Tuesday’s TPS Report: Sleeveless Shift Dress in Pepper Tweed

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

Sleeveless shift dress in pepper tweedI really like the look of J.Crew’s pepper tweed suiting, but I think the suit itself (boxy, cropped jacket, high-waisted pencil skirt) can be a little difficult for most women to pull off. The matching shift dress, though: this is just your basic, classic shift (albeit with pockets). I like the look of it belted, but I think it would also just look great under a black blazer or colorful cardigan. It’s $188 at J.crew (online only). Sleeveless shift dress in pepper tweed

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  1. Seems like the neckline would be too low if styled without the white shirt in the photo. But I do like the look of the fabric.

    • I was thinking that, too – it looks awfully low, and the straps look narrow to wear on it’s own (for the office). Personally, I really hate that jumper look with the shirt underneath (I guess it works sometimes, but the way it’s done here screams “little girl” to me). Like the fabric, though. And love the shoes she’s got on!

      • I think the thinnish straps wouldn’t matter as much with a higher neckline but I can’t tell from the pic.

      • I hate this look. If you wear it without the shirt, it’s too low, and if you wear it with, it’s too schoolgirl uniform-ish. The model’s stance doesn’t help.

        • Exactly. They’ve designed a dress that exemplifies the Madonna-Whore complex: either you’re showing cleavage, or you wear a shirt underneath and it’s infantilizing.

    • I just bought one of the new plain camisole bras from Soma (Oh my Gorgeous smooth cami bra) and it made one of my lower dresses completely work appropriate (my SO said the dress looked like it was made with the extra piece). It’s so much better than the less cami bras. I could see wearing it in white with this.

    • Brooklyn, Esq. :

      Yes, I was just coming in to say: I saw this dress on the website yesterday, and while I love the fabric, I wish they had shown in styled without the shirt in at least one photo so we could tell what it would look like as a non-jumper.

      • I know, why oh why would they not do that??? J. Crew kind of bugs me with their pictures; it’s often hard to tell what the clothes really look like.

        • Exactly. And, the styling too … why must all the models have incredibly messy (or for some, just plain dirty) hair and “birth control” glasses? Can’t they style them to look like they might actually wear that in an office environment?? Polished can be fashionable!

    • I would definitely be sporting 6 inches of cleavage in this neckline. Yikes.

    • It is way to SERPENTINE for my taste, but if you like it, that is fine. The manageing partner had me do a sumary of all of Jims’ cases b/c he wants to see how much billeings he think’s we can get from Jims’ Company.

      Right now, I figure there are about 200 hour’s of billeings, even if the cases all get setteled, which most do. Jim says he will NOT settel without a fight b/c alot of the plainetiff’s are “malingerers” and he does NOT want to pay if he is NOT ordered to by a court of COMPETENT jurisdiction. This mean’s more litiegation expierence for me!

      Jim is going to stop by for lunch today to meet with me and the manageing partner. He said he would bring deli with him. I ordered a corn beef sammwich, Yay! The manageing partner ordered TONGUE (GROSS!), a knetsch, and a Doctor Browns Celery soda.

    • I love the look of the shirt under, though. This would also look great with a turtleneck underneath.

    • It look similar to their Memo Dress neckline (http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/suiting/super120spinstripe/PRDOVR~95963/95963.jsp), which there was a discussion about on this site in the past. It works for me because I don’t show cleavage when I wear it, but I could see that larger or higher busted ladies may not be able to pull it off.

    • This neckline seems so office inappropriate. I tried on a beautiful LKBennett suit a couple months ago: jacket, pants and dress. The dress, though gorgeous and cut just for my body shape, had the same neckline. I couldn’t buy it because I can’t wear that to the office.

  2. Pretty! I like the shoes too.

    Question: I’m hosting my first-ever brunch this weekend. I’ve done a million dinner parties and always have some snack (cheese plate, bruschetta, etc.) there while we wait for everyone to arrive. What is similar that I can serve for brunch?

    • Cornellian :


      (does that count?)

      I think cheese plate is still a good idea, maybe with some fruit?

    • Yum! I would serve: Cheese, little mini quiches, maybe some bread-like things (bite-sized) with creamy spreads (like mini-bagels with cream cheese, or toasts with cheese spread), mini-danish type things, or scones, maybe some preserved meats (summer sausage type things, lunch meat type things), and fruit, possibly with a dip of some sort.

      You always sound like you’re planning such fun parties, b23. I wish we were neighbors!

      • Brooklyn, Esq. :

        These ideas are making me so hungry! I love brunch.

      • Great ideas, everyone! I’ve made these before, and they are delicious. Maybe I’ll have them sitting out.


        And, Lyssa, I wish we were neighbors too! I’ve always felt like we could be real-life buddies.

    • Merabella :

      Caprese Salad bites.

    • I agree that cheese still works. If you want something hot, you could make mini frittatas. I haven’t actually tried this, but it looks pretty straightforward and lots of recipes available online (I would use a mini muffin tin for snack-sized frittatas). Mini muffins or a quick bread would also be good.

    • What’s your menu?

      Some ideas: a smoked salmon (or fish) platter, with assorted accompaniments (bagels, rye bread, crackers, creme fraiche,cream cheese, capers, red onion, etc), mini quiches, perhaps some mini scones or croissants, or just a fresh fruit platter.

      • Migraine Sufferer :

        I served this menu at my last brunch. The quiche and fresh fruit was *way* more popular than the bagels and lox. In fact- most people skipped the lox (okay by me, I ate bagels and lox for lunch for a week) and opted to top their bagels with tomatoes.

        The most popular item by far was the large box of Starbucks medium roast. I didn’t serve mimosas though, alcohol was out of budget.

    • Also, since we’re on the topic, how many options do people usually serve when they serve brunch? We’re planning on doing breakfast tacos, fruit salad, and overnight French toast. Does that sound good?

      • I think that sounds great. There’s no reason to be a hero when you’re hosting brunch. I often will send my husband out to a bakery to pick up croissants and other pastries, and I’ll make eggs, bacon, fixins for that, etc. If you feel like you want to add anything (although I think your menu sounds great!) make it something that can be served room temperature and won’t add any extra stress to your preparation.

      • I think that sounds perfect. I love hosting brunch, and I usually try to do two “main course” options. My husband and I have adapted a version of Rick Bayless’ heuvos rancheros that is amazing.

      • I think the only key to brunch is making sure you have at least one sweet and one savory option; there are sweet breakfast people and savory breakfast people and never the two will meet. (Or whatever the phrase is.) I dread going out to brunch and finding out there’s only pancakes or coffee cake because I know I’ll feel sick for the rest of the morning.

      • You’ve covered sweet and savory. Sounds good.

      • Sounds perfect! You have all the brunch food groups (sweet, savory, and fruit) represented.

      • This whole thread is making me way too hungry. But THANK YOU for introducing me to the concept of breakfast tacos – I just googled. I must eat these as soon as humanly possible (aka Sunday morning breakfast).

        And I agree, I think your menu sounds perfect and covers all bases.


          • This makes me sad that you have conceivably lived 20+ years without knowing about breakfast tacos. I want to weep for all that you have missed in life. (And, if you happen to over indulge occasionally, these are a magic cure. Don’t ask me how I know).

          • I live in Canada!!! We (tragically) don’t have food like that here. A friend of mine moved here from Texas and was constantly mourning her lack of access to things like fresh corn tortillas and the right kind of chile peppers. Plus, my family are immigrants and we basically grew up eating the same food my dad ate as a child in the 1930s/’40s so I don’t think my parents would know what a taco was if it metaphorically knocked them over in the street (for example, we had pizza only for birthday parties, and my dad’s response was always to look at it, look confused, and walk away muttering something about crazy Americans/Canadians). But I think I can create these for myself without any trouble.

          • Marilla – I’m in Canada as well. I’ve heard of breakfast burritos before (thanks to McDonalds), but never breakfast tacos. They look delicious & easy and something I think even my picky 10yo would eat! I’m definitely trying them. They look like a fun breakfast-for-dinner meal.

          • Honey Pillows :

            I have eaten breakfast tacos, but for some reason I never think about making them when I have a bunch of tortillas left over (like now). Excellent timing!

          • SAlit-a-gator :

            This is totally a Texas thing. Before I came to Texas I too had never had a breakfast taco. Now I make them for myself almost every morning. Life is better with breakfast tacos.

    • You could make a few different types of bread and have jams, cheeses, etc to go with. Or do a yogurt parfait station

    • yes, but what are you wearing????

  3. East Coaster :

    Has anyone taken shoes to their cobbler to get part of the heel chopped off to make them lower? Is that something that shoe people usually do? I’m looking at some nice high heels that are way to high for me to wear anymore and I would hate to part with them.

    • Wouldn’t the heel sort of not reach the ground anymore? I feel like shoes are probably not flexible enough for that, unless there was a corresponding platform you could shave down as well. You’d sort of end up with a Barbie feet situation. But I could be totally wrong and maybe this is a thing people do all the time..I’d be curious to know because that would actually be pretty awesome if it was possible.

    • I once tried to get a pair of heels shaved down by about half an inch, and while they were able to cut it down some, they said that they couldn’t really take more than that because it would unbalance the shoe. Maybe if your shoe has a platform they can remove the platform as well, but I don’t think they’ll be able to change all that much.

    • I’ve done it, but they only took off about 1/4″. A good cobbler won’t take more off, because then the shoe ends up uneven and it will sort of “rock.”

