Weekend Open Thread

Menbur Woven Satin Clutch,BlackSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Weekend recommendation, pictured: For some reason today we’re in a black-tie kind of mood. We like this lovely clutch because it seems applicable for many different situations (from full-on gown to the attire for a nice dinner out), as well as the relatively low price: $55. Available at Endless. Menbur Woven Satin Clutch,Black

(L-2)

Comments

  1. Has anyone ever had a semi-permanent perm done? I went to a new hairdresser recently, and she advised me to consider it. Apparently the perm lasts about 3 months and is much more gentle than a regular perm (something about either not using chemicals or using chemicals that are much less harsh). My hair is stick-straight, incredibly fine, and has never been permed, so my goal is to obtain some volume without destroying the one redeeming quality — its silky/soft feel. Thanks!

    • Have not done a semi-perm — I have the same fine/flat hair problem. I found that washing it every other day instead of every day was a big help (not sure if you’ve tried that). Hope someone here as done this (always on the look out for hair help!)

      • Anonymous :

        Thanks! I have heard that tip before, but unfortunately it doesn’t work for me. If I don’t wash my hair daily, it gets an unflattering oily shine to it. I’d rather have limp, but clean. :-)

        • I had that problem at first too, but after a couple of weeks of doing the every other day thing, the oil production calmed down. I think your hair adjusts over time. Just something to consider if you’re willing to tough it out for a little while.

          • I was about to reply with this verbatim!

            It took nearly 3 weeks (which was my limit!) but now it’s AWESOME! (Yes, the caps were necessary for emphasis!)

            Your scalp will stop prodocuing the oil when you stop stimulating it by washing…

          • anonymous :

            I also agree – your hair will adjust, mine did after a week or two.
            Only problem I have is sometimes remembering whether I’m on a wash-day or a non-wash day.

        • Have you tried dry shampoo on the non-wet shampooing days. It does amazing things for controlling the oily shine look.

          • Yea I would suggest trying the dry shampoo! When I straighten my thick, wavy hair dry shampoo lets me get a few more days out of it.

          • What kind do you use? I’m intrigued by the idea on those running-late-and-need-a-fast-fix days, but haven’t found any in stores near me (and don’t want to order something online without a recommendation!)

          • s in Chicago :

            Shayna–I’d recommend Oscar Blandi dry shampoo spray. LOVE it. It’s very light and has a nice smell. You can find it at Sephora and Ulta. Just make sure you get the spray and not the powder version. Much easier to control. (I’m a bit of a klutz and had a pretty scary mishap with the powder once–I literally looked like I dropped baby powder on my head!)

          • Anonymous :

            Ojon is another good brand (got mine at Ulta) and the clerk recommended it as well as the Oscar Blandi brand. In a pinch, corn starch or body/baby powder will do. I can only get away with using dry shampoo on a day off, and only if bed head isn’t too terrible. I’ve got thick straight hair cut in a razored bob, just below chin length, so if the shape’s way off and can’t be salvaged by a hair clip, then there’s no hope but to wash it.

        • L in D.C. :

          Apologies if this is already obvious, but washing your hair every few days can mean getting your hair wet in the shower every morning, but only shampooing every few days. I have thin, fine hair as well and I’ve found that shampooing every 3 days works really well for me, although I still have to get my hair wet every day or it looks a little greasy.

          Also, if it works with your face shape, definitely think about cutting your hair short. After years of attempting to do crazy things to my hair to get it to have volume, I can now air dry my hair, spray it with a little sea salt spray, and it looks perfect. I have a roundish face and my hairstyle has a short back, slightly shaggy sides that kind of cover my ears, and long bangs that swoop to one side.

    • I have the same type of hair. Stick straight and super fine. I used to do perms back in the day (high school in the ’80’s, what can I say). Be careful. I’m not sure if perm technology has changed but in order to get mine to last, and by last I mean not completely fall out within a month, my stylist had to use really tight rollers, think poodle perm. After a week, it would relax and look normal. It lasted about 3-4 months, because the cut would grow out.

      To get volume now, I use a volumizer at the roots and big round brush to blow it dry in sections, making sure that I dry hair underneath first, then the next section above that, and so on.

      • A Different Liz :

        I use KelliJ’s method. I have super straight, super fine hair. I spray a “generic” volumizer from Sally Beauty Supply (says “compare to Paul Mitchell) on my roots, blow my hair dry upside down, and then use a big round metal brush to finish it off in sections. Let me tell you, my hair looked terrible for most of my life, but now I get all kind of compliments on it.

        • I do the same thing exactly. I wash every other day, altho it tends to look greasy the second day. Because I hate mornings, and want to get up at the last second possible, I wash my hair the night before. In the morning, I wet it and blow dry.

          Alas, it takes 30 minutes, every dang work day. Week ends, I refuse, and deal with looking not so hot.

          My lucky Irish stepdaughter was born with naturally curly light brown hair with natural blond and red highlights. She washes her hair and lets it naturally dry. She does not appreciate the genetic gift she was given. Were I not so noble and maternal, I could actually be super jealous.

          • I’m the same way — entirely about sleeping until the last possible second in the mornings! I find that hitting my hair with the straightener just a little on day 2 gets it back in place the fastest – and b/c it takes less brushing it looks less oily.

    • Consultant :

      I got a “loose” perm 3 months and and couldn’t be happier. I have straight as a board, ultra-fine hair. My mother sternly warned me against getting a perm because she had bad experiences in the 80s. If you trust your hair stylist, I say go for it. I took the risk and couldn’t be happier.

    • I used to do it when I was in high school. I had a couple of stylists who claimed that was what they were giving me, but what I actually got was really curly, permed hair. But then I found one who used big loose rollers and it really was just what you are describing. I think it only lasted a couple of months, but it did look nice.

      For me, using volumizers, blow-drying, etc. doesn’t work well because the volume/curl just falls out after an hour. Having the semi-perm allowed my hair to hold a curl, which was great back then when I was willing to take the time to style it (these days I’m too lazy). If you trust your stylist and can afford to do it regularly, I say go for it.

  2. Women on this site tend to have good taste, so i’ll throw out a decorating question. My bathroom is very cream/light taupe colored. Grey (almost black) counters, black-and-lt taupe tiles on floor and in shower. Also a few rust-colored accent tiles. And the floor tiles are speckled linoleum. Please help me figure out what to do for decorations – it feels really busy, but I want to make it interesting. And the rust color is not one I want to use – I’d like to minimize that if possible. Any suggestions?

    • If you don’t want the rust to stand out, stay away from greens and blues, as they’re the complement (and thus highlighter) to red and orange. But for how to work with neutrals, the new Martha Stewart Living had a whole section in it. I bought it because there’s a paint color I love and want to have copied at Lowe’s for my living room :)

      • Agree about the complementary colors to rust —

        I love neutrals (I did house last year with varying shades of gray, cream, etc… except for one bathroom that is all white with orange bath mats and towels… if I get tired of them I can swap them out ofr under $20!)
        – I’m a minimalist, so I would do your decorating by putting down a bathmat in a solid color – taupe or black (Go with whichever will show less schmutz!)
        – Match your towels to the bath mat
        – Get the bare minimum of bathroom accessories – but definitely get a cover for your tissue box, a wastebasket, and soap dispenser that match (I like chrome or brushed nickel)

        Happy decorating!

        • I would advise against the black bathmat — black shows way too much dirt in my experience (anything not black will seriously stand out). I’d go for a slightly darker or lighter taupe than is in your tiles. Lots of neutral everything else in a similar shade to minimize the orange.

          On a personal note, I know many feel may otherwise, but I really dislike when everything matches (e.g., the all same pattern garbage can, soap holder, etc., or towels & bathmat & shower curtain) — I think it grows tiresome really quickly & (often, not always) is just unimaginative. I think having things that compliment each other without being exactly the same feels much more modern. But that’s a personal thing — just throwing it out there.

          One idea I would add is lighting — consider a sconce or something else for the wall — great lighting can make everything look so much better & it’s a nice detail/decorative touch. Restoration Hardware & Pottery Barn both have nice options (though not cheap — you may want to look for their sales).

        • As one who has had lots of old homes to renovate and now doing a mcm redo (every place ourselves by hand)… I know about the dilemmas with busy tiles (think 1×1 mosaics of all speckly blues or yellows incl. on the countertops). anyway. I tend to stick with neutrals for the fabrics, in our case, white to go with the porcelain sinks and tubs. Then I would focus in on a metal color for all the other accessories and let that be the accent. Either brushed gold/brass or nickel or verdigris. I’d avoid copper as it would pull up the tiles you want to diminish. There are a variety of epoxy paints and so forth that one can use on tubs (we did it with our lemon yellow fiberglass tub and one piece surround – yikes – was great and held up to daily use)…perhaps you could paint those rust colored tiles instead.

          Love the suggestions just to stay with taupes for your towels and rugs…should minimize. I agree that black shows more dirt, although we are partial to the greys and graphites which seem softer and don’t show the shumutz.

    • Wow, it’s hard to find stuff that goes with a black and taupe tile pattern. I’d work in lighter colors. Assuming you want to stick with neutrals, I’d use a cream-colored shower curtain and perhaps light gray rug and towels (if you like that much gray) or cream ones. Add a cream soap dispenser and tumbler and there you go.

      If you’re OK with darker colors, I also think certain navys or darker blues would look good.

      • I think I’d go with the cream/gray theme, too. Darker colors might stand out too much, probably isn’t what you want the focus to be on. My bathrooms are boring, though, so take that with a grain of salt. :)

    • I’m not sure I’m properly imagining everything, but the way I’m seeing it in my head, a pastel pink sounds like it would look lovely. Maybe pinks and creams for bathmats, towels, etc.? I agree that nice lighting makes a big difference in bathrooms – so spring for some if you don’t love what’s already installed. Frosted glass is very neutral.

      • I’m thinking there are quite a few pastels that would look good. There are plenty of inexpensive looks at places like Target, so if you get something you don’t love and want to move on 4-5 months later, it’s no big deal.

    • thanks for great suggestions, everyone!

  3. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    I have an internship this summer in a City Attorney’s office. Usually I will style my hair in braids in the summer for ease, comfort, etc. The style I get is cornrows straight back into a low ponytail. I am wondering if this is an appropriate style for this (and future) summers and if not, what style would you suggest for a young African American woman whose hair is far too thick to have in the summer.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      *to have down in the summer.

    • I know nothing about African American hair, but I have seen plenty of professional African American women with nice looking braids. With the cornrows, does your scalp show? I think you would want to avoid that, but I don’t think braids are inappropriate.

    • Anonymous :

      don’t know anything about african-american hair either, but i think thin braids might be a more grown-up look if that’s an option. i tend to associate cornrows with little girls (or white teenagers, just back from cancun).

    • I see many African-American women lawyers wearing braids, twists and cornrows. I also see relaxed hair in low ponytails, and short, cropped natural hair. Personally, I tend to think twists looks the best, not really sure why. Actually the relaxed hair in a low ponytail or bun is probably the worst look, because it tends to look like you put no effort into your hair (because fairly or unfairly, African American hair tends to be judged by the same standards as straight Caucasian hair).

      Anyway, if you change your hairstyle and especially if you get extensions or a weave, be prepared to answer a lot of stupid questions like “how’d you get your hair to grow so fast?” You can laugh about it with your ethnic-haired friends after work (which is how I came to learn so much about African American hair, as a Jew-fro’ed lawyer myself).

      • I had to laugh when I read this, because I’ve definitely made some of these stupid comments. Like asking how someone gets their hair to do pretty thing X, and getting a look with the, “it’s weave, duh” response.

        But I don’t think there’s anything unprofessional about the low ponytail or the braids. I agree about braiding things into your hair, though, or wild zigzags and stuff : )

        • I was thinking more of older men who ask these questions – dead serious, my coworker’s boss asked her how her hair grew so fast. It “grew” a foot over the weekend!

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with cornrows unless you braid in decorations or whatnot. I’ve seen someone with super thick cornrows and I don’t think it looked that good but that’s just my personal opinion.

      • my daughter is biracial, so I have a bit of experience w/ AA hair (mostly yelling at her to do something w/ it:). she always gets hers braided in the summer for the same reason, especially since we live in the South. I think cornrows could be OK, but do tend to make you look a little young. I would suggest the thin, individual braids or twists pulled into a ponytail. I know those take SO much longer to do and are probably more expensive (I may find out this summer b/c I think this is what my daughter wants). Having said that, I’ve noticed that the former Chief Justice of the Ga. Supreme Court often wore her hair in thick cornrows!

    • so when i read the first few sentences of this email, i was imagining mrs. basil e. frankweiler, the character. and thus was picturing a 70 year old grey-haired white woman in pigtails.

    • Woman of Color :

      As a Black Woman, I would advise against wearing cornrows while working in a City Attorney’s office. It just leaves to much room for questions. Because braids are easy and manageable, I would suggest sticking to individual braids (and there are so many to choose from). Although I tend to think that micros look the best, they will cause severe breakage, especially around the beginning of your hair line. But please, oh please, No. Cornrows. At. Work. Ever.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I am not a black woman and only innocently curious – why not cornrows? I don’t mean to start what I understand to be a dangerous topic in the Good Hair debate. Just wondering.

        My very talented long-time hair stylist (hairdresser??) is black, and she recently switched from fairly long microbraids to near-shoulder length small twists. The microbraids were really nice and flattering, but the twists are sharper and more office-type-professional looking to me, much in the way that long hair vs. a shorter haircut can sometimes be more professional looking on straight hair. But again, I’m not black so I can’t begin to pretend to know about any of this except as an accidental observer.

        • legalicious07 :

          OMG! Please do not cite “Good Hair.” That movie was a pound of baloney from a comic-turned-journalist (yeah, right). Chris Rock sucks and always has!

          I do find it “interesting” to hear everyone weigh in with their opinions of the “professional” nature of black women’s hair styles. I’ll give everyone a pass since no comment seems means-spirited or malicious. (Thank you, Corporette readers!)

          Maybe start here — http://www.amazon.com/Hair-Story-Untangling-Roots-America/dp/0312265999/ref=cm_lmf_tit_6/192-7416652-4496204

        • Woman of Color :

          The reason I say no cornrows, is because, unfortunately, there is a negative connotation associated with Black America and that hairstyle. Once all the rappers (including Eminem) and basketball players started to sport the style, the look moved away from what could be associated with anything professional. As a Black Woman starting out in the legal profession, Ms. Frankweiler wants to be known for her work, because of course she is more than her hair. Although the Bar continues to stress this idea of diversity, I’ve found that they want to have the “numbers” but anything too “ethnic” tends to raise an eyebrow. Once Ms. Frankweiler becomes a judge, or whatever her aspirations may be, by all means, her hair can be worn any way that she desires. But until then, play the game (and succeed at it!)

          That being said, I have a very short cropped natural, which if I am feeling crazy, I will dye a dark burgundy or brown.

          • I wonder if this is a connotation among the black community that the white community isn’t aware of. Just like women can be each other’s worst enemies in the workplace when it comes to judginess about clothing, weight, work-life balance, etc, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that people of the same ethnicity are more judgy of things specific to that ethnic community. I’m white and I both went to law school with and have worked with a higher-than-average, proportionately to the overall number of employees, black lawyers, and I have never thought twice about women who wear cornrows. I just assume they’d rather wear their hair in a fashion that keeps it completely out of their face, instead of braids that require more daily styling.

            I hope this isn’t insensitive – hair is an emotionally fraught topic for Jewish women like myself too. And Woman of Color – I love short hair. I am jealous that you can pull it off. One of my (white) friends recently went for a pixie cut, and she looks so damn good with her high cheekbones and big eyes. Jealous.

          • Anonymous :

            Eponine,

            I’m appreciate the sentiment but the standards are very real and very strongly policed in mainstream society. I can understand that not being a woman of color, you wouldn’t have any experience of it yourself.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I have the same question.

    • Do you like the two strand twists? Those might be an option.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Thank you everyone for all of your comments. I asked the question because I kept getting told to just get a weave, but my hair has always been thick and healthy and I’ve heard such horrible things about what weaves do to an African American woman’s hair.

      And @legalicious07, I saw Good Hair in the theaters and I understand why people would be angry with Chris Rock, but I feel that underneath the comedy, there was some truth there. The comedic overtures helped answer questions that some had in a manner that did not make them feel uncomfortable. Personally, the movie helped me to get people to stop asking all the silly questions when I add hair for my braids or get a “perm” (which does not mean the same thing for African American and Caucasian women). But then again, I have always enjoyed Chris Rock’s comedy. But to each her own, just adding a new perspective.

      Once again, thanks everyone, you’ve been a great help.

      • Anonymous :

        Ms. Basil,

        Yeah, we definitely have different perspectives here. Imho, Good Hair was heavy on comedic overtures and light on real substance. Where was a real, intelligent discussion on perceptions of beauty in black culture(s)? Where was the candid discussion of how people perceive their hair’s impact on their professional image, their romantic relationships, and their self-esteem? Where was the exploration of the true range of black hair styles — from presses to perms to wigs to weaves to fros to locks to twists and back again? What was with the crazy people in the barber shop (talking about white women letting men touch their hair?) and the beauty shop (where the woman puts her weave on layaway?). That was straight c**nery! The pitiful scenes from the Dudley Hair Show left much to be desired, and what was with the ridiculous focus on the Bonner Bros. Hair Show? On average, how many black women out of every 100 do you even expect to have gone into the movie with an expectation that we’d be treated to the spectacle of underwater hair-cutting, a battle of the bands, a reenacted menage a trois, and other tomfoolery. WITW? 2? 3? And I’m being generous…

        Moreover, the focus on weaves was disproportionate. The use of celebrities was gratuitous. The absence of professional, upwardly mobile blacks was conspicuous. The scene with the high schoolers was out of balance, and I nearly lost my marbles when the lone teen with natural hair being shamed into silence at one point. And if I saw a picture of his (adorably cute) daughters one more time, I think I would have thrown my soda at the screen. If he was truly as motivated as he said he was to make this movie, then I think he would have done his homework a bit more.

