Wednesday’s TPS Report: Durlia Bourgeois Stripe

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

Theory Top - Durlia Bourgeois StripeI actually had this lovely silk blouse on my list of things to recommend when it was at $235 — imagine my surprise and pleasure when I saw that it is now marked down to $164!  I love the simple, fun pattern — although they show it with a black bandeau here, I think it would like great with a bright white camisole or tank for the office, or perhaps even with a sweater vest worn on top.  It’s $164 at Bloomingdale’s (which is having its “private sale” right now, including allowing you to save an extra 40% on all permanently reduced styles). Theory Top – Durlia Bourgeois Stripe Button Front

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


  1. lawsuited :

    I LOVE this blouse, although I am supposed to be on a shopping diet and already have 10 very similar ones. What to do!?

  2. Great blouse, horrible styling by Bloomingdale’s.

    • The styling reminds me of something Cher (from “Clueless”) would wear. I’m convinced the model is wearing a pair of knee-high socks.

      • Yes! It so does.

      • I immediately thought she would wear this outfit too. Knee-high socks would definitely feature.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        That’s exactly what I thought of. Her driver’s test outfit.

      • I’m not a fan of this styling either, but I have to say that I look back fondly on a couple of my Clueless-inspired outfits from high school (looking at you, pleated plaid mini with opaque gray tights and chunky black loafers)! It was one of the few times I have felt cute and fashionable.

    • Second that RE: styling. I’m not sure very many women in the market for a white pleated mini skirt and bandeau top are also looking for silk chiffon blouses.

  3. manomanon :

    I just want to say thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions and tips yesterday! I am going to start experimenting and see how things work out, It’s good to know I might be using too much product etc. and I will have to start tracking down sulfate free products

  4. That skirt reminds me of what I used to wear to middle school..

    VP of my Alma Mater (BS and MS) called me requesting I’d be the guest speaker for the capstone awards ceremony at our School of Science and Engineering.
    I have 10 minutes to inspire the fresh brood, and give them valuable advice on the job market and generally things I would have loved to hear and know when I was a fresh graduate.


    • The NerdWearsSkirts :

      How fun! Here’s a few things I might mention (I’m an EE, fyi).
      You technical skills will get you hired; your ability to work well in a team, and get the PROJECT done well, will get you promoted. This means that things like getting along with people, communicating clearly, focusing on the highest priority task rather than what might be most fun to you, and rocking out that presentation to the customer can be as important as how awesome the code you write. This also means that there’s a lot of leeway in determining exactly what kind of awesome engineer you want to be, since all these things need to get done within the team.
      Save money – when you get that first job, start saving 20, 30, 40% of your take home pay. It’s easiest when you’re right out of school, and you never know when you’re going to want to quit to start the next Facebook, or have a niece with huge hospital bills, or fall in love with a guy who lives a 16 hour plane flight away. (Ahem=) That guy’s totally worth it!=))
      Develop good habits right from the start – make it a habit to come in and review your highest priority tasks right away, and then start the first one. Bad habits are really hard to break (says the girl who accidentally trained herself to read the nytimes every morning, when she didn’t have enough work to do).

      Have fun!

      • Research, Not Law :

        I like this. Have skills, be a good team member, find your niche (or, I’d say, let it find you). I like the point to save money immediately. I made the decision to live like a college student for about two years, which gave me a very comfortable pad (that I needed later!!!).

        Agree that you shouldn’t worry about the fact that you’re not much older than the students. A couple of years out of school = big difference in experience.

      • My SO is a scientist that is in a science-related position, but now he writes all day. Make sure their writing skills are good!

    • I love the idea of a ‘sunscreen’ type speach for this

      • Gem, I just googled the sunscreen speech. I love it.
        The only issue is that I am not THAT senior to the fresh graduates.
        I have only left school 3 years ago, and due to administrative problems and the longest ever thesis, I only got my paper diplomas last year.
        I am honored for being the one selected because I know the University board view me as a “stellar example of what we want our students to become” (yeah they’re good at making you blush and accept immediately to travel 5 hours for that speech)
        If I am only a few years older than them, I might come off as a bit condescending.
        I like the flow of the speech so I will study it and try to tone it down.

        • I’ve never given that type of speech, but I just graduated a couple of years ago and I now teach at my alma mater, so maybe I can provide some tips.

          -Don’t worry about coming off as condescending and being just a few years older. Many of my students are older than me, and the mere fact that I had a couple years of post-school experience tends to make it a non-issue.

          -A handy way to grab their attention is to share a story about when you were in school. As in, your experience with the “tough” professor, a funny story about the library, etc.

          -My students constantly ask me questions about how I utilize what I learned in school. You leave school with so much knowledge and, at least in my field, most of what you need to know to do your job you learn on the job. They really like little nuggets about the knowledge I learned in school that I was glad I held on to.

          -I have found that the best way to inspire students who are basically my peers is to keep it light and fun. They want to see that you are enjoying life in the real world and not hating your career. If you talk about your career with joy and pride, students tend to respond well.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          The sunscreen speech is good. There’s also a “you are not special” one that was at some high school this year that I liked, but I imagine that’s not really applicable to Morocco. I think that part of your speech is that life will put obstacles in your way and it can really, really suck, whether at school (diploma delay) or at work (your horrible coworker) or at life (harder to be a woman in many situations) – things you can speak to from personal experience, even if you don’t go into details. The lesson? You always need to be an advocate for and responsible for yourself because no one else is going to do those things for you.

  5. PharmaGirl :

    Shopping challenge:

    I need a new smallish bag that can be used both on the weekends around town and during the week as an adjunct to my work bag. It should be big enough to fit a wallet, iPhone, lip gloss, a small lotion container, and keys. I prefer something in a neutral color so it will go with most outfits; no large logos or prints. Something similar to Kat’s recommendation yesterday could work but my budget is <100. Crossbody is fine if there is a handle or strap on top.

    Any ideas?

    • Cornellian :

      dooney and bourke’s barrel bag?

      • Yes I was looking up Dooney & Bourke, they have an entire section on bags under 100 dollars

      • Agree. D&B has a surprising number of cute, non-logoed options that are very affordable.

    • How about a wristlet?


      i thought of this when i saw the bag yesterday. its 25 off 50 today, last day

    • Both DSW and ebags have lots of the kind of thing you’re looking for. I went on ebags and chose crossbody and leather and $50-$100 and there were lots. DSW has this one:
      I got my Tignanello crossbody at DSW. It’s leather and was really inexpensive, but it’s also hot pink ;) because I bought it for parades.

    • AtlPatentLawyer :

      Kate Spade has a lot of options. The outlet store is in your price range.

    • Saks Fashion Fix has a lot of cute bags that would fit your description (Go to Saks –> Then Click Fashion Fix, it’s sort of their outlet).

    • I have a small Michael Kors cross-body saddle bag that I use on weekends and as an adjunct to my larger work tote. It comes in black, camel and brown and should be available at a deep discount at a Michael Kors outlet near you!

      In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I’m mildy obsessed with saddle bags which is likely why I love this bag so much, but there’s nothing “slouchy” about it despite being a cross-body bag so I think it’s polished enough for work.

      • PharmaGirl :

        I was actually looking at saddle bags last weekend and I love them but some scream ‘horse accessory’ to me (Dooney and Burke in particular). The Michael Kors bag is super cute and definitely along the lines of what I am looking for. I’m torn between saddle bag and those flat cross body styles available at Kate Spade.

    • Ashley Madekwe has been rocking a brigh cross body small Coach bag

      More links to follow

  6. PharmaGirl :

    Pretty sure the dark outline is from the pockets on the shirt, not a bandeau.

  7. AtlPatentLawyer :

    This is a long shot, but does anyone know of IP lawyer women’s networks? I’m starting in IP law at an Atlanta law firm in the fall and would like to join a mentoring/social network of women lawyers in IP law. I’m currently a member of an incredible bankruptcy women’s network (IWIRC) and would love to join something similar in my field since I’ve gained so much from IWIRC. Thanks!

    • AIPLA has an active women’s network. Each year, law firms across the country hold a “women in IP” function at the same time on the same day. Each firm invites all the women IP lawyers it knows (other firm lawyers, in house clients, professors) and the AIPLA hosts a conference call in which the Chair addresses us all and each location announces itself. Either after or before the call, depending on time zone, the firms then host a dinner and speaker. On the call this year (a couple months ago), I roughly counted about 350 attorneys during the roll call.

      I would fnd out which firm in Atlanta hosted this year and call them and introduce yourself.

      • It was Virginia Carron and Michelle Murdoch at Finnegan in Atlanta:

    • Former MidLevel :

      It isn’t a women’s group, but you might consider looking into the Atlanta Intellectual Property American Inn of Court. The Inns of Court are a great way to meet and network with other lawyers–including female lawyers.

    • AtlPatentLawyer :

      Thanks, everyone! I actually just joined the AIPLA this morning, but I don’t see any events in the near future near me. Hopefully, I’ll start getting newsletters with more information.

  8. "Allergies" PSA :

    I posted in March about allergies and going to see an accupunturist who was not helpful. Then I started a course of self treatment (Claritin, Sudafed) that eliminated my symptoms. Finally, in May I broke down and saw an allergist who said he couldn’t test me until I took a 10-day course of antibiotics to clear up a sinus infection I hadn’t realized I had. When I still had symptoms after the antibiotics, he wanted to start the tests. By this time, I had no sense of smell (I literally could put my nose inside a rose and smell nothing or against the top of a bottle of scented lotion and smell nothing.) and little sense of taste.

    Yesterday I saw an ENT specialist. He used a scope to look inside my upper sinuses and confirmed that I have a serious infection that is killing my smell sensors. Today I am starting a 21-day course of more serious antibiotics and a 6-day course of oral steroids. Then I will return for a CAT scan to see if the infection is gone. He told me that if my sense of smell hasn’t returned by the time I finish taking the drugs, it probably never will.

    So, my PSA is: if you think you have a cold or an allergy but you’re not sure and it seems weird, and especially if your sense of smell and taste is affected, see an ENT immediately.

    • I hope you will feel better soon

    • Feel better and stick with it. I didn’t know that I had an infection in my tonsils and it took 3 rounds of antibiotics to get rid of it.

    • the ingrown hair poster :

      Wow! Good luck and I really hope this all turns out for the best with minimal side effects and that you regain your senses.

      I also learned to not let things go. My ingrown hair kept healing and re-appearing so I finally saw a derm today. I have an under the skin cyst from an infected hair follicle. I’m also on killer antibiotics for at least 10 days. It will be 30 if the culture comes back as a “bad” strain. We are hoping this skin closes on its own. If not, I will have some procedure to close it. If that doesn’t work, the skin and cyst will have to be surgically removed – – from my pubic area. Awesome.

      I’m not trying to steal your thunder here. Just want to give you a misery loves company post and a reminder to everyone to get things checked out rather than letting them go until they are dangerous.

      • "Allergies" PSA :

        Exactly! Who knew such a minor thing — stuffy nose or ingrown bikini line hair — could be such a big deal?

        I just made a table to keep track of all my medications for the next three weeks. I am convinced that I will be one of those little old ladies who uses a week-by-week pillbox to keep track of what I have and haven’t taken yet.

        • Honey, I have been one of those old ladies since I was in my early 20s. I shudder to think of what I will be like when I am *really* old!

    • Oh man, isn’t that scope thing SO WEIRD????????? I really feel for you, though. I finally caved and saw an allergy specialist when Sudafed+Allegra+Aleve stopped working. I’m doing that same 6-day steroid course, Nasonex 2x a day for a month and hopefully my sinuses clear up. If not….maybe surgery. Good luck to us both!

      • "Allergies" PSA :

        The scope. Oh, my! It didn’t help that the PA came at me with a sniffer without telling me first that she would be giving me sniffs so that the MD could use the scope. The scope is totally Star Trek Next Generation medicine, but it creeps me out to think that it was so far inside my head.

