Wednesday’s TPS Report: New Ribbon Knit Dress

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

I like this laid back knit dress from French Connection, on sale at Zappos. The stripes are on trend this season, but the tri-color effect seems flattering, new, and interesting. The dress was $188, but is today marked to $103 (and available in sizes 0-10, although reviewers suggest you order a size or two larger than you normally wear). French Connection – New Ribbon Knit Dress (Black/Blues) – Apparel

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  1. Some of us are really good writers and presenters of ideas visually (think resume layout, font, etc.) How much do you help those close to you, and where do you draw the line? In specific, husbands and children? For example, I helped my husband with his transfer college essay when I was in law school. Then I wrote his resume for him when he became unemployed after 15 years at the same company. A friend of mine who is a lawyer and excellent writer regularly proof reads and edits her teenaged childrens’ school essays and reports. Is this normal, and when do you draw the line and say, hey, you want the job, do your own resume, or its your grade, you do it? Are other great writers secretly helping their family members behind the scenes? Lately, I am fed up and generally against this kind of “help”.

    • It’s a hard question. Personally, I would (and do) help my husband with resume as much as possible, on the grounds that our careers are for the “team”, so it’s kind of my career, too. At least proofread and make heavy suggestions.

      As for essays, though, I think that proofreading and helping work through ideas (making suggestions when stuck) are good, but more than that is doing the work for them. For kids, I would not offer anything but a sounding board off which they could bounce ideas and work through things, and maybe a final readthrough. But it’s really up to them to learn how to do those things on their own. (It always drove me crazy when I was in school and heard about my friend’s parents “helping” them on projects and such. What was the point if you didn’t do the work?)

      • I completely agree with Lyssa. I help my husband with his resume and applications to benefit our “team”. And he often has to do things, or not do things, in order to benefit my career. I don’t have children of my own, but I reckon children should do their own writing if they’re going to have a fighting chance at developing their own writing skills – my parents were very hands-off when it came to my school work, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with why I’m a good writer (and hard worker) today.

    • I get tapped for this all the time. I will proofread, and if the document needs major work offer broad suggestions. I will not write things for someone. Also, my mom still proofreads things for me sometimes, which sounds pathetic when I write it, but she’s good at catching tiny errors and inconsistencies, and she doesn’t know anything about my line of work, so I like to get her take on whether the document is readable to her.

      I don’t have any kids, but I think I would help teenage children with their papers, but try not to make it too easy for them, maybe by circling errors and making them figure out what the problem is.

      This is an interesting question from an ethical standpoint. But from an interpersonal standpoint, if you are getting frustrated and resentful about getting asked to help people all the time, there is nothing wrong with saying you don’t have time to help the person out right now.

    • Anonymous :

      I did my husband’s resume for him and proofread his applications last year when he applied for regular jobs for the first time. I used lots of justifications (he’d always been self-employed and never needed one, I was better at this type of thing, etc) – but really the reason was, if he could otherwise do the job well and just didn’t know how to put together a resume, then his getting a job affected me and our family and it was our business. And the fact that, as a small business owner since college, he’d never had to do a resume before, it made things more clear-cut. In a way, it’s like he picks up my dry cleaning – yes, I can do it, much easier for him to do it, contributes to our overall family well-being.

      That said, there’s a lot of emotional burden associated with it. He sort of came to ‘expect’ the help and proofreading. Right now he’s in the midst of applying to master’s programs and I’m very hands-off, because I don’t want that emotional burden to come back. Sometimes I see them and think of how I would do it different, but I have to choose to stay out of it and just support him.

      I think I’d be pretty against it with kids – although I think there is a huge difference between proofreading and editing. I can teach someone something by proofreading their paper, which they then go back and correct. I cannot teach them anything by editing their paper for them.

    • I used to help Alan all the time with his writing. He was an acountant, and tho good with numbers, he was not trained or schooled in writing, like me, who is a lawyer.

      I once helped him write up a bid proposeal to an RFP for his firm. They DID get the work, thank’s to me. Yay! Alan took me out to celabrate, and got drunk (no suprize) and I had to drag him home that night. He was all drunk and smelly. FOOEY on his drinkeing.

      • So, I’m new to corporette (and have fallen in love!). I’ve been reading through old posts and noticing Ellen’s comments, but I feel like I’m missing something. Is Ellen an inside joke of some kind? (No disrespect meant, of course!)

        • Yep, Ellen is our resident troll. We find it (the jury is still out as to whether Ellen is male or female) hilarious, so we keep it around.

        • Ellen is a troll who posts poorly-spelled and occasionally offensive posts about her good looks, leering boss, pressure-filled biglaw job, large backside, and alcoholic ex-boyfriend, Alan. Lourine and someone else (Frances, I think?) also post in a similar fashion. People here sometimes adopt Ellen’s bizarre capitalization and spelling as a joke. One poster has a site called ELLENWatch, which I have never visited, but which I believe keeps track of Ellen’s statements about her life.

    • I think there’s a difference between helping someone with his/her resume, where you can format it for them but the actual experiences are theirs, and writing someone’s essay for them. In the second case, the writing is what the school/company is evaluating, and if it’s yours instead of the applicant’s, it’s cheating. But in the first, the experiences are the things being evaluated, and those belong to the applicant, not you. Note that career services at colleges and grad schools proof resumes and cover letters all the time; the service is available to everyone, so why not use it?

      • DC Darling :

        I wrote both of my parents resumes for them. As immigrants their English is quite good but I (raised and educated in the US) have a better understanding of grammar, structure, word choice and prose than they do. They sometimes have a hard time expressing their achievements and experience in another language which would limit their job opportunities if that were to come across in a resume. I would agree that the accomplishments are theirs and I am just a facilitator.

        Besides don’t people charge to do stuff like this? Reword resumes, give interviewing advice, etc etc.

    • As for the kids — I look at it this way. The reason I’m a good writer now is because my mother was a merciless editor when I was a child. I mean downright cruel at times. And she had no problem making me feel stupid for stupid mistakes (something that English teachers at schools wouldn’t necessarily do.) :-) Now — that doesn’t mean she didn’t expect me to take first crack at it and that I wasn’t expected to learn from my mistakes or allowed to use her as a crutch.

      And as far as re-working someone’s resume — I’ve now done so many resumes and seen so many resumes, I’ll help anyone with their resume. I won’t necessarily write it (that’s a pain in the butt) but I’ll heavily edit it. And certainly my husbands. I mean, again, I think making someone take first crack at it and getting the bones on paper and then discussing changes is probably best.

      • Oh, and like DC Jenny above, I still use my Mom to proofread vital things, like my law school entrance essay or my cover letter for job apps, that sort of thing. I mean, the Catholic nuns taught her to diagram friggin’ sentences, why should those skills go to waste?

      • Yeah, I think there’s an important distinction between “editing” and “re-writing” (or “writing”) when it comes to kids’ papers.

        • funny story. One time my brother’s teacher accused her of writing my brother’s fifth grade paper on the civil war. And she was SUPER offended. Not just because, you know, they were accusing her of being a bad person or whatever. But because he had included such vital “facts” as the fact that some general had surrendered in his underwear (to my 10 year old brother, that was very important). hahaha.

          • Ugh, I had the flip side of this when I was in high school. I was an advanced-placement kind of girl, but I took a “normal-track” (gasp!) class my sophomore year because it was drama, and I thought it would be fun (double gasp!). The teacher was apparently not used to having students put effort into papers, so she gave me a C on one because it was– and I quote– “too good.” She decided I had plagiarized it, but because she couldn’t prove it (because it hadn’t been plagiarized), she didn’t fail me or report it (at which point I could have done something about it), she just gave me a C. I was mortified (she also told me in front of the whole class).

          • Dude. I would have reported that anyway.

          • I didn’t…but I probably should have. Instead, I went to my speech team coach, who was an English teacher and knew me well enough to know (a) what kind of work I did and (b) that I would never plagiarize a paper (especially a 3 page drama paper, for crying out loud). He helped calm me down, and he spoke to the teacher for me. Honestly, I knew my family would be livid (at her, not at me), and I just didn’t want to make it a bigger deal than it already was to me. Oh, well. 15-year-old me was just so stunned that I didn’t think very clearly about it. :)

      • Same for me re: mom being merciless editor. My mom was/is a teacher and I think took joy in scrutinizing my work, but it made me a better writer today. I have no problem helping others out with their work and providing guidance, be it for personal or work use. That said, I will not do write their material for them.

      • Same here. My mom was an awesome proofreader, though I do not recall that she regularly commented on the substance of my written work, especially once I got to high school.

    • I am the family “writer,” following in the footsteps of my mother who was the family writer. Just last night I helped my dad edit a letter he was sending out in a mailing, and I revised my husband’s resume and cover letters recently. I am generally very happy to help. It’s my thing, and I like to contribute. My dad helps me out with babysitting and grass mowing, so I appreciate the chance to do something for him. With my husband, his ability to get a better job benefits me and my family. I know that if he got the job, he would do it well. His ability to write a great resume was not a skill he needed for the position.

      When I was in grade school, and even in high school, my mom would sit with me while we revised what I wrote for my classes. I think that experience taught me more than I otherwise could have learned. She didn’t simply write the essay for me or make changes or suggestions for me. It was a collaborative process, and I intend to do the same for my children.

      Sometimes it is inconvenient to have people ask me for my help, but I hardly ever mind. It sounds like you feel like you are being taken advantage of and that you do mind. I don’t think it’s unusual to be in your position. At the same time, I think it’s fine for you to draw some boundaries or even stop doing it.

      • Totally agree with this. I would help any relative with thier resume. I also view myself as my kids’ primary teacher. Working collaboratively is the best way for them to learn at this stage of their lives. I also try to provide a framework for a thought process or taking things to the next level (“Let’s look that up online!” even though I already know the answer.)

    • I helped a friend with her essays for vet school. She was a really good student and is a wonderful vet (she graduated a year ago)- she just needed a little help with tightening up her essays and deciding what to include and not to include. I’m old enough to be her mother ;) and I have a good sense of that kind of writing but I didn’t write it for her. I couldn’t have – it was a personal statement and needed to truly reflect her.

    • Former MidLevel :

      My husband (who is also an attorney) and I exchange drafts for editing all the time. We’re both good writers, but sometimes you just need a second set of eyes. And he’s my only reader who will make helpful style suggestions, so I value his advice. I also regularly edit/reformat other lawyers’ resumes. Again, my theory is that sometimes you just need a second set of eyes.

      But I wouldn’t do the same for a child (if we had one) or someone who was still learning–and definitely wouldn’t write for them. I still remember going through school with teachers’ kids and seeing them turn in work that was clearly done–or at least heavily edited–by their mothers. And going to college with people who couldn’t do their own work because their parents “helped” so much in K-12. But if, for example, one of my nieces came to me with a specific question, I would answer it. Or talk about general concepts. To me, helping someone solve a problem they have already identified is very different that affirmatively pointing out problems.

      • Yeah, I have a friend who is my first reader and I am his first reader – it works out really well. The only thing I submit without asking for proofreading/feedback from someone are conference paper proposals, as those feel very particular to me and I don’t really want advice. They are also really short, so easier to make perfect on my own. I absolutely ask for help/feedback with the actual papers, though.

        For my kid – her teacher asked me this year (5th grade) to help edit her essay and also to edit another student’s (via email – I did not sit down with him in person). I worked through each paragraph with my daughter and asked, “What’s your main idea here? What do you really want to say?” and offered feedback like, “I see this idea only comes out in the final paragraph, but it seems pretty important. Could you expand it into a whole paragraph and put it earlier in the essay?” Then after she’d edited for content, I circled all her grammatical/spelling errors and had her fix them. I did the same for the other child – made clear, constructive suggestions that offered him the chance to expand or clarify a good idea, and noted any errors. I didn’t fix; I did sometimes offer suggestions for word order.

        I would never write a paper for my child and I do regularly kick the a** of my students who plagiarize. (They have access to Turnitin, to me, and to very clear written expectations, so if they can still cut and past from freaking Wikipedia after that, they deserve the F and the scolding!)