    • Anonymous Poser :

      I am so glad you asked this because I was just wondering this, myself! Thanks for asking, and thanks to those who replied. :)

  4. I can never pull off the button down under dress like that without looking like I’m wearing an elementary school uniform…

    Interview attire Threadjack:

    I have a first round Skype interview tomorrow with a major athleticwear company. I’m assuming they are business casual, but not sure. What should I wear…only my top half will show. I have no clue what’s the right thing. Most of my textured/not obviously a suit are either really casual or clearly winter fabric.

    I have a 3/4 sleeve linen-ish (but still very structured) blazer in black. Would that work?

    • I will still wear a traditional suit for an interview.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Kat did a post on this a couple years ago (see below). Her vote was to wear a full suit so that you feel more professional. I’m not sure what “winter” fabric is, and I imagine that depending on where the prospective employer is interviewing from, they may not notice either. Nike’s up in Oregon, for example.


    • Assuming you’ll be staying in place I think a blazer over an appropriate top is fine (T or button down or sweater). I think over Skype full suit vs blazer isn’t a big distinction, and your blazer sounds fine to me for this situation. I would still do full suit for the in person interview even if they are business casual.

    • I would consider getting dressed all the way even if you think only your top half will show. You don’t want to have to get up to grab something off the table behind you or whatever and look half-dressed (like jeans or sweats on the bottom).

    • I think a black blazer would work, but 3/4 sleeve might be awkward looking. Really you could probably do a suit. Also make sure that you have on appropriate pants or a skirt in case you have to stand up or move. Also make sure the background you will be in front of is appropriate (no laundry, pet stuff, etc. in the background).

      Finally, be confident in what you wear and good luck!

    • Instead of a cotton button down, try a (tie-neck) chiffon or silk. The feel and flow of the material is different and makes it look more grown up. Also doesn’t bunch as much underneath.

  5. To Rome with love :

    Hi to the OP above, I wrote up a late reply for you on the earlier thread, including a tip for a terrific mid-priced hotel in a beautiful and atmospheric centro neighbourhood. Do post again if you’ve firmed up your basic arrangements and are looking for more info – I love this city and have been a regular visitor for many years.

    • Rome OP Here :

      Thank you! I was just about to write how much I appreciated everyone’s responses — you ladies really are a treasure. I am going to go read yours right now, and print out it and all the rest to stick in my travel planner.

      Once we get our tickets I will chime back in, since you so kindly offered, and bother y’all for some more advice. I am super excited from reading all the responses. Just trying to ignore the fact that the tickets got more expensive overnight! Speaking of which, is it better to fly into Rome or Florence? I have been operating under the assumption of Rome, is that wrong?

      Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! I really do appreciate this great community.

      • I’ve always been told that Rome is one of the most expensive cities in Europe to fly in and out of. I think Florence is better as far as price.

        • Really? Rome has a much bigger international airport, and from a quick scan of Kayak flights look about $100-$200 cheaper from the East Coast to there than to Florence. Missed the thread yesterday, so not sure when or where the OP is leaving from, though, which could affect it.

          For the OP: eat at Hostaria Romana. It is my FAVORITE PLACE EVAR. Near the Piazza Barberini. You want that in your mouth. http://www.hostariaromana.it/

    • I’m flying into Venice, going to Florence, then leaving out of Rome at the beginning of next month. I’ll search for the earlier post, but welcome any new advice too! For me, flying into or out of Florence involved too many connecting flights and was more expensive.

  6. Dallas area meet-up? :

    Are we still on for a Dallas meet-up tomorrow night, around 6 pm, at Pappasito’s in Richardson? I’m still in!

    • what what?! when did this happen??

      • Dallas area meet-up? :

        It was in one of the threads about a week and a half ago. Tx Attny and myself are in, and I thought there was a third person. Will you join us, Herbie? :) I suppose we also need to determine how we’ll know each other when we arrive.

    • I can’t do tonight, but I’d be in some other time. I must have missed that thread! Boo.

      • Dallas area meet-up? :

        It’s tomorrow night, Wednesday, August 15th. I’m sorry you missed the thread… maybe I’ll try to catch the coffee break thread early, since it looks like several people missed it previously.

        • I’d be in for tomorrow night, though probably can’t get there until after 7. Will you all still be there? And Pappasito’s Richardson– is that the one at 723 S. Central Expressway?

          • Yes, it’s the one at 723 S. Central Expressway. I’m up for staying after 7 pm or making the time a little later, if other ‘e tt es would prefer to meet later.

  7. Anon for this :

    Question on lateral moves. I’m currently a fifth year associate at a midsize firm, and I’m perfectly happy with my job and very comfortable where I’m at. However, I recently saw a job posting for what would be my dream job (in-house, big industry in my city that I would love to get into). I haven’t been thinking about making a move at all. I love my life right now and my job pays well and the work isn’t so bad. However, in the back of my head I’ve always known that I would have to make a move eventually — partnership isn’t really a possibility here, plus the firm is notoriously bad when women attorneys have kids. My plan all along has been to enjoy my current position for 2-3 more years, and then lateral out.

    Should I think seriously about this job opening? I think a big part of me is scared to make a move right now. My life is honestly really great, and I’m scared to rock the boat and potentially get into a much worse situation. But then I’m also trying to be smart about this, and recognize that this job will change and problems will arise anyway in 2-3 years, so perhaps I should take control of the situation early. Any thoughts?

    • kerrycontrary :

      I’m not an attorney, but no one got anywhere without taking risks. Like you say, you are going to have to deal with the situation eventually so why not try for your dream job now. That dream job may not be available in 2-3 years. And to be more realistic, you may not even get the job. So there’s not harm in applying and interviewing.

    • What’s the risk if you apply and don’t get the job? Sounds to me like you’d regret not at least knocking on the door. Right now you’re in a position of strength because you don’t NEED the new job–financially or emotionally. Sounds like a win-win. Either you get your dream job early, or you get a nice trial run at the job hunt for when you decide you want to move.

      • Also: Don’t wait until you’re pregnant to look for a maternity policy-friendly spot. If kids anywhere on the brain, it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and get established in a place where that will work BEFORE you start looking at time off. Might make maternity leave hurt a little less if you have a track record built up. Spoken from experience.

    • Anon Analyst :

      I would say go ahead and apply for the new job opening. If it’s your dream job, then go for it. It’s better than waiting until later when you want to leave and finding that the dream job is no longer available. Good luck!

    • I think it’s a good idea to lateral out when you’re in your 4th or 5th year as a general matter. Otherwise, I think it can look like you’ve seen the writing on the wall and are getting pushed out b/c you aren’t going to make partner. So for whatever it’s worth, I think now is a better time than two to three years from now.

      • THIS!

      • Yep, this. Get out while the gettin’s good. I’ve had more than a few 7th yr+ attys still stuck at firms tell me they wish they’d been more responsive when recruiters were banging down their doors between yrs 3-5. Realize OP’s not dealing with a recruiter, but you’re in the sweet spot.

    • I was you a while back (in biglaw for 5 years, went in house at year 6) & my advice is to apply for a few reasons. I’m a list maker, so here’s my list:
      – it can take a really long time to get an in-house offer when you are a firm lawyer. There is generally a big bias against hiring people from firms for in-house positions. We could debate all day about whether it’s fair or unfair, but it’s out there. So you need to increase your odds by starting when you think you might possibly be comfortable with a move.
      – Jobs in your city & industry don’t come along every day
      – In-house pay isn’t as bad as you might think
      – Your firm experience is likely to start changing. At my firm, my class started defecting to in-house roles around year 5. I was one of the earlier ones to leave, but within a year of my departure, all of my firm friends had gone in-house & they told me it just became a really different place from a social perspective. From a work perspective too, your experience may change — the more senior you get, the more pressure there is to do “biz dev” type work and less opportunity to do things that you can bill for comfortably.
      – It’s always really nice to interview when you’d like a job, but you don’t need a job. You negotiate better & probably don’t come off as desperate as you could otherwise.

      • ps – I wouldn’t be so worried about the stale partner concept. I heard that a lot when I was at a firm, but I’ve now been in-house at a couple of places & hired at both & haven’t heard anyone really express that. The bigger issue, in my view, is how long you can realistically stay at a firm when you aren’t going for partner/that’s not realistic. I think the mistake some people make is waiting for their firm time to expire & then to start looking to go in-house given the general bias against firm lawyers in favor of people who already have been inside.

    • Apply.

  8. Bloomie’s coupon code for 25% off your order:


    It’s a one-time use coupon.

    • Awesome! Thanks! Used it to buy a dress for an upcoming wedding.

      • Brooklyn, Esq. :

        Hi, yes! What did you buy? I have 8 weddings coming up in the next year (incl. 3 this fall) and I need a new dress or two! I did some poking around online but couldn’t find much that inspired me.

        • I bought a dress for an action-packed wedding weekend. It’s an Indian wedding, and there are lots of different events with different dress code requirements. I already had a long dress for evening, but I bought this as an option for one of the less formal events:


          I went a little more flowy than normal because I think many guests will be in sarees, and I think this expresses a similar sentiment, in some ways.

          • Brooklyn, Esq. :

            Pretty! I’d love to hear about the wedding. My sister is marrying an Indian man next year and I can’t wait for the Indian wedding (they’re also having a NY hipster wedding, which will be fun too).