        Steroids. Yep. I was told that steroids means:

        * possibly extreme anxiety
        * possibly becoming (more) aggressive
        * no alcohol (so good luck with the above)
        * no grapefruit
        * potential dizziness, upset stomach and diarrhea.

        Fun times. I will be thinking of you as I take my meds. That makes it a little easier.

    • punk rock tax lawyer :

      I had chronic sinus infections for a year, and as a result had almost no sense of smell. I had surgery to correct the problem because it was related to structural issues with my nose — my infection finally cleared up and I got a lot of smell ability back. My sense of smell is still not amazing but it’s much better than it was. Anyway, maybe some hope for you there that your sense of smell will return.

    • I find it kind of weird that the allergist wouldn’t do a test until you were 100% healthy. I have been to two allergists (at different stages in my life) when I was symptomatic, and both did a skin test. (Bizarre – I was allergic to two different sets of things.)

      I find it hard to believe that people would go to allergists when they were 100% healthy. Don’t most people go when their sinuses/asthma/whatever is acting up?

      • "Allergies" PSA :

        The allergist would happily have started the tests the first day I saw him. I did not want to start the testing because I have zero interest in starting this long, painful process to determine what I am allergic to, only to then transition to an interminable process during which, in my copious free time, I spend years getting allergy shots twice a week or weekly or monthly. If there was a better solution — like I have a cold or an infection that we can treat, and then maybe I can just take minor OTC allergy medication until we see next season whether I even have allergies — I preferred to do that. This was the first time I had experienced these symptoms, and I just wasn’t buying the whole “you have allergies and must now spend years doing something major about it” schtik.

        • The skin test actually takes about a half hour. And finding out you’re allergic to things doesn’t mean you have to get shots. It may just mean a prescription for Zyrtec or whatever, a once-a-day pill.

          You’re being a little dramatic/fatalistic.

  9. Talbots promo: starting tomorrow (Thursday), Talbots is having a 30% off sale. I only skimmed the fine print, but it doesn’t look like you need a code, and it looks like it applies to regular-price and sale merchandise.

    On a related note, I recommend the Talbots wrap-bodice dress, which should be part of the sale tomorrow: short sleeves, knee length, top doesn’t require camisole or double-sided tape, machine-washable – close to perfect for a casual summer work dress.

    • Do you know if this applies in-store?

    • Thinking about ordering a suit from there. Does anyone know if they run TTS? For what it’s worth I’m guessing I will be in the plus range. TIA!

      • new york associate :

        Also in plus sizes, and I think they run a little big. I would encourage you to order widely and return what doesn’t work — for example, in jackets, I usually order my size in W, WP, and regular. It gives you more options.

        • Also plus size and I agree, although in my experience jackets are a bit big while pants are more TTS or even small. Or maybe I’m just in denial about my true pants size…

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I agree too. My experience has been that the jackets run big, but I’m not sure if they are actually big or that the styles are just too boxy and that makes them seem big. Pants seem to run more true to size.

      • lawsuited :

        I’d try the apparel sizes first (up to size 20) seeing as the cut of the woman sizes can be quite different. Talbots sizing is more generous than a lot of retail stores, so I order my usual dress size rather than ordering a size up like I usually do for business wear. (Perhaps others wear the same size in dress pants as they do in jeans, but I reckon dress pants should be a little looser on the body.) I had trouble with Talbots suit jackets until I ordered a 16P because it was the only size left, and I’ve never looked back! I’m 5′ 5″ and don’t usually buy petite clothing, so it was a revelation.

  10. Merriweather :

    Litigators: Do you catch yourself deposing your SO, and if so, how do you stop yourself? This weekend I noticed that I “trapped” my SO into admitting that something that is 3 hours away is not really that far, based on his “assertion” that some place near by is “only” a couple hours away. What? Who cares? I don’t think it bothered him, but it bothered me, as it doesn’t seem like that’s a nice way to talk to someone…

    • a passion for fashion :

      i totally do this. my husband does it to me though too, as he is also a litigator. I am much better about it since we had kids, as i found that when my oldest was a baby and we would get into these “heated” discussions (which, of course, were not arguments at all but rather just our big personalities talking) that would make the baby upset. So I really tried hard to stop this practice, at least in front of the kids, and have been largely successful at it.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        We’re both litigators, too. He’s better at deposing people than I am, so he ends up “winning” a lot of our arguments in terms of oral advocacy and pinning me down to a particular (verbal) position. Curses! Then we laugh and it’s fine, but apparently I need to study up on my skills.

        • MissJackson :

          My husband and I (also both litigators) do this to each other, too. Except that I usually “win” ;-)

    • Litigating Life :

      Haha, yes! Along those lines, the other day I was talking to a colleague and actually said, “Pursuant to…” and I stopped myself and started laughing. Seriously? Who says that in real life??

    • Totally had an exchange with my SO the other day where I gave him multiple hypotheticals and slightly lost it when he kept dodging them. I may have said “answer the hypo!” a few times. So yes. Given that we were having a really big important discussion, I felt like the the deposition skills were actually kind of useful, but I think I need to avoid it in any other situation.

    • YES. All the time. I am trying to be more conscious of this, but I usually fail miserably. My SO asks me constantly to please leave it at the office. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. I would also love to hear any advice/suggestions.

    • Kontraktor :

      Sometimes I just find myself being snippy at my husband because he just seems to say the dumbest things out of thin air occasionally. Like, really dumb and completely non-sensical. I think it irritates me so much because they are things he should 100% know or he has had experience with, or they are things that if he just took 3 seconds to think about what he said, he would realize how stupid they sounded (but he says them totally seriously). Maybe an example would be like, I might say, “I am planning on making tomato sauce with meatballs on Saturday,” and I might get a response like, “Oh, are you going to make the meatballs out of tuna? [deadly serious question]” Like, for real. Maybe not quite that bad/starkly apparent, but that’s the type of statement I’m talking about.

      It grates on me to no end and I find myself sometimes going off on this huge road of verbose explanation as to why his statement is absurd. So, maybe it’s not quite the same thing as you’re experiencing, but it’s still me sort of going off against my husband on trivial issues to let him know exactly how and why he is wrong. And I feel bad because it’s not like I need to ‘win’ against his stupid statement, but it’s like a reflex sometimes to respond as such.

      I think my strategy to be better about this is to take a deep breath when he says something dumb, say my snarky mean one line response in my head to myself, and then verbally try to respond with something bland and simple. Like, “[beat/pause] No. [pause] The meatballs will be made out of ground beef as I make them normally.” And then I try to drop it and just keep saying the snarky stuff in my head. It doesn’t always work because sometimes my tone still comes out as snarky, but at least it’s better than me saying my indignant tirade. It’s something I have to work on in terms of my communication skills.

      • My husband does this to me sometimes and I find it really demeaning. He’s not trying to be a DOOSH, he’s just so incredulous sometimes that I just asked the dumbest question or made the dumbest assumption in HISTORY (usually about how things work – I could not be a mechanical engineer – my brain doesn’t work that way), that he can’t help but point out I must know how stupid that was and I’m just not thinking. But no. Really I don’t get it. Or sometimes I said or did something a little absent-mindedly. Thanks for spending 5 minutes pointing out that you think I’m an idiot. When he acts like a moron (we all do it occasionally) I try not to dwell on it. Anyway, moral of the story, it’s not fun to be on the receiving end of the behavior you’re describing.

        • Ya – sometimes I ask a perfectly innocent question (which sometimes may be a dumb question or I just don’t remember some historical fact) and my husband will repeat it right back to me, like in all caps with appalled question marks. The last time he did it though, I pointed it out to him and explained that he could just, you know, answer my question instead of making me feel dumb. He hadn’t even realized that he does this and he apologized etc. He seems more aware of it now. So it may be worth your while to call him on this next time, Meme.

          • Oh no worries. I don’t let him get away with it. He knows he does it and gets that it’s not cool and that he wouldn’t like me to react the same way to him. And he’s gotten better, though he still does it sometimes without thinking first. I think INCREDULOUS??!!!? is one of his deep-seated personality traits that he’s struggling to reign in. We’re both litigators and that probably doesn’t help him on his path to recovery, lol.

      • I’m so glad I’m not the only one! Kontraktor thank you so much for posting that. I’m a litigator, and I do quite a lot of motion work, so whenever my husband says something that just logically makes no sense, I tend to lose it a little. We’re working on getting an FHA 203k renovation loan, and spent quite a lot of time explaining the procedures to him. Then I get an email asking me a really stupid question that we had been over that he could have googled.

        I also catch myself “deposing” him and backing him into admissions – stupid ones, like about the laundry. He never realizes what I’m doing until it is too late…he isn’t an attorney, but he is a business owner and electrical contractor so he isn’t dumb, he just can’t think around corners like us warped attorneys do.

        • Kontraktor :

          Yep your first paragraph happens to me/us all the time!! I definitely see my responses sometimes as a personal weakness and I truly am trying to work on them and be better about my attitude in my responses. He doesn’t deserve to be snipped at, and I would not want to be in that situation either.

          But like, argh seriously. The stupidity of the questions just drives me insane sometimes. And it’s worse because honestly I know my husband knows better and his brain is just apparently dying for a few minutes. Like, where in the world would you get the idea that meatballs were to be made out of tuna??????

          Oh well. All we can do is try our very hardest to be conscious of our shortcomings and work to fix them. :)

          • Maybe it would help to just ignore this kind of thing. Of course it’s idiotic. But it doesn’t mean you should really point out how dumb it is.

            (I’m not sure that helps anything ever.)

    • I may do this from time to time, but I don’t see why it’s bad. We actually joke about it frequently. Maybe we’re weird, but since our romance evolved from hypos about life estates in Blackacre, I think it kind of works for us.

      • Same here. Neither of us are lawyers, but we both have PhDs and live in our brains all the time. That’s neither here nor there, but it’s just the kind of people we are, and a major reason that we’re compatible. We challenge each other like this, though not using the wrong tone, especially if it’s something trivial. I think based on our traits this is the only kind of partnership that would really work for either of us.

        I think the red flag goes up when you’re being made to feel stupid or find yourself trying to “win” such that he looks stupid. I’ve had that dynamic in past relationships and it reflected poorly on both of us.

        • Totally agree. I don’t think I could sustain a relationship if I thought he was “stupid” or that he thought I was same. I thnink there was a study recently that found that one of the biggest predictors of divorce is eye-rolling. In other words, if you find yourself dismissive of your mate’s thoughts/opinions and lack a basic respect for them, all other things being equal, there’s a good chance it just won’t work out.

        • this is a little different than deposing. I have my “lawyer mind” on a lot, but deposing is a lot more aggressive. See Jules example below. Its about short sentences, cornering someone, bringing back what they said earlier. like merriweathers example might go soemthing like
          DH: yeah but cityville is kind of far
          MW: its three hours away
          DH: yeah thats kind of far
          MW: didnt you, just yesterday, say that othercity was “only” a few hours away
          DH: well that was a little diff-
          MW: you used the word only, right?
          DH: yes
          MW: You meant it to mean :merely”
          DH: Yes
          MW: So by your own words, if other city is only a few hours away, than cityfille is also only a few hours away, so its actually not far away.

          thats an extreme example obviously. i think deposing is a prime example of “trying to win”

          • Merriweather :

            cc, this is almost the *exact* conversation. Part of the problem (for me) is that we are totally different. He is in IT – he listens to music and talks to no one all day, works structured, consistent hours, and doesn’t plan. I am constantly on the go, planning is my sanity, and every day is completely different in terms of my schedule. Of course, he does have a calming effect on me most of the time, but I do get frustrated with is his inability/unwillingness to brainstorm quickly, commit to plans, consider multiple options, etc… We have not been together long (less than a year), but long enough that I consider him significant, and I am these personality quirks growing pains…

          • Merriweather :

            *I /consider/ these personality quirks growing pains…

    • Yes. I do this. And I ahve only been a litigator for 9 months. (However, I was raised by a litigator who did this to me growing up). My BF is very very patient and tolerant though, and when he catches me at it he’ll jokingly call me out and that shuts me down. Unfortunately I sometimes do it to other family members who aren’t so willing to call me out. Would love some advice on this as well!

