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.

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

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! 

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!

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:

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Style Inspiration: Marisa Coulter from His Dark Materials (BBC)

I am sometimes known for getting personal style inspiration from highly unusual places. Though I think, in this case, it's pretty easy to see why I'm inspired! Marisa Coulter from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series is not - to put it lightly - a nice person, but she is certainly compelling and complex. Although the 2007 movie adaptation of the first book in the series was not a particularly great success, I've always been fond of it, and I thought it was well-cast and that the set and costume design fit my vision of the story. From the two episodes so far, I think we can say the same good things about the new BBC series, and it's also a much more faithful adaptation of the source material. 

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I'm enjoying the series, though I think the pacing has been a little uneven. Episode one was an excellent start, but I was a little less sure about episode two and some of the revelations that they made far sooner than in the books. It's early days yet, though, and I'm so fond of the book series that there's almost no way I won't be watching every episode of this season as soon as it comes out. 

Ruth Wilson plays Mrs. Coulter very well, especially when she's being rather scary. I also really love the costume designs for this character, which focus a lot on rich textures and colors and these almost monochrome tone-on-tone outfits. As she tells Lyra: "The clothes you wear determine the way people see you." And Mrs. Coulter certainly dresses to be a striking figure who can't be ignored. 

I particularly like all of the blues and greens that she's been wearing in the show so far. They're colors that appear frequently in my collection of runway, red carpet, and otherwise more-fabulous-than-real-life fashion inspiration photos. I'm particularly in love with jade or teal shades this year, and well, it seems to be a trendy color right now! J.Crew, for instance, has a ton of items in a teal "spicy jade", and the "academic green" shade is also similar. 

The first screenshot above was particularly in line with items I've been thinking about recently, as I've been really struck by the idea of teal skirts in more satin-textured fabric, whether a pleated skirt or a slip skirt. J.Crew has both a pleated midi skirt option and a slip skirt option in that academic green color; Madewell has another slip skirt option; and Vince also has a pleated mixed media skirt in a similar color, which happens to be on sale in a few places. All these skirts are polyester or mostly polyester, though, which I prefer to avoid for anything that might be worn in warmer weather, even for more floaty, flow-y skirts that wouldn't be too constricting. (I'm very fussy about wearing more breathable fabrics during our very hot and humid NYC summers.) And while I've been really into the idea of silk-looking slip skirts since this summer, I do wonder if they're a short-lived trend that's destined to look a bit dated as soon as the trend goes away. 

Have any of you been watching the new His Dark Materials series? What do you think? It's my absolute favorite children's book series. Though I must confess that much of what was happening in The Amber Spyglass flew completely over my head until I revisited the series years later, while I was in college. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Life Lately

I did in fact end up taking that whirlwind international business trip I mentioned. The entire trip - flight time and waiting time at the airport included - took up a little less than 48 hours in total. What an adventure! The travel-related exhaustion didn't really catch up with me until the weekend. 

Here are some of the small things that have been on my mind recently:

Money-Related Podcasts

I've been listening to a few new-to-me personal finance-oriented podcasts lately. My preference in this genre is for podcasts that talk more about the personal stories behind how different people manage their money or how they got into a particular financial situation, rather than about more technical details or how-tos. Essentially, I enjoy content like the more money-centric episodes of Death, Sex & Money. In that vein, I've been enjoying the recently debuted She Makes Money Moves by Glamour and iHeartRadio and also the This is Uncomfortable series by Marketplace. There was also a brief season of the Refinery29 Money Diaries podcast, which is also pretty good, though it's from quite a while back and was over too soon.

Out of the episodes I've been listening to in the past week or two, the most unique and fascinating one was probably this recent Death, Sex & Money episode, about someone who got into the debt collection business, found she was quite good at it, and was eventually prosecuted by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General. The ultimate conclusion of that prosecution was a settlement that included a lifetime ban from the industry and a multi-million fine that she can never hope to pay off. Very interesting, though the interview subject is not the most sympathetic figure, I don't think.

Ring Wearer

Prior to my recent engagement, I'd never spent much time wearing rings. I must say, it takes a little bit of getting used to. I find that it bumps against hard surfaces - mostly my desk - somewhat frequently, and then I worry about whether I might actually damage the stone. That makes me glad I never bought one of those opal rings I was thinking about a few years ago, as I probably wouldn't have taken good enough care of it. I sometimes look at used opal rings on TheRealReal, and I've seen stones that aren't looking too well. For instance, this one had a noticeable scratch!

I also found that I prefer not to wear my ring during long flights. On one of my many recent flights, my finger swelled so much that the ring got stuck! (I'd eaten a fair bit of salty food that day, and it was a red-eye flight, which makes it a bit easier to get dehydrated during.) The swelling went down after we landed, and I was able to take my ring off shortly after without resorting to any special tricks

Monday, November 4, 2019

Link List: On a Business Trip (or Not)

I recently got to hang out with my friend's adorable husky while I was on vacation. Those scratch mark-looking things on the floorboards aren't doggie claw marks, they're an intentional design choice made by a previous owner of the home! I was not the first person to ask about that...

As you read this, I might be on an international business trip, or I might not. I won't know if I'm actually taking this trip until the eleventh hour, less than 24 hours in advance of the flight (for which a refundable itinerary was booked).

It's a bit difficult to explain how this scenario came about. The work I would be doing is legitimately urgent and important, but it might also not ultimately be necessary, depending on how certain things turn out. One can understand why I've generally been a bit stressed, and also a bit too preoccupied to write much of great substance here! 

I've had so many ideas recently for more long-form posts, including about the legal industry - with a particular focus on the quirks of biglaw - and about personal finance. But, alas, I also have no time to write for fun. And sometimes, when I manage to put together a substantial draft for one of my bigger ideas, I lose steam when I get to the last few paragraphs. Maybe I'll be able to write more when things finally calm down again at the office, but there's no real chance of that until December at the earliest. 

1. // This may only be of interest if you're curious about fashion/lifestyle blogging as an industry - all signs point to it being a somewhat fading segment of social media-based business, when compared to ones based more on Instagram or other social media platforms - but I really enjoyed Carly the Prepster's recent interview on the Bad on Paper podcast. This also wasn't the first time that Carly has been refreshingly transparent about the business side of her work, she's done a few detailed posts about such topics, including a very recent and candid Q&A. Oh, and back in the earliest days of r/blogsnark, she did an informative Q&A there too, which included some details about her yearly revenue at the time. (I also linked that r/blogsnark Q&A back in late 2016.) 

I related to a lot of what she said in her podcast interview, maybe to the degree where it's a bit weird that I feel that way, since our backgrounds and professions are so, so different. Anyway, I highly recommend the podcast episode if you're interested in fashion/lifestyle blogging as an industry.  

2. // Speaking of other topics I have so many thoughts about that I could write an entire other blog post - or two - about them, if I only had the time: I recently got off the library waiting list for Jia Tolentino's book of essays, Trick Mirror (affiliate link), which I loved. She's a brilliant writer, and I adore just about everything she publishes. I hadn't realized that she and I are basically the exact same age, and so we had some of the same internet-based experiences growing up. (Did anyone else also make their own websites on Angelfire or Geocities back in the day?) Though of course, she's a lot more eloquent in describing those experiences than I am, and she was also consistently more savvy and hip about everything internet and pop culture-related than I was. 

One of the essays in her book was excerpted into that "Athleisure, Barre and Kale" article in The Guardian, which went a bit viral. Among other places, people discussed the essay at great length over at Corporette and r/blogsnark. Having read both versions of that essay, I think the book version is much better, and is more clear in addressing the deeper themes she's getting at. 

3. // I enjoyed this article over at The Fashion Law about consumer fatigue with regards to buying large quantities of clothing and other changes in the clothing retail landscape. Are these trends - particularly the apparently increasing popularity of clothing rental services - ones you've noticed amongst your friends and peers?

I do know that a lot of clothing companies, including Ann Taylor - of all the unlikely places - have dabbled in trying to start a rental service. I've also had friends who've briefly tried things like Rent the Runway Unlimited when they had quite a few different weddings to attend in quick succession, but I don't know anyone who would use a clothing rental service in the long term. 

Did any of you read Jia Tolentino's The Guardian essay when it was first posted? What did you think? I noticed that reader responses were a bit more divided than I expected, though I do understand why. I also didn't find that particular piece as brilliant and sharp as I usually find her other writing, in part because I couldn't relate to being a frequent consumer of barre classes (I took a few classes once, and loathed it) or athleisure (doesn't fit my lifestyle, or my tastes in clothing). Though I do eat an excessive and embarrassing quantity of Sweetgreen, so I can vouch for how her description of the spirit in which a NYC office-dweller might opt to go to Sweetgreen is... disturbingly accurate. And if you listened to Carly's podcast interview, please let me know what you thought! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

October 2019 Shopping Reflections

October has been fairly shopping-heavy for me. Things have remained consistently hectic at the office - outside of when I was on vacation - and I keep wanting to browse online shops late in the evening after work as a way of unwinding and de-stressing after a long day. Not the greatest habit, I know. It hasn't (yet) resulted in my actually ordering too many things to try on and potentially keep, but the risk is certainly there. 

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!

I'd say that one of this months' purchases, the Kate Spade "Lana" loafers in a croc-embossed "cherrywood" shade, was an indirect product of those work stress-driven online window-shopping impulses. As I explained last month, my sudden interest in the trend of colorful croc-embossed leather came about that way. At the time, a pair of shoes seemed to be the most likely way I'd indulge in that trend, in part because I don't currently own many shoes suitable for warmer weather; I grind them down so quickly with frequent - or unfortunately, sometimes with not-so-frequent - wear. 

This month's other purchases, though, have been much longer in the making. Starting last winter, because of an office policy change that put the kibosh on jeans for casual Fridays, I became interested in looking for a pair of black pants in more casual, comfortable materials. The sole purpose of these pants would be to wear on casual Fridays at work during the colder seasons. One idea was for something from an athleisure brand, possibly a pair of Athleta Wander pants or something similar. 

I never did get around to shopping for something for those pants last winter. Pants shopping is generally such a chore when one is quite short and also has shorter-than-average legs, such that most "petite"-sizing pants are still a little too long. I could never get up the energy to start trying things on last winter. And as soon as the weather warmed up, I lost interest completely. Now that the weather's cooling down again, it was time to resume the search. 

I had observed that solid black denim appeared acceptable for casual Fridays under the new policy, so that was the direction I ultimately went in. Between this month's purchase and the source of my current pair of skinny jeans (similar), it seems that Gap jeans fit me best. I also tried on practically every similar design at Madewell (the 9'' mid-rise skinny jeans in ISKO stay-black were my favorite of the bunch) and Everlane, but the Gap ones looked best on me by far. 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $403.57)
  • Elizabeth Suzann Ella Slip Dress in silk crepe, navy - $225.00 - (discontinued) - This dress has been on my main shopping list Pinterest board more or less since I started using it, for nearly a year. But I currently have plenty of summer dresses for the weekend that are still in good condition, so there was no real room for ordering it anytime soon. Then the company announced that the entire Ella product line would be discontinued, so I felt like it was "now or never," if I wanted it. (I like the neckline on the Ella much better than the necklines on the replacement designs, the Petra and the Polly.) The Elizabeth Suzann ("ES") silk crepe is nice, noticeably thicker and a bit more substantial than the Grana, Madewell, Everlane-ish silk I'm more accustomed to. Texture-wise, the ES silk has a little more stiffness than the Equipment silk blouses I've gotten at significant discount in the past
  • Kate Spade Lana Loafers, cherrywood - $138.60* - I had a slightly strange experience when deciding on these: I originally ordered both this Lana loafer (Bloomingdales was price-matching a sale at Kate Spade) and the Darien loafer from Kate Spade directly, both of which were supposed to be the same "cherrywood" shade. But the Darien loafer was a completely different color! On both websites, the "cherrywood" shade looks like a deep, somewhat multidimensional red with uneven shading to give it texture. Instead, the Darien loafer was this one-dimensional, very flat-looking mauve shade, not remotely like the website photo. Whereas the color of the Lana loafer on the website is accurate to what I actually received. How very strange! Has that ever happened to you, where the sample photographed for the retailer's website must not have looked at all like the actual product? Another note: This may be my first pair of shoes with a leather sole - which does feel a bit fragile - so I may need to take these to the cobbler before I wear them out, and ask them to add a protective layer of rubber. 
  • Gap Mid-Rise True Skinny Jeans, black rinse - $41.97 - All I wanted from this purchase was a pair of solid black skinny jeans that fit me well and had no fading or distressing or other design flourishes. Because Gap skinny jeans appear to suit my height and body shape the best,  based on each time I've shopped for jeans in recent memory, this pair fit the bill exactly.
*Indicates that price includes sales tax.

Going into November, the main thing on my mind shopping-wise will be holiday gifts for K and his parents. As I've somewhat sheepishly mentioned, my own immediate family takes an extremely unsentimental - but arguably practical - approach to gift-giving: The recipient selects their own gift, and might even go so far as to order it for themselves, in which case they receive reimbursement from the giver. K's family does holiday gifts the more traditional way, surprises all around. I enjoy participating in that family tradition, but it can be a little stressful trying to pick good and useful gifts. My gift selections for his parents have been a bit hit-or-miss over the years. I've had a few smashing successes, but also a few real duds, unfortunately.

Are you thinking ahead to holiday gifts for family and friends? Any good ideas for gifts this year? If you have a "business casual" workplace that observes "casual Fridays," are jeans allowed? I suspect that many business casual offices in various industries out there, in particular in non-NYC localities, generally allow jeans on at least some occasions. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Outfit Post: A Slightly Unusual Look

Necklace: Alighieri "La Fortuna" necklace
Necklace: Alighieri "Initial Spark" necklace
Dress: Elizabeth Suzann "Ella" slip dress, size M (discontinued)

Now here's an outfit I'm not sure I'll repeat: I originally wore it out of the house with a pair of black tights on, and it felt like a strange, extremely conservative-looking outfit from the waist down, since all the more modern, slightly edgier-looking details were only visible from the waist up. (I also wore my Alighieri "Surreal" earrings, which are the biggest pair of earrings I own, though they're not actually that big.) I still enjoyed wearing this outfit, it's very comfortable and relaxed, but it does feel like an unusual look for autumn weather. Silk slip dresses are just too associated with summer in my mind, and the dress does look a little odd with tights on underneath.

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!

This post also serves as a spoiler for this month's shopping reflections post, as this Elizabeth Suzann ("ES") "Ella" silk slip dress - recently discontinued - is new to my wardrobe. The company has now replaced the Ella series with two sets of designs, the round-neck "Polly" and the v-neck "Petra" families. I've had an Ella silk slip dress pinned on my main shopping list Pinterest board for most of this year, but I don't think I would have been ready to order one anytime soon. At the moment, I have plenty of other summer dresses in my closet that are all in fairly good shape, including ES's linen Georgia dress from June. It was only when I saw the brand's announcement on Instagram that they were discontinuing the Ella items that I decided to move forward, as it was "now or never." I received this dress just after I got back from my recent vacation. 

Adding to the relative conservativeness of this look, I had my hair up in a loose bun held in place by one of those Ficcare hairclips that I've been using all summer, since I bought them in June. I always feel very buttoned up when I wear my hair that way. (It's a very easy way to style my hair for work.) 

So yes, I'm not sure I'll be wearing this outfit again during the cooler seasons. I really wanted to try wearing my new ES Ella dress out, and this was the only way I could think to do it now that it's starting to cool down here in NYC. We're currently having a few weeks of trench coat weather here. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Wedding Guest Dress(es)

Now that I'm back from vacation, it's time to hit the ground running again at the office. Among other things, it may soon be my turn to take an urgent international business trip. For some litigators, business travel - both domestic and international, and sometimes on very short notice - can be quite common, but it hasn't been a big part of my practice so far. Based on my current caseload, this should, in all likelihood, be a fairly isolated instance for me. I should get some airline miles out of it too, though probably not enough to get special status from any airline, given that this is likely to be my only trip this year! 

As part of my recent trip, K and I attended a wedding - and the attendant rehearsal dinner - at two swanky venues in the Los Angeles area. The wedding was definitely the fanciest one K and I have attended to date. The dress code was still standard cocktail attire for both events, definitely not black tie, but I still felt a little under-dressed. I wore the J.Crew dress with bows to the rehearsal dinner, and the Ann Taylor lace dress to the main event. Both are dresses I also wear to the office, and in the case of the J.Crew one, that happens almost as often as once every two weeks.

I've actually worn this same style of Ann Taylor dress - I own two, in slightly different shades of blue and with slightly different lace patterns - to the last five or six weddings K and I attended, over the past three years or so. There was nearly no overlap between the guest lists at most of those weddings. Though in any case, I don't think significant guest list overlap would have caused me to change my mind about wearing the same dress each time.

We attended the last few weddings before this most recent one in fairly quick succession, and then there was a long gap between events, of well over a year. By the end of that string of weddings ending by early 2018, I was starting to get extremely bored of those Ann Taylor dresses. I started wanting to look for a more interesting or colorful formal dress, though that search never panned out. For a time, I searched halfheartedly, but my interest in the project quickly petered out when it proved to be difficult, and not that much fun. Given that we had no other wedding invitations on the horizon, there was also no urgency associated with the search.

This time around, I felt bored of this Ann Taylor lace dress after attending just this one wedding.  And we do have at least three weddings we're invited to in 2020...

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!

Spoiler alert: I don't think I'll ultimately end up buying a new "wedding guest dress" this time either. That's mostly because the same factors that made the search so tedious and annoying last time are still in play: I'm extremely fussy about which designs I think will work for my body type. There's a pretty long list of design elements that will cause me to reject a dress out of hand, and I also need, at a minimum, for a non-strapless bra to be completely covered. I'm also generally very picky - maybe unreasonably so - about what colors or prints I think might look good on me. And for this purpose, I also prefer to avoid any print on a white or cream backing, as well as any light color that could look close to white in certain lighting, cutting down the universe of potential dresses even further. Then, there's also the question of whether a possibly workable dress design actually fits and looks good on me, which is no easy feat because I'm quite short - generally too short for most "regular sizing" midi and maxi-length dresses to look right -  and am also on the curvier side.

Altogether, given my restrictive preferences and some of the popular trends in party dress design in recent years - for instance, those Self-Portrait lace dresses that were popular for a time definitely don't work for me, nor does basically anything that looks like it could come from Reformation's "wedding guest" dress selection - I think it's no surprise that I find this search rather painful. In fact, I find the wedding guest dress search nearly as painful as the search for a pair of jeans that I actually like and that fit (a process I endure only when absolutely necessary, complaining all the while).

All of this is to say that I might have unreasonable and unrealistic preferences for this specific genre of dress. On top of that long list of restrictions, there's the limits of my budget to think about as well!

Ultimately, it's also consistent with my "minimalist-ish" values to stick with the perfectly adequate wedding guest dresses I already have. It isn't even like I didn't have other options in my closet all this time, including that Anthropologie dress featured in my first ever monthly shopping post, or that Diane von Furstenberg ("DVF") wrap dress from my second ever monthly shopping post, among many others. (Both those alternatives are out of my closet now: I resold the DVF dress back to TheRealReal not long ago. And with the changes to my chest measurement during the intervening years, I no longer fit in the Anthropologie dress, so I'll need to find it a new home.) Nonetheless, I still reached for the Ann Taylor dresses to attend all those weddings in a row, over various other options, because I ultimately felt more comfortable in those dresses than in any of my other possible choices.

So that's probably that for this potential purchase, I'm pretty sure. I really do like looking at various colorful and pretty dresses (the more intricate and opulent the better, really, given most of what catches my eye when it comes to larger-than-life or high fashion runway inspiration). But when it comes to what makes sense for me in real life, it's pretty clear that I favor dresses with a simpler, more staid look for this purpose, and that I prefer having a wedding guest "uniform" I keep reaching for - the same dress over and over - with some variety and novelty coming from my choice of accessories, and sometimes shoes. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Link List: On Vacation

personal photo taken from the Santa Monica pier

Thank you all for the well wishes and congratulations in response to my previous post! K and I are incredibly excited to be taking this next step together. (Actual wedding planning work is going to need to wait at least a few months, though, due to what we each have going on at the office.) 

But for now, I'm currently on vacation, and hanging out with some of my good friends here in sunny California. And while I'm on vacation, I'm making some time for blogging too, because writing here is definitely one of the things I do for fun.

via Architectural Digest

1. // Now this is something I only came across because another reader over at Kathy's shared it in the comments of Kathy's recent post about buying backups or copies of beloved items. I had not heard of the artist Michelle Oka Doner before, but I find her signature dress, pictured above, to be incredibly chic. (Her home and studio are also much the same.) I certainly love the idea of having one favorite and versatile dress made in multiple fabrics, to be worn in all kinds of settings and contexts.

2. // There was a recent purported biglaw attorney's Refinery29 money diary that attracted a bit of attention on r/blogsnark - more than it did even on the actual Money Diaries-focused subreddit - because the author was a bit of a character. In terms of whether this diary is realistic (or whether some major key pieces are missing), I'd personally peg this one as a bit less feasible and/or more likely to be omitting some serious family wealth than that CNBC alleged double-lawyer family finances graphic that was making the rounds a while back, and that I fussed about.

3. // When I was a teen and very young adult, it felt like Forever 21 was unstoppable. During my high middle school and high school years in the suburbs - and even during my Boston-area undergraduate years - Forever 21 felt a lot more accessible and ubiquitous than international fast fashion giants such as H&M or Zara.

So it was a bit surprising when I learned that, actually, Forever 21 has not been performing well for years now. They recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Though when I sit down and really think about it, it makes sense that Forever 21 has been overtaken by more social media-savvy brands. I'm no longer of an age to be in the target audience of either Forever 21 or any of its successful direct competitors, but even I had a distinct sense that there are many brands out there that are better about marketing over social media.

4. // A few blog links to share: I was excited to hear that Franish is making a return to blogging! Her approach to blogging was very influential to me when I started writing here. Among other things, my monthly shopping reflections series was originally inspired by her monthly "Budgeting Bloggers" link roundup back in the day. I always enjoy reading about Adina's creative endeavors. And I always love seeing Jane's photography, and these pictures from the annual art show at Rookwood Cemetary are particularly intriguing. 

Friday, October 4, 2019

A Thousand Times Yes

K and I first met right at the start of my 1L year, but it wasn't until a year later that we became good friends. The more we talked, and the more I learned about K, the more I marveled at his kindness and his conscientiousness, and at how well we seemed to understand each other. I found his good-natured sense of humor incredibly charming, and before I knew it, I had the biggest crush. A few months later, when I found out that he felt the same way, I couldn't have been happier. 

In the years since, we've traveled together, gotten to know each other's families, and taken care of each other when times were hard.

There's no one I'd rather build a life with, and I couldn't be more thrilled for us to take this next step together. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

K's Birthday Dinner at Shun

Around a month ago, I treated K to a birthday dinner at Shun, a newly-opened restaurant from chef Alain Verzeroli. The food was absolutely delicious, and also really beautiful to look at, and the service was great. Portions were also a bit more generous than what I expected, based on past experience at similar restaurants. We ordered the four-course prix fixe, but would definitely have been full on three courses instead. 

To the left is a seaweed roll, and to the right is a miso roll. Both were absolutely delicious, some of my favorite breads ever.

One standout feature at Shun is the bread. During our dinner, they served us three bread courses. The seaweed roll and miso roll pictured above were the first bread course, and both were delicious. This may be somewhat sacrilegious but I'm not typically a huge fan of bread. I don't dislike it, but at most restaurants, I'm satisfied with a small piece. And I often wouldn't really miss it if there wasn't any bread served. I'm saving room in my stomach for the rest of the meal!

But the bread at Shun was amazing. This seaweed roll and miso roll were both among my favorite breads that I've ever eaten anywhere. Both are savory and unique in different ways, the seaweed one is a bit saltier than the miso. If I had to pick between the two of them, I liked the miso one better, but both were delicious. I started with the seaweed roll and was telling K it was the best bread I'd ever had, until I tried the miso roll. 

Monday, September 30, 2019

Link List (and I Finally Picked a Reusable Coffee Cup)

At long last, I finally picked out my reusable coffee cup for all those lattes and flat whites. I ended up picking the 12 oz. Joco cup (affiliate link), and I think it's great! It's cute,  easy to wash, and even though it doesn't have a stopper, the lid design seems to keep coffee from leaking out while I'm transit.

I can't believe it's already October! Where has all the time gone? I have a week-long vacation coming up soon, to see some old friends in California, which I'm really looking forward to. Outside of that, K and I are both expecting lots of late nights at the office between now and at least a week or two past Thanksgiving. I'm hoping my upcoming vacation is enough to reenergize me for the busy months at the office to come. 

1. // I highly recommend this essay by Prachi Gupta about her late brother. It's a tragic story, and a complicated one, and she writes it beautifully. Many larger issues are implicated here, among them the same corners of the internet that gave rise to "incels" and their interest in extreme plastic surgery

2. // Via Kathy at Feather Factor, this Fashionista article describing TheRealReal's authentication processes does not inspire much confidence. I don't have too much skin in the game about this question because it's likely that I'll only ever buy "low risk" items on TheRealReal, both in terms of brands that aren't especially sought after and mostly limiting myself to clothing or small accessories that sell for less than $100/piece. 

This is as good a time as any to note that I recently had a run-in with TheRealReal's customer service because of their poorly disclosed policy that items discounted 40% or more off the original TheRealReal price would be final sale, and not eligible for return or refund. (At the time, this rule was buried in their FAQ section, but not clearly disclosed on the product page, when I was checking out, or even on my order confirmation email or the receipt in the package.) I wouldn't have ordered the item if I knew it was final sale. They ultimately accepted the return as a "one-time courtesy."

To the extent that a customer raises questions about the authenticity of an item, anecdotal evidence I've seen in a few places online suggests that TheRealReal would take the return without too much fuss. It may, however, also be the case that they commonly re-list the questionable item for other customers.

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!

3. // As I mentioned in my most recent shopping post, certain types of stressful and busy days at the office really set off my desire to stress shop. This hasn't resulted in any actual purchases to date, but I end up browsing a lot of online shops on those evenings. In those moments, I do have a feeling that my shopping judgment would not be as good or as careful as it typically is, if I allowed myself to make a purchase. Things are more likely to appeal to me or start looking like a good idea, even though part of me knows they're actually impractical, or not remotely close to being an arguable "need."

One recent trend I've been really taken by is croc-embossed leather in slightly unusual colors, think burgundy, blue, or green. Items that I've found particularly pretty are this Coach Charlie bag in croc-embossed blue, this Kate Spade Andi circle bag in croc-embossed deep bottle green, and this pair of Kate Spade loafers in croc-embossed red leather. (Oh, and I also like the Kate Spade faux snakeskin-looking Romy in burgundy.) Are these a new trend this year? I don't think croc-embossed bags or shoes, particularly in these types of colors, were very common in recent years past. I don't think I'm likely to end up indulging this craving. If I do, it's more likely to be with a pair of shoes than a handbag. Those items, and a few others, are linked in the widget below. 

A very truncated link list post today! I hope all is well with everyone as we head into the last quarter of 2019. If you ended up reading Prachi Gupta's essay, or had already read it on your own, please let me know what you think. It's such a complicated and heartbreaking story, and I think she perfectly captures the experience of loving a family member, even if you fundamentally disagree with them, don't particularly like them, and have, in fact, been almost completely estranged from them for years. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

September 2019 Shopping Reflections

Since the last time I discussed my workload, things at the office have continued to become ever more hectic. Urgent international business trips are involved, though not for me at present - for which I'm grateful, because I have plenty to do here in NYC to hold down the fort for the team.

Separately, as you'll soon see, this was also a month in which I indulged in some extremely nice things for myself, continuing last month's trend. There are days when work-related stress makes me want to shop much more than I otherwise would. (On those days, I've generally been unable to find anything else I actually want to buy.) Then there are the days when I'm so mentally exhausted at the end of the day that even browsing online shops and daydreaming about pretty clothes is - quite frankly - too taxing to contemplate. (On those evenings, I mostly just watch random Youtube clips.)

The juxtaposition of these experiences has given me some food for thought regarding various lifestyle, money management, and career choices that I might make in the future. The nice things are - there's no denying it - really hecking nice. To use the KonMari parlance, they spark some joy for me. (Because I'm a bit materialistic and really enjoy having beautiful things to wear.) And I work hard to "earn" these indulgences, both in terms of hours billed and in the way I manage the rest of my finances. Among other things, I continue to make student loan payments totaling $3,950/month, every single month. (I have around 27 more months to go at that rate.) Additionally, I'm still contributing to my savings in similar proportions as last year.

But this financial state of things is fleeting. Most attorneys who start out in biglaw or biglaw-ish do not spend their entire careers there, and I'm ultimately pretty certain that I'm one of them. My own personal ambitions are such that I would very much like to be on another government pay-scale for a good long time again someday, starting sometime towards the end of the next decade or so. I hope to have children, and to prioritize saving for and spending on their education, the way my parents did for me, and K's parents for him. Both K and I also hope to always be in a position to extend some financial support to our parents - and potentially to some of our extended family - as needs arise.

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!

It's clear to me that, with all those financial and career-related choices that I would like to make, I won't always be able to indulge like this. Compared to all those other priorities of mine, the ability to indulge in fancy clothes, shoes, and accessories for myself does not rank all that highly. (Though I must also admit that I value the ability to shop for nice things more than most. Thus, I can probably always be expected to make more room for it in my budget than many other identically situated people would.)