    • new york associate :

      My dad sat down at the kitchen table with me and worked through my papers for years, well into high school. He was hands down my best writing teacher ever. I think there’s a world of difference between doing the work for your child and working it through with your child.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I struggle with this. I’m an excellent writer so I’m regularly tapped to edit friends’ grad school apps/resumes, etc. I do the best I can without actually rewriting (though that’s really hard for me, especially when I can think of a much better way of phrasing it and want to type into their document “Say it this way instead!”).

      There’s a good principle of editing/writing – that the writer should be doing 90% of the talking about the writing, and you should be doing 10%. In other words, your comments/suggestions (beyond general, you’re missing a comma here) should be designed to let the writer make better decisions on their own, rather than you telling them what the “right” decision is. I can’t quite do 90/10 but I try to keep at 75/25 when I’m helping people out.

      But yes, I am secretly helping just about everyone I know behind the scenes.

    • I do this a lot. With my SO, like Lyssa, I thought of helping him on his CLs, resume, and thank you notes as a “we’re in this together” kind of thing. And even though he doesn’t do that much editing for me, he does read all my importants docs when I need it and I do find it helpful even though I am a much stronger writer than he is (he is great at pointing out flaws in logic, spotting typos, telling me when an argument is just too out there, etc.)

      For my friends and family, it’s a bit more annoying but I still do it gladly. The way I see it is I am really good at it and they are good at other things and that’s what being friends is about. So, e.g., I have a friend that is fantastic with hair and make up. I help her write cover letters when needed, but she also helps me do my hair before special occasions. I would hate to have her thinking, “ugh, I do the best blow outs and everyone’s always, ‘do my hair!'” What bothers me more is when I get requests that are veering more on free legal services territory but, again, if I can help someone write a good letter to dispute a hospital bill, I think it’s ultimately a good thing.

      As far as kids – no, you shouldn’t write your kids’ essays, but yes you should edit them. Frankly, almost every teacher I had has always said you should have someone look over your work and give you feedback. I really don’t see the issue with that one.

    • K... in transition :

      I write professionally and I used to teach, so I hope this helps…

      When it comes to adults, I’d say it’s fair game to assist with items that are commonly helped with (such as resume work) because so often folks hire resume companies to help, so it’s not unexpected. Something like an essay can be helped with but should be written by the applicant since it’s not only his/her story but also a way they may judge his/her writing ability.

      When it comes to kids, I’d say that the kids should learn on their own. Not only does parental help allow kids to skate by sometimes, it also inhibits the teacher from seeing where his/her students need more help and tailoring lesson plans for such. Letting a child see spelling errors or teacher comments is part of the learning process. That said, I’ve known parents who have the child bring home the graded paper and require that the child rewrite the assignment, incorporating in the teacher’s comments so that they become more engrained, and I’m not opposed to that type of guidance.

      As for me personally? I have no problem spell-checking for a friend before an email is sent or reviewing a friend’s dissertation to let him/her know whether a paragraph makes sense to the general reader or needs to be further explained, but I certainly wouldn’t help a friend’s child by spell-checking or editing since that’s the age a person should be making enough mistakes to learn from!

      • I agree. I have helped DH for years with resumes/cover letters. His career does not require much writing and he is not good at it.

        For kids, no. I suspect this comes down to how you were raised, but my parents never reviewed any of my assignments before they were turned in. I think the entire concept is bonkers. If a particularly type A parent wanted to discuss an assignment after it was graded/turned in, that would be fine (though maybe a bit oppressive, from a child’s perspective). But it would never have happened in my family, so I just can’t imagine micromanaging my child’s education like that. I do realize that my perspective on this is different from that of a lot of my colleagues and friends, so again, it probably comes down to how your parents handled it.

        • Really? I think that it’s valuable to give your kid the one-on-one attention of reviewing his work and explaining why the punctuation/spelling/grammar/syntax is wrong, rather than waiting for him to receive written comments from the teacher that he may not actually read.

          • Many of my friends feel the same way you do, so I don’t think you’re in the minority. I guess my position is that there is significant value in trying and achieving or failing on your own, and in having your parent trust you enough to earn your own grades. Why is it less valuable to do that after it’s graded? Why not let the kid try, turn it in, get it graded, and then discuss the grade/comments/suggestions if you want to discuss them?

            I also think it might be a know-your-kid situation. As a kid, I would have hated this level of parental involvement. But my brother would probably have been receptive, and I think my parents did manage his schoolwork a little bit more closely.

    • I’m a good writer (actually a professional writer at this point, I write reports) and my dad read every single paper I ever wrote in college and grad school (unless proofreading was prohibited, such as in a writing class). Every single published report I’ve ever written was proofread by a coworker. Everyone needs a copy editor.

      I would have drawn the line at actually writing someone’s resume for them, and I wouldn’t help if I didn’t have time to.

    • I’m usually on the receiving end of this kind of help — my SO regularly proofreads and type sets important documents for me (CV, cover letters, final draft of an article before it is submitted, etc). I sincerely hope he doesn’t feel burdened by these things or think that I take him for granted, but I absolutely don’t think that it’s illegitimate from a “fairness” perspective. My career success absolutely affects him, and he’s a much better proofreader than I am — as Lyssa and others above have said, I consider this kind of stuff to be a team effort.

      I suppose I also regularly read and comment on colleagues’ drafts and as part of peer review, but again, I see nothing wrong with this. Academic writing, at least, is not a one-person job.

    • My DH is a college professor who is about to have his third book published and who has written tons of essays, reviews and book chapters. I do substantial editing on ALL of his work. He does the research and all the ideas are his but he ‘s not a good writer and also has some dyslexia (I proofread even the quizzes he gives students, because he just can’t see the typos); I help him say what he wants to say, but better. As was noted, many people hire professional editors, so I don’t think this is cheating — an essay for a grad school application would be another matter entirely.

      It can be time-consuming, and I wouldn’t do it for anyone else. But, hey, his latest book just came back from the copy editor the publishing company, who commented on how “clean” the manuscript was. And my husband can’t divorce me if he ever wants to publish again.

      I’ll look at our high-school son’s papers but I make him do the work — I’ll point out errors but not tell him how to fix them and highlight awkward construction or cliches and make him figure out how to improve the sentence. Fortunately, he takes after me in this area and not his dad. (Unfortunately, he also got my inability to carry a tune, not his dad’s great singing voice. Trade-offs . . .)

    • Wow, I guess I’m an oddball. For husband and kids, I would do this without a second thought. IMHO, the strength of the family unit is the ability to rely on one another’s individual strengths. There are certainly things in my life that my husband carries the water on, and ones that I do for him.

      For kids, it would be modified, in the sense that I would do it, but in the context of a teaching exercise. And I wouldn’t push, if they wanted to do it on their own.

      • Its prob because I’m single, but I don’t think a job is a two man team. They are hiring the person applying, not their wife. this thread is actually kind of depressing to me.

        • Headhunters and career consultants are involved in lots of people’s resumes. I wouldn’t work on a writing sample, but the PR pieces, sure.

    • I write resumes for anyone who asks (if I have the time). I’ll format it, construct it, punch up the wording, whatever. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s an expectation or understanding that your resume is your work, which is why it’s no problem to hire a company or copy formatting/wording from websites, etc.

      Papers and essays, however, are different. I recently helped a family member with admissions essays, but I was very clear that I was not going to do any of the writing for her. Instead, I suggested things she might discuss (based on the info I had from writing her resume) and ways she might incorporate pieces of information and gave her some general pointers on what the answer should and should not convey. I was a little uncomfortable, but I think I managed to stay on the right side of the line there. I take the same approach to editing the work of others. If the expectation is that it is solely your own word (like an admission essay or graded project), I will edit for mistakes and correct spelling/punctuation, but if something needs to be rewritten I will only flag it and explain what’s wrong– I won’t write anything for the author. I’m a little more helpful with cover letters, and when editing a colleague’s work, I will offer suggested rewrites.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I generally let my son do his own work for school and was really shocked to discover almost all my colleagues heavily edited their high school and college students’ written assignments. I am against that sort of thing for at least three reasons I can think of off the top of my head: (1) the product being turned in is not actually the work of the person whose name is on the paper; (2) the student isn’t learning how to do the work on his or her own; and (3) at least some of the parents I knew felt more responsible for and invested in their students’ work than the students themselves did!

      That said, I don’t mind helping with things like resumes and applications where the person is really being evaluated on the content rather than the writing, if that makes sense.

      • SpaceMountain :

        What if the school is bad? I sometimes give my daughter the extra “assignment” of correcting the grammatical errors on the messages sent home by the school. I doubt she’s learning how to write well from them. She’s never asked my help on her homework, though. She doesn’t get many writing assignments, which I find strange, given that she’s in 6th grade.

        • Senior Attorney :

          ZOMG don’t get me started on the messages sent home from school to the “parent’s!”

        • Some schools don’t teach writing. It’s pathetic. The school where I work is like that–our standardized exams test writing twice (once in middle school, once in 11th grade), but reading and comprehension every year. So no one teaches writing except the years they have to test in it. Again: pathetic. It makes me so angry.

        • I did this once in high school. I corrected the errors in a letter from the superintendent and sent it back to him. I can’t imagine why I never got a response.

    • You all are so lucky to have had this kind of guidance when you were growing up. I don’t have a single memory of my parents helping me with any homework – especially writing.

      • This! The writing advice my parents gave me, when it came, was actually bad. Thankfully I was self-motivated enough and had amazing public school English teachers.

    • I’ve been on both sides. I go to law schools for career fairs so I’m kind of a proofreading-resumes target for the law students. I point out typos and tell them if there’s anything they should highlight or talk about in a cover letter.

      Before my last job search, I never asked anyone for help on a resume or cover letter (expect for a peer who did a second pair of eyes). But my dad, when I asked for a “typo-proofread” of my materials, did a deep dive and really helped polish it up (even though he’s in education, not law). I was leaving a firm where I was bullied and so my self-esteem was super low and it was reflected in my materials. My dad was so helpful and we worked on my materials for about 2 hours. I am so grateful for his help.

    • I think everyone needs an editor. My husband has read many things that I’ve written over the years and was invaluable in proofing my law school essay. He caught spelling errors, typos, etc. but also gave me great feedback – not line edits, but e.g., “the beginning is strong. By the second page it starts sounding repetitive.” I never had my mom proof read stuff for me in school, but I always did it for my younger brothers, when they asked. I didn’t write it for them- I gave them honest feedback. I want them to succeed in life, and when they put in a lot of effort on, for example, college applications, I don’t want them to fail because of one typo that I could easily catch, or one poorly worded sentence. I’ve also proofed, edited, and even written tons of stuff for my dad, but he’s an immigrant, english is not his first language and to compound the problem he doesn’t know how to type, so that’s a whole nother story. Bottom line: I don’t think it’s unethical to proof or edit other people’s writing. The only time I would be reluctant is if i felt like my child or friend was being lazy and expected me to do all the work. As long as they are putting in the effort, I’m happy to help where I can.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      “We” just went thru “his” job search. At first, networking was absolutely foreign to him, so I was the one to push him and tell him that people in his network actually *want* to help him find a career path that’s a good fit. At first, I was helping him write every. single. email request for an in-person or phone informational interview. Once he caught on that people actually wanted to talk to him, I only read over a couple cover letters (one for each type of job) and offered a few stylistic suggestions on MBA application essays. After that initial push (where, yes, I did get fed up at times), I haven’t seen any of his application materials since! I function now as occasional copy editor than career counselor, and I’m pretty certain it will stay that way. His biggest problem was believing he was good enough, not his ability to write or express that fact.

      I find that helping people with cover letters and application essays mostly consists of aggressively interviewing them with the old draft in hand, pushing them to actually tell me what they’re most proud of and then telling them to put that on paper instead of whatever somewhat relevant, blah story they told. The people I know are too modest and require a push to brag about themselves, but once I drag it out of them they are usually able to execute on their own.

      Wow, I really sound hard-charging. I hope you ladies understand that I push because I care!

