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  • I’M ON SUMMER VACATION

    Posted on 18/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    I’m on vacation until Wednesday, so none of the biting journalism and hard-hitting social commentary you’ve come to expect from Jane Has A Job until then.

    And by that, I mean no more posts on scarves for a few days.

    But in the meantime, check out these great links from around the web.
    A great discussion of whether any job is better than no job for today’s college graduates hitting the job market. [New York Times].

    And on a related noted, how to avoid being rejected for a job you’re overqualified for with some strategic resume-tinkering. [The Recruiters Lounge].

    A depressing post about how men and women prefer male bosses to female. Not promising for shattering those fabled glass ceilings. [Life:Forward].

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  • INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING GUIDE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

    Posted on 12/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    Guest post from our international guru, Veronica G.

    You say package, they say parcel. You say present, they say pressie. Are you sending packages and cards abroad this holiday season? The time window for getting your holiday items overseas in time for Christmas is closing fast. Read on for a helpful holiday shipping guide for all of your international parcels and pressies.

    There are more than a few things to consider when sending Christmas greetings and gifts abroad. In our post 9/11 world things have gotten even more complex with shipping internationally but with these tips you should be well on your way to getting your holiday items to the final destination on time!

    1. Timing is crucial. The cheapest shipping rates are typically USPS. Make sure you check the USPS holiday shipping timeline. There are only a few days left to get cards and packages in the mail for on time delivery by Christmas.

    2. Don’t spoil the surprise. Most customs declarations forms require you to list the contents of the package which is then affixed to the OUTSIDE of the package. It is always a good idea to try to find someone other than the gift recipient to intercept the package when it arrives so your customs form doesn’t spoil the surprise.

    3. Customs delays. Even if you follow the USPS timelines there is always a chance that your package will be delayed by customs in the destination country. Try to ship as far in advance as possible and know what not to pack to avoid delays.

    4. Hidden costs. It’s a nasty surprise but some countries will charge the recipient an additional customs/duty fee that must be paid before the package will be delivered. This is entirely dependent on the stated value of the package and the duty/customs guidelines for the destination country… you’ve been forewarned!!

    Delays and hidden costs are just a few of the things I wish I had known before moving abroad. I hope these pointers help you avoid the stress of holiday shipping!

    Veronica G. is a marketing professional with 7 years experience in the US and abroad. After 2 years in Europe she has repatriated back to the US where she is continuing her career in digital marketing.

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  • INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

    Posted on 12/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day (and, coincidentally, Mardi Gras). In recognition of this day, I thought I’d share this trailer for a French movie coming out in the spring — Potiche (“Trophy Wife”) — that, while entertaining us, also shows us how far women have come in the past few decades.

    Featuring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu, the comedy is about a 1970s trophy wife who reverses roles when her husband becomes ill.

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  • WHAT TO DO NOW IF YOU WANT KIDS LATER

    Posted on 09/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    Ed.: We’re happy to have Alisa Ahlstone Lewis, a modern mom blogger, share her advice on things working women can do now to make the decision to have children down the line a little easier.

    You’re blazing full steam ahead on your career and working hard for your next promotion. In the back of your head you are thinking about children. Someday you know you want to be a mom, and you know you want to continue working your way to the top. There are a number of important topics to consider before you find out you are pregnant.
    1. Flex time & working from home: Look around the office and see if anyone is currently working with a flexible schedule. You may want to dip your toe in the water now. Ask your boss about working from home one day a week and see if she is open to it. If you are able to prove to her now that you can be highly productive, she may be more open to an even more flexible schedule in the future. It is good to gauge and know what sort of boundaries there are in your current company, so you can better understand your options later.

    2. Direct reports: If you think you may want to work from home once your child is born, think about the number of direct reports you have. The more direct management of personnel that is required in your position, the harder it is to work remotely. You may want to move into a position where you are an individual contributor or have fewer direct reports, as it is often easier to “sell” a flexible work arrangement in those situations.

    3. Breast-feeding: Are you planning to nurse your child after you go back to work? There are actually a number of logistics to figure out. Start looking around to see if your office provides a room for you to do this. My best friend had to tape up paper on her office window and have a lock installed on her door. I bought a second pump that I left at the office so I wouldn’t need to carry it along with my computer at night. If you travel a lot, you may not be able to bring your breast milk through airport security without your child with you.

