Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Dual Career Couples

In my reading the past week, I've come across 2 articles on dual career couples that my thoughts have been wandering back to - one on HBR (Finding Balance as a Dual-Career Couple), and another from McKinsey (How Dual-Career Couples Find Fulfillment at Work).

Are you part of a dual career couple? My husband and I became one just this April when he finished up his PhD. Prior to that, I was working and he was in "school" - which really meant intense research and writing. Fortunately, we haven't run into too much tension as it comes to work-life balance - driven primarily by the fact that we were both early in our careers, and have no debt or children to worry about.

Just under half of all marriages in the US are dual-career, and it rises to 63% once kids come into play - unsurprising given the figures I've seen attributed to raising a single child to adulthood (Fidelity puts this at just over $233k!). The topic of dual-career couples comes up quite a bit in academia, especially since tenure track positions are far and few between - often requiring a move to be close to the university.

My husband is in academia, but decided to pursue an industry job. Nonetheless, we moved so he could get a start on his career, as mine had already been established. We make very similar salaries, and comparable earning potential. Right now, 1+1 = 2 salaries; but once kids come into play, that figure could come down quite a bit, where 1+1 + (-daycare costs, -child-related expenses) = <2. We've never discussed whose career to prioritize.

I do wonder sometimes that if it came down to it, who would be the one to make a sacrifice in their careers? I often think about this scenario in terms of the prisoner's dilemma: better to cooperate and optimize the joint outcomes. 

Are you part of a dual-career couple? How do you and your SO handle work-life balance, long term life planning? Have you ever discussed who's career would take the back seat? Or is it a more fluid conversation?


Monday, September 9, 2019

Wedding Highlights

This summer has flown by, and I wanted to get back into the blog with a post about the highlights. Of course all the wedding festivities were a high point. N and I had a multicultural wedding with multiple events and multiple outfits. It was exhausting to say the least, especially as a more introverted person. But I loved having the whole family together and hanging out with all my cousins.

I went with my sister to get my bridal mehendi done the day before our rehearsal dinner, very low key. It was such a fun experience. Mine took several hours to do both my arms and legs, but was so happy with how it turned out. It was one of the few moments throughout the week where I felt really relaxed! Left photo is while the paste was still on my hands, and right photo was 24 hours later.


Wedding Rehearsal
Our rehearsal dinner was family only on a Friday, in a nearby suburb close to where we grew up. It was fun to see all our relatives gather together for dinner before the wedding. Nothing of note, but I LOVED my outfit on the day. I kept it very simple in a plain white dress chosen for its re-wearability, and some nude heels.

Vietnamese Ceremony & Outfit
Aside from my rehearsal outfit, this was the only other dress that I actually chose myself. My mom and mother in law have amazing taste, which made it really easy for me! But I loved shopping for different fabrics for my tea ceremony outfit. I wore a silk Ao Dai per tradition, with a khan dong that matched. This was the most chaotic part of the day, taking place at my parents' home. Lots of family running around trying to get the house ready for the arrival of my husband and his family. Chaotic, but really fun looking back. This was the first event of the day, starting at 10am.


White Wedding Dress
This was a dress that my mom picked out, and when I tried on, I LOVED. It was the first dress I put on actually, and we got it at David's Bridal of all places. Originally, the plan was to go and try on a few dresses to get an idea of what I might like. I made a few alterations, taking out layers underneath for a more streamlined silhouette, and bringing down the neckline. We had a catholic ceremony at 2pm, following the Vietnamese tea ceremony. Our priest was Vietnamese, and gave a really touching homily about both of us coming together, despite different cultures. 


Reception Outfit
My mother in law chose this lehenga out for me, and again, fell in love with it as soon as I tried it on. The colors were perfect, and the skirt was super comfy for the reception. Our reception took place in Chicago downtown, and had a gorgeous view of the city. We incorporated elements from N's culture exchanging garlands at the start. At this point, all the stresses and chaos of the day had gone - we were already married!

I did my own makeup for all 3 events of the day, and left a professional to do my hair. In the weeks preceding, I had done a TON of research and testing to pin down how I wanted my look to come together. Many dollars later, I found a few products that I continue to use today. Everything stayed in place and lasted throughout the very long day - from 9am to 1am.

Base makeup consisted of Smashbox Primerizer (super hydrating), Mac Strobe Cream (adds a very subtle glow underneath), and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation - this trio is my holy grail. Super dewy, but not too shiny, super comfortable on the skin, and long lasting. I spot concealed with Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (an oldie). I continue to use these 4 products for work in super light layers.

Eyes, I used the Anastasia Modern Renaissance palette for all my looks. Lips at Church were Charlotte Tilbury's Bond Girl, which is a rosy pink. At the reception, I wore dark red lipstick in Estee Lauder's Quiet Riot (stolen from my sister's very vast makeup collection).

