Weekend Open Thread

Warehouse Organza SkirtSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

This is not my usual style at all, but I really like this organza skirt (and, fine, the matching crop top if you must). I think it’s sexy, and a great way to show a bit more leg in a demure, fun way for an evening out.  The skirt is $83.34 at ASOS. Warehouse Organza Skirt



  1. Mary Ann Singleton :

    I saw a similar question over on Mr Money Mustache, and I thought it would be interesting to hear what ideas you high-achieving ladies have on this. Say, for the purpose of this game, that you’ve saved up enough money to retire early. Not a huge amount of funds – just enough so that you can withdraw say 4% a year to live off if you keep your expenses down. Say also that you wanted to pick up some work to supplement that – you don’t really need the money, but you think it would be good to have some small income stream and get yourself activated during the week. What would you do? (Ranging from a few hours a week to a few days per week.) This is different from volunteering, which you would still have plenty of time to do. This is also different from the question of what you would do if you won bucket loads of cash in the lottery.

    I would probably try to do something involving horses (no surprise there) – perhaps giving horseback riding lessons to kids, or, if I lived somewhere scenic, take people out on horseback guided tours in the mountains. Or perhaps works as a wilderness guide (although I know in national parks, for example, most of those jobs are volunteer positions.) I would maybe pick up some dog walking clients so my dog and I would have company on our daily walks (which I picture would be long if I didn’t have to work full time!).

    I would also love to do something that would let me pick up some skills I could use – for example some home renovation work or carpentry. I would avoid anything that involves sitting at a desk since that’s what I do way too much now.

    (I am nowhere near actually being in this situation, I just think it’s an interesting question to think about.)

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Love the dog walking idea.
      I would try to do some photography– family (couples engagements, babies, families). A friend of my moms is a second shooter for weddings. All of the fun of photographing the event without the pressure of being the main photographer and having to get everything and get it all perfectly!

    • Lady Harriet :

      I would work in a thrift store that gets nice donations. It’s always seemed like such a fun job to sort through & price all the things that come in, and much more exciting than regular retail.

    • –Teach a class or two with no graded assignments but extremely motivated students (undergrad or above)
      –Review books and movies for my adoring following who hang on my every opinion
      –Write a weekly life and/or fashion advice column for same

      My husband has also suggested I host a radio talk show a la Diane Rehm, which would be known for the exceptionally confrontational manner in which I engage my guests. It would be called “A Punch In The Mouth With [Monday].”

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I would also like to do the second one!

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        A radio talk show. That is awesome.

      • I would listen THE CRAP out of that show ;o)

        • That’s all? I’d expect you to call in regularly.

          • well that went without saying. I would volunteer myself up for a punch in the mouth Constantly!!! ;o)

      • I’m teaching an open course / adult ed and it is amazingness. Would definitely recommend if the opportunity presents itself, no marking, engaged students from all walks of life.

    • I would like to have my own knitting blog. I’d have to get more up to speed since I’m not even on Ravelry (due to lack of spare time), but I’ve always loved creating my own patterns and I love beautiful yarns and cable stitches.

      • Oh that sounds awesome! My local yarn store owner creates patterns and is such a wonderful resource (she’s a retired microbiologist). I also love yarns and intricate patterns and adapting patterns. Right now, I’m knitting a baby blanket that’s adapted from the cable pattern in a sweater. I supposedly wrote it down the first time I did it, but it wasn’t right! Had to rip out the border and start over.

      • Oh and the other thing that was fun for me knitting-related was, after Katrina when I was displaced in PA and feeling useless, I started volunteering to help teach knitting at a local yarn store. It was so much fun!

    • try to work part time for a theater or other arts organization. I’d be happy to do part-time fundraising, but i’d especially love to have a totally free schedule to help build sets, make costumes, do random needs for a theater company. And I would probably also do more kitty fostering and helping out with the animal rescue. MORE FURRY KITTEHS!!!!

    • I’d like to do some sort of small scale dessert catering.

      Other ideas: work part time at a rock climbing gym or ice skating rink, be a museum tour guide, or work at a book store.

    • I would tutor.

    • I would write, in some way. I’d like to (and have dabbled in in the past, but it takes way more time than I can spare) blog or write columns on politics or food. Or both. Or I think that I’d enjoy picking a topic and researching the heck out of it for a nonfiction book of some sort.

    • Anonymous :

      Work in a pottery painting studio (like where you can go and paint pottery and they glaze/fire it for you). Whenever I go paint pottery its such a relaxed environment, and holding classes for the kids could be fun.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d like to be a running coach or a yoga instructor. Definitely something active.

      • Same (which surprises me).

      • Senior Attorney :

        I used to teach martial arts and I loved it. I’m kind of over the whole “hitting and kicking and being hit and kicked in return” thing at this point, though.

        I’d probably look into becoming a personal trainer. Would concentrate on clients my age.

    • Personal shopper and wardrobe consultant. I love going through people’s closets and creating new outfits.

    • Horses! Absolutely. I rode as a child up through high school, then again in law school (to combat stress), and I would give anything to ride right now. Unfortunately, two kids in DC daycare does not leave money for expensive extras. If I were retired, I would definitely want to do something with horses, and of course do some freelance writing. I do that on the side now, and while the extra money is nice, I do it because I just love it.

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        The problem for me with doing something with horses for some additional income, is that I would most certainly develop a habit of accumulating more horses.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Ok thinking about it more I think I’d like to be a private investigator. One who does the digital side of investigating and not the one out in the field. I love researching things and connecting the dots so I think I’d enjoy that.

      • hellskitchen :

        Me too. In fact I did some internships early in my career that were basically digital investigating and I loved it! We should go into business together :-)

      • backgrounder :

        This is my daily job. I guess you could say I stalk folks on the interwebz for a living? *facepalm*

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Can I ask how you got into this? What is a job like this called? I’ve been thinking about trying to find a non-law job and trying to figure out my strengths and what types of work I enjoy but I haven’t really taken the leap into searching for a job yet. I’d be grateful for any info you could share about your career or advice for someone looking to get into it!

          • Political campaign researchers basically do this. With some fun field work too!

          • backgrounder :

            Hi Sydney – I actually fell into this line of work. After grad school and deciding I didn’t want to go to law school I started looking for research, writing and analysis-intensive jobs. The titles vary but usually fall under the category of investigative researcher or corporate investigator or business intelligence analyst in some cases the titles can be really vague like investigative consultant.

            Each firm is different but I work for a fairly large company. We perform a variety of private investigative services for corporations, law firms, private equity firms, etc. We also work a lot with internal and external counsel who often direct the work. We do everything from background reports, specialized fact finding, pre-deal due diligence to asset searching or sometimes setting up surveillance on subjects in ongoing litigation. A lot of the work is public records intensive. At the junior level most of the work is research, analysis and writing reports. At the more senior level it’s client-facing and managing the research. There is some field work (interviews, etc.) but a lot of times we use subs who are often former federal law enforcement to conduct surveillance and other field work.
            We have a few law refugees but you could honestly do the job w/a bachelor’s degree. Skills from the legal field should definitely be transferable. We do a lot of synthesizing of large amounts of data, summarizing info into concise reports and connecting the dots between people, places and events. Sometimes we use intelligence analysis software.

            Our work is sort of similar to opposition research which is what researchers on political campaigns do – collecting adverse information on political opponents.

            I hope this helps a bit :)

          • Prospect Research for fundraising or development teams in similar. You can do it in-house at a non-profit or there are firms which take on that work for a non-profit.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            That is super helpful! Thank you backgrounder, Bette, and Anon!

        • I want your job! I’ve been thinking about leaving law and been trying to picture what I would like to do. You basically described it to a T. Now I know what to start looking for.

    • I’d start a travel and food blog. And maybe move abroad and work a few hours a week at an English-language library, or maybe start a low-key tour operation for My Type of People (e.g. nerds who like eating and drinking and seeing cool cultural sh*t, but who don’t get stressed out about All the Things).

      • That is exactly my kind of vacation! Mostly relaxation, but with some intellect & local culture thrown in too.

    • Anonattorney :

      I’d want to be a butcher. There’s just something about the meat case at nice grocery stores. It’s my heaven. Sorry if that’s gross or offensive to vegetarians/animal lovers. :(

      • I went to school with a very happy butcher. She got a degree in the humanities, is super smart, but has a blast managing a Whole Foods butcher shop.

    • I would still practice law but only take the cases that I wanted to take.

    • So glad you asked this. I am exactly in this situation…plenty of money to retire at 40 but DH will work. Don’t need the money but need something to do…..

      • Only thing I can think of is tutoring or to learn a new language to keep my brains oiled.
        But I would love to start my own shop, most likely specializing in maternity wear or simple, casual dresses.

      • I thought about this a few years ago when I had first had a similar opportunity and concluded that I prefer to keep working. I have a vocation for what I do and the people who work in it are my ‘tribe’, for better and for worse. Whereas I’m pretty certain that turning any one of my various extra-curricular interests into a full-time project would result in lower satisfaction than what I currently get out of it …

    • I live in a very touristy area and I would absolutely love to be a tourist guide. There are guides that hang out on the sidewalks all during tourist season and hand out maps and point tourists toward various attractions. I would absolutely love to do that.

      Or be a museum docent, or drive one of those trolleys around and be a guide.

    • Kjoirishlastname :

      I would probably teach more EMT classes than just a few nights per semester. Maybe get on a more regular schedule.

      I would also love to be a birth doula. Or lactation consultant. Or any combination thereof that lets me work with mamas and newborns.

      I could also be a consultant to the private industry for rezonings and such, using my current job/training. I think it might be neat to go back to the private side and work with “loftier” ideas than just commercial development. Really good mixed use, affordable housing and/or more varied housing, etc.

    • I love school, so I would probably go back for a master’s or Ph.D. in music history and one in art history. And to earn some spending money, I would try to get into the paid section of of the chorus I now sing in as a volunteer . . . .

      I’d also love to read to people as a paid reading companion. I saw this in an article somewhere lately, and thought it sounded amazing.

