Wednesday’s TPS Report: Galena Printed Silk Top

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

Julie Haus Galena Printed Silk TopOooh: I’m digging this interesting silk blouse by Julie Haus. Now, The Outnet has an artistic-sounding description involving words like “digital-print florals” and “spliced mirror-image patterns” that sounds a bit like it came out of a museum catalog. Me? I just think it’s gorgeous and kind of ghostly. It was $315, but is now marked to $126 (limited sizes only, alas). Julie Haus Galena Printed Silk Top

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


  1. I love the print but not the sleeves.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Me too. The sleeves look like a cut up sweatshirt to me. I’d love to see the print on a different style.

    • CP in seattle :

      At first the print looked like an alien face to me. Either i’m really tired or this print it’s a little too crazy for me …and I usually love prints.

      • I was actually thinking the opposite. I love the sleeves and neck. So feminine and flattering – not chopping off the neck and squeezing the arms.

      • I must be tired too. . I see the alien. Maybe it’s like one of those Magic Eye prints ? :)

      • I see a ghostly owl.

        Re prints: Years ago I bought an H&M sleeveless blouse in a black-ivory print. Wore the thing for over a year before I looked at it closely and realized what I’d thought was an abstract print, was really butterflies. :)

        • I see the owl!! so right! i am a bird person so this isn’t a total mark against, but it’s not a happy/cute owl.:)

        • I actually have a butterfly dress for the exact same reason. Finally decided a full-on butterfly dress was too much and donated it this year.

      • Now that you say it, I can’t unsee the alien. But before, I was thinking Georgia O’Keefe-esque flowers.

    • ugh, i think this is hideous. Sorry all. The sleeves, the neck, the print, the colors, just WAY too much going on.

      • Mother said never wear print. I mostly follow her dictate. Many of these big prints are susceptible of various interpretations. Some quite nasty.

    • To me this immediately says “for wearing with a boring suit.” It would make it less boring, and only the neckline would show most of the time, and so any controversy over the sleeves or pattern is moot. I’d definitely get something like this because I always need tops that add a bit of character to my boring suits. (Did I make it clear that my suits are boring? Or just that I’m bored wearing them?)

  2. I think it’s so interesting to see so many brands now doing interesting prints like this. Lucky had a little non “article” article (only about a half page) about these type of prints that take inspiration from those rorschach prints. Some of them are a little too loud for everyday wear but this seems like a nice compromise.

    Any laundry suggestions on necklines like this? I find even when handwashing something like this, the neckline always looks so odd after. I’m not a huge fan of dry cleaning ($ + chemicals + sensitive skin) so any tips would be great!

    • I wash silk shirts and then iron them when they are still wet. Sometimes I forget to do this and it’s hard to get the collar to look right.

  3. So earlier this week Kat mentioned that she was going to use the Coffee Break to recommend last-minute gift ideas. Then yesterday’s Coffee Break was the Bota Box. 2 enthusiastic thumbs up! I’m guessing that will be my favorite last-minute gift idea.

    Tried the chardonnay yesterday. It was very good. And I needed it. I’m having a great week. My credit card was hacked. Someone tried to charge $655 at a store in Toronto. Luckily, my cc company rejected the transaction.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Oh Bunkster that sucks. Thank goodness your credit card company rejected it. Hopefully no other charges will pop up and it will be fixed quickly. My credit card number has been stolen twice and I know what a pain it can be to deal with.

    • Oh no! This happened to me a few months ago and I didn’t even know about it until my bank contacted me about strange charges happening in California ( I am in NY). Fingers crossed for a speedy resolution, this is one of the most annoying things to deal with.

      I like to think there is a special place in hell for those who steal other people’s credit cards.

      • My favorite credit card moment was a couple weeks before the bar when someone used my number to go to the nordstrom anniversary sale on the first day in New Jersey (I was in Washington State). I got the funds back, but it was so annoying to think that someone else was getting to shop with my number when I was chained to barbri.

        • Mine was used for random gaming charges then finally the one that made me laugh out loud. They used my credit card to register for the TOEFL!

          • Anonymous :

            That’s incredible. The TOEFL? Really? Wouldn’t they have to like–put their name on that one?

            People are so smart sometimes.

          • Yep. That’s why I thought it was hilarious. I have no idea if my credit card company pursued it but they sure could have.

      • Mine was used for a shopping spree at several grocery stores and TJMaxx’s in Eastern Michigan. I told the cc rep that if I were to steal a cc, I would have gone somewhere more posh. She laughed. However, the weird thing was that the number was stolen and a card fabricated–my card was in my wallet the whole time.

    • The question is: do you know what they tried to buy?

      Someone stole my credit card number a few years ago and used it to buy two flights from Brazzaville, the Congo to JFK. I asked the credit card company if there was any chance I might be held liable, and they said “well, if it turns out that you were the person who bought those tickets, then they would.” I told them good luck proving that I bought tickets to travel from the CONGO (and canceled the card soon afterwards).

      • The purchase was made (or attempted) at Jason Jackson Clothing in Toronto. The credit card company said they’d cancel the number and send out a new card immediately. And I will not be liable for any charges. But since they cancelled my old number, I can’t access my statement online to see if there were any other fraudulent charges.

        • This happened to me recently, and once you have the new card and new # you should be able to access it all again. If you’re really worried that charges were made before the credit card company shut it down, you could call a customer service rep, explain the situation, and after going through lots of steps to verify your identity, they should be able to go through all recent transactions with you. Good luck!

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        I had my credit card hacked and the people tried to purchase $800 worth of music.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        My thieves were far less aggressive. The first time there were 3 1-cent charges to a church, presumably to see if it worked, and then $60 for computer equipment online. The penny charges are what caused the most headache and were the reason dealing with the issue took over a year. The second time, it was a $200 withdrawal from an ATM in the Ukraine.

    • My credit card company, Citibank, called ME to tell me that some body was fradulently chargeing sneakers on my card on the Internet! So they blocked it, and then had to give me a new card!

      I think that is good that the credit card company does this, but how did they get my credit card number???

      I dont even wear sneakers! Fooey!

    • true story: my mother had her identity stolen and her credit cards were used to buy all sorts of things, from online monthly-coffee club memberships, to clothing. All of which was shipped to her at home!! The credit cards refunded the transactions, and I contacted each of the companies to figure out how to return the merchandise she never bought or wanted. They said to just keep it! The fraudulent purchasers even went as far as making e-mail addressed as her firstname.lastname

      • Huh. I wish that had happened to me. This is the second time my identity was stolen. The first time someone got my personal info and went to a mall in RI. They opened up credit cards at a bunch of stores and charged the max allowed on the cards.

        They bought clothes at Talbots, electronics at BestBuy, diamonds at Kohl’s, etc. I found out because Talbots contacted me to ask why the address was different.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Have you looked into freezing your credit? It won’t help if your credit card number is stolen, but it will prevent new cards being opened. You do it through each of the 3 bureaus and it costs up to $10 depending on your state (although I think it’s free if your identity was stolen). You can “thaw” it when you need to apply for a new card or loan and then freeze it again.

          • Yup. I did that back when it happened. It was a huge hassle dealing with everything. It doesn’t seem to have done much good, but then I don’t know if it applies in this case.

    • Oh Bunkster. I’m sorry that happened to you. I feel like 2011 hasn’t really been your year between this and all the horrible stories about your boss. Fingers crossed for a fabulous 2012 for you!

    • :( sorry. my wallet was stolen on a business trip, while i was eating in a cafe, in montreal in october. my personal card had tons of charges overnight before I knew; the business one declined most. jerk. I was pregnant, and stuck without money. at least i had my passport elsewhere. no fun, making all those calls- I feel for you with the credit card hacking. do you know how it happened?

      • Unfortunately, I think it might be a personal connection. A relative of mine has hit rock bottom and is now fraternizing with some unsavory characters, one of whom resides in Toronto. I’ve never met the Canadian (I actually don’t know if he’s Canadian or an ex-pat), but I’ve met some of the others.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      My debit card was stolen when I was 19 and they spent close to $300 on booze. When I called to report the card and dispute the charges they did the “well how do we know it wasn’t you?” thing. My response was that I was underage and probably couldn’t get away with making liquor purchases at 4 different stores. My money was returned within 48 hours but the hassle of having to change all my online accounts and deal with a new card number was the worst.

    • Bunkster, I just gotta say: when it rains it pours, right? Here’s hoping that over the course of 2012, you end up in a fabulous job with a wonderful boss, someone leaves a brand new gym bag full of goodies with your name on it while you’re working out, and a huge windfall of cash is randomly, anonymously, but legally, transferred on to one of your credit cards.

    • soulfusion :

      My credit card number was stolen a month ago as well and I found out when the credit card company called me at 8 am on a Sunday morning to see if I was trying to buy a cruise to Finland. I was flying home for Thanksgiving later that day so it was a huge pain to not have my primary card but they FedExed it to me at my parents house. But even though they said they wouldn’t authorize the charges and canceled everything, last week I saw the charges on my statement and had to call again to make sure they were removed. Since then I have heard of many, many people’s numbers being stolen over the last few weeks. I think ’tis the season for fraudsters :(

    • I think we all feel your pain, Bunster, especially this time of year.
      Several years ago, I had my purse stolen while I was having lunch with a judge and an assistant US attorrney. I found it mildly amusing that lunching with “the law” didn’t protect me. Of course, I lost everything: cash, credit cards, license, keys, etc.
      I work in a small firm withall male partners and we all know what’s on each other’s calendars. I had a hair appointment that afternoon (cut and color). A partner took me to his ATM to get cash for me so I could still go to my hair appointment and get home. Hhe just about collapsed when I told him how much I needed. I’m sure he was thinking $15 for a hair cut. It’s become office lore.

    • I had someone try to use my bank card in a North Carolina K-mart, I’m in NY. The bank caught and denied the transaction so I didn’t have to deal with any headaches. But I did have to veryify my previous 10 transactions, 9 of which were from Dunkin Donuts, Friendly’s and McDonalds. SO embarassing!

