Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 6.26.2015

Five Things New

It’s Friday morning, June 26th, and I’m sitting in my jammies, drinking coffee, and watching the funeral procession for Senator Clementa Pinckney.  And there are so many words, but they all seem so — insufficient.

On Charleston

  1. Karen Walrond on Chookooloonks with Say Something.
  2. AddyeB with On Charleston: I Wish I Had Something Better to Say.
  3. No Quarter, No Sanctuary, No Succor by Jamil Smith for The New Republic.
  4. Austin Channing Brown, with The Only Logical Conclusion.
  5. Osheta Moore with What I Need You to Say in Response to the Shooting in Charleston.

Also big news here in the US, the Supreme Court is speeding toward the end of its calendar, and all eyes are turned to see what will come.  Will it be today?  Monday?  Already, huge cases have been decided this week:


  1. Wondering what all is left on the docket?  Here’s Amy Howe from SCOTUSblog with And then there were seven: the remaining cases, in plain English.
  2. For a round-up of links to explain and analyze the Fair Housing decision, click here.
  3. And, there is so much to read about the ACA decision — and so many SCOTUScare jokes!  Ah Scalia! — but here’s one piece if you’re interested in what it means.
  4. Follow the live blog to see what opinions may or may not be released today.
  5. UPDATE!! Marriage equality has become the law of the land. Check here for an In Plain English summary of the case, but also read this piece by Jamil Smith for The New Republic. 

And a little joy for your weekend reading:

  1. How to Have a Bad Day, from Alexa Brown for Darling Magazine.
  2. Champagne lover?  Here’s two articles to make you an expert!  Numero UnoNumero Dos.
  3. Feeling Jealous of a Younger Colleague?  (How about — don’t be an ass.)  The comments here made me so happy!  Also, please be nice to each other.
  4. Did you see Joy the Baker’s Summer Bucket List?  Do you have a summer bucket list?  I think I might make one.
  5. And, the 2015 Running of the Interns.  This made me laugh!

Happy weekend, my friends. 




Why Watching The Bachelor is Good for Your Marriage

I’ve told you before that I don’t think we should have guilty pleasures — why feel guilty about the things that bring us joy?  And today I wanted to tell you something:  this year H and I started watching The Bachelor. Together.

I know, I know: how can I be a justice-minded feminist doing serious work and caring about equality and education and watch something like The Bachelor?

Because, first of all, it is SO ENTERTAINING.  I mean, seriously.  It is incredibly entertaining.

We watched Chris Soules choose Whitney over Kaitlyn and Becca (Why, Chris, why? Kaitlyn is so much more interesting and Becca was, well, Becca’s laugh was not off-putting like someone‘s and she didn’t seem to have much going in her professional life so it seemed like she was more likely to fit into your “move to nowhere and do nothing with me” lifestyle).  We laughed at all of the crazy antics the women in the house found themselves in, we laughed at the silly reasons they were fighting, and we discussed whether or not we would ever put ourselves in a similar situation.

Answer:  no.  Definitely not.

But still, we watch.  And I think that watching The Bachelor is really good for our relationship.  Sound crazy?  It’s not.  Here’s why:

blog graphics bachelor marriage

Three Reasons Watching The Bachelor is Great for Your Marriage


1.  Talking about relationships — and what qualities make relationships healthy — is good for your relationship.

While watching the different couples interact, we talk about (or, let’s be honest, laugh at and sometimes ridicule) the budding on-screen relationships.  And talking about relationships — good ones, bad ones, qualities we admire in others, things we see that remind us of ourselves — is good for your relationship.  Watching The Bachelor makes it easy to discuss relationships in a low-stakes, fun environment.


2.  Witnessing the best and worst traits in the contestants reminds you about the best qualities in your own partner, and why you are thankful for them.

There’s nothing like a room full of beautiful, but shallow or petty women to make your husband thankful he married a woman of substance.  There’s nothing like a tedious conversation about mostly nothing or a string of jokes that just aren’t that funny to make your husband thankful he married an interesting and, frankly, hilarious person.  (If I do say so myself!)  And there’s nothing like watching Chris Soules try to have a conversation with, well, anyone to remind you that you may have married the smartest, funniest, most articulate man on earth.  I mean.

