished up within that hour, so we wound up having to wait, with me pacing around anxiously trying to see whether he was done yet and all of that. But, once I got them both in the office, I closed the door and said that I was expecting my first child on December 23. They were both happy and congratulated me, so it all worked out well, and we discussed a little bit about what I want to do, and they promised that they would work with me.

      At the same time, the office manager (an outgoing grandma) had asked my assistant why I had left in the middle of the day earlier – my assistant said that I went to the doctor, and OM asked if I was sick, and my assistant told her that no, I was not sick (see above, re: not keeping the secret very well). So, she knew right away, and as soon as I got out of the office with my partners, she was standing there waiting to give me a big hug, and went around announcing to the rest of the office “We’re pregnant!”. So, I guess it all worked out.

      But I work in a really relaxed and laid back office, where I’m basically the only one who’s not at grandparent age and everyone’s really family-like. I am not sure that this would have gone as well in a more buttoned up office.

      Congratulations and good luck to you!

      • We’re due on the same day! Not that that means anything…

        • Yay! This excites me for no reason whatsoever.

          Hey, EC, didn’t you comment that you thought that you were having a miscarriage a while back? (I could be totally misremembering this, but if I’m not, I think that it might have been right before I found that I was pregnant). I assume that this means that you weren’t and it all worked out. I’m really glad to hear that.

          • I’m due Jan 1! Just wanted to join the preggo party. :)

            As for telling, I work for a very large agency, so I’m not going to share that broadly. I told my supervisor and closest coworker pretty early (around 6 weeks) due to the timing of my annual review, and have slowly spilled the beans to others when it seemed appropriate.

          • So you’re saying I need a grandmotherly figure to go announcing it! Very cute of her! I’m probably over-exaggerating in my head the awkwardness of it and they will probably be more supporting/kind than I think all being Dad’s themselves.

            Congrats t0 you & S – I am due January 30th so I still have a few more weeks that I plan on keeping it quiet. And, despite being not very far along, I am busting out of my pants (all but 2 pairs that are 1 size up from my normal size) and all my skirts – must be bloat. I can’t wait for comfy time maternity clothes like V said!

          • I did miscarry; I got pregnant in Feb, miscarried in March, then got pregnant the next cycle. To be honest, I was getting a pelvic US, my OB said “oh look, you’re about to ovulate” and even though she suggested I wait a cycle, I didn’t and got pregnant. I also got pregnant with my first accidentally on BC, so with that she informed me “well, clearly you have no trouble GETTING pregnant” I am so glad to be through first trimester and the yuckies…now I just have to tell the other surgeon in town that I’m pregnant….

          • Let me take this moment to say, that I’m STILL so happy for you, our little resident fertile myrtle (resident in multiple senses.)

        • Hey me too! Woot!

    • Tell your supervisor and tell him it’s not confidential and he can tell others. Work it into conversation with the coworkers you talk to. It’ll spread.

    • PharmaGirl :

      I didn’t bother telling anyone but my boss. He had a very big mouth and blurted it out in a departmental meeting. Most people found out as time went on and I got progressively bigger.

    • I don’t think you’re overthinking this at all.

      Obviously, it depends on the office. My department is very small and pretty close. Everyone else has children, ranging in age from 2-12. I had a lot of appointments early on because I’m slightly high-risk and I had some orthopedic issues I was sorting out at about the same time, so I told my boss early by just walking in his office and telling him the nature of all my appointments. I’m glad I did, because we ended up at a conference together and I was too tired for the social events, so I was glad he knew what was going on. For everyone else in my department (all three of them) well, they’re facebook friends. So that’s how they found out, but I realize not every office is like mine. I don’t know that word has spread yet, but anyone else at the conference SHOULD have been able to figure it out–however, they’re all men, and I don’t think they understood why I wasn’t drinking booze and going to bed early!

      In most other offices I’ve been in, no one has told until all of a sudden it can’t be missed. I don’t necessarily think that’s the best plan either, but again, it is such an office-specific thing. Men have it so easy sometimes–no peep toes, pantyhose, sleeveless tops, exposed zippers or pregnancy to worry about office-specific rules! :)

      And most importantly–CONGRATS! :)

    • Just tell a couple of office friends and let them know it’s not a secret. The word will spread pretty quickly.

      • I am so happy for all of you pregnant ‘rettes! I’m at the point in my marriage where I feel ready but hubby isn’t quite there yet. I’m trying not to push the issue because I really want both of us to be truly ready (or at least think we are)! Yay for babies!

    • I would cut the belly out of my shirts and let them figure it out.

    • Our HR person (with consent of the employee) sends out a congratulatory email to the whole firm.

    • I told my supervisors and people I work very closely with, as well as colleagues who are also friends. For the rest, well, they found out the old fashioned way…with their eyes.

  8. That is a beautiful top – would that it were sleeved…

  9. Infinity scarves :

    I’ve never really worn scarves but I just saw an infinity scarf in a print I love. Is this trend over? I’m clueless when it comes to accessorizing.

    • As someone else who has never really worn scarves but is tempted by some infiniti scarves, I say go for it, although I would start off cheap, in case you don’t end up wearing it that much. I have scarves that I like a lot, I just don’t wear them, so I’m not willing to spend more than, say, $20, on an infiniti scarf because I don’t know if I’ll actually wear it more than my scarves.

