The Hunt: Black Shoulder Bags

professional black shoulder bagsSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

There are so many fun colors out this season, but sometimes you just want a simple black bag — either so you don’t clash with what you’re wearing, so you tone down what you’re wearing, or just because, well, who doesn’t want a good black bag? These are all in what I’ll call the “mid-expensive” category (in that they’re not light decisions, but you don’t need to skip a rent payment to buy the bag), which is my favorite category to buy from, both for work and otherwise. As always, I’m sure great deals can be had if you stalk an item online, or haunt sales IRL. Readers, what color bag do you think of as your “basic”?  Purchased any great bags lately?

Kate Spade New York - Cobble Hill Penny (Black) - Bags and Luggage This Kate Spade bag (pictured above as well) is made from soft pebbled cowhide, and looks the perfect size to hold your handbag basics at 13.5″Wx4″Dx11″H. The handle drop is a comfortable 10.5″, and I like the zipper detail on the front flat, as well as the fun striped lining. It was $345, but is now marked to $229.90 at Zappos (also available in pink, orange, and beige). Kate Spade New York – Cobble Hill Penny (Black) – Bags and Luggage
Cole Haan - Jenna Shoulder Bag (Black Leather) - Bags and LuggageI have the purple version of this bag, and I love it — the leather is soft and durable, and the shape is classic.  I’m surprised Zappos keeps showing it with just the longer strap because I find the shorter strap to be really comfortable. This simple black leather version was $398, but is now on sale for $239.99; Zappos has a number of other colors and textures as well. Cole Haan – Jenna Shoulder Bag (Black Leather) – Bags and Luggage
Marc by Marc Jacobs - Classic Q Lil Ukita (Black) - Bags and LuggageI’ve never owned one of Marc by Marc Jacobs’ Classic Q bags, although I’ve lusted over them for years — this may be the next purchase I make. Love the pebbled leather from the line, and I particularly like the look of this Ukita handbag, and the size (12″Wx4.5″Dx10.25″H) is perfect for lots of stuff. It says the handle drop is only 5″ but it looks plenty long in the picture. It’s $428 at Zappos (and they have it in leather in white, pink, and brown, and, polka-dot PVC). Marc by Marc Jacobs – Classic Q Lil Ukita (Black) – Bags and Luggage
Rebecca Minkoff - Mab Mini (Black 2) - Bags and LuggageWe’ve talked about the MAB before, and I’ll say it again: I think this bag is a classic. This black quilted version is $525, but Zappos has another 11 colors to choose from. It’s $525 at Zappos. Rebecca Minkoff – Mab Mini (Black 2) – Bags and Luggage
Furla Handbags - Amalfi Dome Bag - Small (Onyx) - Bags and LuggageI like Furla bags so much that I’m going to include this bag, even though size-wise it is both shorter and deeper than I normally like (11″Wx6.25″Dx10″H). I do like the mix of “deer grain-embossed calf leather” and regular leather, as well as the unique dome shape. It’s $548 at Zappos.  Furla Handbags – Amalfi Dome Bag – Small (Onyx) – Bags and Luggage (N.B.: This bag isn’t among the sales, but Furla is on Rue La La today, fwiw.)

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  1. Boston Apt Hunting :

    I know there have been posts lately about certain ares of Boston to live in, etc.

    I am moving (already know the are) this summer and trying to figure out a good website or realtor (or both) to use. I’ve been all over a bunch of the sites (trulia, etc.) and contacted a ton of realtors. I’m on the low end, price-wise (student), so I think a lot of my emails and requests have been ignored for that reason (even though the posts I am emailing or requesting info about are within my range). I’m trying to be within walking distance of BU Beach (or short commute on the B, but walking would be oh so much nicer). That’s by the BU Central stop, though towards BU West.

    • Diana Barry :

      Are you renting or buying? When I was renting I had the most luck with craigslist, and with not much lead time (eg looking in June if you’re moving in July). Unless you are looking for a specific building, etc., and then you can just go to the building’s website and/or call them and see what they have available.

      • Boston Apt Hunting :

        Sorry, renting!

        I’ve been checking out craigslist a lot; I was hoping I could find a better site! I find it to be such a pain, but it may just be the best resource for me.

        • I have an app on my Droid that monitors CL and gives me an alert whenever something new is posted in my search area with my search terms. It made buying furniture on CL much more bearable, you might try something like that for apartments if you have a smart phone.

        • If you’re using craigslist, I think padmapper is a great resource. Maps out all the craigslist postings and you can search by number of bedrooms and price. Not everything sources correctly but it’s really helpful.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      When are you hoping to move? I’m seeing a fair amount of stuff for June 1 posted now and (as always) stuff for Sep 1.