  4. Early Threadjack: Cord Blood Dontation

    I am 34 weeks pregnant and am considering cord blood donation (DH and I are not considering private cord blood banking). This seems like an easy choice – why not do it? But, it is hard to get good information on it (mostly because places really want you to bank privately). I have visted, which is where I found the most helpful info. Has anyone else done this? Does anyone know if the places taking the donations are for-profit or not-for-profit companies? Any info or person experiences would be greatly appreciated!

    • a passion for fashion :

      our hospital provided information on this, so you may want to ask there. I think my OB did too. I agree with you in theory re donating it, but the problem I encountered was that you had to pay to donate it (not cost-prohibative, but not insignificant either) and go through a process, which was ultimately more than I felt like i could deal with immediately after having a baby. I really do think its a fantastic idea though, and having family members who could likely benefit from the research, i thank you very much if you decide to do it.

    • It has been 2 years since we banked (privately), but at the time the Red Cross accepted cord blood banking donations for free.

    • We donated our cord blood with our two girls. There was no charge to us, and if there had been any medical emergencies at the time of delivery, they wouldn’t have proceeded with it. I think I had to have an extra vile of blood drawn at an prenatal office visit (but they’re drawing so much blood I didn’t really notice), and I had to fill out a health history questionnaire in advance. Other than those two very minor things, I wasn’t aware of it being done.

      I believe our hometown hospital has some sort of set up to send the cord blood to a larger children’s researchy-type hospital in the region. It seems like it’s done routinely here and is no big deal. From what I understand, if my children were to have any issues, we would be able to try to access the cord blood if it was still available. In the event that they don’t (and it looks like everyone is very healthy), some other child might benefit either from receiving it or from research that it contributes to.

      • Diana Barry :

        We didn’t do it – didn’t see the need and it would have been expensive.

    • Research, Not Law :

      We donated last time and will this time as well (30 wks pg now).

      Fortunately for us, our hospital had just started offering donation services. I was literally one of the first moms to use it, so I was a bit of a guinea pig. But the process was so simple because of it. There was a contact person at the hospital who gave me all the necessary info and arranged to have the extra vials and instructions in the delivery room. I informed my docs in advance and put it in the birth plan. FWIW, I’d ask your doctor and the hospital – but I’d do some research yourself if they say it’s not available. The program was so new when I did it that my clinic wasn’t aware of it yet. It was the first time for everyone in the room, which made it actually quite humorous. The staff were really excited to do it, though.

      I’ll be delivering at a different hospital this time which does not have a program. I know that I can still donate, but I still need to do go through the process. There are regional public banks that accept donations, so you start by contacting them. You also need buy-in from staff. The “burden” is very low for the staff, but I think the parents may have to do some more ground work.

      I have a helpful link for you. It’s very likely what you’ve already found, but it seems complete.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Grrr… getting caught in moderation…

        Go to marrow [dot] org/Get_Involved/Donate_Cord_Blood/Donate_Cord_Blood [dot] aspx

        Lots of helpful info. Click on the “where to donate” link to find out if your hospital has a program. If they don’t, there’s a link to instructions to do it on your own.

        Note that contact information for the regional bank is located in the hospital list. So even if your hospital isn’t listed, look for one in the same state/area to pull that info. It’s who you ultimately need to contact if your hospital doesn’t have a program.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Oh, and here are the instructions for my regional bank. Pretty simple:

        — Contact the Cord Blood Program by email or phone to request an enrollment packet.
        — Complete the enrollment packet and bring it with you to the labor and delivery unit when you check-in.
        — Expect a call from the Cord Blood Program regarding your eligibility.
        — Upon arrival at the hospital on the big day, inform your nurse that you would like to donate your baby’s cord blood.
        — Complete and sign the update and consent form while at the hospital, to be sent with the cord blood.

        • Thanks so much for all the info! I think we will definitely donate, and hopefully we will start our little one off with a bit of good karma ;)

  5. hrm, I like the pattern but definitely not the collar or the sleeves…

    Question for the hivemind: I would like to start listening to the news on the way to work in the mornings. Can anyone recommend an app I can download to my iPhone? Or perhaps a particular station that you really enjoy?

    • Your local NPR station?

    • I am an NPR addict and have various NPR shows downloaded to my phone. I like certain ones such as This American Life and Things I Believe, and have those as apps on my iPhone, but there is also a general Public Radio app that I have, and have listened to, but not as often. I am a nerd and actually listen to This American Life while I am at the gym.

      The This American Life app actually has every single episode of This American Life ever. It is kind of my krypotonite. I would totally marry Ira Glass if we could work out the details…

      • Ira Glass rocks my workday with the This American Life app – his voice is just immensely soothing in a slightly nerdy and non-threatening way

        • I do like Ira Glass, but I would fight all of you for Scott Simon. I am a married adult — and of course have never actually met Scott Simon — but I have such a crush that I actually feel a pang whenever he mentions his wife on the air. sigh.

          • I live in the same town as Peter Sagal and sometimes see him when he’s out for a run. I try to resist the urge to shout: You’re Peter Sagal!

      • I had no. idea. there was a TAL app! I’ve been loathe to do podcasts, what with the plugging in and syncing . . . and I plan my weekend errands around the TAL broadcast. This just made my day!

        • This made my day, too! There is something wrong with my iTunes account ever since I transitioned to the cloud and I don’t have the energy to figure out what is wrong with it. An app will be so much easier!

    • Dude — ALL the NPR radio stations are available on a single app. Its my jam.

      Listen to “the World” from the BBC for a good global feel.

      ALso, you should start downloading This American Life and then we can all have a death match for Ira Glass.

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      I used to listen to NPR and lately quit. It just became to shallow and some of the commentary is too far “out there” for me.
      I love love love BBC, though. The global news is very complete. Of course, then I get pissed that I am learning about worldwide flooding/famine/war and the mainstream news stations in the U.S. (CNBC/CNN/MSNBC/FOX) are covering Snookie!

      • I listen to the BBC world service every night while cooking dinner. It’s great!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      There are a few radio apps for the iPhone that each seem to have their own stations. I use iheartradio and TuneIn Radio. They stream radio stations from all over the world and you can search by type of station/show or location. Iheartradio also has on demand shows, but they mainly seem to be the talking portions only of morning radio shows, so there won’t be much actual news.

    • If you’re sick of standard US news network fare, try al-jazeera online. Refreshingly blunt and informative and free of shlock.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oohh good suggestion. There is also an Al Jazeera app for the iPhone that allows you to watch a live stream.

      • Hee. You rock. +100 LL points.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I have a Roku box and my only news stations are Al Jazeera and a Russian channel in English. I love it and they really do cover world news. When we had cable, we watched BBC.

      • Yes, I recently saw a sobering story on prison factories in China. One woman imprisoned for practicing Christianity in a church not approved by the government escaped. At her new church in the U.S., she helped put up decorations. However, the mood changed somewhat when she saw something familiar. She used to make Christmas lights in the work camps/ prison factories.

        • It is amazing how much more actual news you can get from Russia and England, isn’t it?

    • I use the TunedIn Radio app. My favorite commute show is The Takeaway, an NPR show that blends news, commentary, culture stuff, BBC reports and interviews with reporters from The New York Times. TunedIn Radio lets you start it when you like.

    • For all the NPR fans, just saw this today:


      • LOVE this. In a perfect world, Ira Glass and Ryan Gosling would be combined into one great package — and there’d be one of them for each of us.

  6. Anyone have pet insurance that they can recommend?

    • I used to have VPI insurance. As I recall, it wasn’t unreasonably priced, and reimbursed me almost half of when my cat spent a week in kitty ER. But…after I spent what that cost without blinking an eye, I figured out how much I had been paying in premiums and decided that I would just cover any future emergencies on my own. Hope that helps.

    • We had VPI for years for our two dogs while I was in law school. It was great for a while, it covered almost 100% of annual checkups and at least 50% of their yearly teeth-cleaning, etc. Covered a lot of the occasional “emergency” bills, as well. About two years ago, VPI started scaling back what and how much they covered. To the point that with me working now (and no longer a student) and the husband also working, it wasn’t worth the monthly premiums ($30 per dog per month) for the lower coverage.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      While not insurance, I have saved a lot with the Banfield care plans. Not all Banfield’s are created equal. The chain in my local PetSmart has a stellar well known vet. Others may be less reputable. Our plan is $25/month/pet I think. It covers twice yearly physicals, twice yearly blood work and urine, once per year x-rays if necessary, yearly dental, all other office visits are free, all normal vaccines, and 15% off all other services. I have saved over $2000 on the plan this year as both my pets had emergencies. It is not, however, insurance, and you still pay for the other services.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Just to clarify what I mean – if my dog broke her leg, my office visit would be free. I would get 15% off the non-covered x-rays, casting, medications, etc.

        • Love My Dog :

          I second this. We have a rescue dog and the best thing we did for him was sign up for the Banfield care plan. I know it’s a chain, but our local store’s vet is fantastic and with all the extra care issues that came with adopting a dog who was rescued from a backyard breeder situation, the plan really helped us afford to get our guy the care he had been lacking during his first four years.

    • I use VPI. My coverage doesn’t include checkups but if my dog tears his knee/hip, cuts his leg on my skis or gets quilled by a porcupine (seriously that’s why I got it), it’s covered.

      I just don’t ever want it to be a question of whether I can cover it. If you can set aside the $30 a month in your bank account, but also capable of shelling out $2,000 if necessary, then it’s not worth it. It’s right on the edge for me and probably I’m loosing a little money on the deal, but my dog is very active and I think it’s likely that he need a major operation at sometime, so I still have it.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I did a lot of research into pet insurance companies and there are only a couple I can recommend wholeheartedly. Many have issues – either you are forced to see an in network provider (and they will only pay for “their” vets), their list of excluded conditions is unreasonably large, or the premiums are unreasonably high.

