Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Catbird Ballerina Bracelet

As it turns out, some unexpected developments in court have made it so my last big push at work before I start my parental leave will almost certainly come to an end by early October, which cuts my total workload significantly from what I originally expected. But that doesn't make this month's intensely busy period at the office any easier! For other attorneys familiar with US litigation, we are right in the middle having seven briefs due in five weeks in one major case, with three of those briefs being for summary judgment. (And our team just came off another busy period of expert depositions and other filings in another case, no less!) 

I recently had my first ever near all-nighter for work - I was able to lay down for an hour and a half before going back to the office the next day, though I wasn't ultimately able to fall asleep - in connection with the biggest filing of the seven. After that, I decided I was going to buy another gift for myself, even if there wasn't strictly a professional milestone involved. And because my near-third trimester belly is too big to feel particularly good in clothing, that gift was another piece of jewelry: the Catbird Ballerina Bracelet

I've been looking at this piece for at least a few months. I even mentioned it back in March as a potential alternative to the Jennie Kwon Jadeite Equilibrium Ring I ultimately chose to commemorate my first defense of a deposition as the first-chair attorney. My interest in the Catbird Ballerina Bracelet came in part from wanting a fine jewelry gold bangle bracelet someday, but all such things are extremely expensive. (Which is natural, because gold is also very expensive!) With the solid bar portion of the design, this bracelet is sort of two-thirds thin bangle, one-third chain bracelet. 

Over many years of browsing Catbird's website - they're quite trendy amongst many NYC-dwellers! - with much of the jewelry they stock, I often worry it'll be a little too dainty to really look good on me, or to have a presence and be particularly visible. Though now that I've dabbled a bit more in dainty jewelry like the Jennie Kwon ring (not a design Catbird carries, but they have many other Jennie Kwon designs) and this bracelet, I'm coming around to the idea of this more dainty jewelry. 

I've been wearing this bracelet 24/7 since it arrived, and I think it's lovely and looks good even if it's small. I hope that the design will hold up to that kind of wear and tear. It's a little finicky to take on and off, so it's easiest to just wear it all the time.  (The bar portion is a bit bendy and flexible by design, and as for the chain, I know Catbird sells chain bracelets designed to be soldered on permanently, so the chain should be hardy enough to withstand long-term wear?) 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Life with Gestational Diabetes (Part 1)

I've now had my gestational diabetes ("GD") diagnosis for almost three weeks. It's been a bit of an adventure, and definitely not an especially fun one. The good news is that - at least for now, and hopefully also for the next few weeks or longer - it seems likely I can manage the condition fairly easily with relatively small diet and lifestyle changes. The bad news is I'm finding that the standard of care for gestational diabetics at my OB-GYN practice and the specialists they refer to is not especially high, so there's been little support from my medical professionals. This isn't an insurmountable problem at present because my condition is luckily uncomplicated for now, but it doesn't feel great to navigate it mostly by myself.

Because today's topic is completely about a potentially serious medical condition and the management thereof, an important and necessary disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, so for all things to do with GD, please consult with your doctor first and foremost. Sadly, it does seem like my experience with feeling somewhat left in the lurch by one's medical team is not that uncommon with GD, so I think many people end up finding lots of guidance and help from other people who have been there. (In the past few weeks, I've been on the r/GestationalDiabetes subreddit for much of my education about how to manage the condition.) 

The Emotional Side

As I mentioned last week, I probably wasn't as shocked or upset about my diagnosis as many might be. I have huge genetic risk factors for Type 2 diabetes in my family, and already had a right-on-the-edge of prediabetic blood sugar reading at a physical last year, which means that many of the scary implications of GD for the pregnant patient were things I already knew to be true for me long before my diagnosis. 

That being said, once I finally got in for my specialist consult and officially received medical counseling about the potential very bad side effects of poorly managed GD for both baby and pregnant person, I did feel emotionally distraught for a few hours while I processed that. (This first appointment happened nearly 10 days after my diagnosis, a not uncommon time gap.) My understanding is that much of the severity of GD - particularly around weeks 32 to 36 of pregnancy - is basically not in the patient's direct control because it's mostly driven by the placenta and hormones. Thus, the medical advice can sound a bit like "hey, all these super-bad things can happen, but you really can't control if it happens." Which, yikes...

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Vacation to Turks and Caicos

Grace Bay Beach: It's a very long stretch of sand, and all of it quite nice and with very calm water.

I can't believe it's already been over a month since K and I returned from our vacation to Turks and Caicos! Our trip took place when I was 20 to 21 weeks pregnant, and in hindsight that was definitely the right time to travel on what you might call our "babymoon." Had I waited even two or three more weeks, air travel and even walking around in a new place would have been significantly less physically comfortable. (And well, little did I know I was about to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which would make eating a lot more complicated...) 

This post is sort of a review of both Turks and Caicos as a destination and also of our hotel, The Palms Turks and Caicos ("The Palms"), both of which we enjoyed and were quite happy with. I'd totally love to go back to both on a future vacation, though it must be said Turks and Caicos is generally a super-expensive destination, and I'm not entirely sure K and I's general career plans would make either place the most feasible trip price-wise for us once we are a family of three or more. 

My primary goal when selecting a vacation destination - it was K and I's first big trip together since the start of the COVID pandemic! - was total relaxation on a nice beach. When I started planning the trip this May, Turks and Caicos was one of relatively few Caribbean destinations that didn't require a negative COVID test result for entry, and that was a big part of why we selected it. Because I need to go to the office every day, and NYC doesn't have the lowest rate of COVID positives, it would've been too nerve-wracking to know our fairly expensive trip could be disrupted by a positive test. 

Getting There

JetBlue runs round-trip direct flights from JFK airport to Turks and Caicos basically every day, and that was the most convenient option for us. (United flies direct from Newark, probably the next best option for many NYC-area travelers.) We've heard a lot of horror stories about flight delays and disruptions recently, but I think the nature of JetBlue's JFK-Turks & Caicos schedule is such that any disruption more significant than an hour or so's delay here and there is relatively unlikely. Our flight home was delayed 40 minutes, and that was the only problem we encountered. 

I've been hearing a lot about how expensive air travel is recently from various friends who've flown often for both work and pleasure this year. I don't think that was too apparent with our tickets for this trip, maybe due to the location. We paid right around $395/person for our flights, which isn't too bad, I think?