      Are you hoping to live on your own or with roommates? If with roommates, check out the Craigslist “rooms & shares”. If on your own, if you’ll be attending BU I know they have some grad student dorms that are basically like apartments.

      It’s possible you aren’t hearing back because realtors don’t have much in your price range. Are you looking somewhere under $1k? If so, you’ll have better luck on Craigslist, either seeing a roommate to hunt with (and doubling your budget) or looking to move into an open room.

      And of course, if you are looking in Beacon Hill, let me know! Currently seeking roommate, or I may just suck it up and get a studio. :)

      • Boston Apt Hunting :

        I’m trying to avoid the 9/1 move in, so anytime over the summer. I don’t live far away, so it really doesn’t have to be anytime in particular – just not 9/1. I want to settle in and such before starting school. Even though it means paying a few more months worth of rent, I’ll probably go with a 6/1 start, since I think I’ve only seen a handful of 7/1 (and none overly appealing).

        Exactly my thought – I’m looking for under 800 or 900 per person (prefer on the lower end), but I’m open to the number of people since I have potential roommates and not a set number yet. This seems to also turn off realtors, even though I assure them I’m ready to sign and pay.

        When I saw your post about Beacon Hill before, I debated if it would make sense. I could swing the commute, but I doubt I can afford that area. I only have seen a few places there in my range, unfortunately.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Yeah the area is $$$$ (hence the roommate search!) Oh well, I’m sure something will turn up.

          There will be a few more places for 8/1 than 7/1 but you’re right, 6/1 is probably your best bet if you want to avoid 9/1 in that area (I moved 9/1 into my current place and… NEVER AGAIN.)

          I would contact realtors either saying “I’m looking for a 2 bedroom for under $1800/per person” (and of course, you have to be willing to pay the full fee/deposit for both roommates and presumably be paid back). I have friends that have done this and it is, of course, more of a risk.

          Sometimes really nice places do come up on the Craigslist open rooms though. I would either find someone that wants to hunt with you or try looking for an open room. Most realtors will see a $800-900 price range and move on (cause they’re mostly pretty scummy… sigh).

          • Boston Apt. Hunting :


            Yeah, I’m a little nervous about the whole laying the full deposit down, but luckily I have a job where I can afford to float the money. It is risky, though, and so makes me nervous!

            I agree – unfortunately, it seems nearly impossible to find an apartment here without them. Even on the craigslist by owner only ones are realtors a decent amount of the time.

    • Are you going to be attending BU? BU Law alum here. :-)

      I lived in Brighton center my 1L year, on the 57 bus route. I was further out than most law students, but the duplex my roommate and I had was nice and spacious. It also was a nicer/quieter area than some parts of the Allston/Brighton student ghetto.

      When this summer are you moving? Remember much of Boston, especially the student-heavy areas, is on the Sept 1 move-in date. So if you’re looking for any other date, it may be a bit of a hassle.

      • Boston Apt Hunting :

        Yup, starting BU Law this fall!

        Was it tough to be that far out? I’ve definitely heard Allston/Brighton horror stories, so I’m checking into these places a lot!

        I’m good to move anytime this summer before 9/1, because a) I want to settle in and such before starting 1L and b) the 9/1 moving issues in Boston. It is tough to find any other options, though!

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Oh! Also. I’m living in Brighton currently and find that Oak Square and Brighton Center and places a bit up from Cleveland Circle have less undergrads. Similarly in Allston, I’d avoid Packards Corner area and if you could, try and find something on the Brookline side if you want to be with people who are a bit more in the young professional side of things. Good luck!

          • Brookline is awesome! I live in Brookline Village and love it. I’m about a 10 minute walk from Coolidge, and it would be a really short drive to BU. I used to live in Cambridge/Somerville, and I like it much better over here.

        • ARGH. Just wrote a long reply and it got eaten.


          I didn’t find Brighton Center to be too far out. The bus came often enough and it was an easy ride. My then-boyfriend/now-husband also lived in Oak Square while a grad student at BU and took that same bus. I don’t remember how long the ride was, but it was fine.

          I also had my car with me. BU offers (or at least, did offer) a student evening/weekend parking pass. I found this really helpful because my 1L writing seminar was at 6 pm. So I would go to class via bus, come home in the afternoon, then drive. This way, I didn’t have to deal with the bus later in the evening. The pass was also great for generally evening/weekend studying, when the bus and T tend to run less often.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I haven’t looked in Boston, but streeteasy is excellent for New York.

    • big dipper :

      So, here are my thoughts. If you want to live within walking distance of BU, it’s going to be pretty difficult to find an apartment that you’re happy with with a move in date before 9/1. And I know this from experience.

      Most of my friends who moved into my area moved into a temporary sublet for the summer, got the lay of the land, and moved into a more permanent situation on 9/1. Moving on 9/1 is annoying, but do-able.