  10. PSA – anthro is having extra sale on sale!

  11. TJ – Anyone have recommendations for gifts for a 12-year old tomboyish girl? She generally has most electronics like the Wii, Iphone, macbook. I’m truly at a loss as to what to get so any recommendations would be great! Thanks in advance!

    • My daughter is 11 and not tomboyish, but she would be thrilled with an iTunes gift card.

    • Model rocket kit? You basically assemble the rocket (gluing the fins on, etc) and then set it off outside. They use (well, when I was a kid they used) solid fuel with a fuse, so it’s pretty safe.

    • 12 is funny. Some 12-year-olds are little teenagers, while some are still kids. Which is she?

      Another thought: I like to give my nieces and nephews who have a lot of stuff experiences instead of objects. Going to a play or concert or circus will make a memory, and doesn’t have to compete with the Wii, iphone, and macbook for coolest thing. Does she live near enough that you can do something like that with her?

    • Anon Analyst :

      I was also thinking an iTunes gift card. Or may Best Buy gift card.

      • I think Best Buy is somewhat of a poor choice, because they tend to have terrible prices and selection. Even 12 year olds are familiar with Amazon, and that seems to be the new “general electronics/game” option.

    • How tomboyish is she? At that age, I loved sports team jerseys. But I was pretty dorky…

    • media generally is a good choice. itunes gift card for new apps on the phone/macbook; wii game; books.

    • Thanks all! She is more kid than teenager right now. Definitely don’t think sports jerseys are dorky since I’ve given them to her and she loves them! I’ve also given her experience gifts as well such as tickets to baseball and basketball games. But not really sure what else to do beyond that. The rocket idea is new so maybe I can look for that and I can definitely add in an itunes gift card. Just not sure if there’s something hip out there for 12-year olds that I’m missing!

    • I’ve had some luck with geocaching (plus throw in a trip to REI for some gear, maybe a GPS app for any gadgets) with that age. Or outdoor experiences (kayaking, zip line, going horseback riding). Have a total bias for the outside things after being tethered to a computer inside and that age is fun to do things with.

      • My nephew LOVED geocaching at that age. It combines outdoor activities with technology.

      • I volunteer as a docent at one of the major tourist destinations in DC, and geocaching is HUGE here. If I had a dollar for every time a family with tween-age kids came up to me to ask a question regarding a geocache clue, I would quit my real job and docent full time. Most of the time, these are way-out-of-towners (several foreigners, too), so bonus that this is an activity that can be incorporated into family vacations and used to explore new places.

    • I don’t know if she’s at all into music, but my 10 recently got a Paper Jamz guitar for his birthday that my 12yo ds really has enjoyed playing with. it’s really cool – like an air guitar you really play, and you can load your own music onto it and play along. And you never hit a wrong note. It’s got the whammy bar, and all kinds of trick playing you can do. And it has a headphone jack. My favorite feature.

      Anyway, it was way cooler than I was expecting (in case you couldn’t tell).

    • I got an inexpensive handheld microscope as a gift around that age and LOVED it. A quick search suggests similar ones are around $15. You could get some slides for her as well, and maybe a book on the same subject.

  12. I love the idea of this top. I even ordered the one from the prior post, but the high neckline is a no-go for my shape. Has anyone seen a v-neck or even low scoop neck version of this?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      This neckline is a bit out there but it might work:


      • Thank you – it is a bit out there, and I’m larger than their size L (us 10) but this would definitely be closer to my ideal. :)

        • Asos has a larger line, check out Asos Curve, they might have something similar. If you go to Asos, Curve is a category under “Women” ..Girl with CUrves wears their stuff a lot and it looks great.

          • Midwesterner :

            That is so good to know! I love their style and prices, but my one and only purchase from there convinced me that you need to European or younger than 20 to shop there. I may be busy shopping this afternoon!

  13. Shoe + pregnancy threadjack: How long into pregnancy have you found that you could wear regular heels, and/or your old shoes? (I know that it can vary.)

    I can’t think that I’ve ever worn not-heels (not super-high heels, but normal pumps) for work since I started working office jobs. I don’t own any non-casual flats. I still feel fine in heels now (at 15 weeks), but I’m getting concerned that I might need to get something sometime. When should I expect this? I’m also wondering if my feet will swell up and stretch out my regular shoes.

    • At some point I switched just because I’m clumsy and I didn’t want to trip and fall! Rather than flats, I liked the Cole Haan Air Tali wedges as professional and extremely comfortable. The Talia wedges are even more professional (though not AS comfy :).

    • LLM in BsAs :

      I live in heels, but I also have scoliosis, so basically I am in flats pretty early in the pregnancy. I dislike flats intensly and don’t know how to walk in them. Sad, I know.
      That said, my feet don’t swell up too much. I can fit in my regular shoes pretty much until the last trimester, but the weather has a large influence (will fit in shoes better in colder, drier climates).
      Given the sales potential this weekend, maybe it could be a good moment to buy some non-casual flats? What I usually do is that I figure that most of my maternity wardrobe veers towards black, and therefore get only basic black/neutral flats that I wear to death and then discard (hence the flats have a fairly low price point).
      Hope that helps!

    • Diana Barry :

      I rarely wear heels, but I found that my feet stretched out permanently after pregnancy #1, about half a size. The shoes that I wore regularly became stretched out too, but I had to give away a bunch of shoes after my feet didn’t shrink.