  2. Lovely ladies – may I vent, please?
    I work in a pretty hierarchical office. While I’m not in support staff, I’m on the lower end of the totem pole. I say this not because being support makes one worse or better, but for background, since this is a gripe on office culture.
    So my cube is next to the office of a top level guy – we’ll call him Greg. Because we both work on a number of projects together, he’ll stop by my desk once or twice a day to discuss the projects.
    So I have a few people here who frequently walk up to Greg, while we’re talking, and just start a new conversation. The other day he was talking to me about an analysis I’d done, and asking about more implications. While we were talking, this co-worker (also higher up than me) walks up to us, and without even looking at me, and seemingly like we’re not already talking, turns to Greg and says, “So did you get that email from X?” And just starts a whole new discussion. I’m still at my desk, since I’m at a cube, and Greg’s standing. And now this new dude’s standing at my cube, actually leaning on it. So I’m weirdly in and out of the conversation, about which I know nothing. And it doesn’t matter – other co-worker’s not including me in it, and has just interrupted mine and Greg’s original convo without even apologizing/acknowledging he’s doing it.
    What’s kind of a drag is I have a friend here who does the same thing. She just did it again now – I’m talking to Greg, and she comes out of her office and says, “Oh! Didn’t know you were back, Greg!” And launches into a discussion with him as if we weren’t even talking! She, too, is several grades above me. But it’s disappointing, because we’re friends.
    I’ve just never worked in such a hierarchical place. I get good reviews here, and I generally like my work. But this kind of crap is starting to get to me.

    • Probably should’ve put a question in there: am I perhaps being oversensitive to these folks??

    • No, you are not being oversensitive, that is Straight Up Rude!

      Honestly if it were me, I would interrupt New Person, “Just quickly, Greg, I have something to finish, let me know when you want to continue that conversation” and turn away/put on headphones.

      It’s obviously hierarchical, so you can’t really insist on finishing your conversation, but I think it is within your rights to step out of the conversation and get back to work.

      Also, your friend, I would talk to her when you are alone sometime and tell her what has been happening, that you are actually usually having a substantive conversation with Greg that you would like to finish. Can she ask first before changing the subject? I think if you do it professionally, she shouldn’t be offended, and if she is your friend she should want to support you.

      I’m sorry people are so rude, RAWRR!

      • You are so sweet to respond, and to sympathize! Ugh, it is rude ,and I appreciate your validation. Really smart and constructive suggestion, too – I love it. Acknowledges the interruption but subtly and professionally, and lets me get back to work. Thanks!

    • That is rude. Is it possible that people don’t know you’re conversing since you’re sitting? Perhaps try standing up when you’re talking to Greg so it’s clear that you’re talking.

      • +1. And if you need to show him something on the computer, email it to him and use his office so that it’s clear you are actually in the middle of a discussion with him. Or, whenever he comes over to your cube to discuss something, if it’s longer than a yes/no question, ask if you can discuss it in his office. The first time you ask will probably be a bit awkward but after that, it’ll be fine.

        • Thanks so much for your replies. Unbelievaby, it’s happened when we’re in his office, too, which shows me that it’s not just that they can’t tell we’re talking bc I’m sitting. That was a great thought, though, but the way it’s set up here, what with Greg looking down at me and us going back and forth, there’s no way the interrupters can’t know we’re in conversation. It really is the craziest thing – no preamble, no pause or “hey, sorry, just need a sec” — just straight up launching into discussions with him like I’m not even there.

      • just Karen :

        +2 I think it may just be that people don’t realize that you aren’t just chatting.

        • Good point. But even so, you don’t think it’s rude to just start a new conversation, about something I wouldn’t know, with Greg? If you don’t think it is – that’s actually good to know! Because then maybe I am overreacting, and I shouldn’t maybe be so angry about this. That’s totally one of the reasons I like writing here – to get different perspectives, since mine’s so often skewed. :)

          • just Karen :

            I think it is probably rude, but my (shared) paralegal works in an open area that is at the top of the stairway and everyone passes by her desk to go to the watercooler or the bathroom, so there is a LOT of chatting. It is rude of me, but often I come out of my desk asking her a question without regard for who else is there…that said, it would be different if the attorney I share her with was the person talking to her – I wouldn’t interrupt then. I know your hierarchy is different, but just something to consider…if Greg is a chatty person, it may be that people have learned that if you want hope of talking to him, you just do it. (and I will try to be more polite to others after reading your viewpoint!)

    • Totally rude. I like the suggestion about also standing up (when possible) to signify that you’re having a discussion with him rather than just chitchatting (which is what these people must be assuming — but simply ignoring you is just so.rude.) And saying something to your friend might give you a better sense of what’s going on — are you really putting on your invisible cloak in the morning or is it just the nature of this particular workplace?

      • Thanks! I can’t believe how vindicating (sadly) it is to hear that this is indeed rude. Great call on talking to my friend, too, to find out what it could be.

    • Yay! Open thread’s! I love open thread’s, but OMG, the manageing partner made me come back to work early today b/c we got notice of an IRS Audit of the firm. The manageing partner said I have to get my record’s together b/c the firm was onley recentley converted to an LLC and before that it was a partnership and had it’s own set of return’s that are now subject to IRS audit for the year’s 2003-2011. I told the manageing partner I was still in college in 2003, so how would I know anything about what was goieng on here then! He said we have to work all weekend b/c the IRS will be sendeing a guy to look at our record’s and ask question’s on our return’s. FOOEY! I hope this goe’s away fast, b/c the manageing partner says we can not bill the time we waste with this IRS guy to any of our cleint’s!

      Since I am now a partner, he said that I could be libel, but dad says I was not a partner then. HELP! I hope dad is right b/c this is turneing out to be a big pain and I might not be abel to go tothe Superbowl party. FOOEY!

    • All of this is great advice but I think Greg owns some of the culpability here too. Could you have a conversation with him about this? Make it less about how it makes you feel and instead focus on how unproductive it is when your time with him is interrupted. At some point, Greg needs to man up and tell the constant interrupters that he’s in the middle of something important with you.

      • This is such an excellent point. I think he’s aware of it and looks like he feels kind of bad at times. Sadly – he won’t do a thing, I’m sure. He’s up there, but he’s shy and introverted and just extremely conflict averse. And as awful as it is, as entrenched as the hierarchy is — no one’s going to want to risk anything on my behalf. And he’s even a pretty kind guy.

        It’s just really getting to me. In my old department I was in a cube, too, but everyone was. Then I was moved here, and the cubes are for support and the like, and the majority of the people (in higher grade levels) are in offices. I’m actually in a pretty high grade level too, but not as high as the rest. And in my old department – I wouldn’t have thought of grades. It didn’t matter – it was egalitarian there, despite what our assigned roles were. But it feels different here. When people hang out at your cube to have conversations without you, or interrupt you like you’re not there – man, it wears on you!

        • One thing I have noticed is that people who I sometimes find rude, they don’t even know, or they have more of a tolerance for rudeness. Like if these people don’t realize they’re interrupting you, they probably wouldn’t think it was weird at all if you interrupted them.

          So it’s something to think about – don’t worry about “being rude” back to these folks. They probably won’t take it as rude.

  3. Olivia Pope :

    I can’t believe crop tops are becoming a thing again. I do not accept.

    • +1. I’ve had two kids and while I’m pretty at peace with what pregnancy did to my body, crop tops are not my friend.

      • hoola hoopa :

        ha! My thoughts, too. Good thing I wore the heck out of babydolls in the 90’s because I’m going to have to pass this time.

    • Lady Harriet :

      +1 I didn’t believe it when someone told me they’d come back in style.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      This is one trend I can guarantee I will not be participating in during this cycle!

    • Everything becomes A Thing again. I don’t accept most of them.

    • Nope. Nope. NopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNope


    • No thank you. Wasn’t that big of a fan when they were popular the first time.

    • Property Q :

      And sweatpants. Somewhere I recently visited online had a lot of them. But now they’re “gathered leg fleece pants.”

    • I somehow don’t mind the crop top with this skirt. I would never wear it but think it would look great on a slim young woman.

    • I actually really like the look, though I wouldn’t wear it. It makes me nostalgic for 90’s fashion that was all the rage when I was a pre-teen. Part of me would wear the crop top just because I am now old enough that my mother can’t forbid me to go out of the house with my stomach showing :-)

      • Anonymous :

        Lucky you! I’m 40 and my mother recently forbade me from going outside with my stomach showing — after my full-length sweater rode up because I was carrying two heavy boxes and my beige t-shirt became visible for a few seconds.

        I love the look, too, but also could not wear it. Wish I had had it when I was 22.

      • Anonymous :

        I was a teenager in the ’90s and I wore my fair share of cropped baby tees from Contempo Casuals. I had one in every color to go with my skater skirts.

      • I’d totally wear a crop like this, with something sleek and high-waisted. I’d buy one if I had parties or events to wear it to, but grad school has turned me into a housebound hermit who only drinks wine while curled in the fetal position around my dog.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        I wore a dress with cutouts to a wedding recently and it was a hit. I think I could wear a crop top if I found one I liked. (Also, I wear sarees, which have a bit of a crop top vibe and are actually absolutely traditional!)

    • Not are becoming, have been for several seasons and still are a thing.

      • Crop tops! I am sadly short waisted and they generally turn into regular tops on me…

        • ExcelNinja :

          I’m long-waisted and it just looks like the shirt is too small for me!

  4. Anonymous :

    I want to get a pedicure to clean up my feet (calluses and the like). I usually paint my toe nails at home because I’m a little OCD about germs. How do you all assess whether a salon is being 100% sanitary?

    Any recs in the DC area too are welcome.

    • I like V nails in Columbia Heights. They are inexpensive and do a nice job. Considering how busy they get on the weekends, I’d surmise that I’m not the only one who thinks they do a decent job.

    • Not in DC but this how I evaluate (as an admitted germaphobe). I read Yelp and other online reviews and ask friends (who I know feel similarly to me in regards to cleanliness). I also will stop by before committing to an appointment to check out the place. I prefer places that are incredibly well lit and look super clean even when really busy. I love the places that open a new shrink wrapped kit for each person or have the autoclave/sterilizers in plain view and I can see the nail techs using them.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Kellea at Nusta Spa is fantastic.

    • just Karen :

      If you want to get rid of callouses but are open to home pedicures, you might try Babyfeet – you soak your feet in enzyme filled plastic boots for an hour, wash it off, and a week later your feet apparently slough off all the dead skin…kind of gross science expirement-ish, but I have been told it works great. I soaked mine last night and am now waiting… I paid $25 and bought it at my hair salon.

      • Leopard is a neutral :

        I just did Babyfeet a couple weeks ago and I love it! It takes a couple days & when it starts peeling, it’s pretty gross but strangely satisfying. It took about a week for it to be completely done and my feet are so soft now. I have been raving to a few friends about it and they ordered it too (it was on sale on Amaz*n Prime for $18 last week). I rarely pipe up about these things but I’m a total convert.

    • Do some research and see if nail salons or nail techs are regulated or certified in your state. A few years ago there was an expose in my state saying there is no regulation of salons at all, and the results were pretty terrifying.

  5. Shopping challenge :

    Shopping challenge, please. I am looking for a black full skirt to wear to work. I am sick of how much the pencil skirts bunch with tights – even with plenty of static guard – and want a change of silhouette, too.