(Disclaimer:  I’m sure the women and men on these shows are much more complex and kind in real life than they seem in the edited bits of television that ABC gives us, and I don’t want to disregard anyone’s sacred humanity with the above paragraph.  These are still real people we are talking about, although I think we have license to joke around about the way they are characterized on TV since they did sign up for this.)


3.  You remember to be vulnerable with the people in your life in the right ways.

One of the most insane things about watching The Bach is how the contestants drop truth bombs on the Bachelor/Bachelorette.  They tell the saddest, most complicated stories in the most awkward moments, blurting out how their parent died when they were a kid, or their former spouse passed away or they were in a tragic accident.  Laying it all out.  At once.  Often at a cocktail party or in the middle of a group date where everyone is drinking and laughing and It. Is. Weird.

I want my sad stories, happy stories, and all of those memories and moments that shaped me as a person to be shared sincerely and organically, not blurted out insincerely.  But, while forced television vulnerability makes me cringe, it’s true that you have to share your issues with your person, and you have to talk about how those issues might be impacting your current self.  It’s a good reminder not to wait too long or to hold too much back.


As the new season of The Bachelorette has picked up, we’re watching it even though we don’t find the male-on-male competition quite as entertaining.  Competitive guy drama is so different from competitive girl drama, but one thing I’m learning again and again this year is that drama is gender-neutral.  People say that men are inherently drama-free, quick to forget and forgive, etc. but that just isn’t true!  We all have to learn to handle conflict maturely so that professional or personal disagreements do not result in broken relationships, grudges, inefficiencies and general meanness.  For me, watching and discussing the Bachelor with my person is a low-risk way to work on this.

And, it’s pretty dang fun.  We were #TeamKaitlyn all last season and right now we are pulling for Joshua the Welder.  He’s funny, tall, and welding will be a useful skill during the Zombie Apocalypse.   Although, when he said he’d never been in a serious relationship, I started having doubts.  Not sure how much longer he’ll be around. . .


Do you watch The Bach?  And do you regularly talk about what makes relationships healthy with your person? 

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 6.14.2015

Better late than never, said kids receiving graduation checks from their older adult cousins (sorry kiddo, it’s coming) and, hopefully, Pink-Briefcase blog readers!

Five Things New

This week was excellent.  We had surprise dinner guests, relatively good weather, and lots of quality time with Winston.  Speaking of Winston, he’s started climbing up the walls more ferociously than normal and chewing on the sofa (not just scratching, chewing).  I think it’s time for a puppy because he clearly needs someone to hide from all day.

This Week’s Top Reads:

  1. A little perspective from a literary giant with Things to Worry About from F. Scott Fitzgerald.  (Also, can we talk about stupid humor here for one second?  Did you guys see that Ted 2 preview where the talking teddy bear is like “Eff Scott Fitzgerald? What did Scott Fitzgerald ever do to you?”  I will hopefully never see that movie but this preview cracked me up!)
  2. Micah J. Murray has been speaking to me this week.  I normally roll my eyes at religious posts or sappy things but really loved this religious post and this sappy love post.  And probably neither of them are exactly what you think.  (Well done, sir.)
  3. TOP READ OF THE WEEK:  My friend Abby Norman with When Your Pants and Your Life Don’t Fit.
  4. Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy writing about supporting our friends mourning a loss.
  5. And since I feel like I’ve been in this in-between space for, well, maybe a few years now (growing up is hard!), I really appreciated these words from Jennifer Louden in How to Take Care of Yourself when Everything is Up in the Air.

Oh, and also?  I’m making this for H next weekend and this for the next bridal shower I host.

Did you read anything awesome this week?  Link me up!

Beach Vacation Essentials for Summer Fun

I’m not sure if I told you that we took a long, relaxing vacation to Hawaii in April.  We were both just coming off a long stretch of working nearly non-stop, and it was so lovely for us to have time to reconnect.  I have a lot to tell you about our trip, but I wanted to throw a quick shout out to you about a few of my favorite purchases for that trip.