    • I wore my regular heels into my 7th month. However, around 7.5 months my back was hurting so much that I switched to flats and wedges. My feet would swell during the day, but would go back at night to their regular size. Also, I’m really lucky in that my feet didn’t permanently grow (I have incredibly high arches, I think that might have helped).

    • PharmaGirl :

      I had to stop wearing all heels at 20 weeks because they were causing my feet to swell. It was a ridiculously hot summer (not much different than this one, actually) and I commute via 2 trains so there is plenty of walking involved. If I drove to work I probably could have lasted longer.

    • I showed up in the delivery room in 4 in stilettos (I went to the hospital from work). Thankfully my feet never stretched/swelled, because I love me some shoes.

    • With my first 2 pg my feet didn’t really swell (born in Feb & June), with my 3rd (who was born in Sept) they swelled & I retained water like nobody’s business.

      I feel like every pg question is answered this way, but it depends on your pg. Shoes might not be an issue at all for you, and I hope it’s not. However, some women’s feet are permanently larger after pg, so if your shoes do stretch a little maybe it won’t be such a bad thing.

    • Blackbird :

      I stopped wearing heels around my 5th month. During pregnancy, I would black out when I stood for too long and high heels really exacerbated this.

      (This was the most irritating thing about being pregnant – I couldn’t stand up to dry my hair without feeling light headed! And sometimes a hymn at church was too long for me to stand.)

    • In House Lobbyist :

      Around 7 months I switched to a (cringe) “dressy” flip flop for most days and a size and 1/2 bigger wedge when I HAD to wear a real shoe. My feet swelled really bad and stayed that way for several weeks after delivery. The good thing is after a year or so I could wear almost all of my old shoes again. I was able to get a few of the still to tight ones stretched enough by a cobbler. Good luck! Keeping your feet elevated really helps if you can do it.

    • i wore the cole Haan air Lainey wedges till my due date. Also my Stuart weitzman leopard kitten heels , they were super comfy and had one inch heels. And a pair of one inch heel shoes ….all till due date. I cannot wear flats as I tend to skid in them.

  14. Love the shirt.

    Does anyone here swim regularly for work-outs? I’m thinking of giving it a shot. I can physically swim fine, and I scuba dive, but I find that I always swim really slowly for a long time and I’m looking for ways to up the intensity. I swam non-competitively until about 12 years old, so I am familiar with all the strokes but probably don’t have perfect form these days. Can anyone suggest some work-outs or useful links I can try?

    For the near future, I will primarily have access to a smaller home pool rather than a full-sized lap pool — does this just mean aiming for more, shorter laps, or is it a big issue?


    • Kontraktor :

      If you want to increase your skills a little and want to gain the most benefit from the swimming, I would suggest looking into joining a Master’s swim team. Here you will have the benefit of coaching, regularized sets, and working with a lot of other swimmers of various ability levels. Usually Master’s clubs require you to pay a small fee, although perhaps paying the fee and the regular swims will keep you motivated to make your attendence consistent. It sounds like you might really benefit from the learning environment of a structured team style workout.

      If you do want to go at it alone, I would do a google search for something like “beginner swim sets” and see what you find. When I’m swimming on my own, I always try to find a workout/set as such, print it out, and take it with me. It adds structure to what I’m doing and helps me to actually do a workout rather than just piddle around, do a couple laps, and call it good. If you are serious, you might want to invest in a kick board and possibly some fins, as there are a lot of exercises that require those things and will help build skill. Another suggestion I have is to watch some You T-be videos of stroke drills. Often in a swim set, you will find things noted like, “5 x 50 Freestyle, Choice Drill” and if you’re not sure what that is, there should be some videos to help. Doing drills help develop technique and can also work to develop muscle groups (and can help make a workout less monotonous honestly). I don’t think size of the pool matters too much. I think being regimented matters more.

      Also this might be stupid to say, but buy a cap and a good pair of goggles. You really need these if you want to have a comfortable workout. A cap may look dumb, but it is awful to have your hair flowing about, getting caught in your goggles, etc. when you are trying to work out. It will also help protect your hair from the chlorine. I like silicone caps personally, but any will do.

    • A smaller pool is fine (just swim for time) plus you don’t have to fight for lane time. I make up my own workouts and I don’t do any butterfly.ever.ever.ever. Usually it’s a mix of warmup, swim 400 (alternating free/back), then kick. I use a kickboard and fins for increased intensity. Swim-kick-swim-kick. Sometimes I’ll just do sprints (1-2 lengths x 10 all out with 30 seconds rest in between) and sometimes I’ll do a really long swim. Just depends on how I feel.

      I use a swim cap and goggles. I like the Speedo Women’s Vanquisher goggles. For fins I have longer fins and some zoomers (which are pretty tight). No specific recommendations for workout websites, but this one seems like it has lots of variety: ruthkazez.

    • Merriweather :

      Also, check out pull-buoys, which you put between your legs so that you are only pulling, or using your arms. Hurt so good!

    • This may not matter to you, but a shorter pool with more turns gives you an easier workout than a longer pool with fewer turns. The push off from the turn & the glide afterwards really can make a difference. However, any exercise is good! Yay for swimming!