    • I am a litigator and my SO is a bailiff (who definitely should be a litigator instead of me!) and he “cross examines” me all the time. It’s annoying sometimes but it has certainly helped me be more precise when I’m outside of work. :) He’s getting better at not doing it, especially after I pointed out that he sometimes does it to his daughter. I think what has helped most is stopping and asking whether the answer really matters.

    • I’m not a litigator, but I do a lot of transactional work where I’m used to negotiating and arguing with other lawyers. My SO did not go to law school, and when I start down a line of questioning or trying to trap him, he is terrible at responding! So then, not only am I upset about the original (usually meaningless) issue, but I’m more upset about how terrible he is at formulating arguments for himself! It really is terrible.

      • Oh, me too. I am also a transactional lawyer and used to negotiating, but my very logical, non-lawyer BF views this as “arguing”. I try hard to see it from his perspective but it is hard to disengage the lawyer brain.

    • I am NOT strictly a court room litigator (tho I do alot of admin WC defense cases before the WC Board), but I did have this probelem with my ex, mostly when he had been drinkeing. He would always demand that I stop doing what I was doing so that I could talk to HIM. He would NOT talk to me when I wanted him to talk to me, but insted would INSIST that I talk to him when he wanted me to talk to him (which mostely was when he was drunk). Since I did NOT like talkeing to a drunk, I often did NOT do so and this got him even more mad at me. Ugh!

      I told him I would talk if he was sober, but he was not, so I did not. I understand your issue’s with your man. I no longer have this probelem and will make sure I do NOT EVER get involved with someone who abuse’s alchohol like my ex did (and still does). FOOEY on him!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Yes and my husband has been in law enforcement or quasi law enforcement investigations for many years. If he asks me a question and I look down and to the left I get called out for “creative answering.” He knows all the tips and tricks to see if someone is lying, uncomfortable answering, dodging a question, stretching the truth, etc. We do it to each other and to an outsider it is probably hysterical.

      • Almost This. My SO is in law enforcement and almost every disagreement we had early in our relationship ended with me feeling interrogated because of this. In some ways it has gotten better, but I also have a tendency to avoid conflict.

    • I totally do this, and my non-litigator (non-lawyer) husband has gotten good at it as well. We have intense debates about stupid things (i.e., how to pronounce words, sport rules, etc.) You can actually do it in a way that’s fun. Keep it about stupid things, don’t make it personal, don’t make the other person feel stupid.

    • This is okay as long as at the end you said “LAWYERED.”

      And yes, I sort of do this to my husband. He gets grumpy. But I win more arguments, so there. :-P

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Then you can write it down and use my LAWYERED stamp :-) Or maybe not, unless you want to cause a big fight!

      • Merriweather :

        It feels a little too mean to me to say LAWYERED to my BF, but I say it to my brother all. the. time. I get lots of eye rolls.

      • Oh, and I forgot to note that part of my husbands job requires him to read legal documents, plus he’s taken a couple of corporate law classes, and he remembers quizzing me on stuff in law school. So its especially fun when he starts throwing out legal terms but in entirely the wrong context. The “discussions” turn silly after that.

        • SoCalAtty :

          TCFKAG – YES! Being a business owner, my husband knows just enough of the law to be dangerous. He also helped me do flashcards all through law school and while studying for the bar, so he’ll just randomly throw things out there. My favorite is when he argues with me on points of law in “newsworthy” cases. Love it when he tries to interpret case law…

        • My husband likes to throw out random latin phrases at me, like “ipso facto” when he thinks I’m “lawyering” him. He’s a chemist and thinks he’s hilarious.

    • I have found that mad skills in cross-examination come in handy with an pre-adolescent or teenage child. A sample from an interrogation of a 14-year-old after a co-ed sleepover at the home of a girl who previoulsy had slept at our house in a t-shirt and satin tap pants so short that they caused another kid at the sleepover to exclaim, “Romy! Where are your pants?”

      Q: Who slept over at Romy’s?
      A: All of us.

      Q: Okay, but WHO?
      A: Me and Jacob.

      Q: Where did everyone sleep?
      A: Jacob slept out on the couch

      Q: Where did YOU sleep?
      A: On the floor.

      Q: On the floor WHERE?
      A: In Romy’s room.

      Q: Did her parents know about this arrangements?
      A: I THINK so.

      Q: Was Romy’s bedroom door open?
      A. Yeah. Mostly.

      Okay, I didn’t feel much better after the answers. But hone your skills on your spouse; you’ll need them for the kids. A teenager can make the most evasive witness you’ve ever dealt with seem easy..

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I am SO going to do this to my kids. Brilliant.

      • Hmmm…my mother the social worker who specialized in adolescents used to do similar things to me. She would trick me into telling her all SORTS of stuff. Only, she was more stealthy about it, because you know, that was her job.

        But all my friends loved her, cuz she was “cool” — they didn’t know her evil talents. ;-) (Just kidding, I love my mom, but seriously, she was like a super sleuth.)

      • One of my friends walked by the restroom at her school one day and overheard another teacher saying “Where’s Miss Sharon? And where are your pants?” It has become one of our catchphrases.

      • Research, Not Law :

        My aunt is a (now retired) police detective. She always made me jumpy when I was a teenager. LOL, she was just trying to make conversation!

      • Hah, see with my parents they were sort of the opposite. Unless they could prove something beyond a reasonable doubt, us kids couldn’t get in trouble for it. So that taught us to lie and to stick to our story like crazy.

        i.e. Brother, being an a$$hole from birth (seriously, he’s 28 now and no better) gets sent home from school with a note that he got in trouble for throwing rocks at the 3rd graders (he was in 1st). Brother insists, with a straight face, “I wasn’t throwing the rocks, I was just STANDING there and the other kids were throwing the rocks! It’s not fair! I can’t be in trouble for just STANDING there!!”

        One week later: Brother comes home with a note that he’s in trouble for shooting spitballs at kids in the boys bathroom. Brother insists, with a straight face, “I wasn’t shooting the spitballs, I was just STANDING there and the other kids were shooting the spitballs! It’s not fair!” I can’t be in trouble for just STANDING there!!”

        Sum total of discipline: Nothing.

        Luckily, my mind protects me from remembering the occasions I used the same trick, which I’m sure I did… :-)

    • Yes. Every time I do it my SO sighs about the perils of marrying a lawyer and then I continue to trap him in his inconsistencies. Not great.

    • Yep. I do it primarily when we are arguing, or when I feel he’s being evasive about answering a question. He hates it. I guess I don’t hate that I do it, but I try to be conscious of it because I know he doesn’t like it. Sometimes he will say, “Stop deposing me,” and that’ll be my cue to stop.

      How to stop? I think the most important thing is to be cognizant of it. I can literally feel it coming on. I start to get frustrated, think more critically about his answers, nitpick them, and then I am suddenly funneling him down to the true answer. When I start to get that feeling, I just take a deep breath and stop myself.

    • yes! But I would call it cross-examining (or direct, depending on the circumstance), not deposing- mostly because I don’t do a ton of depositions in my particular line of work, but I do a fair amount of witness examinations.

      Anyway, my husband hates the cross-exams. He is not a lawyer and I find that my lawyerly argument tendencies can be pretty detrimental to our marital relationships, so I try to turn it off. It’s like playing a game where only one person knows the rules. The direct exam skills are more useful because DH is not the clearest communicator, but it still requires a delicate touch to avoid becoming a full interrogation. It took a while for me to be able to turn this off and I’m still working on it. If it’s a major argument, forget it- the lawyer mode will not shut off.

    • lawsuited :

      Yep, happens to me all the time. It does bother my SO (understandably – who would want to be heckled until they admit they are incorrect, exaggerating, generalizing, etc.?) so now he makes fun of me when I cross-examine him by saying “Baam! Lawyered!”. It reminds me not to sweat the small stuff and makes us laugh.

  11. Professor TBA :

    Dear ladies – Do you have suggestions for what to wear to an academic conference at Oxford in November? I assume it will be cold, but how cold? Also, dressier or less dressy than American conferences? I know it’s still early, but I’m trying to think ahead. Thank you for any advice or suggestions!

    • Kontraktor :

      I would wear normal, ‘semi formal’ business attire. Unless you’re presenting, a suit is probably not necessary, but definitely bring a nice selection of slacks, sweaters, blouses, etc. A lot of people wear tights so if you like that look, it’s probably fine. It’s chilly in November (think 30s, maybe 40s if it’s warm) and will possibly be gross and wet, so I would bring shoes that can work in the rain/muddy streets. Unless you are really good at walking long distances in heels or want to carry another pair of shoes, I wouldn’t recommend wearing heels, as the distances between buildings can be very long and the streets uneven/made out of cobblestone in some instances. Definitely bring a coat, scarf, and gloves.

  12. I am moving in a week and I should be packing, but I just want to go shopping.

    • I just want to do anything in the world other than packing.

    • That’s one way to get boxes!

    • Anon for this :

      I am moving on Friday, and I should be packing (and working), but I’m on Corporette instead. I feel your pain!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      How about you get rid of any worn-out stuff while you are packing so that you can do more shopping after the move. :-)

    • Just remember that everything you buy you have to pack and move.

      I agree with Sydney, before the move, throw things out. After the move, BUY ALL THE THINGS.

    • Throw everything out and have the new stuff delivered to your new place. Then you don’t have to pack! :)

    • How about if you don’t pack any clothes, and do online shopping to have an entirely new wardrobe shipped to your new place?

    • It’s the best time to go through your closet. Think of how annoying it would be if in a year you realize you carried that box of old clothes to yet another house. Bonus: you’ll be able to tell what new items you need to go shopping for!

    • Ugh, packing is the worst! Every time I have to do it, whether it’s major (moving) or minor (brief vacation), I find myself longing for the magical self-packing suitcase from the movie The Sword in the Stone. Not only did it do all the work, but it shrunk Merlin’s possessions so he could pack SO MUCH!

    • Moving In :

      I also hate packing. I posted on a thread a few weeks ago about this same issue. Several ‘rettes gave anecdotes about how they had to leave it all until the very last night before their move and had to stay up all night. Don’t do that.

  13. Just wanted to report that I got the navy knit blazer from the Limited featured last week. The material is less flexible (less like a “swazer”) than I thought it would be, but I think that’s a good thing; it looks crisp and professional while still being comfortable. Fit is great; I got the XS and it’s one of the few jackets that aren’t baggy in the sleeves, and it hits me at the high hip (I’m 5’3). It might have a more shrunken look for someone taller or wider-chested. Overall, a great pick – thanks Kat!

    • I just got the navy and also the oatmeal version of the blazer, and like them too (especially for the price!). Because they’re 3/4 sleeve, they’ll be great for the summer. I agree about the material – less sweater-y than I expected, but still kind of cozy.

      I usually wear a 10-12 in suit jackets and got the medium. It fits perfectly.

    • So excited for mine to come in now! I’m tall, but I love a good shrunken 3/4 sleeve blazer, so I’m hoping this will be my summer go-to. Glad to hear it’s worked out for you!

    • I just got this also in the navy! I think this is my first purchase from the Limited in 25+ years! I normally wear a 14 in jackets (boobs and wide shoulders) and I got a L. This fit great and I love it!

  14. Ladies, question – I’m wearing a lovely DVF skirt today in the vain of “the skirt” from Halogen. How do I keep the darn thing from riding up? It’s so soft and stretchy that it keeps creeping up my thighs and waist. Any suggestions? TIA!

    • This means your skirt is too small, and you need to order a larger size. if it’s soo stretchy and tight that it rides up when you walk, it is tooo small, especially for work.

      • not necessarily – I def. have skirts that do this that are perfectly appropriate. My problem is that I walk with a long stride, and the skirt’s apparently “path of least resistance” to the pressure from my legs as I’m walking is to inch itself “up” rather than stretch “out” to accommodate. If I “dainty up” my walk, often the problem is minimized.

      • Yikes, while that may be the case, I was looking for advice to get through the day. Thanks.

