Saturday, December 7, 2019

Link List: The December Crunch

Photo from Yayoi Kusama's Longing for Eternity, on display at The Broad in Los Angeles.

In my experience - and that of many of my biglaw and biglaw-ish friends and colleagues - December tends to be a hectic time at work, right up to the start of the new year. We're mostly all able to travel to visit family for the holidays, at least: Our industry is more flexible than many in that regard, as long as one stays online and is ready to work as needed. (I'll actually be staying in NYC this year, and my family will come visit me, which will be lovely. Among other things, we're going to see Moulin Rouge on Broadway!)

In certain non-litigation practice areas, there's an impetus for some types of work to be done immediately before the new year. The attorneys in those specialties accept that a relaxed December holiday season is simply not in the cards for them, and that "real" vacations must be taken at other times of year. 

In litigation, there's no real reason why things need to shake out that way, but something about how larger firms assign work - or maybe about how court schedules move - generally results in December being on the busier side, at least for more junior associates. (For litigators, summer is generally the reliably quiet period. Between the partners at your own firm, your client, the judge, and opposing counsel and their client, there's always someone on vacation. The result is that everything just seems to move slower than normal.) 

That's a long way of saying that this blog will be quiet through the New Year - and for some time after - due to some new developments in my cases. I'll still post - it's a safe bet I'll get my December 2019 shopping reflections post done on schedule, for instance - but on a noticeably-reduced schedule. Anything more long-winded, or that requires more thought or reflection - including my annual blog income report - will probably only be done months after I originally planned. (Spoiler alert: there's no big changes there, and I'll likely have earned a bit less in 2019 than I did in 2018.) 

1. // This animated short film, Hair Love, by Matthew Cherry, is an absolute delight. Definitely watch it, if you haven't yet. It's an incredibly sweet story.

2. // So did anyone else notice the rather extreme online reactions to this admittedly odd Peloton advertisement? While the kerfluffle was at its peak, I hadn't actually watched the ad in full - with sound on - yet, so I wasn't in a position to have any views of my own. Though I had seen a few seconds of the ad on silent, and I did think it gave off a weird vibe. (Something about the actress's eyebrows makes her look rather stressed out or anxious.)

After all was said and done, I decided I might as well watch the ad with sound on for myself and... it didn't bother me. With the sound on, the actress didn't seem so stressed or uncomfortable after all. I would never have given this ad a second thought if I came across it organically, or were it not for all the news stories about the online reactions, and the fact that Peloton's stock price promptly saw a significant drop, seemingly just because of the ad.

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3. // Shopping-wise, it's looking like my search for a satin-looking bright teal slip skirt isn't going to pan out. That Madewell midi slip skirt in "smoky spruce" I ordered during their Black Friday sale is only okay. It has an elastic waist, so I can adjust where the waistband sits until the skirt looks midi-length on me, but the shape doesn't suit me much.

I'm beginning to suspect that this silk or satin-looking slip skirt genre is a difficult one to pull off, that it's one of those things where - if one doesn't style the outfit well - the material can look a bit cheap. Styling items that are a bit outside of my fashion comfort zone is generally not my strong suit, let's just say. (Also, J.Crew continues to refuse to include their similar slip skirt in any of their promotions, and that just annoys me.)

Thank you, as always, to everyone who reads along here at Invincible Summer! Best wishes for the holiday season to you all, in case I'm not able to check in again until just before the new year. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

November 2019 Shopping Reflections

I bought something beautiful and handmade this month... But it wasn't for my wardrobe. 

My November shopping reflection posts always feel a bit premature, given that it's usually a safe bet that I'll probably be shopping at least a few online Black Friday sales. Especially given that I'm describing this as a "no-shopping" month, which may technically be inaccurate if I'll probably be making a Black Friday sale order or two later today. But my usual practice is to only document new additions to my closet once the final decision to keep or return is made, and that's not going to happen until December.

Because of how intense things got at the office - for both K and I, with no reasonably foreseeable end in sight now for either of us until a few months into 2020 at the earliest - I stopped having any real time or energy to stress-browse online shops towards the end of the month. Things didn't escalate to that point for me until late in November, but the orders I made earlier on simply didn't pan out. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in a commission, typically a few cents, for me if you click. Thank you for your support!

For instance, I was reminded that many more interesting, "weighty" rings of a certain size - including, in one of this month's stress-browsing-related orders that was eventually returned, the Monica Vinader Siren wide-band ring - simply do not suit my fingers. And I also found that even if the bright teal color of that Vince mixed-media pleated skirt (also on sale here) - which I mentioned recently when I wrote about my fondness for Mrs. Coulter's costume designs in the new BBC His Dark Materials adaptation - was gorgeous, the skirt was also too long and voluminous for someone my height. One can tell just by looking at it that it would be extremely complicated to hem, given the draping detail and the pleats! I've had my eye on the J.Crew slip skirt in academic green instead, but it's been excluded from the last few rounds of sales on their site, and it's looking like it may be excluded from their Black Friday sale as well. (There is, however, a similar Madewell slip skirt in "smoky spruce" that is included in the Black Friday sale over there.) 