    • Oh man, I love swimming. How big is the home pool? If it’s really small, it might be frustrating to swim laps, because you’ll be turning around every 10 seconds and you’re halfway across with a really good push off the wall. In that case, you might consider water jogging, which looks really dorky, but is actually a pretty good, low-impact workout. You’ll need some kind of foot covering to either give you traction or keep your feet from getting cut up, depending on the pool floor.

      I swam competitively until I was 12 or 13, and have just done it for fun ever since, so we sound pretty similar. For DIY technique, I really liked the “Total Immersion” book, which comes with a DVD. My typical workouts are a few laps of warm up, then pyramid up or down to/from 5-lap sets alternating front crawland back stroke with “rest” laps of breast stroke in between. I always finish up with a few laps of kicking. Intensity depends on my mood, but I find I can count to 5 pretty easily without forgetting what number I’m on, and that helps me keep track of my workout a little better than “oh my fingers are getting pruny, I guess I’m done.”

      I second the suggestion for a Master’s team. I’ve been meaning to do that for ages…

  15. Vent/advice needed…

    I posted previously about my coworker from hell (CWFH) and I thought the problem would take care of itself when my manager announced that this employee was asked to leave the team. He is still employed at the same company but he will be moving to a new organization.

    I tried to take the high road and smooth things over with CWFH and thought everything was fine but I just learned that he has been telling my other coworkers and manager what a crappy job I am doing and how I haven’t been working enough on my project. This despite multiple nights in the office until 10 pm and 1 night until 4 am. I have other projects that I am leading during all of this too.

    I am at a loss. I don’t know what else to do. This guy has it out for me for some reason and I think he doesn’t like the fact that I am good at my job and am being given more responsibility. I am hoping that others will see through his behavior but I feel like I need to defend my professional reputation. I think the fact he was asked to leave the team speaks for itself though.

    What do I do? I am getting worked up at the thought of this!

    • Paper your trail. Send emails at 4:00am. Save your most intelligent, detailed emails to send at the last minute you’re working (if you can wait) so people are waking up at 6:30 or 7:00 to emails on their blackberries/smartphones. Reference your other projects in the emails (as in “I would like to finish stage X of this project by Monday since I have a deadline on other project Wednesday and want to make sure all the loose ends on X are tied up” or “I will be in meetings for projects A, B, and C all day Thursday, but please feel free to follow up with me on this issue after 5:00 since I expect to be in the office late.”) Keep a running list of all your accomplishments on this project and weave in references when you talk to others (“since I turned in that big report last week, I’ve had some time to resolve that other problem we’ve been wrestling with”). Also keep it in case anyone challenges you on your work.

      Ultimately, if you’re being given more responsibilty because your work is good, I think you’re set. Who cares what he thinks? But don’t be afraid to brag a little. It’s considered impolite in social settings, but it’s essential at work.

    • I don’t think you need to explain your hours; it sounds like you do good work and your manager recognizes that, if you are being given more responsibility. You don’t need to justify your abilities in response to his criticisms unless your manager is actually showing concern, and it sounds like your manager is backing you up, not CWFH.

      Next time you hear from a coworker that CWFH was talking about how lousy you are, I would make a confused face and say you haven’t been working him since he was transfered to X team, so it’s weird that he thinks he’s up-to-date on your projects.

    • Coming to the party late, but if he is such an awful person that he was asked to leave the team, does anyone put any stock in what he has to say, anyway?

      • This. And, don’t be defensive or angry, for that may be misconstrued to conceding that what he says is true. You know what you do and hard you work. Let your actions speak.

    • “I am good at my job and am being given more responsibility.” That’s all you need to tell yourself. Don’t engage or worry about him – people see through people like him all the time and I can guarantee you he is grating on everyone’s nerve and is a broken record. Continue to do your work just as always. Don’t ask colleagues if he’s ever said anything about you; if they voluntarily mention things he’s said about you, calmly respond “I don’t care. His opinion doesn’t matter to me and frankly, I’m not sure why he spends so much time worrying about other people.” Change the subject.

      Your professional reputation speaks for itself. You defend it every day by doing good work and staying out of his petty BS. PS – this dude is an a-hole. Read excerpts of “The No A-hole Rule” by Robert Sutton.

  16. new york associate :

    This top really doesn’t work for me. I hate the way the fabric is so thin that you can see the hemline through the pleating — see how it creates a extra white stripe around her hips? — and as Kat pointed out, it’s not doing any favors for her bustline. Also, the fabric looks puckered around the neckline.

    • Yeah, I suppose there are girls who want a blouse that makes their chest look smaller and their hips look bigger…but I am not one of them! :)

    • Agreed. I think this top would look horrible on most women (i.e., anyone with boobs or curves, or needs to wear a bra, or just moves in general)

    • I can’t figure out if the top was photoshopped in the bust area or what. It looks so strang to me.

      • I think it’s too tight and squishing her chestpieces sideways as a result. Yuck.

  17. TJ – Anyone have advice for getting people to RSVP for a party? We’re throwing a casual housewarming/BBQ later this month and are starting to stress about figuring out how much meat (and everything else) to buy. Since it’s BBQ, and takes about 12 hrs to cook, we have to know how much to make (unlike burgers that can just be thrown on the grill as people arrive). I realize one solution is to just do burgers instead, but Mr. is a terrific BBQ cook and is really looking forward to using his skills for our friends. It’s my pet peeve that people can’t seem to send a quick “yes” or “no” email reply. I’ve tried sending out the “please let us know by X date since we need to go shopping!” but still get non-responses or, worse, the “hey, we’ll try to stop by” response. We always wind up with way too much food. (I’m always afraid that if we count only the “definitely coming” people, we won’t have enough.) Short of turning away at the door anyone who didn’t RSVP “yes,” is there anything I can do? (Also, if you are someone who doesn’t RSVP to parties, can you tell me why? I’m not being snarky. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t respond.)