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Second Trimester (Part Two)

I'm now close to the start of the third trimester! Alas, in the past three or four weeks, I've started to experience bigger challenges from certain side effects and symptoms of pregnancy. I'm maybe a little - or a lot - worried about what the entire third trimester will feel like, if I'm already starting to have a hard time. 

Physical Symptoms: Thank goodness, the itching I mentioned in late July went away by itself pretty quickly in the following three to four weeks. I've asked the doctor about it, and they aren't worried. My acne is a bit better for now. Most of the disruptions to my digestive system have also improved, though are still noticeable. I've been very fortunate in that the worst nausea I've had during this pregnancy in the first trimester still wasn't that bad, definitely not enough to throw off my eating habits. That symptom seems to have disappeared now in the second half of the second trimester.

Sadly, what is more difficult for me now in terms of physical symptoms is that I've started experiencing all kinds of aches and pains. I currently live walking distance from my office, with my commute on foot taking 18 to 20 minutes each way. As of three weeks ago, I've started taking public transit to and from work instead of walking - even though it doesn't actually save me any time - because I was experiencing too much pain and discomfort. 

I normally love grocery shopping - it's my favorite chore and never feels like an imposition - but I've found I pretty much need to stop running that errand alone as well, as I can't really carry a not-particularly-heavy full bag of groceries - and definitely not two such bags - for 10 to 15 minutes while walking home anymore. I end up sore all over for more than a day afterwards. I'll really miss doing this basic task on a whim for the rest of my pregnancy. (I can still maybe grab a few lighter items at a time from the nearest grocery store to home or work in a pinch, but no more big shops unless K is there to carry most of what we buy.) 

Please note that this portion of the post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

In order to try and manage the discomfort, I've been using a fairly large pregnancy pillow, the LeahCo Snoogle, for quite a while now, since week 12 or so. I didn't really need it at first, but now I definitely do, and I've particularly appreciated having the pillow since week 15. I also bought a much smaller and more easily packable Boppy wedge-style pregnancy pillow (also here or here) for K and I's recent vacation, which also worked fairly well to keep me sleeping on my side and was reasonably comfortable. When I'm laying down and using my computer in bed, I use both the Snoogle and Boppy to lay down on an incline. 

Much more recently, I've also started wearing a pregnancy belt under my clothes, and it definitely helps a lot and is even necessary for me now, even with a bus commute and sedentary desk job. I picked one fairly randomly on Amazon, sizing up to account for how I have a few months of pregnancy and growth to go, and it works pretty well. 

One-Hour Glucose Test: My OB-GYN's office has patients take the one-hour glucose tolerance test ("GTT") for gestational diabetes during their 24th week appointments. A lot of people say the glucola drinks used for the tests taste gross - the one-hour version contains 50 grams of sugar in 10 oz, compared to, say, the 39 grams in a 12 oz bottle of coke - so I felt some trepidation, especially because I basically never drink soda or juice and only rarely get sweetened lattes. They also instruct you to drink the entire thing in five minutes or less.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

August 2022 Shopping Reflections

It's a few days early for my end-of-month shopping reflections, but I'm pretty sure this is it for August. Things are starting to ramp up at the office again, alas, for what's hopefully the last big, but fairly extended push - this current busy period should last into at least early or mid-November - at work before my due date, so I probably won't be posting quite as frequently in the next few weeks. 

With my recently published first trimester shopping reflections, it's probably somewhat obvious that pregnancy has not been particularly great for my general goal of being more careful and minimalist-ish about my shopping. I didn't fully anticipate all the changes my body would go through, particularly if I wanted to buy more relaxed-fit non-maternity clothing in hopes it would work for at least some portion of the pregnancy. Navigating sizing for maternity wear, and trying to pick items and sizes that might work throughout the entire pregnancy, has also been difficult. And I'm still nearly four weeks off from the start of the third trimester, so who even knows how much harder things might get later on...

Anyway, I'm trying not to complain too much, but I think most people who've spent any time shopping for maternity wear would agree with me that the choices out there are dire, and are often quite overpriced for what you're getting to boot. Many of you have mentioned having that exact feeling! As I explained in my first trimester shopping post, I'm already very tired of shopping for and wearing maternity clothing. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

These days, between being busy at work and feeling too tired in the evenings to do much besides watch TV and window shop online, I do find myself spending lots of time looking at jewelry and accessories, in other words, non-maternity items I can still wear. I'm desperate to feel like my old, pre-pregnancy self, and browsing for jewelry and accessories seems like one way to try and get that feeling back. I keep reminding myself not to impulsively buy anything too expensive. (The recent state of the economy, with rent increases, inflation, and the performance of the stock market, all help keep me in check, along with the prospects of impending childcare-related expenses for our little bean and my hopes for my government job search, which would definitely come with a dramatic pay-cut if I were to be successful.) 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $369.18)

  • H&M MAMA Ribbed Nursing Dress, black - $34.99 - After spending tons of time browsing what feels like almost all the maternity wear options in the US, including bigger retailers like ASOS, Target, Old Navy, and H&M; dedicated maternity brands like Seraphine, Hatch, and Kindred Bravely; and smaller brands like Storq and Pact, I've found there doesn't seem to be much getting around relying heavily on "fast fashion" if shopping new in this market. Though it probably is plausible to depend exclusively on shopping secondhand. There are certainly lots of options on ThredUp. (I imagine most customers are in maternity wear for such a relatively short period, a few months at a time, that many end up with plenty of used maternity clothing still in good enough condition to donate or resell. That's even while factoring in that much of it isn't especially good quality or durable relative to the price!) Honestly, out of all those brands, I think H&M's been the best for more consistently offering relatively non-frilly, non-ruffly, less ruched, and less peplum-y maternity wear, with more options in cotton and not just viscose or rayon. A lot of the more basic and simple H&M maternity designs I'm most interested in do tend to sell out in my size, however. This dress is 95% cotton, 5% elastane. 
  • H&M MAMA Cotton Dress, black - $24.99 - And this dress is 100% cotton. For both H&M maternity dresses this month, I find the fabric noticeably thinner than I'd expect from a comparable item in H&M's non-maternity line. These are both simple black dresses for days I need to wear business casual (or something more formal, but business casual is the best I can currently do). I picked size L in both based on H&M's non-maternity clothes sometimes running a little smaller than, say, J.Crew or Ann Taylor, so my typical pre-pregnancy size in H&M can be L instead of M, depending on the item. These maternity size Ls are somewhat bigger than I need right now, but I'm expecting to grow plenty more in the bust and belly in the coming weeks, so I'm pretty sure I picked the right size if the goal is to have maternity items last through the end of the pregnancy
  • AGMES Pearl Stud Earrings - $163.31* - (also here) I mentioned having recently learned about AGMES jewelry from other stylish people a few weeks ago. This is a fairly small and subtle pair of irregularly-shaped freshwater baroque pearl studs on sterling silver posts, which are a bit more interesting than my usual round pearl studs. I don't think these are quite as eye-catching as AGMES's more typical designs, but because I'm still wearing face masks in almost all indoor public settings - can't be too careful while immunocompromised by pregnancy - I still can't wear bigger or dangling earrings without getting them tangled up in my mask straps. On a separate note, am I the only one who usually expects new-to-me jewelry to be a bit bigger than it actually is before I open the package? That's solely my fault and not on any of the designers or retailers, by the way. I'm just really not great at judging what small objects' size measurements will translate to in-person. 
  • Tibi Merino Wool Sweater Combo Pullover, black/multi - $145.89* - This is from Tibi's end-of-season sale on their Spring/Summer items. I sized up from my usual Tibi size to a L, and I think this top should still fit me when I get to the third trimester and the weather's cooled down. Design-wise, this is sort of a merino wool sweater in the front, and a cotton button-down in the back, both are halves of things I currently own and like from Tibi. 

