Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Civil and Appellate Procedure Imbroglio

The United States Supreme Court, via.
I wrote my last entry a few days before I posted it, as is my general habit. Thus, the post was written a few days before legal chaos was about to break loose. We live in strange times, lawyers especially. In my current role, there are restrictions on political activity, political speech, and practicing law, restrictions that I never thought would chafe as much as they do. I was having trouble sleeping, had fitful dreams about court orders not being enforced. Inspiration, blogging-wise, faded, and has been extremely slow in returning.

Without expressing an opinion regarding either electoral politics or the legal merits of issues in active litigation, my thoughts in November about the importance and the near-sacred duty of our judicial institutions now appear... perhaps remarkably prescient. In that general vein, below are several links that I find particularly educational in laying out some of the current issues. Certain links are, it cannot be denied, partisan in their implications, but are offered here only for educational and informational purposes: 
  • "The Quiet Grandeur of the Courts," a New York Times Editorial Board piece, is an elegant explanation of one of the underlying issues in the background of it all. This other opinion piece, by New York Times columnist Charles Blow, is a bit more fiery, but in the same vein. 
  • The Ninth Circuit has posted filed documents and other information regarding the appeal on an official public information page. The news media and twitter have generally been about 15 minutes ahead of this page when it comes to breaking news. Given the status of the case, however, I don't expect breaking news to appear in the next few days.
  • The Western District of Washington case and ensuing Ninth Circuit Appeal is actually in an exceedingly strange and confusing procedural posture, hence the title of this post. It's technical, but in a way that any law student with 1L Civil Procedure under their belt could at least begin to expound on and attempt to unpack. This informative and very accessible piece was written by Sarah Jeong, who graduated law school not long before I did, and I think it does a good job of explaining why it's odd. 
    • P.S. there's one extra step that Jeong's diagram omits. Ninth Circuit rules also allow for one additional stage after en banc review, should it occur,  a "super en banc" if you will. This has never actually occurred in the decades since the rule allowing for it was promulgated. 
  • What happens next? Due to the current procedural imbroglio, it's somewhat unclear. Prior to a Ninth Circuit's judge call to have the case heard en banc, Professor Josh Blackman wrote a post providing a very complete explanation of some of the options. Ensuing events have closed some of the doors he described. (Professor Blackman's more technical post, part 1, regarding the current procedural status of the case is here, but with more editorializing and commentary on what may or may not be procedurally proper or improper.) 
  • Judges rarely, almost never, make public comments that can be construed as directly political. Chief Justice Roberts may, however, occupy an unique position as the head of the Judicial Conference of the United States, as CNN reports. (The generally recognized norm that judges should refrain from political comment may or may not be as sacrosanct as many assume, at least as to the Supreme Court. All that is probably for historians and academics to comment on.) 

Monday, January 30, 2017

January Shopping Reflections

So this ended up being an odd month shopping-wise. I started with good shopping-fast intentions, but had some of my usual sudden and powerful shopping impulses, some of which, thankfully, went away. (Dagne Dover Simone, you’re cute, but no. I don’t need a laptop bag that would be the most expensive bag in my collection.) Some of of the impulses did not leave and I, er, ended up giving in to a J.Crew sale when running another errand, resulting in the purchases below. Spoiler alert, it was a very J.Crew month and I continue to be unable to stick to a shopping fast. Oops. I could try again, but because of upcoming interviews (I still haven't ordered interview shoes), I'd be setting myself up for failure next month. I might revisit the idea of a shopping fast later this year, instead. 

Separately, disaster struck, if you’ll indulge my tendency towards melodrama when it comes to lost property. (In college, someone stole the Longchamp Le Pliage I bought for $80 when the British Pound was weak while I was studying abroad. I cried like a baby and mourned it for weeks. I get emotionally attached to my clothes and accessories.) K and I live in a nice building (the customary rent increase with each lease renewal could price us out next time) where more than half of the apartments have in-unit washers and dryers, so one usually has the communal laundry room entirely to themselves at any given time. It breeds a false sense of security. despite the common knowledge that leaving anything unaccompanied is strictly at your own risk. I’d set a timer, but left my things in the dryer for an extra forty minutes because we were eating. All my nice clothes get line-dried in the apartment, anyway, so it was only a few ratty tshirts, pillowcases, etc. that were in there.