    • I have had this problem before too. One time, we had every single person show up to the party when about 10 or 15 hadn’t responded (which I had assumed to be a no!). My “solution” has been to make them pseudo-pot luck. Somebody always asks “can I bring something” and then I say yes, because if there are extra people, then the pot luck food will be able to be feed them (versus the food I planned to prepare).

      My other rule of thumb is that 10-15% won’t come – so if you invited 40, plan for 34ish.

      Finally, sometimes we buy paper or styrofoam carry out boxes which are pretty cheap. If you give them a box, people are more likely to take stuff home with them for later.

    • new york associate :

      I agree that this is infuriating. Can you call people and get an answer? (I know that this doesn’t solve the underlying problem…)

      • Yeah, I think I’ll try this. Besides getting an answer, maybe it will help people appreciate how difficult it is to throw a party with no sense of how many you’ll be feeding.

    • I think some of this can be regional/cultural. When we moved to a the Midwest, we learned that a lot of people read “RSVP” as “regrets only,” which was very different than my coastal upbringing! Maybe your area is the same way?

    • I use evites because it allows me to send out reminders. I have still had to follow up with people. I’ve been lucky because I tend to cook for an army and I almost always have people call me at the last minute to ask if it’s okay if they come (like the night before). At Christmas, I thought I’d have tons of food left and I had almost none.

    • Evite is good because it prompts people a couple of days before the party to RSVP if they haven’t already. At that point if they didn’t respond, I wouldn’t count them (but I always have way too much food anyway).

    • Drives me crazy too. I blame email burial. My solution is to send a “please rsvp” email/evite note the day before I’m going shopping.

    • I am often guilty of failing to RSVP until the last minute (I always respond ahead of time, just not always very much ahead of time). Honestly, a lot of it is not knowing what may be going on that far in advance. If it’s a major Event, I can calendar it and commit to it, knowing that I will have to schedule everything else going on around the Event. But if it seems like a casual get-together, my availability is going to depend on what our work schedules are like that week (i.e., whether we’re exhausted), whether we decide to go on vacation that weekend, whether I think it’s going to be miserably hot (if I think we’ll be outside), etc. If we have other social obligations, like a wedding or other party, we may have to decide whether we’re up for trying to get to your BBQ, too– same thing if your place is hard to get to or out of the way for us. I know the best thing to do is to just make a decision and commit to it, but I have a hard time making up my mind and I am a natural procrastinator. So I often put off responding a lot longer than I should. On behalf of my fellow late-RSVPers, I’m sorry.

      • RSVPing is fun! :

        Just make a decision and commit to it! It’s rude to wait until the last minute.

        • Um, thanks. I’m aware. I’m not defending my behavior, but since TBK asked earnestly why it happens, I thought I would confess why it happens with me sometimes.

          TBK, FWIW I agree with ss below– I don’t know why anyone would put off RSVPing for 12-hour BBQ!! Sounds divine!

        • You seem to have a far better idea of your schedule weeks out than some of us. I try to be honest with people when they invite me for things in advance (“I’d love to, but I’m not sure if I can make it”), and I feel terribly when I wind up being unable to come. I have a job that can wind up keeping me at work until 4AM on a day I thought I was getting out early (which for me is 7PM), which is bad enough, but the ebbs and flows mean that most of the time I literally don’t know until the week of or the week before whether I’ll have an evening/weekend free. Weddings and the like I can plan around and ask the team to cover for me on, but anything short of that we’re expected to cancel on.

          I do, however, agree that letting people know where you stand is important (rather than letting invites go unresponded to at all), but ‘make a decision and commit to it’ can be complicated.

          • A week before would be terrific! I often have people who literally never respond until I ask directly and then they say “oh yeah, I think we’ll be there” when it’s a day away. Or people who say they’re coming and never show up. Or never respond, even after reminder emails, and show up with extra guests (who would totally have been welcome, but I’d like a head’s up!). Maybe I just have particularly rude friends. As for the last minute work, I totally get that. But all that’s necessary is a quick call (even a text) to say “so sorry! just found out I have to be on a call to Beijing with my managing partner!” We’ve all been there. It’s the radio silence that makes me crazy.

          • Ms. Manners :

            Disagree. It’s rude to wait to the last minute. I have a job that sounds exactly like yours. If I say I can come, I do everything in my power to make it; otherwise, I RSVP “no.” Sorry, but keeping people hanging because you don’t know what your plans are is your problem, not theirs. Additionally, doing waiting until the last minute just wreaks of “I’ll come if nothing better comes along”–which is unbelievably rude.

        • My friendship with someone nearly ended over this type of behavior. It happened constantly and came across as “I’ll hang with you if nothing better comes along.” There are exceptions, obviously, but if this is how you typically operate, take a good, hard look at how you’re making your friends feel. It’s rude, it’s inconsiderate and it’s hurtful, no matter how you try to justify it.

          It took a tough conversation and some awkwardness before things felt normal again.