        • just Karen :

          I second the “smaller stride” advice – for the rest of the day you’ll probably still have to do a quick tug downwards as you sit down, too.

        • Next time, a slip may help! So old-fashioned but helps with stuff like this.

    • Probably it’s too big on the waist and too tight on the hips. I don’t think getting a larger size will help unless you also get the waist tailored – the skirt just isn’t cut for your shape.

    • lawsuited :

      I find this problem is exacerbated when I wear pantihose (I don’t always wear pantihose – only during the cold months) so I use a product called StaticGuard which stops my skirt sliding up my legs as I walk. It comes in a blue aerosol can and is usually sold in drugstores or department stores with laundry products like Tide-to-go.

    • Thanks all. It doesn’t look bad, just not as office-polished as I’d like – it’s snug on my hips, but no muffin-top/spillover/etc and my top is pretty conservative. I’ve decided it’s a live and learn moment.

  15. Graduate student help :

    Just an update. Hey guys, I posted here a few times over the weekend after I got blindsided by my (now ex) boyfriend with whom I was just last week talking about marriage with. Yay.

    You should all know that I have an exam tomorrow as well (can’t believe he dumped me before my major exams). Any recommendations for powering through?

    I also booked a nice vacation for myself once I get my degree in September. I’ll probably post asking for some more advice later, but has anyone been to South East Asia? Gives me something to look forward to.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I’m so sorry that happened to you! A few years ago, three days before my graduate school applications were due, I got dumped by a serious boyfriend. I still think it was a huge dick move.

      Re: powering though – do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to be alone with your thoughts. There will be time to wallow later, but you now should focus on the exam, making sure you’re prepared, etc. If you already feel prepared, go out and do something that keeps your mind away from the whole thing. See a movie (even alone) watch a whole season of a television show, etc. Keep yourself so occupied you cannot think about him at all.

      And also, southeast Asia is lovely – I particularly like Malaysia and didn’t really enjoy Singapore all that much.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Hang in there! I think the best thing you could do would be to exercise a lot today, and tomorrow morning if you can – even 20 minutes of strenuous cardio or weight lifting will make you feel a lot better. I did my bar trip in Thailand. It was fantastic and I hope to go back someday.

    • Kill on that exam! :

      Your best revenge and best path forward: get 100% on that exam! You can do it!

    • I missed the weekend comments, but I imagine everyone told you he is a doosh and you should JSFAMO. (My long-term, long-distance BF broke up with me at the end of my first year in law school but had the grace to wait until the day my exams were over.)

      I don’t have any great advice except to indulge yourself as much as possible — this is definitely the time for cookies and wine, or gelato, or whatever is your indulgence of choice — and to try to focus on the exam. The break-up s*cks and you will need to be angry, grieve, etc. but there’s time for that later; the exams will only happen once, so you need to get through them and then think about the other.

      We’ll all be pulling for you.

      • Okay, SF Bay Associate’s advice to exercise is probably better for de-stressing. Work out really hard, and THEN eat gelato.

        • just Karen :

          When you get done with the exercise (and exams) here’s a super yummy cookie recipe that happens to go exceptionally well with margaritas:

          I made them this weekend, and they are delicious. I won’t shame myself with how many I’ve eaten, but the good news is that they are a somewhat reasonable 3 WW Points Plus points each (stress on the somewhat – let’s not kid ourselves that these are healthy, but they’re worth it)

    • Get angry and use that to power through. Remember living well is the ultimate revenge. So power through and ace it because this guy is not worth failing/resitting/being lesser for.

      Also, he sounds like a delightful, charming and considerate chap. Consider sending a thank you note to him – he saved you a whole lotta hassle later and bonus you now get to visit Asia and really soak up the culture.

      Finally, look after yourself. Really. Not the I’m fine variety of looking after, the I’m awesome variety.

    • Studying for exams won’t be a picnic – you could definitely have a tendency to get into your own head. But here’s something I’ve learned over the years – there are people who let adversity derail them and there are people who plow through it. Don’t let this a-hole have any power over your success in school. Be good to yourself and definitely take the advice to work out and eat gelato!

    • Research, Not Law :

      I missed the original post, but it sounds exactly like what happened to me when I was in grad school, the week before finals. I agree – put your energy towards studying. It actually helps me immensely to have something to focus on that wasn’t related to my social/romantic life. Plus, frankly, I had a lot of time on my hands. I did great on my exams!

      GL and big, big hugs! This will be better for you in the long run, I promise.

    • If the pain is sharp and debilitating, I recommend one evening to indulge yourself in a Warcraft LAN party and excellent whiskey. Really dulls the edge to get you through the first part. Okay, maybe that’s just what works for me.

    • Seattleite :

      My only hint for your vacation is this: never get involved in a land war.

      For powering through: set an appointment with yourself for a time after the exams when you can wallow and cry. Then say, “I won’t cry now. I will cry Saturday at 10:15.” That gives me a mental out – I’m not working so hard to hold it all together, because I have a scheduled release.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Good tip. Also, never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

    • Graduate student help :

      Thanks guys! Tomorrow is the big day and then I’m done. Studied hard today and just unwinding with a glass of wine.

      FOOEY I say. Seriously, he waited until HIS exams were done!

    • Re southeast Asia, pick Indonesia and /or Malaysia. You can’t go wrong!

  16. Can we have a general discussion about sweater vests? This is the second time that Kat has recommended one in the last month or so. I find them only appropriate for dressing up like a preppy golfer for a theme party.

    • Amen!
      I think unless you’re on a golf course or wearing a private school uniform, it’s a no-go. It’s just not conveying any sort of sophisticated vibe typically sought at work.

    • My husband recently attended an office party where everyone wore sweater vests to roast a guy in the office who wears them a lot.

      • Couldn't Wait to Quit :

        Ha – we did that when my boss retired. He was the king of sweater vests, and didn’t even notice that everyone was wearing them at his party until I mentioned it – he just thought everyone looked well dressed!!

    • They’re not my style, but I have no problem with them at all.

    • Agreed. I haven’t worn a sweater vest since fourth grade, with one exception. In law school I often wore a black cashmere sweater vest with faded or black jeans and a white t-shirt, preferably with the sleeves cuffed. I stole the look from a woman in my class who had a punk haircut and wore this with white socks and presumably ironic black penny loafers. (I wore boots.)

      Lisa Cuddy on “House” would sometimes wear sweater vests, which I thought looked goofy. But at least they weren’t tight and they covered up the cleavage that used to make me screech at the TV “No professional woman would dress like that!”

    • I love sweater vests and routinely wear them in the winter. They’re not as constricting as sweaters so I can easily wear them with suit jackets.

    • I bought a sweater vest from a good name-designer. Every time I put it on and look in the mirror I take it off again, it’s just too sad. I think I’ve worn it twice, to the grocery store, on chilly days :(

    • Senior Attorney :

      Okay, I will admit to rocking a sweater vest from time to time with lowish-rise trousers and a collared shirt and jacket and long pendant. I like the 70s vibe. My favorites are fairly lightweight and more of a flat knit than a sweatery knit, if that makes sense.

      • that sounds super cute! Do you mind sharing where you find the vests? I was looking for a plain black or dark gray one last winter and struck out – even Brooks Bros only had patterned ones!

        • Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

          Acually, all of mine were thrifted or hand-me-downs. In fact, I never even thought of them as “sweater vests” until I started seeing people wear sweater vests on the interwebs. I just thought of them as nice knit sleeveless tops!

        • Most of my vests are actually cashmere shells. Thin, soft, and warm. It’s like wearing a blanket when it’s cold outside.

        • My solid colored sweater vests are actually BB Men’s extra smalls I think. Also the BB factory outlet just recently had some solid colored women’s ones.

        • Boys department, Ralph Lauren!

    • Sweater vests are my jam. I think its all about coloring and styling. Obviously you shouldn’t wear a light purple one with a white skirt or something. But when I wear my ox-blood one with a button down and black pants (I don’t wear it with skirts generally) I definitely do NOT look like I’m on the way to the golf course. Instead I feel a little bit like I’m dressing like a boy for a day, which is just subversive enough to make me giggle all day.

      But I will say, it annoyed me when Rick Santorum was getting all that sweater vest attention, he was totally jacking my look! (actually, I’d never wear khakis with it either…but that’s another story.)

      • ChocCityB&R :

        TCFKAG, if I needed one more reason to love you, it’s your use of the phrase “my jam.” I had forgotten all about it, and now it is going back in my vocabulary rotation.

      • Man. I own several–one solid and a few houndstooth/patterned conservatively. I wear them with button-ups, whether with skirts or pants. I like that they make the shirt warmer and vaguely make me feel like a man. That last bit wasn’t a typo…

  17. Associette :

    Wen? Has anyone tried it? Anything good, bad or indifferent to share about it? I would really like to try it, but am on the fence. Thanks!

    • I get spam about Wen, so will never buy it.

    • My mom uses it and says: “it’s weird, but it seems to work pretty well. My hair really is softer. I wish they’d stop sending me so much mail.” So take that as you will.

    • My mom and I both tried it. I have a lot of very fine hair, and I find that my hair is much greasier 3-4 hours after using it. (Despite rinsing and rinsing and rinsing in the shower.) I tried it daily for about 2 weeks, and then said to heck with it.

      That being said, with the approach of summer and more pool-time, I occasionally use it when I take an evening shower, and my hair is feeling dried out from chlorine. Sort of like a deep conditioner.

      And yes, they spam the heck out of me.

    • I have it and used it for about five days. I loved how my hair looked when I straightened it, but when I left my hair curly it always seemed way frizzier (probably roughed up the cuticle with all the scrubbing, even though I combed conditioner through after all). The reason I stopped using it is that my scalp became unbearably itchy. I have reactions to a lot of different shampoos, though, so the problem could be me. I often CO wash with VO5 or Suave, and my hair doesn’t feel as clean as it does with the WEN, but it also doesn’t itch as badly.

    • I have been using it for about two years. I used to wash my hair with shampoo every day (because I’m a greaser with a heavy exercise schedule to make things worse). Now I use shampoo every other day and Wen every other day, which works perfectly. My hair is healthier because it’s getting less shampoo, but it doesn’t look dirty. So I guess I use it like other women use dry shampoo.

      I bought mine from Amazon so I don’t get spammed by Wen.

    • I use it and, aside from the price, I love it! I have thick, curly hair, which I color, and it definitely keeps my hair healthy and frizz-free. The trick is to make sure you use enough product and really work on massaging the scalp with your fingertips and working it through your hair. It gives me soft, thicker, ropier curls that need very little styling.

  18. Bizarre family situation :

    I have only posted here a few times, but I regularly read the comments and I have a huge amount of respect for the insight and opinions of the readers who post here . That being said, I am wondering if the hive can help me out with how to deal with a bizarre and somewhat disturbing family situation.

    I just finished law school in a state 7 hours from where almost my entire family lives. I have two brothers who are older than me and a younger sister. They all live within 15 minutes of my parents. My brothers are both married, with young children (all 1o and under). So, I am the only one who is outside this bubble right now. My parents waited until after I graduated and was visiting home a couple weeks ago to tell me what was going on.

    Short version:

    I just found out my brother is a polygamist.

    Longer version:

    For quite a few months, a woman has been living with my brother and his wife. She had left her husband, and from what my family knew at the time, she just needed a place to stay. Now, over the past couple of months, it has been coming out piece by piece that my brother is in a relationship with this woman. But, it is not an affair. As he says it, he has “made her a part of our family.” He has not actually tried to marry her, so it is not TECHNICALLY polygamy. However, my sister-in-law is in on this. She goes along with it and says things to the effect that it has been a good thing for their family. My family is not of a religion that supports polygamy, and I think my sister-in-law displays similar inclinations as women who have battered wife syndrome. I don’t think there is any physical abuse, I just mean in her willingness to go along with this and how she has not stood up for herself. I think my brother has her brainwashed into thinking this is the right thing for them to be doing.