    Can anybody find any full skirts that hit at the knees? No scuba material (although the way they drape is sort of the look I want), something a little more than just plain a-line, need not be in suiting wool and I find ponte to pill easily. I also don’t want something with just a flare/kick pleat or flounce. Box pleats might do the trick. I am not averse to a midi, but it would have to be hemmed as I am petite (5’3″) and want it to be at the knees. Most of the skirts where I like the drape are mini or the new scuba fabric. Also, no more than say $150-200. Help please?

    • I don’t have time to hunt around now, but Talbots often has full skirt options, especially in spring.

    • For a midi option: http://www.pendleton-usa.com/product/Women/SKIRTS/SKIRTS/WORSTED-WOOL-FLANNEL-BIAS-SKIRT/170136/sc/1809/c/1809/pc/1815.uts

      • For shorter one: http://www.garnethill.com/eileen-fisher-viscose-jersey-pleated-skirt/womens-fashion/skirts/343937

      • Shopping Challenge :

        I’ve heard so much about Pendleton but never ordered from them. This skirt is lovely! Per the size charts, it looks like I’m a 2, but I don’t see any 2s on any of the skirts. Any idea how their clothes run – large, small, true to size? Thanks so much for your help, AIMS and ladies!

    • I see a couple from Macy’s INC brand. Links to follow:

      • http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/inc-international-concepts-flared-a-line-skirt?ID=1225980&CategoryID=131#fn=sp%3D1%26spc%3D22%26kws%3Dinc%20black%20skirt%26slotId%3D8

        same one in petite:



    • I love pencil skirts but also wanted more variety and recently picked this up at AT, I think it would work for you: http://www.anntaylor.com/petite-kick-pleat-skirt/331226?colorExplode=false&skuId=15424051&catid=cata000031&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=6600

      • Shopping challenge :

        I saw this one– how does it look/fit on you?

        • I think it’s really cute. I’m 5’2″ and it comes right to the bottom of my knee. At first I thought I can only wear it with an untucked top that hits right at hip level, but then I wore it with a tucked in blouse and liked how it looked. It has a wide waistband, no belt loops. For reference I’m an hourglass.

    • darjeeling :

      I have the exact skirt you’re describing (and I’m 5’2) and it’s from Reiss. I got it last fall and don’t see it on their website although it’s similar to this one, but with hidden pockets http://www.reiss.com/us/womens/skirts/dinara/night-sky/

  6. This is kid-related so if you’re not interested, please skip!

    How did you people with children decide how many was the right number? DH and I have two kids — oldest is four, youngest is one. He and I both have one sibling apiece and have long thought we’d probably have three…that number, for whatever reason, feels “right” to us.

    However: I find myself constantly worried about what a third kid would do to our family dynamic. We have our hands full keeping up with two! Neither of our children are particularly high-needs or anything, but our days are long and our nights are short (in the sleep department). Both of us work full time and would likely continue to do so, even with a third child in the mix.

    My biggest worry (even beyond the time/management required of three children) is money. Kids cost a lot! Trips, club sports, possibly private school given where we live…makes my head spin. At the same time, I figure things will just work themselves out the way they sort of always do in families. We’re pretty frugal people, and while we can always cut back I also want to be able to do stuff with our kids, y’know?

    Just looking for advice from anyone who’s been down this road before. Thanks, ladies.

    • There’s really no “right” number, it all comes down to what you and your DH think you want/are willing to do. The concerns you have are certainly valid, but tons of people manage these concerns just fine because they are committed to having 3 kids.

      I grew up in a family of 3 kids and am adamant about only having 2 kids because of it (and because of all the concerns you mention). DH is also one of 3 kids and feels similarly. My sister and her husband (also one of 3 kids) plan to have 3 kids.

      • If you can afford another child, great! Have at it with DH!!! If another kid will be a financial strain, practice safe sex, and if this is not feasible, whenever DH approaches with intent to penetrate, do as Grandmother taught — keep a dime between thy knees!

      • If you can afford another child, great! Have at it with DH!!! If another kid will be a financial strain, practice safe sex, and if this is not feasible, whenever DH approaches with intent to penetrate, do as Grandmother taught — keep a dime between thy knees!

    • This is so embarrassing to admit, but before getting pregnant, I read a book called Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids. I had been feeling paralyzed about how expensive kids will be (currently pregnant with #1). One of the many helpful points it made was how kids get so much less expensive as you have more of them. The first one is the biggest expense, while the second is only a minor increase, and a third would be an even smaller increase. That being said, I totally agree with you w/r/t the costs of kids — daycare, schools, vacations, etc. really add up! Will definitely follow this thread for advice…

      • Yes and no. Certain things sure. My siblings and I wore hand me downs and used each other’s sports equipment, etc. but you can’t knock the every kid is different thing or that a lot of things are still packaged for families of 4. I required occupational therapy at one point, one sibling required speech therapy. Two out of three of us had braces. One of us fell in love with a more expensive sport than the others. One of us stuck with band and private lessons for longer than the other two. The youngest attended a more expensive college. Vacations deals are for family 4-packs. Restaurants do a free kids meal with purchase of an adult entree.

        I still think any parents who are committed to having three kids can absorb the cost of a third kid, but an increase is still an increase and you really can’t plan for how much of an increase that will be.

      • If you want to put your kids through a top college without saddling them with undergrad debt, you’re looking at $200,000 (probably closer to $300,000 20 years from now) per kid – even for very high-earning families that’s a huge expense. I think the things you save on (maternity clothes, hand-me-downs etc) pale in comparison – especially because you can borrow a lot of that stuff from friends who are already moms. I am child-free but the cost of college is a big part of why I only want 1. And all this applies 10x over if you live in an area with bad public schools and have to put your kids in private schools (or just want to for whatever reason).

        • Wannabe Runner :

          Just for a reality check: I think most families can not afford paying full price for top colleges for their kids. That means kids can qualify for need or merit scholarships, get grants, go to a more affordable school, or take on some loans.

          If you aren’t having kids because you won’t be able to afford to send them to Harvard, you might want to reconsider.

          • My parents put me through an Ivy League school in full. It is important to me that I do the same for my kid(s). I believe need-based aid has increased some since I applied (over 10 years ago) but my parents were solidly middle class (their combined income then was significantly less than a Biglaw first year associate’s) and I was awarded zero need-based aid at my school. Merit-based aid is also very hard to get in significant quantities and not given by top colleges. I was awarded some small external merit scholarships but those were trivial compared to the cost of tuition. Yes, I could have gone to the state U for free but I will be forever grateful to my parents for paying for my school, which I worked very hard to get into and which has opened many doors for me. (It also allowed me to go to a not-quite-as good law school on a full scholarship, without worrying about the lack of ‘prestige’ on my résumé, thus saving me hundreds of thousands of dollars). It’s not the only reason I only want 1 kid but its definitely a factor. I think money is actually a factor for many people in deciding whether or not to have more kids.

          • Wannabe Runner :

            I think you are very forward-looking to consider this type of resource that you can pass on to your kids. You also have a very good attitude about the gift your parents were able to give you – that it took work on both your part and on theirs, and you seem very grateful.

            But there are lots of parents out there who don’t have an extra $300k and have a kid anyway. What if you save up all this money for your kid’s college fund, and limit yourself to only one kid (even though you want more) because you only have enough to pay for one kid’s college at a top school, and then your one kid decides at age 18 to get a job on an oil rig instead of go to college?

            I think it’s very admirable to aim for this kind of college fund, but I don’t think it’s realistic for many of the readers of this site, and my ability to provide this precise fund is not what my decision to have a kid is based on. Of course, finances are an important thing to consider. But at age 34, I’m not going to wait until I’ve saved up $300,000.

    • Bewitched :

      I have three (and came from a family of 4), so always knew that 3 seemed just right for me. That said, my mom didn’t work, and it has been quite an endeavor to raise three kids. All of mine are older now, and we did it (even while working full time), but sometimes it has been overwhelming. For example, I have a kid with a learning disability and it feels like we spend a.lot.of.time on that aspect of his development-doctor’s appts, therapy appts, school appts. etc. Two of our three kids are very involved in sports, and it often feels like we are in the car 5 nights a week, even with car pools. For a while, a mini van was almost required, given 3 kids and maybe a friend or two. Now the older ones are driving so that’s less of a concern, but we definitely have gone to two hotel rooms for vacations, for example. Ultimately, I think it just comes down to your gut feeling as to what is the “right” family size for you. I felt two kids was too small (maybe coming from a family of 4?), but three was just right.

    • OCAssociate :

      While my husband and I both grew up with families with 3 kids, 2 is our limit. (Frankly, I’d stick with one, but I like the idea of having them play together.)

      Both of my SILs have 3+. They both said that it always felt like the family wasn’t complete/someone was missing before the 3rd kid. Maybe you can consider how you feel about that? If your family just doesn’t feel “complete” then maybe having a third is your best choice.

      Also, everyone I know who has more than 2 kids says that going from 2 to 3 is a piece of cake, compared to having one and then doubling it.

      • This is really interesting to me because I read an article on Huffington Post that 3 was the most stressful number of children to have. Something about being “outnumbered” at that point (whereas those with 4+ sort of loosen the reigns and accept they don’t have time for everything).

        • Property Q :

          My sister has 4. She said that 3 to 4 was no big deal but 2 to 3 was really tough.

          • 2 to 3 was a hard transition for us, but a big part of that, I think, was #3 was born the Sept #1 started Kindergarten, so our days weren’t as flexible any more. I worked p/t from home at that time.

            A family of 5 is definitely expensive if you want it to be. No way we could afford private schools (luckily our public schools are great). Vacations are hard because it’s difficult to book hotels that sleep 5 in advance, unless you want to pay $$$$. Activities can be tough because what if they are all going different directions one night? It takes more planning, and carpooling with other parents.

            That being said, we always knew 3 was our number, and after #3 came along, we did just feel like our family was complete. We do have to limit some of the activities, etc. that our boys do, due to finances & logistics. But I don’t see that necessarily as a bad thing. They are learning prioritizing, that things cost money, etc. And I’ve always considered a sibling to be one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. I hope my boys stay close through the years. I know I’m grateful for my siblings – they are definitely more important to me than any extra curricular activities I did or may have missed out on due to finances when I was a child/teen.

      • I have heard (on this site!) this described as the difficulty of going from man-on-man to zone defense. I like it.

    • Anonymous :

      I would also be interested in hearing about the transition from 2 to 3 kids. Our kids are 4 and 2, and we’re hoping to add another within a year.

      DH is SAH and wants to be until the youngest is in school, so having another puts him another few years out. He’s working (very) part-time and keeping his license, but he has not been full time since 2009. Another kid would put him out for a decade and in his late 40’s, so he’s worried he won’t be an appealing candidate.