      • I would love some advice on this. My SO is in a job he doesn’t like, but it’s a stable state job. He keeps checking job boards for other state jobs in his area. He found a job opening last night that he would be perfect for, and would be quite a bump in salary.

        But he didn’t want to apply. When I asked him, why, he said, “Oh, well, my job is not actually that bad.” He comes home every night upset about it! I’m so confused.

        How did your guy decide it was time to move on, and get motivated to do so?

        • Hel-l0,
          You might want to repost this at the beginning of a thread tomorrow. It’s a great question but I fear it got lost in all the discussion today.

          I can understand why he would respond like that…it’s his dream job and he might be afraid of failure. I’ve done the same thing.

    • My parents always edited my big essays in high school & college. They didn’t write them for me, but read through and edited errors or offered suggestions if they thought structure was off or something was confusing. They did/do the same for my sister. And I do the same for my sister, and my boyfriend with his resume & cover letters, and my best friend and I will read over important documents for each other. Now that my mom has gone back to school, we also edit her papers, and when I worked for my dad I edited his articles for journals and grant proposals. Nobody is writing anything for anyone else, but we like to help each other out. If someone close to me was applying to grad school or something equally important, I would 100% be helping him or her with editing if they asked.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I proofread and edit (mark-up only) only. I offer advice on voice, direction, etc. In a pinch, I’ve typed as they talk (I’m a faster typist). However, I do not – and will not – do.

    • girl in the stix :

      I have no problem helping my husband with writing, PR and marketing for his business–it’s what I do. What I don’t like is having my abilities offered to his business colleagues for free. The last time he ‘volunteered’ me for a PIA chore, I made him do it. I haven’t been volunteered lately :-).

  2. DC Darling :

    I am one of three people in today at my office. Show the interwebz all day? Don’t mind if I do.

    This is a no judgement zone.

    • DC Darling :


    • Lots of people in my office today, but I haven’t had much work in weeks… I’ll join you.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Hardly anybody here, but it means doing everyone else’s work on top of mine…

    • Half of my school (as in, two and a half out of five grades) are on field trips today. I have nothing to do, except stare out my window and sigh.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I’m having a hard time adjusting to 8 ‘free’ hours with uninterrupted web access after being home with two littles ones. I’m with you.

  3. For some reason this reminds a bit of those Herve Leger bandage dresses. You can see how tight this dress is in the red picture. Not to mention somewhat see through as I can see the outline of the model’s inner thighs. I wouldn’t wear it to work. I also don’t see how the horizontal colorblocking and stripes would be flattering on too many. I can see how it would be cute with flat sandals on the weekend though.

    • I actually like it–you’d definitely have to try it on beforehand, and yeah, I think it’s more appropriate for a night out or a dressier weekend day, but on the right person? Gaw-geous.

      • Agreed 100%. It would be adorable on the right person. My comment was more directed to it being a work item.

    • This dress could look good on somebody with a straight figure. Even if I sized up, I think it would hug my curves too much to be work appropriate.

      • I like it a lot, too, but knew immediately it could never work on me. Which is good, I guess, because if it only comes in as big as a 10, and you need to order two sizes up, that means it won’t fit if you’re bigger than… a 6? Really? Sigh…I know I’m a big girl, but that seems a little ridiculous.

      • I have this dress in red. I didn’t know to size up 2 when I got it, but even if I did it wouldnt be work appropriate-it’s too short. I bought it in my regular size and it has been a staple going out dress since. I don’t think you can see the outline of my inner thighs (at least I hope not and if so, all the friends that told me it looke good have some explaining to do). It’s not really a casual dress but I feel really comfortable in it for either a nicer dinner out or going out dancing or something like that.

    • MissJackson :

      Lands End Canvas has a casual dress (not for work, of course) that’s the same concept — horizontal stripes + colorblocking. It’s also on sale $27 if you use the code/pin on the site. This one looks like it might be more forgiving, too.

  4. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good place to buy work-out gear for guys? I’m thinking the Althea equivalent (so not just the standard big-box sporting goods stores). My husband is switching careers and I’d like to get him some good quality work out gear as that is what he’ll be living in daily now. Thanks!

    • I like EMS and REI for workout gear for both men and women (I have been happy with both of their store brands). Most, if not all, of my husband’s stuff is from REI.

    • DC Darling :

      Honestly I’d suggest scrounging through TJMaxx. I have found some really great workout gear there for amazing prices. And you can usually find some nike, adidas, major brands. A friend of mine swears by lululemon but there is no way in he** I’m paying 100 bucks for pants I wear to sweat into. Your call.

      • I have never thought of going to TJMaxx for workout gear, but this is my new plan.

    • My husband is a coach and pretty much lives in Nike gear – he loves it. I would say that you can easily supplement expensive stuff (Nike, Under Armor, Adidas, etc.) with less expensive stuff from Target – their C9 line is pretty good, or Wal-Mart – my husband likes the Champion stuff. That way you are getting good quality stuff, but not breaking the bank.

      The one thing I suggest spending money on, which seems weird, is socks. I never thought that I would be willing to spend $12 on 3 pairs of socks, but the Nike ones are AMAZING! I’ve been slowly adding to my own collection because of the price, but they really make a world of difference.

      • Thanks! Does your husband buy his Nike gear from their website directly or is there another spot to purchase from? At this point, I think most of my husband’s stuff is from Di*k’s, but I was wondering if there was a better place to buy from?

        • Check out the Nike outlets, they have pretty good deals. He goes to a local store running store in the area to get some stuff too. I think D*cks is OK, but their selection sometimes leaves something to be desired.

          • +1 for Nike outlet stores. And a giggle for moderation of that other store.

        • My SO gets all of his workout gear (mostly Adidas, Nike and Under Armour) at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. The activewear section for women at those stores is sadly not very good, but we have found the men’s to have a good selection.

          • I have gotten all my yoga clothes and pajamas from the activewear sections at Marshalls/Ross, so I think it’s a store-by-store situation. I would recommend checking them out before paying retail.

    • Under Armour has a lot of nice stuff. Can be pricey, but I troll their website for sales.

    • I really like UnderArmour, for both men and women.

  5. I blinged out the JSFAMO mug, if anyone is interested. Full disclosure, Zazzle required that I charge a minimum 10% royalty on items they produce/list, but I will donate any such amounts to charity.

    • Clever!

    • Hahahah. Is that in honor of the diamond jubilee?

    • OMG, that is awesome.

      Also, did you see that Ellen’s family keeps growing??????? Lourine mentioned Grandma Leyeh in the belt thread. WHAT’S GOING ON????

      • I know. I feel like she’s opening up to us. :-)

        • On it!

          She also mentioned a niece a few weeks back, DAWN.

          Who her sisters are, their names, and their dress sizes remain somewhat unclear. I have a tag for “Family” if anyone wants to review.

          • Gurl, I looooooove your website.

          • BTW, Ellenwatch, your bemusement on my feelings about Ellen…made me giggle maniacally about 15 times yesterday. Which was good, because I really needed it. More job rejection. More job-hunting depression.

            But hey — I got a mention on Ellenwatch — so life is complete.

          • Oh, thanks! Keep coming back, as they say.

            BTW I have linked to both mugs but am not doing anything commercial over there myself, nor will I. I don’t even take ads.

          • Confession: I’m fairly new to the comments here (I’m a long time site reader, but I almost never read the comments on a site, until I discovered that you gals are awesome), and I have been reading Ellen obliviously for about…two weeks. Sigh. I had to google JSFAMO yesterday, which turned up EllenWatch…goodness. So thanks for your good work on this! :D

    • Ok so Kat asked earlier that the mug be sold through her so she can put a corporette logo on it. I really think these mugs should be sold through her.

      • No, I don’t think that’s how she put it. She offered to make one with the logo and sell it through her Cafe Press site, but I don’t think she asked that they be sold through her. The slogan on the mug came from the commenters on this site and was not coined by Kat. I don’t begrudge her anything that comes from this site, but she didn’t say that.

      • Yeah I’m with cc on this one.

      • I thought Kat said she was getting ready to launch a new logo for this site, and she’d make some merch with the new logo and the JSFAMO slogan. I’m waiting for that. (Sorry, mamabear.)

    • OMG, I love that! Would it be too much to have TWO mugs??

      • I want this on a (a) keychain or (b) t-shirt or (c) tote bag for going to the grocery store.

      • K... in transition :

        only if you’re ok with knowing I’d be totally having mug-envy… though it might be one of the first things I buy when I find work and come up out of the debt!

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Last week (or earlier this week, everything is starting to run together for me), Kat mentioned that she would put together a mug with the JSFAMO saying and the site logo. Did that ever happen?

      • My comment is stuck in moderation but I just wanted to say I think kat should be the one that sells the mugs

        • I agree and I’m happy to redirect the royalties to Kat. I’ll email her for her paypal acct when/if I actually get any.

          • Kady — I just sent you an e-mail to this effect, but this design is so great — why don’t we just send her the design — maybe she can make us the mocking jay k-chain of our dreams.

    • lucy stone :

      I LOVE IT so much that I bought one.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Okay, my original JSFAMO mug just arrived yesterday, and now I am gonna have to have one of these bad boys, too. Too fab.

      And may I just say that I kind of love Ellen? I caught myself thinking about her on the freeway on the way home from work yesterday, which was deeply disturbing on any number of levels.

    • Hilarious!

  6. Has anyone read the book ‘MWF Seeking BFF: My Search for a New Best Friend?’ I am about halfway through it, and it’s rather enjoyable and really making me think. I’ve been in my city for about five years and struggle with the lack of a BFF in local proximity. Fun/Interesting (and light) read!

    • This sounds like it might be up my alley! I’m currently a MWF searching a BFF! ha :)

    • I posted a question about finding friends a few months ago and someone suggested this book. I haven’t yet checked it out, but I think I will. Finding friends as a married late 20-something with no kids is actually pretty hard, maybe she gives some great insight.

      • I’m a single 20-something, and it’s also hard to find friends. When I walk around my city though, all I seem to see is friends together, and I think “where did they find each other??” I’ve tried meetup groups, I go to yoga classes, and the occasional work happy hour, but nothing has worked out yet. I’d love to hear any other ideas people have tried.

    • I’m a SWF searching for a BFF ;o)

    • I just read it and loved it. I think it is very accurate about the personalities and relationships of women and the generally feeling of shame in looking for friends. Yet, everyone I talk to about it (as seen here), say they are looking for new/more friends!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m also looking for friends. I am helping a friend find an apartment and while reading listings saw one for a guy in my neighborhood looking for a roomie. He is my age but what was weird, he listed a picture of himself in the roomie listing.

      I jokingly said to my friend “would it be weird if I emailed him and said hey – your place isn’t what my friend is looking for but you are in my neighborhood and my husband and I are new to town. Wanna get drinks?”

      My friend responded – yeah, it would be weird since by new in town you mean “lived here three years.”

      True. And he might be a creep since the whole pic on the roomie listing was odd. But, he lives in a complex, with a pool, walking distance from my house. LOL.

    • TurtleWexler :

      Sounds like a book I should read. I’m feeling pretty lonely in my new city sometimes…even though I have made a lot of casual acquaintances, there’s nobody I really feel that comfortable with. I dearly love my hubby, but, well, he just doesn’t get “girl stuff.”

      • I whole-heartedly agree with this statement. Husbands are great, don’t get me wrong, but they are not helpful when trying to decide what to wear to a big event, or whether you could pull of some new trend. They also don’t like girly movies as much. I know this sounds petty, but sometimes a girl just wants to see What to Expect for the silliness factor and have someone to talk about celeb gossip with.

    • That one is on my reading list too. I am new-ish in town, and its intimidating to make new friends (especially in this area where it seems like everyone is here for 1-2 years). Someone suggested Junior League DC, but I am unsure about it– may be a little too sorority for me? And so the search continues…

      • I feel the same way about Junior League. BTW, I’m in DC – interested in meeting up?

      • Junior League :

        I’ve felt the same way about Junior League – as a early 30s working mom, am I going to be the only one in a crowd of ladies-who-lunch? But I’ve talked to some people, including the President of a local league, who all say that there are a lot of younger professional women in the Junior League now. I’m going to give it a shot and go to some events and will likely join the provisional class this fall. It’s worth a shot! If it doens’t work out, at least I tried.