I struggle with using the tips I read on fashion blogs because while I LOVE THEM (I mean I seriously love fashion blogs!), I know that bloggers aren’t actually wearing all of the items they put up there.  They let you know what looks cute together, but they can’t always say these shorts ride up, avoid this fabric because it might show sweat, etc.  I don’t expect fashion bloggers to change their game — it’s completely insane, not to mention wasteful, to expect fashion bloggers to purchase and wear a new outfit every single day, but I personally want to know the truth about things people recommend.  So, that’s what you’re getting here.

Pink-Briefcase’s Beach Essentials for Summer 2015

beach essentials

 beach essentials by pinkbriefcase featuring a swim wear


First up:  the Lands End Swim Tee.  It was insanely useful for breezy mornings and evenings along the coastline, and so easy to throw on over a bathing suit for beach hiking.  This top was also ideal for sea adventure excursions — perfect to protect your skin from gross shared life jackets and the rubbing that can come when those fabrics are jostled against you in the middle of the ocean.  But even more importantly, it is freaking adorable.  I had strangers give me compliments several times — and that’s a pretty big deal when you’re feeling awkward in your bathing suit.  So, just saying.  It is a great investment piece.  I’ve worn it several times while hiking post-Hawaii and can promise you will find tons of ways to use it.

Next up:  a non-fancy maxi dress.  Trust this Chicago-living girl: when you are going somewhere windy, do not bring a short dress!  A comfy maxi-dress is the perfect beach item because the beach breezes will not flip your skirt.  This one was perfectly casual with sandals but could be dressed up with a scarf and jewelry, and I found the higher front to be very convenient for walking.  (Maxi dresses can be hard to maneuver in — is that just me? Anyone?)  AND, it’s currently on sale for wicked cheap.

And then, two great skin products.  There is nothing worse than going on a beach vacation for a week and getting sunburned during the first two days.  I experienced this pain on a lot of sorority-girl spring break adventures and let me tell you:  do not let sunburn ruin your vacation.  If you are burned, you won’t feel like swimming, you’ll be stuck in your hotel room feeling gross and it IS NOT FUN.  I am serious about this and loved the Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen.  I used SPF 70 the first two days and went down to 30 for the rest of our trip and had no burning at all.  It’s important.

Oh, and one other thing:  you really have to take care of your skin when it’s exposed to so much sun, salt, and sand.  Dry skin is much more likely to burn than moisturized skin, and this In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion is fantastic.  We bought it at the Target in Hawaii because (1) I hate lotion and (2) I hate sunburn and I fell in love with it.  I’ve used the entire bottle up and am headed back to Target to replenish because that’s how much I like it.  If you hate using lotion like I do, get some of this great product for your summer skin care.  (Note: it is not body wash.  Use soap first.  FYI.)


Okay, that’s it!  Simpler is better for vacation style.  I always stress about what to wear on vacation, but the maxi dress and swim top were really the only new pieces I used while there.  Everything else I stress purchased (linen shorts, cropped printed pants, etc.) never made it out of my suitcase.

What about you — are you a stress shopper before vacations or big events? 

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 6.05.2015


Five Things New

So, this week was awesome.  Full of adventure, with me spending a few days working in DC, grabbing tacos and donuts with my husband on my first night home in Chicago, Navy Pier fireworks from our sofa and an entire Friday out of the office!  How was your week?  Hopefully fantastic and full of sunshine.

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week:

  1. From over at Vox (have you noticed Vox is really interesting lately?), I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me by Edward Schlosser.
  2. From Heather Caliri at The Mudroom (you know I’m an editor there, and it’s awesome, right?), I thought I’d do a new friend a favor and not make friends at all.
  3. How Comedians Became Public Intellectuals, by Megan Garber for The Atlantic.
  4. Dan Diamond for Forbes with How Joe Biden Grieved – And Survived – His Family’s Darkest Chapter.  Just, wow.
  5. The Surprising Advice Many People Need to Hear, by one of my long-time favorites Penelope Trunk.

And since it’s been a hot minute since we’ve done this, two extras for you:

Beauty Advice from Cup of Jo’s friend Gemma (I loved this one!), and The 27 Absolute Best Yearbook Quotes from the Class of 2015 from — you guessed it — Buzzfeed.  I can’t remember having to submit yearbook quotes, but it has been about five million years since I was in high school.  So, is this a thing now?  Has it always been a thing?  It seems to be a hilarious, terrible idea.