    Mostly, I am just worried about the kids and that they will grow up thinking this is normal. It doesn’t help that my brother is very manipulative and tends to say he does things because he believes God told him to. I should note that my brother has not mentioned any of this to me. I am probably the least close to him of all my siblings, but we have always had a good relationship (with normal sibling rivalry). As of now I am just biding my time and not saying anything. Other family members have let him know how they feel, and when my parents went to his house to have a peaceful discussion about it he threw them off of his property.

    I am still living two states away, but will be moving back to my home state (but an hour away from my family). Does anybody have any advice as to how to deal with this and maintain as normal of a relationship as possible with them (especially the kids)?

    • I am really not trying to sound harsh, so please don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t think this is any of your business. It is a bit worrisome that they are not being more forthcoming about this and that they are not being patient about your family’s reaction, but ultimately they are all consenting adults. What is more hurtful is that he hasn’t mentioned it to you or most of your family, but judging from your reaction, maybe he is just waiting to talk to your in person. I would wait until a good time and say something like, “Hey, so tell me what is going on in your life. I am a little hurt to be left out of the loop with something so major.” If you want to maintain a normal, or “as normal,” relationship, you’re going to have to, at least, keep an open mind.

      As for the kids, I think you should do your best to maintain a good relationship with them, which means not saying judgmental things about their parents. There is no such thing as normal. This is certainly a very unusual arrangement but it doesn’t have to be a scarring one. I would follow their lead and only discuss it if they bring it up. I would also try to be extremely diplomatic about it. Pretend you are Switzerland.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        Thank you for the response. This is pretty much the tack I am taking.

        I realize there is no “normal” and you say they are all consenting adults. This is where I have a problem, though, because of the personalities involved and other issues — I am concerned about whether my sister-in-law is in fact consenting. But because it’s not really any of my business, I have not and do not intend to say anything. Nevertheless, this certainly does have implications for the kids because when one parent manipulates the other in the way this seems to have occurred, it creates dysfunction. This is one of the things I am really concerned about, and I think it is valid. Maybe I’m wrong, though…

        • IMHO if you’re getting all of this information second hand from your other family members who have already expressed their disapproval, you’re probably not close enough to the situation to know if your sister-in-law is consenting or not, unhappy or not, etc — and even if you were convinced that you had a good read on their interpersonal dynamic, it doesn’t sound like you’re close enough to your brother or SIL to be offering unsolicited advice. I’d second AIMS’ advice to try to get in touch with him and keep an open mind if you want to maintain the relationship.

    • I agree with AIMS, unless you put more context to your statement that she seems to have battered wife syndrome. The only example you give is that she hasn’t stood up for herself, and is saying that she is happy with the arrangement. Is there more than that? Or you just can’t imagine a woman actually being ok with it? I think just try to keep an open mind and just be normal with the kids, be there for them in general. Having an awesome aunt or uncle is really great for kids. they can operate in that “adults but not my parents” zone

      • Bizarre family situation :

        Thanks for the reply. There are other concerns along the lines of battered wife syndrome and cult involvement. Plus, they homeschool the kids and they are way behind in many ways. So, there are quite a few concerns but I don’t really want to elaborate too much.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      IMO, I would do some research into the polyamory community. While it’s definitely not right for me, there are plenty of people who do follow this lifestyle and are happy and not exploited doing so. I have friends who are poly (maybe it’s because I know so many people in San Francisco) who would definitely be offended by the implication that they were being abused.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        My family lives in an area that is quite the opposite of SF, and many of my brother and sister-in-law’s friends have already shunned or partially shunned them. My parents have indicated that the second woman is not welcome in their home for family gatherings.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          I guess I disagree with this. Even when I disagree with a family member’s decisions, I rarely feel like shunning or cutting them off is a good way to bring them around to my point of view, nor does it help protect the children (who sound like they do need outside contacts what with homeschooling and potential cult involvement). Shunning them seems like it will just make them even more insular and, if there is abuse occurring, make it even more hidden.

          But to be honest, there are many parts of the country where people react like this (shunning, your lover is not welcome in my home) toward gay people, and I know I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but it seems on the surface to be mostly the same, to me.

        • I wonder if that might make things harder for everyone, including the children. Making it clear that the third partner is not allowed to attend family gatherings might drive them all away. if the goal is for the children to be surrounded by “normal” family relationships, then driving the family away will result in them not being exposed to your extended family’s “normal” relationships and only seeing the “abnormal” polyamorous one.

          Polyamorous people do not exist solely in SF or other big cities. It is possible that they will find a community of people who see relationships in the same way they do. Or meet new friends who are not offended by it. I second momentsofabsurdity’s recommendation to do some research into polyamory. It’s certainly not something you have to believe in, or even support, but doing so might be best for your entire family in the long run.

          • Bizarre family situation :

            I am definitely concerned it will make things harder, which is why I don’t necessarily agree with my parents’ decision to do that and I intend to have a relationship with the whole family (however they define it).

    • I’ll second AIMS. It’s none of your business. This might be a phase or it might be a serious long term relationship. Welcome the new woman into the family and be happy your brother and his wife found a third they both like/love. If you reject her, you are also rejecting your brother and SIL.

      By “normal”, it sounds like you are referring to a traditional nuclear family with a mom, dad, and their biological children. That definition isn’t written in stone. These kids will know it’s not “normal” just like kids of gay parents know their family isn’t “normal” and just like I know my family isn’t “normal” because my parents are divorced. But they still have a family that loves them and cherishes them. That’s the important thing here.

      Be a good auntie to your nieces and nephews. Don’t ostracize their new “mom” (or aunt or whatever they use to refer to her) or their parents.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        My parents have already rejected her as part of the family, which I can understand from their point of view (my family is conservative Christian). I don’t want to ostracize her and I don’t intend to. This whole situation is just becoming more and more difficult because of the tension between my parents and my brother and the fact that he has not said a word of this directly to me.

        • K... in transition :

          I agree with AIMS. Also, you have 3 choices; pretend you don’t know/forget you know this info (not likely possible), contact him and see if he tells you while updating you on his life, or let him know you know and aren’t going to shun him. It sounds possible that he hasn’t told you because other family members have reacted so poorly and he hasn’t felt like hearing it all again. What if you sent a “thinking of you” card to his home in his name, but, inside, list his name, wife’s name, this woman’s name, and the names of each child? It’d be a nice way of acknowledging that you know and that you’re not shunning them or her. Then see if he reaches out.

    • I definitely think your concerns are legit, or at least more legit than some of the responses here seem to imply. Sure, definitions of normal vary and different family types work for different people in different situations, etc. But you know your brother and sister-in-law, and so do your parents, and if everything was hunky-dory you probably wouldn’t be too freaked out and your brother would not have thrown your parents off the property, and there is always more to every situation than a comment here can really portray. However – everyone is probably right that there’s not much you can do, really. I would just suggest reaching out to your sister-in-law as you move back to the area and maintaining a strong relationship with her independent of your brother (invite her for a girl’s night or coffee or shopping or whatever). Don’t bring up the other woman unless she does. Just let her know that you are there for her as her friend and sister-in-law, so that if she really does have a problem with this arrangement, she feels comfortable talking to you. Try to be there for her kids as a friendly/available aunt, also, since you seem to be concerned about them too. Good luck. :)

      • This. I found some of the replies above to be bizarre. It sounds like you are primarily concerned about your niece(s) and/or nephew(s), which sounds perfectly appropriate to me. I’d echo the advice above-reach out to them, take them for outings to their favorite activities, maintain a nice auntie relationship and let them know they are loved.

        • Research, Not Law :


        • I agree 100%, too.

        • Agree. I also find some of the replies to be bizarre.

          • Right? Telling people that God talked to him and told him to take a second wife doesn’t exactly fit with the totally-normal-consenting-adults-exploring-poly-lifestyles impression people seem to be taking away here…

    • I agree with what everyone who says that there isn’t really much you can *do* here. But I disagree with people who say it’s not cause for concern and just lifestyle choice like polyamory. I have no problem with polyamory, but it sounds like OP here has reason to believe that her SIL didn’t have equal bargaining power to agree with or veto this decision, which is not what polyamory is about. If that’s the case, I agree that it’s a situation to be concerned about, especially for the kids.

      I think the only thing you can do is work to maintain good, open relationships with SIL and the kids. Be a person that they can talk to without being judged or hectored about their family situation. Be a person they can come to for help or advice if/when they are ready. You might be wrong about your suspicions but you can never go wrong being a place of safety for your loved ones.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        Yes, I have come to the same conclusion that there is not much I can do (nor that I should be doing, really).

        I just want to be a good aunt to the kids and maintain a friendship with my SIL.

    • Conservative Christian :

      I totally get what you are saying, and I’d like to politely disagree with other commenters that the issue you are bringing up is your disagreement of their “alternative lifestyle”, because it’s definitely not about that, from my read.
      I live in a very conservative, Christian area and in my own community (so not speaking for anywhere else – please don’t pick a fight with me) there is this line between happily married, homeschooling couples where the women wear skirts, the man makes all the decisions, and everyone is satisfied and content, and then, on the other side of the line, these terrifying, controlling relationships where everyone is isolated and sexual pressure/abuse/nontraditional relationships occur. They look very similar on the outside, except in (1) the women look happy, and in (2) the women look exhausted and terrified. There’s no physical violence that anyone can see, but where there is, it’s not angry rage punching, but rather calm, methodical squeezing, pinching, or hurting.

      Here’s what I hear you saying – you think the wife is going along with this because she feels she’s supposed to, and you are afraid of the effect of the kids – not of mom and dad having a threesome, but of learning it’s okay for dad’s voice to be the sole voice, and to hurt mom (sexually, emotionally, etc) to meet dad’s desires, all in the name of God. And you don’t know what to say or do. Plus all the family drama, and the fact that this is your brother.

      I recommend keeping your ties very open with this family, as dad/brother is successfully isolating his family by making outsiders pull away. Sooo classic. For you – Don’t be judgmental. Bite your tongue a thousand times. Be a good friend to SIL/mother. Be a great aunt to the kids, when you can. Compliment them all on their strengths and positive qualities. Be kind and friendly to the newbie – a lot of the women who show up as single wives in the bad polygamous situations are leaving something much worse than what they came from. They will know, simply by the way you live your own life, that another life exists. By continuing to reach out and simply engage them, you can be the ‘mustard seed’ planted in their minds that comes to fruition months or (more often) years down the road when her or the kids wants to choose a different path, and the resource they will want then.

      • Bizarre family situation :

        Thank you! You said that way better than I did — and what you are saying are my exact concerns.

        • K... in transition :

          Also, if you truly believe the kids are in danger of emotional abuse or something else that just doesn’t “feel right,” contact child services. That’s what they’re here for :)

          • I sort of agree, but if the brother finds out she’s contacted child services, it’s a pretty safe assumption that he’ll prevent her from ever seeing his kids again. I don’t think I’d contact child services unless I was pretty certain that some form of abuse is occurring.

          • Christian Conservative :

            I’m somewhat on the other side of the fence about this. In my experience with suspected family abuse in these types of cultures, often the perpetrator of the abuse has a larger network through their “religious” organization that provide them, and by extension the family unit, with what to say and do over time so as to beat the system – so that at the end of the day, after a thorough investigation, there’s not enough for any action on the part of DSS.
            They (wrongly) genuinely believe that DSS is the wrongdoer trying to hurt their family, and that they are justified in having an offensive defense strategy, and their community/cult/organization provides that strategy. It’s a very different ballgame from the individual dysfunctional family unit.
            In my area, at least, there are sometimes special forces that deal with these types of situations across a community, but too often simply calling social services would end up hurting more than it helps.

            I’m interested in your thoughts on this – my experience is from the legal side, and not from the counseling side.

      • Agree with Christian Conservative, and I am a non-religious East Coast liberal.

        If your brother and SIL’s embraced a polyamorous lifestyle, they would not go in hiding and shun family. When someone is proud, they live out in the open. When someone is doing something wrong/shameful or something they know they shouldn’t be doing, they keep it a secret and otherwise go into hiding.