        • I’m not in Junior League but know a number of women who are, and my impression is that the Dallas Chapter has numerous young professional women, including working moms. I agree it’s worth a shot, and I’ve thought about doing it myself.

      • Junior League varies a lot by chapter — here in the crunchy PNW, my chapter has a totally different vibe than the one I was in back east. It was more of a status symbol/resume booster there and I never got the feeling that most people liked the organization and the mission as much as they liked being able to say that they chaired X Committee or sat on the board or whatever. Here, it’s much more laid-back and people seem to actually have fun with it. I wouldn’t call either chapter I’ve been in “sorority-like,” but I also haven’t found really good friends through the organization in either place. A lot depends on having a good provisional year, which I didn’t, so I’m sure that’s part of it. But most of the women in JL are also busy with careers and families and other obligations, so even though it’s a great way to meet people, it’s still not a surefire way of making new friends (though it definitely happens! I know many people who have made great friends in JL because they found other members they really clicked with. It just hasn’t been my personal experience).

        • Oh, and in both chapters, I’d say at least 75% of the active members work outside the home and a lot have pretty high-powered careers (partners at law or accounting firms, senior managers at various companies, etc). It’s kind of hard to find people to do daytime stuff because it doesn’t fit into most people’s schedules and there are only so many SAHMs to call on. The sustainers tend to be more of the ladies-who-lunch, but even that is changing as women in their 40s and 50s, who still have awesome careers, go sustainer.

        • By “crunchy PNW,” Anon, do you by chance mean the greater Seattle area? I’m new-ish to town, and work from home for my NY-based company, so I’d be interested in joining a JL that is laid-back, where people have fun!

          • Haha, I was trying not to out myself too much, but yes. I think recruiting for next year’s provisional class is finished now, but if you ever want to meet up to chat, or come along to some of the events where non-members are welcome, feel free to email me at a[this site’s name]inseattle at gmail dot com (it’s all one word but I don’t want to go into moderation for using this site’s name in my comment, which I didn’t think about when creating the gmail address). Please let me know if you do send an email, though, as it’s obviously not my regular address! I can also hook you up with the provisional chairs so you are on the list for next year, if you think you want to join.

      • Does anyone know the general age range of the DC chapter? Late 30s here and easing back into the workforce..

    • I’ve been on a new friend hunt for about the past six months or so– all my close lady friends have had or are having babies this year, which put a damper on my social life. It’s been going surprisingly well, but I’ve been very deliberate about it. I say yes to just about anything. Party where I only know the hosts? Okay, I’ll at least drop by. Going out w/ a married couple and a bunch of of their friends I didn’t know for St. Patrick’s day? Okay. I’ve made some new friends that way. I’ve also been busy mining my network. I’ll ask anybody at work that seems like we might have something in common at least out to lunch, and I have a new friendship that’s resulted from that. There was also someone who, although we hadn’t spoken to or seen each other in years, had been liking a bunch of status updates, so I sent a fb msg suggesting we get drinks. And voila, we’ve been out a bunch of times since. Also not shy about inviting friends of friends I’ve just met out to follow-up brunch/drinks/etc. I figure if I don’t put they invitation out there, they can’t say yes. I’m having dinner with a friend of a friend next week as a result of that strategy. Come to think of it, she’s a friend of a friend of the aforementioned FB friend.

      I think of it as being aggressively social. It’s actually a lot like dating. It takes a lot of work to find the right person, and you end up dealing with some rejection or non-compatible people along the way.

    • Praxidike :

      I haven’t, but now I want to read it!

      When I moved from New Jersey to Wisconsin, I knew my husband and his parents, and that’s it. So after I got my clerkship and then moved to a law firm, I adopted what I called my “guerilla method of making friends.” That method was to find someone who I though would be a likely friend (by virtue of some small piece of information known about them) and invite them out for drinks or dinner. It was almost like dating, in a way.

      It worked very well. Almost all of the friends I have now evolved out of this tactic. People are generally very receptive to getting to know others (or so it seemed t0 me). Sometimes it didn’t work out, and that was fine, too. I have no idea what this book suggests (and I AM going to read it, because I’d still like more friends!), but that worked for me.

    • Merriweather :

      Read it and loved it!

    • Is anyone that listed they are looking for friends in SF of the Bay Area? I’ve been having a hard time meeting non-work friends. I’d be interested in meeting up. My e-mail is ajermier at gmail dot com.
      Will also be checking this book out!

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I’d be delighted to make a new friend. Also, our SF Bay Area meetup is 6/23, this time in Oakland – email karenpadi at hotmail for info! We seem to have at least a dozen ladies come out each time.

  7. K... in transition :

    shopping question (so unlike me!): just saw this link:

    any idea where to find the dress (or something similar) in the first photo?

    PS apologies in advance for those who didn’t know about this website and are now being introduced to a new addicti*n!

    • Saw that this morning from last night, by first one, do you mean the really crazy patterned one from the cover or the polka-dotted one?

      • K... in transition :

        the polka dot one… the shape seems really flattering and the pattern seems to be patterned without looking distracting/busy.

        • This is the most exactly similar I could find, but obviously it doesn’t have the same classiness. I’ll look for similar but different (if you know what I mean) next.

          • K... in transition :

            I’m sure the dress is probably a zillion dollars, but I saw it and figured the cut looked flattering on a super-pear shape and the fabric solid enough that it wouldn’t show lumps and bumps… such tricky dresses to find, especially in a color or pattern that photographs well!

        • This one has the same shape, bit its in white — not sure how you feel about the bow either.

        • This cold water creek one has a similar cut, though it has a v-neck instead of strapless (and there is a black one over at JC-Penny also similar) but its got the nice polka-dot.

        • Here is another similar polka dot dress:

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I know this isn’t quite the same (and it’s, oh, $1100….) but for me it evokes a similar feel.

      • Hey now — if we’re playing “dresses that are clearly absurdly out of the budget” i’m sure I can find a fabulous dress too!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      This has straps but I think it’s quite sweet.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      This has some of that pretty bust draping.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      And this doesn’t look like the original dress at all, but I would love to spend summery afternoons in it!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      This one to me evokes that patterned-but-not-too-busy feel

    • My first thought was modcloth dot com, and I found some really cute dresses there that are similar in style:

      Red, polka dots, similar fabric (I think):

      Super cute polka dots, but haltered instead of strapless:

      Really similar shape/style, but solid blue:

      Aaand, a little different, but the same feeling (and $177, boo):

    • Anonymous NYer :

      Kamischel (or something like that) gray suede boots. I wear them all the time from fall to spring. they are fabulous.

  8. K... in transition :

    To continue the conversations of recent threads… What’s the best article of clothing/shoe/accessory you’ve ever purchased from target? (add links if you’re able)

    • Last summer, they had a line with Calypso. I bought the best white cotton eyelet nightgown. It was $24 and makes me feel like a million.

      Also, some 6-7 years ago, I bought a couple of scoopneck tees from exhilaration. They were amazing in every way and about $7/ea. I have looked for similar ones since and what they have now is not as good. Alas.

      • Definatly the two merona “value” dresses – they wash great, dress up or down well, hold up awesome and generally look like way more than 18$ dresses.


          • Love this dress – have it in 3 colors, and it’s so comfortable.

          • MissJackson :

            Yes, I second the Merona v-neck cap sleeve dress. I have 2 and just ordered two more because they are so comfortable — great for after work or the weekend. They come in stripes, too!

            Also, for work, the Merona Cross front ponte dress that I bought at the recommendation of another ‘rette is amazing. If they ever restock it in my size, I’m going to buy more colors!

        • I swear by the Merona value dresses on weekends. I have three or four (sleeves/sleeveless/pattern/solids) and probably wear one every weekend at some point either shopping or visiting parents or in-laws. They wash and dry well and don’t fade.

        • ditto! I got the blue and the blue stripe and I have worn them both already!

    • oooh, the pearce pumps! shockingly comfortable. also merona knit tops.

    • Maternity and nursing gear (bras, camis).

    • About 2 years ago, I bought a pair of pewter d’orsay peep-toes for about $25. They’re not the absolutely most comfortable pumps I’ve ever had (mainly because they’re a little bit wide), but they are very comfortable, and the heel is the absolutely perfect height. I get tons of complements on them, and they’ve worn really well (I’ve walked on them a lot, and have only had the heel cap replaced, which is no big.) Plus, they go with so much. I tried to find them again online, but it looks like they’re gone, which is a shame, because I definitely would buy them again.

    • I'm Just Me :

      The ponte pencil skirt that was recommended here. I got the red and the royal blue and wear them frequently. I’m kicking myself for not ordering the black and greeny color before they sold out.

      • Same on the same 2 colors of ponte knit skirts. I love them.

        I am also enjoying a lot of the flats that they have out this season. The sueded Xhilaration ones (“Shirley”) are comfy – I have both the pink and the grey ones.

    • Both of my favorite Target purchases were fairly recent: (links to follow)
      (1) A ponte knit pencil skirt. I think of it as the poor woman’s version of The Skirt. Came in fabulous, fun colors. Still showing on the website, but is out of stock (also haven’t seen it in store for a while). I’m really hoping they bring this skirt back
      (2) A scoop neck tee with gathering at the neck. The cotton’s a nice thicker weight and the scoop isn’t absurdly low. Generally, just a really great inexpensive basic. I bought it in four colors.



    • Other than the things I’ve already posted on here (the knit cross front ponte dress, the tie dot shirt in foxtail).

      My other favorite is the Black Patent “leather” Crocodile Clutch. I had been on the hunt for a simple black clutch for going to weddings and such for forever, but didn’t want to spend much on it, because, lets be honest how frequently do I carry a clutch. And this is lovely and cheap and does the job perfectly. Could it hold a bit more, yes, but do I care that much — no.

    • A threeway tie. 1. Merona matte jersey v-necks that I abought about 8 years ago that I LOVE under suits; I can’t find any others like them and dread the day when they are too worn out to wear. 2. A matte jersey sleeveless dress I also bought about 8 years ago (and just wore this week) that I can wear with a cardigan or jacket to work and alone to work-related c-tail parties — nice without being too s*xy. 3. A version of the woven pencil skirt from last spring. It’s the one with pockets (kept sewn shut) that has an impressionistic print suggesting roses in shades of cream, brown, pink and rose. It makes me happy every time I wear it.

      I bought the cutest top there this weekend, a sleeveless ruffled/stand-up-collared “tank” (it’s really a blouse) that I will cut off so it’s not an unflattering tunic length on me. I wavered between the pale green tiny print and one with a bright and bold blue print. (Of course, I went for the plainer more boring one.) Last night my husdband and I were channel surfing and went to MSNBC. One of the commentators was wearing the blue one! It looked great with a dark blazer buttoned up so that only the ruffle was showing. I shrieked “I know that blouse! 14$ on clearance at Target!”

    • A Tucker for Target dress that works for many occasions and a pair of black, pointy-toe Isaac Mizrahi flats that I wore all the time until they were junk (sole eventually peeled away).

    • A skinny belt that is reversible between brown and black alligator.

      About a dozen handbags/clutches/totes. Love them. I have one in coral, bright blue, maroon, brown… and a silver clutch that I love. Also my wallet is a blue leather Target one.

      Hat/glove sets in the winter.

      Everything in their home dec section.

  9. Our bed needs new sheets and a new duvet cover. Do you love your sheets? Tell me about them and where you bought them – I haven’t bought new ones in years and don’t know where to start.

    • We bought new everything when we upgraded to a King about a year ago. My favorites are the Calvin Klein sheets I bought at Macy’s on a super sale. So soft and nice. The Charisma sheets you hear so much about? NOT worth it, they are loud and scratchy and I would have returned them, but I bought them online and it was a hassle. Ugh, I hate them. Macy’s has a line called Charter Club (I think) that are really soft and nice too. Definitely feel the sheets before you buy them. I think we got our duvet cover at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

    • I have no idea what the name of the sheets we bought, I think they might be Martha Stewart, but we got them at Macy’s during one of their uber sales and they are AMAZING! I think that they are 650 thread count cotton sateen. I love them, they are perfect comfy (hats off to you Ben Bailey).