    4. Childcare: Most of us don’t have jobs where we are in the office from 8am to 5pm on a set schedule everyday. Your schedule may be even more erratic if you travel to client meetings or sales calls. It costs more but you may want to explore hiring a nanny, rather than using traditional day care. It can save you valuable time in the morning because you will not need to take your baby anywhere. If you prefer the day care option, in many cities you need to sign up with the best day care facilities as soon as you find out you are pregnant. I know it sounds crazy, but it is true.

    5. Money money money: Children are expensive! You need to start saving now. Consider how much time you want to take off on maternity leave. You may not be paid your full salary the whole time so you will need extra money to cover those weeks or months of expenses. Evaluate the impact that childcare expenses will have on your monthly income. If there are other major purchases you need, consider taking care of them before you get pregnant. Pay off your car, get the roof on the house and take one more fabulous vacation. Once your child arrives, you will have less money left over each month for these big ticket items.

    Alisa Ahlstone Lewis is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sweet Peas & Stilettos.

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  • APP FOR THAT: LOSE IT! DIET AND EXERCISE APP

    Posted on 01/02/2015 by | 0 comments

    There’s a growing movement these days for mindful eating. Basically, it’s about paying attention to preparing food and eating so that you get full enjoyment and satisfaction from the process. It’s also about awareness — not mindlessly popping things into our mouths without realizing we’re doing it.

    Makes sense. I love carbs of all kinds — donuts, cookies, hearty bread, and I could never cut them out. But I should probably be more aware of that donut I’m eating, to make it count.

    This app helps you take a look at your diet — much like Mint.com helps you address your finances — and gives you information you can use. You can get a sense of how many calories you should take in to maintain a healthy weight, and you can track your calorie intake throughout the day. It has thousands of entries for foods we eat, so that you can type in “oatmeal” and figure out how many calories you’ve consumed. It also has calorie counts for popular snacks and restaurant foods.

    The app makes tracking your diet kind of… fun.

    You don’t have to use it to “diet” in the popular sense — watching food intake like a hawk and obsessing over weight loss. But, as in all things in life, knowledge is power. Why not know what you’re putting in your body?

    [Lose It! App for iPhone and Web]

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  • COOKBOOK STARTER KIT

    Posted on 24/01/2015 by | 0 comments

    Recently, I’ve been on a learning-to-cook kick: It’s a great skill to have, and it also ensures that you know what you’re eating. Check out this great post from Small Kitchen College on your cookbook library’s must-haves.

    Starting out in a new kitchen can be a challenge in so many ways. Shared counter space, a finicky stove, and stocking your pantry is only the beginning. If you’re just starting out, you may, like me, have people you turn to regularly for kitchen advice. My first lifeline is my self-taught chef/ guru/Aunt Julie, whom I call when I need a quick dinner party dish, or I want to talk about Thanksgiving in July, or when I have set off my smoke alarm three times in a row and just need to vent (no pun intended).

    When I can’t get Julie on the phone, or I’m just trolling for inspiration, I turn to my cache of food blogs. Every girl has her favorites, but even those occasionally fall flat–and I don’t always have the time or energy to read through all of the comments to see whether a recipe is a success, or needs tweaking.

    In times when I need a surefire hit, I turn to my (growing) shelf of cookbooks. These books are expensive, and with so many on the market it’s hard to know which ones to trust. So here are a few of my suggestions for a reliable cookbook starter kit (NB: I have not cooked from all of these, but I have done research–and called on trusty Aunt Julie–for backup).

    Of course: If you’re only going to buy one cookbook this month, or this year, or ever, you should sincerely consider In the Small Kitchen, by Cara and Phoebe. Not only does it solve the problem of “I trust this food blog, but I don’t know how to weed out the great recipes from the good ones,” but it is also a cookbook which stands on its own merits. Its attachment to the blog is not a gimmick, but a line to its authors, who write with informal grace and humor about what it’s like to start out as an inexperienced but wildly enthusiastic young cook. In essence, it is a cookbook geared specifically towards you. It’s personal, and approachable, and wildly delicious.

    Makes great: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches; Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce

    That one should have been obvious, but in case you’re looking for more…

    Best all-around go-to for everything: New Best Recipe by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated.

    My college roommate sent this to me for my birthday this year, and it has become an essential in my kitchen. I turn to this when I have an idea of something I want to make (lasagna, pesto, chocolate chip cookies, etc.) and I don’t want to wade through Every Food Blogger’s Best Version of it. NBR has tons of classic recipes–and they explain to you how they achieved their best results. What is the ideal ratio of chocolate chips to cookie dough, and why? What is the most effective way to mash bananas for baked goods? If you like a little bit of science to back you up, and you’re lookin’ for a classic, you’ll turn to this, every time.