*Indicates that price includes sales tax. 

And that's it for August! Maternity tops are a category I really haven't shopped for enough yet, though I'm most likely going to put that off for as long as possible while the weather is still too hot and humid in NYC for anything but my lightest dresses. Once I do get around to it, however, I think Pact has a better range of more basic maternity tees with some non-ruched options and a decent selection of neutral colors compared to many larger retailers. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Another Professional Milestone Gift to Myself

The Jennie Kwon Jadeite Equilibrium Ring.

Back in March, I mentioned that I thought I might get the chance to defend my first deposition as the first-chair attorney soon. I wasn't 100% sure this would happen - there were some potential complications with client preferences for more senior attorneys to do important things - but it ultimately came to pass. That's another professional milestone in the books, though one that doesn't feel quite so big or daunting as taking a deposition for the first time!

Ever since paying off my substantial - mostly for law school - student loans last year, I like to commemorate my professional milestones by buying jewelry for myself. For defending my first deposition, I took a few months to decide what I wanted. I ended up choosing this Jennie Kwon Jadeite Equilibrium Ring, which I've been wearing almost every day since I received it. 

I wasn't initially sure such a dainty design would work for me. With super-small or dainty pieces, I sometimes worry they might not have as much of a presence, or that they might not suit me as much as something a bit bigger. It turns out I really love this piece, and it makes me curious about potentially buying more Jennie Kwon jewelry in the future, especially because I now have some interest in slowly building a collection of stacking rings for daily-ish wear. (I'm somewhat influenced in this by @myjewelrydiaries on Instagram, she has a sizable collection of yellow gold rings that she wears in various combinations.) 

One other Jennie Kwon design I find particularly intriguing is the Diamond Wave Band (affiliate link), which I think might stack nicely with my engagement ring and wedding band. I also like the look of the East West Green Sapphire Equilibrium Ring. I love how sapphires come in such a wide range of colors! 

Monday, August 15, 2022

First Trimester Maternity Clothing Shopping Reflections

As promised, I've finally put together my first trimester maternity wear shopping reflections, for items I ordered in April and May, before I was ready to announce the pregnancy! Not all these items are explicitly labeled maternity wear, actually, but for the ones not so categorized, I didn't think I'd be able to explain them without pointing to the pregnancy. 

In general, I've found that my body has changed very quickly with pregnancy, much faster and just more in all the relevant ways and dimensions than expected. Heck, I think my bust went up a full cup size super-early in my first trimester. And now that I'm solidly in the second trimester - particularly as I get into the later weeks - the changes progress even more quickly and noticeably, and often seem to pop up suddenly. 

For instance, in week 13, practically overnight, there was an undeniable bump, albeit one that was pretty small in the mornings, until I got bloated throughout the day. Around weeks 18 to 19, suddenly the bump felt huge most of the time, particularly on weekdays when I walk to and from the office. After week 21, the bump was huge all the darn time. I can only imagine that because the baby is to grow exponentially in the next 18 weeks or so, from roughly a pound at 22 weeks now to something likely more than 5.5 pounds - maybe a lot more - the physical changes will continue to escalate more quickly than I can currently imagine!

I recently discussed how, until I got pregnant, I was worried I'd have tons of anxiety about body image and all the inevitable changes to my body from pregnancy. As it turns out, this pregnancy also seems to have rewired my brain to worry and stress much less about almost everything in life, so I haven't been too, too bothered by all this so far. 

But I must admit I find shopping for maternity wear extremely annoying. Part of it is I'm frustrated that I've proven not good at predicting all the body shape changes I need to take into account when buying non-maternity clothes with more relaxed fits which I thought would work for my pregnant body. Also, it certainly caused consternation that many of my pre-pregnancy predictions for how long I'd be able to wear my looser-fitting clothing from my existing wardrobe turned out quite wrong. I didn't expect that basically my entire collection of business casual dresses, especially those secondhand J.Crew Presentation dresses - which are not too snug in the bust and have lots of room otherwise - would be uncomfortable and essentially unwearable by week 7 or so. 

Furthermore, I find that the value for money and variety of designs available in the maternity wear market, at least for US-based customers, is significantly worse than I'm used to as a customer. I guess I've become super-picky about my clothing throughout my years of keeping this blog and spending lots of time thinking about - and sometimes overthinking - my shopping and what works for my lifestyle and my personal style preferences!

There's so much viscose and rayon jersey in maternity wear, materials I'm definitely not fully opposed to, but that I don't prefer because of a history of unpredictable issues with durability, unexpected shrinkage, or other trouble when machine-washed. (Keep in mind I'm pretty careful with my laundry, washing only in cold water and generally in a mesh bag to protect the clothes; I also never put viscose or rayon items in the dryer either, I always air-dry.) Many of those viscose or rayon maternity items also feel quite overpriced - especially from Hatch Maternity, ouch - even if I try to shop on sale. 