Other face: Blush was Milk Makeup in Werk, which was the perfect rosy flush. Highlight was Nars Albatross, which is a pearly gold tone. Eyeliner was Nars throughout the day. And everything stayed on my face with the help of Urban Decay.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Reflection On My Style... and finding a camel coat

My first job out of college was at an advertising agency. From a career standpoint, it was enriching in that I was able to work with folks from account management, creative, strategy and analytics. So many different types of thinking, and it was a valuable learning experience coming out of school with a very left-brain education (statistics). From a style standpoint, I remember feeling so frumpy all the time, compared to the chic agency women I'd see in the elevators. Coming out of school into my first real job, I had no idea what to wear - but noticed that everyone in the building had their own very defined sense of style. I, on the other hand, did not --  and teetered between wanting so badly to look OLDER, and wanting to look COOL.

In the years that have passed, I've settled on a pretty basic-b sense of style. There aren't many patterns in my closet these days, except for maybe a striped shirt, polka dot, and the 1 plaid shirt I kept when I packed all my clothes up for the move. My winter uniform this year was a jacket, skinny jeans, a merino wool turtleneck (from Uniqlo), and ankle boots or my black Nike Roshes. If you've been a long time reader, you'll realize that this is no different than what I wore four years ago, with some upgrades in quality and silhouettes.

I remember feeling back then that my style wasn't final yet, and still feeling unhappy with my wardrobe. This is going to start sounding motivation/inspirational as fuck, but I think the reason I felt that way was because I was always shopping and dressing with clothes thinking and prioritizing how others would perceive me, whereas now, I dress for myself. A couple drivers:

⦾ Now that I'm settled into my career and matured a little bit, I don't feel the need to look older since I AM older (lol).

⦾ My jobs have changed. I'm no longer client facing, I'm working at places with different cultures, etc.

⦾ My income has risen since I started working, and I can now afford the pieces I want at the quality I'd like. Oddly, I actually buy WAY fewer items now. 

Anyway, not sure where I'm going with this. I started writing this post to talk about FINALLY finding a perfect camel coat, in the right shade of camel (one that would not wash me out), with the right look - not TOO basic, but not too structurally out there that it would be unwearable.

It's from Aritzia and runs small. I take it in an XS.


Friday, March 22, 2019

life updates!

It has been such a busy and stressful Q1 that I haven't really been doing anything worth blogging about. But did want to record some of my life here, as it is about to change significantly.

  • My fiance accepted an amazing job based in Seattle after finishing his PhD!

  • Started planning my wedding to take place in July, SUPER short timeline, but the stars aligned and now all that's left is the tiny details. 

  • I quit my job without having one lined up for the first time in my career thus far, which gave me a ton of anxiety. But it was definitely a welcome change.

  • Flew back and forth between Chicago and Seattle to interview with a BUNCH of companies. After weighing several offers, decided to take one that I think is a great fit, on a team where I see really long term potential

  • Signed a lease in Seattle after a week long trip apartment/neighborhood hunting. Fortunately, the apartment is not too much more expensive than in Chicago, but is MUCH larger and so much newer. I'm so excited to furnish and decorate our new home.

  • Now, I'm packing up my apartment, culling my wardrobe, getting rid of furniture, and planning for the move. Fortunately my new company is helping to relocate us, which takes some of the stress away.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

I just completed my Christmas shopping, early for once! Figured I'd share what I'm either getting or would love to get for Christmas.

I can’t recommend Framebridge enough. I’ve ordered from Framebridge countless times, only via digital upload (though they do frame things you send in too!). The photo print quality is great, way better than what you would be able to get from something like a Walgreens. They have a wide selection of frames, ranging from traditional to eclectic. This year, I framed some throwback photos for my parents as a part of their Christmas gift. The process is so fast, from upload to shipping, and the prices are great given how good the product is! 

I’m fortunate to be at the point in my life where I can afford nice jewelry for myself. I love the idea of collecting little treasures to be passed down through time. I used to go through my mom’s jewelry box when I was a kid, just looking at everything. With that said, I’m giving a few jewelry gifts this Christmas to my family. My mom is getting a dainty stacking ring with 5 diamonds, for the 5 people in my family. Here are a few of my favorite shops from Etsy. 
  • Fondeur: Minimal jewelry, a lot of opal pieces that I love
  • RosadosBox: Based in Chicago, do a lot of engagement/wedding jewelry, but have a lot of everyday pieces too
  • Ferko’s Fine Jewelry: Very similar vibe to Mejuri, but better pricing. This is where I got my mom’s gift. 
  • Gouttedeterre: Based in Paris, modern but minimal ceramic jewelry

I have one of these Vlando jewelry boxes myself that I bought earlier this year. They’re made of wood, covered in a synthetic leather. Very sturdy, lots of little compartments inside, and a mirror and metal latch to close. This would be a great little gift for someone who has an extensive collection of jewelry. 

I love getting and giving pajama sets during the holidays. A lot of places do matching sets of pajamas really well. The ones I own or have given are from Uniqlo and J. Crew. 

Beurer Daylight Lamp 
We just had a week stretch in Chicago we didn't see the sun at all. I definitely felt it - low energy, meh mood. If you live in the northern hemisphere and the sun sets at 4, this would be a great gift to head off acute seasonal affective disorder. I love the look of this one - it's portable, has clean lines, and would be great on an office desk. This + a bottle of vitamin D capsules would be a great combo.