      Anyways – I think you should check out the Coolidge Corner area in Brookline. It’s a 15-20 minute walk to BU Central, or a 5-10 minute ride on the T plus a 5 minute walk.

  2. Diana Barry :

    I like the Kate Spade one above. I have to wait a couple of years before replacing my black bag – it is a Cole Haan and HEAVY. Just about to bust out my lime green Kate Spade one for spring, but am going to wait to bring it to work until after baby is born.

    No work for me today – in MA so we have the day off, so we’ve just been watching the marathon here. :)

    • I have a larger version of the Kate Spade Cobble Hill bag pictured above, but in a different color. I love it, but it’s pretty heavy, too. Not Cole Haan heavy, but Still-Annoying-Heavy.

      • MissJackson :

        This must depend on your point of reference, because I also have the larger Kate Spade Cobble Hill bag (the travel Leslie, so it’s about as big as you can get), and I think it’s light! My point of reference is the heniously-heavy Rebecca Minkoff Cupid which has been my “every day bag” and although it’s much smaller than the travel leslie, it’s definitely heavier.

        • Mine’s the travel Leslie, as well. Maybe it’s just all the $h!t I fill it up with. (:

          • I think the Leslie IS heavier than the Penny. I have the Penny in purple and don’t find it to heavy, but the Leslie is bulkier IMHO.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Lucky! Also in MA but no day off for us =(

      • Same here! It was a nice commute, though, since so many have the day off. Plus, the marathon doesn’t come by here.

    • No day off for me either, but I’m working from home because of the accident.

  3. Sydney Bristow :

    I bought one from Eloquii a few months ago that I love. Its the perfect size for my water bottle, iPad, small emergency kit, umbrella, and other assorted junk. I’ll post the link separately, but it’s the Kisslock Lady Sachel. The quality is nice and I’ve used it every day for months and haven’t noticed any wear and tear yet. The material looks nice and a few friends have mistaken it for real leather. I cannot recommend it enough, and I’m very picky about purses.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Here it is:,default,pd.html?start=15&cgid=eloquii_shop-the-collection_accessories

      I got it for 50% off. If you wait for awhile, they regularly have 30-50% off sales.

  4. Total threadjack, but i know there are a lot of GOT viewers out here and i just need to ask a ?/get somethign off my chest – on last night’s episode, did anyone else think Sansa looked very different? Older, or something? She’s still a beautiful young woman, but it’s like she’s aged 5 years in a few episodes, while all of the other characters, including young ones like Geoffrey and Arya look the same? just need to know if i’m going crazy!

    and as for black shoulder bags, cole haan wins my vote.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Yes. Though I thought the actress that plays Arya looks like she’s aged a lot, too. Or at least gotten a lot taller. I assume they’re both at growth-spurt ages and I’m just going to suspend my disbelief that no time passed between season 1 and 2.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      My husband said “woah, she looks a foot taller” in reference to Sansa. He also made a comment last week or the week before that they couldn’t really hide “her boobs coming in” in reference to Arya. This is when they will still playing her off as a boy.

    • Really? I thought she looked the same. Bran seemed the most changed to me. Oh, child actors!

      I did notice Sansa’s height in that one scene (with the maid), but I thought it was a staging trick. (I was also thrown by the blond knight’s height in an early scene.) I continue to be impressed by game of thrones. It keeps making me care about characters that I know I shouldn’t get too attached to!

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        the blond knight? The girl one, Brienne? She’s 6’3″. Yea, she’s just really, really tall.

    • She looked like an adult, not a 14 year old girl.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      I thought that she looked taller and that the true bone structure of her face was really starting to show. But it could be that they just made her lose some weight to look stressed out, but I’m not sure that they can do that with child actors so easily.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Apparently the rest of the internet noticed this, as well. All the child actors are older than I thought they were (except the one that plays Bran). Most surprising: kid that plays Joffrey is 19:

  5. Merabella :

    I know I should be grateful, but I’m slightly offended when my mother buys an entire wardrobe for my husband to attend a family event. The man can dress himself, he’s 30 years old. And on a more selfish note, where is my wardrobe mom?

    • This wouldn’t happen in my family (no buying massive things for others, generally), but I can understand why it is a mix of gratitude and offense. I guess you can take it as her trying to help – and not helping you meaning she thinks you have better fashion sense than her?

      I try to brush these things off, but usually I get annoyed instead in all reality.

  6. Brahmin. I admit, I own 5 of them, but for handbags that feel professional, yet stylish and timeless, I haven’t found any better quality for the price.

    • mezzaluna :

      I love love love Brahmin, I have 4 and was recently browsing for my 5th. Such great quality and classic styles. Also, this brand has very nice briefcases. If you’re in MA there is a Brahmin outlet in Fairhaven, about a 45 min. drive south of Boston near New Bedford.