      The two that I would recommend would be PetsBest (what I currently have) and PetPlan. Insurance premiums will be cheaper (obviously) the younger your animal is, but my 4 year old miniature dachshund is insured for about $25/mo. For me, because dachshunds are prone to back problems, I wanted to find an insurer that would cover this and very, very few do. Both PetsBest and PetPlan will pay 80% of your out of pocket (after deductible) I believe and neither will cover preexisting conditions. I haven’t opted for the additional plans to cover routine care, however, because financially it works out better for me to pay cost at the local free animal clinic than to pay monthly.

      For emergencies, however, it is 100% worth it to me. The one claim I’ve made with PetsBest, I was reimbursed within one week less my deductible.

      Things to note – you will need to pay up front to your vet, unless you have a longstanding relationship (PetsBest will pay your vet directly but you need to get your vet to agree). If this will be a problem, look into getting a CareCredit credit card, which will give you interest free credit to make that initial up front payment (which you can then presumably pay off with your pet insurance refund). Not all plans cover routine care. Many plans have long lists of excluded conditions – examine those and make sure you are comfortable with them.

    • I have VPI for my dog and I am glad I have it, but am now stuck with it. We got it when he was 8 weeks old, and right after he turned 1 he developed seizures (controllable with medication). Because of this, I cannot ever leave VPI or the seizures will be considered a pre-existing condition (and there is a high likelihood that related care will increase as my dog ages – he is now almost 4).

      I feel like I just eke out enough in claims each year that VPI pays for itself, but the hassle factor is high. I follow their directions to the letter, but often claims are denied the first time around and have to be resubmitted (when I resubmit identical paperwork, they are approved! Magic!).

    • Tired Squared :

      I use VPI, and it’s been pretty helpful when I’ve had kitty-related emergencies. My payments are something about $10/month, and they reimbursed around $400 of my ER vet bill last April. So the plan paid for itself this year, last year (where I had no claims), and hopefully 2012 as well!

  7. I would wear this shirt with jeans to a social event, but not to work; it’s just too loud for my office.

    On a thread early last week, someone discussed Clarisonic and Olay Pro 20x. I just wanted to tell the hive that after two months of continuous breakouts, based on those reviews and my desperation, I went to the drugstore and bought the Olay Pro 20x. Now, I wish I’d taken a “before” picture. In a week, I’m shocked at how much of a difference it has made – my skin looks better, feels better, and is at least 80% clearer than it was before I started using it. Anyone looking for a new skin care regimen should try it – the best $30 I spent this month. I use it with Clinique foaming facial cleanser.

    • Ooh, thanks for the review!

    • I use the Olay one as well (with Neutrogena oily skin cleanser) and have seen improvements. My huge pores look smaller and aren’t dominated by blackheads and the flakiness is almost gone. Much smoother and less oily at the end of the day as well.

    • Ballerina Girl :

      Is there any initial breakout period? I have sensitive skin and have been nervous this would make me explode with acne!

      • I have very sensitive skin – I did NOT have any initial breakout period. Here’s what I have found, though:

        Don’t overuse – pretty much cover every area on your face for just under a second, maybe just over a second on high breakout areas, and only once. Don’t go back over it a second time – I did the first few days and immediately after, my face was a little pink.

        Don’t use the sample exfoliating cleanser that comes with it. Use your regular cleanser. The exfoliating cleans was too exfoliating for my sensitive skin. I’ve used it with my acne cleanser twice, but I won’t even use that more than 1-2x a week.

        I have taken 2 days “off” and will probably continue to take 1-2 days off each week. I think my routine will be cleanser-cleanser-acne wash-day off and repeat.

        The brush is really soft – it doesn’t feel abrasive at all. My husband was a little freaked out by how much it cleared up my skin in the first two days alone.

      • I had an initial “aggravation” period – as in, the present acne looked redder for a day or two. But it did NOT make me break out.

        I also have had very good results with the Olay brush. Less noticeable pores, and no patches. I use it with the Dr. Lewinn by Kinerase cleanser which is also GREAT.

    • ML-

      Is this a recent moniker for you? I’ve been posting under ML for maybe 6 months or so, and I’ve noticed you posting under this a bunch in the last week. Maybe I just never noticed before? And you never noticed me? Anyway…I suppose this could be confusing for those corporette’s with great memories, as I’m pretty sure we are different people. :)

      • I also think we are different people. I lurked for a while and only started posting last week, and I didn’t see another ML. I did see you yesterday, and thought, maybe this is a one time thing. But if you’ve been ML for six months, it will be much easier for me to change my name…after this thread, I’ll be someone else. :)

        I did think yesterday people must think I have one heck of an interesting marriage/pregnancy/social life!

        • HA. Yes, I thought the same thing! I went anonymous to participate in one of our recent birth control discussions but that would have just added to the fun.

          Welcome. :)

  8. Certain Dry :

    Thanks to all the ladies who recommended Certain Dry. I posted on the weekend thread about Botox for excess under arm sweating. Instead I started Certain Dry over the weekend and already see a difference. This may be the best Christmas gift I’ve ever gotten.

    Corporette always comes through. Thank you!

    • Does it irritate your skin? Do you just use it like a regular deodorant?

      • I’ve used it on and off for a couple of years. It irritates me when I first put it on, but it goes away after a few minutes, and I only use it every 3 days, so it’s tolerable. You can’t use it right after you shave though.

    • Are you using the solid? I bought the roll on a few months ago, and it irritated my underarms so much that I had to stop using it. I recently started using it on my feet though (per suggestion from the last thread about this topic) and haven’t seen a difference yet but am keeping my hopes up.

    • Certain Dry :

      I bought the roll-on because that’s what the grocery store offered. I’ve put it on at night, but not in the morning, and just a couple of swipes as instructed on the box. Has not irritated my skin yet–and I hope it doesn’t.

      KW: Please let us know if it works on your feet. If it does, I may start buying this stuff by the case.

  9. threadjack. one of my 2012 resolutions is to start cooking more at home (party of 2). motivation: economy, health, need to take over some of the chore (i usually wash dishes). the challenges: lack of time, energy, and – er – enthusiasm for cooking (which i enjoy on the odd occasion, but not at 8 pm on tuesday).

    so far, some things i have found helpful: grocery delivery services, which i liken to online shopping (!) plus it helps me plan; cooking extras on the weekends; and after yesterday’s convo, i’m seriously considering a slow cooker.

    any similarly minded corporettes have other suggestions? thanks!

    • Here’s what my husband and I do:

      1. We alternate cooking weeks. It lets us plan for an entire week of groceries, and a week off is a good break to keep from getting burnt out. Right now it’s his week to cook, thankfully. Whoever cooks also has to clean the dishes – keeps us from using too many, and it means someone has a pretty good chunk of free time every other week.

      2. Slow cookers and casseroles. We always keep 2 casseroles in the freezer, because something will go wrong. And we commit to using the slow cooker at least one night a week.

      3. Sounds like you already do this – but we plan out all the week’s meals in advance. It helps me so much, because at the end of the day I am exhausted and the mental process of having to come up with a meal is too much (and I quit), but if I know I have all the ingredients and am following steps, then it’s easier to do on autopilot.

    • Incorporating frozen vegetables makes cooking much easier, especially during the week since it cuts out the prep. Frozen spinach especially is great to add in to make dishes healthier.

    • I have to plan ahead, or I’ll be eating out. If it’s 6 p.m. and I need to hit the grocery store for key ingredients, cooking isn’t going to happen…

    • Seattleite :

      I really like the cookbook “Desperation Dinners.” All the recipes are fast and delicious. While it does use some convenience items, they tend to me more of the ‘frozen chopped onion’ variety rather than ‘can of cream soup.’

    • Homemade granola. There’s a terrific recipe out there – try googling David Lebovitz granola – involving fruit puree instead of the oil/ sweeteners you might get if you buy the stuff off the shelf. It takes me an hour or so of mostly unsupervised oven time, sits in an airtight jar, then with a bit of yoghurt, makes for a reassuringly healthy start for my household on working days. We are very lavish with the nuts and seeds, so it’s tasty enough that no one feels force-fed.

    • My husband and I have agreat arrangement. He cooks and I do pretty much every other chore. It’s a win win because I don’t like to cook and he doesn’t like to clean. I plan the menus and make the grocery list, so here are my best tips:

      1) We shop for a week at a time. I plan our week menu the weekend before and we shop together, which makes it quicker. I try to things that utilize the saw ingredients to save money, for instance, making tacos early in the week and quesadillas later in the week. I do try to plan things out by day (for instance, meals with fresh ingredients get eaten sooner, or officially meals on a night I know we aren’t busy, but I allow some flexibility).

      2) Make some “go to” easy meals and some new meals for variety. If everything takes a long time or is difficult you will get rung out quickly.

      3) Your freezer is your friend. Anytime we make things like lasagna, soups, and casseroles, we double the recipe and freeze one or two dinners for later. This comes in handy on days you don’t want to cook.

      That’s all I’ve got, but I’d love to see slo cooker tips, too. We blight one a year ago and have yet to use it. Most of th recipes I come across use a lot of packaged, processed food and we like to make everything as fresh as possible, within reason.

  10. Ooh, this is pretty hideous. Sorry Kat, not a fan of this pick.

    Thanks to all of you who recommended reading The Hunger Games. Checked it out of the library yesterday, started reading it last night and stayed up until 3 am finishing the book! I just couldn’t put it down and kept telling myself “just another hour” and then I’ll go to bed. So excited to read the other two books in the series.

    • I just finished book 2 last night! I am trying my best to get all my work done for the year before I start the 3rd.

      • Backgrounder :

        About 12 pages away from finishing Book 3! Stayed up til 1 am last night reading.

    • Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but adjust your expectations slightly for the second two. They were not nearly as good as the first one–but definitely worth reading.

      Anyone have any other book recommendations along those lines? Fun, hard-to-put-down reads?

      • MeliaraofTlanth :

        I agree the second two weren’t as good as the first. But still entertaining.

        Fun, hard-to-put-down? Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries (the ones True Blood is based off of). The writing isn’t that great (though worlds above, say, twilight), but they’re like popcorn–fluffy and addicting.