Have a fantastic weekend!  Happy reading. 

What I’m Into: May 2015


So May was kind of awesome.  It was my first month at home for the E.N.T.I.R.E. month — no work or personal travel of any kind — and it was lovely.  I’ve been soaking in the smaller joys of life as we prepare for the summer months and hopefully a steady stream of visitors.  The weather in Chicago is still very March-ish to me, but summer is slowly beginning to show its face.


I’ve been reading Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness (review coming soon here on the blog) and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.  I started and finished the entire Divergent series when we were on vacation last month and so my book completion rate has multiplied exponentially this quarter.


I watched all the finales (I think) but most of them were so forgettable that I can’t even remember which ones I enjoyed.  Which is saying something.  Game of Thrones has been excellent though — this season is the best yet.

And I’m bummed about Mindy Kaling’s show, Mindy, being canceled — it wasn’t a show I anticipated from week to week, but I enjoyed its light-hearted take on romance.  I missed the last half of this season because I was doing other things, so I’ll be catching up on its ending when it becomes available for free.  (Comcast we pay A LOT for onDemand, so you really should have given me time to watch this season before taking Mindy off the free replay list.  I mean, seriously.)



chicago 4th presbyterian ben folds concert (1)

This month was H’s birthday, and we did some fun things around the city to celebrate.  First up was a unique Ben Folds concert at the Fourth Presbyterian Church here in Chicago.  The Church was right next door to the hotel we stayed in when we first came to Chicago to look for an apartment, and it was a fun little date.  It was also totally weird to see and hear Ben Folds rocking out in his special way inside a church.  Every time he said a curse word the crowd murmured with awkwardness.  “Can he say that here?”  (In case you are wondering, yes.  No obvious repercussions.)


Then, we had the most glorious birthday dinner at Stephanie Izard’s restaurant The Girl and The Goat.  For H, there is nothing better than a fancy restaurant with a menu created by a Top Chef contestant.  (It cost a lot more pennies than my favorite place, Burger Bar. And I had to wear a dress, so I’m just saying burgers and beers remain superior in my book.)




This month H has been grilling a lot and we’ve been eating grilled chicken, veggies, and quinoa every single day for lunch.  (Well, not every day but you hear me.  I made lentil soup one week.)  I’ve also decided that my ideal Summer beverage is a 12 oz. can of Shiner.


We’re working hard to not over-purchase groceries, which means we are meal planning and using up things in our freezer.  We had a strawberry-cherry crisp one weekend for breakfast to use up some yummy frozen strawberries we had (thanks Mom!) and we’ve eaten up all of the green beans from my parents’ garden last summer.  I’m not sure why I’m such a hoarder of freezer things, but I’m working to change that.  As the kids say, #yolo or whatever, right?  So we are eating our delicious frozen goodies.


Seeing the Midwest


We made two fun day trips up to Wisconsin.  (We are trying to make Wisconsin my new West Virginia.  Although I do not love it like I love West Virginia.  Country roads, take me back to Harper’s Ferry please.)


milwaukee bronze fonz hunter mb (1)

We spent a Saturday afternoon and evening in Milwaukee where we enjoyed delicious frozen custard and visited the Bronze Fonz.  We took a brewery tour and we attended a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game.  I actually really loved Milwaukee and would like to visit again — and I have an important question for any Milwaukeeans out there:  why are there SO MANY clocks on the buildings?  I mean, that is a lot of clocks.

madison wisconsin devils lake hiking outside scenic (7)


And then we took a longer drive up past Madison to Devil’s Lake.  We hiked, fished (I caught the first fish and it was the largest!), enjoyed the scenery and ate cheese curds.  Because Wisconsin.  It was my first time fishing from a canoe and I hated how wobbly it was.  But otherwise it was super fun.


What I’m Wearing


Clothing during the Chicago not-winter-not-summer is super confusing.  Some days I’m in sleeveless dresses and sandals in the morning and then a rainstorm comes in and it’s freezing on the way home.  Other days I still need sweaters, long pants, socks and boots.  There is no consistency and it is completely unpredictable and I generally have no idea what to wear.  Fortunately fashion is not a high priority where I work.