Also, I find many common design elements in maternity wear... dispiriting. (I know, I know, I'm starting to sound whiny, and maybe a bit unreasonable.) I generally hate ruching and peplums. I don't like empire waists on tops (though I'm okay with them on dresses). I'm not fond of super-stretchy items that will feel like they're stretching tightly over the curves of the body. The prints that are available tend to be quite dull and generic, particularly the florals. The colors available can be limited and sometimes... odd. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Life Lately: Back From Vacation

One of K's photos from beautiful Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos.

I just got back from a lovely and rejuvenating vacation or "babymoon" to Turks and Caicos, and am now settling back in for several more extremely busy months at the office before our little bean arrives. Today's post is a grab bag of a few smaller, non-pregnancy related things that have caught my attention recently. 

I greatly enjoyed this Harper's Bazaar article about the history of Tibi as the brand reaches its 25 year anniversary. There won't be too much new information here if you've followed the company and its founder Amy Smilovic for a while, but I still find the story of Smilovic's complete reinvention of the brand around 2011 fascinating. It's particularly interesting because Tibi was first founded with its original more preppy, print-focused aesthetic - so different from the brand's approach to design today - in 2008, around when I first became interested in fashion (though I didn't have any sense of my personal style and just read about what was popular in fashion magazines and other blogs). Many brands I remember from back then are no longer around.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

Speaking of things I first came across in part because of my interest in Tibi, here's another jewelry brand somewhat in the same design vein as Smilovic favorite CompletedWorks (also here, here, here, and here): I recently learned about Agmes Jewelry (also here, here, and here) from fellow Tibi fan TheCreativeClassicist, who in turn discovered it in part because of new J.Crew head of women's design, Olympia Gayot. Agmes is somewhat similar to CompletedWorks in that both favor very contemporary, more sculptural designs. Some Agmes pieces I like can be found in the widget below: 

These days, I find I have many ideas for longer-form posts, but not much time and energy to write them because of my long hours at work. Among other things,  I haven't really written about personal finance or money for a long time. 

One big idea is for a post about K and I's experience with negotiating and signing a fairly straightforward and simple prenup, which then became a postnup - a distinction that generally doesn't make a significant difference under New York law - due to getting time-crunched in the weeks before our courthouse wedding last year. Throughout the process, I did learn that some of my original assumptions about prenups were a bit incorrect. 

In general, I feel like many people around my age in the US have a fairly accurate sense about how prenuptial agreements generally work and why both people entering a marriage might want one. For instance, when the topic comes up on r/MoneyDiariesActive (e.g. here, here, here, here, and here), most replies are in the zone of reasonably correct. There aren't too many people whose views are completely off-base. People do sometimes forget that because prenuptial (or postnuptial) agreements are contracts, they can be negotiated and customized to a potentially very large extent by the parties. Thus, relatively few things are inherently true about all such agreements. 

Entertainment-wise: This year's Formula 1 racing season has been incredibly dramatic, but often not for happenings on the racetrack. K and I continue to derive tons of amusement from following the sport. 

We also recently took advantage of a few months of free Apple TV+ through one of K's other subscriptions, and it's been fun watching some of their shows, in particular Foundation and For All Mankind. The writing quality on For All Mankind can be uneven - it's an alternate history about the space race with very long time-jumps between seasons, which can cause some issues with character development - but we've still been really enjoying it so far. 

Monday, August 8, 2022

Skincare Reviews: Some Mineral Sunscreens for Body

During our recent Turks and Caicos vacation - in which K and I spent basically all our daylight hours relaxing on the beach, with several dips in the ocean throughout - I tested out three different mineral body sunscreens. In trying to research "reef safe" and mineral sunscreens before our trip, I found myself quite overwhelmed because there were so many brands out there, many of them smaller or less well-known than what's typically available at many US drug stores. So I figured I might as well review the ones I tried, in case that information could possibly help anyone else!

Please note that my reviews here are subjective and not particularly scientific. I'm basically going off my personal observations from using each of these sunscreens for the equivalent of around two full beach days each, ~10:30 AM to 6:30 PM, switching between them as I ran out of one or the other. (Many mineral sunscreens aren't available in super-large packages like the drugstore brands.) 

Each day, I reapplied sunscreen roughly once every 2 hours, or a bit sooner if I thought more sunscreen than expected had washed off during one of my quick ocean swims. So I was generally applying around 4 times a day, and maybe a fifth time on my shoulders and arms, spots that felt like they got more sun exposure. Additionally, I wore a straw sun hat - albeit one that'd gotten a bit floppy and squished from somewhat careless packing - and also tried my best to stay as covered as I could under a beach umbrella whenever I wasn't in the water. That beach umbrella definitely wasn't perfect protection because of how the angle of the shade changes drastically throughout the day with the sun's movement.  

I may not have picked the best or most popular brands of mineral body sunscreen available in the US. I didn't have much time or mental energy for research before our trip because I'd been so busy at the office. Every time I searched  Google for the "best" mineral or reef safe sunscreens, I felt like many websites had drastically different lists of recommended brands or products. Plus, I was nervous about buying any fancier, Sephora or department store-priced mineral sunscreens if I didn't have someone I personally know make the product recommendation. Thus, I ended up sticking with things sold at Target, which maybe limits one's options too much in this product category. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

My biggest worry was that, with many mineral sunscreens, one often sees at least one or two extremely negative reviews. Think something like "this sunscreen doesn't work at all, we still got badly burned wearing it" or "it was impossible to blend into my skin" or "this had a really off texture that made it difficult to use." If any of the sunscreens I picked turned out to have issues like that, it would have been a disaster with the kind of high sun exposure beach vacation I was planning. Happily, there weren't any big problems, all the sunscreens I tried were reasonably functional. All three also had no noticeable scent or fragrance. 

Though one warning, I generally found these mineral sunscreens were not very waterproof, with sometimes very visible signs that they were washing off, potentially after an extremely brief swim. I think this may be a common issue with many or even most products in this category, compared to many chemical sunscreens?  

Friday, August 5, 2022

Pregnancy and Body Image

via Unsplash

Before I got pregnant, I was worried I'd constantly be extremely anxious about all kinds of details, including but not limited to the health of the baby; my health; everything I needed to do to get ready for baby's arrival; starting to plan out future childcare for after my parental leave; money and the many expenses associated with raising a child; how to parent and take care of an infant, etc. etc. In reality, "pregnancy brain" has, for me, seemed to come with a pervasive sense of calm. 