  9. Thanks for all the Brussels ideas. Someone asked in the comments about previous Paris threads as I mentioned that I’d bookmarked them, here they are 4 of them
    (I’ll post one by one to avoid moderation)

    • Bah, ended up in moderation anyway – here are the rest:


  10. Hi ladies. This is just a cry to the universe to send me good vibes, because I really feel like I could use them right now. The Gentleman Caller and I have been trying to be friends; it hasn’t been working for all sorts of reasons; I planned to tell him so this morning, but due to the unexpected presence of another person, couldn’t; and I need so much for this to be OVER. Plus my mom might have cancer, but didn’t want me at the appointment she has today for I don’t know what reason; and I feel so selfish and guilty for being so stressed about my stupid 24-year-old love life when she is you know, possibly facing cancer.

    So. Not a good day. No one I can really talk to about any of this, either, since I don’t have any close friends in town right now. At least I don’t have to work today, so my game-plan is to curl up with my dog, tissues, and the TV remote, and eat my feelings.

    • Rose in Bloom :

      Aww hugs! I’m so sorry to hear about Gentleman Caller hurting you and your mom’s situation. Although you don’t have close friends in town, is there anyone you can call who will just listen?

      If not, let your dog love you. They always seem to know when something is wrong and how to make you feel better.

      Best wishes for everything getting better for you soon.

    • Anon Analyst :

      Sorry to hear about your situation. Hoping that your mom is okay. Sending positive thoughts your way. Take care.

    • Poor you. Seriously, I mean it. That’s a lot of crap in one go. Don’t feel guilty, everyone’s problems are big to them and it’s silly to compare. You’re allowed to feel bad.

      Sending vibes for no cancer for your mom, or if there must be, an easy-to-treat one.

    • Aww :( I hope your mom gets good news at your appointment today. My mom is very unforthcoming about health issues as well. I think she just doesn’t want to deal with it plus does not want to deal with us worrying about her.

      Try to be kind to yourself and not “feel bad about feeling bad.” We all have mountains to deal with, and sometimes a day later it looks like a molehill.. but in that moment it’s damn hard anyway. Ignore the world and just cuddle with your dog and a giant mountain of candy (or whatever makes you happy).

    • I’m so sorry, a. I have been there in both respects. I know you don’t know the outcome of your mom’s appointment yet, but I have to tell you not to beat yourself up for thinking about what feels trivial.

      I was also in my early 20s when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer–he was 49. It was a very serious form, for which there is no such thing as “early detection” that makes much difference, and no possibility of cure or even remission. I’m not telling you this as “look how bad it could be!” but rather to set context for what happened to me. We were abruptly told that he was definitely going to die, and relatively soon.

      The world didn’t suddenly free itself of stupid distractions for early-twenties me. It doesn’t work like that. I was still interested in guys, worried about school/career stuff, seeing my friends, shopping for clothes. I feel I was a good daughter throughout his illness, and I was with him through some incredibly difficult times. But you simply CAN’T put everything else out of your mind. It’s terrible for you, but it’s also not what your loved one wants. (My Dad insisted that I go back to college for my senior year, although I had offered not to.)

      I bet your mom didn’t invite you to the appointment because she’s trying to protect you. That’s a thorny matter, which I dealt with too. Right now, though, don’t add to your pain by feeling guilty about having to think through the boyfriend issue. It doesn’t disappear just because something else more important is going on in your family. What I did find was that things took on a deeper perspective almost instantly. During my Dad’s illness, for example, I tended to tell guys about it before we got very close–and anyone who couldn’t handle hearing about it was ruled out for a relationship. I hadn’t had standards like that before, but now I needed to protect myself.

      Let me know if I can advise at all. I hope your mom is fine, or if the test is positive that she is treatable. But know that if things don’t go as you hoped, you have experience and support for that too.

      • Monday’s advice is very very good — and holds true even if you are in your 40s when your parent is diagnosed with cancer. Many hugs to you and keeping my fingers crossed for you and your mom.

    • Hugs. Sending good vibes your (and your mom’s) way!

    • So sorry to hear all of this (even the Gentleman Caller drama – it’s still upsetting, even if you also have bigger, scarier things on your mind). I have nothing to add, but I’ll throw another set of good vibes into the pot for you.

    • There should be an emoticon for good vibes and whatever it might be, I am sending them your way.

      Don’t beat yourself up. I agree with Monday – life doesn’t stop and distractions, however silly, don’t just disappear in times like these. I actually think sometimes the distractions come in as a weird coping mechanism. I know when my dad passed away I got weirdly distracted by some very trivial boy drama, and I felt such guilt about it for so long, but in retrospect I think it was just a way for me to focus on something small when my whole world was falling apart.

      Give yourself a break. Hopefully your mom will be fine. And if she does get bad news, there is so much modern medicine can do nowadays. It doesn’t have to mean the end. Don’t think about it like that now. Focus on the positive and take it one small step at a time. Big hugs. Let us know what happens.

    • Sending positive thoughts out to your mom. I just went through this and was a wreck for a week, but all was well. I hope the same is true of you.

      And don’t feel guilty that you are also concerned with your own life. You wouldn’t let anyone tell your mom that she can’t be sad because somewhere, someone has it worse. Give yourself the same courtesy.

    • Also sending good vibes to both you and your mother. About a year and a half ago, I had to accompany my mom at the very last minute to a similar appointment because of a really crazy and complicated series of events where I was the only person that could take her. I was terrified the entire time, not to mention blindsided, and I know she didnt want to say anything to my brother or I until she had more information. I agree that she’s trying to protect you. If you want to vent more offline, let me know! I know how hard it can be to be going through both of these things and feel like nobody is listening.

    • a., sorry to hear about all of the stress points in your life. As for your mom, there are a couple of ways to see this. One, she’s an adult and may want to deal with this herself and process it for herself and decide what she will share and when. That said, when emotions are involved (and, of course, they will be where cancer is on the line), it’s really important to have two people there so you both hear what the doctor is saying and can see it from different angles and ask different questions. But if your mom has already made that choice, let her go with it for now. Really hard, I know. My mom passed away from cancer when I was 24 and I was there for her as much as I possibly could be. You do everything you can to have no regrets about how you handled things. In fact, because of circumstances, I found out about my mom’s diagnosis before she did. Even though she was in her hospital room and I was in the hallway, she heard my reaction and figured it out. I wish, in some ways, that I could go back and have a re-do on that. So she may fear that your emotional reaction will affect her and not allow her to process everything she’s being told. Be patient with her. And best wishes for everything to work out better on everything.

    • a. I’m really sorry about your mom (please report back here when you know something – we will all be thinking of you). As far as the gentleman thing, I don’t have much advice there. I’m in VA and I wish I could come see you, but alas I am going to Indiana today for a few days. Let me know if you want to do a (this site) meetup. I had one with zora on Friday and as far as I know, a meetup of 2 still counts towards our (this site) development units (CDUs).

    • Seattleite :

      Hey, a. I have cancer, and a 21-year old daughter, so feel partially qualified to comment.

      This is probably scary and overwhelming for your mom, and she will not feel free to break down, cry, ask hard questions, etc., if you are there. Yes, you’re an adult, but she is your mom and her instinct is to protect you. If you’re there listening to survival rates, side effects, etc., she’ll be thinking about what a. is thinking, and not about her own questions.

      It isn’t justified, but there’s a lot of guilt attached to giving your kids a mom with cancer. I want my daughter to live *her* life, w/o guilt for being happy, or stressed about Things Not Cancer. (I get stressed about Things Not Cancer, and I have cancer!!) I’m not saying she won’t need some emotional support; she will. But knowing that you are living normally will go a long way to giving her hope and letting her focus on her own health. (Have you seen “Armageddon?” The closing scenes have been running through my mind for the last week. Knowledge that life goes on really does help.)

      • Seattleite, I’m so sorry to hear you have cancer. I hope the prognosis is good. I always enjoy hearing your perspective on this site.

      • Seattlelite, thank you so much. I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, and thank you so so much for that perspective. My thoughts will be with you and your family.

    • Thank you so much, ladies. The Gentleman called a few minutes after I posted that, so I definitively ended things. Which at least brought that to a close. I cried into my dog for a while, but overall I feel better because at least that’s done. Dreading it ended up being a lot worse than actually doing it.

      My best friend, who lives in Asia, ended up being online, so we S k y p e d for a while. That + + dog + cookies + bad TV = me feeling a little bit better about that side of things, at least.

      As far as my mom–well. She’ll be getting her results back in two or three days. I’ll be prayin’ and keepin’ my fingers crossed.

      • Check out a few posts on www.baggagereclaim.co.uk about “No Contact” with Gentleman Caller. It’s tough, but for the best.

        Big hugs about your mom. That’s tough.

        • Probably too late to be seen, but I wanted to throw my hat in the “hugs and support for you” ring. My dad is in chemo right now, and I remember how agonizing it was when we were first waiting for a diagnosis.

          I also echo Hel-lo on the no contact bit with the Gentleman Caller. I resisted for quite a while, sure I could remain “just friends” with my ex, and as soon as I finally sucked it up and cut off contact, I felt better. I still missed him, but somehow knowing definitively that there would be no contact made it easier, as I wasn’t in the back of my mind wondering if he would call or email or SMS.

    • Awww….be kind to yourself. You’re going through a lot, and don’t feel guilty. Good luck to your mom! I’m glad you’ve got a dog– they’re good in all weather, and especially good when they know their people need some comfort.