    • Kontraktor :

      Ours are Hotel Collection from Macy’s. We like them/they seem nice, although that line is overpriced (I feel) full price. We waited until a large sale to purchase a bed set. With sale prices, the Hotel Collection stuff seems more reasonable and they have a lot of high thread count offerings which are very soft.

      BB&B has sheets too but I find their offerings *really* overpriced and I’d rather wait for a sale and buy something more ‘brand name’ at Macy’s.

      I think we actually have a couple of spare sheet sets of a higher thread count from WalMart (to give the expensive sheets a break sometimes) and they have actually held up pretty well. I would probably recommend looking at a lower priced store like that and buying a spare set (with high thread count).

      • The Canopy line at Walmart? No experience with the sheets, but the dishes are FAB.

      • I’ll second everything you say about the Hotel Collection. I love my sheets.

      • soulfusion :

        I was going to chime in about Hotel Collection – I love their sheets and their towels. They are pricey but Macy’s has lots of sales with extra coupons and such so I cash in on that. Plus, they last forever! I rotate two sets and just recently after probably 5 years or so of constant use the fitted sheet has lost some of its elacticity so I’ve been thinking I should start watching the sales again for a replacement. I don’t bother with anything else because I love them so much.

    • i love my pure beech supersoft ones from BB&B. the jersey knit ones are like sleeping on a cloud, while the sateen beech ones are nice for the summer because they retain less heat and feel cool on your skin. they do tend to get holes in a year or two though, but i just re-buy. they’re cheap and bb&b always has coupons.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I beyond love these! I’ve been buying them since college. I don’t typically like jersey knit sheet because I feel like they stick to my pajamas, but theses don’t do that.

      • just Karen :

        We just got the beech sateen sheets for a wedding present, and we absolutely LOVE them – we used to switch out our sheets when we washed them (rotating sets), now we just wash these and put them right back on – and our other sheets were already really nice, but nothing like these! Not sure how durable they’ll be, but I’ve read BBB will exchange if they wear out early. With the 20% off coupon you can find everywhere, they come out to $64 for a queen set. I am seriously contemplating a second set.

    • I know lots of people here swear by the Costco Kirkland sheets too …
      Ours are the Hotel ones from Bed B and Beyond. Fabulous!

      How do you guys keep your duvet covers neat looking and the filler in place? I have a down filler, but it shifts around and does seem to completely fill the duvet. I’ve tried tying and even safety pinning the corners together of the duvet and filler, but it’s still a mess.

      • They have these clips for duvet covers that are great. I have a king sized duvet cover so I pin in the corners then in the middle for extra support.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          There are clips for this problem?? I had no idea! What are they called and where can I buy them??

          • I think I got them at BB&B about 10 years ago… I don’t now what they are called, but they are like chip clips with foamy outside.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            if you google duvet clips on bed bath and beyond, they have two different styles.

          • Merabella :

            I went to BB&B and looked at the two options… I have the comforter clips (set of 4).

      • Cornellian :

        or you can sew ties in to the duvet… my marimekko cover has two 6 inch long ties in each corner, which you tie around the edge of the duvet. Of course that duvet cover also is not a standard size, so it doesn’t much help….

    • I’m in the process of looking for a new duvet (our old one from Pottery Barn is looking worn with two dogs sleeping on it all day every day), and I’m completely obsessed with pretty much every option from Serena & Lily. I used their sheets and patterns in my son’s nursery last year and his sheets are incredibly soft and have held up well (so far).

      Right now our sheets are the Costco Kirkland brand and while they’ve held up well for 4 years, they’re not as soft as I would like.

      • Amelia Pond :

        I have the Tessa duvet and shams from Serena and Lily. I love it. It has held up so well and I have had it for 3 years now. I also have their sheets which haven’t held up as well as the duvet but are still in decent shape. My sister has the Catalina (blue mosaic print) and that has held up really well too.

    • Based on a recommendation here, we just bought a set of the Kirkland sheets at Costco. They are great.

      • I’d bought a set a couple months ago based upon a recommendations from someone on a previous thread. They are wonderful, but word to the wise – you need a REALLY thick mattress to keep them on the bed. The fitted sheet has super deep pockets!

        • You are right; I didn’t know that ahead of time but as it stands we do have a thicker mattress. Well it’s a mattress and a thick topper, so this detail worked out OK for me.

          I will also say you will need to like crisp sheets. Personally I cannot stand flannel or jersey sheets so these are perfect for me.

          • They didn’t work on my Sleep Number bed :( , but do work on my guest bed – at least now my guests have nice sheets!

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Same! I bought two sets and they are lovely.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I am a total sheets snob and LOVE the jersey sheets at target.

    • I like the Hotel collection from Macy’s as well. If you sign up for their email list, you get plenty of coupons.

      • Research, Not Law :

        I hate shopping Macy’s because of their pricing (jack up prices so they can have huge sales), but their charter club bedding is fantastic. It’s soft, durable, color-fast, etc.

    • Is tjere a tuesday morning nearby? After a friend recommended I go to the local tuesday morning store it is now the only place I shop for nedding. Discount prices on designer stuff :)

  10. for dancinglonghorn - insurance :

    I’m the poster from yesterday who was asking about individual health insurance for my husband/ranting about insurance complexities.

    This is for dancinglonghorn, who wrote that an issue with individual insurance plans is that after you receive a scary diagnosis, they can subsequently drop you even if you pay the premiums and you just won’t have coverage anymore.
    Can you explain further? I know the insurance company can jack up the premiums to incredible amounts, but my understand has always been that as long as you are willing to pay those premiums, then they cannot drop your coverage.

    If anyone else has information regarding similar bad experiences with individual health insurance, let me know. My greatest (financial) fear is that my perfectly healthy husband will opt for his own health insurance, subsequently be diagnosed with cancer, and then they will drop him.

    • Another Sarah :

      I think the insurance companies aren’t ‘supposed’ to drop coverage for anyone as long as they pay their premiums (I think according to the law). In real life, I’ve seen it happen quite often – my dad, my sister, extended family members, etc. These have always happened after potentially catastrophic events, like a diagnosis that requires a transplant, seizure that brings up a latent condition, etc. I’m not sure if there were other, more procedural, reasons why the insco dropped them though.

      Personally, I haven’t really had a problem with my personal health insurance. I have my own plan, about $500/quarter (2k deductible), which is much cheaper than the premiums offered through my company ($500/month, 2k deductible). I’ve had a couple bad health problems that were fixed (so nothing catastrophic or life-threatening), and the insco paid everything that they had agreed to pay in the policy documents, so no real complaints.

      • I believe the initial roll-out of the health care law specifically precluded insurances from doing this (by this, I mean dropping a customer or refusing to renew the following year because they develop a chronic condition.) Before that it would have been quite common in individual insurance plans that if you developed an excludable chronic disease, like diabetes, that though they would pay the bills for the covered year they would drop you the next — which isn’t much help.

        At least, that is my understanding. I luckily have never had gaps in coverage or I would have been bankrupted in short order.

        • And be aware that, depending on what the Supreme Court says and the results of the elections in November, most of those provisions will probably go away.

        • Maybe it varies by state, but in our state, it was illegal for a health insurer to drop an insured because of illness, although they could raise the premiums, even before the new health care law. The new health care law will also prohibit those cheaper, high deductible plans, every policy will have to provide comprehensive coverage whether you want it or not, the details of which will be determined by regulations yet to be adopted, at least last I heard.

    • dancinglonghorn :

      They cannot “drop” your coverage but what they will do is classify the illness as a pre-existing condition. As in, you had cancer that developed before you purchased the plan so then they will not cover any cancer-related expenses. (By the way, only one friend of mine has had this happen with cancer, its much more common with everyday illness like heart attacks, strokes, etc.)

      Also, remember that the insurance is for the contract period. So, you buy insurance for a one-year period. Say you get diagnosed with cancer during that year. The insurance company will finish out the year with you (while covering as little as possible classifying items as pre-existing conditions) but will not renew. Also, with your new diagnosis of cancer, it will be considered a pre-existing condition under any new policy so you will not be able to get a new plan. And with most major illnesses, a multi-year treatment plan is required. The probability that if you get a serious illness diagnosis and need treatment, that the entire treatment course will be completed within the year is very low. For instance, with something like cancer, one of my family friends has been battling pancreatic cancer for 3 years. The insurance company basically paid out the first year (some of the expenses anyway, after the high deductible) but he has been unable to find any other insurance coverage for the following 2 years. No one will touch you once you have been diagnosed with an illness.

      You should really talk to your HR in person or over the phone and ask them these types of questions. They should have a pretty good idea how things like pre-existing conditions are treated on your work plan. If it is possible for your husband to get added to your work plan with a pre-existing condition after such a diagnoses, then some of this risk is mitigated.

      Also, I know nothing about the law/probability of laws getting passed, but it is my understand that Obama is supporting a bill that will make it harder for individuals to be denied continued coverage for pre-existing conditions. Not sure if that bill has gone through or if it will, just throwing it out there. Maybe you could look for information about the bill for more info – its called the “Patient Protection” bill. It is possible that the legal environment has changed without me knowing.

      Another really knowledgeable source of insurance info is the pharmacy technicians. I was a pharm tech in college and dealt with insurance companies all day. So many customers are just totally uninformed about what it/isn’t covered on their insurance and don’t realize it until after they get sick. So props to you on trying to get informed. Also, I’m sure that the odds of your husband getting a terminal cancer are very low (although I can relate to your worries!)

      • i know nothing about insurance, and all of this from dancinglonghorn is very detailed and helpful. But I do have one thing to contribute:

        “No one will touch you once you have been diagnosed with an illness.”

        Some states have a ‘high risk insurance pool’ (ex: Oregon) that are specifically for people who have been denied by insurance, creating a sort of universal system within the state, so depending on where you live, you can get coverage once you have been diagnosed. But I realize that doesn’t help most people. …aaand this topic just makes me really depressed, ugh…

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          But the high risk pools usually do not have a cap on what companies can charge. So, you can get insurance, but at exorbitant rates. This is even true in Mass w/ required coverage. My mom was at least able to find a plan w/ required coverage but pays $1500/month or so. In one more year she can finally get Medicare thank goodness.

      • Anne Shirley :

        Please talk to a professional. If your husband has been continuously insured, pre-existing conditions should not be an issue. This is too important for random Internet advice.

        • Again, pre-health care law changes, individual insurances could still exclude pre-existing conditions even if you had continuous insurance. And the list of conditions was loooong. It was only group employer plans that wouldn’t/couldn’t exclude pre-existing conditions, which I think was a benefit generally negotiated by the employer.

          BUT, with the Health Care law, pre-existing condition exclusions should be illegal. But I kind of have to agree. Every state is different. On-line advice on this is next to useless and its a very expensive thing to make a mistake on.

          • It varies by state, or at least it did before the new federal law. In our state, so long as you did not have a gap in coverage, no insuror could refuse to cover a pre-existing condition.

        • This is very true. If you maintain insurance coverage and are going to a new insurance, they can not claim it is a pre-exisiting condition and not cover you. You just have to fight with them a little usually. Also, you can contact your state’s insurance commissioner – depending on what state you reside in you may have some options via the ACA or state initiatives.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I also wanted to follow up about your friend or family losing everything to bankruptcy. I don’t practice bankruptcy but I do work w/ a bankruptcy attorney. I was surprised to learn how many things are protected from creditors in bankruptcy. Again, not legal advice but I believe it included a primary residence, retirement accounts and 529 plans among other things. If you ever do family law or collections work and see that someone has no money in checking or savings but huge retirement savings and 529 plans, this is usually why.

