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Coffee Break: Metallic Card Case

kate-spade-metallic-card-caseOooh: of course I’m going to love the metallic cobalt card case from Kate Spade — but the whole collection looks fun, especially if you’re the type who a) likes to have a colored wallet/card case so it’s easy to find in your bag, b) you like feminine, girly things, or c) you are trying to find a small gift for a person who meets either a) or b).  (I did try the use-a-card-case-instead-of-a-wallet-in-my-clutch trick the last time I wore a clutch and I really liked it.) Anyhoo: the card case is $50, and comes in a metallic cobalt, hot pink, and a more muted rose gold that isn’t pictured here; the larger wallets go as high as $158; they’re available at Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom,. (The confetti one in the picture is the “Grant Lane” collection, also fun.) kate spade new york Rainer Lane Metallic Card Case

Sale Alert: MAC is offering 25% off all orders through 12/4. Wish I’d known that before I ordered the Soar lipliner (one of their bestsellers) during Cyber Monday, but hopefully all the mascara samples I got (the Cyber Monday deal) will make up for that.

(L-all)

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Gift Ideas from the Big Nordstrom Sale

Nordstrom Gift Ideas for 2016 (All On Sale!!)The Nordstrom Thanksgiving Sale is so good for workwear it’s a bit of a downer to remember, ah yes, I’m supposed to be buying for other folks too.  So I thought I’d put together a few quick gift ideas if you’re on the hunt — with Nordstrom’s very customer-friendly, open ended return policy, they’re great for everyone. CYBER MONDAY UPDATE: Don’t forget, Nordstrom is offering an extra 20% off select items through the end of today! (updated prices in red below). 

(Check out our other favorite Black Friday Sales here.)

Pictured at top: cardigan

Pictured below: pillow / glasses / hat / bubble bath

nordstrom-gift-ideas-2016

  • Barefoot Dreams. I’ve heard great things about the drape front cardigan for YEARS, and finally got the circle cardigan during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and I’m hooked on the super, super soft material — it’s a nylon/rayon blend that feels like cashmere but is machine washable. In addition to lots of cardigans and wraps for the women in your family (note: they come in plus sizes also!), they also make manly-looking plaid pillows (pictured above) and throw blankets. The cardigan at top is now $54-$68; the pillow is $39.
  • Drinkware.  Personally, I’m a total sucker for anything art deco, like these $41 double old fashioned glasses (now sold out, alas, but check out this set of whiskey glasses and decanter, now on sale for $40)— but they’ve got a ton of nice glasses on sale.
  • Cashmere beanie. Kate and I were just talking about how it’s so hard to find a stylish winter hat — you either look like you’re 20 or you look like you’re 60.  This cashmere beanie is highly reviewed, and on sale for $26 — it looks like a great gift idea too. It comes in ELEVEN colors. They have a ton of hats on sale though.
  • Bath and beauty stuff. A bubble bath/gel is always a safe bet (this Philosophy special edition one is marked to $12 from $18, which is a pretty great deal) — but there’s a ton of fun makeup markdowns in the sale.  (PLUS, there’s a “mystery beauty gift with purchase” today.) Makeup can be hard to buy for grown women — but if you’re on the hunt for a teenager or a makeup addict, there’s a lot of fun things in the Nordstrom sale. (I for some reason am drooling over most of the MAC Star Trek collection, mostly 40% off — doesn’t this illuminating powder look like a much more affordable version of Guerlain’s Meteorites?). Hmmn: this $17 shower cap looks great for the blowout addict on your gift list (now sold out, alas).

Ladies, what are you hunting for as far as gifts go? Have you gotten anything great at the Nordstrom sale

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Closet Organization Hacks for Sweaters, Jewelry, Shoes, Bags, and More

Closet Organization HacksFor some reason I’ve been in a big mood to organize our closets, so I thought we’d discuss — what are your biggest pain points when it comes to closet organization? What solutions have you found that you love? What are your best closet organization hacks?

Pictured, clockwise: hanging necklace organizer / sweater bins / modular bag organizer / anti-tarnish zip bag for silver jewelry

 

Closet Organization Hacks That Are Working For Me:

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The Best Spotify Playlists to Help You Focus

Spotify Playlists for WorkWhile some of us need absolute quiet to be productive at work; others prefer some background noise, whether it’s classical music, indie rock, or something else entirely. Earlier this year, Kat talked about her favorite music for different moods and situations (and readers discussed theirs in the comments), and in the past we’ve discussed wearing headphones at the office and how to be productive when you work in an open office. Today we’ll round up some Spotify playlists that are perfect for the workday. Here are five that can help you get your work done:

Productive Morning:
Description:
“Get into a morning flow with this focus playlist.”
Length: 39 songs; 3 hours 11 minutes
This playlist is filled with slow, mellow music, mostly without vocals/lyrics (which is helpful if words make music too distracting for you to work to — that seems to be the case with a lot of people). Listening to this might even calm you down if you’re feeling stressed about work or personal stuff — but I won’t promise anything. Two sample tracks are “Hibernation” by Random Forest and “Breathturn” by Hammock.