      • Kingkiller Chronicles. But only 2 out of the 3 are out, which kills me.

      • The Reacher series by Lee Child – starts with “The Killing Floor”. Not fun-funny, but quite gripping. There is some gore and machismo, so avoid if these are not your thing.

        I followed the Corporette recommendation for “The Game of Thrones” and really enjoyed it. Now I am waiting for the TV series to become available on Netflix.

        • locomotive :

          the hbo series was great but be warned (aka don’t start watching on a plane ride like i did) – lots of super graphic blood and boobs.

      • Just to provide a different perspective- The third is probably my favorite of the three (although I agree that the second isn’t very good).

        I’ll recommend The Warrior’s Apprentice to people who like the Hunger Games. Although I do love the Kingkiller Chronicles beyond the ability of words to convey.

    • Just curious if anyone else here was disappointed by the first one? I saw Battle Royale and loved it, but felt like the concept really worked a lot better within a Japanese setting. When I read Hunger Games, it just wasn’t as easy for me to understand or accept. I don’t want to be a downer, but I am wondering if others have seen BR and what they think of it in comparison to HG.

      • I read Battle Royale after I’d read Hunger Games and didn’t think it came close to being as good. I felt like Battle Royale had too many characters and you didn’t really get the chance to become attached to any one character the way you do with Kat and Peeta and Gale.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I just read the first then read the 2nd and 3rd in two consecutive days! Really liked it although the first packed more punch than either of the next (they were still good, however).

      Lesson – don’t start an interesting book at 11pm! You’ll be up til you finish it at 330!

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      I didn’t think the second or third books were any better or worse than the first. IMHO, the second and third books are just different. Things have happened in the first book that you cannot take back or “un-know” and that inevitably led to a change of pace and tone (just like with the later Harry Potter books). That being said, I love the entire series and will probably reread the books before the movie comes out in March.

    • soulfusion :

      A friend gave me the set before I started chemo and for the first half I couldn’t concentrate on anything long enough to read but when I switched drugs and found I could focus, these were the first books I read and I devoured all three in just over two days. The other series I discovered and couldn’t put down (and I’m really late to this one) is the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I don’t know what I thought they were about a few years ago when everyone was reading them but they were so much better than I expected. Really fascinating and compelling. Loading up my Kindle for vacation so I would love to hear more book suggestions!

      • Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”! Great vacation read.

      • Check out Kate Atkinson’s series about a British PI named Jackson Brodie, starting with “Case Histories.” It’s detective fiction only in the loosest sense, with wondeful characters and athosphere and beautiful writing. Atkinson is known for her non-genre contemporary fiction, and these books makred a departure for her. The third book in the series, “When Will There Be Good News?,” was on the NYT Book Reviews list of the 10 best books (of 2010, I think, but possibly 2009) — not best mysteries, but best books overall. The order is Case Histories, then One Good Turn, then When WIll There Be Good News. There’s a fourth novel, where a secondary character in the first two books takes the lead, called Started Early, Took My Dog.

        My husband and Ijust finished watching the adapation of the three Jackson Brodie novels that were done for the BBC and PBS’s Mystery, as the mini-series “Case Histories,” so now I want to reread them.

  11. For all of you tall ladies out there:

    There is a big gap in my wardrobe on blazers. I have suits, I have cardigans, but I have trouble finding cute blazers for a late 20s girl with a weird body shape. I am 5’10”, but actually short-waisted with a straight up and down figure, about a 4-6 depending on the brand. My arms, though, are very long and I have a hard time finding blazers whose sleeves are long enough in the size that I wear. I know I can always let things out by going to the tailor, but that is a pain in the butt if I can find a brand that is long enough. JCrew tall is long enough, but pricey for the quality. Any brand recommendations?

    • I am 5’9″, about your size and have very long arms as well. Just received the Eddie Bauer Wool Shooting Jacket (yes, weird name) in Loden in a 6Tall – it’s nicely fitted and I can’t recall ever having sleeves this long! Also on sale – link to follow.


      • Oops, the color I ordered was Ranger – not exactly descriptive, but it is a dark green color.

      • I checked it out — it says it is good for big-busted ladies…. Unfortunately I have relatively zero boobs to speak of (which is why JCrew and Theory are my go-to brands, no curves on this girl). Will it be too roomy in the bust?

        • I am not that busty (34C) and it was maybe even on the snug side for me. I’d think you may be fine – worth a try!

    • I would love to hear suggestions for this too. Jackets or blazers (what’s the difference?) in tall sizes that are not just plain black or gray. I would love to be able to find cute, different options in talls.

    • I always try on blazers in department stores to check the sleeve length, but have not found any less expensive brands that work for me, so far. (I am built very similarly to you, except I wear an 8 Tall in a blazer.) I just stick with J Crew and always wait for a sale. Now that I know my size there so well, I don’t hesitate to buy things on “final sale”, so that helps with the cost-cutting. If anyone has other brand recommendations, I would love to hear them. I’d like to branch out a little bit as well.

    • This may sound odd, but Tommy Hilfigers “Hilfiger” brand fits wonderfully if you’re straight up and down with little chest to speak of. Adrienne Vitadini (sp?) is another go to for me.

  12. Threadjack: Christmas Books?

    I have two nieces, in 8th and 6th grade. They are brilliant and love to read, and I’m looking for two different books to give them for Christmas. They’ve read everything on the standard reading lists for their age, and of course Twilight and all that. Does anyone have any good suggestions? They both read at a 12th grade level +, but they are in middle school. Thanks so much!

    • I suggest you get them started on a classic, possibly addicting lifelong habit like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or related classic English mysteries or maybe classic spy novels (Dorothy L Sayers, John Le Carre, etc). Fun, vaguely literary, adventurous, interesting, not junky and yet not boring either. And better written IMO than a lot of other stuff out there.

      • agree agree! Personally I love the classics — which is why my kindles is so great. I refuse to pay for content for it, so project Gutenberg provides such a great variety of free reading material!

        • Hooray for Project Gutenberg! But I must say, refusing to pay for literature on a Kindle is like refusing to pay for books because you bought the bookcase.

      • +1 for Dorothy L. Sayers! I was so addicted to Sayers and Agatha Christie when I was 12, my mother resorted to hiding my Christie collection after a while. (I found it.)

        • I also loved Agatha Christie at that age, and was strangely addicted to P.G. Wodehouse. If your niece likes word play or has the particular sense of humor that Wodehouse appeals to, she might like it. (The downside is that she could end up like me in 8th grade, picking up all of Bertie Wooster’s slang and telling someone who was nuts, “you’re off your onion!”).

          • I got way into PG Wodehouse when I was in 6th grade, and would totally suggest it for an off-beat kid who would like to some silly stories to balance out the dark YA sci-fi novels (which are great, but variety is nice too). The Bertie Wooster and Jeeves stories are a great place to start.

    • For the 8th grader, might be a great time to start on Jane Austen. For the 6th grader, like anon, I’d suggest mysteries – Agatha Christie is one that I loved at that age and has held up well into adulthood.

      • Always a NYer :

        I second the Agatha Christie books, especially the Hercule Poirot series. Murder on the Orient Express is my personal favorite.

    • How about Terry Pratchett Discworld novels? They’re clever and funny fantasty books. The reading level is adult but they stay away from adult (euphemism) themes. “Witches Abroad” might be a fun start.

      • Second the Terry Pratchett!

      • Thirded! I love Terry Prachett.

        Good Omens, the book he and Neil Gaiman co-authored, is also pretty great. Think I read that around 8th or 9th grade.

    • I was similar in middle school and here were a few of the books that I was gifted that I loved:

      Ender’s Game
      Knock Three Times (a bit “young” for them but such a good story, very creepy!)
      The Poirot and Miss Marple Agatha Christie books
      The Rold Dahl books

      Good luck!

      • I second all of these (particularly the Ender’s series), and add in the recommendation for Jane Austen.

        • I’m assuming they’ve read Harry Potter. If not, definitely love that series. It got me through my middle, high school, and college years!

      • Ender’s Game, DEFINITELY. Also, Life of Pi and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

    • Along the classic lines, what about some Jane Austen novels?

    • Madeleine L’Engle for the younger one. I’m reading A Wrinkle in Time to my nieces (ages 5,7 and 8), when I see them.

      • And there are other great books by her as well. Great choice.

        • Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle remains, to this day, one of my favorite books.

          Another book I loved when I was about that age was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It may be a bit deep for the 6th grader, but it’s a wonderfully poignant story.

      • I love Madeleine L’Engle well into high school (and was also reading at an adult level). Wrinkle in Time is actually one of 4 books about the Wallaces (that’s the name, right?), so you’ve got a set right there. She’s also got other books, so it’s a good gateway – if they haven’t read anything by her yet.

        • Isn’t it the Murrys?

          • That sounds more right. I guess it’s time to reread my copies (if I can find them). The little brother was Charles Wallace (Murray), though, right?

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Yes, Nona, that’s right :). Meg Murray, not-boyfriend Calvin O’Keefe, and little brother Charles Wallace Murray. I can still “see” the picture of an ant on a string to demonstrate a tesseract (sp) in my mind’s eye.

            This is why Nooks are deadly on the wallet, because now I need to buy the book!

        • I didn’t enjoy the Wrinkle in Time series that much, but one of Madeleine L’Engle’s Austin family series is one of my all-time favorite children’s books — “A Ring of Endless Light.”

    • There’s a series called “The Dark is Rising” that’s really, really great (I read it when I was about 21, but it’s a children’s/YA series).

      • Yes yes yes!

        I still have that poem partially memorized:

        “When the Dark comes rising, three shall turn it back,
        One from the circle, one from the track…”

        • oh man, this is taking me back to my middle school/high school days. In addition to Madeline L’Engle and the Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper), I was doing the Heralds of Valdemar (Mercedes Lackey) and the Pern books (Anne McCaffrey). Both of which provide much material for voracious readers.

          I’ve also really enjoyed Meg Cabot (of the Princess Diaries, but also Avalon High and the Runway series) – even as an adult.

