Friday, April 26th, 2013

Negotiating can be intimidating.  However, it’s very worthwhile.  According to The Wage Project:  “Over her working life, a woman will earn $1 million less than a man simply because she is a woman.”

Attitudes about take-home pay are sometimes still stuck in the past.  I literally had a Director of a past employer ask me if someone I referred for a job was married and could accept a lower salary.  No, she was a divorced, single mom whose husband left her for another woman.  I am not sure if any steam came out of my ears as I heard that sexist, completely HR-unapproved question.

The first time I asked for a raise was in college.  I worked part time in an Arthritis research clinic.  The doctor I worked for awarded me the raise.  When I accepted my first job out of college, I did not negotiate a better starting salary.  In retrospect, this was dumb, but I believed the line they fed me that everyone starts at the same level.  In my second job out of college, I counter-offered on starting salary and received more than the initial offer.  In my time with that employer, I asked for a higher title and to understand what I could do to be considered a “senior” account coordinator instead of just an account coordinator. By asking and committing to working hard and producing great work, I was awarded a raise and higher position.

Now, it is ingrained in me to counter offer.  I feel more comfortable doing so and with my sales pitch for why I should earn X amount, receive more vacation time, etc.  Keep in mind, you may want to negotiate your bonus structure, vacation days, salary, flexible schedule, perks and more.

There are resources available to help you see if your pay is in the right range and provide suggestions for what to do (and what not to do) when negotiating.  It’s also good to get outside of books and web links and have conversations with friends and industry colleagues to hear what has worked for others and learn what compensation is given to others in similar roles.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Advice on asking for a raise from The Wage Project President Evelyn Murphy on Katie Couric:




Pregnant Indignities: 3rd edition

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Once you’re pregnant, many of your favorite undergarments will no longer fit.

My favorite bras quickly became a museum pieces soon after I became pregnant.  Although there is no child in sight, mother nature gets a head start on breast growth in order to feed the baby one day.  You may find yourself, as I did, in a lingerie department, lost in a sea of choices, combing through large cup sizes and wondering what will contain your new jugs.  You may get double boob in a size you thought was unfathomably large.  Your husband may refer to the twins as “personal flotation devices” prior to your vacation in Jamaica.  You may feel suddenly drawn to comfort call-outs like “wide straps” and “no underwire.”  You may mentally curse your growing nips for ruling out your former favorite demi cuts and directing you towards cups that look like large yamakas.  Put on your yamaka(s),  here comes bra-shop-ika…

from Nickelodeon "Vital Information"

Moving south.  There is not much better than finding the perfect thong, hipster and brief to have at-the-ready in your underwear drawer.  I have my favorites and my back-ups for when the favorites are being laundered.  Little did I know that some of these darling base layers would turn on me once my belly started popping out.  Gravity is real, people!  Once my belly became big, all but the lowest-rise underwear started to cascade lower and lower because my stomach is so far from flat.  I’ve been reduced to memorizing which ones will fit comfortably, buying a few pairs in larger sizes, and when needed, hiking up the back-up briefs and hoping no one notices my awkward readjustment.

This concludes our third edition of Pregnant Indignities.


Monday, April 22nd, 2013

I put a tray under the juicer to catch any drips and line up my produce

I made a large batch of juice Sunday morning.  Juice seems as energizing as coffee.  The black and decker juicer Kyle got me retails for only about $40 which is very reasonable for something that can provide you so many vitamins and nutrients.

The combinations are probably endless.  I have yet to use a recipe but just throw together a bunch of things I like to eat and drink.

Sunday’s concoction:  carrots, celery, oranges, mangoes, granny smith apples, 1 pear, a few blueberries.

a beautiful bouquet on my kitchen table thanks to my friend & neighbor Dawn

drink me!

You have to do some prep work (washing, cutting, peeling) then I like to put the juice in a glass container (for example:  mason jar, pickle jar, dressing container) with some room for air at the top so you can shake it up before you drink it.  Juice naturally separates otherwise.  It makes sense to do more than one serving while you have the components out and are dirtying up your multi-piece juicer.