      I’m concerned about being spread too thin. Being a full-time working mom of two feels like a lot, so I’m not sure how I’d do with three. I’m less concerned about the money for activities and vacations (although it certainly adds up!!) and more concerned about my attention and patience. It doesn’t help that we’re moving to the suburbs for schools/sqftage, so my 10-min commute will become ~40 min. I’m really going to miss that hour with my kids, so adding one more seems impossible.

      We’re taking a long view, though. In the end, we want three kids in our family. So we’re going to leap and hope we figure it out! I’m nervous.

    • Diana Barry :

      We have 3. I always wanted 3 or 4, DH agreed with me on 3. I could still have 4 but I think DH would go over the edge. :) I came from a family of 3 and DH was one of 2.

      The 3rd does throw a monkey wrench into doing things all together, but only for 2 years….my baby is almost 2 now and although I really miss having a BABY, it is exciting to contemplate doing things as a family. Plus with 2 I feel it is a little back-and-forth – they only fight/play with each other, etc., while a 3rd means that they can both baby the baby and the baby has 2 different ages to look up to.

      We didn’t really consider finances at all.

      • Diana Barry :

        Oh, also, it definitely felt to us like the family wasn’t complete before 3. I felt the baby fever coming on when both #1 and #2 were about 12-15 months old. Now I feel it just a little bit, but it is much duller. :)

        • I went to help my younger sister with her first brand new baby over the weekend, and had zero baby cravings. I was so content to snuggle him and then pass him off to his mom when he was hungry. It reinforced to me that I was totally good with 3.

    • Greensleeves :

      We have three and found that the third really ups the level of chaos in our house! Various things became immediately more complicated, like cars – three car seats/boosters do not fit well in most back seats and you almost have to have a third row. Once the youngest is too big for a pack and play, hotel rooms get interesting. It’s definitely harder to feel like you’re giving them all good one on one time and attention, so be prepared to be much more deliberate about that. And as they get older – activities get crazy. We basically limit our kids to one activity each and even then, we often end up with all three in different places one night each week (because while you can schedule music lessons and such, sports don’t work that way, especially as they get older and begin going multiple nights per week). So it’s no longer a matter of one parent taking one child and the other taking the other. I am frequently surprised by how much easier it is when one of them is not around and I only have two, even when it’s the oldest (and presumably least demanding) that’s gone. I’ve been asked before by friends which transition was hardest – zero to one, one to two, or two to three. It’s a very close call between zero to one and two to three. I thought adding the third was so much harder than adding the second. So those are some of the challenges to keep in mind. All that said, I adore all three of them and I’m glad that we have three! I felt sad after two thinking that we wouldn’t have another and after the third, the family felt complete. They squabble a lot, but also love each other and it’s a lot of fun to watch them together. I love knowing that they each have two strong siblings to look to for the rest of their lives.

      • Cars is insane. You don’t realize how much space three child seats take up until you put three child seats in a car.

    • I struggled a LOT with our decision to have a third. I have twins who are 6 and recently had a baby. I was worried about pregnancy at my age, a third child, tempting fate when we already had two healthy kids, the expense, etc. But it’s been great.

      I think the 2-3 dynamic is a little difference for me, because I first never went from 1 to 2. I went from 0 to 2. That was a bit crazymaking, and after that adding a single, solitary, lone little baby to the mix seemed easy. Also, my older two are both 6, rather than 6 and 3 or something. So, I’m balancing the needs of two 6 year olds and a baby, rather than a 6 year old, a toddler, and a baby. So, for me, the transition from 2 to 3 has been fine. The hard things for me have been changing our routine to something that works given the new person with an entirely different schedule. So, figuring out how to go from a routine that was H getting the older kids ready for school while I got ready for work (and then older kids and I heading off to daycare dropoff while H got ready), now I have to figure out how to get me and baby ready in the morning. It was a month or two learning curve once I went back to work. Mostly though, the baby is completely awesome and joyful for our entire family. We’ve had no drama, no issues, no difficulty–just a fun, happy new person (it helps that the baby is a very, very easy baby as far as babies go). I’m really glad we went for #3.

      Financially, even though we had gotten rid of a lot of stuff from the older two, a combination of having the basic furnishings and a much more realistic sense of what we need at this point has made it not too bad. Daycare expenses for the older two are going way down right when we add the third. So, it’s been a financial hit, sure, but not unmanageable.

    • I have 4. It’s a lot of work! I think 4 hit us as a shock because we were done w/ all the baby stuff and now we have a little one who needs diapers, bottles and can’t crawl or walk yet. The other 3 were so close together in age, we never got out of the woods. We often say (joking!) it’s a good thing she’s cute b/c we had one too many! But I never felt complete until she came along. I am happy to have her.

      We can afford all the kids, but I must say, I think if you make a good living have as many kids as you can reasonably afford. You’ll find a way to make ends meet w/ the lifestyle you want and you’ll regret not having as many as you reasonably wanted forever, I think. I wouldn’t promote this approach if you seriously can’t afford the kids, but if it’s just a matter of “gee, that’s really expensive; it will affect our lifestyle” I would go for it.

      We reuse a lot of stuff and just didn’t buy nearly as much baby stuff for the later kids. You don’t need much. A changing pad (ours is velcroed underneath to a dresser), a crib, a monitor, bottles and a pump. We use cloth diapers for burp cloths and have dressed our kids in tons of hand-me-downs from other families. And we can afford more – just no need to get it. You don’t need but a couple blankets, and you’ll get tons at baby showers. You don’t need tons of clothes – just a few outfits, some onesies and sleepers. You don’t need a baby tub or a fancy stroller – just an umbrella stroller and a frame for your infant seat will do you fine.

      I know they continue to cost as they get older, but we also don’t do a lot of extra stuff like gymnastics or karate. We just don’t have time. Our kids favorite thing to do is play around the house with Tupperware and draw. That stuff is cheap. And now that one is in public school, we have a decreasing daycare bill every year.

    • We have two, and I think we’re done. I came from a family of three and wish I had either one fewer or one more sibling – the three sibling dynamic was really tough for me. Even my parents talk now about how they wished they had had another child – there was supposed to be another between the younger two and they just couldn’t get pregnant for a while, and always regretted they hadn’t still gone for four. I really envied the relationship dynamic of my friends who had only one sibling.

      It also seems like a third child would be a lot more money than our first two. We moved into a two-bedroom apartment that we love shortly after we got married, and still live there 10 years later – if we had a third we’d have to move. Our family has one small car, and if we had a third we’d need a minivan or maybe even a second vehicle to handle the logistics. In church/at concerts/when traveling one child sits on either side of us to wrangle/shush, and if we had a third I feel like our lifestyle would have to change a lot.

      Sometimes I do get baby fever and want to try for four – the big leap would be to three so then why not have another after that! But I don’t want to get stuck at three, like my parents did.

  7. Basics paging Anonymous re Pedicures :

    Can’t reply to your message; can only post a new one?

    The tub (and the pipes and jets) are the real issue according to my derm, who had to prescribe antibiotics for an infection I contracted exactly this way. You can alleviate that by going someplace that fills old-fashioned plastic tubs with water to put your feet in. Or, if the place has jet/massage chairs, ask them to fill a plastic tub and put it into the spa chair’s empty tub instead.

    Also, clearly, individually sterilized sets of tools (in those sealed plastic pouches) or bring your own tools.

    • Anonymous :

      Good to know! You’d think it was the other way around!

      • Basics paging Anonymous re Pedicures :

        My derm said that the germs grow in the jets and the only way to properly clean them between clients is to flush them with antiseptic and let them soak in it for some time. Obviously not happening between clients, and maybe not even overnight at every place.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          It’s like jets in bathtubs for your home. “Hot tub”-like bathtubs seem nice until you realize they’re a pain to clean.

  8. Small Town Attorney :

    Shoe care question:

    My go-to black pumps have a leather fringe on the vamp like a man’s shoes (will post a link if I can find one). On one of the shoes, the fringe has started to curl. Any thoughts as to how to straighten it out? It’s a very minor thing, but when I was waiting in line today and looking at my feet it started to bother me.

    • Small Town Attorney :

      Here’s a link: http://www.dsw.com/shoe/franco+sarto+rufina+pump?prodId=287017

    • Sounds like you need to condition/soften the leather. Nice shoe!

    • I have had such shoes in the past, and eventually the fringe always curled. I never tried conditioning the leather, though, so it’s worth a try.

    • This may sound odd but I have to do this to a similar pair of pumps as well as my golf shoes. Take a reasonably thick rubberband or hair tie and place it around the lower part of the fringe/kiltie when storing them.

  9. Need to Improve :

    I just got a pair of really nice suede heels. Am I supposed to spray some kind of protectant on them? Is that just to protect the shoes from the elements? I don’t tend to walk around the streets in my heels–I change into them when I get to work. So I am less worried about rain, etc., more about the suede getting gross quickly.

    • chicago chic :

      I spray all of my suede with a waterproofing suede protector, but I wear my shoes outside. If you really will never wear them outside, I probably wouldn’t bother protecting them.

      I have a suede cleaning brush + “eraser” that I use for cleaning up little imperfections as needed.

    • I spray all of my suede with the protector and try not to wear them outside but you never know when you may have to. I’m not a chronic spiller but I’ve definitely splashed my shoes with water while washing my hands and dribbled coffee/milk on them as well. Even with the spray I wouldn’t want to go jump in a puddle. I’ve also got the suede brush and eraser chicago chic mentions and they work well to remove/hide the splash marks.

  10. Handbag/camera bag question :

    Do you think that I could get away with carrying this bag as my daily purse (to a business/business casual workplace)?


    • I think absolutely yes. I didn’t even realize why you were asking until I came back to see that it’s called a “camera bag.” It looks like a regular handbag to me.

    • Olivia Pope :


    • Absolutely.

    • Perfectly fine.

      One of my work “briefcase”/messenger bags is actually a diaper bag. Don’t tell. :)

      It fits files and even my laptop perfectly! It’s also a perfect carry-on for travel.

  11. btw, I actually super love this skirt, and totally want it. And kind of wish it was a dress, because I like the top part of the shirt.

    • It can be! http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/vince-camuto-chiffon-inset-dress/3663475?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=3990&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_11_B

  12. ASOS maternity sizing :

    Can anyone weigh in on how ASOS maternity clothes fit? There is a dress I really want but my size is sold out. Wondering whether I can get away with the next size up or down, which are both available.


    • Diana Barry :

      Size up. I sized up 1 or 2 sizes in ASOS when I was pregnant.