          • By the end of middle school I had read all the Valdemar, L’Engle, and Robert Jordan books that were out at the time (plus David Eddings and a bunch of others). Let me tell you I was SO popular in middle school.

            But for some odd reason that I can never explain, I held out on the Pern books until college. And then I loved them. :-)

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Nona, TCFKAG, we are reading list twins! I loved Valdemar, though hilariously my 12-year old self TOTALLY did not catch all the gay references. Shieldmates are just bffs, right? I didn’t give it a second thought.

          • Ok, now we’re quadruplets…. cause holy —-, these were my favorites. And I thought the gay relationships and strong women were amazing and the best part of the Lackey books! I think a lot of those books are still on my bookshelf in my parents’ house, I might have to read some over the holidays!! sssiiiigggghhhh, middle school ;)

          • and the three of us are reading triplets! Never got into Madeline L’Engle somehow, but everything else–yes yes yes.

            Also, I’m assuming the younger one has already Tamora Pierce (because how could she NOT have), but if not, please rectify this sad state of affairs!

          • MeliaraofTlanth :

            Add me to the list of reading buddies, because I had all those, too.

            I think Tamora Pierce was the first fantasy author i read that got me into fantasy books as a kid. Well, of course, besides all the Star Wars novels. (Like TCFKAG, I was clearly so popular in middle school)

          • Oh – and totally add Neil Gaimen’s “American Gods” to the list of possibilities. Probably more so for the older girl.

          • I feel like every time we talk about books on this website, the fantasy contingent is well represented.

            I love my digital nerd twins. :-)

        • Um, I think I just made a mistake though, and geeky me won’t rest until it’s corrected – should be “six shall turn it back”. Gah, I guess I have to read the poem again soon.

      • My son loved the Dark is Rising series, too. I also second the recommendation for Artemis Fowl, probably more for the younger girl. For the older one, anything by Scott Westerfeld is very good. My son really loved Westerfeld’s “Pretties” and “Uglies” series (not sure which came first, and I think it’s a series of three or four novels). They’re set in a future where everyone gets plastic surgery at a certain age (teens) so that they’re all beautiful (the “pretties”). A gripping story, with sci-fi aspects and lots of great issues to consider.

    • North Shore :

      My 6th Grade daughter loved the Mysterious Benedict Society. It’s a mystery story featuring super-smart nerd kids.

    • Gooseberry :

      ML – what city are you in? If you are in the Boston area, I’d recommend going to Porter Square books and chatting about this with any of the sales people there. They are excellent, and are particularly good in this area.

    • dabble in YA :

      Some contemporary choices for the 8th grader:

      – Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now and Knights of the Hill Country. First-person teenage boy narrators. Spectacular’s a little more mature as the speaker’s an alcoholic and there’s nonexplicit sex (maybe a sentence or two). Both set in Oklahoma.

      – Liz Gallagher’s The Opposite of Invisible. Teen girl narrator. Some glimpses of drinking (someone drinks at a party and the narrator is not cool with that.) Non-clichéd characters. Set in Seattle.

      – Brendan Halpin’s How Ya Like Me Now? (third person high school boys) and Forever Changes (third person high school girl.) How Ya Like touches on addiction and one of FC’s central themes is death.

      I know you said 8th grade and 6th grade – my thinking is that if many 8th graders “read up” then they will be okay with these high school narrators, and all of the above are very much teenagers kind of fumbling through life.

      If/when they’re comfortable with a little more YA, non-explicit discussion of sex, then Lauren Myracle’s TTYL, TTFN and L8R g8r (high school girls; someone loses her virginity when they’re seniors in the third novel.)

    • In addition to some of the great suggestions here: check out Diana Wynne Jones. Tons to read by her and all absolutely lovely (very warm hearted/positive spirit underlying her writing, plus great humour).

      For something newer, maybe the Percy Jackson series? There was a movie made off the books but the books themselves are pretty darn cute.

      • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landeau Banks – a fantastic book about a girl who chooses her own ambition over her super dreamy and popular boyfriend.

      • I second Diana Wynne-Jones, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman. Also, Joan Aiken was a favorite (and still is). I also like most of Robin McKinley.

    • Have they read Tolkien? What about Robin McKinley? The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown are my go-to for young people who like to read.

      Depending on sophistication (so not on technical reading ability but on comfort with more “adult” issues), they might also be ready for Guy Gavriel Kay if they like fantasy – I would start with the Fionavar Tapestry, but be aware that there’s non-explicit sex and difficult, gutting death of beloved characters. If they like sci-fi/urban fantasy, maybe Kate Griffin’s Matthew Swift novels. Or great standard literary fiction, like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, or the (in my opinion) unjustly-neglected-by-the-modern-curriculum big, fat Dickens novels (David Copperfield being one of my favorites).

    • SV in House :

      I listened to NPR’s “Backseat Book Club” yesterday and thought the book they were discussing, “The Crumbs” sounded really interesting:

    • found a peanut :

      For the 8th grader, I recommend A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

      For the 6th grader, I recently read The Steps Across the Water by Adam Gopnik and really enjoyed it.

      Even though they read at a 12+ level you should consider maturity, etc. when thinking about books. I read a lot of books when I was younger that I didn’t really “get,” even though I technically understood them. When I was 13 someone gave me The World According to Garp. Why someone thought that was appropriate for a 13 year old is beyond me. And had I waited a few years to read it, I probably would have enjoyed it considerably more.

    • Lord of the Rings trilogy (if they haven’t read yet).

      • An enthusiastic yes to the Lord of the Rings!

        My mature 6-grader also loves:
        Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series.
        Mercedes Lackey Dragon Jousters series.

    • "Priscilla Grant" :

      My 12 year old loved the Artemis Fowl series last year and so did I. There are 5 or 6 of the books – really great stories if not quite as intense as the Hunger Games. Ms. Collins also has a series of books called Gregor of the Underworld or something close to that – would be great for grade 6 and has lots of strong female characters.

      How about the Anne series if you’re into the classics? There’s always the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, too!

      FYI the CBC website usually has a children’s book list somewhere on it with some great recommendations from children’s booksellers and kids themselves.

    • Phillip Pullman – the trilogy ‘His Dark Materials’. Definitely.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      How about Hunger Games? I just read this and really enjoyed it as a light read, but it is targeted to young adults and the movie is coming out soon as well.

      • Hunger games as a light read? I loved the series, but books 2 and 3 get considerably darker – I’d hesitate to give them to a 6th grader and would definitely want to talk through some of the themes with an 8th grader.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Hmm, I don’t know. If they’re reading at a 12th grade level, they’ve probably seen/read much worse. I’m trying to remember what I was reading at that age – I think the Hunger Games books were originally targeted at 7th graders and it’s definitely marketed as a YA lit/middle school book.

          • Geneticist :

            I was reading at a 12th grade level when I was in 5th grade, if not earlier. I read Handmaid’s Tale, Anne McCaffrey books (even the romances), and all of Tom Clancy in middle school and earlier. *shrugs* I don’t think “adult” themes have ever bothered me and my parents certainly had no idea what I was reading!

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            Yeah I think I was around that level/at that age. I read whatever I could get my hands on including middle school/age appropriate things like Anne Frank or Zlata’s Diary, but I’m fairly certain I was also thumbing through my mom’s copy of the Poisonwood Bible and Anna Karenina. We also had (assigned in school) books like Brave New World and Heart of Darkness, both of which can obviously get fairly adult themed.

            Then again, ML, you know your nieces best! If the themes seem too adult to you or if their parents are concerned with what they’re reading, definitely clear it with them first before buying.

    • If they like sci-fi or fantasy I’d suggest some of the Tamora Pierce series (immortals, the song of the lionness, etc.). I loved that the books had a female protagonist – rare in a lot of children’s literature.
      Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children was very good and not too childish. I’d also recommend Garth Nix’s Sabriel series for the older girl – I loooved these when I was 12-14.

      • Oh my gosh, I forgot about Sabriel! Those books are FANTASTIC. (I might actually go by the library and pick them up to read over break. Along with Game of Thrones and Hunger Games…I will be reading a lot. Can’t wait.)

      • The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross – steampunky

    • One of my all time favorite books at that age (prob. more 8th grade, than 6th) was I Capture the Castle. It’s rather timeless and very romantic; I’d recommend it for anyone. I also loved all the Dumas classics when I was in grade school – The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, Vicomte de Bragelonne, Count of Monte Christo… but, admitedly, that’s not every young girl’s cup of tea.

      If they are at all into sci fi/fantasy, the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix is seriously amazing (Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen). Spunky young female protagonist, talking cat, world saving mission… Not sure what more you could ask for really. I think even people who don’t enjoy sci fi/fantasy (like me) will become obsessed.

    • A bit of a throwback, but when I was around that age (I think) I really liked Avi (the True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is great).

      Second recommendations for The Lord of the Rings. Don’t know if they’d be into fantasy, but Mercedes Lackey and David Eddings would also be good for the older girl.

      Also — Island of the Blue Dolphins is an instant classic and must read for that age group (probably best for the younger niece).

      • Second the True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle! I also loved the Girl With the Silver Eyes.

    • dabble in YA :

      oh, and here are some ANTI-recommendations: the Alex Rider series (14-year-old boy spy) and the Heist Society series (16-year-old girl spy.) The first couple of Alex Riders were fun but I got bored over the next couple of books. The Heist Society books are either horribly written or horribly edited – like a guy who “stopped dead in his tracks,” when two paragraphs ago he was already standing.

    • In addition — if they’re big readers, you might also consider a couple of creative writing exercise books — something a little outside the box. There are lots of things on Amazon in this realm with creative writing prompts, that sort of thing.

    • I just bought my 8th grade niece 3 books for Christmas: The Hobbit, And Then There Were None (one of my favorite Agatha Christie books), and James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small.

    • The other thing that I was very into at that age was the Bronte sisters – Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights would both be good if your nieces haven’t read them yet.

    • I second the Bronte sisters and Lord of the Rings. I also got really into James Michener in late middle school, so that could be good if they like historical things. They may have already read Laura Ingalls Wilder, but if they haven’t I still love those books!