    • Hugs, hang in there.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Super late to the party here, but sending some big internet hugs to a. and Seattleite. Take care of yourselves.

  11. Any ideas for my daughter’s 21st birthday present? We were thinking of jewelry that she would wear later in life- diamond or pearl earrings, perhaps. I’m hesitating because those things just aren’t her style now. Her favorite necklace is an antique pen nib from etsy. Did you receive any memorable 21st birthday presents?

    • My parents gave me a mirror from Sticks (www [dot] sticksart [dot] com). I have moved a lot since I turned 21, but I’ve always had it hanging in my bedroom.

    • My folks gave me my mom’s Cartier watch (she wasn’t wearing it anymore) for my 21st birthday. 12 years later, I still wear it every day and consider it my favorite gift of all time.

      • Rose in Bloom :

        I was also going to suggest a watch. My now husband gave me a nice watch for my 21st birthday, and I still wear it every day. If she wears watches now, that would solve your problem of something that she could use now and also in the future.

        FWIW, I am 25 and have been given plenty of nice jewelry, and while I love wearing it, I very rarely have the occasion to do so.

      • Yes, a watch would be nice. And nice watches come in all sorts of styles, so you could probably find one that would fit her style now and that she will wear for years and years. If she isn’t a pearl earring type of gal now, she may never be. I still like the same watch styles that I liked in high school, so I don’t think I’ll ever change.

    • A charm bracelet that my parents have added charms to over the years. Your daughter can customize it so it can grow with her. Jewellery is a great idea because it lasts forever and reminds the wearer of the special occassion/gifter every time she wears it, but one of my favourite gifts from my parents ever is my sewing machine for my 19th birthday, and it’ll probably last forever too!

      • in the politest way possible, as a 22 year old who may have similar tastes in jewelry as your daughter (love the vintage-y, unique stuff), please DON’T do this. there is a chance your daughter will like it but i think the majority of young women that i know are over charm bracelets. several of my friends have received the pandora “charm” bracelets over the past few years and none wear them.

        I think the watch idea is a keeper.

        • No Problem :

          The watch idea is great if you let her pick it out. I’ve gotten two watches as gifts in my life and was able to pick out both. I would hate to have gotten one I didn’t pick out because the chances that it would be “me” are so slim given the variety of watches out there.

        • I received a couple charm bracelets when I was in this age bracket, and did not find them to be awesome presents. I now have 3, and each only has one charm on it (the giver never got additional charms, never told other people to get more, etc) and while I appreciated the sentiment they are still just sitting in my jewelry box.

    • Does she have a nice camera?

      • Research, Not Law :

        I received one around the same age and it was such a great gift!

    • Two options:
      1. If you want a physical gift, nice earrings. I got diamond studs for my 21st and emeralds set in a diamond halo for my college graduation. I swap between them probably five out of seven days. Just so basic and lovely.
      2. Other favorite gift of all time was a plane ticket to anywhere in the world I wanted to go, as the other side of my family’s graduation gift. Hard to beat a month in Spain.

      • Agreed with #2. I think that an experience gift here would be a great option.

    • No Problem :

      My parents took me to Vegas.

      • I got a bottle of wine and cab fare. I am shocked all these people get diamonds and cartier and pearls for turning “drinking age”.

        • Why is that shocking? People have different income levels and present budgets. I got cake and whatever a normal present was for my family. Like a sweater or gift card to loft I think. People do whatever is normal for their income level. Plus she asked for memorable 21 presents, so these all sound awesome because they were memorable.

          • I don’t think she’s criticizing, just commenting on the difference between her family and others’.

          • I think she is shocked because she assumed that people would get more alcohol-themed presents for their 21st birthdays, since at least in the US being able to drink alcohol legally is the big milestone at 21.

        • Cornellian :

          Yeah, no present for me earlier. I guess it is sweet, but I’m not sure eactly what i had “accomplished” by turning 21. college graduation 11 mos later was certainly a more fitting occasion.

        • Well, my godmother was going through a diamond phase around my 21st, and she’s rich as Methuselah, hence the earrings. (She actually got a new pair for herself at the same time, just two carats bigger.) It’s not typically a big gift occasion in my family. College graduation was definitely a bigger deal.

          • I thought Methuselah was just old. Was he rich too?

          • Seattleite :

            Well, he WAS 900+ years old. I’m not sure compound interest per se existed in his time, but if he had herds, they would expand in a compound interest-like way. That’s a lot of time to acquire assets.
            ::plans to run retirement spreadsheet with 900-year term, just because::

          • Crap, wrong old person. I meant Midas.

    • My mother got me a sapphire ring for my 21st birthday – it is my birthstone. I wear it at special occasions. Maybe jewelry like you were thinking, but vintage style. Maybe a vintage ring, or bracelet, or like others suggested here watch. It seems like that would fit into her style now, and will continue working in the long run.

    • e_pontellier :

      My mother gave me a Suze Orman book on finances… which was completely inappropriate, because I’ve been lectured regularly on the horrors of credit card debt for as long as I can remember (by my mother). But if your family isn’t particularly open about finances, maybe that’s a good one?

      I recently purchased and read The Defining Decade: Why Your 20s Matter and How to Make the Most of Them (by Meg Jay), and I would really really really recommend it to anyone in their 20s. It tackles career, love, and brain development that all happens in your 20s and I found it incredibly helpful.

    • I got a Louis Vuitton Wallet and bag. 8 years later, I still use the wallet almost daily, and will. not. part. with. it. I also got a Cartier watch for Christmas the same year, and again, I still wear it every day.

    • The most memorable present my parents gave me was my first IRA account when I turned 18. They opened one for me and deposited $1000.00 as a “starter” fund. More than 20 years later, I still have it (rolled it into a Roth IRA though) and it continues to grow. It has got to be the best birthday present I have ever received.

    • eastbaybanker :

      Etsy actually has a number of designers who make gorgeous diamond and precious metal jewelry that appeals to a more indie aesthetic. I did a quick Etsy search and discovered a shop called Nixon, which seems sort of perfect (no affiliation).

      Link to follow.

      • eastbaybanker :

        Spelling correction! It’s Nixin.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      My parents asked me to babysit for my brother so they could go out. :)

      • Thank you for these ideas. Migraine Sufferer, your comment made my husband and me LOL. Thank you for the giggle after a long day. For earrings, I was thinking of a classic stud, but a different setting would make it more of the vintage-look that she likes. I checked out both the Nixin site and SticksArt. Great suggestions! If we decide to go with a watch, we’ll definitely let her pick it out. I’ll check out the book at the bookstore at lunch tomorrow. Thank you!!

  12. I love this dress. Also like the way it’s styled. I know it’s somewhat controversial, but I don’t get the whole little girl vibe from it because frankly I don’t think I come off as a little girl in the rest of my demeanor. I think if you look very young and are new, it can be more of a problem. Although I am careful not to pair shirts under dresses where either one is particularly tight or suggestive – that reads a bit too naughty secretary a la VS to me.

    I also think this dress would look really awesome with a thin black turtleneck sweater.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I also love the dress and the styling. I typically avoid wearing shirts under dresses, but somehow this just seems right somehow.

      • Agreed. It somehow works in this one instance, although if I tried it I’m sure I would feel like Rachel from Friends circa 2002.

      • Agreed that it doesn’t read as school jumper to me. Maybe it’s the neckline? Something that reads as school jumper always seem to have a higher scooped neckline. And the fact that they didn’t style it with a peter pan collar and pigtails helps too. And adding the belt and heels also helps.

    • I don’t mind the shirt under dress look but don’t like that this dress has limited wear due to the neckline. I’ve been frustrated in searching for shift dresses lately. The necklines are either very high or very low.

      • Here is a shift tweed dress:
        However, I don’t like it nearly as much as the featured dress, which I would totally wear as a jumper, with button-downs and turtlenecks.

  13. Yesterday I overheard a more senior attorney say to a partner (on speakerphone) that, in essence, I was an idiot. It wasn’t quite so direct as that – he said that the person who did X (which was me) was “brainless”. Probably not the worst thing anyone has ever said about me, but I was, and am, a bit upset about this. I work my b u t t off, and think this guy should have said something to me if he thought my work product was poor, rather than bad mouthing me to someone who has the power to affect my advancement, bonus, or whether to fire me.

    But, to make a long story about this guy short, he’s awful. He’s awful to work with, he’s a terrible manager, countless people have quit because of him (and named in as the reason why they were leaving), he’s had job-mandated anger management classes, etc., and he hasn’t been fired. Obviously telling someone that I overheard him saying a mean thing about me (that I wouldn’t have heard if the door was closed) is not going to be the final straw. Nor, really, do I want it to be. I would just like it if he would stop being such a jerk, and realize how rude, unprofessional, and demoralizing it is to work with someone like that. And it would be an added bonus if I could stop working with him.

    Any advice? My husband asked me if I was willing to make this “a thing,” and I don’t know if I should. I still feel a little emotional about it, so I can’t decide if I should just ignore it. Thoughts?

    • “named in” should be “named him”

    • Sounds like this guy is known for his hot-headedness and that people will take his coments with a grain of salt. You won’t change him and he likely won’t recant his statement to the partner. Just keep kicking butt, try and work directly with the partner if you are worried and don’t let this bother you too much.