Deep Focus:
Description:
“Keep calm and focus. This playlist has some great, atmospheric rock to help you relax and concentrate.”
Length:
112 songs; 8 hours 29 minutes
Here’s some more slow and relaxing music for your workday, again without vocals. Your brain will likely be able to keep these sounds in the background and help you focus on the task at hand, while the song and band names will either seem poetic or laughable, depending on your tastes and mood. (Examples: “Gusts of Wind Blowing in Different Directions” and “In Collusion with the Waves.”) Two sample tracks are “Passage” by Lowercase Noises and “Petrichor” by At the End of Times, Nothing. (Speaking of poetic, here’s a fun fact: “petrichor” names the smell of dry, dusty ground when rain falls.)

Intense Studying
Description:
“Music to help you concentrate and stay focused during your most intense studying sessions.”
Length: 100 songs; 13 hours 15 minutes
This playlist is the only one of the five listed here that contains classical music, and it has a lot of it: 13 hours’ worth. The composers include Mozart, Bach, Brahms, Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Chopin, and you’ll find some more recent music as well — pieces by Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich. I don’t think this one needs “sample tracks” provided — you get the picture. (To counteract that huge list of male composers, here is another Spotify playlist for your workday: Women of Classical, at 50 songs, 7 hours 36 minutes.)

electroNOW:
Description:
“Banging tracks with Ravitez and Afrojack, b2b!” 
Length: 56 songs; 3 hours 25 minutes
As you can tell from Spotify’s description, this playlist is a little different from the three above. It’s full of electronic music, originals and remixes from artists like Calvin Harris and DJ Snake (don’t worry if those names don’t mean anything to you) with energetic beats to keep you motivated and repetition to help you focus. Two sample tracks are “Tell Me Why” by Sagan and “Everything Changed” by DBSTF.

Brain Food:  
Description: “Feed your brain with hypnotic electronic”  
Length: 140 songs; 9 hours 49 minutes
Like the last playlist I mentioned, this one gives you lots of electronic music — but these tracks have less of a club/party feel and more of a chillout atmosphere (probably self-explanatory, but here’s a link anyway), so in other words, it probably won’t inspire you to get up and dance at your desk. You’ll find dubstep, electropop, and general dance/electronic music on this playlist; two sample tracks are “Creep” by deadmau5 and “Mimosa” by Psychedelic Stereo.

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to while you’re working? Do you have a subscription to Spotify (and if so, what’s your favorite Spotify playlist?), do you use Pandora, or do you just listen to your own music? Or, do you prefer not to listen to anything while you’re at the office?

Pictured: Pixabay. 

The Best Spotify Playlists to Help with Focus

How to Focus on Work (When Other Things are Going On)

How to Focus on Work (When Other Things are Going On)So: it’s been almost a week since the U.S. election. Like many of you, I’m finding it hard to focus on work in the wake of the election results, and I thought it might make a great open thread today. (As I noted earlier, politically I’m left of center, but all of my friends, on both the right and the left, seem to be having these problems focusing.) How DO you focus when you’ve got heavy things on your mind? We’ve talked before in general about ways to improve your focus and how to deal with heavy personal things like post-interview anxiety, as well as miscarriage and infertility — but this feels different to me. So — if you’re feeling less than laser-focused these days, what are you doing to focus on work? Some thoughts:

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Tales from the Wallet: How to React to a Stock Market Drop

How to React to a Stock Market DropDo you know what to do with your investments when the stock market takes a dive — how to react to a stock market drop? Were you worried about what would happen with the markets today? Late last night, as Donald Trump was getting close to winning the presidential election, the headlines began to announce dire predictions: “Trump’s win turns stock market into shock market,” from CBS News. “Be very scared for your 401(k) right now,” from Mother Jones. “Stock Futures Plunge as Donald Trump Posts Surprising Win,” from the Wall Street Journal.

Not everything about such a situation is bad, as Shannon McLay, founder and president of The Financial Gym, told us this morning before the markets opened:

I think that today will be a gift to investors as the stock market will likely drop on the uncertainty of a Trump presidency, but what that means for investors is that they have the opportunity to buy stocks, ETF’s, mutual funds, etc., on sale. Who doesn’t love a sale? If you have cash in your investment accounts, you should consider investing in the uncertainty, especially if you are investing for the long run.

Now that it’s late morning, we know that things aren’t as bad as expected. Under the headline, “Markets meltdown fails to materialise,” the BBC reported,”The S&P 500, Dow Jones, and Nasdaq stock indexes were little changed after the first hour of trading.” The Chicago Tribune reported that the “conciliatory comments” in Trump’s victory speech “helped global stock markets recover a large chunk of their earlier losses Wednesday.”

If there had been a big drop in the stock market, what would you have done? Do you know what the best things to do are? These are some of the experts’ tips:

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