    • Midwesterner :

      I’ve limited the number of people I invite over for food. So if I’m cooking a real meal, I only invite a few couples/a few girlfriends. If I’m having a “party,” it’s drinks and a few small appetizers, so the RSVP isn’t as important.

    • My pet peeve too. Drives me bonkers when people don’t make the distinction between hospitality at a restaurant vs. a home where someone is shopping and cooking for you. I deal with it by keeping a selective list of people who can be reliably invited to home and everyone gets entertained elsewhere. No easy solutions for a big party though. I usually cater food for the number of ‘yes’ responses plus 10% more and drink for ‘yeses’ plus 20% more since drink can be stored for the next do.

      Hope your party goes well – for myself, I can’t figure why anyone would fail to promptly sign up for 12-hour home-made BBQ !

    • Honestly – I think people have more of a tendency to shop around for their social events. They tentatively say yes, or “that sounds like fun”, but don’t want to commit to going unless they know they don’t have anything better going on.

      Which totally sucks for the organizer. And I don’t have any good solutions.

      • I’ve honestly had someone tell me they would come if nothing else came up. She also offered to bring hot dog buns if she came. Excuse me, honey, but I’m not serving hot dogs (I had indicated we were grilling pizzas with sangria aplenty). And even if I were, why would I count on your hot dog buns if you’re waiting for the next best thing to come along?

    • No idea how to force people to rsvp (evites and phone calls, which were already mentioned , are the best ideas). Its hard to get people to timely rsvp for a d*mn wedding, much less a bbq. But I think it’s best to just accept this as a fact of human nature and plan accordingly. Make food for # confirmed + 10%, or tally up confirmed + most likely to attend (based on your knowledge of them). Err on the side of more- you can always have leftovers or send people home with food. You can also buy some burgers and hot dogs as backup in case you want to err on the side of less and are worried about not having enough. It sucks, but it’s part of hosting a party.

      • Strangely, we had no trouble getting RSVPs for our wedding. A few of my husband’s frat brothers dropped the ball but those were resolved through a series of emails that, from what I saw, consisted of strings of expletives, the word “dude,” and creative insults. Hey, whatever works.

    • Anonymous :

      I would just make enough for most of the people you invited and then have leftovers if they dont all show — or send people home with the extras. you could also get some frozen burgers that can be thrown on the grill should you start to run out of the BBQ.

      This to me seems like a much easier solution than either (a) worrying about it, or (b) trying to get people to respond.

      • Anonymous :

        looks like KK and I had the same idea!

        • This is one of those you-can’t- change-other-people things, IMO. I like to cook and I like to invite people over. I make enough for everyone and have take home containers ready to fill at the end of the night. It costs more but it’s less planning stress and friends are always grateful for the leftovers.

  18. I could use some advice regarding how to deal with one of my managers. She is extremely busy and not great at managing her time. As a result, she often overlooks / doesn’t get around to answering my questions until I ask multiple times. This is frustrating, but I can deal. The bigger problem is that there have been one or two instances where a query (e.g., “Dear Manager, please confirm that you have handled Issue X”) has fallen through the cracks. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to keep on top of her – without being a nag and/or adding to her burdens?

    • I had one like that too. My solution was to give her two or three chances to reply to my requests through normal channels, and then I´d go to her office at a time I knew she had nothing immediately pressing to do, ask her if she had the 5 – 15 minutes the task would take, and then not leave until she had done it. Swear to God, it was the only way that worked. We did have a fairly good report though, and she was aware of her problem. It might come across as too agressive in your case, but for the “please confirm” cases I don´t think it´d be too naggy to just pop by her office or give her a call when she hasn´t responded in due time.

    • At a previous job I had a supervisor like this, and to make matters worse she was in a different city, so I couldn’t just catch her as she went down the hall. After a while I quit asking her questions via e-mail at all. I would just decide what course of action I thought would be best and then type something like, “I am going to do X unless I hear otherwise from you.” She hardly ever responded, so I just did things my own way.

      If you’re talking about issues that don’t require action from you, but you want to make sure she’s done something, of course this plan won’t work. Does she have an assistant who might know? Or could you schedule a regular (brief) weekly meeting with her for these kinds of things?

    • I nag. I have to. Otherwise, stuff would not get built, literally. It helps that my supervisor has a reputation for being overburdened and a bit scatterbrained so everybody winds up chasing him. It’s my job to make sure that I elevate issues that ABSOLUTELY require his attention while managing other issues.

    • I’ve found that weekly check-in meetings can be helpful. You could introduce the idea by saying it would help you keep on track (as opposed to saying it would help HER keep on track) if you met for 20-30 minutes one time per week. Then, prepare for these meetings with a checklist of outstanding questions/issues and follow-up with her on them. When I’ve been in your position, I’ve opened these meetings by saying something like “this is what I’ve worked on this week, and I have four things I need from you to make more progress…”

    • karenpadi :

      Coalea, a piece of constructive criticism as someone who is normally in your manager’s shoes.

      Please don’t send an email worded “please confirm that you have handled Issue X.” I see this and it zooms by me as there is no action item and no reason it needs to be done. Plus, it rankles.

      Instead, try something like “Do you have an update on Issue X? I’ll go ahead and proceed with Task Y.” If you don’t get a response, stop by her office. Please keep in mind that your priority #1 may be her priority #100.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Agree that “Please confirm that you have handled Issue X” isn’t appropriate or efficient.