      • Unfortunately (or fortunately, for my paycheck), I’m in NY– but if I’m ever up in MA again, I’ll make sure to visit the outlet!

      • OMG. I grew up very close to Fairhaven and NB and did not know this!!! Will have to visit when I visit the parents.

  7. Love this bag! Thanks for posting.

    • Oops – this is for Sydney. Not sure why it popped up down here!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I see it! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a discount code and post it if they send one.

  8. I have been an appellate attorney for five years and am soooo tired of reading transcripts. Tomorrow I have a second and third interviews with the very big wigs for a litigation support position. The first interviewer has said that she really wants me but that I have to impress the big wigs. I am really really nervous and feel totally unqualified for the job. Plus, I don’t know how to impress big hoo hahs. But I really really want this job. Any suggestions on boosting my confidence???

    • Totally Qualified :

      You’ve spent five years reading (in excruciating detail) the “what to do” and “what not to do” lists for trials. You are very qualified.

      Quick, think, what are the three worst examples of trial court lawyering you’ve seen in your reading? The three best? How could you do that so quickly? Because you’ve been reading trial transcripts, critically, for five years.

    • i want to be an appellate attorney!!!!!! how do i do that?!

      but ditto what totally qualified said. you’ve seen the mistakes that happen at trial – and they were big enough to get appealed. you’re a perfect guide for successful trial prep!

      • I majored in classics as an undergrad and did an honors thesis on women and Roman law. For some reason, this really impressed my supervisor and I was able to get an entry level appellate position with State government. I’ve gained a ton of experience over the last five years. If you want to get into appeals, start writing.
        Thanks for the feedback Corporettes! I’ll let you know how it goes.

      • anon prosecutor :

        I did a federal appellate clerkship and was able to get an appellate prosecutor job afterward. I love it! Though, I have only been there 2.5 years. Don’t know if the aforementioned burnout will kick in at some point.

  9. I’ve been an avid reader of this blog for months now and now need some serious advice. I am a graduating senior that has been interning at a sports industry workplace for the academic year. I was offered a full time job to start immediately, but the sports industry pay and benefits are terrible. Because I have not yet found another better option, I accepted the position this morning with plans to continue my search until graduation in one month. While I would normally try to stick it out with the job search, turn this position down and risk finding something better, I am recently married and my husband and I are both graduating together. He will be attending law school in the fall and it’s up to me to support both of us (with this sports industry salary) for three years. After graduation, I need to have a job ready to go and searching has to be over. My question is this: I have accepted my current offer with the personal intent to take the other job with the company I am interviewing for if I get their job (significantly better pay, benefits, and career opportunity) within the month. But I feel incredibly guilty about it. Is there a better way to handle this? I have already pushed this decision back as long as I could.

    • Do not feel guilty about taking a better offer if one comes your way. I know it seems like a huge deal right now as you are new to this, but trust me when I say that years from now, you will look back at this as a relatively minor bump in the road. You need to do what is best for you.

      Congrats on your wedding and your luck this far finding a position in this economy. Best of luck.

    • Girl – you’re supporting your husband for three years with a job you’re not psyched about? I’m not a marital lawyers but it sounds like you should get a post-nup.

      • No, the job itself is great for an entry level experience. But it doesn’t pay much of anything and there isn’t much potential to move up. My husband has even continued to interview for jobs he would accept while he has put in his seat deposit just so I could take this job. But he hasn’t found anything more promising than law yet, so we’re both still banking on law school for him.

        • oh gosh hun, law is not, is not at all promising right now. Does he have experience in law? Is he going to a really great law school? Please tell me he is going for more that “he hasn’t found anything more promising than law yet” and why he thinks law is promising right now??

          • We’re both aware of the realities of the law employment market right now. He is continuing his job search until law school starts in August.

          • BBL – what do you mean by nothing more promising than law? Is the plan that he will start law school if he hasn’t found a viable alternative by August?? I strongly suggest that he at least defer for a year, or not go at all, if that is the case — the mental and financial (not only tuition, but opportunity cost) investment in law school is bad enough for people who really know they want to be lawyers!

          • I think you might be misreading what is happening. He has always wanted to be a lawyer and wants to be a lawyer more than anything else. However, he is well aware of what the law market looks like right now and is nervous to take on the time and debt associated with it if a job opportunity with a future is available to him right now. He really knows he wants to be a lawyer, but if he knows that law is a weaker future than he first thought, why wouldn’t he look into his other options, too?

          • BBL – ah, that makes more sense.