Patagonia Sweater
This is what I'm getting my brother for Christmas. I know everyone has one, but I think these are so functional. They look great in the office and make a great, thin base layer in the winter. A lot of retailers do a similar fleece jacket, but I'm always happy to support Patagonia as they do a lot of philanthropy and donate 1% of their sales to outdoor preservation. 

What are you giving to your loved ones this year?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What’s in my (Cuyana) Bag + Mini Review

So I ended up getting the Cuyana structured tote and am really pleased with how it’s been holding up so far (it’s early). It’s big and roomy, versatile for work or for the weekend. The leather is really high quality and scratch resistant. I really think this will be a bag that will age quite gracefully. I was wavering back and forth with the color though… whether I wanted black or cognac. But I’m really glad I went with the cognac! 

I wrote earlier that I also bought the tote insert from Cuyana specifically for this bag, but I ended up returning it due to the extra weight and extra structure to the bag. I really liked it for the utility, but it just didn’t work out for me. That said, I do have a few things floating around the bag, but nothing unmanageable. I recently cleaned it out and took a picture. 

  • - Laptop sleeve: NO idea where I got this, but it holds my work computer, as well as my flat things (folders, papers, etc). 

  • - Manila Folder: right now, I’m wrapping up a few analyses and have printed out the reports, meeting notes, and background to look at. Every now and then, I print everything out just to give my eyes a break from Excel. 

  • - Moleskine cahier: A little notebook I keep with me to make personal notes and to-dos. Last note was a few Christmas gift ideas as it’s soon approaching!

  • - Kindle Paperwhite: Can’t live without this. Right now, I’m reading Onward: How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without Losing Its Soul. It’s written by Howard Schultz, who was the founder of Starbucks. It’s been really good so far! 

  • - Silver Bag from Laneige which contains: Mini Bite Lipstick in Chai, Travalo with Glossier You (10% off via this link), period supplies, small mirror, blotting papers, a Tide pen, and Panier des Sens hand cream. 

  • nuun immunity tablets: These are electrolyte drink tablets/immunity boosters. I dissolve one of these in my Nalgene (500ml) and drink it before I hit the gym. Now that it’s cold, the ‘immunity’ ingredients are meant to help, but I actually have no idea if they do anything other than a placebo effect 🙂 

  • Airpods: Another thing I can’t live without. Usually am listening to a podcast during my commute and they’re great to run in as well. 

  • - Gum: standard, but I always have a pack and it is always Orbit wintermint. 

  • - AMC giftcard that I was meaning to use with N.

  • - Hairtie because I always find myself without one. 

  • - Glossier Balm Dot Com (10% off via this link- Have had this for a while and love because it has lanolin in it. 

  • Nalgene 500 ml: This is the PERFECT size water bottle in my opinion. It’s small enough to carry anywhere and not feel heavy when it’s filled. It’s large enough for my day to day, as I’m almost always near a water source if I need to refill it.

  • Tory Burch wallet & smaller card wallet: Wallet carries all my cards (picked this up at an outlet a while ago), while my card wallet  only carries my building badge for work and my transit card. 

  • - Pair of socks: I don’t know why this is here. I think I must have thrown in a pair when it was raining one morning just in case my feet got soaked.

  • Wireless mouse: Another thing I CANNOT live without at work. The one I have is Logitech, and feels great in the hand. 
  • RXBAR (grabbed a sample from an Amazon Treasure Truck) & Clifbar (always have at least 1 bar in my bag in case I get hungry)

  • - Loose receipts, coupons, an “I voted bracelet”, and a grocery list 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

What I Wore #5...// Tote Shopping Update


It's been unseasonably warm this week. This may have been the last skirt I wear bare-legged in 2018! 


OUTFIT2_ (First foray into non-skinny jeans... what do you all think?)

H&M Mock Neck Sweater // Ines De La Fressange Uniqlo Corduroy Skirt // Rothy's 

I wrote earlier about my unsuccessful Form Bag purchase. I didn't realize how important the ability to expand and contract to the amount of things I needed to carry was to the 'perfect' bag. And despite how luxurious the Everlane leather was, I came to terms with how I would potentially use it and decided that it just wasn't practical.

Since then, I've been doing some more research on a work tote. I had looked at a few options: Kate Spade (rip), Everlane, Cuyana, and Longchamp. I also wanted a tote that was structured, but not too structured that it would be difficult to shove underneath the seat (I had this difficulty with the Lo and Sons tote - it either needed to stand up, or be zipped and laid sideways). Then it came down to materials. Nylon was lightweight and durable, but I really enjoy how leather smells and feels. The leather goods I do own are some of my favorite (Everlane Modern Loafers, my leather jacket, even my wallet!). 

I ended up choosing the Cuyana Structured Tote in a caramel brown. It had been out of stock for a while, but finally came back in today. I also added in the tote insert for some additional structure and organization. It was definitely pricy, but I had scoured the internet for something that was as lightweight/not bulky and still offered a laptop sleeve + waterbottle pocket. I hope this ends up working out!