        The ONLY redeeming qualities I found in the movie were the following:

        1) the scenes showing the Indian women shaving off their hair in sacrifice to the “god”, then showing how the bugs and lice were combed out before the hair was wefted and bagged, and finally sent halfway around the world for millions of black women who — in their quest for “good hair” for a variety of cultural, political, and social reasons which Chris Rock did not even ATTEMPT

        2) the scene with the empty coke bottles showing just how caustic the chemicals (incl. the so-called kiddie perms) are. No wonder the heads of most permed womens look like train wrecks. They really, really do! For every 10 permed women you meet (esp. those who have the texture that requires perming every 4-7 weeks) I guarantee you that 8 or 9 of them have (a) short, thin hair with ends that you can see through to the back of their necks, (b) dry and flaky scalp, (c) an excessive number of shed hairs on their bathroom floors, and (d) a hair length that barely grows/changes from year to year. And Chris Rock’s movie did absolutely NOTHING to talk about this in truth or deal with it in earnest.

        Moreover, I actually think the movie was geared for a non-black audience. It was meant to give a peek into the world of black women’s hair, but not to truly explore why it is that the term “good hair” itself even remains a part of our vocabulary. It was meant to be palatable, not poignant. And it failed on both counts. In short, Good Hair is to “good hair” as Tyra Banks is to Oprah Winfrey. A perpetrating fraud!

        (On a personal note though — the number of black blogs and websites devoted to having beautiful and healthy hair, particularly those with a focus on professional women has grown by leaps and bounds. There are so many sites out there that you should definitely be able to find what you need to answer your questions! :-))

        • legalicious07 :

          Oops! That’s me above. I was commenting from a different computer than usual, and I didn’t realize that my name field wasn’t pre-populated anymore.

          • legalicious07 :

            P.S. I really needed to proofread and edit before I pressed “submit.” I got interrupted by another conversation here in the library and didn’t even realize that I had moved on to a new topic without finishing one). Oh well, the stress of these finals is getting to me…

            Hopefully, the gist of my message is clear.

        • divaliscious11 :

          2!

      • divaliscious11 :

        Ms B – how long is your hair? I’ll preface this with I didn’t big chop until 06, when I was in-house, and my GC is natural, although she wears a blow out so it was a non issue, so I was not natural when I clerked (although I doubt my judge would have cared), in private practice, or at the AG’s office, but am offering some advice, since you asked. I asked the length because I am trying to get an idea of what your thinking of. Braids are a great protective style in the summer, but a weave can be as well, if its worn as a protective style, and not all weav-aliscious. You don’t want to be Jill Scott one day and Beyonce the next – lol. Speaking of Miss B – have you thought about braiding and wearing a wig?n I have a friend who used to wear her hair in braids who had a really cute good wig (good = real hair cut and styled to her face). At an rate, be yourself. This is the way our hair grows out of our heads and we need to stop apologizing for it – as long as its not in matted dreds (verses well maintained locs), you should be fine. That said box braids may give you more versatility, at if you are very young, corn rows may make you look younger…

        • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

          I keep my hair halfway between my chin and my shoulders and it’s pretty thick. I was thinking about a weave throughout March and April, but I’m not sure I can consistently get back into the shop to get it washed and tightened and if I am not going to do it well, I’d rather not do it at all. The cornrows comment you gave was exactly what I got from my Jewish, gay, male study buddy and that’s what got me thinking about doing something different.

          To be quite honest, I really wish I didn’t have to deal with this sort of thing. I mean, why should my ability to do my work be affected by my hair, but I understand that some people just are not ready and I will conform, for now. I also wish I had the courage to cut my hair short like my mom (think Halle Berry), but I, sadly, use my hair to hide/blend in sometimes. Sad, but true.

          And @legalicious07 I understand what you’re saying about the lack of true substance, but I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that the movie was intended for a non-black audience. What I am learning about not just the legal community, but any professional community, is that because others don’t understand the dynamics of African American hair (and sometimes just flat out don’t want to) they don’t understand the difficulties. I look at Good Hair as the Missouri ex. rel. Gaines v. Canada of African American hair (although not as life changing as equal opportunity). It’s a small step to get in the door, to help others understand on a smaller level, before hitting them with the big Brown v. Board type thing. (Doing my Constitutional Law outline hence the references.)

          I hope that Corporette can have a guest blogger to bring this and other issues that minorities (not just African Americans) face in the professional workplace.

          • Check out http://www.longhaircareforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=6

            There are some great tips on how to get and maintain a weave without damaging your hair, other protective styles for summer, and professional hair styles for AA women in general.

            I myself had kinky twists over the winter (though I don’t think I’d wear them to work, as they can look messy) and will be getting a weave for my summer job as a protective style.

          • Ms. Basil- do you know if you’ll be on the civil or criminal side of the office? I ask because I’m a clerk in criminal court, and in my jurisdiction, the criminal lawyers tend to be much more racially diverse and much less uptight about fitting a certain image. We see attorneys with braids, afros, dreds, etc., and no one cares one bit. One exceptionally stylish attorney has a big afro and it looks perfect on her.

            As for Good Hair, I think you’re 100% right. One of the court reporters watched it and told everyone about it. The old man judges were horrified about the dangers of the chemicals used and the amount of money black women have to spend to get certain styles. They’re all about the natural hair now (in spite of being bald themselves).

          • The pressure on women to do our hair a certain way is ridiculous. When I was in law school, the CSO told me to straighten my hair so it would look “nice” for interviews. WTF? My hair looks nice every day, b*tches, frizz and all.

            Sadly, my 23-year-old self wasn’t so confident and I spent hours with the straightener for every special event until I had been practicing for about a year and I realized no one actually cared what my hair looked like so long as it wasn’t sticking straight up.

  4. Blonde Lawyer :

    I’m curious if any of you have tips for staying focused at work. I need to work a minimum number of billable hours/week but despite knowing that and having work on my desk I find myself on facebook and corporate all the time. I downloaded a free tracker to keep track of what I do on my computer all day. I’m contemplating downloading a blocker and giving myself a half hour/day of facebook only. However, I sometimes need it for work.

    How do I know if I am bored and procrastinating or if I have adult ADD? How do you stay focused and concentrate 8+ hours a day when what you are doing is non-urgent but you need your hours??

    • well, my company just put blocks on all blogs this week…that’s one way! ask them to put it up for you :) (I’m at home today)

    • That is a problem I think many of us share. Non-urgent work is hard to focus on! I am having that issue this month – deals all closed or died, and ohmygosh today is the end of the month and my billed hours stink. I don’t have a cure. Sometimes it helps to make a top-5 priority list of things I want to get done; sometimes I will tell others when I am going to get it done to give myself a deadline. In all events, it helps to close the browser entirely for a while, no temptation to just flit to a couple of sites or check the gmail again. I think I will take my own advice right now, in fact!

    • This is like asking for diet tips at a NAAFA convention. :)

      • HAHAHA!!!
        (I’ll be honest – I had to look up NAAFA, but laughed really hard once I understood the joke).

    • that is so my issue, too. happy to see that it’s not only me =)

      • LegallyBlonde :

        I’ve been wondering the same thing. I HATE my inability to focus. Working on it.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I’m having this exact problem. One thing that helps is leechblock, which is an app for Firefox. I hope there’s a similar product for internet explorer, because on my weak-willed days, I realize I blocked myself on leechblock, behave briefly, and then a few minutes later find myself clicking over on internet explorer. bad.

      I’m very interested to learn the collective wisdom of the corporettes on this, too.

    • I have the exact same problem. I’ve been a procrastinator all my life, and though I wish I could attribute it to undiagnosed adult ADD, the more likely scenario is that I’m just bored with my work and looking for any excuse I can find to do something else. You can only write so many status reports and deposition summaries before they’re no longer interesting. The only thing that gets me motivated is knowing I have a firm deadline looming over me.

      Sorry to be completely useless and non-responsive to your request for advice, but I just wanted to let you know I have the same struggle.

    • I have no real answer because I struggle with this all the time. The “Pomodoro Technique” that I think Kat posted about here before worked for a while, but not really.

      There are also extensions to firefox that will close your browser after you’ve had enough internet time, but if you need to use the internet to work that’s not helpful. I did find an extension for firefox that would completely block you out of certain websites (you tell it which, such as corporette) or make it hard for you to visit them (by making you click a whole bunch of links first, especially if you stay reading a website for too long).

      I have to find out what it is again because I don’t have it in this computer. If anyone knows what I’m talking about, please share! :)

      • Here are some. I think the one I used to use is “MeeTimer” which unfortunately doesn’t work with the new versions of Firefox.

        http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-tools-to-track-how-you-spend-time-online/

        As to how to determine if you have ADD, only a doctor can tell, but ADD really involves much more than not being able to focus at work, if that’s the only focus problem you’re having, it’s very unlikely you’ve got it.

    • I preface what I’m about to say with the fact I have actual work experience beyond summers, but this works for me during the summers. And for those days of studying for finals where it’s like 12 hours of studying (which are a result of procrastinating earlier in the semester, but besides the point…).

      Anyway, I don’t think staying focused and concentrating for 8+ hours is a) healthy or, quite frankly b) really that possible. So I take “mini-breaks.” Work like 2 hours or however long you can really focus for, take a 10-15 minute break (browse internet, get up and walk around the hall, get coffee, whatever), repeat. It means you may have to end up working a little longer to get your time in, but I swear it helps concentrate for the working time and makes your brain less tired in the long run. I think I somewhere at some point read a study on this saying you retain info better if you take breaks while studying and just applied it to work.

    • s in Chicago :

      Set yourself up for few distractions (I set my homepage to Google so I’m not tempted to start reading news on MSN or Yahoo). Sometimes I set mini deadlines for myself–“Must have X done by 2 p.m.” Also, it helps to designate “play” times at points throughout the day–I find I can get a lot more done if I know that in an hour or so I have designated 20 min. to check Facebook or have given myself permission for a 10 min. walk.

      If you really think your concentration is a problem though, you should talk to your doc. A lot of things can contribute to poor concentration, from sleep disorders to depression to side effects from medicine. He/she may have some good suggestions.

    • Whenever I need to get stuff done that I don’t really NEED to get done (or that I do), I keep repeating “If you get this done, it will be done, and you never have to worry about it again…If you get this done, it will be done, and you never have to worry about it again…” And then I remind myself of all the times I procrastinated until the last minute, and my life sucked. Then I think, “Not only if you get this done will it be done, but you won’t make your life suck! You remember that time you waited to (write that paper/outline/take that exam) and you had to (pull an all-nighter to get it done/got a horrible grade/felt like you could punch a puppy)? Get to work!” And, especially if I’ve been on facebook or playing on the internet for a longer period of time than it would have taken me to actually do the work in the first place, I think, “Jeez, you could have had that DONE already! DO IT!!”

      Sooo, I suppose self-loathing works for me? :-D

    • It’s so hard. When I was getting married, I was literally addicted to the wedding discussion board on Boston.com. I was on it ALL day! My problem was I was SO bored at work. Thank heavens, I didn’t have to bill hours, because I worked in-house. I lost interest in the wedding stuff after I got married and got pregnant. Lucky for me, I didn’t get caught up in the mom-to-be or mommy websites.

      Now I work from home and I’m my own boss, so no one tells me what I can and can’t look at. Weird thing is I’m not on Corporette or blogs (except my own) or Facebook very often. I check in on a break and get back to work. If I’m not doing work for clients, I spend a lot of time now working on my own practice, and reading articles/blogs to get information on how to make my practice better. I’m on Linked-In a lot too.

      • I get a lot more work done when I work from home then when I work from the office. I think this is because I’m more comfortable and happy at home.

    • I think this might be the “Pomodoro” technique, but it’s what I do:

      Set an amount of time YOU can focus. Probably in 6 minute increments. So 6, 12, 18, maybe even 24. Do work for that amount of time. Then set a “break time.” I do 6 work to 2 break or 12 work to 4 break. Yeah, it means I’m wasting 25% of the time. But, if without it I’m wasting 90% of the time it’s an improvement. 2 minutes is just long enough to do about 1 thing on facebook, read one Corporette post, check my personal e-mail, twitter, watch a cute YouTube video, etc. If I can get all the way up to an 18/6 split that’s enough to watch one segment of Grey’s Anatomy on Hulu. I use a timer on the computer.

      • Anonymous :

        i have a similar technique. i make myself work for 35 minutes, no distractions other than phone calls that must be answered, and then give myself a 10 minute break. i have 10 minutes to go to the bathroom, check my e-mail, get a snack, reply to text messages, etc. and then i have to go back to work. i literally set a timer on my computer to force myself to work the entire 35 minutes and to get back to work after my break.

        i’ve tried pushing it to 45 minutes, but find myself not being able to concentrate for that long if what i’m working on isn’t urgent.

      • This is very interesting – thanks!

    • I have this problem too Blonde Lawyer. What’s worse for me though is that I don’t understand the conflicting advice I get on hours from partners! For reference, I just finished my first year and I’m in a mid-sized firm.

      The problem is more with my realization rate than my actual hours. My realization rate for my first year was 85% (meaning the firm had to write off 15% of my time). So I’m constantly getting told by the “mean partner” that I need to work fast and stop spending so much time on reports/reviews/deposition prep, etc. I’m then told by the “nice partner” that I should NEVER EVER cut my own time. Instead the nice partner suggests if I spend an hour too long on that report I make the time up by writing a letter, making a phone call, etc. This doesn’t make sense to me since I already bill separately for writing a letter, making a phone call and writing a report.

      I’m at work for 12 hours most days and bill about 9 hours. If I write down every single thing I do, am meticulious and bill 12 hours as everyone suggests I should, I inevitably get a lecture about that bill being too high.

      I’m frustrated and considering selling fruit on the streets of NY full time (except I have loans, etc). Sigh.

      • I’m sorry :(. I worked for two bosses once too, in my very first job. Sometimes their interests conflicted, and one of them was a yeller. He got mad about a big case I was working on with my other boss, where he had gotten called in to a meeting of high-level people to discuss strategy and I disagreed with what he said because I was defending the strategy proposed by my team (with the other boss). He called me into his office later and yelled at me for disagreeing with him in a meeting. This was insane, because I needed to be able to do my “other” job with my other boss, regardless of whether he liked what the other boss wanted. So I got fed up and yelled back. That was a few years and 2 jobs ago, and he and I are still good friends. So it might not work for every nasty boss, but sometimes people with strong personalities don’t respect people who they perceive as having weak personalities.

    • Figure out what time of day you work best and under what conditions, and then plan your work time vs play time accordingly. And definitely plan in some play time or relaxation time or go for a walk or whatever. Also agree w/ the above re giving yourself deadlines, but then it sucks when you don’t keep your own deadlines (I know from experience..)

      Also, get tested for ADD. Why not? Look up the symptoms, see if you have some of them, and then go to a doctor. Besides, taking a jolt of the stimulant of your choice (or your doctor’s choice) can go a long way to getting yourself going. But I may be more pro-drugs than most people. If you don’t like drugs, then chug coffee / energy shots / sugar, and then do you work. Then when you crash, come on corporette :)

      • In the morning, when I can, I come in & get a big post it note. I write a bunch of stuff that needs to be done that day & then I start to cross it off. The crossing off is very rewarding & thus encouraging.
        I usually add a couple of easy to cross off items so that I feel good & get on roll with the ‘crossies’ . . . It’s not perfect but it helps.

        Also, on a similar tip, I have a day planner and I try to put in some artificial deadlines for myself. Obviously I dont always meet them but it helps to shame me into doing them more often than not.

        Last but not least, we are all creatures of habit, and if you get yourself to be more productive, you become even more productive. . it’s a self perpetuating thing (kind of like if you’ve gotten nothing done till 12 30 and you’re going to lunch at 1, you’re just going to say “oh, well, i am not getting anything done in half an hour, lets see what corporette folks are saying…”)

        Bottom line: decide you want to be productive, feel good about getting stuff done quickly & you will be on your way. And, also, I often tell myself I will have a “fun” day of not doing much friday if I get x, y, z, done m-th. Sure it means half my friday is wasted reading the newspaper, etc., but the week benefits as a whole.

        • I do the same thing – If I do something that’s not on the list, I add it to the list and cross it off so that at the end of the day I know I’ve accomplished something :-)

          Feeling good about things I’ve done = more likely to do more!

    • anonymous :

      Questions to ask yourself to determine whether you have adult ADD:
      http://add.about.com/od/evaluationanddiagnosis/a/adultaddsymptom.htm

      I think (in my uneducated opinion on this) that if you only get bored at work, then it’s the work that’s the problem, not ADD, but if you also can’t concentrate on, say, reading a book or article all the way through when you’re at home, then it could be ADD (or something else, e.g. depression [one of the symptoms is boredom w/ everything]).

    • For me, the only thing that has ever worked is accountability. I have a friend from undergrad who’s in a different field but has similar time demands. She and I get together every other week and report to one another on our productivity, focus, etc. When I know I’m having a low-will-power week, I’ll shoot her an email and tell her that I’m struggling. Then I know that at least once or twice that week, I’ll get a phone call or an email checking up on me – Of course, I could lie…but I’m smarter than that :-), and I’m sure you are too!

    • It’s so reassuring to hear that others have this problem. I was mad at myself yesterday for all the time I wasted. After analyzing my day, I realized I never put anything in my schedule to look forward to. All I had was a long list of things to accomplish that I didn’t want to do. So I didn’t do them, but I didn’t do anything I really wanted to do either.

      • LexCaritas :

        This is so interesting , especially techniques people are using themselves.

        I originally had FB blocked on my work PC, so it was simply not possible to procrastinate this way. Same with most message-board types sites. At some stage my firm changed this policy, and I could now look at these things, but I find that I don’t because looking at them has somehow become a sort of ‘home/social’ activity for me. I do check my personal email a couple of time in the day, though.