          • Anon NJ and MD Bar :

            I understand that your husband really wants to be a lawyer, but as someone graduating without a job offer, I must urge you and your husband to really consider alternatives. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t pursue his dream, and I’m not trying to discourage you, but just make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. I just think he needs to fully understand the legal market and realize that if he is going to graduate with loans, he should to go to a top law school, graduate in the top percent of his class, network like crazy, give up his free time, make personal sacrifices, etc. Honestly, if I could do it all over again, I would become a paralegal and make decent money without the stress and sacrifices. I know too many law graduates graduating without a job or who have been jobless for 1+ years, and have over 6 figures in debt with no way of repaying. However, if he can get into a top law school, get outstanding grades, and have little to no debt, then go for it.

        • Agree with the commenters suggesting he reconsider law school. Has he worked in an actual legal setting as a paralegal or such? This is a better way to explore whether he truly wants to be a real lawyer vs. what we all thought Being a Lawyer Was Before Law School. And yes, the debts and lack of jobs are very serious things these days. I am sick of my debts a decade plus later and don’t practice anyway.

          don’t fee bad if you need to move on- it is business. have learned this the hard way as others note- you need to do what’s best for you, period.

    • Its called at-will employment. They can fire you whenever they want and you can quit (with notice) whenever you want. If you quit before you even start, its actually easiest for them because they don’t even have to invest the capital to on-board you! I know it sounds weird, but it helps to feel less guilty about these things to remember that you are WAY less important to your employer than they are to you.

      Congrats. Do what’s best for you right now. You have to know that your employer will.

    • Anon for this :

      At my last firm, a summer accepted full time employment but then had to rescind prior to his start date because he had to move due to a family emergency. The firm made it sound like he had burned every possible bridge. He has no idea the bullet he dodged. They have since done massive layoffs and if he was there, he would have been one of them. I personally think the firm knew that back when he rescinded but instead of being graces and saying “NBD” they were totally ass hats about it. Companies will not be looking out for you. You look out for you.

  10. I have been on a never ending quest to find a professional, stylish bag that is big and sturdy enough to hold my laptop, a pad of paper, and a pair of flip flops/flats. They are all either dowdy, too casual, too flimsy, too boring, too masculine, or too small. I also hate a lot of hardware and metallic details, but I love color. I know I have a lot of demands, but this also doesn’t seem like that strange of a request.

    Any ideas?


    • (former) Briefcase Hunt :

      I went through this recently, and kept my absurdly expensive Tumi T-Pass Lago Brief because it was exactly what I needed. Take a look at Jack Georges Milano and Chelsea lines, Lo & Sons Brookline, Levenger’s Majorca Expandable Laptop Bag, and Lodis. All of those are available in colors, I believe.

    • I have this bag in n-de/black and I adore it. It’s the DKNY colorblock tote, in case the link doesn’t work.

    • I am also on the hunt for something similar, and have pretty much decided that my next bag will be an MZ Wallace. Just not sure which model.

    • Search this site, the laptop issue came up fairly recently.
      My advice: smaller laptop, more like 13″ netbook, with big screen and keyboard at home and work. Neoprene sleeve. Regular bag, large enough but no longer huge.

  11. Corporette in Training :

    I recently accepted my first job and the company has invited me to a dinner and more in depth tour of the office. I won’t be starting with them until the summer, but would like to make the most of this opportunity. I’ve come up with a list of questions about the company and to ask the employees about their experience working in the office. Any other advice would be appreciated, TIA!

    • This is really late and you might not see it. But ask ahead of someone in HR if you should dress business formal (like for an interview) or business casual (like for work) — you might dress more to fit in at the office those days, but I’d still dress it up a bit, basically suiting separates. And then, basically, while its a good idea to have some ideas about questions to ask of people, do NOT seem like you’re reading from a script. Just talk to people and work the questions naturally if its possible, but don’t worry about asking them all. If there are any you don’t get answered that you really need answered you can always e-mail, but you don’t want to come off as a little crazy!

      • This is great advice, glad I did another check of the thread.

        HR has filled me in on dress, and I’m planning on a slightly dressier business look. I have a tendency to get really nervous and sound scripted, so I’ll definitely focus on not being too formal the day of!

  12. Need a pick me up :

    N*ked 2 pallet or hunt for rose gold Michael Kors watch at tjmaxx


    • Merabella :

      Go for the Watch. You can get similar pallets to the UD N2 for less money. The watch sounds awesome!

      • Agreed. My mom bought me the N2 (a sweet gesture, as I had mentioned it in passing), but I ended up returning it as I have about half the shades already (though not in such a convenient form) and am not talented enough with makeup to make use of the full range of colors.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i wear my rose gold MK watch daily and have been for over 18 months – i constantly get compliments on it and i love it. i have the UD original palette and it’s fine, but not my favorite thing in the world. get the watch. if you can’t find the watch the palette will always be there.

    • watch. Pallet is not that different from stuff you probably already have.