        • dancinglonghorn :

          I know that our friend has a bankruptcy lawyer, so I think that some things are protected but the ultimate problem is that while he is in medical bankruptcy, the hospital won’t continue treatments due to unpaid bills. So, my limited understanding (I’m not a lawyer!), was that he had to decide weather to continue treatment and use his liquid assets like retirement savings paying out of pocket or let the treatment lapse. In other random news, his wife developed a brain tumor during all of this. So yeah, two teenage children will be left with nothing when this is all over. Its been a very difficult time for all involved, and we are just trying to be supportive with meals and help, etc.. One of the scariest things for me is that this was a couple that did everything “right” – fully paid off house, over $1mil in retirement savings, kids college funds fully paid, etc., and its just so scary how quickly that evaporates. We joke that if you don’t have your health, you have nothing….because health costs take it all! (he has black humor)

          But yeah, you can see how this experience would make me very reluctant to go this path myself. He was a small business owner so had few alternatives.

          And I’m sure that there is tons of newer info/wrong info in my statements. I don’t know what the law actually states vs. what’s feasible for a middle-income person to expect from the law. I don’t know anything about other states. And I read my comments over and over before posting to make sure that they are not offensive or alarm-raising or going to freak anyone out.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Hey there!

            Your comment was great. Nothing offensive at all. I really feel for you and your friend. I have posted before about my medical issues so health care reform is a huge issue for me. Our current system disgusts me. I agree w/ everything you wrote.

            I just posted above in case anything I said could help your friend. I’m glad to hear that he has an attorney. I hope everything works out as best it can.

          • this is so terrible, I really feel for your friend and his family.

      • Our state must be different, here, if you don’t have a gap in coverage, no insuror can refuse to cover a pre-existing condition.

    • Thanks, everyone, for your helpful advice and information that has given me a basis for question.
      I’m trying to not bug my soon-to-be HR person too much, because I am not ready to tip them off that I am just barely expecting. In addition, while HR can give me information about our group plan, HR is not helpful on the individual insurance plan rules.

      Husband is speaking with some insurance brokers today about individual policies, hopefully this question will be answered soon. You’ve really helped me to know what my areas of concern should be and what questions to ask.

  11. I have a question about work birthdays. I supervise several people and I really try to remember and acknowledge birthdays, etc. but sometimes I just space out about it. I put them all in my Google calendar and so last night (I know – I need a longer notification time) I got a notification that today was a staff member’s birthday. Of course, I totally meant to grab a card out of my stash and stop for flowers or pastries on the way to work, but then I just forgot. I thought of it as I was pulling into the parking lot at work. So sometimes I’m really on top of things and buy presents. And sometimes I’m not. I got them all fun little gifts at Christmas. I’m much better at just buying somebody something fun when I see it. We used to do communal cakes for every birthday but that got really complicated and expensive. Am I a bad person? What do you all do for your staff for birthdays?

    • We do nothing, which I prefer. My bosses sometimes email me happy birthday and I always found it uncomfortable.

      One year, my boss congratulated me on being a quarter of a century old. I got him back later that year for attaining the half century mark.

    • You are not a bad person! We do nothing. The secretary includes that week’s birthdays in her Monday email blast, and so some people will stop by to say happy birthday. But there’s no cake or presents or anything like that. I am completely okay with this.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      We are a small company, but at our monthly all-hands meetings, we do birthdays for everyone that month.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Oops – should specify. We do a cake every month there is a birthday at the all hands meeting, and do a card. That’s it. If it’s two people’s birthdays, they share a cake. If there’s no one, there’s no cake (this makes us all sad).

      • Yeah we do that at our all-hands meetings twice a year. That’s how we were supposed to get away from the individual cakes. We would have cake for all of the birthdays every six months. But I think people forget that. One supervisor still gets individual cakes for her two staff. I have a lot more people!

    • A group lunch outing to celebrate can be fun. Takes the pressure off having to give a gift.

      • The problem with that is that now is our slow time, but for many birthdays there is no way we could do it. And they’d want me to treat.

        • At my last job, we went on group lunches for birthdays. The supervisor paid for the birthday person’s lunch, but not everyone else’s.

        • Hmm. Maybe buy a stack of gift cards to a coffee place/lunch place by your office. Then, when the birthday pops up, stick the card with a nice note on the desk of the birthday person and you’re good to go!

          • I think this is a great idea. Or a “stack of” other small gifts. The idea is to plan like a year ahead. Buy like 12 generic birthday cards and keep them in your desk.

    • Eh its pretty bad if you are doing something for some peoples birthdays and not others. I HATE akward birthday cake so I think just a card is more than enough. I would keep the stash in your desk so you always have it and just forget the flowers and pastry

      • omgGGGGG awkward birthday cake is the WORST. I’m still traumatized from several horrible stand-awkwardly-around-in-a-hallway-eating-cake-with-people-you-don’t-want-to-talk-to-anyway occasions. I was almost gleeful when my former firm, as an austerity measure, stopped getting everybody a birthday cake. At my new job, nobody seems to have figured out my birthday, and I’ve worked to keep it on the dl.

      • Research, Not Law :

        While you shouldn’t feel bad about missing one birthday (just do something tomorrow – I figure within a week counts), you should do something for everyone. Recognizing some and skipping others is going to hurt feelings and be far worse than just not doing them at all.

        I’ve worked in offices with a wide range of birthday recognition, from nothing to entire department potlucks. I prefer the shared special something with a close work team and nothing from everyone else more than perhaps “happy birthday – hope it’s a good one”. We will go out to lunch (host buys for birthday person, everyone else pays their own), bring supermarket goodies to a meeting, or pass around a card, etc.

        • Most of the staff have worked for me for years so when I say I’m inconsistent, it’s not that I skip some people and recognize others – it’s more like one year I remember to buy a gift and card and other years I space out. Same person. They’re probably used to me. I think I’m a pretty good boss otherwise.

    • Yeah, I’m not a fan office office birthdays — with the exception of if someone hits a major milestone, like 75. I don’t think that anyone wants to be reminded that they are, say, 43.

      I like the secretary’s email blast thing, though. One nice line, people can say/email you happy birthday, that’s that. No need for cake or flowers or presents at the office.

    • My old place did a cake at the beginning of every month to recognize everyone’s birthdays and then I think individual attorney’s got their own staff people stuff on their birthdays.

      My current place does cake for everyone one’s birthdays or leaving or anything. They eat a lot of cake (not that I’m complaining.)

    • Amelia Pond :

      You are not a bad person but if you miss one person it can cause conflict. We don’t do anything official in my office but one staff member took it upon herself to acknowledge birthdays. She didn’t know that it was someone’s birthday and didn’t do anything which resulted in a full fledge war between the two staffers.

    • If you do it for some, you should do it for all. Just do it one day late tomorrow and joke about spacing on it. No big deal.

      At my office, usually the boss brings doughnuts for birthdays. I don’t particularly care for doughnuts (would prefer birthday cake!), but it’s a nice gesture.

    • We go to Starbucks or a local bakery for desserts and our boss treats the birthday person. Best part is that you can still do this even if you forgot to plan in advance.

    • We had one cake per month, where we would recognize all the birthdays. My boss would probably stop by my office and say “Happy Birthday! Excited to have some cake this month” and that was it.

      From my experience, most adults either don’t make a big deal about their birthday (and so the above approach will be just fine) or they do the whole 1 week birthday extravaganza (in which case you can be sure they have already organized 5 birthday celebrations for themselves that week). Youre A-OK.

      • Thanks, Flamingo! I talked to her and she seemed happy to just get a hug and an acknowledgement. Honestly, there are a whole slew of other people in the office who could also choose to acknowledge her birthday and I guess they all think it’s my job. I did send all of them an email this morning letting them know it was her birthday and asking them to wish her a happy birthday.

    • We spontaneously celebrate “big” birthdays (30, 40, 50) with a 20-minute cake eating gathering in the tiny kitchen. We don’t sing, we just eat cake and talk. It comes out to about 2-3 cakes per year for our 20 person office. It wouldn’t work in many offices but it works for us.

      We have other spontaneous celebrations like ice cream on a hot day, Holiday treats because it’s December, or Happy Hour to celebrate a bar pass.

    • How about if you do one cake a month?

  12. My husband is going to be so happy about our Zombiepocalypse escape plan is already fleshed out (no pun intended). Thank you fellow ‘rettes for bringing this topic up months ago so we could be adequately prepared.

    • Ahh! Hate moderation – express night out dot com check out the cover story.

      • The website is not structured like that…which story?

        • Zombiepocalypse – you can check out the print version in the top right hand side and skip down to page 9.

  13. I want to start wearing liquid eyeliner and have a few questions. What kind would you recommend for a beginner that is a true black? I’m open to drugstore and department store options. Will it wear evenly over eyeshadow (cream and powder)? I’m looking for a line more on the thin side and will try to get it as close to my lash line as possible. Any tips and recommendations greatly appreciated, thanks!

    • I love Almays liquid liner. I have used it for years and love the look of it, and the price point. Due to my recent obsession with youtube tutorials, I started using Physicians Formula gel liner – not as thin of a line, but I like the look of it for cat-eye styles more than the liquid. I usually slap it on and then use a wetted q-tip to remove the excess and even out the line. I find this easier than trying to make it perfect on the first go-round.

    • I highly recommend stila’s stay all day waterproof eyeliner. Very fine tip. Great for people (like me) who touch their eyes too much.

    • I adore Urban Decay’s 24-hour liquid liner. It really stays put and doesn’t smudge, and I love the fine tip of the applicator – so easy to draw a fine line.

      Once you are ready to move beyond black they have really fab colours, too.

    • I love the Sephora brand one. They used to have a brush tip which I prefer, then switched to a felt marker-type tip (which seems to be the norm). I saved my brush tip and have been cleaning and re-using it – but now they’ve re-brought out the brush tip as a second option. This all to say, I find the brush tip the easiest to apply and it doesn’t hurt my eyelid at all. It lasts well but is completely unwaterproof (easy to remove, bad if you cry or get stuck in a rainstorm without an umbrella..). I don’t touch my eyes much when I wear makeup, i.e., every workday, so it’s not a huge problem for me.

      Start out by not trying to draw a complete line – do it in sections and connect – and don’t be scared to fix mistakes with a Q-tip or start over. Eventually it will take you 30 seconds total, but for a while it will take some more getting used to. Go on youtube and search for tutorials – they are the best way to learn.

      • still need a handle :

        Second Sephora brand! I use both the black and the brown–they go on easily, last all day, but they are not waterproof at all (which actually isnt a bad thing if you need to wipe it off and start over).

      • I really like the Sephora brand, and the ones I have are felt tip. I don’t have their black, but the colors I do have I like. I find it much easier to put on and longer lasting than the other brands I have tried (including Clinique, Estee Lauder, and Smashbox).

    • Anonymous :

      Does gel count? I love the Bobbi Brown gel in black ink for a true black. The special brush makes application foolproof.

  14. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    Hey ladies, I am swamped with bar prep, so I won’t be on here much, but if anyone is interested in a Denver meetup email me at [email protected]

  15. For the poster who was going to Italy yesterday: late to the party, but I have a couple of suggestions for Rome! I worked there for a summer during undergrad.

    For food, go eat at Hostaria Romana (Via del Boccaccio, 1; it’s a two-minute walk south of the Piazza Barberini). It is my favorite restaurant on the Italian peninsula, which means the world. I cannot say enough good things about this place. The men who work there are fantastic–funny, nice, welcoming, know a ton about food (although not English). And the food–! The food! Good, simple, stick-to-your ribs Roman fare at its best. I recommend the roast lamb and the pasta con cacio e pepe. But really, anything. Once I discovered this place, I went 2-3 times a week. It’s that good. (And obviously affordable, if a broke college student could become a regular.)

    My pick for gelato is the Gelateria del Teatro (Via di S. Simone, 70; off Lungotevere Tor di Nona, so across the bridge from the Castel Sant’Angelo). Aside from the amazing gelato (and believe me, I sampled enough to make this recommendation with authority ;), it’s in a really cute neighborhood–lots of little nooks and crannies and antique shops.

    My favorite historical or cultural site in Rome is the Villa Borghese. You have to make reservations in advance (I believe you can make them online), but oh. my. god. the. art. The Borghese Gardens are also lovely to stroll (or bike!) through, or just sit and people-watch. Whenever I was feeling stressed out (and Rome in the summer is pretty stressful; it’s blazing hot, there are people and cars everywhere), I’d go sit in the Gardens until I chilled out.