    Makes great: Thick, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Best Fish: Le Bernardin Cookbook by Eric Ripert and Maguy Le Coze

    Forever jockeying with Daniel for the esteemed position of #1 Restaurant in New York, Le Bernardin is a four-star seafood restaurant, known for the precision and elegance only a Frenchman could bring to this type of food. For a home chef, making fish can be a bit intimidating, since it requires some amount of speed–however, it is also a food which wants simple preparation, simple flavors, and simple presentation. Turn to this book when you want to impress friends at a summer dinner party with a simple Pan-Roasted Grouper or Grilled Salmon; and don’t forget dessert!

    Makes great:Warm Lobster Salad

    Best Seasonal: Alfred Portale’s 12 Seasons Cookbook by Alfred Portale and Andrew Friedman

    I fell in love with this cookbook on sight. The table of contents is divided by months (with chapters like “September: Recipes for Busy Times,” and “October: Sweater Weather”), making it a breeze and a pleasure to cook from. The recipes may be intimidating and a bit involved, but Portale provides tips on thinking ahead, and really more than anything it is as good a guide as any on how to fully take advantage of what’s fresh and available, month-to-month.

    Makes great: Cauliflower Vichyssoise

    Best dessert: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

    Dorie Greenspan’s helpful and enthusiastic voice shines through in every recipe here (not to mention her adorableness). Her recipes are homey and familiar, none of them terribly daunting, all of them fit for sharing. I’ll be honest. There have been a couple of things in this book that haven’t been spectacular. However, I truly believe that it is only in comparison to the absolutely stellar treats (of which there are many) that others fail. That is to say, the “failure” is an unfortunate consequence of my unbelievably high expectations of everything she has written down. Use this book when you want to make the best pie or cheesecake of your life to serve to friends, or just want to whip up a simple batch of cookies for yourself.

    Makes great: Lemon Poppyseed Muffins; Cheesecake; Tart Crust; Shall I go on?

    Best cook book: Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio

    This is not a book to turn to if you’re looking for the greatest or most precise recipe for…well…anything. In fact, if you did, you would miss the entire point of the book. Here, Colicchio’s aim is to impart a thought process–not a list of instructions. He intends to “teach you to think a little like [he does],” as he writes in his introduction. The book is full of useful techniques, like roasting, braising, sauce making, etc. He simplifies things with the aim of freeing you from the page. This is a book best read on the couch, not in the kitchen in a rush to get dinner on the table.

    Makes great: Reference for techniques

    Best “restaurant to home”: Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin

    I would cross-reference this one as a great seasonal cookbook, and wins my aunt’s nomination for “cookbook you will use most often.” Suzanne Goin divides her wonderfully inviting book into seasons, and again into menus. You can certainly mix and match, but it’s also nice to have someone suggest a seasonally appropriate menu for you to have on the table for the evening without having to give it a second thought. She also gives a useful overview of ingredients, which serves as a quick and easy reference. You’ll get a primer on year-round produce like shallots and arugala, pantry staples like chiles and olives, techniques, and of course, seasonal ingredients. Because of its layout, the book lends itself equally well to cooking one of Goin’s dishes (which are delicious) as it does to reading up on the bounty of the season and using it to improvise.

    Makes great: Boeuf a la Nicoise; Pickled Raisins; Meyer Lemon Tart with A Layer of Chocolate

    Lily graduated in 2009 from Harvard University with a degree in English Literature. While in college, she bartended and cooked at the campus pub, and as a result has a difficult time eating chicken wings. She is currently the Assistant Managing Editor for Small Kitchen College.

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  • DEAR PHOTOGRAPH

    Posted on 23/01/2015 by | 0 comments

    If you’ve got a few minutes to kill today while enjoying a cup of coffee (or a 5-Hour Energy — anyone try those?), check out this delightful photography blog — Dear Photograph. Readers submit photographs in which they hold up vintage photographs against the same, present-day setting. The result is remarkable.

    I’d love to try this sometime. My fiance and I took a trip to Paris months ago, during which we took pictures around the city. Maybe 10 years from now, we can return to those spots with the photographs. I’ll add it to the long term to-do list.

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  • CONVERSATION: OKAY TO CALL IN SICK FOR “MENTAL HEALTH DAY”?

    Posted on 12/01/2015 by | 0 comments

    Okay readers, we need your help.

    There was a debate in my workplace the other day about whether it’s okay to fake sickness — cough a little on the phone, claim you’re ill — in order to claim a “mental health day.” Does it matter if you’ve been working really hard lately, are burnt out, and need to recharge? Have you ever gotten away with it?