Fashion - (TOTAL: $819.16)
  • Alighieri Initial Spark Necklace - $332.07* - As I mentioned in July, I'd been mulling over a few options for a new Alighieri necklace, and was particularly interested in ones with a longer chain like this Initial Spark and some versions of the Odyssey. Given that this is my fourth Alighieri piece (I also have the Jaja necklace, the La Fortuna necklace, and the Surreal earrings), I'm clearly obsessed. The artist behind the brand, Rosh Mahtani, is brilliant, and I love her organic, antique-inspired designs. This necklace is exactly what I expected, with a longer chain that works well for the size of the pendant. The only detail I find slightly distracting - and this is not the fault of the design; it's likely not avoidable with any necklace around this length - is that the pendant clinks against my desk somewhat often when I'm seated at my computer. That doesn't stop me from wearing it to the office, though! 
  • Vince Boiled Cashmere Funnel Neck Pullover, marble - $419.17* - Vince seems to bring this sweater back every year, in a slightly different set of colors. I've been interested in it for a while, ever since I noticed that my preferred size and color combinations were sold out by Black Friday last year. (This marble shade is the only lighter-colored neutral available at most retailers this year, except at Shopbop, which has it in gray.) As it's still quite warm in NYC, it's going to be a long time before I can wear this sweater outdoors. It's really soft, and I like the color. This sweater is a bit intentionally oversized around the body, but not excessively so. I got it in my usual S for more relaxed knitwear designs. Given that I have tons of nice sweaters, including from earlier this year, this should be my last new one in 2019.
  • Marc Fisher Chang Loafer, black leather - $67.92* - I grind down my spring/summer shoes remarkably quickly, and as I mentioned in July, my supply was really starting to dwindle. Since then, my M.Gemi Felize driving moccasins (similar) are now on their last leg. It'll probably only be another few wears before there's a hole in the side of one shoe. My gold glitter Sam Edelman loafers continued ripping along multiple seams, and are now done for. Because it felt like there would be several weeks before I could pull out my ankle boots, I was getting desperate to add another pair of spring/summer workplace-appropriate shoes to my wardrobe. When I saw Michelle's recent post featuring these and her comments indicating that she liked them, and then I saw a good price at Nordstrom Rack, I bought these almost immediately. They fit true to size. The design is a touch more narrow than the Sam Edelman Lior or Loraine loafers, but not enough for me to size up from my usual 7.5. Right out of the box, these were comfortable to wear for an entire day, including on my walking commute. I realize now that they didn't make it onto my Pinterest shopping list before I bought them, though other things on the list make clear that I've long been thinking about more loafers. 
* Indicates that the price includes either shipping or sales tax. 

The prices on these items, particularly the sweater and necklace, were technically all reduced by Jewel cash-back rebates (referral link: if you sign up as a new user through my link and start earning cash back, we both get a $5 bonus). Because Jewel currently offers generous cash-back rates from Vince and Matches Fashion, I got around $16 back on the sweater and $23 back on the necklace. But, as always, I don't factor cash-back rebates into my monthly shopping posts because it wouldn't be consistent with how I do my personal accounting; I don't record them in YNAB until the cash back is actually paid out, which happens some months later.

How was your shopping month? Does work-related stress make you more interested in shopping? And if it does, is there also a level of work-related stress that causes the shopping urges to go away again, maybe because there's simply not enough extra time or energy one can spare to think about it?

Monday, September 23, 2019

More Money Voyeurism

via Unsplash
I have a deep fascination with voyeuristic personal finance content: The more detail contained therein, the better. In fact, those Refinery29 Money Diaries are generally not comprehensive enough for my tastes. I often find that their standard set of introductory questions - plus the listing of a week's expenses - are simply not enough information to get an accurate general sense of the diarist's overall financial picture. (I definitely don't expect all the numbers to be exact, but I do think it defeats the purpose if a major source of income or financial support is obscured.) There's lots of times when some essential information seems to be missing. Plus, probably because the comments section there is so consistently vicious, one gets the sense that the diarists self-censor a lot, so most Money Diaries are rather bland. In short, I'm always on the lookout for other sources for the kind of money-related oversharing that I crave. 

Furthermore, I also love reading discussions about that kind of oversharing-about-money content: Even with the wackiness and gratuitous nastiness of the Refinery29 Money Diaries comments section, I generally still find the comments more interesting than the diaries themselves.

Recently, I've accumulated quite a few new links in this vein that I wanted to share: 

First, there was a series of retirement savings-related discussions on Corporette, in which a few of the anonymous commenters shared their data points. These weren't very active discussions, only a small number of people participated, but I still found the comments very interesting to read. 

Corporette can be a strange internet community, and it certainly has its share of trolls and/or people who feel emboldened to say some remarkably unkind things. But the site also seems to consistently attract a wide range of people who appear to know their stuff, and who are happy to chime in when another reader asks a question about something they can advise on. I've seen some really insightful discussions of legal career-related questions, for instance, and a lot of advice that I find very credible. (Though one must always read every anonymous internet comment with a critical eye, of course.)

Anyway, I think the nature of Corporette, where one can't even make a user account to comment, and each day's discussion thread feels very "temporary" and fleeting - more so than on Reddit or other internet forums - causes people to feel more anonymous and share more candidly than they would elsewhere. So when people share personal finance-related details there, even if its just in a brief comment, I generally enjoy reading. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Link List: Sweater Blazer Edition


I was quite excited to see photos of the Duchess of Sussex wearing a very familiar J.Crew collarless sweater blazer (affiliate link) recently. I'm not sure I attain quite the same level of lovely, effortless casual chic when I wear mine, but I can certainly vouch for how this sweater blazer makes a nice and versatile topper. The one downside to the item is that, given my terrible luck with wool-containing items from J.Crew in the past, I don't think I dare machine or hand-wash it, so I'm stuck with dry-cleaning when it eventually needs laundering someday.