        As Christian Conservative said, manipulators succeed in their quest by driving family members away and not talking about it. I’ve been manipulated by narcissistic men who also made me keep our relationship secret and drive caring family members away. This sounds eerily similar.

        • On a related note, I am on the fence about family involvement. There’s overbearing, nosy relatives. And then there’s indifferent or standoffish family who think it’s best not to meddle, all the while an abuse or mistreatment of a loved one continues because no one wanted to interfere. This only isolates the loved one more because no one would stand up for them or ‘meddle’, when the person in question might sadly be too weak or manipulated or blinded to stand up for themselves. I am not sure that’s the case here, but I would not say carte blanche that butting out is always the best (even if it is the path of least resistance).

      • Role Model :

        Would it be over the top to make comments every once in a while when she is with the kids along the lines of “I’m so glad to spend the day with you and I’m so happy that I went to college and have my own job so that I can pay for this lunch/dinner/movie that we all chose to spend time doing!” or “When you graduate from college and have your first job, what’s the first thing you’re gonna do?”? Just to telegraph to the kids that they can look forward to a time when they each, boys and girls, get to be independent and make their own choices?

      • Anne Shirley :

        This is one of the most insightful, compassionate comments I’ve read on here. +1000LL points

    • Sounds like your brother and SIL are into polyamory. I don’t think it’s any of your business. You don’t have to like it or pretend that the third member of their relationship is your friend, but you should keep your opinions to yourself unless you have reason to believe that your SIL or their kids are actually being abused in some way. I think it’s fine to talk to your SIL in private and make sure she’s ok, but keep in mind that someone who seems demure in public can still be really kinky in private. If she doesn’t think she’s being abused or manipulated, then just tell her she can call you if she ever needs support and leave it at that.

  19. Plus-size PSA: Eloquii (the Limited’s plus brand) is having a major sale that ends today — lots of tops, jewelry, and bottoms for summer under $30. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend!

    Also, Lane Bryant’s new (to me) cami shape is awesome. It’s got a nice seam under the bust that lets it fit nice on my bust and on my torso. And it’s super soft and comfy. And the lace trim are on sale on the LB website:

  20. Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

    Threadjack, if I may. How do you deal with crazy and/or incompetent people in the workplace?

    I lead a team that consists of members from different departments in the organization. Although I am the most senior and nominally in charge, I am not the direct supervisor of any team member. I have been in this role for some years and have always gotten along very well with all of my team members. We’ve always gotten the the work out timely had a pretty good time, as well. Until recently…

    For the past few months we have had a team member from one department who is difficult in the extreme. She is consistently late to team meetings, she doesn’t provide information necessary for other team members to do their jobs, the information she does provide often turns out to be wrong, and she is increasingly confrontational and insubordinate with me. Seriously, this person has a reputation throughout the organization of being both mentally unstable and not all that bright. And she’s been driving. us. all. crazy. and just ruining the work experience for everyone.

    I have tried all my managerial tricks from private chats to gentle chiding in front of the group to keeping it all business, all the time and doling out consequences when she drops the ball, and nothing. has. worked. Her direct supervisor hides in his office all day and has been unwilling to come out to discuss the situation.

    The good news is that she will be transferred to another team next week and I will get somebody new, who can’t help but be better than the person who is leaving. The bad news is that I feel utterly defeated. Part of me is saying “Whew! Glad she’s going!” And part of me is saying, “If you were REALLY a good team leader, you would have figured out a way to win her over and transform her into a functional member of the team.”

    What says the hive? Are there situations where it really IS the problem person, and the only course of action is JSFAMO? Or should I be looking harder at my role in this fiasco? And if it’s the second one, what could I have done?

    • Leading people who do not report to you is extra challenging. So first, give yourself a pat on the back because it sounds like you do a good job of it.

      What else could you have done? Well, it sounds to me like you already tried a bunch of things. The only other one that comes to mind is figuring out what makes her tick and using that to your advantage. For example – making her look great in her supervisor’s eyes if that’s what will get her to give you good info, or helping her on something that is important to her. I’m also assuming that you already asked your team for their input on how to work with this person. Honestly though, thank your lucky stars that this woman is leaving! I vote for JSFAMO!

      • Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

        Thanks, Flamingo! As for figuring out what makes her tick, oh my sweet Lord I have spent many many hours on that very subject! My big thing as a leader is “I want everybody to get as much of what he or she wants as is reasonably possible,” and I could never even figure out what this person wanted! (My assistant says “She just wants to cause trouble!” LOL)

    • The fact that you’re even asking these questions at this point speaks volumes to your strengths as a manager. Also, your strong leadership can be seen in that this individual’s behavior hasn’t resulted in problems with you leading the rest of the team. Normally I would throw out some advice on whether you appropriately pursued setting incremental targets, developing accountability metrics, celebrating successes, establishing check-ins outside of the group, etc. But it honestly sounds like you’ve explored these traditional performance aids. Sometimes you truly do end up with someone who may have their own issues going and as a result simply refuses to function. Since others are experiencing the same challenges, you can’t even look to successes elsewhere for inspiration—and that says a lot about it likely being a situation beyond your control. Yes, it is too bad that you couldn’t be there if and when a turnaround would finally occur, but you can’t beat yourself up.

      It is completely up to you, but if you truly feel there is untapped potential in this individual and worry for his or her long-term career success, it may be a kind thing to invite a “coffee break” or such away from the office and have a somewhat casual heart-to-heart on what the individual perceives would have been necessary to advance projects more effectively, and perhaps you can then transition this into providing some carefully worded feedback on what might aid the individual’s performance in the next role. But honestly, you’re probably going to be wasting your breath. Some folks are bound to be their own destruction. You also risk turning a currently difficult relationship into a really bad one. No need to burn a bridge if you don’t have to.

      Sadly, I think you have to JSFAMO.

    • I hate to say this but you’re better off just JSFAMO. Until recently, I had someone on my team who was defensive and techno-phobic and sometimes downright destructive. I look around now at all we have accomplished and think how much harder all of this would have been if he were still here. My former boss (now retired) used to regularly remind me of how much progress I made with him in getting him to do things our way, but the fight sometimes got to be too much for me. Just be happy she’s leaving and be thrilled with how much easier your projects will be without her.

      • oops. “just JSFAMO” is redundant, isn’t it?

      • Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

        TGI, I have thought about the coffee heart-to-heart, but honestly she’s so unstable she scares me a little and I think the potential downside to such a meeting outweighs the extremely slim possibility of any upside. Which is really sad.

        NOLA, it’s great to hear from somebody who has been in a similar situation. It really goes against my grain to place blame/responsibility/whatever for a bad situation on somebody other than myself, but there’s a first time for everything, I guess.

        FOOEY! says I!

    • You should just hire me instead (since I now know who you are…though I actually have no idea WHERE you are). We can bond over our love of sweater vests. It would be awesome.

      • Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

        I know, right? That would be awesome! Too bad I have no control whatsoever over who gets hired to fill the spot!

    • I may be too late responding here but I work in a similar situation, where I am in charge of several parts of a project but am not the supervisor of a lot of people implicated. Again, there is only one person who makes things difficult, only goes to meetings if he feels it is worth his time, going above me if he disagrees, etc. it is a challenge but must people on the team perceive him to be so out on his own (and he has burned bridges with many of them independently) that it doesn’t affect the team dynamic too much. If you have been In the team lead role for a while take her leaving as a chance to simply regroup and move on, I’m sure you are very capable at leading those wo are looking for that guidance. It is impossible to get everyone to play nicely so don’t let it impact your confidence in yourself!

      • Anon Frustrated Team Leader :

        Thanks, I appreciate it. It’s just so confounding to work with somebody who is completely not at all bought into even the idea of “the team leader gets to lead,” you know?

        As you can see, I’m still processing this.

        On the bright side, she called in sick today and I won’t be surprised if we don’t see her again at all before the transfer on Monday.

        • My troublesome colleague says that the bureaucracy only stifles him so he will use any means to advance his agenda, but has ensured that he will NEVER leave his current post as no one else will put up with him, despite his (I grudgingly admit) sometime brilliant ideas. He won’t play the game, so won’t win. I choose to focus on the people who contribute to the team so I can help THEM advance and us all succeed together. Put your energies towards those who will appreciate it, maybe this new staff member will be looking for your leadership.

  21. iPhones to Suri or not to Suri :

    I need a new phone and want an iPhone. My question – is the Suri version worth the extra money? I can get a regular iPhone 4 for $100 less than the 4S. Is Suri worth it?


    • Senior Attorney :

      I heart Suri. She will call you anything you want her to call you. For a while she was calling me “Your Worship.”

      • I love this.

      • My BF’s calls him “Captain Awesome.”

        Sometimes he and Siri are in the living room, and I will hear, “I’m sorry, Captain Awesome, I don’t understand that. May I search the web for you?”

    • Kontraktor :

      I think it depends what you want the phone for. I just upgraded to iPhone recently and got the regular version. In addition to calls, really only use the phone for light web browsing and a few apps (Sk-pe, S-rius radio, W-S-J, things like that). I am not the type of person who likes a ton of bells and whistles on the phone because I simply just don’t need or use them.

      If you want more advanced capability or are a very heavy phone user and like the bells and whistles, you might as well get the upgrade. But if you’re just trying to upgrade your phone and don’t intend to do much ‘fancy’ stuff with it, I think the regular one is fine. I haven’t had any regrets about not getting the S version and the regular has worked 100% fine for me.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have the 4. I’ve heard the charm of the 4S wears off quickly. You can find everything yourself that Suri does. She basically just does the google search for you. So unless you plan on using it while driving or in other places you need hands free, I’d say skip it. I use mine most in places I wouldn’t want her to be talking so I doubt I’d benefit from it.

    • I have the 4, not the 4s, but my roommate has the 4s and he doesn’t use Suri anymore- she’s just too inaccurate, it takes less time to just input the information you need. the only exception is that he still uses her to set his alarm every night. i dont think it’s worth the extra bucks.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      Yes and no. I have the 4 and I’m generally really satisfied. My boyfriend has the 4s and sometimes it comes through in a clutch (directions, reminders, alarms). However, it is really glitchy and will spaz out for no reason.

      Also, the battery on the 4 is MUCH better than the battery on the 4s.

    • Gentle correction: It’s Siri, not Suri.

      If the new phone came with an e-assistant that gave commentary in the style of whoever writes Suri’s Burn Book, I’d update in a heartbeat.

      • Cornellian :

        haha I was wondering this whole time if that was a mis-typing to avoid moderation somehow. Everyone was going along with it!

    • I have the 4S and don’t use Siri at all, so I would say not necessarily. But it does depend on what you want your phone to do.

    • siri is just google that talks. also zooey dechanel, you don’t need to ask siri if its raining. YOU ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF A GODD*MN PICTURE WINDOW. I KNOW YOU CAN SEE THAT RAIN. AND WHO THE F ORDERS TOMATO SOUP DELIVERED?


        • If you find the like button, let me know, because I heart this rant also :)

      • hellskitchen :

        LOL. I am with you

      • ChocCityB&R :

        cfm, the zooey deschanel commercial was my all time least favorite, until I saw the Sam L Jackson commercial. And there is a new commercial with an older white gentleman with a sexy voice that I absolutely HATE! I have no idea who the guy is, but the fact that he is talking to an inanimate object like it is a human or animal totally takes away from the sexy voice…

        • If you are talking about John Malkovich, then we can’t be friends. John Malkovich could be talking to a wall and I’d watch him do it.

          • ChocCityB&R :

            Ahhhh John Malkovich, that’s who the gentleman is! Thank you! We can still be friends because I don’t dislike JM, I dislike Siri! And now that I know who is in the commercial I can add all of his movies to my netflix cue so that I can hear his voice saying something other than stupid replies to stupid siri. I have to admit, if they got him to record the siri voice, I might upgrade my iphone…

        • It’s John Malkovich and I personally love that commercial.

        • Is that the John Malkovich one?

      • Agreed!


      • Amelia Pond :

        If you are on t witter (would that be moderated?) check out @zooeysiri. It’s a feed of nothing but parodies of the commercial. There are some real gems!

