Putting Workwear to Work for Halloween


It’s that time of year again: the leaves are changing, the air is crisp and pumpkin spice is everywhere. With October 31st fast-approaching, Kat asked me to create a few fun outfits to show you how to put your workwear to work for Halloween. (Yep, it is possible.)

So, I chose a cast of characters (two fictional and one very real, very eccentric designer) who not only have iconic style, but are also well-known for rocking head-to-toe black. Check out the inspired looks below…

(Curious for more ideas for making Halloween work at work? We previously discussed Halloween costumes in 2013 and 2010 open threads, and I shared a big list of ideas for office costumes a couple of years ago. – Kat)

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Professional Women and Insomnia

insomniaDo you have trouble falling asleep? Staying asleep? Going back to sleep? If you’ve ever discussed your insomnia with friends and noticed that most of them are women, it’s not a coincidence: Unfortunately, women are more likely than men to face insomnia for several reasons: hormonal fluctuations due to menstrual cycles (and then menopause), discomfort from pregnancy, and medical conditions that are more common in women, such as depression and anxiety, fibromyalgia, and restless leg syndrome. (Is it also because women bear more emotional labor and more often act as the default parent? I’m no doctor, but I feel like this must play a part…) If you’re dealing with insomnia, what have you tried that’s worked, and what hasn’t? How long have you been struggling?

This infographic from the National Sleep Foundation shares the basics of insomnia: it involves difficulty falling asleep, returning to sleep, or staying asleep; affects about 40 million Americans every year; and is considered chronic insomnia when it happens at least three nights a week for at least three months. (Acute insomnia commonly occurs because of temporary stress and usually goes away without treatment.) According to the Mayo Clinic, causes of insomnia include stress and anxiety; medical conditions (such as chronic pain and overactive thyroid); life changes (such as travel or altered work shifts); bad sleep habits (such as using your bed for things other than sleep and sex); certain medications (such as some antidepressants and antihistamines); caffeine, smoking, or alcohol; and eating too much before going to bed.

Besides following helpful sleep habits and improving your overall health — as these tips from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD detail — you can also try these home remedies for insomnia:   [Read more…]

How to Find the Best Planner For You

plannerWe’ve gotten a few requests for a post on how to find the best planner for you — and I know the readers have been talking about it a ton! — so I thought we’d have a post today. How do you find the best planner for you? Reader J asks:

Can you do an update on the perfect planner post from 2012? I find that I need to use Microsoft Outlook for my corporate calendar to keep in sync with work commitments and colleagues. I dabbled with the Bullet Journal but couldn’t make that work and yet I feel like I need/miss the writing down aspect of using a paper journal.)

In our older post, readers recommended Levenger Circa, Staples Arc, Filofax, Russell + Hazel, Quo Vadis, Moleskine, Cavallini, Planner Pad, Exacompta 24, Erin Condren Life Planner.  In addition to those, readers more recently have recommended the Bullet Journal, ShePlans planners, and the Simplified Planner. I’m still figuring out my own system, so I can’t wait to hear what recommendations you guys have today!

For my $.02, I use a ton of different systems and haven’t found one good one that takes care of everything.  I use a Google calendar for most things and send invites to anyone who needs to know about trips/outings/visits/etc; the calendar entries have any important things relating to the calendar entry — a description, an address, questions I want to ask — if it’s a flight I have the airport, airline, flight #, estimated landing time, etc.  On my iPhone I’m a big fan of the app, Tiny Calendar, that syncs with Google calendar. For blog planning purposes we use Trello, which comes with a calendar and is an easy way to keep track of a lot of different tasks; we love Slack too but we’ve found it hasn’t worked the best for general planning purposes. Personally I use Remember The Milk to keep track of different to-do list items.  On the paper side of things I splurged this year and bought an Erin Condren Life Planner — it’s a beautiful, beautiful planner, but I primarily use it for recording cute things the kids have said and (more recently) trying to put a checkmark on each day that I’ve exercised or eaten well — for those simple tasks for 2017 I already bought a $.99 planner that will do the same thing. I love the idea of The Five Minute Journal for planning my day (pick three things to do at the beginning of each day, and at the end of each day recording what went well and what could have gone better.  I’m also a fan of a giant to-do list on a notepad in front of me — every few weeks I cross things off and move it to another list.  (I’ve experimented with having this giant list in RTM and keeping a printout in front of me so I can check things off — for some reason I prefer just having it on a paper notebook.) I’ve also experimented with laminating pages of paper that have spaces for me to think about goals for the month/week/day — more recently I also tried to laminate pages that have a little box for all of the different aspects of the business I should be thinking about, but that hasn’t worked out so well.

I’m curious to hear what you guys say — what planner are you using currently; what have you used in the past? What do you love about your system(s), and what do you hate about it/them?  Do you feel like any system can work if you’re diligent with it, or that planners are personality-driven and you need to go through several to find the best planner for you and your personality? 