However, there is one thing I have been consistently wearing that I can heartily recommend:  Tarte Lipsurgence Liquid Lip Shine, in Exquisite.  I am terrible at lip gloss, lip stick, lip-anything.  Terrible.  But I ordered a Tarte makeup kit from QVC and this is the greatest and best lip product I have ever owned and I am wearing it all the time.  (I mean, not every day because I forget, but I do really like it.)


On the Internet


It’s been a few months since I’ve really been paying attention to the internet (I’ve missed you!) but there are a few things that I’ve been loving.  I started following a few new blogs/websites, including Hollywood Housewife and Darling Magazine.  And I really enjoy the writing at even though its geared toward sports fans.  (Looks like my husband is wearing off on me!)  I’ve also been listening to a lot of podcasts, and am particularly enjoying Happier by Gretchen Rubin and The Right Reasons (it’s all about reality TV and it is HILARIOUS).


I’m falling hard for the writing and editing team I’m working with at The Mudroom.  I’m still learning who each of these strong women are at their cores, where they are from and what makes them tick, but it’s a wonderful community and I’d love for you to check it out.  Here are two of my favorite posts to date:  one, two.


And, suddenly I’m really into Pinterest again.  Follow me here if you want to.



Have you been doing anything awesome this past month?  And:  how are you?  It’s been ages.


To check out more monthly wrap-ups and get tons of book and music recommendations, head over to Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into link-up!  I always find really good stuff there. 

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 4.03.2015

Five Things New

It’s been a while since a weekly wrap-up, but I’m excited to be falling back into my groove with this space.  I spent some time this week reading through my entire Feedly stream (it was 500+ links long) and so these links may be from a few weeks back in internet time, but they were all on my radar this week while I’ve been catching up.

So, let’s get to it!

Five Awesome Things

O Adjunct! My Adjunct! by Carmen Maria Machado for the New Yorker.

The Rock’n’Roll Casualty who became a War Hero by Clay Tarver for the New York Times (this is from the summer but I loved reading it and just found it this week!).

The comment thread for How Can I Develop a Poker Face at Work? on Ask a Manager.  Interesting, helpful, and hilarious.

Two posts about being okay with a little imperfection, in our own lives and in our relationships:  Breaking Down from Kimberly at Penny Pincher Fashion, and You Will Stumble from Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

This list of 20 Career Tips from (female) Entrepreneurs, collected by Joanne at Cup of Jo and including some fantastic advice from Deb of Smitten Kitchen!


So, what awesome things have you been reading this week?

On opening the windows, shaking off the dust, and blogging again

I have that feeling now, that feeling where the weather starts turning warmer and you want to clean everything and throw out all of your winter clothes and go shopping.  Spring fever or something like that.

I’m finally home.  My traveling isn’t over forever, but I don’t have any work trips planned for at least a month and I’m settling back into a more normal routine.

I’ve missed you all.  And I’m excited to be back, but also nervous that it’s silly to blog after being away for months.  (But, honestly, blogging is a little silly at its very nature, so whether or not there will be readers really doesn’t increase or decrease its inherent silliness, am I right?)

Work has been — hard.  I’ve been traveling and stressing out and making presentations and filtering spreadsheets and loving every minute.  I’ve never felt more grateful for anything than I have felt these last few months for the continued opportunity to work hard in a job I love.  I’ve had really terrible jobs, and I know how depressing and terrifying and boring it is to feel like your time is not used well and you aren’t accomplishing anything because I have lived that life too.  A lot.  (If you are there right now, I’m sorry.)

I’m also learning first-hand how important it is to set boundaries for myself.  Everything in moderation.  When I’m caught up in my work, months can pass without me remembering to get a hair-cut, go out with my friends, paint my fingernails.  And let’s not even talk about laundry.

When you’ve been going nonstop and working a lot its easy to convince yourself that your work is very important and that you are very important too.  And that is really unhealthy.  Just because your job is hard or your hours are long does not mean your job is important.  And, whether or not you work a lot or your job is important does not make you important.  You are already important because you are a person who loves others and who is greatly loved.  Being a person who is alive is AWESOME.