        I am also aware of the fact that a record of everything I do on my work computer is available to the firm so I would not be too comfortable knowing I could one day have my non-work internet use thrown back at me. Particularly in a recession market.

    • I don’t have particular tips, but I just wanted to join the chorus of people who are struggling with staying focused. I have plenty of work to keep me busy, but with no urgent deadlines and no particular interest in the tasks at hand, I find it hard to stay consistent. I was always a self-motivator so it’s particularly strange for me. It’s actually an external motivator—the need to keep my billable hours up—that forces me to dig in when I find myself giving in to distractions. And having an invisible taskmaster does not feel good.

      Since so many of us, overachievers all, struggle with this, I wonder if the problem is not ability to focus, but just a matter of whether we are engaged with the work in front of us at a given time. Don’t you still find it easy to get absorbed in a project that you like?

      • I agree — I think the nature of the work is a factor. For me if it’s something exciting, and high paced its a lot more engaging than if its my monthly account reconciliations… which are easy to do, but beyond boring!

    • I have had similar issues. I do find the Pomodoro technique, as one poster described below, to be helpful. Also helpful is to take some time at the beginning of the day to think about what you want to accomplish and prioritize for the day.

      As I finish a pomodoro, I immediately note that on a spreadsheet where I track my time. This makes actually billing the time I do work easier, since some of my work (calls, emails, etc.) actually take far longer than I expect it will.

      One thought for S – if you use something like the Pomodoro technique (including tracking the # of “pomodoros” you spend on specific tasks), then you can say to both your partners, “I’ve done X deposition summaries, and it seems to take me about Y minutes per page of deposition. Do you think this is more time than I should be spending? Are my summaries more detailed than you need? Should I be skipping over certain types of issues because they are not that important to our case?” Hopefully this will either a) turn this into a useful discussion that will help you learn how to do your job better and get a better sense of the firm’s overall strategy of the case, or b) make the guy who says you’re billing too much for the tasks shut up. It’s easy for a partner to say “30 hours for something I barely look at?!?!” Much harder to say that you should be able to summarize a 200 page deposition in 20 minutes.

      Generally, I think the best approach with people who criticize your work is to thank them for the feedback and ask them if they can give you specific guidance on how to improve. Coming up with your own suggestions and asking if they are what the partner has in mind is good if you can do it. Sometimes you actually get useful feedback, and even if you don’t, it shows that you are a team player and want to please. Unfortunately, most partners won’t take the time to think through more specifically what you should be doing differently, unless you really force them to.

    • Same issue here, at least I know I have ADD but colleagues don’t understand it..

    • I try to work 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. I use a timer on my iPhone. It works for me. That way, I’m working 50 minutes out of every hour, and I have 10 minutes for Corporette/FB/MSNBC/etc.

  5. associate :

    I have an oral argument at a state appellate court next week. I was planning on wearing a conservative, black skirt suit, but an older attorney said black suits are the mark of young, inexperienced attorneys. Thoughts? p.s. I’m in my mid-20s.

    • Congrats on getting to argue before a court so early in your career! I’m not as young as you (early 30s) but a “young, inexperienced lawyer” since I’ve barely been one for 6 months. However, I’ve been clerking in a federal court of appeals and have seen most women wear something other than a black suit, but I’ve also seen a WIDE range of suits, many of which were very colorful and “wild” IMO (depending on where the court has sat). I think you can’t go wrong with a black suit, but I would accessorize it to personalize it. Bottom line is, if you feel comfortable in it, it will show. If you don’t, it’ll show too. The only suits I remember attorneys wearing in court are the “wild” ones :)

      • Frustrated Academic :

        I clerk for a state appellate court–on oral argument days 98% of the attorneys arguing wear a black suit (that’s what I wear when I sit it). The rest wear navy or brown, and once I saw a *fabulous* winter white suit worn by a female attorney of a certain age. I agree with the previous poster, you only remember the wild outfits (blue polyester!).

        You will be nervous enough, so wear a suit that makes you feel powerful and confident, it may be black, it may not–the attorney in winter white owned the room from the moment she got up, whereas some attorneys in black look like they are wearing their mom or dad’s suit.

        Just a tip, if you buy a new suit have a co-worker check the back to make sure that the vents are cut out and all the tags are gone–as we in gallery can see when they are not ;-)

        Good luck!!

        • Are you a spring, summer, fall, or winter? Wear the neutral that flatters you! If you are a summer that may be Navy but if you are a fall, you might look better in brown. Most people do not look their best in black.

          • I personally don’t worry about the “seasons” – the colors that suit my skin tone are not necessarily the ones that project authority and confidence. I care more about the latter when in court. I think black, dark gray or navy are all fine. I wear black even though it does not suit my skin tone, because it is both authoritative and easy to coordinate, so I tend to feel good in it for business.

            I think brown tends to look less authoritative.

          • The great thing about black though is that its timeless, easy to match shoes and jewelry to, and doesn’t show any spots if you (like me) happen to bang into an open pen/spill diet coke on your pants/etc. (yes, I’m a walking ad for those Tide to go pens – love them!)

    • I went to a meeting of a community group I’m involved in, and noticed to my amusement that all of the women lawyers there were wearing black suits. None of us are particularly young or inexperienced. Wear what you want so long as it’s appropriate.

      I do think the black suit/white button-front/pumps/pearls look makes one look like a 2L at OCI, though, especially if the suit is ill fitting.

      • I would saw that you should wear whatever conservative color you are most comfortable in. You absolutely want to be as comfortable as possible, so you aren’t worried about your clothes (from the front or the back) while you’re arguing. For me, I go with either a navy or black skirt suit when I’m arguing in one of the downstate NY departments. In upstate NY departments, I’ve branched out to pants and worn a conservative dark brown pants suit.

  6. Every time I’ve argued in front of the state appellate courts I’ve done it in a black skirt suit. And the women in my firm that I want to emulate that are older than me generally wear similar black / navy suits, though sometimes with a light strip or dot pattern. Frankly, if you’re in your 20s, you’re going to look young no matter what you wear. Don’t let his comment get you down.

    • You know, I assumed the older attorney who made a comment was a woman. If it was a man, he probably has no clue about women’s clothes and was thinking of the pretty much set-in-stone rule that men should not wear black suits unless they’re going to a funeral. Only younger guys tend to be clueless about this. He may have just extrapolated the rule to women, to whom it definitely does not apply.

  7. I just had an awful exam experience. I really wanted to do well in this one class because I was hoping for a great clerkship recommendation (I’m a 2L). I’ve taken this professor before and have done well on the exam. It was closed-book, but I knew the material back and forth.

    While I was in the exam, I felt like I was missing something, but I handed it in about 30 min early. As soon as I stepped out of the room, I almost fainted. I forgot to answer a huge part of the question! I knew exactly what I missed. I’m thinking it will be a C or worse- and I’ve never gotten less than a B. To make it worse, I’m not taking that many classes this semester, so it will count for a big part of my GPA.

    I’ve always done pretty well in school and thought I had a decent shot at a district court or state supreme court clerkship. But now I’m not so sure. I’ve never messed up like this on a test. I feel sick to my stomach.

    Any sage words on how to deal with this? How do you overachieving chicks deal with failure?

    • It’s going to be ok, D. It’s hard to get over that feeling. If you can spend an hour or two having fun with friends, watching a movie, focusing on something else, that helps. But, here’s why it probably won’t matter as much as you think.

      1) If you usually get B’s, a lot of people who usually get B’s or C’s also missed that part. Assuming you are a law student graded on a curve, remember you don’t have to do well, you just have to do better than 40% to get a B (at my school).

      2) Again, at my school, teachers are usually “generous.” If you got all the points on the other issues, and said anything that could even be remotely related to this issue, you might get some points for it. Also, if you spent some time on the exam, this one part must not have been 100% or even 50% of the test, right?

      3) One bad grade can be explained away pretty easily if you’ve done consistently well. I had 1 “below average” 1L grade. You can talk about what you learned from getting it, how you changed your tactics, and how the subject just wasn’t the most interesting too you and the class included a lot of gunners. Or, you can just say, “law school is hard, no one’s perfect!”

      4) You might be wrong. It might not have been that important, or it might not have been that many points, or you might not have really missed it. I’ve walked out of tests feeling like I’ve never done worse and then gotten a high grade. You never know exactly what that prof is looking for.

      5) GPA and ranking wise 1 grade might hurt this semester’s GPA but it won’t have that big of an effect overall. I just calculated that at this point even if I got straight D’s this semester (8 credits) I would only decrease my GPA by about 1 point. I think judges etc. care more about your cumulative GPA from the 4 semesters than the most recent GPA.

    • First, calm down. I am a graduating 3L with a district court clerkship, and I sit at the top of my class. Last semester on my products liability final I wrote a beautiful answer to a question that the professor did not ask. I mixed up two major doctrines – and I still managed a decent grade. I also made myself completely miserable for three weeks and managed to ruin my Christmas beating myself up over it.

      The thing is, if you know you missed something you are already ahead of many of your classmates. So, although the feeling is unnerving, it is really a good thing. I have a friend who mixed the defendant and plaintiff up on an evidence exam and still managed an A. You never know what everyone else missed or if you picked up on some brilliant issue that no one else did. So, I’ll reiterate, calm down. It is not worth making yourself (and if you are like me, your significant other) miserable for a month until you know the grade.

      All that said, if the grade is sub par, try not to worry too much about it. There is certainly nothing you can do about it now. Everyone makes mistakes, even if we don’t like to admit it. Take a shower, get a drink and shake it off. Do the best you can in the rest of your classes and take it all with a grain of salt. Also, just because you missed that one issue doesn’t mean that you can’t get a great rec from the prof particularly if you have a good relationship with him or her outside of class and can talk about what happened on the exam, if you don’t get the grade you hoped for.

    • Anonymous :

      Just try to relax and wait it out. You can talk to the professor after you get your grade back, which might not be all that bad. Don’t forget that there’s a curve and that even the people who sat through the whole exam might have missed many significant issues. And finally, do some yoga! There’s more to life and job procurement than grades.

    • (1) If you got everything else, but missed one big part of the exam, you probably didn’t fail. I know from personal experience that it’s completely possible to forget to answer an entire question and still come out with a half decent (B/B+) grade. So stop freaking out.
      (2) Stop freaking out.
      (3) Stop freaking out.
      (4) There is nothing you can do about it at this point, so you might as well not put the stress on your heart.
      (5) Generally speaking, failure happens. And it can happen in various forms. The important part is what you do with it. Honestly, getting less than a B happens, and it happens a lot.
      (6) If it’s your lowest grade, and it’s an outlier, then whatever. And, honestly, if the professor won’t write you a recommendation because you did something like blank on his exam and you got a low grade, then he wasn’t such a great professor anyway. A recommendation should be more than just “she gets good grades in my classes.” So, if the professor will still write you a glowing recommendation, then it’s no big deal.
      (7) I absolutely refuse to believe that ONE GRADE will mess up your chances of a clerkship. Unless this class was work 12 credits and will make up your GPA for the entire semester, and subsequently drags your cum GPA down a huge amount, it’s really not going to matter. Trust me. I have gotten a one very poor grade and a few not so fabulous ones in law school, and I’m still alive, I still have friends, and my mom still loves me.

    • A great professor told me that it’s always a really good sign when you feel like you bombed a test because it shows that you know the material well enough to immediately know what you left out. If you had actually bombed the exam, you would think you did really well afterwards (before grades come out), because you wouldn’t be aware of the material you left out. Your understanding of the material will show through on the exam, even if you left out a part of the analysis. Don’t worry too much until grades come out.

      • I agree with this completely, there are so many issues on the exam, you were well prepared and missed one part of it. Even if it was big, the Cs are usually for completely unprepared tests. You should be fine, and there is nothing you can do about it now. If the worst case scenario happens, you explain it to your potential employers. If you have all As and Bs and one blip, its obvious you know your stuff.

        • Yes. My worst “I failed” exam, I got an A+ ( I still believe it must have been a miscalculation — I left so much out!!!)

          Also, the one exam when I literally just did not know what to write b/c I couldn’t even wrap my mind about the question (and honestly, I deserved to do terribly), I got a B-.

          The curve is a powerful thing; and it’s also true — the more you know, the more you’re going to know what you left out & thus think you failed.

          Good luck. I am sure it wont be that bad, and even if it is — reach out to your prof & he/she may still write you that rec letter. Promise.

          • Just as a note on PJB’s answer, that would be a huge violation at my law school. Make sure you know the policies before talking to your professor, it would mean an F at my school.

        • Thanks everyone! I’ll do my best to look at this from a big picture- it’s just one bad exam. And I’m taking the weekend off to enjoy the nice weather before it’s back to the exam grind.

          • I did this once. I walked immediately to the law professor’s office and told him the truth. He laughed and told me not to panic, and then he allowed me to go back into the exam room and continue on! Got an A+. (It was the only A+ I ever got in law school.)

            Good luck to you.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Someone in my school missed an entire exam question once!! We were all talking about the 4th essay and she said, there were FOUR??? GULP!

          • Sorry this was supposed to go here! Just as a note on PJB’s answer, that would be a huge violation at my law school. Make sure you know the policies before talking to your professor, it would mean an F at my school.

    • Oh my goodness–this EXACT same thing happened to me today. I had an extra 30 minutes, and couldn’t figure out why. I hit the “submit” button (we take our exams on the computer) and went to hand in the paper and the last page opened and I saw the fourth question. All semester he has told us it would be 3 Questions, the exam instructions said 3 questions, so I had no clue even to think there would be a fourth. I mean–ultimately it’s my fault, but come on!

      I’m right there in the same boat with you. I worked hard on this class this semester, and I was prepared. I’m looking at it this way–at least you have a reason that you (and I) aren’t going to do well on this exam. It’s not for lack of knowledge or preparation. If it comes up, explain it, get your professor to write something if it ends up being a big deal. He knows you know your stuff, maybe he’ll end up taking preparation and participation into account (that’s what I’m hoping).

      And lastly, both of us have to remember that in the whole big scheme of things, it’s one grade, and when we look back on it (much further down the road) it may end up being a funny story. Just know you aren’t alone. My grades rock, and I know this is going to mess that up (I’m a 2L also), but it’s not the end of the world.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Since you hadn’t left the exam room, couldn’t you have told the proctor and just hand wrote the last question?

        • I wish! There’s a time limit, and it’s breaking the golden rule to go over it. I did ask the Dean if there was anything that could be done. She said no, but that she would let the professor know. I can’t tell him myself, because that would break the confidentiality in exam grading. Oh well.

      • If the exam instructions said 3 questions, you should formally notify whoever’s in charge of exams of what happened. A mistake in the instructions plus a fourth question on the back of the last page of the exam makes a very good case for the professor to grade you only based on the three questions you answered. Also, I bet you are not the only one who only answered the first three questions. If many people did this, I bet they’ll throw out the 4th question.

        Are you sure that the instructions didn’t say to answer your choice of 3 out of the 4 questions, or that the 4th question wasn’t a bonus?

    • Anonymous :

      It’s also better to have this happen now than on the bar exam. I know quite a few people who, under stress, forgot to answer subparts to questions or even missed entire questions entirely!! When I finished exams early, I always took 5 minutes to just breathe, look out the window, doodle on a scratch pad, whatever. After taking this time to relax, I then went back to my exam and looked through it one last time. I was always surprised to catch at least one thing (even if minor) that I had previously overlooked and was now able to fix. Learn your lesson now and you won’t run into this down the road!

    • First, it’s probably not as bad as it seems. If you’re this worried about it, then chances are you’re a conscientious student in general, and probably did better than most. I seriously thought I failed at least 2 exams in law school, but ended up getting at or above the curve on both.

      Second, a prof can still like you and give you a good rec even without stellar grades in his class. And they’re human too — after you get your grade, talk to him about the exam, tell him how you felt right afterwards and how you knew immediately you screwed up — if you’re being honest then he will see that, and he will also see that you’re eager to learn and fix things to the extent possible. Eagerness to learn and engagement in the classroom can be as good as stellar grades in a professor’s eyes.

      Sorry to hear about the bad exam — like any bad events, let yourself grieve about it for awhile, and then try to move on, focusing on the positive “teaching moments” that you can learn from it, and just strive to do better next time. Everyone makes mistakes and all you can do is try your best the next time around.

    • You probably didn’t do as badly as you think. Curves are both beautiful and terrible things, but they make it almost impossible to get a C in law school. Seriously. It’s probably fine.

      Also, random unsolicited advice on clerkships–apply to magistrate judges if you really want a clerkship. My grades were on the lower end for district clerkships for my school, and in retrospect, I should have applied to magistrate judges initially (I didn’t get a clerkship this year, I’ll reapply next year). It’s super competitive right now–I had all of one interview, and don’t know many people who weren’t on law review/top 10% who had more than one or two interviews.

      • (almost) 3L :

        What law school did you attend?? What was the curve? We’re on a C+/B- curve and people get C’s all the time. I’m not saying this to freak out OP, but Cs are a frequent occurence on the transcripts of the whole bottom half of my class.

        What kind of curves were some of the rest of you on? Am I up against lots of people who found C’s “almost impossible” to get? (I’m re-vamping my interview answer about my one C+ as we speak!)

        • My school had no curve, so it wasn’t uncommon for people to get C/C+ grades if a prof felt students’ work wasn’t up to snuff. I know plenty of people who graduated in the top half of the class who had a C/C+ or two on the transcript.

          Keep in mind that may judges prefer to hire experienced attorneys as clerks. Even if you aren’t able to get a USDC clerkship this year, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have an opportunity later on.

        • I’m in my last year at NYU. We recently changed our curve (to match Columbia’s… not the official stated reason, but we all know that’s why). The curve is to a B, and I once had a professor tell me this is still lower than a lot of other top 10 schools (grade inflation FTW). Just convince your administration that your school’s biggest rival has a better curve than you and it’s hurting your employment prospects, and they’ll magically change it.

