Coffee Break – Studded Lambskin Tote

Lauren Merkin Bella Studded Lambskin ToteWow: I’ve admired Lauren Merkin’s clutches and smaller bags for years, but I did not know the line now has totes. (And iPad cases!! Awesome!)  I like this tote (pictured here in burgundy, but also available in navy and olive).  Knowing her products, I’m sure the lambskin leather is ridiculously soft, and 11″x16″x3″ size is perfect for smaller papers and general commutes.  The studs are a nice touch to give it some interest, but honestly I’d prefer a plainer bag.  If they’re your thing, though, you’re in luck:  the bag was $575, now marked to $230 at Endless.  Lauren Merkin Bella Studded Lambskin Tote


  1. Threadjack (sorry!!)

    I am a recent law school grad and still unemployed. I took the advice to network and was put in contact with a biglaw partner in dc. We are having lunch together next week. I am pretty…err…very…intimidated by her and would never have emailed her but for a personal connection. I would like to make a good impression. Is there any particular etiquette rules for this kind of situation? I understand the normal rules about business lunches (thanks to one of Kat’s early posts), but are there ways to signal that I am the host/paying instead of her (I look pretty young? What kind of restaurants are good for this situation? I thought I could avoid this situation by meeting in your office but alas, lunch it is.

    Thank you in advance, ladies!

    • When the check comes, reach for it without hesitation and if she argues, say “please, let me take you to lunch, I really appreciate your time and advice” or something along those lines. She will probably insist on paying, regardless, so just let her if she insists – don’t make it a battle over the check. As for other etiquette rules, I’d say just don’t let the lunch drag on. After an hour or so, ask her if she needs to get back to the office. And don’t be intimidated by her – she wants to help you, or she wouldn’t be taking the time to go to lunch!

      • Thanks for your advice. I had originally asked to meet with her for 20-30 minutes or so because I realize she is busy but she insisted on lunch.

        I also just realized how many typos I made earlier…gah!

        • another anon :

          She may insist on paying. Actually, she will probably be able to put it on her firm card. We do this all the time at my firm with people who as for informational interviews.

      • Second this. In my 3L year, I booked a lunch and two coffees each Friday in the city I was hoping to land a job in. I always sincerely offered to pay, but never actually swiped my card for anything. Graciously accept if she insists.

    • jcb’s comments are right on the money. Offer to pay but let her pick it up if she insists (probably has an expense account or recruiting budget anyway). Ditto that she probably can only spare an hour or so. As to type of restaurant, something convenient to her office (even though she’s probably been to everywhere around where she works dozens of times) probably is the most important aspect.

      Another thought: Ask her who else she thinks you should talk to (write it down!) and ask if you can mention her name when you contact them.

    • You can also ask at the beginning of the lunch how much time she has to spend.

    • Especially if she pays but even if she doesn’t, please send a personal, handwritten thank you note. It’s such a nice and meaningful gesture and I really appreciate it whenever I take the time to meet with a young professional.

  2. Formerly Preggo Angie :

    Drat. Food stain on my light pink shirt… Tide to Go pen leaked and now I look like I’m halfheartedly participating in a wet button-up shirt contest. Hiding out in office…

    • Makeup Junkie :

      try baby wipes on food stains – it cleans up amazingly well and dries quickly

  3. This purse is cute!

    Also, I was wondering if anyone will share what kind of work socks they purchase. I usually wear closed flats and need to buy some more work socks. Any ideas?

    • I like small fishnets in beige and black. With pants and flats, it’s not too shocking a look, and it makes me feel like I still have some aspect of a fun personality. I also get a lot of other design knee highs, but they tend to not work as well. Regular stocking-like knee highs tend to rip on me and I find fishnet knee highs are also much more efficient.

    • Makeup Junkie :

      I got a ton of bamboo rayon socks from Target ages ago and I love them. They don’t rip or snag or lose shape and they’re so smooth.

    • Yeah, really thin black socks usually. Some of mine are from Gap, etc., some are just L’eggs from the grocery store.

    • I wear Hue liner socks, I think the ones I like the best are called Cool Contours. They have a little rubber pad on the heel so they don’t slip.

  4. It may be too late for anyone to see this comment, but for those of you who loved the red three-quarter length sleeve Alice + Olivia jacket that was featured a few months back, it’s currently on sale a Neiman Marcus for $198. Size large only.

  5. I may post this again at some point on a weekend open thread since this isn’t likely to be a high visibility spot for this question, but here goes:

    My husband’s family has (very) generously invited my husband and me on an African safari vacation later this year for a little over two weeks (early fall). My employer generally discourages vacations longer than one week, but I pre-cleared it and arranged coverage before everything was booked.