      • Ditto. And I’ve only gained weight in my bump (and only 25 lbs at 38 weeks pg). I was a JCrew size 4 pre-preg and I’m consistently a 6/8 in ASOS Maternity. Also, if you order more than $200 there may be additional duties imposed when the package ships (if you’re in the US), which takes some time to clear up (I didn’t have to pay it but it took about 10 days to get my package which was express shipped).

      • Yup. Size up. And if it’s body con, you definitely want to size up.

  13. For those of you with impostor syndrome:


    • That’s great. Maybe it’s just the mood I am in, but reading how ridiculous it sounds in that article may be more beneficial than reading a serious psych article about it.

      • Yeah, I thought the same. Sometimes a nice figurative and comedic face-punch is better than a serious psych article trying to analyze why we might feel this way.

      • hoola hoopa :

        I thought the same thing, also.

  14. Promotion or Raise? :

    Hi Ladies – if you wanted to ask for a promotion based on rearrangement of your job description, but your annual review was coming up on in two months anyway, would you ask for the promotion when your job responsibilities change or wait for the review? Would you ask for a raise in the meantime?

    • hoola hoopa :

      If you want a promotion (title change) then definitely do it while they are changing your job responsibilities, since both have to do with your job description. HR changes are a pain, so best to do it all at once.

      If you want a raise (more money) then I’d bring it up now and bring it up again at the annual review if need be. The more opportunities to make your case or get it to the top of your supervisor’s to-do list the better.

    • Wildkitten :

      Ask for both now.

  15. This may be a sensitive question given the number of TTC and baby posts on this blog, but…does anybody else not like holding babies? I love spending time with and holding my nieces and nephew, but otherwise I am not at all interested in holding babies (I just don’t consider myself a baby person!). I politely decline when asked, but I often feel judged for it. I am probably going to find myself in a baby holding situation again this weekend…any helpful suggestions?

    • hoola hoopa :

      Just continue to politely decline. You can also say that you’re getting over a cold, since that should be an explanation and turn-off.

      Don’t feel badly about it. Be nice, obviously, but it’s fine to not be a baby holder. I have two kids (who I love to hold and cuddle) but I never have been and still am not someone who likes to hold other people’s babies just to hold them.

    • I find babies to be boring up till a certain age. Precious, yes, but boring all the same. I get that some people don’t, and I am sure each parent finds their baby to be the most interesting thing in the world but I just don’t care. If someone just won’t take no for an answer, I take the baby for a minute and then give it back (you can say you have to make a phone call or go to the bathroom, if need be). But for some reason the more you say “no, that’s okay, I’d rather not,” the more someone wants you to hold their baby. So in those situations, it’s easier to just get it over with. Or try, “I’m a dropper, I think your baby would rather I just not” and see how that goes over.

    • I’m indifferent, and also not really sure how I’m supposed to hold them. I have not been around babies much at all and at a recent family event my cousin’s wife plopped her 6 mo old on my lap (simultaneously as she said ‘can you hold him for a minute?’). If you don’t want to and don’t want to say the real reason I’d say a little white lie- it’s best I not because I’m just getting over a cold/flu and don’t want to get the baby sick.

    • I am firmly in the camp of “I love my child, but I don’t love every child” I like holding babies much more now that I am a parent. Part of it is simple know-how and being comfortable holding their floppy bodies. I still wouldn’t say that I want to hold every baby I see. Not judging those who do, it’s just not me. I think it’s okay to decline. You can certainly coo over the baby or tickle a little foot and move on. If the parents are really pushy, then it’s their own rudeness.

    • I don’t care for babies either. No desire to have one of my own at the momemt, or hold any one else’s for that matter. Toddlers, however, are a different story… I react to toddlers much like I react to puppies.

      • Toddlers are lot like puppies- boundless energy, too much curiosity and questionable house-breaking. I always worried that my toddler annoyed the world, glad to hear that there is at least one person out there who thinks they can be delightful.
        Unless you react to puppies in a negative way…

        • ExcelNinja :

          I am someone who loves both toddlers and puppies, but is kind of “meh” on babies! :)

      • Thank you! I have no desire to every have or hold any children, but boy the adorable toddle at my office last week sure had me down on the floor having a crawling race. I LOVE puppies and kitties, so I get it now!

    • Just wanted to say I don’t think it’s an (in)sensitive question! I am currently expecting a very wanted baby following much TTC hand-wringing, and I still don’t like holding babies and am just hoping I will get over it with my own child! My own aversions are 1) fear-based, which will hopefully dissipate quickly/with practice and 2) gross-out based (despite limited experience holding babies, I have been spit up on and pooped on multiple times!), which I will just have to get over (but I don’t think you have to be willing to get over for someone else’s kid!). Anyway, I think it’s fine to refuse and I think the having-a-cold excuse is a good one (since some people see fear-based refusal as an opportunity to encourage you to overcome those fears).

      • Senior Attorney :

        Re: poop and spit-up, it turns out that somehow your gross-out reflex just turns itself off when said poop and spit-up belongs to your own baby.

        I never batted an eye at my own baby’s body fluids, no matter how disgusting, but OMG changing the other kids’ diapers at his co-op nursery school made me want to puke!

    • Mom of 3 here. I love my kids, but I don’t have a desire to hold every baby out there. I’ll hold nieces and nephews, but politely decline holding other babies unless the mom really needs someone to hold her baby so she can do something else easier.

      And I also love toddlers and preschoolers. My favorite nephew (yes, I have a current favorite) is 3 and I could *almost* kidnap him and bring him home with me. Only almost, though. ;) He probably wouldn’t think I was as cool as he does now if he had to live with me – lol.

    • Totally fine, I love holding mine but don’t like holding random babies. Say you’re scared you’ll drop them.

    • I have three children, and I’m still not really into holding other people’s babies. Totally okay to politely decline. I’ve never been offended. I’m always careful not to foist my babies onto other people (although you have to walk a fine line between offering so that the people who want to hold the baby feel like they can and not foisting the baby on someone). I always feel so bad when someone ends up holding my baby who clearly doesn’t want to (usually because someone else in a group has foisted the baby upon them) because I totally get it.

  16. hoola hoopa :

    Totally random, but I looked up Keith Urban on youtube because I’ve started watching American Idol and had no idea who he was – and now I’ve been listening to his music all day! LOL.

    • Just wait until you see him live – definitely one of my favorite concert experiences. I’ve seen him 3x so far, I’m a long-time fan from before he blew up. Beautiful voice and awesome guitar player. You can just tell how much he loves music and and out of all the entertainer’s I’ve seen he strikes me as the most genuinely appreciative of his fans. I just found out he’s performing in my area right on my anniversary, my husband likes him too so we are definitely going for #4.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Oooh, I bet he is good live! He seems really nice on the show, too. Nice that he’s not just a pretty face …because he is gorgeous…

  17. Do you dress your "age"? :

    Do you think your overall dress and style skews younger, older or right on?

    I am 37 and I tend to be drawn to styles that are “younger.” I don’t hate things like distressed jeans, chunky booties, leggings, etc.

    I don’t wear super trendy styles, but I like clothing that is probably a little young for 37.

    My work wardrobe is professional, but way more J. Crew, rather than Talbots or Brooks Brothers. I don’t like sensible shoes.

    • There is nothing wrong with J.Crew at 37. IMO Talbots and Brooks Brothers are marketed for an older demographic.

    • I’m 32 and can go either way but I think I tend to skew more on the young side. I look younger than my age though, most people would guess mid-to-late-20s. I still find myself wandering into Forever 21, but now I feel slightly embarrassed about it.

      • Miz Swizz :

        I couldn’t agree more. I feel a little too old for Forever 21 but I haven’t figured out a slightly more grown-up store to find trendy yet inexpensive things for my age/career. H&M seems to be just as young as F21.

      • ExcelNinja :

        I am 29 and definitely feel way too old for Forever 21 now.

        I would say I dress my age. I have mid-range clothes for work (like Halogen, Limited, Mexx, Vince Camuto), but in fun colours and current styles (like a coral pencil skirt).

        I’m working on accessories. My cheap accessories make me really itchy now (was not the case even 2 years ago) so I’m trying to only buy things that are real gold or silver.

    • Honestly I don’t think there’s that much distinction anymore. Just about every woman I work with wears clothes that look great on them and would look great on someone 20 years younger or older.

    • I’m 43 and work in a conservative field (big law) in a conservative city. I would never wear anything from Talbots as it just looks too frumpy (on me) for my taste. Brooks Brothers can go either way depending on the season, the cut and the color.

      My work wardrobe is professional and historically included a lot of J. Crew but I’ve stopped buying from them due to poor quality for the price point. I’m all over the map for work clothes – I wear a lot of Trina Turk dresses, some Lafayette 148 (but not their pants as the rise is too often too high), some Theory (having quality issues as well), Aritzia blouses, Everlane blouses and some Tahari. My most recent suit purchase was Hugo Boss. I’ve also found good basics and trendier pieces at H&M.

      I am not a fan of sensible shoes either.

      I don’t think I dress too young for my age. There is, however, another female partner at my firm and unfortunately she is a prime example of dressing too young/dressing unprofessional for her position. She’s about 10 years older than me. She frequently makes comments to me about how she is so glad we dress alike which just kills me. Yesterday, we both had tall black boots on — her’s said “pirate” to me because they were over the knee, shiny and just too high while mine were plain, to just below my knee. She had on a mini dress that she admitted to buying at Forever 21; while I had on a ponte dress and tights. I get that’s why there is vanilla and chocolate but she ends up looking silly and I really resent when she thinks we’re the same!

      • Do you dress your "age"? :

        I should clarify. I don’t think I dress young as in poorly. I think I have good taste. I stay away from synthetic fabrics and vinyl shoes. I like tasteful clothing, but tasteful, trendier clothing, which reads a little young to me. I never wear too tight or too short clothing.

        I’m not really sensitive about it. I like my style, I just wondered how other people thought about their own style. I work in a casual law office, so I can sometimes “get away” with things like Jeffrey Campbell booties or maxi dresses in the summer.

        • Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that “younger” meant “tighter/too short.” I guess I don’t mean “younger” and just really mean unprofessional when describing my colleague. I would not be ok with much younger assistant wearing the pirate boots and Forever 21 mini dress either!

    • Kontraktor :

      I think my style skews as ecclectic vs young or old. There are times I feel like I am going on about 65; I have some very traditional items, modest cuts and can seem buttoned up. On the flip side, I also have a lot of things some might consider random or quirky; brightly colored pencil skirts I wear with equally as bright silk blouses (bright orange + turquoise), Kate-Spade-esque bow and polkadot and ruffle bedecked tops, cardis and sweaters with jewels and beads on them. I also have a ton of neutral, more androgynous pieces and enjoy black/ cream / camel /maroon palettes a lot with skinny ankle trousers and edgier blouses. To complicate further, a lot of people have told me I trend vintage sometimes; I have a ton of silk scarves, more vintagey style dresses (think 60s shifts), a more vintagey hair style in the recent past. On casual days, I wear a lot of heavy ponte leggings and tunic-y style blouses or sweaters. Formal days are separates all the way for me, often mixing pattern, texture and color a lot, or suits that aren’t really traditional (maybe more vintage inspired).