My mind feels newly hard-wired to not worry excessively about much of anything, really, particularly things that aren't immediate concerns or that aren't meaningfully in my control. Among other things, I've faced our recent busy period at the office with minimal extra stress or anxiety, I've become really good at taking it all a day at a time and being almost absurdly zen. That's quite out of character for me! 

I'm admittedly noticeably below average when it comes to Type-A personality tendencies relative to my typical law school classmate, and to most other attorneys who started their careers in biglaw. But historically, I still tend to get highly anxious about almost all of the many super-stressful things that come up in litigation practice and my work.

Please note that, as the title suggests, today's blog post is all about body image and will also mention some things to do with weight-related numbers and pregnancy symptoms. Along with that comes the usual important disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional, so please keep that in mind whenever I discuss health-related details. But I am guided by the advice of the team at my OB/GYN's office.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

July 2022 Shopping Reflections

Thanks to my recent particularly intense busy period at the office, I'm way behind on writing that post I promised about my first trimester "items explicitly labeled as maternity wear" shopping. Hopefully I'll be able to get to it soon. In the meantime, here's my July 2022 shopping reflections post, now including both maternity wear and "regular" wardrobe purchases. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

K and I are headed off on a beach vacation - I guess one could call it a "babymoon," given the timing - to Turks and Caicos very soon! I absolutely can't wait. After all my long hours at the office this year and all the business travel, I was desperately in need of a chill vacation. We don't plan to do very much at all besides sit on the beach and relax, and that will be amazing. 

Fashion - (Total: $235.25) 

  • Old Navy Maternity Rollover-Waist Linen-Blend Shorts, flax - $25.99 - Although I didn't really have the beginnings of a noticeable baby bump until around week 13 of pregnancy, I did have so much bloating on and off before then that I haven't really fit into non-maternity pants since week 9. And between weeks 6 and 9, I only felt comfortable in my most relaxed-fit jeans, mostly the Tibi Brancusi (also here). These shorts are primarily for my upcoming beach vacation, as I don't normally spend much time wearing anything but dresses in the summer. (While my office is still not back to its original business casual dress code, shorts would definitely be a bridge too far!) I liked these linen-blend shorts better than another pair of Old Navy maternity shorts I also tried on, these are a bit lighter in material and have a less bulky rollover waistband. 
  • Longchamp Le Pliage Filet Bag, white - $119.76* - (also here and here) This was admittedly a highly impulsive purchase, inspired in large part by some of Lumiere d'Helen's Instagram posts. I think it'd be reasonable to consider this a ridiculous price for a bag comprised almost entirely of cotton string, but I'm really enjoying carrying it so far, it's so light and is a fun look for summer. At present, I mainly use this for groceries or as a second bag - in addition to my recently-purchased Madewell woven leather Transport tote (also here) - while I'm commuting to or from work. 
  • J.Crew Cotton Voile Ruffle Beach Dress, navy - $44.75 - My bump's now big enough to pull up the hem on my old swimsuit cover-up from J.Crew, so I was in the market for a new one. This "beach dress" definitely seemed relaxed-fit enough that it should work for pregnancy, even if it's not labeled maternity wear. I liked both of these colors, so I decided to get both since we'll be spending a full week in Turks and Caicos, and I plan to be at the beach or pool most of that time. 
  • J.Crew Cotton Voile Ruffle Beach Dress, vivid flame - $44.75 - This beach dress runs extremely large, by the way. Pre-pregnancy, I was a true size M or 8 or 10 in most J.Crew tops and dresses, and the size S/M in this is huge on my current body! Part of it is my being only 5'3'', I guess, this item is definitely designed for someone taller - as are most regular-sizing clothes ever, admittedly - so it's maxi-length on me. The cotton voile is on the very light and arguably flimsy side of what one might expect, I don't think this would be suitable for most people to wear anywhere outside of poolside or the beach. 

This month, I also tried on the Quince 14k bold stacker ring, but returned it because I didn't like the way it looked on my hand. I tend to like the look of daintier rings, and also some very thick ones, but a lot of more medium-sized "bold" rings often don't suit me as well. I probably also need something between sizes 7 and 8 for my index finger, so anything that's only available in full ring sizes probably won't work. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Second Trimester (so Far)

We recently bought the Nuna Pipa Rx infant car seat from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (affiliate links), but it's now sold out. 

Oh my, things went rather sideways at work in the past few weeks - some big deadlines ended up being far more difficult than our team expected - so I'm generally quite behind on things I wanted to write for the blog. I'm completely exhausted, but at least I'm taking some vacation time soon, which will hopefully feel rejuvenating! 

This entire year has been fairly nonstop at the office for me. With that plus the added stress of big life events like the pregnancy and those government job interviews, it's all left me with basically no mental energy for anything except watching TV when I get home from work. I haven't really been able to get myself to read for fun most of this year. 

I'm now in my 20th week of pregnancy, partway through the second trimester. Some symptoms are better than in the first trimester, particularly the nausea, and also coffee and tea taste a bit more normal again, yay! But I don't think my energy levels have actually improved that much overall. Most of my symptoms are honestly still pretty similar in intensity to before, especially the acne and disruptions to my digestive system (alas, both things are quite un-fun!). 

For the past 4 weeks or so, I've had my first persistent enough symptom to want to raise it at my next prenatal appointment: My skin gets itchy throughout the day. I'm not usually great about moisturizing regularly with body lotion, but I started to be religious about it and that didn't even help so much. There's no rash or anything, and I don't think it's from dry skin either. Thankfully, this particular symptom is a little better now than it was around week 17. I think this is a fairly common side effect of pregnancy and is generally benign, but it can also be associated with some rare but serious side effects, so I'll still raise it at my next appointment.

I mentioned that I started getting a small but definite baby bump around week 13 (and that I've had enough bloating on and off since week 7 that I personally felt like I generally looked like I had a bump at least half the time, particularly towards the end of the day). But wow, all of a sudden in week 19, my bump really, really popped! 

It's definitely gotten to the point where even strangers can notice, and I grumble internally about how I feel like a beach ball. If the bump looks and feels this large at 19 weeks, I shudder to think about what I'll feel like past, say, 30 or 35 weeks. I definitely have a more difficult time now with the hot and humid NYC summer weather than I did pre-pregnancy, but at least the weather will hopefully cool down somewhat by the time I reach the third trimester... 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

June 2022 Shopping Reflections

Now that I've announced my pregnancy, I can also start talking about maternity clothes, which have been a part of my life for a while now. It's probably different for every pregnant person, but I was getting extremely bloated by week 7 of pregnancy - in late April - so I first started shopping for maternity clothes then. It also felt like I'd gone up most of a cup size by that time (and that measurement is still growing, though more slowly now). The bloating in my stomach has never really consistently gone down until very recently, around week 13, only to be replaced by the start of an actual bump. As a result, I haven't been inclined to wear anything particularly fitted at the waist or chest for months now.    