    • The 8th grader might enjoy a Mark Twain or John Steinbeck anthology/selected stories kind of book. I was a huge reader and those were two of my favorites around that age.

    • For the 8th grader: Huck Finn. It may be required reading for her in school though (it was for me in 7th or 8th grade). I think reading it as a young adult/adolescent (at least for the first time) is best, because you’re able to associate so much with Huck and go through his awakening with him.

      By this, I don’t mean I was prejudiced before reading it – I wasn’t – but it still had a profound effect on how I viewed people, the world, and all of the various beliefs I held simply because that was “the way things were” or because my parents/society/school had told me it was so.

      For the 6th grader (or perhaps for the 8th grader too): I remember reading and loving a series of books that were kind of fairy tale-y/fantasy about a princess and dragons and magic and such- the first was Dealing with Dragons. I remember them being everything I loved at that age – especially because the heroince was unconventional, smart, athletic, and kind of sarcastic.

      OK, just looked this up, and the series is The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, by Patricia C. Wrede.

      • I just re-read The Enchanted Forest Chronicles this summer (yup, still on my shelf at home), and they definitely stood the test of time.

        …can I just say that this is maybe my favorite thread of all time.

      • Oooh, I loved the enchanted forest chronicles when I was young (probably 10-12). They were so funny and I loved that she rescued herself (and other princes too btw!).

      • Also love the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, my copies are falling apart, but I know that I started reading them when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, so they might be a bit young.

        I think every girl going into middle or high school should read The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. Ignore the stupid title. It’s an amazing book that is about (among other things) insecurity and self-consciousness. It’s also beautifully written, has well-drawn characters, and has a subplot about the economics of the fantasy kingdom. As someone who has read a TON of YA and middle grade books, I’d say that this is one of the best that I’ve read.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I wholeheartedly support The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (just got it for my 6th grade niece; it was one of my favorites at that age), Island of the Blue Dolphins (check to see if they’ve already read it in school), and Dealing with Dragons.

      Love the suggestions for Madeleine L’Engle for the younger and Agatha Christie for the older. Those were also some of my favorites.

      I’d break into non-fiction with biographies. Rold Dahl has a brilliant one about his time in Africa and in the RAF. First Ladies are a good resource as well. The Little House on the Prairie series, also.

      Also, I find Amazon’s age categories to be quite helpful, at least as a starting point. If you go to children’s books, you can select an age group from the side bar.

      Not to be a stick in the mud, but I’d shy away from Jane Austin and Little Women. I was very able to read them at that age, but I wasn’t old enough to get the point. I thankfully started rereading them in college and fell in love. Maybe it was just me.

    • Oh, I just rembered a couple other favorites – The Giver by Lois Lowry (which set me up to later love Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World) and Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

      • Research, Not Law :

        The Giver! yes!

        Reminds me also of Number the Stars. I read it in 5th grade, so it’s probably most appropriate for the 6th grader.

    • Favorite thread ever! My favorites from that age, some of which have already been mentioned:
      * All of Agatha Christie’s novels.
      * Maud Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books, especially the books set in high school and beyond.
      * Norma Johnston’s “Keeping Days” series (7 books). “The Keeping Days” is the title of the first one.
      * Helen Cresswell’s Bagthorpe series. First one is “Ordinary Jack.”
      * All of Noel Streatfeild’s “Shoes” books — Ballet Shoes, Theatre Shoes, Skating Shoes, Circus Shoes, Dancing Shoes, Movie Shoes, etc.
      * Joan Aiken, “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.”
      * Elizabeth Goudge, “Linnets and Valerians.”
      * Norah Lofts, “The Maud Reed Tale.”
      * Elizabeth Speare, “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” (Newbery Medal winner).
      * Ellen Raskin, “The Westing Game” (another Newbery Medal winner).

      Plus all the Little House books and all the Harry Potters (which I read as an adult) . . . but I feel sure they’ve read those already!

    • I have purchased many books for many children over the years. I usually consult:

      Caldecott Award Winners
      Newberry Award Winners
      Banned Books

  13. Vacation Threadjack:
    I’m planning a vacation and I can’t decide between Hawaii and Mexico. Hive mind recommendations (including hotels/resorts/etc.) For background, I mostly want to laze around on the beach and see beautiful scenery, have a few raucous nights of partying, and enjoy lots of spa treatments. Price is not a major consideration between the two (I know Mexico is likely overall cheaper). I’m more concerned with finding a place that has good shopping, great beaches, fun local culture, and nightlife. Also, I’m super picky about hotels, and I want one with a great pool and hot tub. Any help is appreciated!

    • Ballerina Girl :

      Playa del Carmen in Mexico has great shopping–smallish town, but very nice shopping, good spas, and pretty beaches. I’m sure Hawaii has better scenery, though.

    • North Shore :

      Waikiki, Hilton Hawaiian Village, of course!

      • I love Mexico and have traveled and worked around the country. However, you need to be careful there these days depending where you go. I was surprised how not much cheaper it is than Hawaii, especially if you consider renting a condo in Hawaii through vrbo or such. Personally at this time I’d go to Hawaii instead. Percentages aren’t high that something will happen to you, but some of the major tourist corridors or where gangs are also running through and doing grisly things (Acapulco being the worst). If you want to be more free to travel off the resort etc. Hawaii is better right now. Overall though I do prefer Mexico. Hawaii is just so bland and cruise-shippy culturally- but oh so pleasant. I’m jealous either way, pregnant and not going anywhere!

    • I’ve been to both, and I’d choose Hawaii, hands-down.

    • I went to the Yucatan this spring and couldn’t recommend it more. There are a lot of amazing hotels and beaches and I never once felt unsafe. I did a lot of driving and actually broke down on the side of the road for almost 3 hours. I was amazed that there were several strangers who went out of their way to help us. There are plenty of places to shop and lots of things to do in Cancun.

    • Sounds like you should be going to Maui! Stay somewhere on the Lahaina-side of the Island and you can get all that stuff. Plus, if you want to take a Road to Hana tour, you can get your fill of nature.

      Do a little research in advance and register for a luau.


      • ^ Second this.

        There’s a reason everyone wants to go to Hawaii. Maui is just wonderful. There are plenty of resorts to choose from. I’d try the Kaanapaali area, just because it’s closer to Lahaina with more stuff to do. Wailea is super nice, but I found it a little dull. The spa at the Grand Wailea, however, is not to be missed.

        I say that having not been to Mexico, so take that with a grain of salt.

        • Spa and the Grand Wailea = at least one full day.

          But don’t stay there. Stay at the Four Seasons one football field down the sand.

    • I’ve been to Cancun and Maui, and I’d go back to either in a heartbeat. I know that you said price isn’t a big deal, but you can certainly get a lot more for your money in Mexico (i.e., our hotel in HI was just OK, comparably priced hotel in Mex was spectacular). HI was a lot prettier over all, but I liked the beaches in Mex better- they’re bigger and more swimmable. HI is easiler to get around in (language, you can drive easily (Mex has good public transportation, but it’s kind of scary – they drive pretty crazy and the roads are bad), you don’t quite have the same level of everyone trying to sell you something in HI). In HI, pretty much everywhere was gorgeous and easy to get around in, while in Mex, we were more limited to just our hotel (part of an American chain) and a few other places, a lot of it was more “dirty city” than “beautiful beach town.” Depending on where you’re coming from, of course, Mex is likely to be a lot closer.

      You’ll definitely enjoy either, though! Have fun!

    • The best pool and hot tub complex I’ve ever experienced is at the Grand Hyatt Poipu on Kauai. Completely amazing, and just a gorgeous building, rooms, and grounds. They’ve also done a complete overhaul of the rooms/furnishings in the last year or two. But Kauai is known as the “Garden Isle” for a reason — there’s no shopping or nightlife! To balance great pools/beaches with shopping and nightlife, I’d second those commenting above who said Maui, in the Kaanapali/Lahaina area.

  14. Double Threadjack on Sports:
    My boss loves baseball and I can see the other associates who know baseball are relating much better and getting better projects. I’m not against baseball per se, and I’m certainly not against learning about it in order to establish a better relationship with my boss. Where should I start? To be clear, I’ve never watched a baseball game in my life, though I understand the basic rules. I’ve been to a few baseball games, but for some reason the game was the least interesting part of the experience for me and I didn’t end up seeing much of it.

    • AnonInfinity :

      This is not baseball specific, but I think the principles apply to getting into any sport.

      I decided to get more into football over the last couple of years because, living in SEC country, it is a huge part of the culture here. My first step was to read Sports Illustrated. I don’t read it cover to cover each week, but I’d read a lot of the football news in there. I found it to be less overwhelming to just jump in and not try to get caught up on historic players, team traditions, etc. Most people talk about current events in sports, anyway, so knowing the latest scandal (my favorite part) or who is hot really helped my ability to take part in a conversation about it. Plus, Sports Illustrated has truly good writing, so it is easy to read.

      I also attended a couple of college games and one NFL game, and that really helped me like the sport more. I run and bike, so I can appreciate a good athlete, and seeing the athleticism of the players in person was really cool. Most baseball games I’ve been to involve a lot of drinking, eating, and chatting and not really watching the game. It might help if you attended a game with some people who really enjoy the sport and who will be paying attention to the action on the field.

      As an aside — I hate that your boss is showing some favoritism based on this issue.

    • Other options to start with for baseball current events include watching MLB Network, if you have access to the channel. MLBN has nightly news shows (with lots of repeats) discussing current events, and it also shows reruns of games and “best of” countdowns. For a different starting point, you could check out Moneyball (they recently adapted the book into a movie with Brad Pitt, which will be out on DVD next month).

      Baseball games themsleves tend to attract different types of fans, and I think that for many people they’re becoming more of a social event where the game just happens to be live while you’re drinking with your friends. If you’re looking to learn about baseball, I would recomment going with someone who is knowledgeable and will help you get that type of gameday experience.