      • A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. like x10000

      • The only thing I like about that commercial is the song at the end. “Play ‘Shake Rattle ‘n’ Roll.”

        I hate Zooey. There, I said it.

    • I have the 4, my sister has the 4S. She says she can’t stand Suri and never uses it. I would go with the 4.

    • I never use Siri, but my impression was that there were other differences in the 4GS. I think maybe it runs faster.

      • This. I never use Siri, I find that she is more hassle than she’s worse. But, I think the 4S is supposed to be faster and have the new OS. You may want to do a side by side comparison on the specs. If Siri is the only difference, she’s not worth $100.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      OMG it is like you are reading my mind – I have this exact Q. I use my phone for some games (DoodleJump type things), web browsing, Pandora, Kindle reading, etc) — so nothing crazy CPU heavy. I hear the 4s is much more powerful but the 4 is much cheaper… hmm.

    • I tried using Siri when I first got my 4S. Then it annoyed the sh*t out of me so I stopped.

      End of a very interesting story, I’m sure.

      • I heart Siri. It is so much easier to just tell her to put a hair/dentist/eye appointment on the calendar, rather than typing in the details. Also, (maybe I’m lazy), but you can dictate a reply to a text message rather than typing, which I do all the time! It’s so much easier (especially when walking), to just hold the phone up and talk your message rather than put your head down and type while walking. I’d pay the extra $100 again if I had to.

    • I have the 4S and rarely use Siri, anymore. I think there is a faster processor (A5?) and the camera is slightly better. SO has 4 and really, I would save the $100 and get the 4.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I have a 4S and do not use Siri, but my advice is the get the 4S anyway. The reason for that is my previous experience buying an iPhone when I bought a 3G because it was cheaper than the 3GS. When the iPhone 4 came out, I wasn’t able to upgrade my software to use certain features (a few things worked but the hardware simply couldn’t do things like multitasking). Friends who had the 3GS could upgrade to all of that though. Although I didn’t care about the 3Gs features when I bought my phone, I wish that I had bought it anyway because being left out from really helpful new features was a pain. My (more expensive) strategy now is to not buy Apple products that are not the most up to date models.

    • The new OS (iOS 6) was announced on Monday and the upgrade won’t include flyovers or turn-by-turn navigation in the new Maps app for Iphone 4 users (in case that sways your decision).

    • a passion for fashion :

      siri is totally worth it. you can use her to do all kinds of stuff. like when i am walking around the citi and need to make a hair apt, i just ask siri for the number of my salon and the hit dial. or if i need to make dinner reservations, just ask for the number and dial. or when im on vacation and need a mani/pedi, i ask for the nearest nail salon. or when my 5 year old wants to knwo what the tallest building in the world is, i just ask siri.

    • iPhones to Suri or not to Suri...or Siri :

      Hi all, OP here. I guess I was having a subliminal Katie Holmes moment or something, calling Siri Suri. Obvi I don’t care that much about Siri if I can’t even get her name right.

      I appreciate all the advice. I might just save the $100 so I can buy a new handbag. Now, that SURI would approve of! ha.


      • Your typo was totally worth it, because now I’m imagining Siri as the Suri personality from the Suri’s Burn Book tumblr… how much more fun would that be to have on your phone??

      • Not sure what state your current phone is in, but if you’re able to hold out until October, I’d recommend it. That’s when the iPhone 5 should come out, and even if you don’t need the “latest-greatest” it will mean a price drop for the older models. The 4 and 4S should each go down by $100, at least.

    • A word of warning…..I had the original Iphone for a long time before I upgraded to a 4s. I also wondered if simply going to the 4 would be enough. The thing you have to remember is that Apple is constantly coming up with new software for the phones. I found that the older my original phone got, the poorer it handled the software updates. It got slower and slower to the point where I had to restart it several times a day. Because they are coming out with the Iphone 5 soon, the Iphone 4s will probably be able to last longer with regard to the new phone’s software updates.

    • Siri is nice, but probably not worth the extra money if that’s the only reason you’d be getting a 4S. Once I had a flat tire and she basically told me that she was on her lunch break. That said, she is kind of amusing in a Magic 8 ball sort of way.

    • I absolutely hate Siri. She cannot understand me, and I am originally from the Midwest so have the blandest non-accent you can imagine and no speech impediments. She literally gets like 30% of a text message incorrect if I try to dictate to her. It’s faster for me to type something into Google than to ask Siri. The only thing Siri understands is when I tell her to F off, and then she says “Now, now.”

      I honestly think those iPhone commercials with Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel are false advertising. I want my $100 back.

  22. ChocCityB&R :

    In the weekend post some ladies mentioned wanting to negotiate higher salaries and I wanted to follow up with this link:

    • Not sure what the deal is but my comments are just not showing up today.

      Any other advice for negotiating? I find it odd in the linked article that the writer recommends we lie about current base salary. ALl other articles I have read say the opposite.

      I am currently beginning the negotiation process and was asked to provide my base plus bonuses, which I did. I’m not comfortable lying to a future employer, on the off chance that my current employer verifies salary. Does this close the door for further negotiation?

    • Seattleite :

      Thank you!

  23. The name is Siri, c’mon ppl.

  24. How do you keep up on current events? I am horrible at this and want to be better about knowing what’s going on in the nation/world. So any advice on the easiest method to keep current would be much appreciated! Also any specific recs (blogs or podcasts) would be great, and if the answer is a podcast, any explanations on how or when you listen to them. Not sure if I understand the mechanics of listening to podcasts.


    • ChocCityB&R :

      I love this question about current events, I am friends with a lot of hill staffers and poli sci majors and I always feel less than erudite when my only contribution to the conversation involves what happened on mad men last night and who kim kardashian is dating. I subscribe to the NPR news short podcasts, and when I listen to them, that is helpful. I also try to watch the news at the gym, and occasionally listen to Rachel Maddow’s show on my ipod, or try to catch Wait, wait don’t tell me (a humorous recap of the week’s news on NPR) or the daily show/colbert report. I guess I get most of my newsy-news from pretty liberal or humorous sources, which isn’t necessarily problematic from a conversation standpoint (I live in the Bay Area) but probably doesn’t lead to a lot of good critical thinking. I’d love to hear some recs from other people, especially more moderate/serious/conservative sources.

      • Yeah, I’m like you; I can talk to you about design/fashion/entertainment, but I have lots of intellectual family and friends who want to talk about current events and I feel like I have nothing to add. I want to be more informed so I can be a better conversationalist and more interesting. I also feel like I *should* be more informed as an adult and professional. I hate when something gets brought up at work that I don’t know about and then I fear I look uninformed.

    • I listen to the BBC world service podcast while cooking dinner. I have a set of speakers on top of my fridge, and just hook up my phone/computer to the speakers and play it while I’m chopping stuff. BBC generally offers good global news coverage, and I find the British accents calming!

      • Second the BBC! They have a website where you can stream their radio stations and sometimes I’ll listen to the drive-time talk shows while at work.

      • Sweet! This will be my newest habit.

    • I generally scan the headlines of a major newspaper and some blogs every day. If the article is interesting or seems like something my friends or people at work will be talking about, I read it. I find I keep up on a lot just by scanning.

    • Cornellian :

      I vote for podcasts/radio you’re around the house, walking the dog, etc and/or a summary sort of news publication that comes out less than daily. I know that reading weekly news renders me less informed about the world, and I’m more like to be getting a summary with the author’s opinion of what’s going on than the hard facts, but for most world events that’s enough for me. I read the Economist, which I love, even if it’s a bit stodgy old out-of-touch British guy, and often supplement with German-language daily publications. I find the combo keeps me up to date on basically anything people bring up, but also gives me unique things to say, since I’m not reading the same NYT article everyone else did.

    • I walked around half blind until I started listening to NPR. Originally it was because some guy I was interested in at some online dating site wanted to talk current events and I had no clue…so I’d tune in on my commute and have something meaningful to e-mail about that night.

      I now pretty much listen to NPR exclusively while I commute, and I constantly frustrate my husband who hears things has and when they reach his ears, because he hardly ever gets me to say “wow, I didn’ t know that!”

    • I read the NYTimes, Slate, CNN (just for headlines) and skim LAtimes, BBCworld, WaPo and a few others. We also TiVo Sixty Minutes. Also sometimes in the morning I watch the Morning joe.

      And then of course, there is my primary source of news, the Daily Show — which I watch loyally.

      • We also get the Economist and the Atlantic for more in depth news coverage. But I rarely read every article.

        • I think it’s almost impossible to read every Economist article. GAH! I always felt like a failure until I realized that most people don’t.

    • I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition while I’m getting ready in the morning. For a liberal/humorous slant, I enjoy the podcasts of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me when I’m working out.

    • Some of the things I do are:
      -skim the NYT online while I have breakfast
      -read the NYT on my iphone while using the bathroom (TMI? probably not, I assume everyone does this)
      -subscribe to a news magazine (think Economist/New Yorker/Atlantic) that I tend to read on my commute
      -on google reader, subscribe to various blogs, including some that deal with current events (mainly legal/finance blogs)
      -watch Daily Show/Colbert somewhat regularly
      -when I work out in front of the TV, watch CNN or other news channel

    • I skim through the headlines with the flipboard app.

      • +1. I do this too. Plus you can read the first few sentences and then decide if you want to read the whole article.

    • Did anyone mention The Week? It’s a weekly magazine that summarizes the news with commentary from both sides. It’s a great source.

      • Second The Week. In a fit of pique (and urge to be thrifty) we cancelled all magazine subscriptions. Bummer. Felt quite a bit stupider in a matter of a few weeks. Resubscribed!

    • lawsuited :

      I commute to work and listen to talk radio (BBC or CBC) while in the car. It’s dead time I can’t use for anything else, and I usually get the important highlights so I don’t fish-gape at people when they ask me about the outcome of this criminal case or that economic study.

    • It sort of depends on where you think you can work it in. In the car? I’d find an NPR station and/or NPR podcasts. At your desk? Look for blogs on issues that interest you — I get a lot of my news from Volokh Conspiracy posts (legal focus, written by lawyers and profs, strong libertarian leanings, but I generally enjoy it anyway), or listen to news feeds. has all of their broadcasts up, so you can choose stories that interest you, listen to whole shows (like that morning’s Morning Edition), or even listen live. On the train? Pick a magazine or paper that interests you, and keep it handy.

      I also didn’t see an answer to your question about how to do podcasts. There are a few options. The most tradition is on an iPod– iTunes has tons of podcasts, all (or almost all) free, and you just poke around to find something you like, and subscribe. Then whenever a new episode is posted, it will appear in your iTunes, and you can sync to your iPod or you can listen to them directly from iTunes (if you don’t have an iPod). A lot of podcasts, though, including the NPR podcasts, are accessible directly from the podcaster’s website, where you can just play it through the computer. Also, if you have a smart phone, there are a lot of apps that will let you stream podcasts– the downside of this is that you have to have a decent connection, because it is not downloading the podcast, it’s just playing it over the air. NPR also has its own (free) app that you can use to stream news updates and stories. HTH!

      PS, for what it’s worth, I got an iPod about two years ago to use while I was running (I also got a Nike+), and I use it all the time. While I run, when I’m commuting, while I’m walking around, on my way to lunch, sometimes at my desk, on the elliptical….. and I use it almost exclusively for podcasts. Moral of the story: I highly recommend it!

      • I don’t know if you’ll see this, but thank you for the info on podcasts! I actually have an ipod (although it’s super old and dying) and a shuffle, so it’s embarassing that I haven’t figured out podcasts yet!

        I will also have to check out the Volokh Conspiracy, I know a prof from my law school posts there…I see his articles on my newsfeed from my school’s fb acct. Just never looked!

        • Glad to help! I definitely wouldn’t be embarrassed, BTW. I know iTunes is supposed to be super-intuitive, etc., but I still get confused trying to do anything. Podcasts have become my constant companion, though, so I’ve gotten fairly good at them, at least! :)

          • I hate hate hate itunes. It’s the worst. I may switch to Android because then, at least, I wouldn’t have to deal with itunes.