In the throes of my particularly hectic last week of work before the Thanksgiving holiday - our team had a very taxing Monday and Tuesday, and a busy weekend before that to prepare - I did channel those desires to stress-shop into one purchase of a beautiful and handmade thing, this Porcelain and Stone ceramic travel mug. I've mentioned this small, artist-owned company from the Boston area quite a few times over the years, and I own several pieces of her jewelry. I follow the artist on Instagram, and I had been intrigued by her Instagram stories about experimenting with making cups and bowls.

I do already have another travel mug of almost the exact same size, the JOCO 12-ounce cup, which has been perfectly functional for my needs. Given my "latte factor" predilections in times of considerable work-related stress, I've been using the JOCO cup frequently. I've also been finding that I'm forgetful enough about bringing my travel mug back and forth that it could make sense to have another, to keep one mainly at home and one mainly at the office.

Happy (belated) American Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it. This year, I'm thankful for many things, including the fact that my post-law school student loan balance has now dropped to five figures - even if only by the thinnest possible margin - for the very first time! (I've been making $3,950/month payments for a while now, which puts me on track to finish paying off my loans in the first month or two of 2022, with my 2.6% post-refinancing interest rate.) 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Outfit Post: Neutral on Neutral

Jeans: Gap Mid-Rise True Skinny Jeans, dark indigo 
Boots: Sam Edelman Petty Booties, black (old, similar by Nisolo)

Winter weather has truly set in here in NYC! There actually haven't been too many days recently where I've worn wool-blend coats, because the weather jumped very quickly from trench coat temperatures to down coat temperatures.  

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This wool-and-cashmere blend coat by Polo Ralph Lauren is a generous birthday gift from my mom, circa two years ago. (We got it on sale.) I was surprised to find that the outer fabric is pure wool and cashmere - without any nylon, polyester, etc., as is commonly found in wool-blend coats at this general price point. When I first received it, I really loved how soft the fabric was - significantly softer than that of any other wool-blend coats I'd ever tried on - and I was probably a bit unduly impressed by that fabric composition because it was so unusual to me. At the same time, even if the fabric felt soft and lovely, I did notice it was thinner than that of most wool-blend coats. So I was initially a bit worried about this coat's eventual longevity and durability. (I don't think it's solely the fabric composition - rather, the lack of nylon or polyester - that accounts for the softness. I tried on this Fleurette single-button coat last year, which was pure wool for the outer layer, and it had more of that stiffness and structure one expects from a wool coat.)

So even though this Polo Ralph Lauren coat looks like it'd be a structured coat, it flows more gently over the curves of the body rather than holding its own shape as much, if that makes sense. It makes for a slightly different look than one might expect from what it looks like on the hanger. Because I'm on the bustier side of average, the coat does sort of flow down from the widest point of my chest, so the lines of it don't really nip in at my waist.  

As it turns out, although I've worn this coat somewhat frequently in the past two years, there haven't been any noticeable durability issues to date. Although the fabric feels less stiff and hardy than that of most other wool-blend coats I've tried on, I haven't seen any signs of wear and tear at all. Though I'm admittedly a little more careful with this than I would be with a coat of a darker color. 

I'm also really enjoying this beige Vince boiled cashmere funnel-neck sweater (gray version available at Shopbop). It's extremely plush and soft, and maybe even a little too warm for some of the temperatures we've had so far, when it's layered under some of my warmer coats. I've only worn this sweater a handful of times, but there's been no noticeable pilling as of yet. (Though I do expect some pilling eventually, as it's definitely in the nature of cashmere as a material, which I know from ample experience with other sweaters at a bunch of different price points.) The sweater is a bit intentionally over-sized through the body, so it does have a slightly boxy-looking fit all over. 

I thought this neutral on neutral combination of the coat and sweater - no desperate need for a scarf with that high funnel-neck - looked nice. Normally, I have a hard time finding camel, beige, or tan shades that look good on my skin-tone, but I think both of these colors work well on me, and they seem to work well together too. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Resoling my L.L. Bean Boots, Round Two (with Before and After)

via Unsplash

My previous post about getting my L.L. Bean duck boots (I wear the 8'' style with Gore-Tex and Thinsulate lining) resoled currently happens to be my single most popular post of all time. I'm a little surprised that my post performs so well in the Google search results about getting Bean boots resoled, but I suppose it's because relatively few people out there spend that much time thinking about - or, more importantly, writing about - this mundane bit of routine wardrobe maintenance! 

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When last I sent in my beloved L.L. Bean boots for resoling, it was after I had worn them frequently - almost every day of the week from December through March or April - for two years. Strictly speaking, because I grind down the heels of all my boots so quickly, I could have made a case for sending them in at the end of the first year. By the end of the first winter, the textured rubber on the heels of my boots had already been worn down so much that almost half of it along the outer edges - the part that hits the ground most heavily when I'm walking, I assume - was completely smoothed out, enough that my foot could slip and slide a bit on damp tile or marble, or if the sidewalk is icy. Nevertheless, I held on until the end of the second winter, after which the yellow rubber at the heels was completely worn through, and the dark brown rubber under the soles was visible, and also starting to get worn down. In short, it was clearly past time to send them in for resoling. 

Please follow the link below for "before" and "after" photos, and a quick note about the current price for resoling the Gore-Tex/Thinsulate Bean boots: