Belle’s Weekly Roundup: July 3, 2013

Jul 3, 2013


Being back in Montana is always a strange combination of a bitter and sweet.  The longer I’m away, the more it feels like I don’t fit. I have little in common with friends who I’ve known for decades.  My daily life, my interests, my goals differ in many ways from theirs.  I sometimes fear that if I stay away much longer, I’ll change so much that I will no longer feel like Montana is home.  And that thought terrifies me.

1) Last Friday, Emily at Cupcakes and Cashmere featured a sweet, little pair of Zoe Chicco earrings on her blog.  Diamonds set in a straight line to create a sliver of sparkle.  I immediately went looking for a copycat pair in a lower price point and found these Gorjana earrings.  They’re a bit larger but lovely, especially at 1/10th the price.

2) Need some reading to fill a long afternoon of ‘nothing to do’? Reading a few of Roger Ebert’s movie reviews is always entertaining.  I have a list of movies he considered great on my iPad, and on rainy days, I’ll rent one on iTunes or Hulu.  He’s right more than he’s wrong.

3) Talented Totes make canvas bags with humorous quotes stenciled on them.  Both of these bags make me laugh.  And at around $20, they’re a fun way to add some whimsy to your weekend errands.

4) There’s a new book coming out about how to raise children who aren’t entitled.  The author’s solution?  Chores like making their beds, and not supervising their every homework assignment and task like a sentry.  When did this parenting style become revolutionary?  I don’t know, but if this catches on,  I won’t have to spend months teaching interns who’ve never had jobs and were raised by helicopter parents to do simple tasks without constant supervision and complaint.

5) On Lara’s recommendation, I purchased the e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator ($5), and I really love it. It smooths out my lips in a jiffy and has really cut down on how much lip balm I need to use.

6) Last week, I asked about the strangest/most extreme beauty treatment they’d ever had.  One commenter mentioned a Japanese treatment called “Baby Foot” where you apply a gel to your feet, leave it on for an hour and then, after a few days, the top layer of skin peels off leaving you with baby soft feet.  You literally molt like a snake.  This treatment is just the right mix of effective and gross, that I bet it becomes popular stateside soon.

7) Marie Claire has an article titled The Single Girl’s Second Shift, about how employers often ask single women to bat clean-up at work because they assume that, being sans husband and children, you should be the one to shoulder the burden.

8) Local retailer Simply Soles is growing their online boutique.  It’s filled with lots of pretty jewelry pieces.  I love this navy and gold ring and this resin link necklace.

9) Lately my Pinterest page is just a catalog of food I’d like to cook or bake.  On of my favorite recent discoveries, sweet potatoes with chili beans.  So good, and as long as you go light on the sour cream, fairly healthy.

10) I’m stocking up on books for my trip to Montana in August. Just me, a lakeside pool and a pile of books.  On the list, Rules of Civility, Secrets of a Fashion Therapist and The Fault in Our Stars.  What’s on your summer reading list?

Ask The Edit, Workday Reading

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  1. Heather says:

    The Fault in Our Stars is the best book I’ve ever read!!!

  2. Emily says:

    I love Rules of Civility! I just finished The Engagements – and really enjoyed it. Highly recommended for an easy read 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    It sounds like you are hiring the wrong interns… Not all of us in our early to mid twenties were raised by helicopter parents or require constant supervision.

    • Belle says:

      I’ve been hiring interns or supervising interns for a decade. It’s true, some of them are great. But it’s becoming harder to find 22 year olds who have a) any work experience at all, b) can perform simple tasks like answering a phone without a lot of supervision. I’m all about teaching them to do the work, that’s part of the job, but how does someone live for 22 years or 25 in some cases having never ever held down even a summer job?

  4. Lady Lawyer says:

    Even though my parents were pretty hands-off when they needed to be, I think I picked up some of my need for supervision from my schooling. Knowing exactly what the teacher wanted and delivering it meant getting good grades. Does anyone else feel that way? That desire to constantly be told exactly what to do was something I really did have to learn to shake off when I became a working adult.

    I agree though, an entitled attitude is never appreciated.

    For books, I’m blazing my way through Margaret Atwood’s novels, starting with her first, The Edible Woman.

    • I also think at firms people don’t expect summers and juniors to know what to do without being told explicitly so you get more direction that you might in other jobs. I share your feelings, I really like knowing exactly what I need to do so I can be sure I’ve delivered.

      For books this summer I plan to do lots of re-reads: all of Saki’s short stories, most of Evelyn Waugh, and some M.F.K. Fisher. I also bought the new David Sedaris for a train ride this weekend.

      • Vie says:

        Apologies, Belle. I’m typing on my phone. Please moderate this version:

        During one rotation of a summer internship at an investment bank, a male intern and I were assigned the same project to work on separately. I would go to the supervisor periodically and make sure what I was doing was on track and would be helpful to him afterward. At one point, my male colleague asked me a question, and I pointed out a major flaw in what he was doing. The feedback I reeived after that rotation was that I needed too much guidance as opposed to my male colleague who just went with what he was initially told. However, if I hadn’t asked the follow up questions both the male intern and I would have given the supervisor something other than what he needed. Five years of work experience managing up (supporting a principal) and down (supervising interns) have taught me the importance of finding the right balance between making something easier by taking work off of someone’s plate, but not creating more work by asking too many questions or none and having spun your wheels working on something they will have to do over. A good tip for interns is to check in halfway through the project, talk through their thought process or the searches they’ve run and why and ask, “am I on the right track?” or, if you have a questions, “what do you do in instances where you encounter x?” Supervisors need to be patient, provide feedback, and give interns a chance to learn, without giving into frustration when we don’t have much time and it would be faster to do the dishes/make the bed ourselves. You can help them help you by taking the time to teach an intern that everyone in office has to do work that’s not so fun at times, but is critical for the office’s success; thanking them for their service and for contributing their time to help; and rewarding them with more responsibility and opportunities when they learn from their mistakes.

  5. AR says:

    I know exactly how you feel about going home. I too am from a very small place out west and I feel increasingly disconnected having left at 18 (I can’t believe that’s 13 years ago). Since I am pretty confident that I’ll never return there to live permanently, I tell myself that my hometown is still my home, just a different kind of home. Your interests, objectives and daily life change a lot, but you keep the values and your appreciation for the people and place that raised you. I wouldn’t trade my small town upbringing for anything… it keeps me grounded in my ridiculously high heels!

  6. Anon says:

    About the raising kids thing, just something to think about for those who don’t have them yet. It’s actually easier to do everything for them. Sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. Kids do things poorly and they suck at them. I’m talking little kids, like elementary school. It takes a lot of patience, tolerance and bitching to get them doing chores consistently and correctly. So many parents just sort of give up– takes two seconds to make the bed or wash the dish so why not.

  7. Lisa says:

    I tried Baby Foot! It didn’t really work for me . . . The reviews on Amazon are mixed as well. Maybe my feet are just too gross from the flip flops.

  8. Ginger R. says:

    I had a do an edit on my Pinterest follows – too many sweet treats were appearing that I couldn’t resist – bad for the waistline!

  9. RR says:

    It’s pretty easy to criticize parents when you are not one. Try adding two stressful full on careers with a child(ren) & it’s easy to see why beds go unmade. That’s not to say people are not trying to raise a grateful child-just that priorities have shifted. Myself? As a working mother to only one child, the only way I make it work is to accept that I will perpetually feel like everything in my life did not get 100%. Accept failure to succeed.

    • Anon says:

      I don’t think it matters if one is a working or non-working parent: you can never get everything 100% right. You do the best you can at the time and accept that, for the most part (and acknowledging that there will be extremes and exceptions), most children are pretty resilient. Most of our parents made mistakes, and most of us turned out OK – and so did our siblings. Between us, we suffered the first mistakes or benefited from our parents correcting their first set of mistakes and making others instead……. Probably the best thing a parent can do for their child(ren) is accept that, stop beating themselves up and relax just a tiny bit.

    • Belle says:

      Being a parent is hard, no doubt. But when did a few household chores become too much to ask of people?

  10. thank you for the link love! so glad you’re loving that great little scrub.

  11. MissK says:

    Belle – just wanted to say that I’m with you on the Montana thing, except I’m at a little different point right now. My husband will be looking for a job soon, and we’re both Montana natives – my family has been here for 4 generations (that I know of). We’ve talked a lot about leaving and going somewhere else for a couple of years but I have an extreme fear that we will move somewhere and love it so much that we won’t want to come back. And the thought of Montana not being my “home” anymore is truly almost crippling…. Wow! Do other people have this kind of connection to their home state?