    • s in Chicago :

      Go for the watch. And check out Nordstrom (by sale section). They usually have some crop up there for a really good discount.

  13. Hi ladies!
    My hubby and I will be celebrating our first anniversary in two weeks. I am so excited! Anyone have ideas for unique gifts? I want to do something thoughtful and somewhat well priced (less than $300.)

    Any ideas greatly appreciated!

    • If it were me, I’d book a room in a hotel of my choice in the city closest to my home and make a reservation at a nice restaurant nearby and have a really nice date night. But I like experiential gifts.

    • Photobook of your first year of marriage? That should be way under budget, so you can also do an experience gift, too.

      • Ooohhh I love the photobook idea! I did one of our favorite engagement pics and would love to do something like that with snapshots from this year.

        I neglected to mention that we are going to do a beach trip towards the end of May so that will likely be our experience gift!


        • I have been considering boudoir photos as a 1st anniversary gift as well–not sure if you could pull that together in 2 weeks, though.

      • I recently made a 2-photo thing (side by side 5×7’s) of us together with our vows photoshopped onto the pictures in the background area (mine on one pic his on other) and it is really nice! It was for starting baby phase and Valentine’s Day (been together 10 yrs). I of course love it, he jokes it is to remind him to be nice:) but I think he likes it too. Guys like food and itunes more perhaps…

    • If he/both of you are scotch drinkers, a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue is nice! I bought a bottle for my husband for his wedding gift. He has a drink from it every year on our anniversary.

      • a passion for fashion :

        my brother got my husband a bottle of this when we got married. my husband also drinks it on our anniversary, and when our favorite sports teams win big things.

        • My husband’s brother bought us a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue for our wedding, and I bought my husband a bottle of Macallan 18 for our 5 yr anniversary. I prefer the Macallan- yum!

    • a passion for fashion :

      Paper is the 1 year gift. I got my husband fancy paper with his initials and note paper that had written on it what we had engraved on our wedding bands. Then I got him a fancy pen to go with it. He uses the pen at work, the note paper sits on our desk at home and we both use it, and the fancy paper doesnt get used often, but he has it if he needs it.

      My husband got me a really cool print that I love for my office. I think about him every time i look at it.

      • Baby weight :

        We kept with the paper theme. He bought me an embosser with our new address and our married name. I bought him a pen. We both still use them.

        • We honored the paper theme. He got me a cookbook, I got him a pinata with his favorite candy. We also bought a cool photograph on a canavas while browsing a local art festival.

        • Oil in Houston :

          our own 1st anniversary is in 6 weeks, I love your idea , might steal it :)
          my husband is a sports writer, so on our wedding day I got my BM to buy teh sports newspaper of the day, I’ll gve that to him on our 1st anniversary, just a bit of a nod!

      • In keeping with paper, my husband had notecards made with the graphic from our wedding invitations and a pre-printed “I love ___________________” on each of them. Then he filled it in with things he loved about me/us – some serious, some cutesy, some s*xy. If your husband is sentimental at all, that was an amazing gift to get and to have to look through regularly.

        It made the tickets to see his favorite band seem really lame in comparison.

    • Normally I’d suggest a boudoir shoot for anniversary, but those tend to run around $500. (Though I think they are awesome gifts for your husband!). How about a great bottle of champagne (Schramsberg), a new negligee, and a night at a hotel?

    • We stick to the traditional/modern take on traditional gifts:
      I still have the watch my DH gave me for our 1st.

  14. For MA readers, if you ever are at Wrentham Outlets (as much as I dislike most of the place), Wilson’s Leather has some great work bags (and portfolios, jackets, belts, etc.). I have a black leather bag and portfolio from here that I absolutely love (and will probably wear down way too quickly). Friends comment on both and ask to borrow the portfolio a decent amount, which I take to mean they were good choices. (Also, for savings, they have a discount table or two in the middle back. That’s actually where I got my favorite bag.)

    • I’ve bought several bags from the Wilson’s discount tables and they wore very well.

      • agree though I had to exchange one per white streaks first time I used it! though i have two and really like them- simple, lightweight and functional. mine are lady briefcase/tote types. there are wilson’s outlets in potomac mills (DC) and marysville (seattle) too.

  15. so anon for this one :

    Hello fellow Corporettes! This was the best place I could think of for advice on this…so here goes. I’ve been at my new firm 5 months. It is good, but small, and of course has law firm quirks and long hours. I just was notified that I am 2/22 on the eligibility list for Administrative Law Judges in my area, and that should I want to interview/be considered I should send my materials in.

    Don’t get me wrong, my firm is great, but an ALJ? For someone considering starting a family soon who loves community/public service? The favorite part of my day is when I am in court or mediation, interacting with other people. I hate the part of lawyering where I sit in my office drafting all day with no interaction. While I understand ALJs do a comparative amount of drafting, I also get the impression that they also spend a fair amount of time mediating/conducting hearings and interacting with other people in general.