Horror of horrors, someone took about a quarter of my items from the dryer before I got there. All of the underwear that was in there, a few tees, both of the black H&M camisoles that are essential to my slouchy sweater-wearing at work, and enough of my socks to throw off my two weeks between each laundry session equilibrium were all gone. 

Reader, I am bereft. (And also utterly convinced that we have an underwear-stealing pervert in the building.) I may or may not be excessively paranoid. I have been known to have my Gift of Fear instincts kick in when it proves entirely unwarranted. My, shall we say, post-November blues make me a bit more emotional than usual. Nonetheless, I humbly submit that how only a portion of my items were missing (but all the underwear) is suggestive, as is the fact that no one else was doing their laundry at the time, with nothing else in any of the other machines and the time gap being too brief for anyone to have finished their laundry entirely while I was away. Nobody had a legitimate reason to be there but me. This series of events resulted in a few traditionally off-budget purchases of socks and underthings.

Fashion - (TOTAL: $94.79) 
  • J.Crew Ruffle-Trim Shift Dress - $76.80 - I couldn't shake my interest in this after seeing someone wear it, and the J.Crew store I stopped in while running the errand had my size. I tried both a 6R (too big all over and a little too long) and 8P, and the 8P was the way to go. This is the only photo I've seen online of this dress on a real person. It's a more A-line shift on me, given the disparity between my chest and hip measurement on their size chart. To get the fit it has on the model, or on other people, I probably should consider getting it taken in.
  • J.Crew Ribbed Hat with Faux-Fur Pom-Pom (sold out, similar from Ann Taylor) - $17.99 - I wanted this hat way back, when I was thinking about the Cocoon Coat, but never pulled the trigger. I saw it again (the last one in store) and decided that now was the time, as I was still interested. The fur pom-pom is a bit exaggerated in size, making it a bit girlish compared to  my general style. (Extra-large pom-poms are trendy, judging by the number of similar hats I see people wearing in the city.) I think it's cute!

Beauty and Skincare - (TOTAL: $16.95) 
  • CosRx Advanced Snail 96 Miucin Power Essence - $16.95 - This is a refill for something I've been using for a while now. It's a good product, moisturizing and soothing. It has an unusually sticky, gloopy texture that could take some getting used to. Amazon generally has the best price and it's often Prime-eligible from a US-based reseller. 

Linking up with Franish and the Budgeting Bloggers, as usual, this month! Please do go check out how everyone else did.

Have you been able to maintain a shopping fast of whatever length in the past? Any lost or stolen laundry horror stories to make me feel better? (I'll totally get over it, but, good golly, it's just so strange and makes me feel rather creeped out.) 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ultra-Conservative Interview Shoes for the Junior Professional

In the coming months, I'll be interviewing at a few biglaw firms, as the impending post-clerkship transition makes this an ideal time to explore the job market. I have particular ideas about how one should dress for interviews, which I believe apply to all attorney jobs (clerkship, government, law firm, most public interest). While I enjoy pushing the dress code envelope as much as I can in my day-to-day life at the office (and do so with, say, Vans leather slip-ons at work and super-slouchy sweaters), adherence to conservative business formal dress code rules is necessary for certain occasions, i.e. court appearances and interviews.

For shoes, I have especially nitpicky criteria in mind, some of which are admittedly not universal, and are instead based largely on my own idiosyncratic preferences. The "total package" of my rules may be excessively stuffy by some standards. In no particular order, my ideal interview shoe is:
  • (1) matte leather, not patent, mostly because patent leather is more prone to scuffing, but also partially because of a possibly outdated view that matte leather may be more professional; 
  • (2) a less than 3'' heel, generally around 2.5'' for me, given my clumsiness in heels; 
  • (3) a "regular" heeled pump with a not overly thin stiletto heel, not a wedge; 
  • (4) as much as possible, without extra embellishments like bows or buckles, though a subtle detail like that is ultimately fine; and 
  • (5) while negotiable, likely has an almond toe or, at least, a not-too-pointy toe as I find overly pointy toe boxes uncomfortable and sometimes odd looking with skirt suits.

The last item is not as much of an issue now. I feel like today's pointy toe shoes are generally less dramatic than when I was last looking for a pair of interview heels in 2008-ish. Other rules or guidelines, such as a not-overly low vamp to avoid extremely obvious "toe cleavage" probably also apply, but typically aren't an issue with shoes that meet the other, somewhat "frumpy"-leaning criteria.

That being said, I don't always practice what I preach. I've done maybe half of my legal job interviews in non-compliant shoes. I still own one pair, a patent leather Naturalizer pump with bow detail and stitching all over that mimicked a quilted texture (similar without quilting). It's not as dramatic as it sounds. and I got my summer associateship in those, but they are certainly not compliant. I definitely interviewed for my current clerkship in a pair of suede Cole Haan wedges with a bow detail and patent toe cap (similar in all-matte leather). Things worked out despite how formal these interviews were, which suggests that my criteria for interview shoes are overly restrictive. Everyone who chimed in on my recent post thought my patent wedges were fine for the office (yay!), which I definitely agree with. Sometimes, I get self-conscious because I may be the only junior associate I know who relies solely on wedges when I want to wear shoes with some height. Thus, I'm still in the market for a pair of pumps that fits my criteria for these interviews and future possible court days.

I've posted before about shopping for interview clothing as a student on a fairly restrictive budget, with shoe suggestions. (A few classmates in biglaw have road-tested the Payless Karmen pump for both comfort and durability and are satisfied.) This time around, I'm looking at a higher price point, one that might make sense for a more well-established young professional in a conservative field, who is a few years into their career. Actually identifying which pair looks best and is comfortable enough for at least a business day's worth of normal walking and standing will likely take at least a bit of trying on (indoors) and sending things back.

First up is a few different options from Cole Haan, at two price points (all shoes pictured above in order, clockwise from top left and linked below). The Cole Haan Grace Grand is fairly pricey but has more padding for comfort (last year's version is discounted at 6PM, but has synthetic instead of leather lining). The Cole Haan Clara (almond toe) or Juliana (pointy toe) are at a more typical Cole Haan price point. The Rockport Total Motion shoes have a pointier toe, as do the Sam Edelman Tristan and well-reviewed Michael Michael Kors Flex. I may start with the Sam Edelman Tristans and maybe the Cole Haan Clara and go from there.

P.S., when shoe shopping, I like looking at Zappos for whether they stock the shoe I have in mind. They often do a video with one of their employees wearing each style they carry, which gives one a better sense of what it looks like on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Health and Wellness Lately

I don't write about body image and healthy living often, but it's one of those things that's generally at the back of my mind. With my current commute, where I'm out of the house 6:50 AM to 7:50 PM most days, it's been easy to slip into a habit of unconscious snacking. My hunger levels are all over the place! I eat a solid breakfast around 6:20 AM, but not long after I get to work, I'm hungry again and need a snack to stay productive, even if lunch (generally kale caesar salad with chicken) is just around the corner at noon. By 4:00 PM I'm hungry again, but dinner's not until I get home, hours away. Oftentimes, even when I've prepared dinner for the week, I'm so hungry when I walk in the door that I'll have a powerful compulsion to grab something, anything to nosh on while I'm heating it up, and before I know it, I'm basically eating almost two dinners when snacks are factored in. 

There are healthy snacks of course: beef jerky from Trader Joe's has proven to be one of the best ways, ounce for ounce, to keep hunger at bay for a long time; raw almonds are great; carrot sticks are good, etc. Still, that pre-dinner moment of must-eat-now! remains a constant challenge, even with so many hunger-fighting snacks in my arsenal. My body just really wants to eat dinner earlier. I never even got used to my 6:50 PM-ish dinnertimes at the firm. On days when I knew I'd be working late, I was often hungry and on Seamless as soon as ordering for client reimbursement opened up at 6:00 PM. And that was after having afternoon snacks.

On top of that, our in-building gym is closed for renovation. K bought us a folding exercise bike (likely the only reasonably sturdy cardio machine that could conceivably fit in our apartment and isn't too expensive), which has been useful. I'm also taking Barre classes with a friend, using a Gilt City deal that got me in for $12.50/class for five classes. It's typically $32/class, an unlimited monthly pass is nearly $300, and the cheapest package is still $28/class, so this doesn't fit into my current budget otherwise, but it's fun to try. At the promotional price, I thought it'd be a good alternative to going out for coffee or brunch to hang out. 

I'm generally rather skeptical about more expensive, "trendy" fitness options, probably unduly so. I'm perfectly happy to do the same workout over and over, and my ideal routine is probably just being able to regularly run on the West Side Highway running path again and mixing in some Pilates-type workouts at home. Barre really isn't for me, based on my first class. It's very different from what I'm used to (not that similar to Pilates), and half the time i had no idea what the instructor wanted me to do. Some of this isn't their fault. I'm not good at taking direction during fitness classes: I have trouble distinguishing left from right, learn new movements slowly, am uncoordinated, and have poor spatial awareness so I often can't figure out how to follow along. I'll use up the classes I bought, but am not especially interested in trying more. 

Do you have any favorite workout classes? I like Pilates, but am perfectly happy with an at-home video, and I enjoy the right Yoga class. Zumba is almost impossible for me due to my aforementioned lack of coordination, so it isn't much fun. Barre is, of course, not quite working. Spin or Soul Cycle sounds like something I could like, but I'm probably not terribly inclined to exploring it on my own. That's about it for classes I've tried or am familiar with.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Shopping Fast Fail (?) and New Instagram

Is my shopping fast going well? That depends entirely on the standard one uses to evaluate it. If the primary goal is to not buy anything new, things are still fine and dandy, as I haven't ordered anything. If the primary goal is to "detox" a bit from using online window shopping as entertainment, or not to make wish lists for after the shopping fast period ends, then it it's not so successful. I've had many of my sudden and powerful shopping impulses, many of which have not really gone away after a few days, so I've accumulated a list of things I'm sort of chomping at the bit to order and try on. 

For instance, I saw the Dagne Dover Simone laptop bag in steel grey leather and thought I desperately wanted to try it on. It's pretty and a bit unique in shape, as far as laptop bags go. Happily (or sadly) it's sold out in that color, so I don't run the risk of breaking my shopping fast there. I was intrigued by the J.Crew Ruffle Trim Dress after seeing it on someone in real life. They seem to have made it final sale though, so I should be safe. Also, I'll be doing a few firm interviews in the coming months. Because I don't currently own a pair of pumps that fits my personal ideal of what a pair of conservative interview shoes should look like (I have patent leather wedges at the moment, which I consider less conservative), I may actually end up breaking my shopping fast for something like the Sam Edelman Tristan or the Cole Haan Grace pumps, which I'd likely consider an off-budget purchase as it's for a specific and necessary professional purpose.

To be honest, I didn't have a concrete goal in mind for my shopping fast this month. Over time, I've been shopping less than I was before, and it wouldn't be that surprising to have a "no shopping" month here and there, even without a conscious effort. I suppose one main goal of the shopping fast was just to accumulate that month's budgeted dollars for future months, which isn't especially minimalist. I think I'd like to purchase some jewelry for myself this year, which likely requires "banking" budgeted dollars from multiple months. I've been looking at Opal rings from Catbird for a while (like this Wwake one or their teardrop ring), though I'm somewhat likely to pick one up from Polamai on Etsy (a Thai jeweler with a lot of good reviews). I've been tempted by the Monica Vinader Baja Bracelet in Green Onyx for a while, though that's probably way too pricey for me, for something that's gold-plated and more fashion jewelry than fine. In that light, if I haven't ordered anything new yet, then the shopping fast is going just fine. (Overall, this is probably not one of the better reasons to go on a shopping fast...) 

In other news, I recently opened a new Instagram account for blog purposes. My old account was set up through my personal Facebook account, though I ran it as the Instagram for my blog. That got too weird for me as I didn't really want random Facebook acquaintances to be able to find my blog and identify it as mine through Instagram. Independent from that, I'm starting to better understand how to explore new content on Instagram, and it's fun! As usual, I'm way behind the times when it comes to learning how to use new social media platforms.

A photo posted by Miyu☺︎ (@miyumo_21) on

One thing that I stumbled upon is a large set of Japanese daily outfit Instagrammers. I follow many, some with a more casual style and some that seem to primarily do office-type wear, but they all have a similar photography style and wear such well-executed, put-together outfits! I follow so many that there's no real way to pick out my favorites because they're all so cool, but in no particular order, here are a few that had really great outfits pop up in my feed most recently: ____cream.ice.____, akko3839, cestmignon_mau, and miyumo_21. After one starts following a few, Instagram starts putting more and more of them into one's "Explore" feed, so it doesn't take long to find others.

Are patent leather shoes, in your opinion, appropriate for ultra-conservative business-formal interview outfits? Do you have any favorite Instagram accounts to follow, or any specific type of account that you like? I also follow quite a few comic artists like adamtots.