    • For fairly mainstream current events, Daily Beast dot com is a great option. It compiles short summaries of current events, along with links to the original source if you want to know more. You can sign up to get their email, the Cheat Sheet, which is the first thing I read in the morning to make sure I’m not missing anything major.

  25. Aspiring Law Clerk :

    Yesterday I posted some questions about applying for a law clerk position with a fed. magistrate judge – thank you for the suggestions! I’ve decided to go with my appellate brief for the 1st writing sample, and a memorandum discussing attorney client privilege issues in derivitive actions and actions for malpractice where opposing parties are both 50% shareolders for the 2nd. For my references, I have a client that has been with me for 5 years, the supervising partner from my first firm, and the supervising senior associate from the firm I worked at after that. All are aware and ready to give references. I’m not using my current firm, because I don’t want them to know I’m “shopping.” I’m really not, this kind of gov. job is the only thing that would talk me out of the firm I’m at now because I have it pretty good.

    Any other pitfalls in applying to a clerkship position, federal or otherwise? I seem to get onto the lists and get material requests somewhat frequently, but whenever I send my materials in, I never get a phone call. I think one fatal error was that my writing sample was a pleading, which I now know is a no-no. We’ve fixed that! Any other red flags?

    • I think that you should go ahead and have your references actually write you letters (call the judge’s chambers if they know the judge), not just wait to be contacted. As with many jobs, clerkships seem to be a lot about who you know that can get your application pulled out of the pile.

      Also avoid a detailed cover letter unless specifically requested. A generic letter will get you in less trouble and (bonus) is easier to write.

    • new york associate :

      Do you know anyone who knows anyone who can make a call on your behalf? Federal judges get thousands of applications for law clerk positions and they don’t have an HR arm to pre-screen — so many solid applications never get read or reviewed. The hardest thing is to get yourself to the top of the pile. You might check with your law school. Find out if anyone has ever clerked for the judges before, then reach out to them. Hopefully they’ll mention you to their judge; you can also reference those conversations in your cover letter.

    • It sounds like you have significant post-law school work experience, but are you sure you don’t need a professor recommendation? Can you check with the career/clerkship office at your law school for advice on that? Are you sure that the clerkships don’t require letters of recommendation sent with the application package?

      • Aspiring Law Clerk :

        I might have some people that could make a call – I will ask around and see what connections are out there.

        The posting isn’t specific about which judge – it is a “one or more positions will be filled from this posting” post, so I’m not sure who my references would call. Here is the application summary:
        “Interested persons must submit an original and one copy of the Application For Judicial Branch Federal Employment (found on the Court’s web site), resume or curriculum vitae, two recent writing samples, law school and undergraduate transcripts, and at least three references (preferably current or former employers).”

        I’ll find out if I have any past clerks in my network. Even if they just call their judge, or the clerk that replaced them, it might be enough to get me a gold star. Or a half of a gold star!

        • I’m surprised they only asked for references, and not letters– every judge I’ve ever applied to (and there have been lots) asked for letters right off the bat.

          Also, I second getting a professor if at all possible/feasible. A client can’t speak to your analysis skills in the same way a professor can. Judges like letters from other judges, but letters from professors also carry a lot of weight. Experienced lawyers are okay–be sure they know to emphasize your analytical skills and your research/writing skills– but non-lawyers are not going to be able to tell the judge much that matters to them.

          Good luck!

          • Aspiring Law Clerk :

            I can add a professor – even better, I can add my legal writing/ethics professor! He supervised my 3L writing project that I got an amazing score on. You can see why I’m hesitant to include letters when they are asking for references, since government jobs (at least in CA) hate it when you include more than what was asked for. Thank you all SO much, again!

  26. Could I get a gut-check from the hive on whether this dress is appropriate for an afternoon wedding at a restaurant in DC in July? I have it in more of a royal blue than what’s showing up here. In addition to the timing of the wedding, the couple is very laid back, so I’m pretty sure we’re not talking anything overly formal. I was thinking accessories and shoes that were more on the fun side. Would love your thoughts!

    • color is great, but the super body conscious fit strikes me as a little on the evening side for a lunch reception. Cute though!

    • Anonymous :

      I think it looks good. Would go with some slightly larger earrings and fun shoes, no necklace because it would ruin the line of the dress.

      You may travel in more rarified circles than me, but most of the DC weddings I have been to, even the “formal” ones, have not really been super-formal. I think this dress, with perhaps slightly more formal shoes and accessories, would probably have worked fine at most of those weddings, too.

    • I think it may be a little vavavooom for a day wedding. Kudos to you if you can rock that dress though!

    • I like it! :) Especially with “fun” accessories, I don’t think it’s too risky or evening.

  27. An ex-girlfriend of one of my husband’s friends is currently enrolled in a specific graduate program I am very interested in. Would it be weird if I approached her to ask her about the application process, how she likes the program, etc.? I only met her a handful of times and we are friends on facebook. I don’t know anyone else in the program, but if she thinks it is strange I am contacting her I don’t want to do it.

    I wouldn’t think it was weird if I was her but maybe I am unusal?

    • I’d say go for it, unless she and the ex broke up in circumstances that were really, really horrible.

      Just start out with something like “I know this is out of the blue, but…” to acknowledge that and move on.

      • Agreed. I’d just run it by your husband: “is there any reason I shouldn’t do this?” He will know from his friend whether it’s a bad idea due to some awful breakup situation–but it’s probably fine.

    • Research, Not Law :

      This is very dependent on everyone’s relationship. Since you’re friends with her on FB, I am assuming that everyone’s pretty cordial and would therefore think that it would be appropriate. While it would be weird if you just called her to hang out, asking her about a program in which she is enrolled seems like a well-defined and understandable reason.

      I work in a pretty specific field, and if the SO of my ex’s friend contacted me specifically to ask me about my experiences, I wouldn’t find it odd or uncomfortable at all. However, I’m not going to want to have the conversation at friend’s birthday part, know what I mean? (FTR, I do NOT have a good relationship with my ex).

      However, my response would change if, say, she still had feelings for her ex, he’s been avoiding her, and she would take your contact as a sign she has a chance.

    • if your facebook friends its not that weird. its weird, like in the abstract, like if you looked up contact info for your husbands ex gf and asked her about it. but sounds like your husband and her are somewhat friendly right? at least in the same circles. so i dont think its weird

      • She’s not the husband’s ex, right? She dated one of husband’s friends. It would be stickier if she had dated the OP’s husband.

      • oh, I totally misread and thought it was your husbands ex. so its possible the breakup wasn;t as friendly as i first thought. Talk to your husband and see what kind of vibe he feels the breakup had.

    • I wouldn’t think that was weird. It’s a connection, you’re friends on fb, and you didn’t have anything to do with the breakup, so meh.

  28. Need Dumb Comment Consolation!!! :

    Fellow ‘rettes, I am feeling dumb after I made a useless/obvious comment in a meeting with the MANAGEING PARTNER. We have a great relationship, and I know he thinks I am a good lawyer. Our team was discussing team whether we could seek summary judgment vs. having to go to trial as to a specific issue. Although my point was the only dispositive issue is based on undisputed facts because the parties essentially agree as to the facts surreounding the transaction in question, my comment came out that “well there’s no disputed facts…” My boss started laughing (in a jovial way) and thanked me for my insightful morsel. I laughed it off, but now I feel dumb. Ugh. How to recover from a dumb comment? How do you make yourself feel better and forget about it?

    • Seattleite :

      Trust your great relationship, the fact that he thinks you’re a good lawyer, and his essential good-heartedness. Everyone makes a dumb comment from time to time, and I doubt that you look at your co-workers (well, the good ones, anyway) and remember that dumb comment that they made two weeks ago.

      I feel your pain – I’m cringing from a comment I made to someone last week, and just had to console myself using that method. It does work. And, you know, sometimes even about ourselves we JSFAMO.

    • I recently made a similar foible. I’m on a state-wide listserv for my industry. I’m fairly active on the listserv, but no more so than some other regular listers. Someone asked about something, and I emailed a quick and cursory answer. Like 5 people chimed in to say, “Actually, it’s the opposite.”

      People make mistakes. It happens. This is not the tabloids. Even if it were, no one would remember next week.


  29. Am I being too sensitive? :

    What is appropriate perfume use in an office bathroom? One of the secretaries at my firm douses herself in perfume in the only women’s room multiple times per day. When she’s done, the bathroom completely reeks of perfume. As in, the perfume section of a department store smells more subtle. I don’t have scent allergies, but I come out of the bathroom coughing after she has used it. Is it appropriate to complain to HR or am I being too sensitive?

    • Maybe she as a body odor issue and is too self conscious about it, so she tries to cover it with perfume thinking I’d better smell like perfume than something else.

    • do you think she’s spraying it on herself (like, does she reek of perfume too?) or maybe she is trying to mask, erm, other odors out of self consciousness? if the latter, a strategically placed neutral scent air freshener might help.

      • She’s definitely spraying it on herself. There is already an air freshener to mask bathroom smells. But good thought.

        While it’s possible she has a body odor issue, she also brings in a makeup trunk, so I think she just likes her cosmetics. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

        • Ah. Oh well, there goes that theory. But in any event, no, you’re not being too sensitive.

    • No perfume use is appropriate in a public space. I recently had an asthma attack just from walking into a bathroom, smelling heavy perfume, and immediately turning around and leaving. I had to contact HR and they put up signs telling people no spraying perfume in public spaces. I can’t believe people even needed to be told this.

      Anyway, put up a polite sign. The one from HR said something like “Colleagues – Please do not spray perfume or other aerosols or scented sprays in public spaces, including the bathroom. These sprays can seriously aggravate your coworkers with asthma and chemical sensitivities. Thank you.” No one has sprayed since.

      • corpor-tt- perfume discussions are my favorite

        • I didn’t mean no perfume wearing, but rather no perfume spraying. Don’t want to start a fight!

        • Haha, me too =).

          But more seriously, I’m in a fight now with my building because they just changed the soap to something fruity scented, which triggers migraines for me, as well as giving me rashes. Joy.

        • As soon as I saw the p-word, I was just like, here we go again…

      • I don’t think the OP is being too sensitive. I like the wording E suggests – polite yet firm.

        And this thread makes me think of the time I was on an airplane and as we landed, the guy sitting next to me took the opportunity to freshen up, right in his seat. Combing your hair, not my favorite, but okay. Spraying yourself with cologne when you are basically in my lap? Not okay.

      • Completely agree – I am also highly allergic to perfume, and this kind of behavior would leave me unable to use the bathroom. If you have B.O., use deodorant or something else that sticks to you and not the rest of the room. And if the bathroom is stinky, use a fast-acting odor spray (these usually make the bathroom only unusable for me for a few minutes).

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      It may be that the bathroom is poorly ventilated in general – I know if I use perfume in our office bathroom (which is internal, has no windows and little ventilation) even if I spray lightly once and walk through, the whole bathroom smells of it. Do you notice it when you work with her or is it just a bathroom thing?

    • I wouldn’t complain, personally. We have a cleaning person who uses waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much perfume and everytime she comes to empty the trash, my office smells like her for a few minutes after. It’s annoying but I think it’s part of living in the world, as it were. If you had a medical reason, maybe I’d say something to her directly, but please don’t make up a medical problem just to get her to stop.

      • long time lurker :

        I have a similar situation with the IT guy and his cologne! It really bothers me, not medically (no allergies) I just hate cologne/perfume/air freshener and all other non-natural scents. Even naturally floral smells annoy me, some flowers – lilies in particular – I cannot stand because of the strong smell. I have decided I must just have a more sensitive sense of smell than the rest of the world and deal with it. We all have our burdens…

  30. In case anyone is having a bad day (link in subsequent post.)


      • That was awesome! I especially enjoyed the end. Thanks for sharing; totally made my day!!!

  31. lawsuited :

    In case anyone is having a bad day, and Ryan Gosling is not enough.

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