  12. Anon says:

    I am intrigued that you have had lots of comments on the raising kids issue but none so far on 7), the single girl issue. I can assure you that I have seen/experienced this more times than I have had hot breakfasts, and it manifests in all sorts of ways. It is the singletons that are expected, not just to stay late to cover work, but to pick up the pieces when Mummy is called away to some crisis or other at school, and to cover for attendance at sports days or school performances, etc. True, not all mothers milk this. True, most of those picking up the pieces have sympathy for the worried mother. But we never get any credit for it; we never get any breaks; and on top of that, we have to listen to some of these people telling us that we should be grateful to them for raising the next generation that will be the doctors and nurses etc that will look after us in our old age… And Yes, I did hear a woman say exactly that on the radio – totally overlooking that I, through my taxes, am paying for her to raise and educate/train said children, as well as paying their salaries in due course …….

    What annoys me just as much is that every discussion about gender equality – in the workplace and elsewhere – seems to focus on mothers: making it easier for them to take time off to have children, return to work after children, etc etc. I cannot remember when I last heard a discussion about single and childless women and what support they should have. I’m sorry if those with children don’t like it, but having children is a lifestyle choice just as not having them is – and other people shouldn’t have to pay for those lifestyle choices ….

    In my ideal world, every individual would have a lifetime entitlement of paid “lifestyle leave” in addition to their annual holiday leave entitlement- say. the equivalent of the maternity leave entitlement for 2.4 children – which they could spend how they wished. So if you want to spend yours on having children, that’s fine; and if I want to spend mine, say, climbing Mount Everest, that’s fine too.

    • Belle says:

      I don’t think I’d describe having kids as a lifestyle choice, but I do agree with some of what you said.

      I have MANY times been the employee left in the office at 6:30PM on a Friday covering the phones and finishing the project because I didn’t have kids who needed to be picked up from daycare or taken to volleyball or driven to summer camp. Most of my coworkers have always been appropriately grateful for the help, but at some point, gratitude isn’t enough. Esp. when your told that you need to move your vacation because the coworkers with children need to take that week off and “someone” has to be in the office.

      And while I one day hope to have children, and thus am interested in creating workplaces that are flexible for mothers and fathers, that flexibility MUST extend to all employees. If you need to be gone on a Friday morning for a school pageant, then you should either use some vacation hours or non-parent employees should be given equal flexibility. I shouldn’t have to beg for an afternoon off to spend time with visiting relatives or take care of a personal matter when other coworkers can show up late or leave early with little or no explanation.

      Bottom line, it boils down to the employer. If you want to create an environment that i flexible for parents, then there need to be some ground rules in place regarding hours, teleworking and leave. And you should create a framework that offers non-parent employees a little something too. Oh, and don’t tell employees who are unmarried without kids that your policies are fair because one day they’ll have children too. It’s patronizing and we hate you for it. Just be grateful and don’t abuse the privilege and most decent people will be happy to let you duck out 30 minutes early to get to a soccer game.

      • Anon says:

        Yes, I’d go with that – the “lifestyle choice” thing was a bit of a reaction to what sometimes seems like a culture of entitlement, not only to have kids but to special treatment as a parent. I have no doubt many working mothers would argue that they don’t have it easy, and in many cases they may be right; but neither do the singletons. I think that as you say, the key is balance and equitable treatment for non-parent employees. I have worked in offices with flexi-time (run on a key sytem,not hand-written time-sheets), and that eases some of the peoblems quite a lot.

      • Sonia says:

        As a feminist, I almost don’t want to admit this, but I’m glad that my direct supervisors and colleagues at my most recent job were all men. It shouldn’t be like this, but it’s still mothers (as opposed to fathers) who for the most part attend their children’s events and miss work to do it. My male colleagues and supervisors who had children never left work to take care of them; I guess their wives were the ones ducking out early to do that. That benefited me because I never felt like I (single, childless woman) had to pick up their slack, but I guess their wives’ colleagues did…

  13. Christobel says:

    I very much understand how you feel about the lack of experience of many interns. While I work in quite a different industry, I’m having students turn up who have never had or even sought a part-time or holiday job while studying (which is usually around 5 years in my field). They are constantly surprised when I suggest that they find one very soon, or they may find themselves without a job in their graduate year when competing with the students who have worked, either in the industry or in another field.

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