      So basically I trend all over the place. Some days I feel like I’m about 80. Other days I feel I’m a bit student-rah. But, I guess I don’t really care. Nothing I wear is immodest or unprofessional; it’s just me. I guess I’d be hosed if I ever had to work for a company that mandated 100% gray suits all the time, but since most places are not like that, I am probably okay and I think my ecclectic style of dressing softens my personality a bit, which tends to come across as standoffish when really I’m just sort of not that emotive and introverted, I swear!! :-)

    • layered bob :

      oldddd…. I dress old. I’m working on it. I’m 26 and half my wardrobe is from Talbots. I always pick up on trends about three years after everyone else. My mom (55) and I share clothes on the regular. It was especially obvious before law school – I was working at a young tech company and could never nail the polished-but-casual-and-trendy vibe. I also tend to dress quite modestly because of my religion, which (in my case) adds to the older-than-my-age look. At law school it’s a little better because I can wear a knit dress, scarf, leggings, and boots every day and look appropriate… even though all the items were borrowed from my *grandmother* on my last trip home…

      • Your grandmother wears leggings and boots?

        • layered bob :

          lol. Yes. Not together – typically leggings as a layer under “slacks,” as she calls them. But she had a nice pair of Cuddl Duds that I nabbed when I was home for Christmas :-) And I have size 11 feet, like all the women in my family, so I take my boots where I can get them.

    • Boston 2L :

      On the other side of things, I am in my early 20s and am often told when shopping with friends that my tastes are too old. I think what I end up actually buying is fine (typically classic), but it’s just the way different tastes work, in my opinion!

      While I love a lot of bold colors and styles on others, I’m most comfortable in relatively plain (but pretty still) and comfortable clothes.

    • I like to think that I dress my age (53), in a stylish way. My role model is a woman I my office (financial services), who is very successful, definitely the best dressed, most stylish person in the office and is 72. She always looks very chic but never inappropriate for her age. It is something I struggle with sometimes though, there is often a fine line between stylish and trendy.

    • This is a very interesting question and I can honestly say, of myself, I am not sure. I suspect I dress my age, however.

    • Abby Lockhart :

      I think I dress my age, but am perceived to dress old. I am older than all of my immediate peers and most of my superiors, and have younger-looking facial features plus occasional breakouts, so people seem constantly surprised by my real age. The misperception is largely an issue of my status, not my “youthful beauty.” Plus, the women I work most closely with tend to dress inappropriately for the office, in my opinion. It makes me very confused about what I should really be wearing to communicate the right image and fit in.

      • I also tend to dress a little older than my age, on purpose, to be taken seriously.

    • darjeeling :

      I dress my age (mid 30s) at my very conservative workplace, but on the weekend I kind of still dress like I did in college. But, I am not going anywhere fancy and basically and you’ll have to pry those converse all stars and messenger bags out of my cold dead hands.

  18. I want a promotion :

    Alright. There has just been a whole organizational shakeup in my company, and I’ve been asked to consider having 2 new people report to me. What these people do (and what I woudl therefore be responsible for) is outside my current scope of responsibility, but fits nicely. I already have a small team and am a senior manager (of a manager and in individual contributor). I would have 2 new people under me, both manager level.

    I”ve been at the company long enough, worked hard enough, and absolutely ought to get a promotion if/when I take on these new reports (and the new responsibility). I have a great rapport with my boss. However, I’m stuck on just exactly how to ASK for a promotion. As in, what language do i use? “Yes, I’ll take on these new reports, but because it’s outside the scope of what i currently do, I’d like a promotion please?” Obviously not. “Sounds great, does it come with a title/pay bump?” THe last fwe times I’ve been promoted, it’s been part of an ongoing development plan. But that was at a different organization.


    • Maybe you can talk about it in terms of reporting structure, workflow, and resources? Something like, “I’m interested in what you proposed, and am thinking about what it will take to manage the additional duties.” Then talk about how supervising the new managers will impact your current work – maybe you need additional resources added to your current team to cover.

      Also, think about the level of the people who will be reporting to you. Is your current title sufficiently senior to the titles of the new reports? Would your department change?

      Finally, armed with that information, tell your boss that you’re interested, and that the new duties sound like a level up from your current position. If you don’t stand up for yourself, no one else will.

      • I’ve got the same technical type but with “senior”. And I make more. So HR would be fine with them as my reports from an admin perspective. I don’t need additional resources to take them on, they’d simply be doing what they do today for me but reporting to me vs their current boss (my peer).

      • +1. I think this is a great way to spin it. Perfect way to think about how you can be advocating for your boss, even though you don’t feel you “need” the promotion.

    • Never been in that situation, but I would think it would be perfectly acceptable to send you boss an email to the effect of: now that I have the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities and an expanded portfolio (or whatever you call it in your industry), I would like the opportunity to meet with you discuss a new position/title & compensation commensurate with these [exciting] new responsibilities.

      • That is way too formal for the rapport I have. I’m essentially helping her reorg
        Our department and her suggestion was to move some folks my way. It’s the actual language I’m struggling with- “I deserve a promotion” – no. “Sounds great and I’ll do it for a title bump”-no. Can we talk about the actual title of this new role?” Maybe? I know she’s angling to promote me this year anyway; we had that chat when I returned from maternity leave and she said pretty much verbatim “we’ll do whatever we need to keep you (from staying home), you’re the powerhouse on the team, and I’m going to do everything I can to get you promoted this year”

        • If you have such great rapport with her, I think you are way over thinking this. The specific wording probably won’t matter that much because she’s already gunning for you. Why not just ask, “With all these additional responsibilities, will I be getting a promotion?” or “I’m looking forward to these new changes. Can we discuss how this will be impacting my title and salary?” or “I think it’s time to discuss my job title and salary, given these new direct reports I’ll be managing.”

    • Boston 2L :

      I think that a good way to go about it (based on what I’ve seen work for others) is to say you want to sit down to discuss the added role. Then you can discuss changing your job description – and along with it, your title (possibly) and pay.

      Good luck!

    • I would phrase it something like (since you said more informal):

      “Hey Boss! I’d love to discuss my thoughts on the reorg. I think the change would be a great fit for me and my team because X, and I think it would be a good opportunity to update my job description and title. Since I’m taking on additional responsibility for Y, I propose the job title is Director of Z and here’s a draft of the new description.”

  19. Language & comp. skills on a cover letter :

    I am composing a cover letter for a job in a large international organization where proficiency in another language is desired but not required. I am wondering how to describe my foreign language skills. I can read French moderately well but cannot speak as well mainly because I have never had the opportunity to practice (most people get to do this by moving to a French speaking country). I learned the language by taking classes and even took exams given by the Alliance Francaise.

    I do not want to overstate my proficiency but at the same time I don’t consider myself at the very basic level either. What is the best way to present this in a cover letter or resume. The same goes for computer programs I have used but for which I am not at a very high proficiency level. Any ideas on how to express this? Please help and thanks in advance!

    • I would think these things actually belong in the “Additional Skills” (bottom) portion of your resume and are less appropriate in your CL. Also, if you haven’t learned a language well due to speaking, I would find a conversation group or join LiveMocha ASAP…there’s going to be someone else that can read and write it well, so…that’s what you’re going to be up against. Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but this isn’t something you can’t fix…it’s something you haven’t fixed yet, and can work on ASAP if the job means enough for you (plus it will be a great skill for later).

    • I think the term is “conversational.” Not fluent, but not beginner.

  20. Thoughts on how to develop “executive presence”? I’m a quiet introvert, which reads as “mousy pushover” to a few higher-ups at my workplace. To be clear, I’m neither – my voice doesn’t carry well, and I don’t speak during meetings unless I have something to contribute, but most people who have worked with me quickly pick up on the fact that I am deliberate, firm, and unafraid to speak my mind (or speak in public –I’m not shy, and don’t suffer stage fright). But I recognize that I will be judged on my presentation, and don’t want this to hold me back. Would love advice more specific than “just act more confident” and more useful than “well, just speak up!” (I’m trying, Grandma, I’m trying!)

    • A little bit dated, but does have some of the basics of how to walk and talk executive:


    • Definitely read The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism. It includes lots of fantastic tips and real examples based on scientific research and the personal experience of a consultant who works with CEOs on developing leadership presence. It’s a fascinating read anyway.

      • Just got this on my kindle and am a few chapters in. Really helpful already. Thanks!

    • The absolute best book on this is Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Dr. Lois Frankel.

      Sometimes we refer to it on here by initials only – NGDGTCO.

  21. Ladies,

    I am looking for some help on professional office decor. I am a lawyer as of four months ago and my walls are totally bare. I have yet to frame my diplomas because 1. it is absurdly expensive 2. I went to harvard and just feel slightly obnoxious about it. Overall I am looking for something to make my office look nice, and something that is not too young. I have barely put up any photos (just a couple of my sisters) because I also feel like too many pictures can look unprofessional/childish (or maybe I am over thinking it here)

    • I’m not a lawyer, but most corporate offices I’ve seen usually have a couple framed photos of family members. I don’t think it’s at all childish. Maybe add a plant if you are afraid to do anything too crazy. Also, check out Target. They have some surprisingly nice interior decor items (I bought a lamp there for my office) that can help personalize an office space. I think it’s nice to add some artwork to the walls as well, but this can be tricky if you are unsure of what is appropriate. I love etsy for inexpensive, unique artwork. These may not fit a lawyer office space, but Elements of Style blog has some great links to etsy artists that might help point you toward something you’d like http://www.elementsofstyleblog.com/2012/12/some-budget-friendly-etsy-art.html

    • Diana Barry :

      Frame your diplomas!!!! Get it done nicely and you’ll never have to do it again. And don’t feel obnoxious – it is a perfectly fine place to go to school. ;)

      • Senior Attorney :


      • Anon lawyer :

        Totally okay to frame your diplomas and put them up — don’t feel awkward about that.

        Personally, though, I didn’t do that because I wanted what’s in my office to be things that make me happy to look at…and, while I loved law school, diplomas are not exactly that. I picked a few art pieces (for me, landscape photography mostly) that I like and put those up, and have gotten a lot of positive comments from others at my firm. I think you can pick a few paintings/photographs/other art that you like and hang those. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be office appropriate. (I would not put on your wall a picture of your sister or other family members. Framed photos of family on your desk? Perfectly fine. But not on your wall.)