Psst: we’ve also talked recently about best practices for Evernote, as well as the best apps for working women

Further reading:

  • Daily planners: paper or electronic? [Washington Post]
  • Passion Planner aims to be the cure for millennial angst [Washington Post]
  • The Tech-Savvy To-Do List: A Bullet Journal [Wall Street Journal]
  • How to Organize Your Entire Life with Trello [Lifehacker]
  • 10 calendar apps for Android and iOS that will help you organize a chaotic day [Yahoo! Tech]
  • 10 #BossChicks Share Their Favorite Planner for a More Organized Life in 2016 [Huffington Post]
  • It’s 2016. Why Can’t Anyone Make a Decent Freaking To-Do App? [Wired]

Pictured: Pixabay.

Hobby Wednesday: Coloring Books for Adults

Coloring Books for Adults

What kinds of hobbies do you like to take part in after work and on weekends? (We’re talking about offline activities here — no computers required/allowed!) This is the first in a series of occasional posts where we’ll take a look at how to pick up various hobbies. Today we’re talking about coloring books for adults, an activity that has exploded in the last year or so. You can find coloring books of all kinds at sites like Amazon or stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann Stores — I even saw a small selection at the grocery store the other day. I’ve dabbled in this trend myself; I received a Doctor Who coloring book as a gift a while ago and just took it up a notch by buying Color Quest: Extreme Coloring Challenges from Amazon, a color-by-numbers book in which each mystery picture has teeny-tiny squares or other shapes to fill in. (The picture isn’t revealed until you’re done.)

If neither of those appeals to you, don’t worry — there are many, many options out there for coloring stress relief (or just for fun) — in fact, it’s almost overwhelming. You can find coloring books of mandalas, animals, flowers and landscapes, fashion, abstract designs, tattoos, TV and movies (from Bob’s Burgers to Buffy to Lord of the Rings), lawyersarchitecture, sports, quotes, Internet-famous cats, and anatomy. There are religious coloring books, coloring books of Disney villains and Disney princesses, and several books with titles like Calm the F*ck Down: An Irreverent Adult Coloring Book (which has 800+ reviews). Your favorite website may have even put out its own coloring book, for example, The Oatmeal or Young House Love.

A few books that are highly rated at Amazon are pictured above. From L to R:

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6 Things to Have on Hand When You’re Sick at Work

6 Things to Have on Hand When You're Sick at WorkWe all know we shouldn’t go to work when we’re sick. But whether you’re a presidential candidate or have a more typical career, most of us do it anyway. (Note: Here I’m referring to the average Corporette reader with full-time benefits; the millions of Americans without paid sick leave don’t have much choice about whether to stay home and rest.) Maybe you have a conference or special event to attend, a big scheduled presentation to give, or a meeting to lead, and you just can’t avoid being sick at work. We haven’t talked about tips for going to work while ill in quite a while, so we thought it was time to revisit. (Disclaimer: Of course, please don’t take this post as medical advice.)

In the past we’ve also talked about shaking hands when you’re sick, what to do when you think you’re coming down with a cold and ways to get over a coldhow to deal with many medical appointments, and how to explain an embarrassing illness.

First of all, here’s some information from an actual doctor on determining whether you’re too sick for the office. But if you need to go in no matter what, here are six things that can help you handle being sick at work (besides the age-old advice our mothers have given us since we were kids):

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Backpacks for Work

backpacks-for-workAre there any backpacks that are stylish and large enough to hold file folders, binders and more on your commute from work? Backpacks are super trendy right now, but all of the really stylish bags are far too small for file folders or work papers. I was just at an event where I saw a young lawyer carrying a large, stylish backpack and my first thought was, good for her — whether she’s biking to work, walking to work, or just watching out for back problems down the line, it’s a smart move.  Coincidentally, I also recently got a question from Reader B, who wants to start walking to work and carrying large files — so I thought we’d go on a mini-Hunt. Here’s B’s question:

I’m looking to start walking to work more as I recently bought a home which sits about a mile away from my office. However, I’m an attorney and am often carrying case files and other paperwork back and forth. Tote bags, no matter what the straps are like, begin to hurt my shoulders on this. I know a backpack would solve the problem but as a relatively young professional, I’m afraid to look like I can’t let go of my college backpack days. Is it ever acceptable to wear a backpack to the office

Interesting question, B — I’ve written before of my love of walking to work, but I’ll admit that for any real file carrying I took cabs and client-paid cars to and from the office.  A few notes on tote bags, just at the outset: first, note that a leather bag is going to be far, far heavier than a nylon tote for work — and that I always found a single shoulder strap to be more comfortable for a long schlep. (You may also want to check out our advice on how to lighten your load.) Still, if you’re already feeling pain, there are a ton of backpacks right now that distribute the weight better across your back — I’ve rounded up a few of my top picks below, ranging from $29-$550.  Readers, would you consider wearing a backpack to work? Have you bought any backpacks for work lately that you love — and what qualities make one more or less professional and stylish in your mind?

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