I’m mostly writing for myself today.  And this is what I need to hear, every day, but especially when things feel insane or tedious or impossible or just plain boring.  You too?


Thanks for joining me here, my friends.  It’s been too long, hasn’t it?  How are things? 

The one where what I’m into in January is not really about blogging.

The view from my office window as the sun begins to set over chilly Chicago.

The view from my office window as the sun begins to set over chilly Chicago.

My friends.

It’s been a while.

I think about you often.  Something ridiculous happens, or I hear a lame joke, or I snap a photo of something interesting and I think to myself, “you should remember to tell your blog readers about this.”

I read an interesting article, or something hilariously inappropriate but true-ish, and I save it on my phone’s notepad so I can share it with you on Friday.  The list of things to share is insanely long at this point.

I start to write to you — I make a note of these things I want to share, but then I remember that I have hours of work at my actual job ahead of me and that every moment I spend working late or away from home is a moment apart from my husband and my cat and my friends and there just hasn’t been time.

We spent a long weekend in New Orleans with two of our favorite people, and it was glorious -- sunny and warm and delicious.

We spent a long weekend in New Orleans with two of our favorite people, and it was glorious — sunny and warm and delicious.

I mean, maybe, honestly, there has been time.  But the time I would have given you would have depleted life accounts that couldn’t withstand any additional withdrawals.

Do you ever think of your life like that, in buckets and barrels and ledgers?  I have been thinking of that, lately.

My first Bulls game was perhaps the most entertaining sports-related event of my life.

My first Bulls game was perhaps the most entertaining sports-related event of my life.

My friend Emily and I were just talking about how, while some people feel drained from too much work, working makes us feel alive.  More working makes me feel more alive.

But when I take a breath during my full-of-life busy workday, even while I’m in that place where I feel the most alive and empowered and effective that I ever feel, there are moments where I can almost see the shiny bottom of the other buckets; the grain of the wood forming the edges of the other barrels, the warning messages that pop up when the other accounts are close to being overdrawn.

Side note: I never actually get those warning messages because I believe in scarcity so I always have an extra bit of funds tucked away for emergencies. The fear is real my friends.  

And I don’t want those other buckets or barrels or accounts to get too empty.  I’m putting all of my extra bits into the people in my life.

So, commuting is really fun in January.  Just saying.

So, commuting is really fun in January. Just saying.

The past few months, and maybe for the next four or five months, I am ALL IN at work.  I’m doing something important and I am proud of my work. I am proud of myself.  I’m not pulling back from that — I’m not here to say that you, my blog readers, are so important that I’ll take additional time out to update you regularly — but I do want you to know I think of you.

I’ve considered taking this site down while I’m away so it doesn’t linger unattended and become something dead and sad.  But that seems silly.  I love this creative outlet and I love connecting with you.  So it will stay, wilder and freer than normal.

I’ll be a bit hit-or-miss here while I’m finishing this amazing, incredibly hard thing.  When it’s done, I’ll be back with lots of stories.


Don’t go too far.

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 1.11.2015

It’s been a while, my friends.  I have SO MANY links for you but I’ve tried to whittle it down to just five.  I’m going to schedule some tweets throughout the week to clear out all of the posts I saved for you over the past few weeks.  Click here to follow along.

Five Things New

The Sad Internet: 2014 in Review.  Could not stop laughing. (Also, can we just all agree that twitter can be kind of humiliating?  So many tweets, so few responses. . . )

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Taught Me about being a Stay-at-Home Dad.  RBG is awesome and while there’s clearly a lot of privilege in this author’s experience, it made me feel optimistic about the future.

Depression is Not a Scandal from Jamie the Very Worst Missionary.  I don’t really understand why we have to have this conversation, but clearly we do, and Jamie does it so well.

Self-sufficiency is overrated from Penelope Trunk.  Penelope Trunk is so weird and awkward sometimes but SO AM I.  I love her.

An open letter to the Girl Scouts by Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess).  Looking for positive examples of women who live their lives with integrity and confidence?  Click here.