      Routine check-ins are a good approach, even via email. It shouldn’t be a log or diary; it should be concise documentation of what has been completed, what steps remain, and what is needed to meet those goals.

      Another approach is “What can I do to help move this forward?” It draws attention to the fact that it has not been completed and opens up the option of you potentially taking responsibility. I also like to keep the timeline in focus: “It’s been one week since we decided we needed X, has that been resolved? (No) When can we expect that to be complete so that I can move forward on Y?”

    • Divaliscious11 :

      You need to manage up. Done properly, it isn’t nagging. Request actionable guidance.


  19. LeChouette :

    Hi All — my husband and I live in NYC and are planning a weekend getaway for our first anniversary (last weekend in August). Don’t want to drive too far, and are considering Newport RI. Any hotel recommendations? Is Newport a bad idea? Will we be bored?

    • Similar, and you definitely won’t be bored: Martha’s Vineyard. You can drive to Falmouth, MA and then take a ferry across (it’s like 20 min) or there’s a boat that leaves right from the 34th street pier on Fridays (comes back Sundays).

      Honestly, I can’t say enough good things. Great food, great beaches (Gayhead might seriously be my favorite beach ever and I have been to a lot of beaches), enough to do if you’re the active type, totally great for doing nothing at all, too. Lots of cute B&Bs and the people couldn’t be nicer. Happy Anniversary!

    • DH and I went there for a long weekend from NY, and loved it. It’s a good place to relax and reconnect, eat, drink and take walks. Stayed in a B&B- sorry I don’t remember the name. I wasn’t bored, but I had a very intense job and needed to de-stress.

    • Newport’s great! There’s plenty to do for a weekend and you totally won’t be bored. If you do a search on here for it, I think there was a thread with lots of good tips on what to do there.

    • Joan Holloway :

      Block Island is also wonderful.

    • LeChouette :

      Thanks guys, great advice! I will definitely check out block island, though I worry we might be a bit late to book…I am also dying, dying to go to martha’s vineyard but it seems about 1 hour too far away for a weekend . . . we’ll see. maybe I can talk the old ball and chain into it. :)

  20. A question for people who have experience with law school admissions.

    I’m not at all in law—I’m a graduate student in the social sciences. A student of mine has asked for a recommendation letter for law school, and I’m wondering if there’s anything in particular that law schools want to know about their students that might be different from non-professional schools. I can certainly write about perserverance, attention to detail, ability to synthesize information, etc., but this is both the first time I’ve had to write a recommendation letter, let alone one for a professional school—I’ve simply no clue if there’s particular kinds of things that would be especially helpful to people in law school admissions.

    Anyone have any insights?

    • I think law schools particularly like unique circumstances. Almost everyone applying to law school is a good writer who works hard and pays attention to detail. Is there anything unique about this student that will distinguish him or her from the herd? It can really be anything — from Wyoming, worked 20 hours / week to pay for school, went to an urban public high school, plays the harmonica… It doesn’t matter what it is, but I think adding a little color and personal interest to the letter will really help.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Fiona is right. I used to be tangentially involved in my school’s admissions committee. Law schools are looking for a diverse/unique/interesting class, whether it’s socioeconomic or undergrad major or charity interests or whatever. Everyone at law school is hard working and has attention to detail, which is reflected in their undergraduate grades and LSAT scores. Yet another PoliSci major with good grades and good LSAT scores (i.e. me) is not unique or interesting. What makes your student unique?

      Not the question you asked, but if you have a mentoring relationship with this person, you may earn some good karma for yourself by making sure this person knows the state of the legal industry (terrible), the market for all but top-10 school graduates (terrible), how $100k+ of debt can affect someone (terribly), and how many people quit law after 5-10 years (the majority). I feel like I have a moral obligation to would-be law students to try to make the lay of the land very, very clear. Would I go to law school again? Yeah, I probably would, but many of the people who have asked me about it realize during our conversation that even if they survive all the hurdles to actually getting a job that pays back their debts, which the odds are against, they wouldn’t actually like the practice of law itself anyway.

  21. Apropos of nothing, some of you may recall that I’ve had on-going “adventures” (air quote alert!) with my father. Here is today’s!

    Him: What are you doing for the 4th?
    Me: Lunch with mom, then going to a friend’s. You?
    Him: [long explanation of what basically amounts to doing whatever his wife’s granddaughter wants to do]
    Me: Cool.
    Him: I hope you do some different exercise. (emphasis added)
    Me: ?? what is that supposed to mean??
    Him: You only have an elliptical. So you only get one type of exercise. Here is a link to an article about exercises you can do at work. [link]


    I didn’t respond. A few minutes later, he kindly forwarded me an e-mail about how having cats increases women’s likelihood of committing suicide.

    So, basically, I’m fat, and I’m going to kill myself because I have cats. #winning

    • Herbie, I gotta admit that I busted out laughing at my desk reading this. Seriously?? I guess I should be glad that my Dad has no clue what gchat is or how to use it. When we talk on the phone, he complains that I never tell him anything about my life (ON PURPOSE!! – HE’S A GOSSIP!!), then he proceeds to tell me all about the ailments of everyone we know.

      • Oh, I laugh, too. It’s must better than any of the alternatives. Plus, I will have plenty of fodder for my memoir, tentatively titled, “That Time My Dad Picked Me Up from a Third Grade Slumber Party and Wanted to Know If I’d Been Smoking Pot.” Tentative subtitle: “or, How I Learned What Pot Was.”