          • I am an NYU grad and now teach part-time (I’m also a practicing lawyer in a large firm) at a good, but not top-tier state university law school, and I was shocked by how generous the curve was compared to the NYU curve. At the school where I teach, 50% of students have to get a B+, and if you give more than a few students a B-, you get a call from the administration “making sure your grades were correctly recorded.”

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Wow, my school was a standard c curve. C’s and D’s were not uncommon and I graduated in the top 30% with a couple c’s.

        • My school is curved to a B. However, almost everyone I know has received at least one C/C+ in a class, including the people in the top half or third. It happens to the best of us. And grades haven’t determined who has a job and who hasn’t so far; some of the top people are getting LLMs/MBAs because they didn’t get an offer, and I know some of the people at the bottom had jobs in September.

          And then there are the rest of us who don’t have jobs and will live at home with our parents until we pass the bar…

          Law school is such an arbitrary $%!^show…

        • My school has a median of B+ for 2L and 3L courses and B for 1L courses. If you have a 2.0 GPA or below you have to petition to not be kicked out. In classes with fewer than 18 people there is no C required, but above that level they must give at least one C. To be in the top 10% you have to have about a 3.6 or better GPA.

          This means that many people get at least 1 C in their first year, but everyone’s GPA improves 2nd year, even though the 2.0 students are mostly gone. So, yeah, point that out in your interview. Because I see a B+ and think “average.”

        • I have no idea what the norm was at my school. We were on a B- curve, and personally, my lowest grade was a B. Everything else was an A-, A, or A+. But I was at a school hovering in the bottom of the Top Tier, so it’s all relative.

    • I agree with the points the other overachieving chicks made, so I won’t repeat them, but don’t worry. YOU HAVE NOT FAILED! One portion of one exam is NOT going to prevent you from getting a good recommendation from this professor or from getting a clerkship.

      I was in a similar situation a few years ago! I had a couple exams in 2L where I ran out of time and did not finish parts of them. That was also the year I withdrew from a course and got a W on my transcript. I wanted to be a USDC clerk even before I started lawschool, but thought I had to apply after 3L to have time to improve my grades. When I started 3L in the fall 2004 I skipped all the electronic clerkship applications, but did apply to one USDC clerkship in another city on a resume drop on a whim. The judge picked me and four others for an interview, and I explained that I was so enthusiastic about the law and about my lawschool (the judge’s alma mater) that I had overloaded on courses (which was true). He liked my enthusiasm and I got the clerkship, and I met my fiance in that new city.

      My point is that if you keep chasing your goals, things have a way of working out. Don’t focus on this one exam. Think of all you have accomplished so far, be proud of yourself, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

      I know this sounds cheesy, but I’m being sincere.

    • Worst.feeling.ever. I’ve had 2 similar experiences. For my criminal law final, I made a mini outline before starting my answer and literally only had time to write about HALF of the stuff on the outline. I literally thought I had failed, and for the first time in my entire academic career, I went straight to my car and cried like a baby. I fretted over it for the next 6-8 weeks and ended up with an A! The other time, I literally wrote the wrong answer on the essay. For the entire essay. I ended up with a B+ in that one.

      Not that I take my own advice, but try to otherwise occupy yourself and not obsess too much. There’s a good chance that you did much better than you think.

    • I have a bit of a different perspective on this, because in addition to being a practicing attorney, I’m also an adjunct at a nearby law school. And I just finished meeting with several students who were deeply unhappy about their exam grades. My suggestions:

      1) As others have said, it’s one grade, and although that means more in a tough job market than it might have in the past, it’s still only *one grade* on your transcript.

      2) I just wrote a stellar recommendation for a student who ended up with a B- in my class. If you had a good relationship with the professor, the exam grade will not have a significant effect on the prof’s willingness to write for you or the quality of the letter.

      3) If you were even thinking about this (and my apologies if you weren’t!), please do *not* talk to your professor with the objective of getting your grade changed. Unless I actually made a mistake (and I’m very happy to change a grade in that case), I don’t change grades, and I would be less likely to want to write a rec for a student who asked to have his/her grade changed. That *will* change your relationship with a prof who might have had a good opinion of you before. Also (this is very important), if you do choose to approach your prof about your grade, make sure you know your school’s policy on doing so. I’m strictly barred from any communication with students during the grading period.

      I suspect that in the end, you’ll be fine–whether the grade is as bad as you fear, or not.

    • Speaking as someone who has written many exam questions: It is not possible to hit all the issues in a law school exam. An A doesn’t mean you hit 100% of the issues, it means you were in the best X percent out of all the exam takers. As others have said, your grade will probably be fine.

      • anonymous :

        agree with this! I remember back to one of my exams that had one part of a bunch of multiple-choice questions. The most anyone got correct was 40%, so that became the standard for an A+ for that portion of the exam, not 100%!

    • Here’s another perspective: I actually did fail an exam my 2L year. I had 4 finals in 2 days, and I couldn’t change any of them because one was a take-home paper exam, so it didn’t count as an “exam” for purposes of rescheduling.

      Anyway, I was writing this stupid paper and studying for 2 other exams I had that same day and was really stressed out to the point that I couldn’t even think. I wrote out the whole answer in 1.5 hours, read over it and thought “wow, I think everything I just wrote is wrong.” I would I have just re-wrote the whole thing, but we were only allowed one answer booklet and I had already filled the entire booklet (had to write on every other line, one side of the page). So, I just turned it in and left.

      Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, what happens when you fail a class in law school? Well, that particular class was required, so I had to take it over. It was more difficult mentally/emotionally than anything else. I had to talk to the professor and the dean, but I got As and Bs in all my other classes, so they understood that it was just a one-time thing. And even though my last semester I was on dean’s list, I think I ended up graduating in the bottom half of the class.

      But, life goes on.

      I still got summer internships, I still passed the bar on my first try, and I still got a job at a medium-sized firm doing the same boring work all the rest of you are doing.

      So, think of it this way: if you got a C or D, at least you won’t have to take the class over!

      • Thanks for sharing your story. That was really an injustice for your lawschool not to allow rescheduling and for the professor to have that ridiculous one bluebook requirement. My lawschool (GULC) bent the rules in situations like this. I’m so sorry you had to go through that, and glad things turned out OK in the end. It’s great that you have such a positive outlook.

    • I’m an adjunct professor, and I have to tell you I’m generally disappointed in the quality of exam work. If you did really well on the rest, but missed a part, that may be graded better than mediocre across the board. Also, one grade is probably not going to make that much of a difference.

      All that said, and I know this is not helpful now, but this is precisely why I NEVER handed in an exam before time was up. Learn from it, move on.

  8. The following question is purely out of sheer curiosity and I am not taking a position, but wondering how fellow corporettes feel about this (both moms and those without kids) – sorry if this has been discussed before:

    What are your thoughts on breastfeeding in public? When do you think it’s ok and when is it not? Any particular place or times of day? I saw a woman in a super-busy Starbucks on Columbus Circle breastfeeding a baby who looked to be around 5 months old. Reactions to this scenario? Generally?

    • No kids here, but I have no problem with women feeding their children in public either. A breast is not offensive to me, a child eating is not offensive to me, and a blanket over a child and a breast is not offensive to me. Hypothetically and personally, I think I would go into the restroom or in a back and quiet area of a restaurant so I wouldn’t be around people who may think otherwise.

      If there’s no blanket, I would probably think “Wow, that lady is ballsy!” but as long as there’s no breastmilk splashed on me, then I think I would just let it carry on and go about my business without a second thought. I really can’t imagine a scenario where I would be inadvertently splashed by fresh breastmilk, but I stand corrected if a mom says it’s possible! :-D

      In terms of the Starbucks lady, was she wearing a blanket over herself and her baby? If so, I don’t think I would think twice about it. Did she spike some of the 1/2 and 1/2? If not, then carry on.

      • The Starbucks lady was not using any sort of blanket, and you could see a bit of nip slip. Does this change anyone’s perception?

        • Anonymous :

          Have to say that I would not be comfortable with this due to the fact that she was a) in a crowded public place and b) didn’t do anything to shield herself/baby. I understand that moms on the go might need to nurse, but good grief, I would think they could take some simple steps to make it a little more private.

          • Many babies (especially older ones) don’t like to nurse with a blanket over them. I wouldn’t like to eat with a blanket over my head either, so I think I get it. I also wouldn’t like to eat in a bathroom stall, so I can understand why others wouldn’t subject their babies to that. Not a personal issue for me, because I failed miserably at breastfeeding so my daughter was formula-fed, but I just don’t really get why it would bother other people. Babies gotta eat too!

            Then again, I live in a very liberal area where you get more evil eyes for pulling out a bottle with formula in it than you would for flashing a nip while breastfeeding, so that may be contributing to my perspective. :-)

          • @Emilie, I am not from a particularly liberal area but I totally agree that if I wouldn’t enjoy a particular eating situation, I shouldn’t expect the baby to enjoy it. I figure I can ignore a quiet baby who is happily nursing, while it’s much harder to ignore a screaming hungry baby who can’t be fed because it’s considered indecent in that environment.

        • I wouldn’t care! I’d think “wow, I couldn’t do that” but I have a toddler and can sympathise with any mum who has a hungry baby to feed (esp a 5 mth old) and cannot get home in time/ forgot a blanket or whatever.

          I see teenagers all the time with sundry parts of their body showing (that I’d prefer not to see) – compared to that, a breast feeding mum is par for the course!

      • legalicious07 :

        Your question is a good one. And yet I simply refuse to take issue with a breast that performs the function for which it was created. What I take issue with is the gratuitous peep show that we are subjected to in our celebrity-driven culture and copycat streetwear fashion. On any given day in American, you will see a shocking display of the breasts of many non-nursing women. I think this is far more prevalent than is seeing the breasts of any nursing women. I think the blankets are much more appropriate for the former, and I think we should eliminate the double-standard in this area.

    • Anonymous :

      i think it’s perfectly fine as long as everything, ahem, critical is covered up. as i understand from my mom friends, most babies don’t mind a light blanket or a cover up (the kind with the little bump-out at the top so you can still look down and see your baby).

      would i ever nurse in a Starbucks? no way. does it bother me when someone else nurses their baby in a party/gathering? not really.

    • I’m with Anonymous above that I would find it preferable for everything to be covered up. But, that being said, I wouldn’t be incredibly offended if a woman breastfed w/out a covering blanket.

      • My mom breast-fed me at my christening. In the church. Certainly got the minister to stop rambling on! I think it is 100% okay to breast-feed whenever and however you want. But I am also one of those rare freaks who is delighted to be seated next to a baby on an international flight :)

        Related note- 26 is too young to go the sperm donor route right???? Grrr- super broody lately and frustrated that all the people I went to school with who got crappy dead end jobs got babies, and all I got was a fancy law degree and a load of debt.

        • umm, I would like to note that the above 3L is not the same as me who is the OP.

        • Anonymous :

          ha ha, know how that feels…i just turned 25 and, while i’ve always loved kids, it seems like recently i’ve had a radar device in my head that hones in on babies!

          a day care near my law school brings its charges to play in the law school yard and, boy, it it distracting. i feel like a creep for staring at other folks’ kids, but they are just. so. cute.

          • wow, how different people can be — I’m 27 or so, and the sight of kids in a play yard makes me wince — all the screaming and shouting!

          • Lol…I’ve been experiencing some of that “baby fever” too lately. Now if only I could get my hubby on board….

          • Offer to baby-sit a toddler all day – if THAT does not get rid of your broody feeling, well then, what are you waiting for:)

        • I have the same feeling sometimes — I’m 25 and after a lifetime of school, including grad, and working I own my own home, have a decent career, but it’s definitely just me…

          That said, I’m not ready to give up on my own personal dream of finding Mr. Right and getting married and then having kids (which I wouldn’t want to have for at least another couple years… I’m enjoying the freedom to work late or go on vacation without lugging strollers and diaper bags!)… but it’s definitely a personal decision.

    • A 5 month old baby is mainly if not exclusively eating formula or breast milk. Besides, it is really none of your business where and for how long a woman chooses to breastfeed her child. If it makes you uncomfortable, just look away.

    • I’ve been freaked out about breastfeeding (no, I don’t really want kids about 85-90% of the time at least) since my mom had a client who still breast fed her 4 year old. I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to know about it, and I don’t want to think about it. Please use a blanket or go to the restroom or a corner or something. [Feel free to tell me I’m insensitive and juvenile now :)]

      • You are juvenile. Boobs are for feeding babies. Sometimes, a nipple is going to show. People who do not want to see a child eating should take their own lunch into the bathroom and eat there.

        • Ditto this. And I don’t have kids, nor do I want them. But this weird, puritanical I-can’t-stand-breasts-or-nipples thing is really juvenile.

      • Fair enough. I have a problem with judgmental, snobby childless people myself. They make me feel sad. Maybe they should sequester themselves in their homes so I don’t have to see them or think about them.

        • A Different Liz :

          For the record, and I’m assuming you didn’t mean to imply as much, but not all childless people have an issue with breastfeeding or exposed nipples while breastfeeding. I have no children, have no plans to have children, and could give a rip about whether a mother’s nipple is showing while breastfeeding.

          • Thank you! As a single woman without children I resent the heck out of the implication that I must be bitter and begrudge the ‘yummy mummys’ their happiness… I really don’t care about breastfeeding in the open/under blankets/in the restroom, etc…

          • Not to put words in As mouth but I think she was directing specifically at “snobby childless people” and not childless people. I think she was directing the remark as a sarcastic response to those childless people who freak out, not all childless people

        • What CFM said. If you have no problem with me, I have no problem with you. However, KLo’s comment really rankles because for all the choices a mother can make, feeding her child from her breast when the child is hungry is NOT one that deserves judgment. In fact, I am really not interested in judgment of any kind about children from people who don’t have one. I once had a woman who had chosen to never get married or have kids talk at me, at length, about how “gross” she thought pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding was. My son was a newborn at the time. If you think these things are gross, you are entitled, but parents don’t want to hear you expound upon how “gross,” boring, etc. their life choices are. I would never dream of telling an unmarried, child-free person that their life choices were sad, pathetic and selfish – mainly because I don’t believe that, but also because I have good sense. Yet child-free people seem to have no problem going on and on – to parents! – about how much they “hate children,” how they are so happy to not be tied down with a family, or how having children is bad for the environment. There would be much better rapport between people with children and the child-free if both sides would be a little less vocally judgmental about the other side’s choices.

          • A Different Liz :

            “There would be much better rapport between people with children and the child-free if both sides would be a little less vocally judgmental about the other side’s choices.”

            Agreed.

            And thanks for not telling me that my life choices are sad, pathetic, and selfish, or that I’ll regret them, because, believe me, a lot of mothers have. :-)

            Funny story–A friend of mine (for the last 17 years) always said to me “Liz, when I have kids, if I talk about their poop all the time, feel free to tell me to stop.” Well, she now has toddler twin boys, and the topic of their poop comes on a regular basis, sometimes while acknowledging that she swore she would never talk about it! I don’t tell her to stop. Lives change. Poop becomes important.

          • Aww! I really liked that story Different Liz. You are obviously a really good friend.

    • Most bathrooms are the very last place I would have fed my babies. Bathrooms tend to be smelly (either chemical cleaners or, ahem, natural odors), people are often waiting in line and would not be happy for mom and child to occupy a stall for 20 minutes, and germs are all over the place. I have seen nice lounge-type areas in some rare bathrooms, but certainly that’s not going to be the case in a Starbucks.

      My husband is a bit of a prude, so he was always freaked out about me feeding our kids in public. I liked to throw a receiving blanket or large scarf over us, both to calm him down and to keep the kid focused on the task at hand.

      • Agree – and Starbucks often have 1-2 single stall restrooms. It would not be appropriate to use one for 20 minutes.

      • Agreed. I cannot imagine taking one of my kids into a bathroom to eat. I can’t believe we are even having this conversation. Seriously? A website full of women and even HERE people are prudish about breastfeeding? I didn’t make it far enough in breastfeeding my twins to do it in public, but I would have if necessary. There are a lot of things I don’t want to see in public. Breastfeeding isn’t even on the list!

    • A Different Liz :

      I’m fine w/ women breastfeeding in public, blanket or no blanket. It’s what breasts are for. Breastfeeding a 5-month old baby seems totally normal to me, and if the mother and baby are at Starbucks, that’s the way it goes. As for showing nipple, that’s also the way it goes. Some babies don’t feed under a blanket, and I don’t expect nursing mothers to stay at home so they can avoid showing a nipple while feeding their children.

      I really try not to judge other people’s parenting decisions (assuming they are not abusive or neglecting their children). I’m not a parent, but the mothers I know are under enough stress without worrying about someone freaking out because they see a nipple with a baby’s mouth attached to it.

    • I’d rather see a woman breastfeeding than listen to a hungry baby screaming.

      For all the mommy corporettes – My friend, who is nursing, got this really nice bib-like cover that snaps around her neck and drapes over her front, down to close to her waist. It’s really convenient for public breastfeeding because it can’t slip or fall off and it’s big enough that she can maneuver under it.

      • The brand of cover-up I used (there are others similar out there) was called “Hooter Hider” — link below, but lots of places sell it. It was nice because an adjustable strap kept it around your neck (no slipping blanket), it was lightweight cotton (not at hot as a blanket, I found), and it had a little stiffening thing at the neck so it created a space where you could look down and see the litle one’s face while he was nursing, but no one else could see it. Very cute fabrics too. Highly recommend it.

        http://www.amazon.com/Hooter-Hider-Nursing-Cover-Soft/dp/B000UUAYYW

        • LOVE the name. I know what I’m buying for my next friend who gets pregnant…

    • It’s ALWAYS ok to breastfeed in public. It is a human function, necessary for the perpetuation of the species, and breasts are not solely (or even primarily) sexual objects. I don’t have children yet, but when I do I will definitely breastfeed whenever/wherever my child needs to eat (assuming I am comfortable with it).