I now have a backlog of items from before June that still need to be listed in a shopping reflections post, because up to now, I've been omitting anything I bought solely for maternity wear reasons. For obvious reasons, I wasn't going to disclose any of those until I felt ready to announce the pregnancy more widely! 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

I'll probably write a separate first trimester maternity clothing-focused shopping reflections post soon. But after that, future maternity fashion purchases will go into my regular monthly shopping posts. Spoiler alert, it's taken some time to get used to the changes in my body - and I'm sure many more changes will come that I can't fully anticipate yet - so I'm not able to be as careful or minimalist about maternity wear purchases as I've tried to learn to be with my other shopping. 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $697.67)

  • Heinui Cora Dress, blue gingham linen - $309.99 - My first Heinui Cora dress in cotton voile (currently available again), worn without the belt, has proven to be the perfect summer maternity dress, even if it wasn't designed for that. The Cora is generously sized throughout the body, so it should be wearable until the end of NYC's typically long summer in late September, when I'll be almost in the third trimester. (It might also remain wearable much later in pregnancy, but cotton voile wouldn't suit cold weather.) Heinui has a few linen or cotton-linen blend Coras in various plaids and checks, and I thought this blue gingham would be pretty. This material is a medium-weight linen, a bit thicker than what LinenFox uses. I like the gingham and the Cora design, but cotton voile is better for hot, humid NYC days, so I reach for my other one more often. Because the linen is also heavier and thicker than the cotton, this dress doesn't flow and lay quite as closely to the body when it's unbelted. 
  • LinenFox - $234.84* - I put together a LinenFox order in May, picking items I thought would work as maternity clothing based on their detailed product measurements. But I probably underestimated how much my expanding bust and eventual bump wouldn't work well with the length of tops not specifically designed as maternity wear. 
    • Harper tunic, white - This top - which I got in size S because it's quite roomy - will work for a while with my 16 week bump and current bust size, but maybe not for that many weeks after. At some point, the hem of this top will be too short to cover everything, or it could get too small all around before then. 
    • Olive top, black - This one-size-only top is very wide and relaxed, but the hem is unfortunately quite short in the front, so the shape already doesn't work for my current body. This store photograph makes that really obvious, but I'd seen some Etsy review photographs that suggested differently. Alas, hopefully this top will fit me after pregnancy instead.
    • Anna dress, graphite grey - This dress - which I got in size L based on product measurements - is suitable as a maternity dress, at least for now. So that's one item in this order that fully works for my intended purpose! (The LinenFox "Summer" dress I bought a few years back also works well.) The shape of the Summer probably makes a better maternity dress actually, as the Anna's waistline hits me at an odd spot now, somewhat far under my bustline (but I don't have much of a waist anymore so it looks awkward). 
  • Birkenstock Arizona sandals, taupe suede, soft footbed - $152.43* - (also here and here) - It's been hard to find sandals now that my ankles and feet could expand a bit in the coming months. My old Fitflop "the Skinny" sandals are still comfortable, but Fitflop has redone the current version, the Lulu, and the sizing and feel just aren't the same anymore. I wanted to try the Mephisto Helen someone here recommended, but those are a bit narrow for me at the moment. So I've ended up with regular-width Birkenstock Arizonas, which are quite roomy. I found these reasonably comfortable out of the box, though they also felt more broken in and less stiff in the footbed after wearing them around outside for the better part of two days. My recommended size 38 based on my foot measurements - my feet were a somewhat wide women's 7.5 before the pandemic; I've felt they were starting to lean slightly bigger than that even before my pregnancy for whatever reason - is definitely the right width and length, but the straps are a little loose at the tightest setting. I may need to buy a leather hole punch to tighten the straps a bit. 

*Includes international shipping and/or sales tax. 

That's it for this fairly shopping-heavy month, though many of these were made-to-order items that were in the pipeline since May. I'm also hoping to get my first trimester shopping reflections post up in the next two weeks or so. 

And ugh, I don't really know what to say about all the bad things from our Supreme Court this term. I've always believed strongly in reproductive rights, have always been ardently pro-choice since I was old enough to understand what it meant. Pregnancy has only intensified those feelings. I just don't understand how anyone could believe in forcing this on anyone who doesn't want it, or in letting legislators interfere with decisions that should be made solely by patients and their doctors. 

Since the overturning of Roe, my mind often strays to things that are hardly the point, hardly the worst of the countless implications. When the draft opinion leaked, I mentioned how I was reminded of an older article about someone who needed to travel from NYC for a termination for medical reasons abortion at 32 weeks. New York and Connecticut - my most likely future home states during my reproductive years - abortion laws are essentially identical. Abortion is freely permitted until "viability", commonly thought to be 24 weeks (but occasionally 26 depending on the provider). 

After viability, there is a health or life of the pregnant person exception in both states, which I believe - in practice - generally means abortions are not typically available after that time due to lack of a consistent, universally acknowledged way to interpret or apply that standard to all possible facts, see e.g. this TikTok from a Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician in Texas. In other words, that type of exception is likely not exceptionally meaningful in practice, if it might require a doctor or hospital to consult an attorney to determine whether the case squarely falls into the legal exception. (I don't think life-saving care for pregnant persons that may harm a fetus is generally denied in NY or CT past viability, but I wasn't really able to find information about peoples' lived experiences with that.) 

As an attorney, albeit not one who has ever worked on medical issues, I have a general understanding of how lawyers advise clients in general. I can speculate about how lawyers approach advising hospitals or providers on health or life of the mother exceptions and other exceptions in their home state's abortion laws (and other state's abortion laws as well, to the extent other states try to penalize out-of-their-state conduct). In practice, attorneys and their clients are often fairly risk-averse when interpreting laws that could result in civil or criminal liability under certain circumstances. 

Just some of my fragmented thoughts in these times, touching on some of the broad implications of Roe's overturning and other preexisting issues affecting access to care...  

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The First Trimester

Our little bean at 12 weeks.