Things at the office have continued to get more hectic. Not long ago, I had an emergency assignment to research the standard for mandamus, which, let me tell you, is a major sign something's gone terribly off the rails somewhere, and likely for reasons entirely beyond any one party's control. I do find these odd and urgent legal research questions sort of fun and exciting, though.

1. // I wanted to put in yet another recommendation for Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy (affiliate link), and also for True Justicethe recent HBO documentary about Stevenson's life and career thus far. I've written here to recommend his book quite a few times now, and I simply cannot understate how much I admire him and what he has accomplished, as well as the outlook and perspective he brings to questions of racial justice and criminal justice. Fun fact, though I probably overuse the term "extraordinary" in my writing, to describe various things, it seems clear that I use the term most often when I'm recommending Just Mercy and describing the person behind it.

The inspiration for recommending his book again was the recent release of the trailer for a movie adaptation, from which it looks like the film will be depicting the earliest part of Stevenson's career. I'm excited that there will be a movie. Just Mercy is such an important book, and any opportunity for it to be shared with more people is therefore a wonderful thing. But I may admire the real Bryan Stevenson so much that no movie could ever possibly be fully accurate in embodying everything I admire about him. 

2. // A while back, I wrote a little bit about the process for making a claim in the Equifax settlement, the result of a widespread data breach a while back. I was also pretty cagey about exactly what type of claim I intended to file, and about the other implications of various provisions in the court documents, because I didn't want to inadvertently sound like I was giving legal advice. (As always, nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. This post does not create an attorney-client relationship, etc. etc.) 

In any case, tons of news sources out there were not so shy about recommending a type of claim to make. Events played out from there, and the FTC soon needed to amend its information page to, essentially, explain that class action settlements are not as straightforward as the general public may have originally been led to believe. Based on my review of the court-approved documents pertaining to the settlement, I have not personally been surprised by any of these developments. 

People were not at all pleased, to say the least. Nor should they be, as class action settlements are rarely that satisfying for individual class members. (A cynical view of the class action device may be that settlements are generally still quite satisfying for plaintiffs' class counsel, regardless of how the actual class members feel.) Note, however, that it seems to me as if a lot of the angry reactions mischaracterize many key facts, particularly about who technically is to blame. Plaintiffs' counsel - the people who, in theory, represent all us affected class members - did need to consent to how the settlement was structured, or else there wouldn't have been a settlement at all.

3. // So, uh, nothing literally like anything in this viral story from The Cut has ever actually happened to me. But upon a quick look at the article to help me decide whether to save the link to read later (given my situation at the office, I don't really have time to fully read and digest long-form articles at the moment), I found myself relating... a lot, actually... to some of the themes and feelings described therein. And that's a strange feeling. Especially because a lot of public reactions are fairly dismissive of the story, and not really receptive to Natalie's perspective.

That's complicated for me because, even if my own experiences are ultimately very different, I too had a time in my late teens and early 20s when I just... made poor, sometimes inexplicable (to my adult perspective) decisions about friendships because I was terribly insecure and didn't know myself, or how to draw boundaries. And I don't think it's that rare to have had this experience. I take responsibility for having made those poor choices, and I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me. (And I'm not accusing the people I felt overawed by of doing anything wrong either. We were all very young, and sometimes immature. Sometimes they were unkind, and sometimes so was I. But ultimately we mostly meant well, including to each other. All of us have grown up a lot since, we're all very different people now.) But I also think it's something that's worthy of empathy. A lot of people have a toxic-to-them friendship or romantic relationship at some point in their lives. Or at least I think so? 

Anyway, college and the year immediately after it was a highly strange time for me. I'm still fascinated by how strange and disorienting that period of my life felt, and I continue to be befuddled by how I thought about social situations back then, how I reacted, and how I handled things. 

4. // A few blog entries elsewhere that I've been enjoying: I'm still thinking through some of the ideas raised in Adina's recent entry about personal branding. I have different ideas about "personal branding" in my profession on the one hand - the legal world is extremely small and one's reputation will precede you* - and for social media purposes on the other hand. Decluttering is clearly one of my favorite things to think about, and Luxe's post about the topic was a great read. It's always interesting to hear about different people's perspectives on the process and what it means to them. JENKR recently discussed a topic that's always near and dear to my heart, about how one's wardrobe might be different, if one's profession were different. 

Did you end up making a claim in the Equifax class action settlement? Have all the news stories about it also been giving you whiplash? I'm not necessarily shocked by the contents of any of the news coverage about the settlement, but I had thought it would take a lot longer for these problems to become fully apparent. Is anyone else following that story from The Cut, and the public reactions to it?

*Seriously, it could take as little as one bad day or bad event to ensure that tons of industry people will be gossiping about you for years to come (albeit not constantly, just whenever your name comes up, but that includes things like when you're a candidate for a new job opportunity).