    • I breastfed my son until he was around 8 months old (would have been longer, but my milk dried up). I breastfed in public many times. Very honestly, I didn’t give an f-rhymes-with-duck what other people – especially crusty old people or snotty single/childless women – felt about it. I tried to be considerate and not show boob, but very honestly, if you’re staring at me while I’m breastfeeding and you see some nip, maybe you shouldn’t have been staring at my breasts. Babies need to eat, and what they need to eat is breastmilk. That has been established by medical studies over and over and over. Breastmilk is best delivered straight from the breast. A five-month-old is not supposed to be eating ANYTHING but breastmilk. Children would be much healthier if they were breastfed exclusively for the first six months and then continued to be breastfed for a year, and what keeps a lot of women from feeling comfortable breastfeeding is the feeling they are being judged by people for feeding in public. My duty as a mother is to do what’s best for my child, not to be concerned about what other people might think about what I’m doing. That applies to breastfeeding, how I discipline my child, and a whole host of other things. Children have been around forever – in fact, everyone was a child once themselves – and society should not structure itself around the extreme minority of people who get “the vapors” being around kids and feel they shouldn’t have to see them. If someone has a problem with public breastfeeding or seeing babies eat, perhaps they should stay home.

      • snotty single/childless women? Really? Remarks like that are why ‘snotty single/childless women’ think those with children are arrogant and sanctimonious, fyi.

        And there are plenty of mothers out there who would NEVER breastfeed without major cover-up-age. Your decisions and beliefs do not apply to all mothers or all single women.

        And, another FYI – as a single woman without children I don’t care if you breastfeed or not or where, but consider that not all locations are appropriate for eating (regardless of age) … for example, no, when I am in synagogue, I do not want to see you breastfeeding or your toddler eating or an adult snacking.

        • Not to speak for A., but I don’t think she was calling all single/childless women “snotty”, but just the ones who would be disgusted by a women nursing in public.

          And an FYI to you, babies are generally fed on demand. That means that if they want to eat during synagogue/mass/church/what-have-you, that’s where they eat. The rules that apply to adults and toddlers do not apply to babies. At the risk of sounding “arrogant and sanctimonious”, there are a lot of things that I didn’t realize until I had a child of my own.

        • What Emilie said. And I am sorry, Shayna. But if you have never breastfed a child, you have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s like someone trying to be an expert on sex when they’ve never had it. People who do not have children cannot possibly understand what it is like to have one, and what it is like to make choices that protect a child’s welfare, in everything you do. I don’t care how many younger siblings someone has had, how much they’ve babysat, how many dogs they’ve adopted. Giving birth to or adopting a child means you are responsible for the health, well-being, and welfare of another life, day-in and day-out, until you die. I am totally respectful of women who choose not to have children, but I wish people who have never had the experience would not feel the need to weigh in on choices mothers make. I have no idea what is like to be (for example, and not equating any of these three): deaf, African-American, or a lesbian, and I would never presume to opine on their choices. For some reason, child-free people seem to think that they should be allowed to tell parents what they should or should not do. Parenting is something you have no idea how to do unless you are a parent (birth, adoptive, or step-parent). Period.

          • And this is why us single women or those without kids find the ‘yummy mummy’ crowd obnoxious and sanctimonious – and inconsiderate of anyone else’s needs, opinions, circumstances, etc.

          • A Different Liz :

            Please don’t generalize about what child-free people think. That’s no better than me saying that “parents seem to think that they should be allowed to tell those who choose not to have children that they will die alone or are incredibly selfish for not having children.” Some parents do seem to think as much. Others don’t.

          • Shayna,
            Now who is generalizing negatively?

            Geez ladies.

      • Okay. With you on breastfeeding in public. Not with you on the whole judgment of moms who use formula thing.

    • divaliscious11 :

      Caveat – I breast fed both of my children for a year – My reaction would simply be a mom is feeding her kid. I personally felt more comfortable with a nursing bib when out, but I certainly was not staying in the house nor was I not going to not feed my child. While I take no issue with those who choose to feed their kids formula, I believe my breast milk was the best health option for my kids so that is what I chose. I pumped as well, so if I was wearing nursing challenging clothes, that may have been an option, but generally I nursed to keep my milk supply up.

    • Babies need to eat. Mothers need to feed them.

      I not only don’t have a problem with this; I applaud it.

      Breastfeeding rates in the U.S. are depressingly low. If we question mothers like this in this way, how will they ever improve?

    • I echo most people’s sentiments that breastfeeding is pretty much the most natural thing a woman can do. Personally, I think the neck-curtain things are super cute and plan on using one of those when i have kids (hopefully in 1-2 years– am also getting the “baby fever” as someone put it!). But it doesn’t bother me at all to see someone nursing au naturel.

      My friend had her first baby recently, and–I don’t know if it’s due to self consciousness or inconvenience or what–has pretty much not left the house since, largely due to the feeding schedule and only wanting to nurse from home, and I guess, also not wanting to use bottles w/ pumped milk. I know I just don’t understand what it’s like to have your first kid, but I am definitely hoping when I have my own that I’ll be able to get myself and baby out and about a bit more. So, good to see the general consensus here that is permissible to provide one’s child with nourishment! :)

    • I’m not a mom — I have seen women breastfeed without covering and all I can say is ‘brava’ — mostly b/c I’m always cold, so being willing to ‘whip it out’ without a blanket makes me mentally shiver (yes, even on a hot day like today)…

      Not sure I could ever do it, but as long as I’m not standing right next to her in line (and I don’t then have to give my hypothetical children an anatomy lesson)…I’m fine with it.

      • divaliscious11 :

        Lesson – She is a Mom, she’s nursing her child, that’s how babies eat” end of lesson…..

        • And that’s a lesson that I should be able to decide when/how to give my hypothetical children… not some other woman.

          • divaliscious11 :

            So if the hypothetical child asks, then you say, I’ll explain another time …. or if you don’t want the real world to dictate when things come up, I’m afraid you might need to stay home, because the rest of the world, or even just the group of females in their child bearing and nursing years are not going to stay home or not nurse on the off chance that you and hypothetical child might be somewhere nearby and you just happen not to be prepared to explain it that day. There are tons of real world stuff to explain that is far more difficult to explain than a woman feeding her kid….

          • Really? I think most toddlers are capable of understanding that mammals nurse their young. In fact, toddlers will often imitate their moms, pretending to nurse their baby dolls when the newborn arrives! Shayna, I don’t think A was referring to all single, childless women as snotty. . . but if the shoe fits. Have you contacted headquarters at Victoria Secret and expressed your outrage at the mall displays? I love that one women explained how the breast physically becomes engorged when her baby cries. It is an incredible, beautiful experience and it happens for a reason. Maybe you should read up on it. I forced myself to breastfeed in public even though I felt weird because the more women do it, the more it will be okay. I used a blanket only AFTER my son latched on because it was impossible to do it and worry about someone freaking out over my nipple. The only person who ever cared was my sister-in-law. I guess, in her sick brain, my brother was going to get turned on by my breast!

          • Then don’t go anywhere you might encounter a mom feeding her infant.

          • Your telling me how I should raise my children, teach them about body parts, etc. is just as bad as my telling you to never leave the house with yours. Don’t be hypocritical.

          • divaliscious11 :

            I wasn’t telling you how o raise your child etc, but I did point out that it wasn’t a difficult lesson, and that you had the option not to answer your child’s inquiry. but more importantly, I was trying to show that your expectation that parents control their behaviors when you and your hypothetical child are around, is just as unreasonable as asking you to stay home to avoid nursing moms, except you can actually control your own behavior…

    • legalchef :

      Ok – so, generally, I don’t have a problem with people breastfeeding in public.

      But – I was once in court with a client who had to bring her baby with her. We were sitting in a waiting area, and I was talking to her about what would likely happen that day, and she picked up her baby. And then started breastfeeding (no blanket/cover up). I have to say, it was a little distracting, only because she was literally in the seat next to me and I was not expecting it.

      • OP here…

        Thank you everyone for sharing your views. I am glad this generated a healthy debate and discussion. Like legalchef above wrote, I did not judge this woman, but I was pretty surprised to see a woman be so bold as to feed uncovered in one of the most crowded Starbucks in NYC. I also saw a woman feeding uncovered on an Amtrak train. Given these two close-in-time scenarios, I was prompted to ask how other Corporettes would react to the specific Starbucks scenario and whether the answers would differ on a general level.

        Like other commenters, I am feeling ‘baby fever’, but I think that when the time comes, I would feel more comfortable with a courtesy cover in such public places, but applaud women who resist the naysayers.

        • You never know.

          I thought I would be all covering myself up and I bought a ton of breastfeeding-specific clothes and bras so I wouldn’t expose myself or anything and then when your kid is screaming and you know its because they are hungry and there is no other way to get them to quiet down, you do what you have to do.

          Once at a wedding (albeit a kind of a hippie wedding, it was in a field, the officiant was a lesbian, etc) while my husband and I were giving a toast my several-month old daughter was screaming and crying and I knew how to get her to be quiet. So I unhooked the flap over my dress, unhooked my bra, and let her have it. I use the location and liberal-ness of the people now to excuse what I did but when I think back I am kind of surprised at myself. But at the time I didn’t think twice.

          There are many many things about parenthood that I have done that I never thought I would. This was just one of them. I wouldn’t worry too much about it until you need to.

        • North Shore :

          Oh, same. I was sure I’d be the most modest breastfeeding mom ever, until the actual child showed up and was hungry when I was somewhere out in public. I remember once I was at OfficeMax for something, and got stuck in a long line when my baby got hungry and started screaming. I didn’t want to lose my place in line, and there was nowhere to go anyway, so I just nursed the baby standing there in line. Your breasts have a physical reaction to your baby screaming in hunger, and it is painful to ignore and you might leak, which is worse than just feeding the baby. After that moment, I was much more comfortable nursing my kids as needed, plus I had friends who were also nursing moms, so when you are around others doing the same thing, it doesn’t feel so strange.

          • Someone else mentioned that they love how you explained the ways a mother’s breasts respond to her hungry child and I just wanted to echo how cool that is. I don’t have any kids myself but I am constantly amazed at what a complex and beautiful relationship mothers and their children have even at the physiological level.

            I’d also like to add that, although I don’t have kids, my sister has three very young children and if she took all three to the playground and the baby started screaming because she was hungry my sister’s options were: a.) quickly and discreetly begin nursing, b.) spend several minutes trying to drag her two boys off of the playground (who would likely begin throwing tantrums themselves) while holding a screaming and unhappy baby so that she could drag the entire gang into the dirty public restroom or the hot car and make them sit there while she nursed for half an hour, or c.) leave her two boys alone on the playground while she went to nurse and hoped that they weren’t abducted, playing in the street, etc. For reasons I hope are obvious, she chose the first option. It is worth noting that if it’s a hot day the baby will probably get very uncomfortable under a blanket very quickly. When babies are hot they don’t eat very well and sometimes just end up spitting up any food they have consumed. Also, thanks to nursing bras and tops it is now very easy to nurse a child without feeling like you’re overexposed. When my sister nursed it was almost impossible to tell what she was doing unless you were very closely scrutinizing the situation (which is weird…why would you do that?)

        • Please realise that mums are human and therefore, they may occasionally forget to bring cover ups!!

    • Don’t care, can’t make me care.

      Am more worried that educated, mature women are ripping each other apart over this.

      • D-I-T-T-O.

        • Exactly. NEWSFLASH TO THOSE WHO HAVE DECIDED THEY CAN’T DISCUSS THEIR OWN VIEWS WITHOUT ATTACKING THOSE WHO ARE KID-FREE AND/OR JUST DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO SEE SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY PARTS WHILE DRINKING A LATTE: You are not a better person because you used your uterus in that way/adopted/whatever. You are not a better person because you’ve been able to breastfeed and seem to be comfortable doing so in ways that may make other people uncomfortable (i.e., excusing yourself to a private place, using a modesty drape, etc.). And if you really were so secure with your choices, you wouldn’t need to be militant and nasty.

          • Marla, it is a good thing that there are laws that protect women from persecution, a, prosecution. If you think that it is so easy for woman to just excuse herself to a private place, then you haven’t been really reading the posts. And I am not sure about your comments regarding being militant. I am pretty sure that our mothers and grandmothers were called names when they asserted their rights to work outside the home, work WHILE pregnant, have abortions, use birth control, get divorced, etc. Me, I thank those women. So, really, when you call someone militant and nasty, you are just calling the woman a bitch for explaining the facts of life for a working woman who has an infant, and maybe a toddler or two in tow. Nice. Shayna, I think the responses to you were sarcastic, based on your feigned inability to be able to figure out how to explain that mammals nurse their young, to your own hypothetical offspring, and not hypocritical. Go to a petting zoo! That said, of course people should not bring children to weddings and cocktail receptions if they are black tie. Starbucks, though, is fair game.

      • I could not agree more. Well said.

        • To clarify — I could not agree more with Anon’s comment (saddened that we are ripping each other apart over this issue).

      • Amen.

  9. I nursed both my boys until they were 7-8 months, and became militant about this issue during that time. I think people should just buck up and get off the back of women nursing in public. In many public places, there is literally nowhere to sit and discreetly nurse a child. You can’t do it standing up (at least I sure couldn’t), and it sometimes takes 30 minutes (or longer). Also, some babies need to eat every 1-1.5 hours. Unless you believe nursing mothers should never leave the house, you have to accept women need to nurse babies when they are out and about. The suggestion that nursing women should have to sit in a dirty public toilet for a half hour to feed a baby the most healthy, natural possible option is to me appalling.

    I do think nursing women should not flash skin gratuitously (basic social courtesy), but I think that about non-nursing women too. I covered up with a lightweight cover made to hang over your neck (worked fine for me), but anyone except the most clueless could figure out what I was doing even if they couldn’t see any breasts. Many places (middle of a mall, on an airplane, in a gate area of an airport . . .) there is simply no totally private place to go. My favorite place to go when out with my babies was Nordstrom, because it was one of the few places with a comfortable, clean lounge where you didn’t have to worry about some person giving you the stink eye just for feeding your hungry baby.

    • Ditto, ditto, ditto. I nurse my 4 month old in public all the time. Sometimes he struggles with the burp cloth/sweater that I put near his head so that my boob peeks out. And I am sure that I have showed a bit of nipple while struggling (with one hand) to put my boob back in its nursing bra with nursing pad inside, while holding the wriggly 16 lb baby with the other hand. So be it. Breast milk is the only thing that he eats and I am dam*ed if I am going to stay home or hide anywhere because it makes someone else uncomfortable to see him eating.

    • Delta Sierra :

      MHM and K: agreed. Babies need to be fed, people. Anyone who is squicked out by the process, well, that attitude is beyond immature and can safely be ignored on grounds of ‘grow up, turkey’. Any mothers getting grief can come sit beside me, I’ll return everyone’s stink-eye double, while you get on with your job.

      • divaliscious11 :

        I am right there with ya! Got a crying kid/special needs etc – com sit by me, especially on a long flight!
        Heard a flight attendant tell a complaining passenger that unless he sprung into the world full grown like Minerva from Zeus’s head, he used to be a crying baby too, so have this glass of wine and relax! I nearly cheered!

        • No probs with babies in airplanes, of course the poor things will cry, with the changing pressure and all. No problem with people feeding their children, as long as they don’t make a show out of it. Just do it, and nobody will even notice, but don’t try to shove the eating baby in everybody’s face, trying to persuade everyone in the room to procreate just to experience the joy of breastfeeding (like one woman in the restaurant I was at last weekend).

          The only thing I do not like is people dragging their kids everywhere and expecting everyone to be happy that they are. There are occasions where I do NOT like to be bothered by children running around, spilling drinks all over my formal gown, making way to much noise. Like the weekend before this, at a black tie event, that started at 10PM, way past the children’s bedtime, so they were crancky and nagging and everything nobody likes in another woman’s children.

          And yes, I try to avoid such places, I even book hotels where only 16 and older are accepted. I don’t have kids, don’t want them and thus do not feel the need to be splashed wet by someone else’s when I spent my hard-earned cash on some more hard-earned precious vacation time by a nice, calm sunny poolside somewhere in the mediteranean.

          When I take my 5-year old goddaughter out, we go to the zoo, and McDonalds afterwards. She loves it, I expect to be around a lot of children, and all is well. But when I go out to eat in a michelin star restaurant, no I want to eat without kids running around…

          So, as far as I go, it’s in the middle: please feed your kids, please enjoy them, but please to not make it impossible for people who have no affinity with small children to avoid them.

          • Well said!

          • divaliscious11 :

            So again, the only person whose behavior you can control is your own. I don’t think anyone was discussing bringing nursing children, or even small kids to formal events, etc… (I agree – I had a 12 and over wedding unless you were in the wedding party and even they had a separate room with kid friendly food, and activities and pallets for the reception) the discussion was about Starbucks. I think its great that you do what you can to avoid uncomfortable environments etc… that is wholly different from some of the posters who have suggested that anywhere they may possibly be is off limits if they happen to be there.

    • Nordstroms is the BEST! Our downtown Nordstroms, in addition to having many lovely lounges that were perfect for breast feeding, also had a specified nursing mother’s lounge on one of the floors (near the kid section). I loved it, and in addition to the shoe selection, it has made me a totally loyal customer.

      Breast feeding has it’s challenges. I was never a big fan personally of nursing in public, but when your four month old is cranky and hungry, nip slip beats squalling, IMO. The more women do it, the more normative it becomes, which I think would be good. Why can strip joints advertise women’s breasts for male consumption, but it’s offensive to see a hint of flesh when I’m feeding my child?

      Wow, I didn’t realize when I started this post that I would be so fired up by the end of it.

      • I question whether any grown woman (or man) who is offended by public breastfeeing is mature enough to represent clients or meet customers in the business setting? In most states, there are laws that protect the right to breastfeed in public. The “ew, yuck” mentality expressed by some makes me think that it might be a good topic to slip in during a job interview.

        • anonymous :

          I think that’s taking this a little too far.

          • I was kidding about the interview question! Lighten up. Nevertheless, I don’t have alot of respect for someone who has such fear of exposed nipples.

          • divaliscious11 :

            LOL..Really – but dinging a candidate because her ponytail a) existed (I wasn’t important enough for her to do her hair to meet with me!) or b) was an inch too high is imminently reasonable to some on the blog…….lol….

          • um, are you seriously dinging a candidate because her hair was in a ponytail? I wear low ponytails (with a nice clip, admittedly, but it still looks like a ponytail) to interviews because I quite frankly can’t ever figure out what to with my hair (I missed the “how to do your hair” lessons as a child, and I am so not adept with any curling iron or other hair appliance), and now I’m officially going to freak out that apparently this is ding worthy.

    • Ditto this. MHM nailed it and I aboslutely agree with everything she said. Many of you have probably been near nursing moms and not even realized it, because an experienced mom nursing in public can be very hard to spot. And I echo those who have said that some babies don’t like to eat under blankets – 2 of mine didn’t. I do believe a mom nursing in public should be as discreet as possible. I do not believe she should have to choose between staying home all the time and getting nasty looks if the baby gets hungry while she’s out! (I also got a bit militant about this over the course of nursing three children!)

      • Seventh Sister :

        The only time I got the stink eye for nursing was at an outdoor cafe in my neighborhood. (I even had the darned cover on!) It was some middle-aged guy sitting at a table with some elementary-aged children and his wife. I just stared back, sort of waiting for him to say something, until he finally looked away. I’m not exactly sure why he was so irritated, but perhaps his kids had been exclusively fed outside of his presence for the first few years of their lives?

  10. Anyone have any good tips for managing stress?

    I’m not a lawyer, but an acquisition project manager for a bank. The work can be stressful with tight deadlines, and I go to school at night for my MBA.

    I am nearing the end of the term, with 7 weeks to go and I am burning out. Projects at work are picking up and I can’t take the stress of both it seems. I get home some on school nights after 10, and am up for work at 6 the next day.

    How can I de-stress when I don’t have any free time? It’s kinda bad, but it seems like eating is the only “treat” I have time for. I treat myself to a latte or nice lunch a few times a week. A coffee and Corporette are a great start to my day actually. I’ve also been religiously running at lunch time 3 times per week for the past month. It makes me really tired honestly, and while I am starting to love it, sometimes after the days I run I fall asleep when I get home from work and I am not sure it is really helping with my stress levels.

    Advice on managing stress when you hardly have any extra time?

    • I have a pretty stressful job, and I workout in the morning. If I don’t, I feel really awful most of the day, and this is a relatively new habit of mine. Since you treat yourself to a nice lunch, do the exercise for the morning and enjoy your break.

    • Try reframing your stressed out thinking. If you catch yourself thinking “I have GOT to get this done!!! This is a disaster!!!” take a breath and think, “I’m going to do my best to get this done, because it’s important. If it doesn’t, most likely the [project] will survive, though. I’ve gotten through tough situations like this before. I’ll just get started and hopefully everything will work out.”

      Also, try “walking meditation” – on your way to and from work, etc., take some deep breaths and focus on what you are doing and experiencing at that moment. Focus on the feel of your feet on the ground, the wind on your face, etc. When thoughts intrude, try to let go of them. It seems a bit silly, but there are lots of psych studies supporting the value of this kind of effort to stay in the moment, even for short periods of time.

      You’re already doing as much of the “big” stress-breaking stuff as you have time for, and you’re in a stressful situation, so try not to beat yourself up for feeling burned out, and remember the situation is temporary.

    • Eating healthfully is very important to managing stress levels. Having said that, it doesn’t sound like your “treats” are unhealthy at all. A nice lunch – especially if you are not working during it – and a latte a few times a week are hardly indulgent and are good for you.

      On the days you run, are you skipping lunch? If so, that definitely isn’t helping your energy levels. And everyone is different. I crash a few hours after exercising, and find I do much better exercising at the end of the day instead of in the morning or afternoon. Not sure if you can squeeze time in later. Also, a hard, long workout will make you much more tired than a lighter one. If you find that your run is a lot of work, maybe ease up a bit.

      In terms of my own tricks for managing stress, I find that it’s essential to eat a good breakfast. I avoid carbs and eat something high in protein, like yogurt with almonds, or fiber, like high-fiber oatmeal. I also find that spending time outside in natural sunlight is essential. Can you run outside instead of in a gym? I also need at least one day a week of “me” time. In law school I had a no-work-on-Saturdays policy that I maintained all 3 years, except during finals. Now it’s Sundays. I just need a day to take the time to sleep in, shave my legs, go shopping, talk on the phone, whatever. This might not work for everyone, but I find that people just aren’t made to work 7 days a week and taking a day off to refresh is key to maintaining your health and reducing stress.

      • If on the days you run you fall dead asleep once you get home, think how much MORE stressed you would be the next day if instead of getting a full night’s sleep you laid awake fussing about all your stress and NOT sleeping . . .

      • Oh, and also, at the very end of school, when I was a giant ball of stress, I found it very useful to count down the number of days to graduation and tick them off on the calendar. A visual reminder that this too shall pass may be just what you need.

        • This works for me too. When I’m having an especially rough day/week, I just tell myself, “This will eventually end…” and it kinda makes me feel better.

      • Thanks everyone.

        No, I don’t skip lunches on the days I run at lunch. I usually eat a a snack around 10, run at 12 and eat lunch at 1 when I am done and back at the office.

        I walk to and from work and the to gym, so I get some sunshine every day as I walk about 3 miles outside during the day.

        Meals are usually a Luna bar and coffee w/soymilk around 7:30, greek yogurt and a banana around 10, and a sandwich around 1pm.

        I find it really hard to get out of bed at 6:30 when I get home some nights at 10:30, so getting up to be at the gym first thing is just not feasible for me right now. When I am done with the term and on summer break, I plan to run outsides in the mornings…for now, the lunchtime run will have to do. It’s also hard to squeeze it in after work, as 2 days I work until 5, go straight to school and then home at 10:30 and straight to bed. The other days I am focusing on homework or house stuff. Which I am trying to hire a cleaning lady for the house stuff…

        I like the reframing idea…I believe a lot of my stress is, unfortunately, my management and the politics game. While the projects may be going well, they push/nag me for things that they find “politically necessary” or are unhappy with what I am doing because of one stupid question from senior management, so to them “senior management thinks I am not doing anything.” I am one to assume management doesn’t know so we need to tell them in those situations, but to them when they ask the question it is too late and I’ve failed because I didn’t inform them properly.

        Thanks everyone, these are great suggestions I will keep in mind!

  11. So one of my girl friends at school turned me on to this great little youtube video. If you’re stressing about anything at all, do yourself a favor and take 20 seconds to watch this. You can thank me later. :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg7X5_K7LhE

  12. anyone found a trench coat with a large bit of lace for a hemline…scalloped?

    I just saw it in Bill Cunningham’s “On the Street” piece in the NYTimes. Have you NYC Corporettes seen one? Cannot google it with success…

    craving it – rains alot in Houston! Many thanks.

    • I feel like I’ve seen something like this at Anthropologie, but nothing on their website other than this:

      http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/catalog/productdetail.jsp?subCategoryId=CLOTHES-COATS-TRENCH&id=013274&catId=CLOTHES-COATS&pushId=CLOTHES-COATS&popId=CLOTHES&sortProperties=&navCount=305&navAction=top&fromCategoryPage=true&selectedProductSize=&selectedProductSize1=&color=024&colorName=BEIGE&isSubcategory=true&isProduct=true&isBigImage=&templateType=

    • Oh, I *love* Bill Cunningham! I really liked the lacy trench, too. I hope someone finds it for you.

      • I was inspired to google a bit. Found this trench with eyelet details:

        http://www.pricenetwork.ca/ddeal/Guillaume_Trench_Coat_with_Eyelet_Detail_79_87_Was_115_00_-275526.html

        Not exactly like the one in the video, but kinda cute.

  13. I am an associate at a mid-level firm in the midwest. I do primarily insurance defense litigation. Here’s my question: how do I get organized so that I’m on top of things?

    The situation is this: It’s a six attorney firm (four partners, one associate, one contract attorney). I have a burgeoning coverage practice, but I get the majority of my work from one or two partners. Lately, things have been picking up and I feel like I cannot get on top of the work. It’s all motions and deadlines, and it’s driving me crazy. I hate filing everything at the last minute and the stress that involves.

    So, how do I do it? I’m not an organized person, in general, and this is proving really difficult. I want to be on top of things, getting things done well before the deadline, and not feeling like I am completely frazzled all the time. I don’t mind SOME stress, but this is getting ridiculous; my eyelid will not stop twitching because of the stress.

    • I’ve found it very helpful to use an Excel chart, listing all of my cases, their current status, upcoming important dates, etc. Every morning, or at the very least every other, I check the chart and update as necessary. Since I started doing this I’ve felt a lot more on top of my caseload.

      • Love excel — I coordinate about 300 people to obtain info necessary for my company’s tax filings… without an excel chart I never would be able to do it.

        Think pivot ables, sorting by highlighted color… If you go to Microsoft’s website you may be able to MacGuyver one of their templates into something that wrks for you.

    • Delta Sierra :

      Dunno if this will work in your line of work, but I read ages ago about handling each piece of paper only once. If it’s in your hand, it then goes into the file, or into the garbage.

      No one action is going to solve all my organizational problems, but I follow this as much as I realistically can, and it does help.

    • I am hyper organized, but I find that these basic organizational practices work for me.

      1. To-Do Lists: I always have 3 to-do lists going. One is the tasks for today, the second is tasks with a specific due date (organized by due date), and the third is tasks with no specific due date. I organize each list by priority. To the extent possible, I complete tasks in the order they are listed. My lists include things as basic as “talk to John” or “schedule coffee with Liz” so I don’t forget.

      At the end of the day, I make a complete to-do list for the next day (if you’re worried you won’t remember what you need to do tomorrow, make the list as you go along). The next day, I add to that list if I get must-do-today tasks. Otherwise, new tasks go on the next day’s list.

      2. I plug every single deadline or meeting, no matter how minor, into my Outlook calendar, with a reminder, so I never forget. Sync it to your Blackberry or other device if you can.

      3. I never let myself have more than 50 messages in my inbox. Every email gets filed in an Outlook folder immediately upon receiving it. Similarly, I never let papers collect on my desk. I file them immediately.

      4. If you have multiple cases with multiple deadlines, make a separate list or chart of the tasks for each case. Print them and post them on your bulletin board where you can see them. I make timelines for each of my projects, and I cross items off once they’re completed. Having them in plain sight is key. If they’re saved on your computer somewhere you won’t remember to open them.

      5. This is stupid, but having nice-looking office supplies makes me happier and less stressed. I love looking at files neatly organized in colorful folders, brightly colored Post-Its arranged on my desktop, my brightly-colored Rolodex (yes I live in 1983), etc. If you think something is pretty you’re more likely to use it and less likely to be stressed out by it.

      Hope this helps!

    • I follow the same system as Eponine, it seems. I do a to-do list every day (just one list, though), put all deadlines into outlook immediately (and use the red category for deadlines), and try to keep fewer than 30 messages in my inbox (I am around 45 now and it makes me a little panicky not being able to see everything at a glance). I also use an excel spreadsheet, which lists each active matter I have, along with columns for status, deadlines, and to do. I also put deadlines there in bold red font, so that I know when all my filings/responses are due.

      I have had to get more organized with my new job, and this system helps me feel like I am not dropping the ball. The second I get a minute order or a deadline, it goes into the outlook calendar. If nothing else, being able to look at my blackberry before I go to sleep and see whether I am in court the next day or have to get something on file helps me feel like I won’t walk into a buzzsaw the next day at the office.

    • To a certain extent, you just have to take a deep breath and realize that this is litigation. It’s often last-minute and crazed. After you’ve practiced a few years, you realize what the real non-negotiable things are and learn not to sweat the rest. For example, I don’t know anyone who answers discovery in 28 days without an extension.

      What I do: I have a page in my planner for each case. I write all the deadlines for the case at the bottom of the first page. Then I keep a running to-do list of everything I think of that needs to be done on that case. I also note everything I am waiting on (i.e., waiting on partner to make x decision, waiting on other side’s response to my MSJ, etc.). At least once a week, I go through my list and think about each matter – adding things as necessary and deleting things as necessary. I move the most immediate things to a weekly to-do list, which I code in the A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 fashion. I also make sure that my electronic calendar reflects everything at this time. Then each day, I set goals for what needs to happen from my weekly to-do list. It works for me, and I can always see everything that has happened and is happening on a case. Sometimes, my sheets end up being multiple pages.

  14. 40% off all full-priced items at Ann Taylor Loft today. Use code SAVE40 at checkout.

    You could snag that cute suit that Kat featured earlier in the week for CHEAP.

    • Also, all sale items are an additional 50% off. Tried on a couple awkwardly-fitting sweaters and skirts on sale, walked out with a bunch more of my favorite tank tops and tees.

  15. I feel like I’ve seen this on corporette before, but I have trouble searching the weekend threads. Does anyone use a website to track their workouts and food intake? After five years of surgical residency, a kid and a husband, I’m trying to get back in shape and lose some weight. I enjoy working out, and I enjoy seeing my progress. A little visual reinforcement would do me good, in addition to watching the numbers on the scale. I’m planning to do couch to 5K once I get in the rhythm of working out again. Any other ideas?

    • I like myfooddiary.com, because it tracks other things besides cals and gives me smiley faces for getting my vitamin C, etc. It’s also good for calculating the calories in things I cook and saving that info for me. It cost $9 a month though, and similar things may be free.

    • I’ve always used the Weight Watchers website, but you have to pay/sign up for WW. I’ve heard that sparkfit is a good free one.

      BTW, if you have a specific weight goal, I think WW is fabulous. I first became a member 10 years ago, and it’s the only weight loss program that’s ever worked for me (and I’ve tried lots). It’s great for people who have a lot to lose, or just a little. I usually only have an extra 10 lbs, but those 10 lbs can be awfully stubborn. And if you do online, you don’t have to deal with meetings if that’s not your thing.

      • I second the WW recommendation. It’s only about $15/mo for the online access, no meetings, and it works!

    • I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve heard recommendations for livestrong.com/thedailyplate/myplate. You input your height/weight/gender/etc., your general activity level, and also your goal–i.e., weight loss vs. maintenance, and it figures out how many calories you should be netting each day in order to reach that goal. Then you enter what you ate and what activity/how long you exercised, and it keeps track of your calorie intake and output, as well as % of carbs, fats, sodium, etc. I think it also keeps some kind of graph(s) that help you chart whether you’re staying on track with your goals. And it’s free!

      • I use the daily plate and their recent improvements have really made it a nice site. The search is much faster than it used to be, and their database of food items is quite extensive. And, it has an iPhone App which really keeps me from having any excuse not to track.

    • A Different Liz :

      I use the LoseIt app on my iPhone. It’s a calorie counter and also subtracts calories burned for exercise. I think you can do the same type of thing on fitday.com and calorie-counter.net. My father successfully used WeightWatchers on-line.

      For me, tracking my calories really helped to lose weight. I had no idea how many calories I was ingesting, and sure enough, it was more than I needed. It’s worked really well–I’ve lost 8 pounds since November and seem to be maintaining. Now I need new pants…

    • dailyplate!

    • Yep! Fitday.com. I love it.

    • Sparkpeople!

      It’s totally free, will plan your meals, plan your workouts, and has a good support community (including a couch to 5K group). You get lots of charts and accountability for reaching your goals. They are heavy on the daily e-mails, so maybe opt out?

      Good luck!

      • This is the site I’ve used to lose 30 pounds so far – HIGHLY recommend it, and yes, you can opt out of the emails (I never get any).

    • Anonymous :

      Sparkpeople.com is nice and there is also an iphone app.

      • Anonymous :

        Myfitnesspal.com

        Its free and I.ove.it.

        I know people who have loved sparkpeople and daily plate and made the switch and are total fans of myfitnesspal.com now. There is an Iphone app. Im sure there is a blackberry too, but, I dont own one, so, not sure.

    • I use LoseIt on the i phone. Its free and really useful. You don’t have to lose weight you can put in maintain.

    • I use Loseit for the iPhone too. It is free (once you have the iPhone), and is pretty easy to use. I have lost about 54 pounds over the past year or so from cutting calories and upping my exercise a little. Loseit does have a calorie database that lists calories for most “whole” foods (e.g., fruits and vegetables, etc.), and for certain brand names of foods and for some chain restaurant foods. For anything that’s not in the program’s database, you have to enter it yourself, but you only have to do that once. My one complaint is that for the exercises, it does not take into account how much you weigh, i.e., if you walked for 30 min, it will give the same calorie readout regardless of weight, when someone who weighs more would have actually burned more calories than someone who weighs less. So for walking/running I use the “pedometer” app for the iPhone (it has a white foot on a black background as the icon and I think it was $2 or $3), and for other exercises I look it up on this website (http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc) and then enter it into Loseit.

    • If you like keeping track on your computer, check out fatsecret.com. It also has nutritional information for most food out there (including restaurant meals), recipes tailored to specific nutritional concerns (such as low carb, low sodium, etc) and a variety of message boards. You can keep track of your weight and your workouts on it as well. I have been using it for several months and highly recommend it. Good luck!

    • Checked everything out. Thanks everyone for all the ideas. I picked LiveStrong’s My Plate. Felt like I had a good weekend, and going to the gym both days. I know it’s a lot about momentum, so I appreciate the encouragement and great ideas. Thanks!

    • myfitnesspal.com

  16. After wrangling with my hair for a frustrating 30 minutes last night before my husband and I went out to dinner, I realize that now that I have longer hair (I’m growing it out), I probably need some kind of hair clip or accessory other than a plain black ponytail holder that will allow me to pull all or part of it back on days when it’s not cooperating. However, what I’m finding online seems to be aimed at a. small children or b. girls who love bling (no offense if that’s you, it’s just not the look I’m aiming for). Does anyone have a source for nice, quality barrettes, hair clips, etc. that would look appropriate for work, or an evening out without looking too sparkly or pre-teenish?

    • j.crew has lots of glossy black / tortoiseshell hair accessories in-store — if you look past the ridiculous headbands there are lots of more sophisticated pieces.

    • france luxe.

      http://www.franceluxe.com/c/France_Luxe_Classics/France+Luxe+Classics.html

    • I use the claw clips that are kind of triangular shaped rather than round–this is kind of hard to explain. they’re like these–http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=3429
      except instead of being circular, they have a wider base that is flat on the bottom so they make a triangular space. It holds your hair a lot better than the ones that are just regular claw clips. I can’t seem to find them anywhere online, but I usually just find them at drugstores–cvs, maybe? Ulta may also have them if you have one near you. I don’t know if they’re really appropriate for work, but you may be able to find some that might be. They’re great if you just need to throw your hair up, though. Also, Clever Clips work well–http://www.thecleverclip.com/shop/

      • i should add I never have figured out how to use the Clever Clip to get my hair in a french twist without the remainder of the hair sticking out the top (so not a true french twist, more of just a twist), but they have pictures of it on their website, so it must be doable. If anyone has figured this out, let me know.

    • I like to go to Ulta’s stores and pick these out in person… Have found some good options for under $10 each (which is about as much as a hair clip should ever cost)

    • J Crew and Nordstrom. Someone on here told me about France Luxe a year or so ago. Huge selection on that site, but I’ve never ordered from it.

    • Thanks all! I will check out J. Crew. I looked at France Luxe – it’s a little pricey, although they have some very nice things. Thanks for the tips!

  17. Paralegal :

    I’ve been applying as a paralegal and I have been called in for a 2 day “working interview” with a downtown Midwest law firm this week. I have no idea how I should be dressing for this interview. I only have one interview suit so should I be running out to grab a second or should I be looking for a different kind of professional look?
    I’ve been out of work in my field for about 3 years now so money is a consideration for me, especially knowing how little I will be making if I do get this job. Is it worth it to splurge knowing I will probably not be wearing this second suit again or would another outfit be appropriate?

    • Can you wear the suit two different ways? I would wear a suit for both days, but if your suit has both pants and a skirt, I think it’s fine to wear the same jacket and the skirt on day one and pants on day two. With different tops and accessories people probably won’t even notice. If the suit is only two pieces, then yes, I’d say you should probably pick up a second one, unless you think you can vary the top underneath and accessories enough that it won’t look the same (or unless you’re sure you’ll be meeting with different people on days 1 and 2). But you shouldn’t splurge – a basic suit from JC Penney’s or Kohl’s will be fine, and you can even usually find nicer suits at places like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s for under $100.

      • a “working interview”? i’ve never heard of such a thing. i hope they’re paying you if you’re doing actual work for them!

    • anonymous :

      unfortunately I think 2 suits are necessary.
      also, a “working interview” just does not sound like a good idea. I feel sorry for you..

      • I do not like the idea of a working interview. I feel like there is a high probability that they need only two days of work done.

        • I would be _really_ wary of this. I too am a (corporate) paralegal, and last summer, when the job market was bad, a small firm had me do some “test assignments.” I could tell that the assignments were actual billing work (they didn’t change the name of the optionees, though they put a dummy company name in). Also, the dates of the Board Actions were very recent–the work just needed to be done, and the hiring partner thought he had found a clever way to get work for free.

          Well, I turned in the assignment, which was not a tiny one–it took about 4 hours, and I know that type of work backward and forward. The firm barely managed to ding me a week later. This was, of course, after I was promised I would get “feedback on my work” and “it would be a great learning experience.”

          One of my mentors said I could handle this three ways. 1) Write the firm off as a hack and let it go. 2) Send a bill to the company and say you recently did work for “X firm” or 3) Send a bill to the law firm. I chose 1). But I fantasized about 2) and 3) for sure.

          Subsequently I heard from other folks that the law firm was not well regarded and that I dodged a bullet.

          Have some self-respect. Tell them that you are excited to work with them, and show them your skills, but that you don’t work for free, and that your hourly rate is: X. If they say they won’t pay you, pass. Even though you need the money. There’s got to be somewhere better for you.

    • what do paralegals do exactly?

      • In litigation practice, paralegals do a lot of document control and management. For example, in a big case with a lot of discovery and filings, the paralegals should know exactly what documents are in which database.

      • guest (again) :

        I am a corporate paralegal. In a nutshell, I do pretty much everything that a first or second year attorney does (sorry, it’s true!).

        I take care of routine corporate maintenance for our company rep clients–drafting board minutes, SH consents, sub maintenance, state qualifications, annual taxes, etc. For PE clients, I take care of portfolio company corporate governance matters.

        I work on M&A, dealing with diligence requests, proofing the operating agreements, schedules of exceptions, running data rooms, assisting with negotiations, forming merger subs, running lien searches, etc.

        I do securities and capital markets things–offerings, SEC filings, proxies, 10-Ks, 8-K, Section 16 filings, etc.

        I also work in Silicon Valley, so I do A LOT of options administration for smaller venture clients.

        I do legal research or company research on an industry or competitors to figure out how to best draft risk factors in offering docs.
        It’s a lot!

    • Please let us know how it goes and what the working interview ended up entailing.

  18. Question for everyone re: jean length.

    I’m 5’7″ and mine are ALWAYS too long (Citizens, Sevens, etc. – I’ve tried plenty and it’s usually the same story). I usually wear flats, so this is a constant, annoying issue – maybe it would be a different story if I wore heels with my jeans but I feel tall enough without them.

    I’ve mastered an inconspicuous backwards fold so that they don’t drag/scuff (gross) without getting the two-colored or roll look, but it gets annoying to have to fiddle with my hems constantly. Am I the only one? Do any of you have your jeans tailored, and if so do they do it in stores?

    • I am 5’4″ so the problem is even worse for me. I get them tailored. Because jeans aren’t lined, it’s considered a “simple hem” and costs me $8 per pair. I have the seamstress at my dry cleaners do all my tailoring and it’s well worth it to get pants, dresses and skirts the right length.

    • You should get them tailored. I almost always do (except with certain brands that you can buy by inseam).
      Uniqlo will hem their jeans in the store for you (and they’re cute jeans that are incredibly cheap).
      I usually do go to the dry cleaners, but try it one pair at a time first — not everyone hems the right way (i.e., so they look like they came that way, not as though they were hemmed).

      • uniqlo has free tailoring on jeans? I may have to actually go in there now. The massive crowds I see when I walk past have always deterred me, but I need some jeans. (and a nice plain t-shirt type dress, and I bet they’re the place to find it).

    • I’m 5’2″ and have been dealing with this my entire life. Thankfully, my mother was a pretty talented seamstress and taught me how to sew a hem. So for jeans I usually do it myself, but for nicer/more expensive stuff I do take it to a tailor.
      If you know anyone who’s at all handy w/ a needle and thread, see if they’ll show you how to do it yourself. Seriously, I swear it’s not that hard!

      • I can sew but I’m always worried about the thicker seam part – tips?

        • Let me Google that for myself. Sorry. I hate it when people ask questions they can figure out by a few internet clicks – finals have a way of turning me into everything I hate. Figuring it out, thanks!

          • Haha, no worries! In my opinion, the trick to dealing with that part of the pant is two-fold. First make sure you have enough extra fabric to create the hem/fold I’d recommend at least an inch to an inch and a half. Second, you may have to push a little harder with the needle to get it through the seams since they’re alot thicker than the rest of the pant.
            Try looking on youtube. Seems like there are how-to-videos for everything.

    • Never had my hemmed (although am now tempted) – I find a pair of ankle length jeans (usually at the GAP, used to find Liz Claiborne jeans before they stopped being sold in Macy’s) and buy several pairs — Mostly I just hunt the petites rack whenever I’m shopping. (Oh, btw, I’m 5’2″ if that matters)

    • Another Anon :

      Many places around here do a “European Hem” which costs more but looks exactly like the original hem.

      I also wash my jeans before having them hemmed in case they shrink.

      HTH

    • I’m 5’2″ and I have mine hemmed. A lot of jeans have long legs because they expect you to wear high heals with them, but if you don’t, hemming them is the best option. I know Nordstrom and Banana Republic hem in store.

      • L from Oz :

        Even if you wear heels, if you’re short enough you still need to hem things!

        I now buy Gardeau or Angel brand jeans, because they come with legs short enough (I’m 5’1″ with short legs), but before that I got everything hemmed. The local alternations place was never too expensive, and I know the department store here does hemming too.

    • 5’8”, and yes, it is so annoying whenever (50% of the time) I wear flats!

      Until Gap opened up in Ireland I was stuck. Now I only buy from them because you can have your exact waist and leg size.

      A supplementary problem was that the waist is often too low… which I solve by wearing boy’s jeans.

    • I get my jeans hemmed but my seamstress makes sure the original “scuffed” part is sewn back to the hemmed length so it looks like it was suppsoed. God knows what she does, but it looks like they were never hemmed to start with!

  19. Paralegal :

    Working interviews sound like they could be illegal, (employment law paralegal here), but I guess it depends on what you’ll be doing. Still, sounds like they could be using you (and any other interview candidate) for free work.

    Also wouldn’t the company be libel for any work you completed during the time? Of course, someone will be supervising you (I assume) but this still sounds like a bad idea for the company (Not trying to imply that you would do something horribly wrong, but I can’t imagine why the company would want to even take that chance.)

    • Seriously, the best pair of skinny jeans I own are from Forever 21, and they were $30. (I’ve had them for almost 4 years and they are the same as the day I bought them, a little lighter — very dark jeans). I would also try Marshalls or TJMaxx, I’ve never spent very much on jeans, and mine last so long I get sick of them.

      • me too! Except the zipper on my pair recently broke. I went to the store to try to find a new pair, but Forever 21 has apparently redone their sizing even more and it was a total disaster trying to find something that fit and yet wasn’t acid washed/pre-ripped/adorned with some sort of sparkles or crazy hardware. So I just ended up paying a tailor $18 to fix the zipper because I liked them so much.

  20. Does anyone have suggestions for a good brand of skinny jeans? I find that mine tend to stretch out after a few weeks, and even if I throw them in the dryer they’ll be a little baggy again halfway through the next wearing.

    I don’t like to spend a lot of money on jeans – maybe that’s the problem?

    • i got some at ann taylor (who’d a thunk it?) this season that i really like. very reasonable with the monster coupons they keep coming out with.

    • I like the ones I bought at Old Navy (skinny diva fit, I think). They are my first and only foray into skinny jeans, and though quite cheap I actually really like the way they fit! I hadn’t tried on ON jeans in years because in the past, they always seemed to be cut really weird. I’ve only worn my skinnies a few times and haven’t washed yet, but they don’t seem to have stretched out much at all. Anyway, for $35, they’re worth a try!

      • I second the recommendation for the Old Navy skinny jeans. Also my only foray into skinny jeans and I was quite pleased with the fit and how they’ve held up.

        • The only pair of skinny jeans I’ve ever been able to wear have been these ones from James Jeans: http://www.couturecandy.com/james-jeans/randi-in-poison-/product.html

          The name of the style is Randi. They’re pricey originally, but I’ve seen them at Bluefly and Barneys for around $60-70 per pair, and I’ve never had a pair of jeans so comfortable or that fits so well.

    • I see that I pressed reply on the wrong thread: here
      Seriously, the best pair of skinny jeans I own are from Forever 21, and they were $30. (I’ve had them for almost 4 years and they are the same as the day I bought them, a little lighter — very dark jeans). I would also try Marshalls or TJMaxx, I’ve never spent very much on jeans, and mine last so long I get sick of them.

      Sorry for the double post!

    • Uniqlo is my new favorite place to get jeans, especially if you want to try the skinny jean style for cheap. Here in London, they are reasonably priced and great quality…and free tailoring doesn’t hurt either!

      • I’m jealous – the Uniqlo near me (and by near me I really mean, within 45 minutes of driving that were totally worth it) is no longer :-(

  21. I posted this in the comments earlier this week, but am still looking for feedback:

    I am heading to my ten-year college reunion in a little over a month. I am also in the process of trying to find a new job. I attended a fairly elite east-coast college ( I say this for clothing-related background), and there is a good chance that some of my classmates will be working in the field I am interested in. So, in addition to the usual concern of just wanting to look good at a reunion, I also really would like to make a good impression on the people around me, many of whom have been quite successful since graduation. So I’m definitely feeling the pressure — I’d like to know I look good enough that I can just forget about what I’m wearing, and enjoy catching up with people and work on making new contacts. Most of the events are casual, except for an opening cocktail party. I am wondering what on earth to wear, both for the cocktail party, and for the rest of the events. I mildly panic every time I think about this.

    I would love to know what folks suggest for the 10 year reunion, and whether you have advice particular to this kind of “sort of social, sort of networking situation.”

    And thank you to the people who responded originally!

    • How about asking the sales ladies at Nordstrom what they suggest? Those women are pros at dressing!

    • I’m from Virginia, so our east coast snobby has a lot of southern mixed in… which is why I didn’t respond before. If you’re in the area of your college, I would recommend going to the boutiques nearby and asking those ladies. While anon’s recommendation of Nordstrom is good, if your school is like my two undergrads, they might not hit the mark. I would recommend looking at things like Lands End, Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, etc. for a classic, preppy look with a little summer twist (as I find that people always go a little preppier when we go back to school). For the cocktail party, wear a dress you feel fabulous in with killer shoes. For the more casual events, you cannot go wrong with a skirt, polo/tee/blouse (whatever looks and feels best) with a cute cardigan and flats or wedges (you’ll want comfy feet!!) and maybe a fun piece of jewelry for each outfit (or the classic silver pearls). If it were me, I’d get a pedi in a cute, summery peach, too. Also, if you have time, maybe get some calling cards made that have just your name on them so you can write the appropriate phone numbers and email addresses on the back. And make sure you use them!! Which I guess means add a neutral wristlet or cute small bag to the mix. But good luck and have fun no matter what :)

    • Anonymous :

      I think dressing fun, but on the conservative side.

      Honestly, I dont remember anything people were wearing from my 10 year. I really just wanted to reconnect – so focus on that! And, I would have been sort of annoyed if I felt like someone was just trying to network a job out of me.

      Watch that you dont get crazy drunk, then everone will remember you for the wrong reasons….

    • I’ve never been to any of my reunions, so take this for what it’s worth. But since you say you went to an east coast elite school, I think that “casual” means “business casual,” and cocktail party means little black dress. Wear pearls or other fine jewelry, and nice (but comfortable) shoes. Take business cards (and ask people for theirs). If your goal is networking, then maybe dress a little bit more business-y than otherwise, but don’t wear a suit to every event.
      Good luck.

  22. I need some help looking older. I’m 23 and a year out of college, but I was asked today (at a work-related function) what colleges I was considering. The whole table thought I was 16 or 17, and the child of one of the other employees. Yikes. Any tips for looking older (other than dying my hair grey…)?

    I have shoulder-length layered hair, I’m 5’8″ (so not petite), and don’t wear makeup (I don’t know how, but could figure it out if necessary). I was wearing a knee-length tan skirt and a wrap sweater with a camisole underneath, flats.

    • North Shore :

      Sounds like you know the answer! Try a new haircut, start wearing make-up, wear a jacket instead of a sweater, and heels. No need to do everything at once, since the real issue may be projecting confidence. I’m the 40s version of you, though. People always think I’m 10 yrs younger than I am, so I make sure to dress up when I need to.

    • I have had this same problem for years. When I was 23, I was yelled at by the principal at my sister’s middle school for being outside the school building bc. she thought I was a student. I’m 39 now, and my husband and I just bought a new house. I was out in the backyard playing with my 2 year old and my neighbor came over to tell me that he’d come by soon to meet my parents. He asked me how I liked the local high school. While I was pregnant (at age 36), a woman asked me how I was going to handle going to school and raising a baby in my teens. While holding up my left hand to show off my big diamond wedding ring, I told her that my legal career is going quite well and that my husband makes 6 figures so the baby should be fine. (I was feeling particularly cheeky that day.)

      It’s never happened to me in a work environment, even though some people think I’m younger with a lot less experience. (They’re always surprised when they find out that I’ve been practicing for more than 10 years.) I’ve learned to just simply correct the person, and move on. I know it’s not how I dress. I don’t dress like a teenager. I dress age and work appropriate, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I usually wear make-up so I don’t think it’s that either.

      If you are really concerned about this, you might want to go see a personal shopper the next time you are buying clothes. Nordstrom and some other big department stores offers the service for free and bounce your concerns off of them. Maybe they can offer some good suggestions. Talk to your hair stylist too. If the make-up thing interests you, go to a few make-up counters and ask for a “make over”.

      Enjoy your “good” genes as long as you can. I’m 39 and have just started to see my first fine lines.

      • I’m 29 and I was asked last year, as I was on my bicycle at a stop light near a local high school, if spring break was over yet. And I still get carded (and not in the “oh, we have to do this to anyone who looks under 35” way).

    • You need to start wearing makeup at least to work. If you don’t know how to put it on, and you can afford to buy department-store brand makeup, Clinique is a good line to get started with. Go to the Clinique counter at a department store, find a woman whose own makeup is on the more subtle side, and explain to her that you’ve never worn makeup, you don’t want to wear much, but you need basics. Have her show you how to apply it. You probably need a foundation, powder, blush, neutral eyeshadow, mascara and light lipstick or not-too-shiny gloss. You will need to buy brushes to apply it with, but if the Clinique ones are too pricey, you can get adequate ones at the drugstore – just ask the Clinique lady which kind you need. Be prepared to spend $100-150 to get everything you need. Some salons – Aveda ones especially – will also do a makeup lesson, although they may want you to buy whatever line of products they sell there.