    I am now engaging in a job search and I may be on the verge of receiving an offer (I’ve gotten the sense that comp won’t be near my acceptable range, so it’s probably a non-starter anyway) and I’m well into the process for another position that I’d probably take if offered. If something materializes in the next few weeks, I’m not sure what to do. Going on this trip is a very high priority for me.

    I would be happy with starting the new job after I get back or getting approval to take vacation early on (my current employer doesn’t allow the use of vacation days within the first 6 months; not sure how standard a term that is in my industry). The prior is probably better in the sense that I won’t be perceived as a slacker or absent once I’ve started. The issue of course is that many employers (including these) are looking to fill vacant positions and would prefer not to wait a number of months.

    Which option would you present first (or would you handle this in some other way)? And when in the process would you discuss this issue (I’ve been thinking I’d wait until after an offer is made).

    Thanks in advance!

    • I’ve dealt with this a ton of times. I just mention while accepting the offer that I have an already booked and paid for trip. I then let them make the next move. Either they say “fine” or they say “you will have to take that leave without pay.” I have never had one say “cancel or you don’t get the job.”

    • I think it’s fine to take vacation early on so long as you ask for it before you accept the offer and you make it clear that you understand the vacation would be unpaid. We’ve had a few new hires do this – they had longstanding vacation plans, and one actually had an upcoming wedding and honeymoon. It’s not an inconvenience.

    • I’ve known friends who intentionally book a vacation like this, knowing that the only way they will be able to take days off in the first year of a new job is to have the vacation pre-booked.
      After you get an offer, during negotiations, you can state that you have a pre-arranged vacation and you will need the weeks off. They will either let you use vacation days or take unpaid. I haven’t heard of an offer being rescinded because of travel like this.

    • One thing that might help is to casually mention the trip (don’t make it sound absolutely planned, just as something you were talking about) during the “tell me about your interests” parts of the interview, when you mention an interest in travel. I had that happen during my recent interviews (not intentionally, we were just discussing travel and I mentioned that my husband and I were interested in taking a trip for our upcoming aniversary), and, when we started discussing offer, my interviewer specifically brought it up again and said that they could work with me on it. (I wound up only taking a day off, because we decided we’d like to wait until fall when we can plan better, but knowing that I could have taken a week off right away was nice.)

    • If the vacation is the last two weeks of September:

      The question is “When can you start?”
      The answer is, “October 1.”

      I think it’s common to take vacations between jobs. It is in my industry anyway. I’m doing it right now. :)

  6. Are all comments being moderated for some reason? Literally everything I’ve posted tonight had been stuck in moderation – we’ll see if this comment makes it through…

    • i don’t know what is up with the settings today — everything is going into moderation; no idea why. settings all look fine. grrrrrrrrr.

      • Ha, I guess that’s making your evening hard! Thanks for the response, Kat.

  7. Anne Shirley :

    Vacation ideas? Looking for someplace convenient to NYC (either drive, train, or flight under $350), where I can swim (but not a massive beach fan), not Boston or DC, good restaurants, cute shopping, fun outdoorsy activities, and someplace to stay where I don’t have to worry about driving home after a night out. Nothing too far south, as my Scottish skin is hostile to too much heat.

    • Martha’s Vineyard. I go every summer. It’s fantastic, great beaches, and not only do you not need a car, but you can’t really bring one. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can drive to somewhere nearby and take a ferry or you can take a ferry right from NYC (a bit more expensive but not unreasonable).

    • Newport, Rhode Island. It is so cute and charming. It is about a 3 and 1/2 hour drive from NYC. Fantastic seafood restaurants, huge mansions you can check out and you don’t need to drive around once you get there.

    • How about Cape May, NJ?

      • Cape May is wonderful! I’m going there next week! :)

        It’s a beautiful little seaside town at the very southern tip of New Jersey. The beaches are great, and it has gorgeous Victorian houses and a very walkable downtown with tons of little shops. And the restaurants are incredible. (But there are very few liquor licenses, so most of the nicer restaurants are BYOB. Which is actually great, because then you get to pick your own wine and only pay the price they’re charging at the liquor store.) Everything is walkable.

        Not much “outdoorsy”, though. There’s a sea bird sanctuary, but nothing like hiking in the mountains or whatever. I’m not sure where you’d find that in the eastern seaboard next to a beach…

    • What about the Maine Coast? There are some lovely little towns up there.

  8. Plainer?! I think that bag is plain… but I also just graduated from a fashion-conscious school (Vanderbilt) and started my first job at a law firm last week. I’m staying conservative with my clothes but wearing all of the toe-the-line accessories that I can get away with. I wore this on Tuesday:

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