You get a lot of scraps and skins when juicing. Kyle found you can make them into a patty with egg, crumbs and fry in a skillet if desired!


Killin’ It!

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

My mom used to teach in an inner city middle school.  She knows how to search the website urban dictionary.  She considers herself a cool mom.  These three facts allow her to spew magically crazy, funny, statements and misused cliches at any given time.  Kyle and I sometimes laugh so hard we almost cry.

Saturday night, while sitting in my friend’s car enjoying our Dairy Supreme ice cream creations, she asked me what I got.  (Keep in mind she treated, I stood next to her as I ordered and she saw my sundae come out).  Still, my order remained a mystery.  I told her:  “a twist sundae with hot fudge and cookie dough.”

“Cookie dough on top.  Girl, you’re killin’ it!” was her reply.

Pregnant Indignities: 2nd edition

Monday, April 8th, 2013

When you’re pregnant, you realize you are an animal incubating a baby animal of your species.  There is no written contract, but you basically sign over your rights to be treated gently, with concern to your modesty, or with any respect to your wardrobe.

1. Gentle is out the window.  The ultrasound technician will press on your abdomen as hard as she sees fit.  You will question whether the baby is getting squished and she will just keep jabbing and jiggling to get the 600 pictures doctors now require in your medical records.

2. So you want to be modest.  Ha!  Assuming you have taken good vaginal care of yourself by the time you’re pregnant, you already know stirrups exist and you will be leaving with your figurative tail between your legs after every encounter with the cold metal duck-beak.  Once you’re pregnant, the belly becomes a focus on many visits.  BUT, they can’t quite keep your vaginal region out of the party.  When a doctor or ultrasound tech is going to get near you with a jelly wand, he or she will first yank your pants or skirt to the top of your muff or natural pubic hair line.

3.  Like Rodney Dangerfield, my wardrobe can’t get no respect.  While the medical professional will ensure your bottoms are insanely low, they don’t really give a hoot about keeping gel off your bottoms.  Yes, they ram some paper-towel-esque substance between your skin and your bottoms but they will move the wand up, down, all around and tend to leave your bottoms a little gooky.  I learned this the hard way by wearing a silk skirt to my ultrasound.

So there you have it.  Another edition of pregnant indignities, my version of what to expect when you’re expecting.

P.S. If you want to catch up on the last entry, click here.

Phipps fun

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Mom and I spent a Sunday afternoon at Phipp’s Conservatory recently.  It is a gorgeous, plant, flower, and sunlight-filled place.  If you are visiting Pittsburgh, it’s a worthy attraction.

from left, clockwise: chihuly glass, happy mom, longfellows, mom showing scale of giant plant

Phipp's desert room

Pregnant Indignities

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Welcome to the first edition of Pregnant Indignities.  I don’t know how many editions there will be.  I suppose it depends upon how many indignities I suffer and how many I am bold enough to share with my dear readers.

You know how you are typically aware of your size?  Sure, you might misjudge whether or not the size 28 Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans will fit or you need to bump up to a 29, but in general, you know your mass.  You can navigate through a crowd without touching strangers, you can walk to the restroom at night without bumping walls or doors, you know your breadth.

image via

Yesterday I attempted a simple task.  I strode to walk between a kitchen chair and door to the basement and KAPOW! I hit it with my belly.  This is not a new setup in our home.  This is a new phase in my life where my body surprised me by jutting out farther than it used to.  As I stumbled backward, I realized this is just one of many pregnant indignities I’ve been suffering for the last 22 weeks.  And if you must know, yes, I was walking towards the refrigerator.  Quick tip for expectant moms:  try to gain really slowly in the beginning because the weight gain starts snowballing and it’s not pretty!

On the bright side, we got out IKEA linen curtains hung in the baby’s room and they look awesome.  I am so excited to have Little Critter in our nursery soon and read him or her lots of books and have cuddle time!