    In conclusion, have fun! I’m so jealous that you get to go hang out in Italy this summer. I miss it so, so much.

    • Kontraktor :

      I took a redeye to Rome when I went there, but had all these touristy plans to go go go. The Villa Borghese was the last stop on my first day and I was so. Exhausted. The walk to the place was of course gorgeous, but it felt endless and I was so tired by the end of it. I fell asleep on a bench outside the villa waiting for my tour/turn to go in to start. Sketchtacular. I’m surprised I didn’t get mugged or something,

      But I loved it too. My favorite things to see were the Caravaggio paintings (not sure if they are still there/permanently displayed there, but some of his super famous ones were there when I went) and the Bernini sculptures. I could hardly believe how close you could get to them and walk around them.

      I wish I could eat at that restaurant you’re talking about. It sounds amazing. The best place I ate in Rome was some super random place I found in an alley by the column of Trajan. No idea what it was called. But it was similarly stick to your ribs yummy and affordable and I wish I could go back there!

      • The Borghese Gardens are pretty safe, as long as you’re not going at a weird hour or something–I definitely napped there more than once with no issues. And yeah, the Caravaggios are on permanent display. He’s one of my all-time favorite artists so seeing David with the Head of Goliath was kind of a pinnacle of my life.

        And the Berninis. No words. Just seriously, no words. Apollo and Daphne is just–I can’t even.

        The intimacy was one of the things I liked most about the Villa Borghese–I mean, yeah, it’s big and high-ceilinged and ornate and so on, but it has a very manageable, well-organized collection, and nothing about it is overwhelming or exhausting (for anything but your jaw, from all the dropping). It’s also so amazing to see so many works displayed in the spaces they were created to fill (or that were created to surround them).

        /art nerd moment. We should organize a [insert name of this website] tour of Italy.

        • Kontraktor :

          Uh, yeah I would totally go on that. I looooovvveeeddd Rome so much and would go back in a heartbeat. All these conversations are making me sad I might not go back for awhile!

          BTW, I couldn’t even either with regards to the Berninis. :-) Although I have to admit I was a bit sad after being so close to them at the Villa Borghese and having to crock my neck/wander about oddly to really see the Ecstacy of St. Theresa at Santa Maria della Vittoria. Granted it was nice to see it for what it was, ie as an altar piece, but I wanted to stare at it from 2 inches away like I stared at the sculptures in the VB.

    • I didn’t see your original post, but my tips for Rome:

      Definitely visit the Basilica di San Clemente: It’s a 2nd-century pagan temple, underneath a 4th-century church, which is underneath a 12th-century church. Enter the 12th-century church from the street level, take stairs down to the 4th-century one and finally end up at a shrine for Mithras, the god whom was known to gain popularity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The oldest structure is believed to have been an ancient mint.

      Eat gelato at least once a day, a different flavor from a different shop. My favorite was “tartuffo” from the shop on the bridge to Trastavere. I think it had chunks of cake in it. (!!)

  16. Was playing “words with friends” and it said “DOOSH” is not a word… What gives?

  17. {pssst, TCFKAG – don’t feel bad, yer awesome. ;o) }

    • Yay! I was going to re-post today to tell you that I think you can wear your satin cape whenever you d*mn well please.

  18. lucy stone :

    I have a paralegal intern this summer while my secretary is out on leave. She is a former student of mine from the local technical college and was an excellent student. She is an absolutely horrible paralegal and I would not recommend her to even my least favorite OC. I have to give her a midterm review and I don’t even know where to start. A short list of grievances:

    *I tell her to do something and she asks the other paralegal five times how to do it. This includes a task as simple as “Email this document to the court.”
    *She mailed an attorney a empty envelope.
    *She has been here four weeks and can’t transfer phone calls. She’s hung up on a judge, numerous OC, my husband, an elected official…
    *Her time log shows that she has spent over 40 hours studying her notes.
    *I tell her to hold my calls and she transfers them to my boss.
    *She answers the phone in uptalk.
    *I told her I was leaving for lunch. Someone came in to see me and she had them wait for 45 minutes, then told them “Huh, I don’t know where she went.”

    She got a full two weeks of training from my secretary before this position started so it isn’t lack of training. How do I communicate to her that unless she starts thinking faster and listening to directions, she will not pass the internship? She is so slow and indecisive we are afraid to leave her alone in the office for more than 5 minutes.

    • Separate out the things that annoy you vs the things that are unacceptable. Reiterate her tasks and how she is failing them. And tell her exactly what you just said, “unless you start thinking faster and listening to directions, you will not pass this internship.” The end.

      Also, she mailed an empty envelope???????????? I had to struggle not to burst out laughing at this.

      • I agree with this. Answering the phone in uptalk = annoying, not unacceptable. Not knowing how to transfer calls after 4 weeks, not paying attention to details, transferring your calls to your boss, mailing an empty envelope (?!?!?!) = unacceptable.

        But also keep in mind her age (she sounds young), and the fact that she may be really unsure of what she’s doing (hence repeatedly asking the other paralegals how do to basic tasks).

        It sounds like this is for college credit. If that’s the case, then I think it is appropriate to explain to her that, if she were to receive a grade today, she would receive a failing grade (or a ‘does not meet expectations’, etc.).

        • lucy stone :

          She is not young – she is actually a good 10 years older than I am which is what makes this so frustrating.

          Thank you both for the separation advice – I think the annoying wouldn’t be so annoying if it weren’t for the unacceptable.

      • lucy stone :

        Yes. It was addressed to Joe Attorney and had nothing in it. He called to ask if I was trying to send him a cryptic message.

        • OMG I literally burst out at this one. Good grief, it sounds like you have a fun day-to-day.

    • I actually think you have a great opportunity to be a mentor here, since you had a previous relationship with her as her instructor. All of the problems you mention are things that can easily be addressed. Stay calm, and say to her exactly what you said in your comment: “Unless you start listening to directions and thinking on your feet, you are going to fail the internship. I’ve made a list of specific issues that you need to address. Let’s go through them together, one by one.” Then communicate to her what she needs to do to address the issues, such as making a to-do list and writing down what people tell her so she doesn’t forget, and give her a deadline for improvement.

      Also, I agree with Godzilla that you should separate out the things that are just annoying to you. For example, telling her not to answer the phone in uptalk comes off as petty, and it’ s not particularly important.

      • lucy stone :

        Thanks! I kind of suck as a supervisor because my staff is so great than issues are always instantly addressed so I am not used to having repeat problems. I’m pretty spoiled here.

    • Kontraktor :

      Is it possible she is just really nervous? Or that there is something weird going on? She sure seems to be making a lot of really bad mistakes for procedural tasks. Anyway, I would do the following. It’s important to make sure you give her honest feedback, but at the same time, not turn the review into a total berating session about how worthless she is.

      1) Stay calm, but act concerned. Approach the meeting from the standpoint that you really want her do well, but you concerned about the carelessness being demonstrated by some mistakes she is making and you want to get to the bottom of why. You want to help her succeed, but you can’t if she is making very basic errors she shouldn’t be making.
      2) Be VERY specific in your criticisms and be matter of fact. Don’t be broad and say things like, “I don’t like how you answer the phone.” Say things like, “Your phone greetings are very informal. In our training sessions, we discussed that our policy is to answer the phones using phrasing XYZ. You do not use this phrasing, and phones do need to be answered in this way.” With regards to the procedural things, I would make sure you are specific about the situation so she knows what you are talking about and make sure it is clear what the mistake is without (again) turning it into a berating session. Example, “2 weeks ago, I asked you to mail a packet of XYZ documents to Judge A. No documents were actually sent to Judge A because he let me know he received an empty envelope. Since I put you in charge of sending these documents, it seems as if you sent the judge an empty envelope. What was going on that day?” or “I have repeatedly noticed that many of the calls I ask you to transfer to me are being dropped immediately because you are pressing the wrong buttons when trying to transfer. Are you having trouble knowing how the phones work? Could we get you some additional training on the phone system?”
      3) Make sure she is taking notes or ask her to write these things down. It could be that she just has a really bad memory and isn’t good yet at learning how to compensate for that. Some people feel weird working all the time from notes and checklists, but maybe this is something you can suggest to her going forward. “If you want to succeed at this internship, you are going to have to follow procedure. Do you want to succeed? Then perhaps you can work with Secretary B and she can help you develop some checklists of the steps you must go through for certain tasks. If I find you using these checklists consistently and see improvement, this will positive for both of us, and I will be able to see that you are learning to use new tools and strategies to compensate for the things you find difficult. But if you continue to ignore procedure and the tools we can give you to help, I will not be able to report this experience as a positive one and you will unfortunately fail to receive a good recommendation from me. The past mistakes can be dealt with, but only if you show a commitment to moving forward and improving.”

      Who knows why she is so flighty. Maybe she just sucks. There are some people out there like that. But I would say in the interest of professionalism, kindness, and being the bigger person, that it will be good to approach the review session in a firm, but fair manner in that you want to address these concerns objectively, offer strategies and tools to give her a chance to improve, and be up front about the consequences if there is no improvement.

      • lucy stone :

        Thanks for the long reply, I read it all and it helps. I think she is nervous because some of these mistakes are so basic and she keeps saying it is important to never make a mistake. I understand not knowing how to draft a pleading, but not knowing how to answer the phone drives me insane. She has two notebooks full of notes and I think she might have too many notes. I don’t see why you would need to check your notes on how to do every single little step of the day. I really do appreciate the lengthy feedback.

    • A) Mailing an empty envelope made me laugh, too. Wow.
      B) Apparently she CAN transfer calls – only not when you want her to.

      I would honestly tell her just that – I want this to work out and loved having you as a student. Unfortunately, there are numerous issues that have come to my attention.

    • I’m sorry that you’re having such a frustrating experience with her. And unfortunately, I have nothing productive to offer. Except that, if you set aside what I’m sure is incredible (and well-founded!) frustration and irritation…some of that is really, really funny. Like, write down everything she does and use it for the basis of your next novel funny. An empty envelope?? And…holding your calls means transferring them to your boss?? I’m so sorry.

      In all seriousness, sending positive vibes your way!!

    • Full disclosure: I’m not in law, and I am unsure about whether paralegals typically answer phones (or if it is an intern / assistant task only). That said, I have experienced many of the problems you noted above with interns, many of whom had excellent grades and letters of reference. The problem was, they thought they had to do this typical phone / office tasks as an intern. But when they got a real job, they would be doing “manager-y things” or “paralegal-y” things, and so it didn’t make sense to invest all this time learning to do “assistant-type” stuff. It was usually remedied with a frank conversation letting them know that those basic office skills were 100% essential, and that unless they showed they could master those, I couldn’t move them up to draft a memo or client pitch for me.

      Also, this post has a ton of run-on sentences, but you get my point :)

    • Constance Justice :

      Oh, this was me, about 15 years ago!

      First, definitely separate the “unacceptable” from the “annoying,” and be very direct about the unacceptable.

      If she is young, she might be overwhelmed by a lot of things around the office that you might take for granted at this point. For example, knowing how to deal with someone going to lunch. (this is something I definitely did on more than one occasion).

      If she is having to ask that many times how to send an email (which I totally would, out of anxiety of messing it up), and she can’t handle transferring calls, then keep reminding her to have a pad of paper and pen handy for notes. I remember when I was in this position, the idea of writing things down was something I would never have thought of.

      I will say that I never did master transferring calls. I hung up on managing partners, spouses, entire conference calls, etc. I eventually was somewhat able to process mail and get it to the post office. I was a terrible paralegal intern. However, I did grow up to be a fairly successful attorney. And, I know myself well enough that any time I have to fax something or transfer a call, or basically anything that involves administrative tasks, I have to call in my assistant.

      Finally, regarding the annoying, paralegal intern me would ask that you please do it in a mentorship setting rather than treat it as if I am being reprimanded. These are important skills, and I would not have been aware them, but I would like to know that not everything I am doing is reprimand-worthy.

