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. 

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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? 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

April 2022 Shopping Reflections

Well darn, I ended up disappearing completely from this blog for quite a bit longer than I planned! Work continued to be quite intense in April. Unlike in March, I didn't do any business travel last month - much less an international business trip to multiple countries - but the hours of work were still quite long, and I still haven't really had much of a chance to recover my energy after all the travel in March. 

Furthermore, I'll definitely continue to be very busy through the end of May. After that, I still have plenty on my work calendar for the entire summer, though major work events such as depositions, filing deadlines, and the like will at least be spaced out a bit better in June, July, and August than they have been in the first part of 2022. Long story short, I'm going to try to post more regularly from now on, but it's really hard to make any guarantees. For now, here are my monthly shopping reflections for April, two weeks overdue. 

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 mostly practical things related to my occasional business formal workplace dress code needs. With all the depositions recently, even if I'm mostly just the second-chair attorney, I've found myself needing more business formal options than I had. Candidly, in the last year or so, it's really only my most recently purchased suit that fits me particularly well (petite stretch wool blazer and regular skirt from J.Crew), and I do need a bit more than that for my work lifestyle, even if I only wear "full" business formal for depositions and court days (and I basically haven't had any in-person court days since the pandemic started). 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $338.95) 

  • Quince Mongolian Cashmere Tee, burgundy - $44.90 - I was quite satisfied with my first Quince clothing purchase last year, the cashmere batwing sleeve sweater, so when I was looking for new tops to wear under my suits, I thought this cashmere tee would be a good value. Definitely follow the sizing chart for this, which led me select a size L so that I could get a slightly more relaxed - but also not particularly slouchy - fit. I didn't receive this cashmere tee until fairly late in April, when the weather was already starting to warm up here in NYC, so I may not get to really try wearing this with my suits until fall. 
  • J.Crew Parke Blazer in Italian Stretch Wool, navy - $214.50 - I normally prefer two-button jackets with my suits, but alas, there really aren't many other women's wool or wool-blend suits available in petite sizing on the market right now. (The two-button Theory Clarissa blazer is close to the right fit on me - even though it's not available in petite sizing - but I found it too boxy on me and I also didn't like the Theory pencil skirt.) I also don't particularly love the design of the current J.Crew pencil skirt in stretch wool, I find the waistband a bit flimsy and think it makes the skirt a bit less sleek and structured than I prefer, but alas, there aren't really a lot of potentially workable alternatives out there for me. I also ordered the navy skirt to go with this blazer, but it's apparently very backordered and won't ship until July at the earliest. 
  • Porcelain and Stone Patina Eclipse Stud Earrings - $79.55* - I've had my eye on this specific design from this small, woman-owned business for quite some time now, so when I saw on Instagram that she finally had a small number of pieces available through her online shop, I quickly jumped right on it. Mine look a little different from the photo, the non-patina metal part has a hammered texture. I'm super-excited to finally get a chance to wear these. Stud earrings are definitely more suitable than dangle earrings or open hoops at the moment, while I'm generally still wearing face masks in all public indoor settings, except when I'm actively eating or drinking. 
*Indicates that price includes shipping fees. 

Anyway, I'll try to write more about what's been going on in my life - besides just work and billable hours - in the next few weeks. Nothing too exciting, but it's been a long time since I've really checked in here. I can't make any promises about how quickly I'll get those other posts up, unfortunately, but I'll do my best. 

Oh, and current events related to the Supreme Court remind me of this article from 2016. I'm floored, even though it was only a matter of time, once the composition of the Court turned to 6-3. Roe v. Wade is, doctrinally, a substantive due process case, and that line of cases includes Obergefell v. Hodges, Lawrence v. Texas, Loving v. Virginia and Griswold v. Connecticut. So yeah, things are... not good.