    • My husband is a huge baseball fan, so I’ve had to learn a lot over the years. We even went to spring training once, and it was a lot of fun! I’ve found that the best way to learn about baseball is to read stories on, watch a few games on tv and really listen to the announcers in order to learn about types of pitches and calls, and join a fantasy league. You’ll learn a lot more about individual players if you join a league, but it can be exhausting because you are supposed to keep up with it every day.

    • Can't wait to quit :

      If there is a home team for your town, look out for a press guide as the season starts. It’ll have deep background on all the players, and I find it’s easier to get interested when you know a little bit about the guys. Also, your local paper should have sports opinion column or two, and if you follow the team via that you can get savvy on whether they’re doing well or not without having to watch a lot of games or decipher raw data.

    • baseball fan :

      The suggestions above are all great starting places. Baseball is a great game, and may really appeal to you once you begin to learn some of the nuances of the sport.

      If you do find that you’re able to learn more about it, and are enjoying the sport, I highly recommend that you start checking out the blog mlbtraderumors [dot] com. For me, this is the single best, and most efficient, way to keep up with what’s going on in the baseball world (outside of any of the standard places where you can just get game scores and results). These guys are constantly culling baseball reports and rumors from all sources, and once you begin to learn more about your particular team and its players, it will be a great way for you to keep up on player acquisitions, etc. (i.e. free agent signings, trades, calling up players from the minor league system, etc.), as well as general MLB news. You can just click on the right side bar to get “rumors” specific to your team(s), so it makes it really quick and simple to find the stuff relevant to you. You will be so informed!

    • Read Moneyball. It’s a great book even for non-baseball fans.

    • How about watching ESPN’s SportsCenter? I think there are different shows now, but the original SportsCenter is about 30-60 minutes, it plays on a loop throughout the day, and it basically gives you the daily roundup of sports, including some commentary and “hot issues” that popped up in recent games.

      Since we’re in the middle of football season, they’re probably not going to be talking about baseball much, but when spring training rolls around, its on there a lot, and its an easy way to find out the scoop around the league.

    • Anonymous :

      SportsCenter on ESPN

    • If there’s a minor league team in your town, try attending a few games there, preferably with a knowledgable friend (but just one, so you have a real chance to get into the game). Minor leagues are good fun, full of cheesiness, and not intimidating, plus they’re cheap.

    • Also, Sars of the wonderful site tomatonation dot com is a baseball fan and writes about it fairly frequently. There might be some good bits in the archives for you, and she also reviews lots of baseball books/memoirs, etc.

    • Same thing for me. I watch ESPN on the treadmill and I make ESPN/MLB part of my daily internet browsing.

    • Anonymous :

      Join a league, start playing. seriously.

  15. Question: do you, and to what extent, take calls from work/clients after regular business hours? What is your time frame/limit?

    I work at home, so if I have a call, I know (its my desk phone). Lately — end of year I guess — I have clients calling me for non-emergent issues at 7pm, for calls that last 30-60 minutes. Things like post-deal wrapups.

    Last night, I refused to pick up the phone. I’m putting my toddlers to bed then. But being the good girl I am (but working on NOT being one), I am completely conflicted — I should respond to my clients! Wait, my kids need me! Help, I’m going to lose my PT job because I’m not responsive enough! I’m “never around”!!! Wait, Kid #2 needs a snuggle! Its awful. I feel like I’m short-tempered/short-changing my kids because I’m rushing off to either take the call, or to return a call at 8pm (then getting the client’s voicemail). Then again, I’m available for 30 other hours a week for the damn client, why can’t we talk then?

    Thoughts? Experience?

    • those are still business hours for me :(

      Do you know the calls are coming? Maybe you could set “post deal wrap up discussion” for a certain time. like in an email closing “Sounds great, I will finish this and lets have a post deal wrap up discussion Tuesday morning”

      • Re: business hours… Yeah, I know… they used to be for me too.

        And no, I have no idea the calls are coming. They are not scheduled calls.

        I am the queen of scheduling calls — since I am PT, when I’m not working I “have a meeting/conflict” (which is true), and I schedule EVERYTHING. Its the clients basically demanding that I be available, when I am not, that is rattling me.

        • So … what would happen if you WEREN’T available in the evening? I think you’re within your rights to set some boundaries, particularly if you’re a pro at scheduling.

    • I don’t know what type of work you do, but it could be the client’s can’t talk about the matters during their workday, so they may not be available during those 30 hours. I grew up watching my dad run a solo practice, and he would definitely take calls after hours, but in the days of cell phones he can screen the calls (but still takes them for important clients.) He also makes a lot of calls early in the morning (he has a lot of clients who are up early too). I will say, one of my worst memories is the day of my college graduation, when my family went out to a nice lunch to celebrate he was on the phone most the time.

      You have to weight out the pros and cons on working for yourself PT, this is definitely one of cons!

    • How about setting some clear boundaries. Could you set a specific few hours when you aren’t available, say, don’t answer the phone betwee 6pm and 8pm, but return vms at 8pm? It could cut down on conflict because you’ll have a clear time when your kids are first and a clear time work is a priority. (I don’t know if this is feasible for your practice, but my feeling is that, if you’re up front, clients can adjust to this.)

    • Can you set up a voicemail that states what hours you are available and just turn that on when you are off for the day? That way if a client really isn’t available to talk to you during those 30 hours of the week (which may be very likely) s/he can set appointments for other times ahead of time so you can prepare accordingly.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If you don’t tell your clients you are part time and just say you have a scheduling conflict when you are not in the office, they have no way of knowing they are intruding on your home time.

      Could you tell them up front “I have a reduced schedule and am in the office (still true, since you have a home office) from x-x on days y-y. I do check my email and voicemail regularly in my off hours so if you need me, leave a message. If it is particularly urgent, I will be sure to call you back promptly even if I’m not “in the office.” Also, you can always reach my assistant during business hours at ________.”

      I think you have to set expectations. They are not mind readers. They may just be happily leaving you a voice mail and not expecting to reach you. They may think you are full time and still working. I think there is a polite way to inform them of how you want to do business.

      Also, depending on how successful your practice is and your firm’s mentality, you don’t have to keep demanding clients that don’t respect you. Again, this is a know your office thing though. My firm cans clients that aren’t worth the hassle or passes them on to people more desperate for work.

    • I don’t think you need to tell people when you won’t be available. Just don’t answer your phone when you’re with the kids, let it go to voicemail, and then call them back when the kids are in bed. If you get voicemail, say you’re sorry you missed the call and tell them some times they can reach you the next day (and/or ask them to let you know when would be a good time to talk). That way you’re being responsive, and it shows that you care enough to call back, without making them think about how often you can’t be reached.

  16. a nonny miss :

    I got a response yesterday but my question got approved late in the thread, so I’m posing it again for the brilliant hive.

    Last week I got contacted by a recruiter for my dream job. We exchanged a couple of emails on Thursday and her last email said she’d be in touch shortly. I haven’t heard back since. Should I reach out to her? If so, when?

    • a nonny miss :

      Oops, meant to add: I know that holidays are crazy busy and I’m sure she’s got a lot of balls in the air, so to speak. I just don’t want to let this slip through the cracks.

    • tomorrow or friday, send her an email that says
      1) wishing you a merry christmas/happy holiday!
      2) really enjoyed our conversation and look forward to continuing it in january.
      3) all the best to her and her loved ones

      good luck!

  17. Laundry question . . . How long do your black cotton items stay black? I wash my cotton blend sweaters every other wearing, on the Delicate cycle (cold / minimal agitation) with Woolite Dark, and hang or block dry. It’s finally getting to be sweater weather in the Northeast, and I’m noticing a few of my black cotton blend sweaters that are about 5 years old -so maybe 30-40 of these delicate washes over their lifetime? – are starting to gray out. Is my disappointment justified?

    • Sorry to say it, but I tend to consider 5 years a good, long run for a sweater, especially if I machine wash it.

    • I think 5 years is pretty good for black cotton. I just noticed last time I did laundry that I still have black cotton/spandex t shirt from gap that is at least 4 years old and looks good (I was surprised, but also, I haven’t like gap’s basic t-shirts in years, so idk what to do when this one gets ragged).

      I don’t wash my sweater often though (probably every 3-5 wears, depending where I wear them e.g. if I wear it on a plane or something I wash it right away), but I always wear an undershirt under them.

    • Ha! No. Or maybe I’m just jealous. My black turns grey within 1-2 years. Then again my SO likes to wash everything on hot.

    • I’m impressed you make it 5 years! I haven’t bought black sweaters in years for this reason — even when I’m meticulous about how I clean them, they always look gross and frumpy before the rest of my clothes. That, and I finally discovered that I don’t wear black, black wears me.

    • I agree that 5 years is a long run. I’ve been known to buy black dye and re-dye some of my cotton, black shirts/sweaters/camis/etc. So far, everything has come out looking really good and I get a couple more years of life out of the item.

    • Sigh . . . thanks. Guess I’ll be perusing the after-holiday sales for some new black sweaters (love to wear them with camel/tweed pants).

    • I’m impressed! My black stuff all seems to fade pretty quickly. 5 years for any colored item is exceptional in my book.

    • You might consider just re-dyeing all the fading items. I’ve had pretty good results bringing back black with a good concentration of Rit dye (more specialized stuff that artists use woudl be better, I’ve been told, but I can’t find it locally), and recently did this with some t-shirts, yoga pants and black stretch denim. Use vinegar when you do the rinse cycle to help set the dye.

      The black will eventually fade again, but this will perk things up for a good while.

  18. Anon for this :

    Ladies, a threadjack:

    I need help deciding between two job offers. I’m a 3L and I came to law school wanting to work at one of these two places, never dreaming that I would have to choose between them. Both are exactly what I want to do and I would stay there for 10+ years. The difference is – A is more prestigious and has a reputation that it opens doors. The only con is that there is a lot of internal politics, mostly on the higher level, and it is unlikely to affect me until I’ve been there 5+ years, though I hope to stay much longer. B is less prestigious but many people have told me that I would have a better experience working there because it is less internally competitive/political and I would have better work MUCH sooner in my career.