Some personal news: I'm pregnant, due in mid-December! When this post goes live, I'll be in my 15th week of pregnancy, just past the first trimester. K and I are so excited to become parents. I also feel incredibly fortunate that everything's been going smoothly so far, according to my OB/GYN it's all proceeding as expected and low-risk.

Today's post is about my first trimester. Be forewarned, I mention some detail about things like ovulation tests, irregular cycles when coming off the pill, side effects of pregnancy, and that sort of thing. Along with that, an important disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, but I always take seriously the advice of the team at my OB/GYN's office.   

Friday, June 10, 2022

The Post-COVID Era NYC Rental Market

via Unsplash

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but here in NYC the rental market has gone completely bananas! We got a sweet deal on our previous lease renewal last summer, thanks to the lingering effects of COVID on NYC rents, but those renter-friendly days are definitely long over

Within a few months after last year's lease term started, I was already noticing that rents in Manhattan were climbing back up, eventually increasing by early 2022 to the point where it was almost like COVID never happened. Around 2019, market rents in my not-particularly-hip neighborhood had suddenly skyrocketed over the original not-terrible-for-Manhattan norms that had prevailed since K and I first moved into our current building in late 2015. So when I say the local rental market looks as if "COVID never happened," I'm talking about fairly significant increases over the most recent high water mark of rents (from early 2020, before the COVID shutdowns). 

I was commiserating about the state of the rental market to a close law school friend who lives not too far from K and I. Both of us were bracing for some really painful lease renewal offers from our respective landlords. Somewhat... luckily, I guess we need to call it, even if the result is still a ~18% rent increase compared to last year for both of us... we both actually ended up being... pleasantly surprised by the offers we received. Despite that ~18% increase, both offers are also significantly under market compared to what new leases currently go for in our buildings. (Each landlord also made it extremely clear our offers left absolutely no room for negotiation. It's take it or leave it!) 

It's hard to get a perfect read on what market rates look like right this moment. Listed rents on StreetEasy for one-bedroom apartments in my neighborhood recently shot up by $300+ since the last time I looked in earnest, around four weeks ago when we were considering whether to accept our lease renewal offer. If current listing prices on StreetEasy are serious - I'm embarrassed to say I've never been great at negotiating personal business matters, so I don't know have any read on how much flexibility there might be on new leases - market rents on comparable units are possibly 35%+ more than my COVID-discount rent from last year, and ~17.5% more than I'm paying for my renewed lease, which K and I signed barely three weeks ago! 

If you're a renter, how's the rental market looking where you are? I hear things are pretty tough in a lot of big cities in the US, there may actually be some cities out there that have seen more dramatic recent rent increases than NYC at the moment. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Suiting Up for Job Interviews

Suit on the left is from Theory (blazer and skirt; affiliate links) and the one on the right is from Brooks Brothers. At present, it's difficult to find more conservative-looking wool or wool-blend women's suits at stores with more entry-level pricing!

Today's post is just a small life update: Part of the reason I've been so busy and unable to focus on blogging in recent months is that, in addition to things being so hectic at the office, I've also recently had more interviews for some of those government litigation jobs I started applying for over a year ago! At least two of the government offices I filed applications for in late April of 2021 only started interviewing candidates who applied in 2021 starting around March 2022. 

Many of those jobs can also be expected to have an extremely long hiring process; months can  go by between interviews. Should I be lucky enough to receive an offer, there's also a potentially lengthy background check process, one that can take several more months. 

I must say, I don't think I realized just just how long this process could take for me until I started with this year's interviews. But I'm extremely thankful to have the opportunity to interview in the first place. (With the nature of my current workplace, they don't mind that I'm looking at this type of government job, they're actually quite excited about it. It was also necessary for my current supervisor to write a letter of recommendation for my applications!) 

So yes, that's one important thing going on in my life recently. If I'm ultimately successful with getting one of the jobs I've been interviewing for, that will also involve taking at least a 60% pay-cut - the actual number may be well over 60%, though should at least be a bit less than 70% - from what I currently earn in the private sector. I'm definitely mentally prepared for that, it's part of why I rushed to pay off my law school student loans as fast as I could in recent years, finally finishing them off last July. Though the question of whether I'm actually really financially prepared - can anyone ever be for such a drastic change? - is a much more complicated one, as I'm just not very good at doing long-term financial projections. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

May 2022 Shopping Reflections

Getting this month's shopping reflections post up a bit early because I'm pretty sure my shopping for May is already set. Of course I'll end up feeling a little silly if I turn out to be incorrect about that! (If so, additional items will be listed in next month's shopping reflections post.) 

I was supposed to be extremely busy all month, but several attorneys on one of my cases have gotten COVID - most likely from separate events and not from each other - since my recent business trip to Palo Alto, which has ended up delaying our discovery schedule by several weeks. I continue to be well, none of my colleagues at my office have turned out to be sick right around a time when I've interacted with them. Everyone from the case is also reasonably well, all attorneys were fully vaccinated and most likely boosted so nobody is sick enough to require hospitalization, though it sounds like symptoms can take a very long time to fully go away. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

This month's shopping was all quite impulsive. I was at Madewell returning something when I saw both items and became interested.  I bought the necklace in-store on the spot and then the tote bag online a few days later. Well, technically I can argue the necklace wasn't that impulsive, since I've been thinking about getting either a costume jewelry or fine jewelry version of a gold herringbone chain necklace for slightly over a year now. 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $186.52 $239.00