    • Maine Associate :

      I feel for you. A couple of years ago I gave my dad who lives about 1,500 miles away a picture of my husband and I in a nice frame for Christmas. His response was thanks for the picture, you are getting chubby. Maybe if he revisited that conversation he would understand why I do not use the little vacation timeI have to come and see him and why he only gets a call on holidays.

      • Maine Associate and I are long lost sisters!

      • Hmm… I think you should do as Amy Sedaris did. Her father picked at her weight because he was very conscious of how her image would reflect on him and on what he thought were her marriage prospects. So when she was home for some holiday, she waited for him to make a weight comment, and then she whipped out a jar of mayonnaise and began eating it right in front of him as a big F-U. :-)

        • Eating mayonnaise straight from the jar seems a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

          Could we replace “mayonnaise” with “Snickers bar straight out of the wrapper” in this scenario? Because I could get down with that.

    • I believe “why we eatin fondue” is the appropriate response in situations like these.

      • OMG, I’m reading this novel with many fondue references and I so thought of Herbie!

      • Cosign the why we eatin’ fondue.

        I take your gchatting father and raise you one Dr. Oz-quoting mother.

    • My father lives 1,000 miles away, and when we talk, he asks me if I’m staying slim. Then, when we see each other IRL, he comments on whether he thinks I have, in fact, stayed slim, and advises me to wear more belts and liptstick. He has also told me that people who go to church are better than people who don’t. He knows that I don’t go to church. He also told me he loves me even though I moved away. And why did I do that, hmm?

      I appreciate everyone’s posts – it’s nice to know I’m not the only one…

  22. Bah humbug :

    Ugh. I’m feeling like a loser because I don’t have any 4th of July plans beyond spending it with DH and DS. Which is fine, we can make it a nice family day, but the 4th is such a social occasion around here that it’s kind of like not having New Year’s Eve plans.

    I also am irritated with my husband because I’ve been asking him for TWO WEEKS what he wants to do on the 4th and he’s refused to commit to any solid plans, just in case we get invited somewhere. Well, we haven’t been invited anywhere (see comment above about feeling like a loser), and now it’s too late to make plans that don’t involve just the three of us.

    Grr. I hate when I feel like our family social calendar is my sole responsibility. I’m ticked at DH for dragging his feet, and mad at myself for just saying *ff it, I asked for his input and haven’t gotten it, so I’d better do something about this myself.

    • Do you have a grill? If the answer is yes, have a last minute BBQ and invite a few friends–others are probably in your situation of waiting for the invite that never came. I wish that we had a grill and/or private outdoor space so much right now. We have a couple of invitations, but we cannot leave our dog alone right now because of injuries (don’t want her pulling out her drain), so we will also be having a quiet 4th.

    • Can you do some sort of public fun activity? There is likely a paradae/fireworks/ festival/dinner special/etc. around and you feel like oh we did something after all. And yes, I am also the social director for my family and my husband is not so helpful in executing a plan. Like he just asked me what our plans were for the 4th even though he still hasn’t decided when he is coming into town. (added benefit of temporarily working in separate cities!)

    • I struggle with this because I’m indecisive and SO is as well. We have a hard time making any decisions about where to go to dinner, what to do on vacation, etc. Even worse, sometimes I will suggest something and he will just shrug his shoulders. Cue minor tiff about how we don’t do go out enough / have no plans/ etc.

      I understand your frustration about feeling like its all your responsibility. I get frustrated too. Recently, I’ve been trying to come to terms more with the fact that if we want to do something, I’ll have to do at least some of the planning. I’ve been trying be more communicative … “I’m thinking Italian for Friday. If you have other ideas let me know by Wednesday or I’ll make reservations” or “I’m OK with staying in today, unless you have a place you’d like to go”. I’ve also been asking that if he shoots something down, to please come up with some alternative. Sometimes I feel guilty because I feel like I’m managing the situation like I would some issue at work. But I try to be nice about it, and it’s getting better / he seems to appreciate the approach. I hope you have a happy fourth whatever you end up doing!

    • Wait. Why are you waiting around for people to invite you anywhere?! Get out there! Be active and seek out things to do, instead of sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.

  23. Hi all! SO and I are planning to look at engagement rings this weekend. We have a family jewler but I’d like something unique. While they can design/make whatever we want I’m not commuted to anything – other than that I’d like a sapphire ring – so I’d like a jewler that has a selection of these to look at. We live in NYC. Does anyone know of a jewlery store in NYC that specializes in Sapphires? Thanks in advance!

    • Not sure how unique you are going for, but I think Sarah Perlis has a showroom in NYC. Her style is a little bit more indie than traditional engagement rings, with very beautiful and unique pieces.

    • Have you been to the Clay Pot?

      • Agreed. Go to The Clay Pot (Brooklyn). They work directly with a lot of independent artists, and they have great customer service.

    • blauweiss and berkowitz :

      we live in CA, but blauweiss and berkowitz on 47th street has made all the engagement, wedding, anniversary, push (pardon the term, a la last week’s discussion) rings in my family for 2 or 3 decades. they are wonderful. tell barry i sent you.

    • Check out engagement rings direct.

  24. Angie O'Neal :

    This would make me look preggers.

    This is something I tend to avoid. ;)

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