      • I agree. Based on your description of his personality and issues as a manager, it sounds like his comments were more about him than about you. Try to tell yourself that someone else’s problems reflect on them, not on you, and just keep doing your (kick-butt, professional, awesome) thing. If he has all these known issues and hasn’t been fired, you turning this into a “thing” as your husband called it probably won’t help and will just pull you into his issues.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Bullies tend to rely on their victims being victimized. Bullies often back down when a victim stands up for themselves and refuses to be a victim anymore. I am generalizing here.

      If this guy is senior to you, not really your boss, and has a history of being a jerk, there probably wouldn’t be a lot of backlash if you stood up to him. How direct you are is up to you, your comfort level and how much of a record you want.

      You could walk into his office, leave his door open so the cube farm can hear what transpires and say “Joe, I was walking by Mike’s office the other day and overheard you complaining about my work product. In the future, if you have an issue with my work, please take it up with me so I have a chance to improve it for you. Is there something specific about this project you would like to discuss with me?” If his response is a stuttering no, respond, “then if it is not bad enough to discuss with me, please don’t disparage my work to others” and leave.

      Just an idea, no clue if it will help or hurt your situation. I’ve stood up to a couple professional bullies with good results but YMMV.

    • “Hey, Joe, I overheard you telling someone that my job on X isn’t up to par. I guess it must have been an awkward situation for you, but I want you to know that you can tell me this directly. I don’t bite, I promise! You don’t have to be afraid. So, tell me, what was the problem exactly ?”

      Of course, the key is being completely poker-faced and nice.

    • I think your choices are to ignore it, or to try to learn something useful from it, but I don’t see any way you can get an official action from overhearing something not meant for your ears – it’s also not clear whether he named you in the conversation, or if you actually did make a mistake in the work product. If it were me, I would confront Awful Jerk directly with something like “I understand you weren’t happy with Work Product; would you mind telling me what the issues were so that I can correct them or at least not repeat them?” I think this puts him on notice that direct feedback that can improve your product is a more productive path, that you are assertive and want to improve, and that he can’t be sniping behind your back without being accountable for it. It seems pretty clear that management is aware of his behavior and working on it to some level, so that this incident will not be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as you say, and I don’t see any real value in repeating it given the comment was not meant for you. However, whoever Brainless Jerk made the comment to should have called him out on it (“Have you spoken to Producer of Work Product to tell them what was wrong with it?”) – but given you weren’t part of that conversation I can’t really see an effective way to confront him on that.

    • My approach would be to send an email to Angry Partner with the subject line: Brainless?! And then in the body simply write, “That’s a little harsh, don’t you think? Do we need to talk?”

      This lets him know that you know what he said (but doesn’t say how you know it, which may make him a little panicky, which I would consider a side benefit), and demonstrates that you’re not afraid to address the situation. It also puts the ball firmly in his court re: whether to follow up. And keep your email (and any response from Angry Partner) in a CYA-type file.

      • Suggestions like Blonde Lawyer’s seem more mature and professional than sending an email like this would be, especially since he is more senior than OP. In talking with angry senior attorney OP doesn’t have to mention how she knows he complained, only that she “heard” that that he had a problem with her work product.

        Also, let this be a lesson to those in hiring/firing capacity. It is not worth keeping a high performer around if they have attitude problems and can’t work with others in your organization. Spectacular work results do not make up for the toxic environment that such people create. (I assume that angry senior attorney must be pretty good at some aspects of his job, otherwise why would he still be around.)

      • To be honest, he may not know what the e-mail is about. While the word is stuck in your mind, he may not remember using it in regards to you or may have used it a hundred times recently.

        So, without more context I don’t think this accomplishes anything.

      • Literally the worst suggestion ever on corporette. Its passive aggressive, immature, leaves a paper trail of your crazy, and defensive.

        If you want to make a thing you can talk to him directly, but 1) he didn’t mention you by name. 2) it sucked that he left his door open, but he was just venting. 3) every one seems to know he is a bully. I think if you mention it to him, he’ll think you should grow up. I would JSFAMO but if anything I think Michelle’s is the way to go.

      • Literally the worst suggestion ever on this site. Its passive aggressive, immature, leaves a paper trail of your crazy, and defensive.

        If you want to make a thing you can talk to him directly, but 1) he didn’t mention you by name. 2) it sucked that he left his door open, but he was just venting. 3) every one seems to know he is a bully. I think if you mention it to him, he’ll think you should grow up. I would JSFAMO but if anything I think Michelle’s is the way to go.

        • Obviously I disagree, seeing as how it would be my approach. But then again, I’m not one to JSFAMO when someone with influence over my career insults me. (A “paper trail of your crazy?” Really?)

          • Yeah, if I ever got that email from someone I would think they were crazy. Also, I totally stand up for myself if I am insulted. but he insulted her work, he didnt like her argument. He wasn’t saying she was a b*tch or anything sexist. And he most likely doesnt even know she wrote it. hence why he didnt mention her by name. So if I got an email saying brainless??! from a junior because I didn’t like their work… yeah would think that was crazy

          • I find it hard to believe that none of you have ever criticized the work of an associate or paralegal harshly while in the office. You all sure do it here! Maybe OP did make a dumb mistake and he was venting. If I got “caught” in that way, I might apologize for the hyperbole, or I might say, “yeah, it was brainless. I will come to you the next time though.”

  14. Quick survey on height. I was talking with a friend the other night (another attorney) about how neither of us ever feels that we’re not being taken seriously, and that if we want to say “no” to something, we never have a problem just saying it and having people respect our decisions. My friend (who’s almost 5’11”) said it might be because we’re tall (I’m 5’9″) and that very small friends of hers often feel railroaded. I’m wondering if this is true. I remember *hating* how people didn’t take me seriously when I was little (I was one of those weird kids who had major policy proposals at the age of 10) but I haven’t really had that problem since I was about sixteen, which is, coincidentally, also about when I hit my adult height. (Not saying people didn’t seriously consider a 10 yr old’s views on how to solve world poverty because I was only 4’11” but just pointing out that 5’9″ seemed to = respect.) Curious to hear thoughts.

    • locomotive :

      I think it’s more about attitude, and being willing to be forceful (depending on the situation). I’m 5’2″, 110 lbs (just to show that I am a small person in general) and actually pretty shy in general around new people but I feel like I’m always taken seriously at work because I try to be very assertive when I need to be (asking people to get work done, asking for whatever I need, etc.) If I were quieter at work I feel like I could run into that problem.

      In situations with friends, I’m a lot less pushy and more quiet and go with the flow. My friends are nice enough that if I emphasize things a few times people don’t ignore the requests or whatnot, so never really had a problem there.

      I have had problems with older white males (I think that this could happen with ANY males, but I’m a small Asian female and have had these issues only with older white males in the past) who don’t take me seriously and do things like invade my personal space on flights, on public transportation, etc. but I generally ignore them and/or start being, excuse the term, a huge b**ch. I just want them to know that if they touch my hair, I will make a scene!

      • Ugh, yes, on the invading personal space on transportation. (People seriously touch your hair? Ick. I’d make a scene, too.)

      • I’m a small Asian woman with a firm personality and no problems with being taken seriously either. When I first started working in London in the 90s, it was far less global and far more pin-stripey, with very few of us around – I’d literally see people forming the thought bubble “oh the little doll” when meeting me for the first time. But even back then, things were generally ok once talking started.

      • I’m 5’3″ and people are often surprised to hear it–they think I am taller. I guess I have a way of taking up space! I feel I am usually taken seriously and respected, but agree that public places and crowds in general are a problem. I absolutely hate it, but men, especially larger men, feel free to physically move me out of their way. They need to get where they are going, but I apparently don’t. Or, I’m a doll and so I don’t notice being touched by strangers. FOOEY!

    • new york associate :

      I’m 5’9 and I routinely feel like people don’t take me seriously. I think it’s about how you carry yourself, not about your height.

    • Definitely more about attitude. I’m 5’4 and have no problems being taken seriously.

    • I’m 6′ and sort of understand what you’re saying – I used to be overly conscious that people might consider me a “bully” if I was too forthright and towered over them.

      As I’ve progressed in my career, though, I worry a lot less about it because my coworkers know me and know I’m not one (my favorite person in the office is the male partner who is, literally, no taller than 5′) and because I feel more comfortable saying “no.”

      For what it’s worth, I feel like being tall (I like heels!) gives me more leeway on being taken seriously and what I want to wear. No one is going to mistake me for a college-aged girl if I wear pink, for instance.

    • I’m 5’2″ (regularly wear 3″ heels) and I think it’s about presence, attitude, posture, making eye contact, being articulate and defining your expectations, speaking in a mature voice and with conviction. Also, if I think I’m right (which is always, ha), I won’t back down unless it’s becoming a distraction or if someone senior to me is overruling me. Plus, I don’t think of myself as 5’2″ and when I see myself in pictures, I wonder when I got so short. In general, I have a reputation of being fair, but I’m not a person to be crossed (but I’m also not a beeyatch, either). On the other hand, SO is 6’2″ and a Marine, so complete strangers take him seriously, whereas I just look like the little lady on his arm. So, whatever.

    • I definitely think it’s about how you carry yourself and not height. I’m 5’1″ and it’s rare that people realize just how short I am because I have a big personality.

      Generally I am fine with my size/respect but I do admit that I often wish I was taller at bench conferences.

    • I’m 5-4, but I’ve been this tall since I was in grade school. In my mind, I am still a giant. I have, like the song, 99 problems, but being taken seriously isn’t one of them.

    • Anonymous NYer :

      As a 5’10”-er I totally get what you’re saying. I think it’s more about how people have always acted towards you, and how you reacted to that to build your personality. For instance, I’ve always been the ‘tall girl’ in class, since I was little. As a result, many people thought I was older than I was growing up, and treated me accordingly. As a result, I think I had a better vocabulary and acted more mature for my age (in my experience, that sort of treatment evens out at some point during college)

      In a more adult context like you’re referring to, I think initially everyone might expect you to be more professional or might be more respectful of you off the bat as a tall woman, but I think that women of any height can overcome that. I think even all the responses to this post are telling. Every response seems to indicate that shorter people have had to try extra hard to assert themselves in the beginning, and then they were fine after that. I think us tall-ies don’t have to over assert to earn that initial respect, it just comes automatically.

      • I think this kind of nails it.

        At my former job, I had a female co-worker who was close to 6′, and had a solid build. (Not overweight, just solid and muscular.) She was taller than almost everyone, and was a tough cookie. When having conversations while standing, she would lean toward you, which translated, at her height, to towering over you. It was intimidating. She came off as really aggressive and mean, in a bad way, and I think she could have calmed people down had she been more aware of the way her size was affecting her communication with others.

    • I think its also about how young you look in general. If you’re short, but look your age (or older), it’s less of a problem. But I am 5’2, 110 lbs and have the face of a 16 yr old. The combination makes it incredibly difficult for anyone to take me seriously, and how I carry myself does make a difference, but it doesn’t negate my appearance.

  15. I’m 5’4″ and people respect my decisions. I can’t know how life might change if I were permanently 5’9″, but I’m frequently 5’8″ in heels and I don’t notice a difference.

  16. Mousekeeper :

    The “dress” (I’m sorry, but it looks more like a jumper given the plunging neckline) would look less schoolgirlish if it had a black shirt underneath or even a red one. The white shirt makes it schoolgirl-y. I think sophisticated jumpers like this one are a nice change from traditional professional/corporate office wear.The skinny black belt is a nice touch.

  17. So my fiancé and I finally cleared all the junk off our small apartment balcony, and put in a small table and two chairs. It looks so much better without my dead plants and all his grill tools out there! I am having some girlfriends over next week and would like to make it look just a little bit nicer. Thoughts? I’m thinking some sort of twinkle lights wrapped around the railing? Possibly a big potted plant, but I don’t want anything too expensive because it is the end of the summer. Other thoughts?


    • I think a big potted plant sounds nice. I would also recommend colorful cushions for your chairs and some kind of centerpiece (perhaps a couple pillar candles in some inexpensive lanterns?) for your table.

      Decorating with twinkle lights – outside of holidays – reads a little “dorm room” to me, but others may disagree.

    • Twinkle lights are really nice, or get some candles for the middle of the table or hanging lanterns. Potted herbs are nice and cheap (plus you can use them for cooking), or a hanging flowering plant.

    • There are really nice outdoor lights (not twinkle ones) with bigger bulbs that I think could be really cute. Pottery Barn has some cute outdoor globe lights. Or tea lights in mason jars. Or just hire Ina Garten’s outdoor lighting guy.

      PS. Had a BF in college that I’d only been dating for a month and he took twinkle lights and wrote “I love eek” in his room. Freaked 18yo me out so much.

    • It could be fun to find an indoor/outdoor rug. I have seen cute ones on CB2 and Crate & Barrel —adds color for less work than a plant (says the brown thumb).

      • An outdoor rug could be a quick way to really update the look of the balcony. I’ve also seen some nice patio lights at Target and Home Depot that don’t look Christmasy or dorm room at all. Think large-bulb fairy lights.

    • I got a little lime tree a few years back that I have outdoors in summer and indoors in winter – so possibly a plant that you could bring inside when it gets cooler?

      The idea of candles in mason jars sounds really nice to me; there are also sales this time of year on outdoor lanterns.

      • Candles are a lot more sophisticated than twinkle lighting, and work so much better to create a mood.

    • I think lights can be fun so long as they don’t look like left over Christmas decorations. Make sure that anything you put outside won’t fly off a table too and kill someone. Cushions are a great idea and can be tied to the chairs.

    • Thanks so much, everyone!

  18. anon in tejas :

    thread jack.

    I was asked to do an internal training on domestic violence. I have a lot of experience from my previous legal aid position and other volunteer work. The training is off-site and not related at all to my current job. I am not getting any type of compensation for the training (no free lunch even).

    I talked with my boss’s boss (boss was not avail due to family emergency) and he okayed. He said to just submit leave request with “seminar.” well, forms changed, there is no seminar. I submitted leave request to my boss, and she said that she would only approve if I take comp or vacation. I just started 3 mo ago and I don’t have a lot of time. I was caught off guard and told her to use my comp time.

    I feel crappy about it, because I would have never agreed to do the training if I had to take my personal time. And it was not something that was discussed when the original approval for the presentation took place. Should I talk with my boss about it? or let it go? I’ll be gone about 2 hours. It’ll take me to 0 time, but I am new, and I’ll keep on building back.

    What would you do?

    • Who asked you to do the training?

    • Did you tell boss that head boss said it was ok? If not you should go back and bring it up. Second, is there any way you can make up the two hours during the work week? I’m not sure what type of job your in, but anywhere I’ve worked, we just worked and took what we needed so long as all work was completed. I’d ask if you could do that just for this one time and if something like this happens in the future at least you know how to approach it.

      • anon in tejas :

        unfortunately, I am leaving early this week due to planned family wedding on Saturday. So I can’t make up the hours.

        I’ll likely email or mention it to boss that head boss said it was okay.

    • Are you training other people at your company? How can they make you take vacation time for that? If you do the training and have to take vacation or comp time for it, that means you are rendering a service to your company for free. How can this be right? Surely if they had someone from outside the organization come in and do the training, that person would be compensated.

      I’ve done some training of other people, and taking a number of training courses, as part of my current job, and it is considered part of my job. I’m a little surprised that a company would ask one of its employees to work for free.

      • anon in tejas :

        I work for a super big company. I work for one branch and they are asking me to train a separate branch. It’s none of my coworker or contemporaries.

        Agreed. I feel that I was asked because it’d be “free” training, even though I’d be prepping and taking time out of my day for the big company.

        • I would tell you main boss that big boss approved it. I think you absolutely should not have to take personal leave to train people within your own company.

          I also find it odd that this training request came directly to you, rather than to your boss from the boss of whatever branch requested the training.

          • anon in tejas :

            the request came to me directly because I was recently written up and featured in my alumni magazine and a statewide magazine because of my work.

        • I’d be very tempted to tell the requestor that you cannot do the training because it will involve using vacation or comp time, and you have very little and have already budgeted how you will use it.

          But I’m petty. I think most big companies already squeeze every drop they can out of their employees and we shouldn’t be volunteering to let them squeeze more. If the training is important, they would pay someone outside to come in and do it. If it will have a massively awesome effect on your career, I might, tiny might, consider doing it for free, but only if it didn’t involve taking more than a couple hours of vacation time.

          As a point of reference, from January to April my supervisor will be teaching a course in a subject we deal with at my agency, but we are not an educational institution and while we do fund some training grants, teaching is not a major part of our mission. My supervisor will be teleworking tuesday, wednesday, and thursday mornings and teaching those afternoons. She will have to balance keeping up with her work and preparing for the teaching, but I am 99.9% certain she will not be taking vacation time for those afternoons when she is teaching.

          • anon in tejas :

            mishap on my part, this just went down on Friday with boss 2.

            training is tomorrow. If I had taken care of my request timely (like back when it was approved), I could have backed out if the circumstances were such as they are now. I can’t now.

        • So what if it’s a big company and they aren’t your direct co-workers.

          If your company wants to tap you as a resource (which they have by requesting that you do the presentation), then you are getting paid for it. Period. If the boss above your boss said it was okay, then you need to go back to your boss and explain that. So what if there wasn’t a line on the form – write it in. And if your boss stonewalls you, then have that person talk to whoever requested the seminar and explain that they’ll need to pay for the use of your time.

    • Who is asking you to do the training? Of course don’t let this go. Honestly its hard to figure out how this happened. You shouldn’t have agreed to do a training without asking your boss first. Did you not ask your boss and that’s why he wants you to take time because he is mad about it?

      • anon in tejas :

        the issue is that two different people are handling this.

        I was approved by Boss 1, who said just put in leave request, and don’t take time. Boss 2 is my direct supervisor and asked me for my hours to be either comp or vacation. Boss 2 is under Boss 1.

        Boss 2 couldn’t handle the request because he was out of the office on family emergency originally when I was asked.

        • a passion for fashion :

          This is one of the weirdest situations Ive seen in a long time. I’m generally not a fan at all of NGDGTCO, but this is one of those situations — a man wouldnt ever be thinking about taking his personal/vacation time to give a presentation on domestic violence to the company. This isnt comp time, and i have to disagree with the below comment, this also isnt volunteer — this is work.

    • Anonymouse :

      So it sounds like you were asked by someone outside your firm to do a training on domestic violence and asked your current employer if that was OK. They said yes, but somehow you are having to use 2 hours of comp time now?

      I am sorry but this sounds like volunteer work, and you come off as very selfish and petty for worrying about using your “own time” for it. Just my .02

      Donating 2 hours of comp time to educate people about a societal issue seems like a lovely thing to do. Being upset about using the comp time does not.

      • I’m guessing you posted this before anon in tejas came back with more details (although she did say internal training), but even if she hadn’t, I don’t think it is selfish or petty to be upset to have someone essentially take back a commitment to give you admin leave for the training. I agree that it’s great to do volunteer work, but all parties involved should be up front about the volunteer nature of the work. I agree that donating 2 hours of comp time is a nice thing to do, but wouldn’t it also be nice for her company to donate her time?

    • You cannot volunteer your time to train employees of your company. I am assuming this is a private company (not public sector). There is no volunteering in private employment without violating the FLSA. You should email back your boss and cc: boss’s boss, and explain that there is some confusion because you obtained boss’s boss approval because it was time sensitive and your boss was out due to emergency. Don’t provide free work to your company. It degrades you and it’s wrong for your employer to ask you to do this. You might also consider going to HR and asking how to handle, if you think inserting HR at this point is appropriate.

  19. Soon to be in the Middleast :

    Preparing for a move to Oman from the US. I would love to hear advice you ladies may have, including dress, things to do and see and just advice from any of you who have lived or visited.

    • Where in the US?

      • Ooops. Misread that. Hopefully others can help. Sadly, I have yet to go. Sounds exciting!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      My brother did a semester in Jordan and a few days in Oman. There were lots of ladies in his group. If you don’t get a response here, email me at [email protected] and I will ask him to put you in touch w/ one of the girls for more fashion advice. He can also probably give you general advice.

    • Kontraktor :

      I would say don’t assume that you will be completely immune to dress and behavior standards as an expat. You might have some flexibility, but not much (for example, I believe in Riyadh, expat women may not be expected to cover their faces but still need to wear an abaya most times). But, even in more liberal ME countries, expats are not totally immune to living without local customs. A lot of businesses/services close down for Ramadan and even western companies have rules about what can and can’t be done during this time. I would suggest looking for some expat blogs and communities. There seem to be a lot centered around moving to conservative Middle Eastern countries. I think the best bet is to keep an open mind, expect to use a lot of patience, and read as much as you can beforehand online.

    • I’ve never been to oman, but i travel to dubai frequently (and more recently, for business). I think part of the key may be understanding that you’re joining an expat community made up of lots of different cultures, like British, Australian, Dutch, American, etc. (so, really there isn’t one “standard” like there is here in the US). The other part is probably what Kontractor recommended, you probably won’t be immune from local culture and customs, so it’ll be easier to negotiate that if you realize it going in (which I suspect you do). I’ve heard great things about Oman, good luck on your next phase! what industry do you work in?
      PS – buy a dvf abigail dress (tres chic and tres culturally appropriate)

    • oman is lovely! really friendly, safe, pretty… oman is pretty liberal. I never felt the need to cover my hair, but I tried to be a little more covered up than I would in the states (like a t-shirt instead of a tank top or a knee-length skirt instead of shorts). If you are going soon, it’s going to be ridiculously hot. Stay inside and rest during the middle of the day. Definitely go on a camping trip outside of the city and go snorkeling.

  20. When would you consider a good age/point in your life to move out from home. One year after working? Directly after graduation? Marriage?

    • I moved out two months after graduation. I can’t imagine living there more than a year, but its totally going to depend on so many variables. job, income, price of renting in the area, family you are living with, house arrangement. there is no right answer. I guess the age where I would start thinking it was a little weird would be 25. And I also think you should absolutely live by yourself or with roommates before marriage.

      • Totally agree with your last sentence. I realize it’s common in some cultures for people to live with parents until marriage, but I do think you miss the opportunity to learn a lot of things about yourself and life in general if you never live independently.

    • Home, as in, your parent’s home? After high school unless there are extenuating circumstances.

    • Totally depends on your situation. I kind of moved back and forth in my early 20s (was home for a year after college, then for a few months pre law school at age 24, then a month just after law school at age 27). I’m guessing that’s not an unusual process. I’m also guessing that, given the economy, a lot of young people are living at home for longer than anyone would like. We might also see more multi-generational homes as baby boomers age without sufficient retirement savings (requiring sort of the opposite — parents moving in with their kids). I’m not sure that any one milestone should be the determining factor.

    • e_pontellier :

      I agree with a previous poster that there’s no absolute milestone age to be out of your parents’, but I worked with a woman who, in her late 30s, still lived at home and was bitter about being single. She had never lived on her own, except during college, and I think you learn a lot living by yourself and being responsible for all your own bills. So I would say sometime before you get married, you should live on your own.

    • Cornellian :

      16, ymmv.

      I mean it’s pretty dependent on what your family is like and what your goals are for life.

    • I moved out for college and then moved back in during law school. After law school, I moved to a different city for three years. When I returned to home town, I moved back in with my folks for about 6 months while I remodeled the condo I bought (I wasn’t interested in paying a mortgage, construction expenses, and rent at the same time!).

      My folks are very easy to live with and we get along well. I had friends (and boyfriends) during this time so it didn’t inhibit my social life. I’m glad I lived with my folks during law school rather than taking on loans for living expenses.

      I do agree that living alone (or with a roommate) is a valuable experience.

    • Moved away to go to college, but lived holidays and summers with my family. Moved out of state for grad school after college (I was 21) and never moved back. I had a roommate for my first 3 years of grad school, but after that I lived on my own.

      I think times are definitely different/harder now, but agree with others who say it’s really valuable to live on your own, at least for a little time.

    • As soon as you possibly/financially can, really. Even though I adore my family, I’ve lived away from home since I was 18, minus coming home for summer/winter break my freshman & sophomore year of undergrad. I live in a HCOL area, so I’ve almost always had roommates, but to me it’s absolutely invaluable to have your “own” place.

    • I moved into my own place immediately after graduation (and lived away from my parents all 4 years of college). Going back to live with my parents after graduation wasn’t really an option as they live in a part of the country where there were/are not a ton of jobs, and particularly not a lot of jobs in my area of interest/expertise. I also could not imagine moving back in with my parents after having gotten a taste of independence.

      I recently realized that I am the only member of my family to ever live alone! My parents both moved back home after graduation, then got married and lived together. My sister lived with roommates and then got married. My brother lives with roommates. I have lived alone for 11 years. Although I would very much like to get married, I worry that I will have a really hard time adjusting to living with another person!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I went out of state for college but lived at home summers and holidays. After college I got a job w/ a program that could have me working anywhere in New England but they ended up placing me right near my parents hometown. I was already engaged so I just lived at home while I worked that first job until my now husband got hired by a police department. I then found a new job near him and moved into the room he was renting (to maintain residence) while he lived at the academy. So, I kind of lived alone but not really. He was also there on the weekends. Then when he graduated we got an apartment together and when we married we moved into a house together.

      Personally, I enjoyed living at home for a bit and getting some savings cushion while working my first job before totally “leaving the nest.” I don’t think I would have wanted to do that more than 2 years max though.

    • i lived at home during college and moved out a few months after graduation when i went to law school. if i had stayed any longer, it would have been unhealthy.

      i moved back home between the july bar exam and my winter wedding. i wish i had made a different choice. despite good circumstances, it was difficult and incredibly rough on me.

    • I lived at home during university, which is pretty common in my hometown (Montreal). There are great universities right there for much less than you’d pay out of province, so there really is no point to moving away. It’s very different from the American model of everyone going away to university (which is pretty common in the rest of Canada too, I believe). While I’m sure I would have had great experiences living alone/with roommates/doing the whole dorm experience, it worked out really well for me. I worked part-time during school and graduated debt-free plus savings, my parents didn’t particularly interfere in my social life or anything, and I really think I was able to develop a close, adult relationship with my parents that’s much stronger and more mature than if I had left at 17 (after high school) or 19 (after cegep). I also became extremely close with my sisters as we moved past the high school obnoxiousness phase. Those family relationships are really a bedrock for me and I can’t imagine not having that closeness and friendship and trust.
      I moved away for my Master’s degree, which I think was a great experience in terms of solidifying my independence and determining how I wanted to run my own home. It was a bit difficult, because I was used to living with my big crazy family and suddenly it was just me and a houseplant, but definitely worth it.

      I agree with cfm that by 25ish, you really ought to be taking steps to live on your own if you never have before, and also that living alone before marriage/moving in together is really important. I had two years living alone before my marriage (one year as a student and one as a working lady in a new city) and they were both different and really valuable.

    • SoCal Gal :

      I was 20 when I started getting a summer sublet apartment instead of living at home with my parents between school years. But I don’t think there’s any set-in-stone age. It will vary based on what your home life is like, cost of living in your area, etc. I would say DEFINITELY you need to live on your own before marriage! I only know one woman who lived at home til her wedding day, and her parents were conservative Catholics and she was pretty young when she got hitched.

    • I think it depends a lot on the young person’s situation (can he/she afford rent in his/her area) as well as the parents (can they afford to have thir adult child living with them). I agree that I don’t think there’s a set age when it needs to happen, but a 30 year old living at home without any other extenuating circumstances (disability, sick parent needing care, sudden loss of income, etc) might be a bit odd in my eyes.
      I moved back in with my dad after the bar exam having previously lived on my own most of the time I’d been in school. I stayed for a year. The first 6 months was spent waiting on bar results/job hunting and the second 6 months was spent working at my current job and saving up to move.

      • And during the second six-months, I definitely paid (a small amount of) rent to my dad!

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      So this seems really culture-based, but I would try to live at home as long as you can (unless your parents drive you mad). You can save a lot of money, and it will be helpful for the future. For example–I am planning to live at home during my clerkship, even though the commute will be long, I’ll be 25 and I’m making good money.