  • Madewell Herringbone Chain Necklace, gold - $34.00 - (on sale online) - I was returning something when I saw that this necklace in stock, and I finally bought it on a bit of a whim. I've thought about buying a gold herringbone chain necklace for over a year, but I've always held off because I wasn't sure what length would suit me best, plus I'm also not sure if the fine jewelry version might be a bit fragile for frequent wear, particularly if layered with other necklaces. This particular necklace is adjustable to approximately 15.5'', 16.5'', and 17.5''. I've enjoyed wearing it, though I don't think any of the length options are especially suitable for layering with my current main necklaces: a 16'' Tiffany's Diamonds by the Yard pendant (similar here, here, and here) and that Mociun sapphire solitaire (which is supposed to also be 16'', but looks more like 18'' because of the heavier pendant). One thing that might be obvious in hindsight: Those other two necklaces tangle much less when I layer them both with the Madewell one, maybe because it's a heavier chain than the other two.
  • Madewell Medium Transport Tote, Woven Leather, brown - $153.52 $205.00* - (also here, get 25% off online at Madewell with code "LONGWEEKEND" until May 30) - This bag is definitely a bit more of an impulse purchase, though I do find my standard, non-woven leather Madewell Medium Transport Tote in brown (worn here, also available here and on sale here) to be extremely practical and functional. This is an almost-identical bag, except for the woven leather body. When I saw the bag in person, it seemed like the woven leather would be a fun texture for summer, something fairly different from the other handbags in my current collection. I've only used this two or three times so far, but the woven leather seems quite durable, reasonably in line with the non-woven leather Transport Totes. I ordered this for full price when there was a promotional 15% cash back rate from Madewell on Ebates/Rakuten - for a total of $28.20 cash back - though I'm actually going to inquire with Madewell about whether I can get a price adjustment for the current 25% off discount code, since it became available less than seven days after my order was shipped. We'll see what happens! (If they honor the price adjustment, then that should reduce my Rakuten cash back amount accordingly, and I'll also adjust the price I listed in this post. EDIT: They honored the price adjustment, so yay, I saved a bit more, and my cash back amount will be reduced once Madewell updates the refund amount.) 
*Indicates that price includes sales tax. 

I've also put in for some made-to-order purchases this month, but those are not expected to ship until mid-June at the absolute earliest. Specifically, I've ordered two new tops and a dress from LinenFox, and another Cora dress from Heinui, this time in a slightly more subdued blue gingham linen. I'm hoping that should round out most of my summer clothing purchases for this year, though I can't quite guarantee that. 

I hope that all of you are well! Hopefully you've also been able to mostly avoid any known COVID exposures. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

On COVID-Era Business Travel

KLM gives out these adorable little ceramic houses as souvenirs for international business class travelers. We normally prefer to fly through London on another airline for our work trips, but that connection wasn't possible on Saturdays back in March.

I've done two lengthy business trips so far this year, one international in March and one domestic earlier this month. It's been a bit nerve-wracking both times because of worrying about COVID, including the negative test requirement to fly back in to the USA from abroad and the risk of depositions getting cancelled or rescheduled - after we've already traveled all that distance - if any of the many necessary participants get sick. 

In-person depositions generally include, at a minimum: the witness, the court reporter, the videographer, and at least one attorney from each side - so that's at least five people who need to be healthy before they spend several hours in an often windowless and cramped conference room together, in an event involving almost-constant talking. There's often also a second-chair attorney or client representative here and there, though their presence is not absolutely necessary. So it could be more like seven or eight people total. I'm not sure if my colleagues' strong preference for in-person depositions - though we have also done several remote ones since the pandemic started - is highly unusual in this COVID era. 

And ah, having done many non-remote depositions since February, in cities all across the US - and a few international ones -  most people generally choose not to mask during depositions, I'm often the only attendee in a mask throughout. The only exception is when the office we're using to host the deposition has rules in place about masking, but relatively few places do these days. (The witness is on video and we generally all agree they should not mask for that reason, but that's not necessary for anyone else.) 

My international business trip in March, to London and Luxembourg, ended up going completely smoothly from a COVID and COVID-testing perspective. The requirement to have a negative COVID test within a day before flying back in to the USA was a mild hassle, but we can generally always pay to get a suitable COVID test and documentation of the results from the types of hotels we stay at for work. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Skincare Review: Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+

As longtime readers may know, I rarely ever change the basic building blocks of my skincare routine, particularly when it comes to the over-the-counter products. Accordingly, I've mostly been using the same sunscreen - Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence - almost since I started this blog and through at least one reformulation. Though I originally switched regularly between a few Biore sunscreens, and have occasionally used other sunscreens here and there over the years. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

Within the last year or two, however, I've become interested in switching to a "physical" or mineral sunscreen - one generally based on zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active sun-blocking ingredient - rather than a "chemical" one based on active ingredients such as avobenzone, octinoxate, or oxybenzone, among others. I didn't have any particular reason for wanting to make this change, I'm definitely not on top of discussions about new scientific studies regarding sunscreen ingredients or anything like that. I just wanted to try something different. 

I've never had a particularly easy time searching for a physical sunscreen I wanted to try out, as I think many of them tend to absorb a little less easily and quickly into the skin compared to the Biore Aqua Rich gel, and they generally leave at least a bit of a visible white cast on the skin. (Which is probably understandable, due to the nature of the active ingredients.) Plus, many Korean skincare brands tend to reformulate and completely redo their sunscreen product lines quite frequently, so while I've occasionally tried a purported physical sunscreen from Innisfree or Nature Republic over the years -I think it was those brands... my memories are fuzzy - the same product was rarely still available when I became interested in repurchasing. 

Eventually, one of my friends mentioned trying Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day Mineral Sunscreen and that she liked it so far, so I decided that was one I should order. It's been my primary sunscreen for several months now, and I recently ordered my second tube. I'm embarrassed I didn't keep careful count of exactly how long the first tube lasted, but it must be something like four months or so. I recently cut the tube open to get at the last bit of product left inside and found that I still had around six days' supply left, so this is definitely one of the products you want to cut open when you think the container's empty.

The Dr Jart+ Mineral Sunscreen is a pretty good sunscreen. It absorbs into the skin quite easily and quickly, compared to other mineral sunscreens I've tried, and doesn't leave too much of a visible white cast after. It doesn't absorb as easily or quickly as some chemical sunscreens like the Biore Aqua Rich, which is natural and expected, I think. I've enjoyed using it and have had no complaints, definitely no skin irritation or breakouts. (I always test new products for allergic reactions for a few days before using them on my entire face: first on my wrist, then my neck, and then on a portion of my face.) 

My only complaint is that the Dr. Jart+ sunscreen is a lot more expensive than the Biore Aqua Rich, at $40.00/1.69 oz that might last only around four months or so (compared to ~$12.00/1.75 oz to ship to the USA something that's a drugstore product in Taiwan, Japan, and many other countries in Asia), but that's the only slight negative point. Also, I don't think there are any popular physical sunscreens known to be more cosmetically elegant/easy to wear under makeup and that are particularly affordable? Though I might be wrong about this, since I'm not very knowledgeable anymore about what's out there on the skincare market. 

Definitely let me know if there are any especially famous or popular physical sunscreens out there - particularly if they're known for being a reasonably good value - that I should try! What's your favorite facial sunscreen?