      • Wildkitten :

        +1 I’m framing my diplomas this month, but I think I’ll just put them in frames from Target rather than going the $200 frame route.

    • We talked about this in this thread: http://corporette.com/2010/10/12/livening-up-your-office-walls/

      I have a poster of one of my favorite paintings, framed diplomas/bar license, framed awards/certificates, and some photos taken by a friend, in frames.

      You should do your diploma if other people have diplomas up. You earned it!! Graduating from Harvard is a great accomplishment!!

      (PS: it doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can buy something from Michael’s that will fit.)

    • Frame the diplomas. Once it’s done, it’s done. You can hang them until you find some art you really like. My parents framed my diplomas for me and I was super resistant for the same reasons – expensive, pretentious, etc. Fifteen years later I am so glad I kept my mouth shut – my parent’s framer did a beautiful job, using Venetian paper borders on each and gorgeous wood frames. As time has gone by, I’ve rearranged the artwork in my office and my diplomas are no longer front and center but I am glad they are there — they are beautiful and remind me of the hard work I put in to earn them.

      My current favorite piece in my office is a small print I bought from a street vendor/artist in San Francisco. I spent more on the frame than I did on the art.

  22. Forgive me if this has already been discussed, but has anyone tried the Neutrogena Pure & Free Liquid Sunscreen, and would it work as a daily moisturizer or is it too heavy?
    I noticed it actually does have physical SPF, which is what I am looking for, but it’s a little cheaper than the Skinceuticals.

  23. firm-jumping? :

    I wasn’t sure I wanted to switch firms at all, but I’ve received an offer from a firm similar to mine (biglaw type) and am very mixed as to whether to take it. My pros and cons are below — I would love to hear which of them are valid and which I should disregard. And any other advice about switching firms. Including if you have advice on how to negotiate to keep your class year and/or get a full bonus instead of prorated. I’ve been sitting on the offer for two weeks now and really need to make a decision, but I am having a lot of trouble doing so. Feel free to give me tough love!

    -I liked the people I interviewed with, the firm made a point of saying it is a very friendly place and people make an effort to meet one another and get along. And they like one another.
    -Their practice is much more varied than my current one, so I will gain a lot of experience (and they know I have narrower experience so they won’t expect me to perform from day 1 on some of the items).
    -I’ve been told that associates there often make the jump to in house.
    -For some reason I failed to sign up for LTD at my current firm, but if I switch jobs, I can enroll.
    -Drive to work is much shorter.
    -They have offices in cities my husband and I might be willing to move to, whereas my current firm only has a few offices and none in the cities we would particularly like to live in.

    -I come off as perky and outgoing in interviews, but in real life I am introverted and perhaps a bit Eeyore-y. Not sure I will fit in.
    -How do I know their firm and dept. are actually functional? When I interviewed at my current firm, I also got the sense that the partners were great people, but in fact most of them were difficult to work for and had personalities that didn’t mesh well with mine. And unfortunately I don’t know anyone at the firm, and based on linkedin, none of my friends/law school classmates do either, so it will be harder to sleuth as to culture / personalities.
    -I know my firm is doing okay $-wise, but I don’t know how to investigate this new firm. (If you have advice on how to figure out their pension funding, PPP and whether there are non-equity partners or partners who make far less than others, and also whether bonuses are hours based or not…I would love to learn all these things.)
    -I don’t like law in general, not sure it is to my benefit to specialize further — perhaps I should switch careers. And if I hate it, it may be difficult to switch out because I will look like a job-hopper. And not sure I want to end up in house.
    -I’m TTC, and assuming I ever get and stay pregnant, I would feel much more comfortable taking 5 mo. off at my current firm, where I’ve been for a few years, than at a firm I had just started at.
    -My least favorite thing about my current job is the hours, and the new firm said they are looking because they are swamped, and expect work to pick up even more in the next few months. They’re looking to hire a few people, but apparently they are very picky, so I would expect things to get worse before they get better.
    -I just got my annual review, and it was surprisingly positive, and partners said they plan to give me more diverse work this year. So maybe things will improve (although I don’t have high expectations).

    • Sounds like you should stay, unless there is a salary aspect which you didn’t mention above. Partners are difficult to work for at every firm, and you just got positive reviews from yours. Firms always put their best foot forward in an interview, and like you mentioned, interviews will never show what its really going to be like to work for them. If you told me that you wanted to make partner, and had better chances at doing so at the new firm, there would be a real question here. But it sounds like you are OK at your current firm and may potentially be leaving biglaw in the somewhat foreseeable future. Perhaps I am just complacent but I think I would stay at the firm where you are comfortable and know what to expect, then make your next move when you are truly ready (kids/new career/whatever).

    • Senior Attorney :

      Sounds like the one thing you know for sure about the new firm is that you will be working a lot of hours, which you don’t like. Everything else is pretty uncertain. Sounds like you have a decent situation now and I agree that unless there’s something you’re not telling us, it might be best to stay put.

    • For the maternity leave issue, you will have been there at least 9 months when you leave. Make sure to ask about the policy. Do you need to have worked there 1 year to get the benefit?

      If I have to sit on a job offer for more than about a week, then I usually decide I didn’t ultimately want the job.

  24. Newbie ‘rette here! This may be a goofy question, but what do you say by way of greeting when you answer your work phone? I work in a small office, with limited support staff, so phone calls come to me directly. I never know what to say when I pick up the phone. A simple “Hello?” Or a “[name of department], this is [name]”?

    • My organization has a really long name, so I say an abbreviated version of it and my first name: “Legal Services, this is Dulcinea.” I copied this from a coworker.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I say ‘Hello, Elle speaking’ because my last name is foreign and it causes confusion because how I say it is not how most people would instinctively thing it was pronounced. I don’t say the name of my firm, but there is a guy at my firm who answers the phone ‘Hello, First Name Last Name, Law Firm” and he sounds rather pretentious.

    • I generally say, “This is Rosalita.” But I think I want to change it to say my first and last name, even though my last name is a little long.

    • I want to sound authoritative, so I answer in a neutral voice: Firstname Lastname. I do often have to repeat it, but I am combating a “gosh, she’s always so nice!” image that encourages some of the more hierarchical types to take me less seriously than others.

    • darjeeling :

      internal calls I say “This is Firstname”; external calls I just say first and last name

    • Back Home :

      We have caller ID on our work phones and I work in a small office where I know everyone, so for internal calls I usually just say “Hi [Coworker’s Name]”. For external calls, or internal calls if I didn’t recognize the caller, I would say “Hello, this is [First Name]”. It is incredibly rare that someone would be calling me that I had not already met/interacted with so I leave off the last name and I work at a consulting firm so we don’t really have departments.

    • “, this is “. This is pretty standard at my company. For people with really common first names, sometimes they use their full name.

      • Bah, that was supposed to say:
        “[company name], this is [firstname]”.

        forgot you can’t use angle brackets.

    • Joanna Toews :

      I do what my dad always did…

      Internal calls: “Joanna Toews speaking.”

      External calls: “XYZ & Co., Joanna Toews speaking.”

  25. Boot conditioner :

    I just got a pair of the Born Terri boots in Tan. The leather has a slight pebbled texture so I think that they won’t show too much wear. I want to protect the leather from the elements. Rain/sandy dirt are bigger concerns in my climate the snow/salt. I do like the tan color so I don’t want to darken them just by treating them. Any suggestions for something to treat them with to keep them looking good?

  26. I recently was offered an administrator position at a non profit skilled nursing home. I will have 100+ employees and will make a considerable wage. I have done the same job for the last two years but the area, clientele, company was much different. I’m a 32 year old mom that has no idea what to wear, or where to shop. I would like my staff to feel comfortable with me, but also want to look right. HELP

    • hellskitchen :

      It depends on your employer’s dress code… I have worked at nonprofits where everyone wore a suit everyday (mostly research or think tank orgs) and ones where staff wore bright ethnic clothing from all over the world. If you are in healthcare and in a management position, I’d suggest wearing a suit at least for the first couple of weeks at your job. This will help establish your image and will be appropriate as the first few weeks at a new job may require lots of introductory meetings with board members, donors, clients etc. You can switch it up with sheath dresses and jackets or pencil skirts and silk blouses. I personally buy 1 bold color item for every 3 neutrals in my closet. For shopping, I suggest Nordstrom, Macy’s or TJMaxx since you can buy items in a variety of price points.

    • Add a bunch of blazers to your wardrobe. More serious jewelry and shoes.

      And congrats, rock the new job! :)

    • Boot conditioner :

      I’ve noticed most upper management in healthcare wears traditional business wear. You could probably get a couple of “fun” suits with interesting details or colors to keep it fresh. I have a lot of luck with the Tahari suits at Macys for this type of suit. You can almost always find a sale. I think as long as the cut is fairly conservative, you are fine.

  27. I hope it’s not too late in the weekend to get responses to this.

    I’m a litigation associate at a small firm in a southern state (about 40 lawyers). I’ve been involved in a case that has quickly grown in scope, and because of some other factors, I’ve ended up in charge of managing the case. By this I mean that I coordinate with experts, national counsel, the client’s in house counsel, the clients workers, etc. I also generally keep everything moving internally by giving and reviewing assignments to other associates and paralegals. The partner and I discuss all aspects of strategy for the case and I have meaningful input into those decisions. Anyway, I love this role. I love being a litigator, but just to keep my options open, I’m wondering about in house roles.

    Before this case I thought most in house counsel worked on employment or transactional matters primarily. I want to stay in a products liability type area. Is what I’m doing now a large part of the job for in house counsel at a company that has a lot of products litigation? (Places like a car manufacturer or a pharmaceutical company). I know they also deal with budgets, but it seems like a large part of the job is coordinating, strategy, and managing the litigation. Is that right? Would someone like me from a different geographical region (ie no or few contacts) who went to a state school have a shot at such a such a job? What kinds of other credentials would make it a possibility (such as high rank, litigation experience, etc)?

  28. hellskitchen :

    We are taking a formal team photo at my small company next week. This will go on our website. I have one skirt suit in gray but I do not feel my best in it. My preference is a black dress with a black blazer and black tights but I am not sure if it is too much black. Any suggestions for dress and makeup?

    • That sounds like a lot of black. Can you ditch the tights for the photo? I’d also recommend wearing a substantial necklace to break up all the black.

      • hellskitchen :

        It does feel like a lot of black. It’s too cold where I am to go bare on my legs. My other option is a teal pencil skirt, white shirt and black blazer OR black blazer and sirt with an emerald top, but I am wondering if a photo like this calls for a more conservative, neutral look.

        • Black skirt suit with an emerald top sounds very conservative and neutral to me (assuming the top is professional) – I vote for that. Although if the blazer and skirt are not part of a matching suit it might look odd. Otherwise can you go with your original black dress and tights but go with a different colored blazer (doesn’t have to be a bright color – I think even a grey or cream blazer would make it look a lot less funeral-y)?