    Out with it! Leave a comment and let us know your views.

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  • THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL J.CREW AD

    Posted on 11/01/2015 by | 0 comments

    …has the Creative Director, Jenna Lyons, talking about how she likes to paint her son’s toenails his favorite color, pink.

    I remember getting this ad in my email box awhile back. I thought, “Well, that’s something you don’t see everyday — a boy with hot pink toenails,” and then didn’t give it a second thought.

    Over the past few days, however, I’ve learned that people are fuming over this ad.

    Says Culture Media Institute’s Erin R. Brown:

    J.CREW, a popular preppy woman’s clothing brand and favorite affordable line of first lady Michelle Obama, is targeting a new demographic – mothers of gender-confused young boys. At least, that’s the impression given by a new marketing piece that features blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.

    And Fox News health commentator Dr. Keith Ablow:

    Yeah, well, it may be fun and games now, Jenna, but at least put some money aside for psychotherapy for the kid—and maybe a little for others who’ll be affected by your “innocent” pleasure.

    This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity—homogenizing males and females when the outcome of such “psychological sterilization” [my word choice] is not known.

    Wow. This reminds me of the media frenzy over Shiloh’s clothing choices. Who cares? What’s wrong with liking hot pink? Does that mean it’s “unnatural” for me to like the color blue? Last I heard, color preferences weren’t hardwired into our genetic code.

    And anyway, as the WSJ’s Rachel Emma Silverman points out, it used to be the norm for boys to like pink and girls to like blue:

    As a Ladies’ Home Journal article in June 1918 said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

    It seems people are trying to make this into a political issue. But why? Can’t a kid just like what he likes?

    Saying that the sexes should conform to the roles that society has set out for them over the past few decades is harmful, for a number of reasons. Stop putting pressure on people, especially kids, to act a certain way. It’s not that big a deal.

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  • I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE

    Posted on 11/01/2015 by | 0 comments

    Last month, I spent $900 on food and alcohol.

    Yes, that’s insane.

    I realized it when I finally took a look at “Budgets” in my Mint.com account. Mint automatically sorts your purchases for you by category (you can tweak the categories; sometimes it makes mistakes). After realizing that my plan of saving more wasn’t going too well, I figured it was time to face the music.

    I spent: $162 on Alcohol & Bars, $48 at Coffee Shops, $23 on Fast Food, $255 on Groceries, and $431 at Restaurants. Yikes.

    There is some explanation for this high number (I “only” spent $600 the month before). My boyfriend and I turned a wedding a few weeks ago into a mini-vacation, and we indulged in some nights out. But we also go out for food multiple times in a given weekend anyway, and I go out to dinner at least once during the week with friends.

    BYO restaurants are also big where I live, so a large chunk of the $162 spent on Alcohol & Bars was stocking up on bottles of wine that will last me for two months or so.

    But it’s obvious some changes need to be made. I always thought that I would save a lot while I was young for a larger pay-off later, and that’s not happening.

    Here are some things I’m going to start doing:

    1. Only go out to restaurants two nights a week: Once with my boyfriend on the weekend, once with friends during the week.

    2. Cook more. I live by myself, and cooking for one is usually an inefficient, wasteful endeavor. But I’ve found some resources that will help: the book The Little Black Apron and blogs like Cooking for One in Paris and A Cozy Kitchen.

    3. Have more drinks at home rather than at bars. I should note here that the $900 figure is misleading, because my boyfriend often picks up the tab when we’re out. Especially at bars. Rather than going out so frequently, we should experiment with cocktails and wines at home.

    4. Bring my lunch from home. I’m actually fairly good about doing this anyway, but I should do it all the time. I usually eat an Amy’s Organic frozen meal for lunch (cost: about $4), but sometimes I go to the deli across the street and get an $8 wrap. Need to cut that out.

    Some things I’m not going to do:

    1. Give up my morning coffee. Every morning, I buy a large coffee with three Splendas and milk at the Dunkin’ Donuts across the street from work. It warms me up after my walk, and I enjoy sipping it as I figure out my agenda for the day. It’s around $2 each morning, and honestly… it’s worth it to me.

    2. Stop going out completely. It’s obvious I’m not doing this from my resolutions above, but I think it’s important not to “live” for the future. I want to enjoy life now, and dinners out with friends are a large part of that enjoyment. I don’t need to quit cold turkey, but I do need to be more responsible.

    Hopefully, March will be much more economical than February.

    How much do you spend on food and alcohol in a month?

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