    It sounds good, but I am having the inevitable guilt about even considering jumping ship 5 months in. Thoughts? Experiences?

    • Go for it. It’s a completely different experience from law firm life (I imagine) and likely not one that comes around all the time. At least apply and run down the opportunity. Otherwise, it sounds like the type of job that you will always wonder ‘what if’ Good luck!

    • No experience, but I would definitely send your materials in. I think being an ALJ sounds great. As for leaving the firm after a short time, in addition to the usual advice of you should be looking out for you, it’s not like you’re going to another firm–this would be a totally different (and awesome) opportunity

    • Do. It.

      I assume this is a state-level ALJ program, not the federal one (which has been closed/messed up for years). I clerked for a federal ALJ many years ago and still think that is one sweet position.

      As for guilt in jumping ship 5 months in: you’re not jumping ship. You’re submitting materials to a program which may take quite some time. And in any case, you’re getting a shot at a good opportunity, so if you do end up leaving, you’ve got a good reason that should not burn bridges.

    • No advice, but that sounds great! Congrats!

      • apply, if you get an offer then decide!

        • so anon for this one :

          Thank you all for the comments! I sent my packet in today, so hopefully I at least get an interview. Being an ALJ is so much more suited to my temperament – even though I do well as a litigator, I am always the mediator – with contentious counsel, with family/friend conflicts, and just about every situation, I end up as the mediator. I really seem to enjoy listening to both sides and figuring out the least painful way to “split the baby” so to speak. I also like interacting with people, so while I love the part of litigating where I am in court, deposition, or ADR, I hate the part where I sit in my office all day and draft. I like writing, and I totally understand an ALJ has to write and research, but at least ALJs have a consistent human interaction component.

  16. I just bought the Madison leather Lindsey satchel in black from Coach, and love it. The shape is classic, with a bit of a twist to make it more interesting, the leather is super soft, and it has none of those annoying logos. It’s just large enough that it can fit a file (if need be), but is not as large as a tote. The handles are relatively short, but it does have a shoulder strap. The only real downside is that it doesn’t have feet to protect the leather on the bottom.

  17. Giving myself a gym makeover :

    So I’m jumping into a regular exercise routine. Although it’s only been a few weeks, I can’t believe how great I’m feeling. The bad side to being out of the gym for so long? A lot of my athletic wear is super old, doesn’t fit, doesn’t match, etc. I’ve treated myself to a bit of a mini-gym makeover, buying new sports bras (fantastic–I couldn’t believe how awful my old ones were until I switched! The Moving Comfort brand is absolutely amazing) and a couple of new “outfits.” I’m wondering if I should also invest in gym specific underwear. I cant stand VPL and if that weren’t bad enough, the cotton briefs I’ve been wearing don’t seem to deal with sweat very well during activity. I hate to ask this, but do any of you athletes have any recommendations? What do you typically wear , and where should I be shopping?

    • I’d check out the running specific stores (they sell mostly shoes) but they also tend to sell running gear, including some of the best underroos out there for exercise. But basically, I try not to exercise in anything made of cotton. Most of your exercise brands (Underarmor especially I think) make underwear made of nice wicking type material.

    • Anon athlete :

      Underarmour compression shorts. Comfortable, and keeps you from flashing your fellow gym-goers regardless of whether you’re running, in a handstand, stretching, etc.

    • I don’t wear any! Most of my friends who run or bike don’t wear any undies with our shorts and tights (including when I wear my shorts to exercise classes at the gym). All of my running shorts have the built-in liner panty, which is good enough for me.

      I have heard good things about the Under Armour undies, but have never tried them.

      I think your gym makeover is a great idea. Happy exercising!

    • Um… I don’t wear underwear at the gym. I wear running skorts or tennis skirts.
      I have gotten great skirts and target (Champion) — like this

      which looks the same as this

      Or you can spend more at lululemon or lucy, both of which have cute workout gear. You could also hunt at Sierra Trading Post (discount sport and outdoors wear).

      My favorite tops are these tank tops that are like a bra/tank in one and I only wear that one thing on top. Those I get from Lucy or Nike.

    • SpaceMountain :

      My entire body is clothed in Under Armour when I work out. Seriously, undies, socks, shirt, shorts, everything. I love the stuff.

    • D Train South :


    • Underarmour mesh boyshort. Changed my life.

    • Congrats on getting back to it!

      uh, I don’t wear underwear? I wear compression shorts without underwear and some running shorts styles will have underwear in them. 2/1 and it also means I *have* to wash my running clothes frequently.

    • phillygirlruns :

      +1 on the others who don’t wear underwear to work out. i only buy shorts with built-in liners, or tights with a gusset.