    I know that either way, I will have no regrets in the short term. But what about the long term? How much does the prestige matter? The level of difference between the two is that B assumes that I would take A if offered (I got B’s offer first) and most people would not even hesitate before taking A. While there are other differences between the two, these are the two differences that I am stuck on – prestige vs. better work in my first 5 years.

    Have any of you had to make a similar choice? How did it work out? I would appreciate any and all insight.

    • Not enough information. Have you had any direct experience with either places (such as through internships)? Are you straight through (no prior work experience)? My instinct is that if you are a straight through law student, you should go with A. As much as you may think that this is exactly what you want to do, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard this from other straight-throughers who later change their minds (and drastically). So take the prestige to keep your options open, just in case it turns out this is not exactly what you want to do. You could probably go to B after a stint at A, correct?

      • Anon for this :

        OP here with some more information:
        I had a career prior to law school (~6 years) in a related field, and have extensive internship experience in the field, including internships at both A and B. I’ve not heard of anyone moving between the two places except at the absolutely highest levels (15+ years experience).


    • This is a case of “know thyself,” which admittedly is hard to do when you’re straight out of school. Which do you value more: prestige, or enjoying the work? Both are legit options and neither is better than the other, but deep down, I’m guessing you know which one feels more “right” to you.

      Full disclosure: I went the Type B route. Now ten years into my career, I have no regrets. In the long run, I may not climb as high as I would’ve with job Type A, but I’m OK with that. I learned awhile ago that prestige isn’t one of the values I look for in a job. Maybe five or ten years from now I’ll feel differently, but the way I look at it, gazing into a crystal ball and trying to guess where I’ll want to work then is sort of a pointless exercise. A lot can change in 10 years, whether it’s personal circumstances or the work environment itself.

      • I misspoke; it appears you had a career before you went into law. Think long and hard about those work experiences. What did you like about your company’s culture? What drove you nuts? That may be a telling indicator of which path is best for you.

      • Definitely agree that this decisions depends on what you are trying to get out of a career. Do you want the prestige? For some people, that is a real draw. Just realize that you may not be doing prestigious work for those clients, you could spend your first 3-5 years in doc review or due diligence purgatory. If, for some reason, you want to change jobs after a few years, the prestige will get you so far, but actual experience accounts for a lot more. (I also joined my first firm thinking that I wouldn’t ever change jobs. Believe me, things change and it can’t hurt to think long-term).

        For me? I would take the better work, non-political, Type-B route. My first firm had a *ton* of internal politics that I also thought wouldn’t affect me, but they do. And sooner than you might imagine – these things trickle down. But that’s just me. I needed to be somewhere where I felt like I was doing substantive work and collaborating with other attorneys. Others are perfectly content to put in their billable hours and go home. It’s up to what you value.

        • You said this much better than I did. Workplace politics absolutely trickle down, and actual experience is more important than prestige if you want to move elsewhere, in my experience.

    • In a similar situation, I went to Firm A, and I regretted it. I am thankful for the recession (and no longer being with Firm A) – I hated what I did, I was subject to office politics, and in reality the “prestige” didn’t count for much compared with the fact that I had no actual experience.

      • springtime :

        Personally, I think the super prestigious firms suck to work for when you first start out. No responsibility, sitting in a room doing due diligence or doc review, and getting slammed with work because they know that you value the prestige of the company too much to leave (most of the time). For me, I faced similar circumstances and I decided on B because I know with the right connections and good work product at B, I could get a position at somewhere like A in the future. Being higher up in a company like A means you get to take advantage of what makes A so prestigious- good clients, good rep, etc. You won’t be doing the doc review. And you’ll have more experience so when you are given responsibility at A you know how to handle it.

    • I think Firm B sounds like the better choice for you. The reality is that Firm A may be prestigious, but prestige only goes so far if you’ve been at a firm for 2-3 years and have never done anything remotely substantive. That said, do you know for sure you’ll be stuck doing doc review at Firm A? There can be a lot of variation even within a firm. I have a friend at a firm that typically doesn’t allow associates in the litigation group to see the inside of the courtroom for two years, but in her small group, she’s done about everything imaginable in 2 years.

      The reality is that when you lateral, prestige only goes so far. If you’re at a job 2 years and haven’t done anything but doc review, how attractive will you be? Your new employer will end up having to teach you everything substantive, while the less prestigious applicant may need very little training.

    • Go for the firm where you’ll get great substantive experience even if the prestige factor isn’t quite what you want. A few things:

      * Re staying 10+ yrs. The odds really are against this, although it’s not an impossibility. Firms, people, circumstances, and you will change. I really thought I’d be a lifer at my old firm. I wasn’t. I’m glad I had stellar experience on my res to get me my current job (which typically recruits from much much more prestigious firms than the one I came from).

      * Internal politics will trickle down, as JJ points out, and that can really. suck. Low drama at the work place is a good thing. Spending your precious time dealing with internal plots and machinations can be exhausting.

      * In a future job search, quality experience will probably but not always trump prestige. If it doesn’t– is that okay w/ you? My life is so much easier dealing with competent people, and prestige does not equal competence. I’d take the grad from reputable regional school with quality substantive experience over an inexperienced top 5 grad any day. But that’s me.

    • Anon for this :

      OP here – thanks all, I will consider everything you said as I make my decision.

  19. Another threadjack:

    Husband and I are hoping to buy a coop in NYC (in an outer borough) in the first 1/2 of 2012. Our financials are in order, but other than that we know little about the process. Can anyone recommend books or other resources for a breakdown of the process and advice?

    • I’d do a search of the the NYTimes and NYMag websites using “coop packages” as your search term. Most of what the boards ask for is pretty standard – 2-3 years of W2s, confirmation of employement, 3-6 months of pay stubs, recent bank account statements to prove savings amounts, and 2-3 letters of reference – but it can vary by building.
      Your realtor should also be able to give you an idea of what each building requires. And FWIW, in the outer boroughs you may find that some buildings only work with set realtors – I swapped realtors because my agent was known for getting his clients past the board in the building I wanted to buy in.

    • There are a ton of different books on this in most NYC B&Ns. I’d go there one afternoon, get a cup of coffee and skim thru them at a cafe table to see if there is one or two you want to buy. Just ask an employee to point you to the NYC real estate section (FYI, there are tons of books on NY renting, too.). Another great resource is the NY Times Real Estate section. They have great articles, neighborhood info, informative Q&As, and the Sunday paper has a ton of listings. Online, you can also search past articles – which is very helpful. Some real estate websites also have helpful guides, that discuss the process, closing costs, etc. Corcoran dot com has a pretty good and thorough overview.

      Basically, the process is, more or less, as follows:
      — decide if you want to use an agent (you should use one, it is free to you as the buyer; just find someone you are comfortable with and that you like and trust);
      — see lots of apartments;
      — be sure to ask about things like: building financials (ask to see them before making an offer or make the offer contingent on financials), ask about any assessments in place or pending (assessments are temporary maintenance increases, whether the underlying mortgage is paid off/what the amount is; how much of the maintenance is tax deductable, is there a flip tax, what is the rental/sublet policy, pet policy (even if you don’t like cats & dogs, it canmake it harder to sell in a building that doesn’t allow pets), talk to the neighbors, if you can, go to the building at different times of day/week, ask about the board;
      — assuming your offer is accepted, you will have to tender a 10% down payment and sign a contract. You should make the downpayment contingent on getting a mortgage within X time period (60 days, usually). You should also probably have a lawyer on hand throughout the process to look over financials and to negotiate the contract/closing documents (typical cost around $1500). Your real estate agent can probably recommend someone. It should, ideally, be someone familiar with the neighborhood who does this a lot. I am a lawyer and I would not do this myself, fwiw.
      — Depending on your coop, you will probably have an interview. Alternatively, you may just have to submit a financial package and references. It’s exhaustive putting it together, but it is what it is. If your coop is a condop, it’s much easier (that’s basically a coop that’s run like a condo – best of both worlds, these are awesome).
      – after the coop package/interview, you wait for the answer. Assuming you are approved, you set a closing date.
      — after the closing, you move in :) [if you are planning to do a lot of work to an apt., I would do my research vis a vis the board process for that, whether you need approval and for what, how difficult that is, etc.]

      Something to consider, once you do the math and figure out what you are looking to spend (make sure to take monthly maintenance into account), is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This makes you a more attractive buyer.

      Something else – avoid ground/land leases. This is a huge pain in the a** 99% of the time and is rarely worth it unless your goal is to, essentially, purchase a rental for yourself to rent with some minimum equity invested. Most coops don’t fall into this category, but if you hear the words “ground lease” or “land lease,” your warning antenna should go up. Beware. Just an FYI.

  20. A little pricey for me, but gorgeous.

    • I agree. Gorgeous blouse. One of my favroite Kat picks ever. Pricey though.

    • SO gorgeous… i love interesting patterns, and the soft colors in this: yummm. I would totally buy this as my holiday gift to myself if I could afford it.

  21. Ok folks, I have some sweater reviews from a Talbots order last week:
    (links to follow)

    Puff-sleeve v-neck cardi: Sleeves are not nearly as puffy/loose as pictured, but there’s a tiny bit of ruching at the shoulders, which is a nice detail. A L fits my 5’9″, size 12, super-busty frame perfectly – fitted but not too tight for the office. This is a difficult quality for me to find in sweaters. Fabric is cotton/rayon/nylon/spandex blend, and looks smooth and polished. I like it way more than I thought I would.

    Sweater shrug: thin and itchy. Lays weird. Looks cheap.

    Sparkle-button cardi: fit is very good, fabric is ok, but the buttons are way too big for the “scale” of the sweater and look cheap in comparison. I got a very similar cardi at Target for < 1/3 of the price, and the sparkle-buttons are more refined. Target sweaters don't last long, in my experience, but for the price it will be a good accessory for this winter.

    • Puff sleeve:

      Sweater shrug:

      Sparkle button:
      Similar to the sweater at Target:

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