      I’d also recommend wearing more professional-looking jewelry or accessories. No highschooler wears pearl studs or a silk scarf. You can get a nice, basic set of pearl earrings for about $75. You should also carry a professional, leather (or leatherlike) bag, not a trendy or fabric purse.

      It’s hard to guess what your layered cut looks like, but make sure your hair looks like you have a style, not like it’s just hanging there. Consider a low, neat bun if it’s long enough.

      Your outfit sounds fine. but style and quality can make you look younger. The same outfit bought at H&M is going to make you look like a college student. If you still have a lot of your lower-quality college clothes, try to upgrade over the next year or so, as you can afford to. And try not to wear anything trendy to the office.

      • I don’t think anyone needs to wear all of “foundation, powder, blush, neutral eyeshadow, mascara and light lipstick or not-too-shiny gloss.” I especially don’t think that someone who doesn’t currently wear any makeup would wear all of this anyways.

        • “All” of? That is a list of the absolute basics. What would you propose she not wear?

          • I think the eyeshadow and lipstick/gloss can go for everyday. And, depending on her skin, the foundation and powder can just be tinted moisturizer. My normal makeup for school/work is tinted moisturizer, powder, mascara, and chapstick. I usually only whip out the foundation if I’m getting my picture taken (and so need more solid makeup) or if I’m getting all dolled up to go out for a night on the town.

          • I’m at the largest law firm in my city, and I wear tinted moisturizer , occasionally mascara and either lipstick or chapstick, depending on the day. I would consider foundation and powder to be heavy make-up and can’t think of the last time I saw an attorney at my office wearing them. Eyeshadow is a bit more common.

            I definitely don’t think that make-up will universally make a woman look more mature. It’s all in the person and how she uses it. The effect can be aging in an undesirable way for many people.

          • Well you and I apparently have different views towards makeup. My makeup “routine” is to put some powder on my face before running out the door. If I’m feeling very ambitious and have all sorts of extra time, then I’ll put on some eyeshadow. But I don’t need blush, I have natural flush in my cheeks, lipstick never stays on and I hate messing with it so I wear chapstick instead, and mascara is saved for very special nights out. And I haven’t worn foundation since junior high. So, to each her own.

          • Absolute basics? Not for those of us who only wear concealer (when needed) and clear lip balm!

          • She can skip foundation if not needed & the eyeshadow too. If you have very dark lashes, usually mascara won’t make that much of a difference.

        • I agree. I think one should aim for minimal makeup that creates a polished look. When I taught high school students, so many of the girls piled on the makeup in an attempt to look older. Now whenever I see heavier makeup on young women during the day I tend to assume they are still in school. I think tinted moisturizer, mascara, and chapstick or lip gloss is more than enough for someone who has good skin and doesn’t need the extra coverage of a foundation.

    • Hi,

      Have similar problem at 37 (get carded at restaurants — boy does THAT ruin a date!).

      My advice FWIW:

      Make sure everything you wear is tailored and fits perfectly. Stand up straight. Never say um, like, y’know, totally, omigawd (you get the idea). Style your hair (glosser, ponytail/bun). Wear minimal makeup.

      Good luck!

    • anonymous :

      probably this is just how you look! some people have a young face, others have an older look. there may not be much you can do about it, though you can certainly try to make little changes. but in general — don’t complain too much about this b/c there are many of us who are very envious of all of you women who look young and cute and get all of the attention… ok, not that I’m bitter or anything :)

      oh, and I agree w/ the person below who said wear more jackets. will make you look more authoritative and older, assuming they’re cut appropriately (not juniors-cut)

      • LexCaritas :

        I also look younger than I am and used to feel quite frustrated when people perceived me this way. I completely agree with the hair and clothes comments above. I would also add:

        In addition to the verbal tics of ‘um, like, y’know, omygod’, you should try hard to avoid ‘upspeak’ (that speech pattern where non-questions nevertheless end in an upward intonation).

        If you see yourself as a polished professional this will help (if not totally change) the situation.

        Try to avoid playing with your hair, including repeatedly tying it up, in public.

        Remember that in the long run everyone would love to look younger. This will help you to ‘own’ your appearance and when misunderstandings about your age are brought up in conversation, you can smile and say, yes, I am older than I look, and just move on to something else. If someone pursues the topic, you could joke about how it can be difficult now, but in 30 years, you expect you’ll really appreciate it.

        As you age yourself, you will be shocked at how ‘young’ young people start to look (police officers who are 15, what next??) so, this could be part of people’s responses to you you.

        good luck!

    • As a corollary to the jacket advice, I have the same problem–but not when I wear a suit. The more casual my clothes, the younger I look. Same goes for makeup–try Bobbi Brown for a natural, but polished look.

  23. Are there any situations where it is advisable for a full-time job seeker to work during bar review? Specifically, what if I was offered a paid summer internship at a big financial institution, with the potential of a full-time offer thereafter (and given 2 weeks off for study time right before the exam)? Horrible idea?

    I’d like this type of job even though it is quasi-legal in nature, and for that reason it probably wouldn’t even be a big deal to them if I failed the bar (god forbid!). In other words, is it better to be unemployed, take the bar without any distractions and face n0 job prospects, or take an internship and kill myself studying and attempting to pass throughout the summer, with this potential of full-time job procurement as a result?

    • I’ve also been pondering this. For me, it’s a no. And that comes down to a feeling that I paid for law school, I graduated, and I am going to be a lawyer. End of story. So passing the bar exam is more important to me than working this summer.

    • North Shore :

      Can you take a bar review class at night? I worked at a firm the summer I was studying for the bar. I think I worked until early afternoon, then took a bar review class after work. I was in a state with a high pass rate, so I wasn’t too worried, and I needed the money. If I were you, in this economy, I’d take the job.

    • I’m a first year at a law firm at the moment, so the miserable bar experience is pretty fresh in my mind. I don’t have enough experience to give any long-term career advice, but I do think it’s possible to work and pass the bar at the same time. Having said that, I would highly highly highly recommend taking at least two weeks off to study immediately before the bar, and if you do work while during bar review, you need to start studying ASAP. Studying for the bar is super-stressful, even without a job, and I’m not sure how well you (or anybody else) would be able to do both with all the pressure. Either way, best of luck both in studying and the job hunt.

    • Depends on you. Personally, when I have gobs of open, unstructured time in which to do a difficult, super unpleasant task like studying for the bar, I don’t fair as well as when I have to squeeze that task into a finite amount of time. If I were in your situation, I’d take the summer job as long as I was certain I could schedule BarBri classes around work (or vice versa). I’d also make sure my employer understood that although I’m normally a hard worker, I wouldn’t be putting in a moment of overtime until after the Bar and that those two (or three) weeks off before the Bar were absolutely, positively non-negotiable. Sure it will be a stressful summer, but having no job prospects might stress me out more. Additionally, I can be a competitive perfectionist, but I also know how and when to ignore that side of me. My goal when studying for and taking the Bar was simply to pass because, as I see it, passing the Bar is all that really matters. No one cares whether you pass by one point or by hundreds of points; as long as you don’t fail, you get admitted. However, if you won’t be comfortable unless you can answer every BarBri test prep question backwards and forwards by July 4th, think twice about taking the summer job. And, finally, remember that it might not lead to a permanent position so please make sure that you’ll be okay with your choice either way. Good luck!

      • If you’re taking the NY/NJ/CT/MA bar, you might want to check out Pieper bar review. (I’m doing BarBri, going with the flow, but I did Pieper for MPRE prep and really liked the style.) Mr. Pieper specifically says that a lot of his students are older/working/have kids, and his course is designed to help them pass (as well as the slackers who just go to class in the morning and study for a few hours in the afternoon).

        • OP here:

          I am in fact taking Pieper (which is available at night) and for the NY bar. If NY didn’t have the reputation for being so darn difficult and my fellow classmates (overwhelming jobless majority, so I don’t know why I even listen to them, but boy do they make me feel crazy for even suggesting the idea) are all stressing out over it even with nothing to do but bar review for the next 3 months. Decisions, decisions!

          • NY Bar wasn’t that hard. Tons of people pass it, and think about all the ESL kids that take it, even most of them they manage to pass just fine. I think the passage rate for non-ESL is in the 90s? Or mabye that was just from top law schools? I don’t know, either way, it’s not that hard, as you’ll see once you’ve taken it.

            I say take the job, in this economy there aren’t many jobs just floating around for the taking, so you should grab this.

    • I’d probably take the job. It’s not as if employers are going to be falling all over you when you pass the July bar. I graduated from a top 25 school and plenty of my classmates (in various states) who passed the July bar are still looking for full-time employment. I have several friends who worked full-time until a few weeks before the bar and passed without any problems.

    • It’s not a good idea. In my experience, the biggest difference in people who passed/didn’t pass was work. Two weeks is just not enough time for many people. This is not to say it can’t be done, just that it is much, much harder. You should honestly self assess & ask yourself how good you are at taking tests generally. If you’re not stellar at exams to begin with, don’t do it.
      On the other hand, though, if the job you will be offered is quasi legal, and you dont need to be admitted, you can always take the risk of failing.

    • how are you at standardized tests? what’d you get on the LSAT?
      was your law school one that teaches for the bar, or trusts that your high LSAT scores and firm-subsidized bar bri classes will get you there? do you plan on taking a course while working, or just going it alone? what percent of summer interns get job offers at this place?

    • I’ve asked this same question to the people I know that have both worked and studied and just studied. Across the board, everyone says don’t work and study. Studying should be your work. The bar is too important of an exam to not devote your time and effort into. The people that did work and study all said that they wished they had just studied, because they would just stress out even more thinking they hadn’t studied enough.

      And I’m usually all for using at least 23 hours of the day. But no work during bar prep.

      • I worked during bar prep, and did fine on the bar. So did probably 25% of the lawyers I know. The rest lived on their firm stipends and drank a lot in the afternoons. So, not sure who you’re talking to, but it’s not the norm to study constantly until about July 4, when people start to study hard.

      • I can’t say I know anyone who really studied hardcore 8-9 hours a day for a full 2-3 months before the exam. It’s just impossible to maintain that level of intensity over such a long period of time. I think it’s better to either just take the course after work or set specific goals for each day and then do something else during the rest of the day. Many people I know who took BarBri just went to the course and worked maybe an hour each day outside the course (if that) until July 4.

        The bar is important, but there isn’t much out there in terms of jobs right now. If the choice is doing this internship in hopes of getting a full-time job in a career the OP knows she will like versus rolling the dice and possibly ending up with a horrible job later because that’s all she can get, I’d go with the former. Both carry risks, but I know I didn’t go to law school to end up with a job I abhor

        • What states are you guys in? For everyone I’ve spoken with, the norm is to study 6-8 hours, 5- 6 days a week for the full 2-3 mos before the exam. The people who worked studied until midnight to get all the practices done. The only advice I’m getting is to “do what BarBri tells you to do and when, and you’ll be fine.”

          Course, I’m currently motivated by fear. I’m taking VA (25 subjects), went to law school in PA, and studying by myself in IL…

          • Everyone’s afraid of failing the exam, but studying 8 hours a day every day doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pass the exam. As someone pointed out downthread, it’s easy to burn yourself out early on and then freak out on the real thing. I was a teacher before law school and the reality is that there’s really only so much you can learn and retain in a day. For some people 8 hours a day may work fine, but others may only be productive for 5 hours a day over an extended period of time.

            The difficulty varies dramatically by state. In some states you can pass with a relatively low MBE score and little to no state knowledge. In harder states you need to know the specifics of state law and have little crossover between the MBE and state topics. What’s needed to pass an essentially MBE-only state is a lot less than what you need to pass VA.

            FWIW I think the advice about doing what BarBri tells you isn’t always wise. If you’re in a state where BarBri is it, that might work fine, but in states where there are other options and BarBri’s advice is often off-base (as in my state) you can put yourself at a disadvantage over other test-takers.

        • Ha, I guess I’m that person. From the day that bar prep began until the day of the exam, my life was bar class + bar homework, from the time I got up until 10 or 11 PM. I took breaks for meals and to work out, and that was it. I might have taken a few hours off to relax two or three times during the 7 weeks of my class, but I don’t actually remember doing so.

        • I did study that hard and long, for that period of time – and I passed the NY bar on the first try (the pass rate was low that year).

          I know this was the right approach.

          • @cbackson — cosign!! I was TERRIFIED OF FAILING. I studied my a** off. Studying for the bar was harder than anything I’ve ever done (except childbirth!). I went to a “Top 3” law school too, and all my friends did the same.

          • @Lawgirl – YES. It was the fear of failing, more than anything, that made me put in that kind of time. I went to a top-ranked law school as well, and while I did know some people who took it a bit more easy, almost everyone I knew studied very, very hard.

            Honestly, the economy was starting to tank then and I was also very frightened of loosing my offer if I failed.

      • I worked part time during bar prep and barely studied except for BarBri and then the last couple weeks. I was in the top 10 of bar scores in my state (OH). But, I knew that I (1) did well on standardized tests; (2) had graduated in the top 5% of my law school class; (3) graduated from the best law school in the state; (4) 70%+ of people passed my bar and there was no way I was going to be in the less than 30% who didn’t. Honestly, I was barely stressed and clearly overprepared since I only had to be 30th percentile to pass and was 99th percentile. Just consider yourself and your skill set. I have an excellent short-term memory, so the last two weeks before the bar was perfect for me.

    • I’d take the job. I do think you should take BarBri at night, and make sure they understand that you must leave on time to attend BarBri. The reason I say to take BarBri is because if you’re exhausted at the end of the day, you’re more likely to blow off self-study than to blow-off BarBri. Take the PMBR short course during the 2 weeks before the bar exam (I think that’s when it’s offered), too.

      Lots of people work while studying the bar and manage to pass, and besides, if you’d like this job and there’s no way to get it other than doing this internship first, you should go for it.

      • I think you definitely need to look at the bar pass rates for you school, for your state & generally assess your test taking ability.

        I see that lots of commenters say they did both, and I know folks who did both & passed, too, but it’s much harder so the things I mentioned above need to factor in.

        Some states are just much easier, for a variety of reasons. Also, some people are just better at taking tests and writing essays. Be honest about these things and figure out the best choice that way.

    • My dad had a friend who had to take the Bar 3 times because he worked. He didn’t work the 3rd time. He passed and is now a prominent local attorney.

      • I didn’t work the first time (and passed). I did work the second time (and also passed). Granted, the second state’s bar I took was easier and I had already succesfully done it once before, but I think it’s totally possible to work and study. That said, that’s probably ALL you can do. No dinners out, certainly no nights off. Probably not even time for exercise or any socializing.

        The person who said that you don’t have to start studying in earnest until July 4th was correct. People who start studying hard before that burn out and often freak out during the actual test.

        • Legally Blonde :

          I am taking a second bar this summer (I moved and have to take the bar again) and I just started my new job, so I will be working while taking this second bar. I did not work while studying for the first and passed. I won’t be taking BarBri, but I do have the materials for this new state. Do you have any advice? What did you do to prepare for the second bar? What did your schedule look like? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • I am working and taking the bar this summer. Another associate in my practice group did the same thing a few years ago. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree with KLo that you want to be careful about burning out. I didn’t work, and didn’t start really studying hard until after July 4th. But I also was studying all day, every day after July 4th, and I had a solid base before then: I had listened to all the lectures (I did the ipod barbri course) and had outlined 80% of the subjects before July 4th, so I spent most of that time doing practice questions and memorizing. If you’re working up to the exam, or even up to a couple of weeks beforehand, I think it would be a really good idea to start as early as possible. Not that you have to kill yourself, but I think it’s better to be over-prepared. It’s not an experience you’ll care to repeat.

      On the other hand – definitely make a point of taking time off once in a while. There’s only so much your brain can absorb at once, and I found that I was much much more efficient if I had taken an evening off to watch a movie or an hour one afternoon to go get an ice cream. Not every day, and it totally depends on your study habits, but it is something to keep in mind.

    • I was in essentially this exact situation. I took an evening bar review class, made sure everyone knew I had to catch my train at a certain time, and took off 2 weeks before the bar. My normal day consisted of 30 minutes to 1 hour of studying on the train on my way to work, 1 hour during lunch, 1 hour on the way home, and 4 hours of bar review class. Plus extra studying on weekends, that’s really all you need to pass.

      A couple things that I (and other evening bar review attendees) found important:
      — Take a bar review class that is tailored for evening students, not just Bar-Bri with its “evening class” where you watch a video of a pre-taped session. It really makes a difference to have a class with a study schedule that is realistically tailored to help you get through the material in the amount of time you have (probably 3 hours a day plus the class).
      — Question practice is much much more important than studying. I spent 90% of my self-study time doing and debriefing practice questions. You learn more from debriefing questions than you do from reading the study material. This was the hardest concept for me to get my head around, but I realized it was working when I started doing better on practice tests than a lot of people who’d spent twice as much time studying, but without the focus on answering actual test questions.
      — Take care of yourself. Take the time to eat healthy, get a decent amount of sleep, and get some exercise a couple times a week.
      — Make flashcards and carry them around with you so can do flashcards while you’re waiting in line, etc.
      — Don’t stress if you get behind on your substantive studying, and don’t take time away from question practice to catch up. All the important concepts will be covered in the review class, and if you’re doing the practice questions, you’ll end up covering a lot of the random exceptions that way.

      Good luck!

  24. Anonymous :

    I recall seeing a discussion about Latisse here at Corporette not too long ago, and just saw this article on the NY Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/health/02latisse.html?pagewanted=2&ref=us

    Worth taking a look, imho.

  25. housecounsel :

    I obtained Latisse the legit way, from my dermatologist. I’ve used it for several months now, have had no side effects and have CRAZY long lashes. Love, love, love the stuff.

  26. Kat, I love that so many people are posting – what a great community! Have you considered having multiple sections for weekend posts, such as fashion / beauty / interviews / work? Thanks for creating and maintaining such a wonderful site!