      • Constance Justice :

        I forgot to mention that, in retrospect, I had an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. Basically, I was tormenting myself over getting every single detail right that in the end, none of it was even close to right. Unfortunately, this knowledge did not solve my inability to operate a telephone.

      • I still can’t transfer calls. Or use a fax machine right the first time. But I don’t think I’ve ever sent anyone an empty envelope!

        Seriously, it does sound like you will need to Take Steps, and there’s lots of good advice here.

        But to an outsider, it does sound a bit like you got the sitcom comic-relief secretary.

        • Actually, I have no idea how to transfer calls. And I have to read the instructions every time I have to send a fax. But I know how to engineer stuff! And rawr at stuff!

    • anon atty :

      I generally agree with others, however, let me offer a little different perspective, becuase it seems like most of the problems may actually just be not paying enough attention to detail.

      I asume what she was asking a paralegal about was how the court needed the document, not how to email something, and thus, its good she asked instead of got it wrong. courts can be very particular.

      the empty envelope thing is just silly and her not paying attention to detail.

      where do you want your calls to go when you tell her to “hold” them. Maybe you have not made this clear, which is why she transfers them.

      I dont even know what uptalk means, so maybe she doesnt either.

    • collegiette :

      Out of both fear and curiosity, what’s “uptalk”? High-pitched and elaborate?

  19. springtime :

    Quick rant- why would a guy ever think it’s appropriate to ask a girl you’ve seen a couple of times what she’s wearing at least 4 times in one conversation- and that ‘you bet it’s something tight” or “are you wearing a tight dress to that event” even after I make it quite clear I do not appreciate these comments. And this has happened before, along with other stupid comments. Then he apologizes and says he does still want to hang out, but ignores you and never talks to you again.

    I needed to let that out.

    • He’s a DOOSH, end all communications with him.

      • Agreed. Not worth your time.

      • springtime :

        Yes, I agree. It’s just I think that people say the dumbest things over text they would never say on the phone or in person. So it’s frustrating that they are cool in person, but idiot on text.

        I think it’s a deal breaker. Another one bites the dust.

        • Totally!!! I am getting really frustrated by the evolution of texting in ‘dating’ and what people think is acceptable via text or IM. I am only 30, and i am feeling so crochety and all “Kids, get off my lawn! And my phone!” ugh

      • Triple agree, totally a situation to JSFAMO.

    • Because your letting it be appropriate. You should be the one that doesn’t want to hang out. You should be the one that ignores him. why is he even getting second chances here? At somepoint its not his fault, because your behaving as if it is acceptable.

      • Sorry I immediately realize this was way too harsh. I’ve been getting internet angry (i know, i know) at corporette lately, and I’ve had this problem in real life too. I get so frusterated when I feel like people are being really passive. I think I took years off my life thinking about a poster the other day who was late to the meeting. I meant the above as a pep talk but it totally came off mean. just say foey and i hope you get a keeper soon

        • ah this is in moderation but I want it up asap.
          Sorry I immediately realize this was way too harsh. I’ve been getting internet angry (i know, i know) at this site lately, and I’ve had this problem in real life too. I get so frusterated when I feel like people are being really passive. I think I took years off my life thinking about a poster the other day who was late to the meeting. I meant the above as a pep talk but it totally came off mean. just say foey and i hope you get a keeper soon

          • springtime :

            Don’t worry, I wasn’t offended.

            You’re totally right. I think my point was twofold: (1) I think texting has turned my generation into idiots (2) this guy was being a jerk and I should delete him from my life (which I did).

            After he apologized I did contact him once to say “okay”. But, I do know better not to contact him again since he’s made no effort since then.

            Sometimes I encounter so much jerky behaviour that I think I may be the problem I am usually very good at stating that it is unacceptable pretty much right away, and don’t talk to that person anymore, but it still stings when the other person obviously couldn’t care less about treating your poorly.

    • If you do not appreciate those comments, then stop speaking to him. He is clearly not worth your time. Please do not let him ignore YOU, just be done with it. You can do it!

    • MaggieLizer :

      Ew. [Some] boys are stupid. JSFAMO. There are better ones out there.

    • This dude’s a DOOSH. No further contact.

  20. Not sure about this dress. Where would it be appropriate to wear it? It’s casual so when I buy casual pieces I want them to be fun…

  21. nose pain help? :

    Hey Ladies – just an update and a PSA. I did go to a clinic this morning and the Dr said I had a skin infection, cellulitis, on my nose and it was spreading to the sides of my face. She said it could have come from the nose pieces of my glasses and entered in a pore. She also said that she once got a similar infection and somehow figured out that it came from brushing the tip of her nose on the soda can tab while drinking. (!!!)

    According to google, untreated, cellulitis can lead to blindness or sometimes the bacteria can get in your brain!!

    Anyway, she gave me some anti-biotics, and told me it’s not contagious, so I am back at work now and hopefully everything will be fine.

    So PSA – if you wear glasses, be sure to frequently and thoroughly clean the nose pieces, and be super careful about any other stuff touching your face. I’m starting to regret making fun of “germaphones” so much!

    • Thanks for the follow up! Was wondering about you.

      Someone once posted that they had a scar on their leg from having to have an ingrown hair surgically removed.

      So…. I have an ingrown hair on my lady parts. The day I discovered it, I went to look at it and accidentally popped it. Sorry to be gross. It bled for awhile but then remained flat for days. It has been almost a week but it reopened yesterday at the gym and bled a little.

      How long does it normally take to heal? What is normal? I’d really hate to go to the doctor w/ this because I just went to the doctor 2 weeks ago for a “is this normal?” question and it was. (I had a reaction to a black fly bite, not lyme disease or staph.) So, I don’t want to look like a hypochondriac.

      So, when does an ingrown hair require medical intervention? Since it is on my lady parts, would I see a gyno, primary, derm?

      • Kontraktor :

        Not a doctor (caveat). I would say just keep watching it. If you notice it swelling or developing another larger, bigger head, then it might be cause for concern. But honestly, sometimes ingrowns just take awhile to heal. I had a really bad pain on my toe once for 3 or 4 days and realized it was from an ingrown hair! I dug it out with a pair of tweezers and the area remained tender and had a scab for at least a couple of weeks. Healed just fine and never got infected or anything, it just took awhile to heal. Ditto some of the worse ingrowns I’ve gotten over the years from cleaning up the bikini area.

        If it does get bad, I would say go to the dermatologist. They have a better idea of what skin infections look like and what medications or topicals should be used to treat them.

        • Definitely Anon :

          Sooo, I also have what I think was once an ingrown hair in my lady parts. I popped it, it bled. It looked like it healed. Then it became a “bump” – like a hard pimple. It’s been like this for months. Now I can’t pop it (mainly because I am a wuss and I don’t want the pain in that region). It doesn’t hurt, it just isn’t cute. Anything I can do?

          • Kontraktor :

            I’d say visit the derm. If it doesn’t look like a skin irritation to them, they can send you to the gyn. But, since you think it was related to a skin issue to start with, I’d say visit the derm first.

          • even more vehemently anon :

            I had one, too. I hate to say this, but I finally had to dig everything up. And then keep it clean for a few weeks until it healed. It was a hard bump, but so painful – and it turned out that as the months went by, it got worse and worse deep down inside.
            Then it got better. :)
            Removing it was very, very painful. Honestly, if I could do it over again, I’d probably take the embarrassment and go to a dermatologist who could have numbed the area first.

          • It sounds like a cyst or possibly scar tissue. I would definitely go to a derm for this. Don’t try to pop it on your own.

          • Definitely Anon :


            Ok, I will gather up the courage.

        • I use salicylic acid lotion in that area after shaving (or sweaty work outs) to prevent ingrown hairs. Seems to work decently. I think they make a special aftershave just for that but any SA face lotion should work. Also, I would think neosporin after popping it would help- at least it works for pimples? I had no idea it could get so serious though. I mainly try to prevent for cosmetic reasons.

      • First, make sure the hair is out of it. I get ingrown pubes sometimes, and I have to pull the ingrown part of the hair out with tweezers (basically the hair makes a loop with the end of it pointing down and I just pull it out so the hair is not in a loop – I don’t actually pluck the whole hair out. Sorry TMI.). Then, put antibiotic ointment on it to make sure it doesn’t get infected. Since it’s in an area that could get, um, germy, make sure you are keeping it clean and consider covering it with a bandaid with some antibiotic ointment underneath. It should heal up fine – I’ve accidentally popped them before and I’ve never had an infection.

      • I’ve had one of those. It healed, but came back a few months later. Sometimes it comes back in the same spot. It’s on my inner thigh, where the band of my undies is.

    • Whoa! How do you clean those nosepads? I’ve been wearing glasses for years and have no idea.

      (Turns out LensCrafter will replace them for free, even if the glasses aren’t from LensCrafters, though, if they break.)

  22. Fashion Help :

    I was hoping you guys could help me out with a fashion/shopping issue. I need a dress for my baby shower. I don’t know when or where it is, but I think it’s safe to say daytime in a restaurant in June or July (Northeast, so pretty warm). I was a 4 prepreg, and have gained a whopping 30 lbs in 28 weeks. This has left me feeling more than a wee bit insecure. That said, only the more fitted dresses work on me – I’m 5’2″ and am carrying pretty straight out front. Anything that kind of hangs makes me look like a blob. I also feel very self-conscious about my arms and face, as I am afraid I look puffy. Any suggestions? I have looked at Destination Maternity and was unimpressed. I have had some luck in the past with non-maternity dresses in an 8 or a 10 that have shirring or ruching around the middle. I would prefer something not black. Thanks in advance!

    • Target has some cute maternity clothes.

      • Maybe try some of those Target jersey dresses people have linked to? They often have ruching or a cross-over top, and then a fuller skirt. You’ll just have to try on a few to see what size you are now.

    • Punch Biopsy :

      Do you have a Zulily account? It’s a flash site for all things kids/baby/maternity. They often have great looking maternity dresses. I would also try Boden, Loft and Gap.

      Don’t worry too much about how you look. When I was pregnant, I retained water like crazy and gained 40 pounds. My ankles, face and arms were huge. Two weeks after delivery I had already lost about 25 pounds, all of it baby and water. I felt like all I did was sweat for two weeks. :) If you are retaining water, there is not really anything you can do about it. Good luck!

    • Research, Not Law :

      Sounds like I’m a pretty similar shape and size when pregnant. If so, back away from the flowing dresses. Instead, go for a fitted top and skirt (or pants/crops).

      Places to look: Gap/ON, LOFT, Isabella Oliver, Lilac

      Links to (hopefully) follow.

      • Fashion Help :

        Thanks, everyone! I got a dress from Isabella Oliver that I think will work.

  23. recent grad :

    I’m going on vacation next week and will FINALLY have some time for pleasure reading. Anyone read any good books lately that I should pick up? I’m into more light, easy reads — a Jodi Picoult tear jerker might not be great for a week at the beach. TIA!

    • Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out W/Out Me.

    • A Vision in White by Nora Roberts, very light, but a quick, easy read. It’s part of the Bride Quartet (Bed of Roses, Savor the Moment, and Happily Ever After at the other three). I plan to get the other 3 books and read them soon. Although it did make me hungry for wedding cake. The series is about a group of 4 friends that run a wedding business, and each book is about one of the friends falling in love. Now I really want to quit my job and become a wedding planner.

    • If you are not easily offended, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson. Check out her blog first for a taste of what’s in store (The Blogess). Full disclosure- Jenny is a friend and I’m a Texan, so this book was Laugh Out Loud funny for me. Funnier than Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”! I still think it would be funny if you’re not Texan, but it probably helps.

    • Seattleite :

      Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand; The Shell Seekers; Sweet Potato Queen’s Book of Love.

      • TurtleWexler :

        I love The Shell Seekers. It is the mac n cheese of my literary world.

      • In House Counsel :

        Love me any of the Rosamunde Pilcher books for a nice beach read — if you check out Shell Seekers, also check out September (sort of a sequel)

    • Have you tried The Hunger Games? Loved loved loved them.

      (Not light exactly.)

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