          • hellskitchen :

            That’s a great idea. I have been wanting another neutral color blazer for a while so this could be my excuse to go shopping.

  29. Anon for this :

    Any advice on breaking an apartment lease without a termination penalty? I’ve had ongoing noise issues for a few months now, and my neighbors – all young men who appear to be right out of college – seem to just ignore noise warnings from the building. I tried to first knock on the door and speak to them myself but of course they didn’t answer. We also had a freak violent incident in the building recently that, in fairness, I’m not sure management could have stopped, but that combined with the noise problems and the amount I pay to live in a building with these problems is trying my patience. The lease outlines the noise policy. If the problems are documented and continuing, I think I should be able to point to that issue and break the lease. Has anyone been able to do this successfully?

    • In-House Optimist :

      It’s not exactly what you’re asking, but could maybe help: I’ve had really good luck getting someone to take over my lease via Craigslist (an assignment, not a sublet) … would that be an option for you?

    • I don’t think that’s bad enough to break a lease without a penalty. Have you spoken of the management about moving to a different apartment in the building? At the very least, send a certified letter to them outlining the noise problems, explaining how it impacts you, and giving them another chance to remedy the situation.

    • I would ask to meet with the property manager to outline your concerns (don’t settle for the sales reps or other office staff). Start with the repeated complaints and apparent lack of meaningful action taken with the noisy neighbors, then finish with how you feel your safety has been compromised in light of the violent act which took place (assuming that you feel this way).

      Realistically, I think you have a better chance at the mgmt company responding to and solving your concerns than successfully breaking the lease without penalty.

  30. In-House Optimist :

    Hi ladies – I posted a week or so ago about some help with Ebay to sell some bags that I had used once or twice, then stashed in their bags in my closet (clearly a shopping problem and cry for help!). A few of you mentioned you might be interested in purchasing them (sparing me the eBay agony!). So with that in mind, I’m going to post the ones that I’ve decided to sell, and if you’re interested, please reach out to me at [email protected] :) I promise to only repost a few more times to make sure I’m catching the ladies who were interested – don’t want to distract and start looking like a creeper! Anything that’s not wanted I’ll just throw up on eBay or try to sell on consignment.

    – Dooney & Bourke Red Leather Chiara Bag (perfect condition; original bag; used 2-3 times; originally purchased for ~450, asking for $275)

    – Kate Spade Black Leather Peblle Aurelia Southhampton Bag (perfect condition; original bag; used 3-4 times; originally purchased for ~300, asking $150)

    – Kate Spade Nylon Evening Bag with a Bow (I can’t seem to find the name of it via google, so please email for pictures! It’s a cross body with a cord for a strap … I’ve used it once, it’s in perfect condition and in the original bag; gorgeous for evening … I just (embarrassingly!) already have other black evening bags that are super simliar…; paid ~275, asking $150).

    – Banana Republic Freja Envelope Clutch in Rose/Fushia (not designer, but never used. :( Originally ~90, asking $45)

    – Brahmin shoulder bag; camel leather (this one I can’t find the name of either, but it’s a small shoulder bag, please email for pictures!); lost the original bag, so it’s been stored in a Kate Spade bag; originally paid ~255, asking $100)

    – Kate Spade Brianne Crossbody in Acid Red Leather (kinda orangey-red, super pretty; used twice (I can actually remember both times distinctly…), stored in original bag; originally paid ~300, asking $200)

    Thanks ladies for the suggestion. Hopefully you’ll be able to help me find these bags new homes where they’ll actually be used!

  31. Best resources (books, etc) for dealing/coping with death? My family has already had one loss this year, and it looks like another one will be coming (cancer).

    • Back Home :

      I can’t recommend any resources but I wanted to say I am sorry for your losses.

  32. Hello everyone. I hope you all are enjoying the weekend.
    I am on the hunt for a new key ring/fob. I don’t mind if it is pricey. It’s a splurge to go with my new house that will finally be finished in March. I want one that is all metal, not too girly.

    • Wildkitten :

      This isn’t a huge splurge: http://www.anntaylor.com/ann-taylor-key-fob/328464?colorExplode=false&skuId=15337368&catid=cata000021&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=3019&CID=aff_7078679

    • If you don’t mind a splurge, check out Tiffany’s, they have nice silver ones.

    • I’ve always loved this one http://www.tiffany.com/Shopping/Item.aspx?fromGrid=1&sku=31852544&mcat=148212&cid=297640&search_params=p+1-n+10000-c+297640-s+2-r+-t+-ni+1-x+-lr+-hr+-ri+-mi+-pp+164+3&search=0&origin=browse&searchkeyword=

      Congrats on the house!

      • Boot conditioner :

        DH has the golf Tiffany key ring and has to remember to tighten the ball regularly so it doesn’t drop off. He’s managed to keep up with it 7 years now, but he’s almost lost it several times. Just something to think about in picking a style. I have a traditional key ring from Tiffany. Both have held up well.

      • I had a Tiffany one that was given to me as a gift, and mine did not hold up well. It got a lock of nicks in it from the key (I only had one on it). I did keep it my pocket frequently, but within 6 months, it looked terrible.

  33. I hope this isn’t too late but here goes: DH and I have been invited to his former boss’s house to watch the big game Sunday. For logistical reasons, I will be arriving later. What would be an appropriate hostess gift to bring? Should I make DH bring it (say, bottle of wine) or should I bring it when I show up? TIA!

    • Have DH bring it so you as a group don’t show up empty handed. A bottle of wine is fine.

    • Agreed — you don’t want your husband to show up empty handed (and then to show up with the gift later, as if his wife has to take care of social niceties). Wine is fine, though for football, I would probably bring craft beer, maybe large format.

    • Moved to the City :

      Agree with Monte that beer is a better gift than wine for football. Go with a large bottle of craft beer or a good six pack. Alternatively, gourmet snacks would work well too.

  34. Does anyone else have a problem with Super Bowl Sunday? My boyfriend is strutting around barking “go Broncos” and is insisting I join in acting moronic. Neither of us has any connections with the team and he is not at all athletic. What causes this instant dose of useless energy. I think if he could rechannel that to the bedroom he wouldn’t be such a dud. Anyone else have a similar problem?

    • Senior Attorney :

      I feel like the Super Bowl is kind of a secular national holiday, and the path of least resistance is to just go along with it. If you go around calling people “moronic” for enjoying it, and mocking their “useless energy,” you are just going to deprive yourself of a fun day and come off as a real drag to everybody else.

      And also? If your boyfriend is a dud you need to break up with him.

      • Silvercurls :

        If it’s a secular national holiday, then I’m a secular agnostic. :-) Football is by no means my passion, but I don’t begrudge others the conviviality of getting together for snacks and chitchat. Mostly I struggle with keeping my Inner Granola* quiet so that neither one of us “comes off as a real drag to everybody else.” I also tend to keep a low profile by staying at home or frequenting venues that won’t be full of football fans (book stores, department stores, pedestrian walkways). Either way I get to enjoy the decrease in traffic and general sense of peace.

        * This is the persona who starts off expressing concerns about concussions, then works up to a rant about Brutality in our Culture. Thankfully, these days I’m usually able to stop her before she starts shouting that every last dollar in the NFL should be redirected to early childhood education. One of the benefits of growing older is finally developing the ability to keep. opinions. to. myself.

    • Wannabe Runner :

      Your boyfriend is getting excited! If you really want his energy redirected to intimacy, wait till the game is over. If his team wins, make sure he knows you’re up for some “celebrating” in the bedroom. If his team loses, comfort him the same way.

      (Also, I asked my DH your question. He’s a Broncos fan. He said that if you really feel this way, make sure he knows it in very clear terms. He said that if I came up to him and said I was feeling frisky, he’d set the DVR for the big game in a heartbeat. “Men are simple,” he said. “If he knows she wants it, he’ll be up for it.” He also suggested your dude might be interested in a roll in they hay at halftime, if you are. He says halftime shows are boring for the dudes, and that his dad’s drunk friends used to come play Nintendo with him at halftime when he was a kid and his parents had Super Bowl parties.)

      If you’re not interested in either the game or a little “fun” then go to a coffee shop and read a book or whatever. Or go to the movies. Nothing says you have to hang around and root for a game you’re not interested in. I’m also no football fan, but I love Super Bowl parties because everyone else gets so excited and it’s a fun time to get together. Even if you don’t have a party, going to a sports bar can be really fun.

  35. On the issue of titles: I’m a PhD psychologist and work closely with MDs regularly in a peer capacity in the same setting. It’s frustrating that sometimes I’m referred to by firstname only while the MDs are referred to by Dr. Lastname. It’s usually the residents and some of the RNs who do this, rather than the senior MDs, but it’s still a problem in terms of conveying parity of status. Any thoughts on managing this?

    • Introduce yourself every time as Dr. First Last, and every opportunity when you’re referring to others or yourself, use Doctor for everyone to reinforce that the title is the same for all. This may encourage the MDs to model for others in referring to you correctly as well.

      I know other readers may think this sounds petty, but I have been in similar situations and understand that this does matter, for a number of reasons. It’s uncomfortable to push it, but sometimes you just have to.

      –Dr. Monday

      • Senior Attorney :

        This sounds like good advice. Although I might introduce myself as just Dr. Last, the way MDs always do. (Drives me crazy, especially when they say “Hi, First, I’m Dr. Last,” but that’s another issue!)

      • Thanks for the support and constructive suggestions. I realize this could sound like like a petty issue but as Monday said, it actually matters for quite a few reasons. I usually introduce myself as Dr. Lastname, sometimes Dr. Firstname Lastname, but there are a few people I should be more proactive about doing this with.

        Any advice for a variation on this theme: referrals from MDs or RNs in the medical chart referring to me as Firstname? I’m very consistent in referring to people by appropriate title in the chart, so my example has not resolved this one.

        • Sorry, make that Dr. Monday!!

        • Senior Attorney :

          I am unencumbered by any knowledge about how medical charting works, but do you have the right/ability to correct the chart? Or can you ask them to do it? I would hope that after the first few such requests they would get the message.

        • I think it’s totally reasonable to just point out the discrepancy: “Since we’re using titles in the referral chart, let’s make sure I’m Dr. Last just like everyone else.” Some may roll their eyes, but it’s hard to argue that this isn’t perfectly fair.

          If everyone wants to switch over to first names, that’s another matter. But it has to be everyone.

          • You’re right, no matter how awkward/pretentious I feel about doing this, I need to speak up to the serial offenders on this. I like your casual approach to talking about this. Thanks again, Dr. Monday.

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