  21. Threadjack :

    How do you break up with a “best friend”? Do I have to tell her that I no longer want contact, or can I just stop responding to her and let her figure it out? Do I owe her an explanation as to the specific things she did that led me to this decision, when she knows generally the issues we’ve had for the last year? I don’t think anything I say will make her a better person, or even that all the fault is hers. I just want out for my own sanity.

    • Sigh. I got phased out by a friend, and although it annoyed me at the time, I think in retrospect it was best for both of us. I suspect that the reason we are no longer friends is that we got on each other’s nerves, and hearing her tell me all the ways I could be a “better” person/friend would not have helped matters at all. So, if it’s something like that, I’d suggest just pulling back and letting nature take its course.

    • My “best friend” and I have been growing apart for years. She lives about an hour away and I wait a couple days to respond to emails, voicemails, etc. When she comes to town, I generally agree to meet up at a quicker restaurant and make sure to let her know that I have plans immediately after. I probably see her a max of two or three times per year now.

    • e_pontellier :

      I got phased out by a friend after we both were committed to the same study-abroad program. She told me that she didn’t want to live with me (as per our plan) and then never spoke to me again. I ran into her 2 or 3 times while we were on the study abroad and she ignored me completely, as if she didn’t know me. It was awkward. I would definitely have appreciated something, even, “hey I need some space right now… indefinitely.” FWIW, I ended up having a totally life-changing experience studying abroad, and I’m really glad I went, but at the time, it was pretty terrible that this friend ditched me (also, I didn’t speak the language at all and she was fluent).

      So, I would generally stop responding, but if there comes a point where she’s like, what’s going on?, you can just ask for space. I think that’s enough.

    • new york associate :

      If you’re already slipping away from each other, then just let it keep going. If she continues to want intense contact, then I think you should tell her that while you treasure your shared history, you’ve had issues as friends over the past year and you think it might be a good idea for the two of you to take a break.

      But honestly, I think that if you’ve been having issues, you can just let the whole thing trail off quietly.

    • anon in tejas :

      one of my dearest friends just stopped responding to any of my phone calls (back in 2005). it was very very very hurtful, as I was planning my wedding. My parents didn’t approve of my spouse and I needed a good friend for support. I felt very very alone in the world and I thought that she would have my back. She completely failed me. I tried reaching her occasionally for a while, but eventually just moved on. She found my husband and returned some of my belongings, but knows that I was far too hurt to even consider talking to her. I don’t know why she did what she did. but I wish that she would have been more straight forward with me.

    • As someone who did grow apart from her best friend when starting different schools (or really before that, but the different schools gave us a final good kick) , I would just let it go slowly out. Don’t initiate contact, but be friendly-ish when you meet. My former best friend and I still run into each other from time to time, and have a friendly talk then, but next to no contact the rest of the time.

      And I actually think this way was better than if we’d sat down and analyzed why we weren’t best friends anymore, wherein hurts/accusations might have come up.

    • friend phaser outer :

      I am trying to do this with a friend without much success. We have nothing in common (and haven’t for years). She moved across the country three years ago, and I have not initiated contact AT ALL since then or seen her (but I do respond in a friendly, but brief way, if she emails; I do not return calls). She emails me ten pages of every life detail, and it’s smothering.

      Every time she’s back in town she tries to set up dinner and I apologize, saying I’m too busy. I just want her to get the hint, but she doesn’t. With people like this, is it better to just have a talk?

      • Yes, but what do you think you’ll actually achieve by having the talk?

        And, what exactly does one say: ” I don’ t like you anymore? ”

        That will just prompt her to ask why, and if you answer why [the litany of her failings and why you don’t like her anymore], it’s bound to be hurtful. Either she’ll crumple like a stomped flower or she’ll escalate and throw accusations back at you, and you can have yourself a full-blown fight. Neither will feel very good, I’m thinking.

        I don’t mind fighting, but generally do so only if the stakes are worth it. Someone who you’ve decided is not worth even getting together for an occasional (annual?) dinner, is clearly someone not worth the energy to fight with.

        • I completely agree with this, and I think the answer depends on why you want to end the friendship.I don’t think having a “break up talk” will achieve anything good unless the friend did something particularly bad that is causing you to end the relationship. In that case, it’s completely appropriate to say “I cannot be friends with someone who would do x.” But if you’ve just grown apart and/or she now annoys the crap out of you, its best to let it trail off. If she confronts you and demands an explanation, go ahead and give it to her. She asked for it at that point.

          I have a friend who annoys me a lot and I have no desire to spend more time with her than the once a month/every other month that we currently see each other (because she aggressively schedules these things and I like her enough to not cut it off entirely). She recently confided in me that one of her childhood friends had stopped talking to her w/ no explanation. She had all kinds of plans for contacting her and trying to find out what’s going on, which I tried to discourage because…whats the point? If someone doesn’t want to be your friend, you need to let them go. No good can come of it. And I had a feeling this particular friend would only be in for a bad conversation if she ever confronted her former friend, because I imagine the personality traits that irritate me are at least part of why the former friend is trying to distance herself (e.g. clingyness, insecurity, elitism, sensitivity, competitiveness, one-upsmanship etc) and it does no one any good to hear “you are annoying and I don’t like you and there’s nothing you can do to fix it.” I won’t ever confront her about these things because it’s just her personality, not something she can change or is even deliberate about. And I guess I feel for her enough that I don’t want to hurt her feelings.

          • Very often, the person in question is in denial about whatever unpleasant trait it is (one-upsmanship, jealousy, etc.), so they can’t even accept any gently delivered criticism at all. So, there’s no way to really fix the relationship.

            In which case, telling the person exactly why will only hurt her feelings without changing anything. It just seems wasteful– if someone has to be hurt, at the very least, I’d like to know some positive change came out of it. If there’s not going to be any change, I’d rather not hurt the person.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I’m pretty sure a friend is phasing me out right now, and honestly, I would appreciate an explanation. Not a full debrief, but at least a response to my emails saying “We’ve grown apart, and while I enjoyed our friendship, it’s time to move on.” It’s going to sting, but it feels weird having my messages hanging out in the void. I agree that we’re growing apart, so it wouldn’t blindside me. Plus, I’m worried that I did something to actually offend her, and that’s worse than knowing the truth.

      Also, I dropped a good friend after a particular incident. I did reply to a repeated request clearly saying I was ending the friendship, but was vague on the reason. In retrospect, I wish I had been more specific in that case because she had done very specific things that had lead me to want to end the friendship. While I don’t think it would have changed her as a person, I think she misunderstood my reasoning, and that bothers me.

    • Thanks, all! This helps. This is a situation of “I can’t be friends with someone who would do X.” We’ve had that confrontation, a period of mutual denial, followed by an attempted reconciliation on my part, which was met with a lie. Thus, I’m moving on. I’ll probably start with the phase out. I think she’ll go along to some extent, because I think it is mutual. But I also expect that I’m going to get confronted when she realizes I really mean “I’m out — for good.” At that point, I think I’ll go with the “I think we both need space, thanks for a great X years” advice.

    • I am so scared of being the person on the other end of this and causing someone to have this problem that I haven’t made any new friends in 16 years and don’t contact the old ones I have (I do see them at weddings).

      How do the rest of you deal with this? How do you know that your friends actually want you around and aren’t just not “breaking up” because they don’t know how to do it?

  22. momentsofabsurdity :

    I actually really liked the linked suit (the dress I’m iffy on but I love the jacket and the skirt) — is it just me?

  23. I agree with some of the other comments that the neckline might be a bit low on some for an office environment, especially if you want to wear it sans buttoned up shirt underneath. But the fabric is great, and pockets are always a great way to modernize a basic shift dress.

    If you love the fabric, just getting the skirt might be a good option, but the cropped jacket on the full suit would create odd proportions on most women.


  24. Any tips (or links to how-tos) for stylish easy updos? Somehow I can’t manage anything other than a slicked back ponytail that makes me look like I’m trying to be a 12 year old gymnast (hair glitter excluded). I’ve searched this site and found some, but I need basic. I’ve got wavy long hair with layers if it helps.

    • I think you just need to experiment a lot and find what works for you. Try different types of clips and devices from the drugstore (banana clips, spin pins, etc.). The sock bun can be fun, French braids look really good on some women, and ponytails can be worn in different ways (high, low, on the side, loose, etc.). I also look at hairstyles when I am out and want to try something new–odds are that if a woman on the street could do the style, then I can too. I’m not being specific here because hairstyles are so particular to the person and depend on face shape, hair texture, etc.

    • There are lots on YouTube. That’s where I learned the bun I’m wearing today.

    • I wish I could do a slicked-back ponytail! It always ends up poufy and saggy in ten seconds flat. Also, frizz.

      Anyways, it sounds like a Gibson Roll/Gibson Tuck could work with your hair. It’s pretty easy to tuck and pin stray strands of hair into the roll and make it look neat. There are a ton of great hair tutorials on Youtube, you just have to find a girl with “your” hair.

  25. Classy v-neck shift with pockets? Sold! I found a pic on the J. Crew site without the white shirt underneath — it comes up if you search for the keywords “pepper tweed.” http://s7.jcrew.com/is/image/jcrew/99307_WD6020?$ary_tn250$ It seems easy enough to layer a cami underneath to be more ladylike. Just hoping it fits accurately per the size chart.

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