    • Underarmour boy shorts. I wear them running and at the gym. I can’t stand anything bunching on me. Also, I swear by Lululemon for work-out gear. It is pricey but so worth it.

      • Giving myself a gym makeover :

        Thanks everybody. I really appreciate your help. (My friends and I talk about a lot with one another, but I just don’t feel comfortable asking some stuff, you know? My “virtual” friends here are so much easier to talk to sometimes!) Sounds like I’ll be checking out some underarmour boyshorts. Thanks again!

    • I don’t wear any underwear when I work out. I wear a variety of exercise pants but always go commando!

      woman-owned company, knows their stuff..

  18. Love love love Harvey’s seat belt bags – am embarrassed to admit how many of them I own. Have the Stella in black and never fail to get compliments. Link to follow.

  19. Magdeline :

    Threadjack re. thank you notes:

    I’ve interned at the last same place since the summer of my 1L year, and I’m graduating next month. I have had a fantastic experience there, and I would like to write thank you notes to my mentors, but I am undecided about what sort of paper/card to use. Obviously, whatever I use will be relatively plain/professional.

    Should I use a folded greeting card, some sort of personal stationary (recommendations, please!), or something else?

    • I Love Stationery :

      I accidentally responded below: I think that the Crane’s Blue Book will answer this question. If not, one of Laetitia Baldridge’s books will.

    • I would probably get a very minimalist thank you notecard like this:

      Nothing girly, but something on a heavy stock to give a sense that you’re taking it seriously. The other option is that you could use Vistaprint or something like it to print personalized note-cards or stationary, but I wonder if that would almost edge a little in the direction of too much (a la Elle Woods and the scented stationary…it gives it just a little bit extra!)

      • I would use this opportunity to buy monogrammed stationery. Something that looks just like what TCFKAG linked to but has your initials in a similar font along the top (i.e. not too girly).

        • I’ve used Embossed Graphics several times for myself and as gifts, and I always think they turn out great and are reasonably priced.

    • I like small stationary (not reg. size, but not as small as a card). I find that what I have to say is usally a tight squeeze on a note card and becomes hard to read. Whereas with note paper, you can use two sheets if need be, and generally it’s easier to just fit on one while still making it easy to read.

    • anon atty :

      I may be in the minority here, but when I was in law school (10ish years ago) our career services folks told us not to write thank you notes b/c in reality you can only hurt yourself — i.e., a thank you note is not going to get you the job, but it could lose the job for you if it includes some sloppy mistake such as a misspelling, incorrect name etc. Now as an atty who regularly interviews people, I believe this advice to be sound. I would never think twice if someone didnt send a thank you (i wouldnt even notice) and i similarly dont think anything about the thank yous i do receive, unless of course there is a mistake. And there are A LOT of mistakes.

      • that applies to interviews. At the end of years of interning, it should be handwritten

        • anon atty :

          you are totally correct. I mis-read her post. This applies only to interviewing

      • This surprises me, since I have always been told by my business school (and other sources, but that is the loudest advocate) to send them. They told us that not sending would make you send out poorly and sending them would be a benefit in that it would remind the interviewer who you are and about the interview.

        I’m glad to have heard at least one legal interviewer’s take on this!

    • Magdeline :

      Thanks, everyone, for your advice!

  20. I Love Stationery :

    I think that the Crane’s Blue Book will answer this question. If not, one of Laetitia Baldridge’s books will.

  21. I’ve been on the hunt for a good work bag in black and bought myself Coach’s Madison Leather Lindsey Sachel last weekend. I’ve seen KS and MJ featured in Kat’s post – KS was ok but MJ seemed pretty heavy on my shoulder. I’m pretty happy with my purchase.

  22. I have a couple of black shoulder bags that I wouldn’t be without, although they aren’t quite as formal or dressy as leather, they’re super practical for commuters. I take the train into a city, and then I have a 15 minute walk to my office.

    The first is a PacSafe CitySafe 200 ( It’s slash-proof, has a security clip so you can thread the strap through your seat back, and lots (but not too many) pockets. It’s a great everyday handbag.

    The second is bigger; it is the Carryall Tote from L.L. Bean ( I got it because I needed a bit more room to fit my essentials, and my lunch, and my notepad, and my hat/mittens. It actually doubles as a carry-on bag, and had a flap on one side to fit over roller luggage handles. It is super light and fits a TON of stuff! I hate carrying more than one bag to work, so this suits me just fine.

  23. ambition divided :

    i bought a perlina bailey tote a little while back at tj maxx (for $150!) and looooove it. it’s this one (in black):

    I use it as an everyday tote, but it’s big enough to throw a couple files in and even has a zippered pocket inside for my iPad. love it.

  24. Longchamp Roseau in the largest size!

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